Alda'hirakam ghar Ara; Chapter 46

  • The freezing and howling wind had tried the campfire. The fierce flames fought back against the wind. They flickered and the firewood cracked almost violently. The clouds were moving. Soon the moon would shine on the coast. The waves were restless as if something was approaching, on the waters near the shore.

    The moon came out behind the clouds.

    A blood chilling scream echoed across Haknir’s Shoal and the surrounding area. It turned into a wailing sound before disappearing into the air.

    Ciel’nn winced. He had covered his ears during the scream. His sensitive ears couldn’t stand it. The ear piercing scream had come as suddenly as they were camping near Haknir’s Shoal. He had not paid attention to the sky. The young mer shivered from the cold even though he was wrapped up in a fur cloak. It’s not enough! He thought with his teeth nearly clacking together.

    They sat inside their tent and ate some hot horker soup. It warmed him up a bit, but Ciel’nn was worried that he’d be frozen solid in the morning.

    “So, the legend is true.” Teldryn murmured after a few spoonfuls soup. “We’re on the right track.” He glanced to his partner next to him. They sat skin to skin to stay warm, but Ciel’nn didn’t look too well. We may have gone too much north to camp. Should have stopped at Bujold’s Retreat. “Do you still want to go after the treasure?” A weak nod came from his partner.

    “Yes,” Ciel’nn said after swallowing some soup. “I’m not afraid of ghosts. It’s just fucking cold out here.” He put the bowl down and wrapped the cloak tighter around himself. Think of warm thoughts.

    Teldryn frowned as he put his bowl aside and then he pulled Ciel’nn close to him. “We can check the place in the morning and go to Bujold’s Retreat to warm up. And, this is the next move.” He thought a moment, frowning toward the Haknir’s Shoal. They had seen the pirates there, trying to dig up the treasure earlier, but the night’s cold had taken them in a icy grip. They had only a medium sized campfire going. One or two would be dead by the morning, Teldryn thought. The pirates weren’t his problem at the moment. His immediate concern was how he was going to keep his partner warm and alive through the night. He had a few ideas. I think he will not mind.

    The pirates were chewing their meager breakfast when one of them turned his head. He thought he saw movement on the beach, but as he scanned the beach he couldn’t see anything else than a few birds and a horker. Probably nothing. Shrugging, the pirate went back to his meal. His fellow pirates talked about the treasure chest that was  close by, and they would try to open it after their meals.

    Finishing their meals, the pirates stood up and wiped their hands on dirty pieces of cloth.

    Ciel’nn noted the pirates standing up, but he waited until he had a clear shot. He drew the bow string back, and took a swift aim. An excited smirk spread on his lips for a moment. I wonder how tough these pirates are. With that thought, the arrow was released.  A scream let him know he had hit his target, but it was a short one. Ciel’nn glanced at Teldryn. The older mer nodded to him.

    They stood up from their hiding place and spread out across the beach line. Ciel’nn took position on a rock and concentrated to cast a poison rune near his rock. It came out weak. Better that than nothing. He took a deep breath and notched an arrow on his bow, his eyes looking for targets. One pirate that looked like a mage was facing his partner’s direction. Ciel’nn wasn’t sure if the pirates were willing to cross the icy water.

    The pirates shouted at each other as no one was willing to cross the shallow water. Their archer took his place and snarled at the young mer. “You’re begging to die!” He shot his arrow. It missed its target as it flew a few paces right from the mer’s rock. The pirate archer heard Ciel’nn’s mocking laugh. He begin to notch another arrow, but hissed quickly as an arrow flew close to his face. He almost felt the flight feathers on his cheek. The mer stared at him, notching another arrow.

    Throwing another fireball, Teldryn spared a glance at his partner. A slight grin spread on his lips. He’s toying with the pirate, and avoiding the arrows with such grace. His own target, the pirate mage wasn’t that easy to fool. It was then Teldryn decided to send his flame atronach towards the mage. Now we will how she fares against us both. And there are still those with swords. The flame atronach flowed across the water and threw fire spells at the mage.

    It brought much amusement for the young mer when he saw the pirate archer getting angry. The arrows kept missing until one of them flew close to his face, making his hair shift as the arrow flew past. Ciel’nn’s cheek tingled and he touched it by his hand. He looked at the small blood drop on his gloved hand. “I hit you, ha ha!” He heard the archer cheering. His eyes narrowed into slits. That’s close enough. His hand shifted again. An arrow was notched, bow string drawn, an aim was taken and the arrow was released.

