Alda'hirakam ghar Ara; Chapter 71

  • The ash spawns had surrounded them. They were many, as far as his sight reached and beyond. Too many fucking ash spawns, Teldryn thought. He glanced at his partner who was wounded. Ciel’nn was bleeding and barely standing. He noted the younger mer’s hands shaking. The older mer gritted his teeth. He hadn’t imagined their end like this - killed by the ash creatures. It wasn’t a mer’s way to die.

    The molten weapons wielders approached them. Teldryn had only a moment to look at Ciel’nn who now looked back to him, nodding. The younger mer had some difficulty to standing up, the older mer noted. Their last stand. He nodded and readied his sword.

    In the midst of the fighting and ash flying around them, Teldryn heard the cries of his partner. His heart raced as he struck another ash spawn down. Feverishly his eyes strained to see where Ciel’nn was. He turned around, blocking a blow from the side.

    The young mer wasn’t far away from him. He looked to him with pained look. Teldryn shouted, but his voice faded in the ash storm. He tried to rush toward Ciel’nn while he took the slashes and blows.

    He was close to his partner now, but something was wrong. Something was very wrong. He reached out to touch Ciel’nn as his lips parted to whisper soft words of comfort. Then his eyes widened in panic.

    An ash spawn’s hands reached behind from the younger mer. It put one hand on his face and the other hand across his torso, then pulled him backwards into the ashen ground. The mer let out panicked scream before they were gone.

    Swallowed by the ash…

    With a start and a sweaty forehead Teldryn woke up, breathing heavily. His heart still raced and he felt pain in his chest He blinked a few times and took a deep breath to relax his stomach as it was hard. He glanced around to see his partner still calmly asleep and unharmed. Teldryn gingerly reached out to brush Ciel’nn’s hair off his face.

    A fucking nightmare, the older mer thought darkly. Thankfully it was only that, but it made him hate the ash spawn even more.  Another deep breath. His gaze lingered on his partner for a moment longer before he decided that he needed a smoke and a drink.

    Slowly and carefully he slipped out of the bed as he didn’t want to wake Ciel’nn yet. Let him sleep while he can. Teldryn put on his loose shirt and ass-tight netch leather pants. He allowed himself one more gaze on Ciel’nn, his eyes softening. Azura bless your dreams, daelha. Then he left the room without a sound.

    It dawned on him that it was still night as the Inn was quiet. The only sound was the mugs being washed. Teldryn nodded to the Inn keeper while he sat on a stool. “Sujamma.”

    Geldis frowned at the mer, drying his hands on a towel. “Can’t get any sleep?” He grabbed a clean cup and set it in front of the mer. Then he poured Sujamma into the cup while Teldryn lit a smoke.

    “A fucking ash spawn nightmare.” Teldryn grumbled after he took a drag. “N’chow! It felt so real.” He shot a weary look at Geldis. The feeling from losing Ciel’nn lingered in his stomach. A wrenching feeling.

    “I see.” Geldis frowned. “You should drink lavender tea instead of Sujamma then?” He leaned against the counter. “May I ask what was the nightmare about?”

    “Lavender tea? Why?”

    “Because it’s good for a restless mind. It calms you down.”

    Teldryn chuckled. “Who said so? You don’t strike me as an alchemist.”

    Geldis pulled a face and smiled. “Ciel’nn did. After he came back from Skyrim with bundles of dried lavender.” He took satisfaction from the mer’s changed expression. “I tell you what, I’ll make your some of that free of charge.”

    The older mer nodded his thanks and pondered about his nightmare.“Ciel’nn died in the nightmare. Taken by an ash spawn. Into the ashen ground.” He found his throat dry. The smoke wasn’t helping him to relax, so he discarded it on a nearby ash tray.

    Geldis replaced the cup of Sujamma with another one. “Drink it and go back to sleep.” He watched the mer sipping his tea carefully then finishing it. The Inn keeper nodded when Teldryn seemed to calm down visibly. He liked it better when his patrons were happy and calm. But lately there seemed to be something in the air.

    And Geldis was certain the ash was shifting,again. He watched Teldryn finishing his drink and thanked him. “Don’t thank me, Teldryn. Thank Ciel’nn. He brought it up here.”

    “Thanks anyway, Geldis.” Teldryn walked back to their room.

    He found his partner still asleep, but Ciel’nn was now hugging his pillow. A lazy smile spread on Teldryn’s lips as he closed the door quietly. He felt the lavender tea starting to affect him. His eyes were half closed as he approached the bed.

