Alda'hirakam ghar Ara; Chapter 69

  • Ciel’nn winced when he came to. His body ached, but he felt the cuts healing up. He shifted a bit and grunted. His head hurt and it seemed he had developed a headache. The young mer recalled what had happened before his blackout. That N’wah! The spot where Vendil had kicked him was sore. Heavy chitin. Ciel’nn was glad the boots weren’t equipped with something sharp. He tried to move.

    “Easy now, Ciel’nn. You need to rest.” Teldryn’s voice came from the side. He reached over to brush his partner’s hair. “I’m glad you’re awake. How are you feeling?” The older mer observed Ciel’nn closing his eyes momentarily and open them again. “Like being overrun by a pack of Kagouti. What happened after I…?” Teldryn heard the young mer saying.  Then he explained how Vendil had his end. “I haven’t felt like that before. I thought you got a serious injury.”

    Ciel’nn turned his head to see Teldryn’s eyes. They looked tired. “You finished Vendil. I wish I could have seen it. Maybe now I can call you Teldryn The Spectacularly Legendary Sero.” He flashed a  smirk while he touched reach out to touch the older mer’s cheek.  “Have you have been awake all this time?” he lowered his gaze as guilt flashed in his eyes. “If only I was stronger… You wouldn’t need to watch over me.”

    Teldryn’s lips parted when he was about object about the title, but he had seen the guilt in his partner’s eyes. He gently lifted Ciel’nn’s chin by his two fingers. “Look at me, Ciel’nn.” He said in a half commanding tone, and added in a softer tone. “I don’t mind watching over you. I could watch over you for hours, knowing that you’ll be alright as long as I’m on the watch.” He paused for a moment. The young mer had him in a strong eye contact. “You don’t need to be strong for my sake.  As for resting, we can rest a while longer.”

    A smile crept on Ciel’nn’s lips as he leaned closer and kissed softly his partner’s lips. “I love you, Bladesman.”

    “I love you too, but I don’t accept the title you gave for me.” Teldryn smiled as he held Ciel’nn’s hand. The young mer just flashed a bashful smile at him. “If you’re hungry, I can make something?” They still had some ash yams and bottle of Sujamma. That will do, the older mer thought.

    Ciel’nn examined at Vendil’s corpse from the entrance. He couldn’t help but flash a grin at the view. His partner had shown mercy to the mer. Vendil had suffered greatly before he met his end. The younger mer would have done the same, but he wasn’t sure of the drowning. He wasn’t keen on torturing unless there was a reason for it. In any case, they had finished the task that Adril had addressed for them, and It was time to return to Raven Rock.

    “Here is your sword and dagger.” Teldryn handed the blades to his partner. The dagger was covered with a piece of cloth. “I thought you’d want to clean your dagger yourself.” The young mer looked to him and smirked.

    “Yes.” Ciel’nn was particular about his blades. He didn’t want to anyone else handling them especially if he had used poison. Cleaning the blades was a sacred ritual to him.

    On the other side of the river and hidden behind a rock,  hooded Ralis waited for Vendil to come out the Ashfallow Citadel. The mer had him assigned as a temporary messenger and  had paid him quite a sum of Azura’s silver. He had been waiting for a day now and was getting nervous. The digger rubbed his hands and cursed under his breath. The only thing he was grateful for the ash storm had ceased for time being. There are still clouds, Ralis thought as he observed the sky.

    There was movement from the door way, and Ralis watched like a hawk. His eyes widened as his lips parted and he felt a sudden coldness hitting at his core. He saw the younger mer and the mercenary coming out of the door. Ralis turned away, involuntarily touching his bruised face. It hurts every time I see him, but how come they’re coming out? I didn’t see them going in. It dawned on him that Vendil was probably dead along with his allies. The old mer wouldn’t let Ciel’nn and Teldryn just walk out. The digger realized it left him with his last task.

    He backed away from the rock formation and sprinted down the hill, the river on his right side. He cringed every time he made a slight noise by stepping on dead branches while he hurried to the south. If he was lucky, he’d still reach Raven Rock before the trade ship left at the next dawn.

    Ciel’nn enjoyed the calm weather while it lasted. The cool breeze felt good in his hair. He dared to hope the day would stay calm and that the ash storm had been nothing but a brief natural occurrence. But what about the frozen Riekling? I should talk about it with Teldryn while we have some time. The young mer glanced at his partner who seemed to be thinking and absent. Ciel’nn reached out to touch Teldryn’s arm. “What are you thinking, daelha?”

    The older mer was drawn away from his thoughts by the touch on his hand. He looked to his partner with a warm smile. Ciel’nn’s eyes reflected slight concern. “Do you sense anything odd about the weather?”

    The young mer frowned and averted his gaze as if he was trying to feel something. “I don’t sense anything odd, Teldryn. Should I?” He shifted his eyes back to his partner. Something in Teldryn’s eyes made him feel uneasy. “You sense something then?” His tone was cautious against his own will. The older mer nodded.

    “Yes, there is something odd about it, but I can’t tell what it is.” Teldryn surveyed their surroundings. He wished he could explain it. The older mer was used to knowing things, but moments like these made him uncertain. “Better keep our eyes sharp and open.”

    “Always, Teldryn.” Ciel’nn frowned as he looked ahead. His eyes trying to find something out of the ordinary. “What about the frozen Riekling?” He wanted some answers. Maybe Solstheim was becoming stranger. But would he be surprised? He had fought the Daedra when he was younger, been to Oblivion and back which wasn’t his own choice, and his friends died while he traveled. His friends… Rangalen came back to his mind.

