Alda'hirakam ghar Ara; Chapter 72

  • He lay in their tent when he came to. It was quiet apart from the ash storm raging. Ciel’nn coughed as he tasted the ash on his lips. He groaned at his aching head. Blinking his eyes open, the young mer realized he was alone as he slowly propped himself up. His arms supporting his weight. Ciel’nn glanced around.

    What in Oblivion happened? And where is Teldryn??

    His throat constricted as he bit his lower lip. He remembered last night; they had a late night talk, had some Sujamma and went to sleep. Everything after that was black. With a slight groan, he got onto his feet. Ciel’nn wobbled a bit as his sight was unstable. He rubbed his temples, easing off the coming headache.

    He wouldn’t leave me without a word, that’s certain.

    Ciel’nn looked around for clues about what had happened while he donned his chitin armor. His eyes caught the older mer’s sword next to his bedroll. He’s unarmed! He thought as his lips parted. Then he made his conclusion. He’s been taken by someone!

    He grabbed his and his love’s swords and fixed his hair. It wasn’t perfect. N’chow, I don’t have time for anything else, he thought with a growl threatening to rise from his throat. He’ll worry about the tent later. Putting the chitin helmet on his head,  the young mer set out to look for his partner.

    Outside, Ciel’nn found vague and fading tracks leading away. Frowning, he knelt down to study them. Heavy footprints. It’s impossible to say how many enemies had visited their tent. Enemies? Yes, they’re now my enemies who ever it was that had taken Teldryn away from me.

    They’ll know the error in their judgment when my poison swims in their veins.

    He stood up and looked around then picked a direction with the mind of a tracker. The ash storm had covered the possible tracks, but it worried him only briefly. Ciel’nn hoped Teldryn would manage until he’d found them.

    When he reached Highpoint Tower, Ciel’nn had strong intuition that he was going in the right direction. He stopped momentarily to draw a breath. The flying ash around him covered his sight partially, but he found a few footprints that led toward the North. The young mer nodded to himself and continued his search.

    Hang on, daelha, Ciel’nn thought as he approached Kagrumez. There were tracks near the entrance. He debated if he should check  the Dwemer ruins or move on. It would take only a short time to check the first hall. And so the young mer descended the stairs and found the lift wasn’t there. Someone was down in the ruins. Reavers? Possibly.

    He abandoned the idea of checking the ruins and moved on. Toward the Nord, he pressed on in the ash storm that changed into a snow storm. Ciel’nn cursed for not having taken the fur cloak. No matter, he had no time for any of the mundane thoughts when his love was in danger.

    A new set of tracks surfaced in the snow. They were almost gone, but Ciel’nn looked ahead and frowned. They’re possibly at the ancient Temple of Miraak. He took a deep breath and shivered in the cold wind. I’m close I can feel it. The young mer hastened his steps while he was determined to deal with whoever had a hold on Teldryn.

    The wind chilled him as he slowly approached the Temple of Miraak. More tracks in the snow. Ciel’nn eyed warily up the stairs and then sneaked behind the tall pine tree. He peeked out cautiously with his eyes narrowing.

    On the middle landing stood one guard rubbing his arms. He had a grey cloak around him and seemed to be looking to the West.

    It should be easy relatively easy to take care of him, the young mer thought. His hand reached to his dagger, his eyes still on the guarding figure. He wasn’t sure who or what the guard represented, but he’d know eventually - once he’d found Teldryn. Ciel’nn crept out of his hiding place.

    The coldness bothered him as Ciel’nn approached the guard on the far right edge of the stairs. The guard grunted about the cold and shivered visibly. The young mer’s steps were placed carefully and without a sound. He closed on the guard, who suddenly turned around.

    “What in —?”

    He sounds like a Dunmer.

    Ciel’nn made a desperate leaping slash, but the guard recovered quickly and grabbed his arm. He glared with seething annoyance at the mer. He now had a clear sight on the mer’s hooded head, and the mask he had was a peculiar one. Something he hadn’t seen before, but without question it was a Dunmeri design. All these minor notes he did in a brief breath before he twisted his body, poised, —

    — to kick savagely the mer on the midriff. The mer groaned, but didn’t let go of him. Ciel’nn hisses and kicked harshly again, forcing his enemy to tumbled backwards.