    The pirate archer gurgled as the arrow had pierced his throat and he fell on his back. His body twitched for a moment before it stopped.

    Someone coughed near the young mer. He turned to see a pirate with a dagger in his hand. Ciel’nn noticed the pirate had stepped into his poison rune. The pirate was coughing as he tried to move closer to him. The young mer brought his bow in front of him and hit the pirate with it. The pirate staggered backwards and tumbled down. It’s a slow death. Yet, the young mer didn’t make a move to end the man’s life, but he watched the pirate struggling to get up.

    Haknir’s Shoal fell quiet by the late afternoon. Ciel’nn sighed as he tucked his bow onto his back. “That took longer than I thought.” He looked to his partner who was striding towards him. He smiled. Teldryn seemed to be unharmed, but exhausted.

    “You’re hurt.” Teldryn frowned as he noticed the small cut, that still bled, on Ciel’nn’s cheek. It would need tending soon, or it’ll get infected. Otherwise his partner seemed to be alright. Teldryn was pleased. “Sit on that rock whilst I tend it.” He took off his backpack and began to look for a small water bottle and the tiny box of netch jelly. He had only a little of it left.

    “Save it.” Ciel’nn said as he put his hand on Teldryn’s own. “It’s a small one. We might need it later.” He added in a softer tone. He didn’t want it to be wasted for such a small cut. There would be serious injuries when the netch jelly would more needed.

    “I want to to do this, Ciel’nn.” Teldryn looked up to Ciel’nn. “Sit.” His partner seemed to say something, but closed his mouth and sat on the rock. The older mer nodded. “There’s not much left of it anyway.” He began to clean the cut with care. Luckily it wasn’t wider, or they might had a problem.

    Ciel’nn let out a soft sigh when his partner applied the last bits of the netch jelly. He smiled. These moments were precious to him. Moments when nothing threatened their lives. The young mer felt safe around his partner. Perhaps safer than ever before.

    Ciel’nn wanted to do share his thoughts of their possible future, but he was afraid to voice them. Because, once he had said it and then everything had gone wrong afterward. And, he wasn’t sure what Teldryn wanted from the future. He was afraid to ask.

    His partner had a shift of mood, Teldryn noted. He put the tiny box away and pulled the mer up and close to him. Ciel’nn seemed to hold something inside him, but the older mer didn’t want to pry until the mer was ready.  A hope reflected from the mer’s eyes, Teldryn saw.  He let his partner wrap his arms around him and hug him. I wish he could tell me what he’s thinking. “It’s alright. Nothing to worry.” The older mer said in a soothing tone as he embraced his partner, and shifted his head so Ciel’nn’s head was under his chin.

    Someone had put wooden planks across the shallow water to Haknir’s Shoal. Ciel’nn found it curious as why would it be so. Teldryn offered a reason. “Maybe they needed the beach bushes for taking a shit.” He laughed as Ciel’nn raised a dark brow as they crossed the wooden planks.

    The camp was in disarray after the fight. Three large pirates lay between the tents and the mage near the shore line was a pile of ash. Some tents had a blackened locked strong box along with spoiled food and coin pouches.

    “Whoa, you did a number on that.” Ciel’nn regarded the ash pile that still slightly smoked.

    “She was a mage. Troublesome.” Teldryn rumbled as he strolled towards the treasure chest. “They did good job by digging this out for us.” He studied the lock. He wasn’t good with lock-picks, so he looked to Ciel’nn. The young mer was lock-picking the strong box. A grin spread on Teldryn’s lips as he watched his partner working with the lock.

    The lock clicked and the strong box revealed a few gems and an old pendant. Ciel’nn took it into his hand and studied it. “East Empire Trade Company.” He murmured as he grabbed the gems as he stood up. Ciel’nn turned around and noticed Teldryn grinning at him. The young mer tilted his head. “What?” He began to walk towards his partner and the treasure chest.

    “Just enjoying the company.” Teldryn’s grin widened before he stepped aside. “I’ll let you handle this one since you seem to be good at it.” He offered a smile now. “Did you break into someone’s house when you were younger?”

    “No…” Ciel’nn stared at the lock on the treasure chest. His face fell as the memories flooded in.