    Slowly he got undressed and slipped into the bed. Teldryn pulled his partner close to him with care, not wanting to wake him. He placed Ciel’nn’s head under his chin and inhaled his love’s scent before he closed his eyes.

    He was vaguely aware of Ciel’nn wrapping his arm around his waist before slumber overtook  him.

    While he waited his for partner to wake up, Ciel’nn enjoyed their shared warmth. The way Teldryn held him in his arms was endearing, he found out. The young mer wondered if the mer had nightmares. By listening to Teldryn’s heart beat, Ciel’nn deemed the sleep was peaceful.  A warm smile spread across his lips. I wish I could wake like this every morning.

    The older mer shifted awake with a content sigh.

    “Morning, daelha.” Ciel’nn raised his head to look at his partner, stroking Teldryn’s cheek with his hand. “Did you sleep well?” He flashed a loving smile when his love brought his hand across his back and to his shoulder.

    His partner had a well rested look about him, and a focused gaze on him - Teldryn felt the warmth spreading. Having Ciel’nn so close to him. He gave a firm squeeze on the younger mer’s shoulder. “Morning, daelha. I had some trouble sleeping.” He noticed the momentary frown on his partner’s face, but it changed back to the warm gaze. He’ll ask about it later, the older mer knew.

    “I love you, Teldryn.” Ciel’nn leaned in and pressed a soft kiss on Teldryn’s forehead. Then his lips descended on the mer’s lips, briefly brushing before he kissed him. His lips were gentle, warm and loving while his hand stroked the mer’s cheek. The young mer hoped it would chase away whatever had disturbed his love’s sleep.

    When their lips met, Teldryn pulled his partner close to him. He welcomed the kiss. It swept the the remnants of his nightmare away and soothed his mind. As long as the older mer could remember, no one had kissed him like Ciel’nn did. It was a timeless one and Teldryn took his time to enjoy it while it lasted. But somewhere in back of his mind, he wanted more.

    With a calculating gaze, Sildras watched from the Great Hall door his fellow  reavers arranging the Skaal village to their liking. With many reavers around, the space was limited and cramped as the house sorting had been made. It was final.

    They’d have food for several weeks, but it wasn’t enough. Thus hunting parties were formed up. Of course, there were always a few if not more reavers who’d object, but the Reaver Lord was strict in his own way; those who objected in doing something would guard at night. If all else failed, the last punishment was death. He had Casseth to keep an eye out for those who might rebel against his leadership.

    His younger son’s words about leadership and bloodshed among the reavers still echoed in Sildras’ mind. Undeniably Dram had some sort of ability to sense what was dwelling among the mer. If they would know about it… No, they mustn’t know!

    Sildras went back inside the Great Hall. A warmth washed over his face. He took some small delight from it.  After months outdoor camping it was bliss. His eyes found Selvura at the side table talking to Dandera who looked worried for some reason. Kura, Dandera’s partner was sitting by the fire pit and sharpening his sword. Some of his loyalists were at the back of the hall.

    “Sildras.” Vermith greeted him from the nearby pillar.  

    The Reaver Lord nodded back to the Ebony Wielder. The reaver woman who appeared had the appearance of a great fighter. A thing he appreciated among his reavers. She had said to him that she’d keep an eye on Vother. Another issue already festering up. Hopefully the giant of a mer would not give trouble for anyone and they’d get their plans for the assault on Raven Rock ready before the Spring season.

    Just in case of if something comes up, Sildras thought. I need a another plan for Vother.

    He felt a gaze on him and Sildras looked up to the stairs. His youngest son was looking down at him. I assume he wants to talk, Sildras thought and moved to the stairs.

    With his hands resting on the railing, Dram still held his gaze on the fire pit when the Reaver Lord reached the landing. His eyes closed as he nodded slowly. “All seems well, yet you are worried, Sildras.” Dram’s voice was but a whisper.

    You are my son.

    Sildras took a deep breath, relaxing his shoulders. He felt weary and he wanted to rest, but there were issues that needed to be watched closely. The winter time would prove to be a trial for them.

    “They’re being watched.” Dram continued after the silence stretched on. “The coming winter time will be challenging, but you don’t need to worry, Sildras. You have the Ebony Wielder on your side.” He paused and glanced at the Reaver Lord. “We’ll be watching over Vother and the rest. It would be wise give some secondary power to Selvura. Should the need arise.” Dram offered a slight smile.

    His son’s last words felt weird and Sildras stared at him. He was certain his amazement shone from his eyes. Dram had said what had been on his mind lately and his smile was unexpected. “I’ll consider it, Dram.” He whispered carefully.

    Whatever happens, I’ll do my best to keep my sons alive through this whole operation.


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