    The scream was so satisfying and once free, in fluid motion, Ciel’nn stabbed viciously at the mer’s neck. Blood sprinkled on the snowy landing, but the young mer wasn’t finished. Without further thinking, he pushed the mer off the landing then watched as the guard broke his back against some rocks below.

    Ciel’nn turned away from the edge and took a deep breath. The hot flash of anger still lingered and it warmed him up. It fueled him to go on. His gaze turned toward the second set of stairs, and the young mer hurried across them.

    The wind carried some angry and malevolent voices. Ciel’nn gritted his teeth as he climbed the ramp to the edge of the temple. He hoped he wasn’t too late - if Teldryn were with them that is.

    His heart raced as he crept closer to a arched entrance. His ears picked up a grunt that he’d recognize from anywhere. His body tensed as the seething anger flashed through him. He looked carefully from the archway pillar and observed the scene below.

    Seven shadily armed people were standing around the middle stone pillar. They had the same garb as the guard on the stair landing. The speaking one seemed to be addressing someone that the young mer didn’t see yet.

    “You didn’t think we’d find you. Eh, Teldryn?” A raspy voiced mer spoke while playing with his knife. “My brother’s death that you caused was your last mistake.”

    Teldryn opened his mouth  to answer, but he was smacked harshly that his head swung to the side.

    “Shut up, cur! I have dreamed of this moment so long that I want to savor it. I want to see you beg for your life before I let the Camonna Tong deal with you. You’ll not be recognized after that even if you live through their treatment.” The mer looked at his blade almost fondly with a cold smile on his lips. His Camonna Tong partners shifted in their places.

    Camonna Tong. A slight shiver went through the young mer. Ciel’nn knew of them, but he had never seen them in action before. Let alone killing someone. And they had Teldryn who was behind the pillar, Ciel’nn now knew. They had his love for reasons he didn’t know. They had hurt him and for that alone they must die.

    Seven of them, but I must get to Teldryn before the dagger mer gets his will done. He acknowledged that he’d get injured, but that was fine with him. He just had to kill them as quickly as possible. He stood up slowly and stretched his muscles. The young mer reached for his sword. Boethiah hear my plea.

    Even though Ciel’nn’s steps were light and nearly soundless, his descent was noticed.

    One of the Camonna Tong thugs had turned his head and saw the young mer coming down the stairs. He alerted his fellow thugs with a hand gesture. Who was so bold to meddle with their business? Someone who sought their death.

    The dagger mer glanced at the young mer who approached them. “This doesn’t concern you, s’wit! Go back or you’ll force us to kill you too.” He lowered his dagger and looked at Teldryn. “Is there someone who would miss you? Answer!” But the mercenary just grinned at him, “You’re fucked up.”  Annoyed, the dagger mer kicked his prisoner harshly.

    Ciel’nn stopped on the middle landing. His head tilted a fraction as he spoke in a cold tone. “Your death is invited.” His eyes caught the thugs preparing to attack on the dagger mer’s word. While he had time, Ciel’nn formed a plan. I could use the structure to my advantage. Better do this as quickly as possible. The young mer had no intention to play around with the Camonna tong thugs, but he would be watching out for their tactics.

    The thugs laughed at the young mer’s words.

    “He’s just a kid.”

    “Think you have a chance, kid?”

    “Enough! Kill him.” The dagger mer commanded. My death is invited? What nonsense is that? He shifted his eyes back on the mercenary. His hired thugs would easily kill the youngling. It wouldn’t take long. “I still haven’t heard you begging for your life, s’wit.”

    The six Camonna Tong approached Ciel’nn. His heart raced, butterflies in his stomach. His grip on his blades felt surer. He took a deep breath and felt the cold calmness filling his mind. There would be no second guesses. He’d go for the throat.

    While the clashes and grunts played their own melody in the background, tied up Teldryn found himself praying to Boethiah for Ciel’nn’s success. He had to admit he was a bit surprised that his partner had found them. Oh, I remember now. He told me once he can track things. Even if he had confidence in Ciel’nn, the older mer knew six thugs might be a real challenge. The injuries he had gotten from the dagger mer weren’t serious.

    A Camonna Tong thug rolled down the stairs, leaving a blood trail.