    The old mer slammed the basement door shut, leaving Ciel’nn alone and chained to the hard floor. It was for his punishment, for being useless brat. The old mer knew his fear of darkness, and thus left him there for a long time. Ciel’nn grabbed the chain and pulled. But, it was too strong for his small hands. He sobbed.

    It felt like the darkness was about swallow him hole. Ciel’nn hugged himself as he leaned against the wall. His chest felt heavy as he began to shake and whimper. “Ce’vale…”

    There wasn’t any telling when the old mer would return, and his mother was visiting a sick villager. He waited for long minutes, then hours…  Ciel’nn didn’t know how he would survive these punishments as this wasn’t the first time.

    “Ciel’nn?” Teldryn frowned as he put hand on his partner’s shoulder. “Breath.” He noticed the mer’s ashen face. “Speak to me.” He tried with a calmer tone, but Ciel’nn was frozen in his place, still staring at the lock. Azura! Did I said something wrong that caused this? Well done, Teldryn. He stepped closer to his partner and hugged him.

    “I…” Ciel’nn said in a quiet tone as he hugged back the older mer. “I learned about picking locks when the old shit locked me in the basement.” He felt Teldryn hugging him tighter. “He chained me on the floor for hours.” He paused for a moment to swallow. “After the few first times, I took lock picks and tried to open the lock in the dark. It took several tries and lock-picks.” Ciel’nn took a deep breath and relaxed a bit as he had laid his head onto Teldryn’s shoulder.

    “Your father was n’chow piece of shit.” Teldryn said while he soothed Ciel’nn’s back. “Thank you for telling me, and I’m sorry if I triggered anything.”

    “You didn’t know, Teldryn. I’m just glad I managed to tell you all that.” Ciel’nn replied, then looked at his partner’s eyes.  But, I hope you can mend the wounds I carry. It was a vulnerable moment for him, but he was slowly opening for Teldryn. The older mer would wait, he knew. “You really learned to pick-lock in the dark?” Ciel’nn heard his partner asking him. He nodded, “A practice I don’t want to repeat.”

    Teldryn watched Ciel’nn working on the lock. It seemed the lock was harder than on the strong box. The older mer shivered and he looked at the sky. “It’s getting colder again. We might have to spend the night here.” He wrapped the fur cape around him tighter.

    “That’s alright. I’m not afraid of ghosts.” Ciel’nn still worked on the lock with freezing hands. It might be frozen solid, the damned lock!  “Make sure to keep the campfire burning.” It was fine if they had to camp there. At least he’d  have a chance to ask Thalin’s ghost why he was stupid, if he’d appear. He glanced at the sky. Clouds, no fun. The young mer missed the stars, and wondered if there were a place anywhere on Solstheim where they’d see them.

    He whispered a silent prayer for Azura, and then the lock clicked.



    Back to ToC



4 Comments   |   Karver the Lorc and 2 others like this.
  • GailOlm
    GailOlm   ·  November 25, 2019
    I was concerned for Ciel’nn when he and the pirate were shooting the arrows back and forth at each other. A couple of those arrows came too close! I like how Teldryn reassured Ciel’nn and made him feel safe but didn't try to pressure him to share his memo...  more
  • The Sunflower Manual
    The Sunflower Manual   ·  October 30, 2018
    Hrrr. Pragmatist in me wants to chide Ciel for playing that chicken game with the pirate archer. You're not the only one who uses poisons, silly!
  • Karver the Lorc
    Karver the Lorc   ·  October 12, 2018
    Short and efficient work with the pirates. And Ciel´s past is bleeding into the present again. I feel like that everytime that happens Ciel starts slipping back into the cold and damp basement drowning in darkness. Or he actually never left. Wonder if it´...  more
    • Caladran
      Karver the Lorc
      Karver the Lorc
      Karver the Lorc
      Short and efficient work with the pirates. And Ciel´s past is bleeding into the present again. I feel like that everytime that happens Ciel starts slipping back into the cold and damp basement drowning in darkness. Or he actually never left. Wonder if it´...  more
        ·  October 12, 2018
      Oh dear. That's scary, isn't it? Hmm... Maybe he's not over it yet. Past traumas from past have strong ties, and I think this is the second emotional wound he has, tied with with the fear of darkness. The lock-picking is the trigger for those memories, if...  more