    Abruptly, Ciel’nn clung to the older mer’s arm, and gave him a sheepish smile with his cheeks flushing. His partner grinned and wrapped his arm around his shoulder as they continued their way to Raven Rock.


    “Run Imsin!” Frea’s panicked shout still echoed in her mind. She had run away from the Skaal village when the reavers had attacked in a coordinated assault. The night had been chaotic during her escape, and even if she was only ten winters old, Imsin knew the village was lost.

    Not only that, she had been fleeing to the North, from a small group of reavers. They had seen her tracks and were in pursuit now and seemed relentless in their chase. Imsin pressed on and knew she had some distance from her pursuers. She tightened her grip on her stalhrim spear as her lips were a tight line as she eyed the snowy field ahead.

    “Little girl! Come back! You’ll freeze to death up there!” A reaver called after her from somewhere behind her. It was followed by rough laughter. “Forget the All-Maker or whatever you’re worshiping.” They were closing on her.

    “By the sacred stones of Earth,  Sun, Wind and Water! Hear me All-Maker! Hear my plea! Help your child!” Imsin chanted, her heart racing. “Hear me All-Maker!” She kept chanting as she hurried on.

    She passed one cave and climbed up the hill, using her spear as support. The reaver laughter she heard was closer now. Her capture would be imminent soon. Imsin gritted her teeth as she prepared her mind. She wouldn’t give up so easily. For she was a promising Skaal shaman. She yet had to grasp the means of using magic, so her father taught her how to use the Stalhrim spear.

    “By the sacred stones of Earth, Sun, Wind and Water! Hear me All-Maker! !” She evoked, but it was as if the god did not hear her. But Imsin wouldn’t give up on chanting,the chant gave her strength.

    There were stairs on her right, but she chose to go to westward. Before Imsin opened a wide field, but she was getting tired. She breathed heavily, feeling her legs stiff from the cold. Slowly she made her way to the middle of the field and stood defiant. Imsin chanted quietly as she glanced around the field and saw a white deer on a cliff. Is that a mark of the All-Maker?

    With a frown, the promising Skaal shaman braced herself as she was close to the reavers now arriving to the field. They sneered and laughed at her defiance. “Foolish girl.” They spread around the glade, all four of them. Imsin took a note of their voices; not so young or so old.

    “By the sacred stones of Earth,  Sun, Wind and Water!” Imsin said under her breath and took a stance.

    The moment stretched on. A slight snowing came  upon on them as if Solstheim drew a breath. Somewhere a hawk let out a cry.

    The first reaver rushed to her with a dagger.

    Imsin gritted her teeth and side stepped and shoved her stalhrim spear into the reaver’s side. He screamed, then cursed in anger.

    “Little bitch is spicy. I like—”

    Imsin slammed the other head of the spear between the reaver’s legs and quickly backed away. The reaver cried out and doubled, falling on the snow field. From the corner of her eye she saw the white deer observing her curiously. Someone is watching.

    The rest of the reavers shouted and charged at her as one. Imsin felt how her spear was grabbed then pulled away. Their hands on her body, ripping her clothes off. She cried out as she struggled against them, but they had her pinned down fast.

    The reaver on her licked his lips and his eyes gleamed in lust. He opened his mouth to speak…

    A blood chilling roar came from the south, followed by another roar. It stopped the reavers in their place. They looked around nervously.

    “The fuck, man?”

    “Maybe we should leave this place.”

    “Not until I have her. You three will guard.” The reaver on the girl said, his eyes on hers.

    “No fucking away, Rils. I’m not going to die because of your lust!”

    The three reavers pulled away from Imsin and began to flee. Only the path was blocked by a huge werebear that stared at them. They saw another werebear coming from behind the first werebear, and another one.

    Three bears stood in their way. They began to circle them.

    The reaver finally left the girl alone and stood up, facing their problem. “We’ll go down by fighting them. Kill them!” He took his dwarven two-handed sword and looked to the werebear that hadn’t moved yet.

    The werebear on the left, growled as the reaver attacked it. It raised its massive paw and slammed it down at the reaver. It broke the chitin helm and shattered the mer’s jaw. The reaver screamed while he fell on the snow, bleeding.

    Rils was starkly aware of his fellow reavers fate by the screams and cries while they’ve were torn apart. There was no escape from these paws, he knew. “Boethiah!” He yelled as as he charged at the animal.

    While Imsin had been watching the macabre show before her. She trembled, but was otherwise unhurt. A movement on her left, the White Deer, had came to her. Its eyes looked to her.

    They heard your cry and came to see what was going on. This place is close to their hideout, it spoke in her mind.

    Imsin frowned. “You’re Hircine. What do you want of me?”

    The White Deer was quiet and turned its head to the werebear that now was coming to them. The werebear turned into a man.

    “Torkild! They said you can’t…” Imsin’s voice trailed off. She took a shaky step toward the man.

    Torkild can control the power, but can not speak like you do anymore. If you wish to join him and the others, I’ll grant you a way to understand their growls, whines and so on. He still cares for you.

    The promising Skaal shaman bit her lower lip and looked to Torkild. She would have to forsake the All-Maker and all what Frea had taught her? She took a step toward the man who wrapped his arms around her small body.  She knew she didn’t have a home anymore, but she had Torkild.

    “If I join them, what is expected of me?"



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