    It was like time had slowed when Ciel’nn kited the rest of them around the stairs and slashed a sharp stab when an opportunity presented itself. He had been kicked against a pillar once, but he rolled away in a escapists agility. He parried the life-ending slashes and poised up his counter in a flourish.

    In the midst of the fighting, he slightly feared that something would happen to screw things up for him. Or worse, he’d screw up this up himself, and he and Teldryn both would be dead.

    He shook his head in his mind. No, he wouldn’t give space for doubts. Not when Teldryn’s life was in danger. The young mer poised again and slashed savagely at his closest enemy. A stab in the neck. I need to speed this up. It’s taking too long.

    When the last Camonna Tong thug fell dead, the dagger mer frowned. He couldn’t see the newcomer anywhere. Then an odd wind blew across the temple, chilling the air. He looked cautiously around. What is going on here?  He felt cold chill on his neck. But somehow he couldn’t find enough of his will to watch. Creeping fear filled his mind as he stood still.

    Your death is invited.” A cold calm voice whispered.

    A flash of metal and the dagger mer collapsed on the ground.

    Teldryn sighed deeply as behind the dagger mer stood Ciel’nn. He seemed to have fared less than he had hoped. Ciel’nn had several cuts , his left arm was bleeding and he had a bruise on his face. The younger mer  didn’t have his helmet on. Nonetheless, Teldryn was relieved that the whole thing was over.

    “Are you alright?” They asked each other in unison.

    Ciel’nn flashed a smile as he knelt and touched his love’s cheek. “I’ll manage. I was worried I wouldn’t make it here in time, Teldryn.” He began then to untie the binds that held Teldryn. The older mer told him that his wounds were bruises, but not life-threatening. Still, Ciel’nn insisted that his partner should take a health potion. Then he drank one by himself too.

    “What did they want from you?” Ciel’nn asked while he tended his arm, leaning against the center pillar. He applied some netch jelly after he’d cleaned the wound, then put a bandage around it with Teldryn’s help.

    Teldryn sighed as he looked to his partner. “He accused me of his brother’s death to which I had taken no part. I was set up, but the he is…was convinced by the evidence that I did it. He had been hunting me ever since.”  He averted his eyes for a moment and wondered if he ever be free of enemies, and as long as they existed Ciel’nn would kill them, should they come after him. But he didn’t want his partner continue killing every time they ran into troubles. He felt a hand on his cheek and his eyes shifted back to his partner.

    “If there’ll be any more, I’ll —” Ciel’nn began.

    “No, Ciel’nn,” Teldryn  said in a low tone and shook his head slightly. “I wish you wouldn’t be like that every time we face an adversary.” He paused and looked for a reaction. The young mer was frowning, but his hand stayed on Teldryn’s cheek.

    “But they’d be a threat to our future.” Ciel’nn reasoned in a warmer tone. He had thought his partner wouldn’t mind what he was doing, but he guessed he should have seen it coming sooner or later. He wanted to protect their future, no matter what it would take. I don’t want to lose you. The young mer averted his gaze in defeat, feeling his lower lip quiver.

    Teldryn sighed inwardly. He knew his partner would react like this.”Ciel’nn, I know you want to keep us safe and all, but if it’s an enemy from my past I’d like to deal with them myself from now on, alright? Don’t get me wrong, I’m more than thankful for what you’ve done so far.” He paused for a moment. The young mer still wasn’t looking at him. Teldryn put his hand on Ciel’nn’s. “We’ll fight together for our future.” He tried in a soothing tone. “I’m concerned for your well-being on each time you go for their throats. How are you feeling?”

    Ciel’nn took a deep breath and looked to his partner. He knew that tone of the last word. It always indicated his state of mind. “It’s calm—”

    The young mer’s words were cut off by a roar in the sky, and they both looked up sharply. The sky was stormy as if they were in the eye of it. The air grew colder and the whole of Solstheim shook. There was a sense of dread in the air.

    Ciel’nn shivered as he got up on to his feet. Then he grabbed his love’s sword, then handed it to Teldryn. “It’s calm at the moment.” He said looking into the older mer’s eyes. He’d need to find his helmet and soon.

    “It’s here, Ciel’nn.” Teldryn frowned at the sky. Or, we’re in the eye of it.




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