Alda'hirakam ghar Ara; Chapter 73

  • Tempest, Ciel’nn thought shivering while his heart beat heavily. The back of his throat ached as he warily tried to look at the sky. He hated to admit that he was afraid. He had hoped it wouldn’t come at all. Especially not knowing if it was an attempt on his life again, or if it was it something else altogether. I don’t know what to expect. The young mer wanted to hide and stay there until the the situation was over.

    The ground shook again. It had begun to feel that it wasn’t just a natural occurrence. No, this must be something else, Ciel’nn thought again.  He glanced at Teldryn. They were in it now. No escape from the island. Nowhere to go, but he’d have his partner.

    As if Teldryn sensed Ciel’nn’s distress, he stepped closer to his partner, to comfort him. “We should try to find the tent and then head back to the town.” He said in a raised tone.  It seemed the howling blizzard swallowed every sound. “Be watchful, daelha. We don’t know what may lurk in the storm.” His partner nodded, and the older mer could swear Ciel’nn swallowed deeply. “We’ll endure this, Ciel’nn.”

    A figure was standing not far from the two mer. It didn’t turn to face them however. It stood as it was indifferent to the storm. It was taller than them.

    They approached the figure, and Ciel’nn realized he had seen it before. From the Retching Netch Inn. It’s the Orc in ornate armor. What is he doing here? He thought as they began to circle around to avoid the armored warrior. The young mer didn’t know what would happen if the warrior decided to attack them. He hoped he didn’t.

    The armored warrior turned his head to look at them with a measuring look. He shifted, but didn’t move from his place. His battle axe was strapped on his back. The Orc sensed the young mer’s fear, although it wasn’t because of him. He narrowed his eyes and let out a grunt. “You’re not my quarry.”

    Ciel’nn stopped in his tracks and stared at the Orc. “What?” It was so sudden, and the last word felt ominous. The young mer almost clung to his partner.

    “Tusker, I’m waiting for someone else.” The armored warrior rumbled and looked away. “You’re not  them.” With that, he watched as the two mer continued on  their way. The young mer still turned his head to glance at him. The Orc grunted in amusement and continued his peering out the storm.

    Finding their tent turned out to be difficult task. With the constant ash storm now raging around them, Teldryn had no idea where they were. The visibility was changing unpredictably. The older mer sighed inside his helmet. “I suppose we’ll find a shelter for the night.” He looked to his partner, making sure Ciel’nn would stay close to him.

    Ciel’nn peered into the South, or what he thought that was the direction. “I think we’re close to Highpoint Tower. We could spend the night there, if we find it.” He glanced at Teldryn. “We don’t have anything to eat though. My backpack is at the tent.” The young mer sighed and wondered about the Orc. You’re not my quarry. I wonder what’s going on. That roar didn’t belong to any normal creature. He felt a hand on his shoulder, and looked to his partner.

    “We’d better get moving, Ciel’nn. Or, it will be a long night in the ash storm.” The older mer nodded ahead. “Let’s hope we find the tower.”

    The curses of the Redoran Guard would have filled the Bulwark if not for the storm. They struggled to keep guard in the violent ashen winds. Some of them almost slipped and nearly got caught by the wind. They relied on the magelight scrolls that Tenaru had made them as the torches had been blown out and lanterns knocked off. Without Tenaru’s help, they’d have been without a light.

    “Stand your ground! Don’t let the storm beat your spirit!” Ondren tried to keep the vigil up for his fellow guards. It was his unlucky shift at the Bulwark and the struggle was real even for a seasoned guard. The young Redoran guard frowned as he tried to keep his post that was in the middle of the Bulwark. This isn’t a regular storm, he thought as he tried to look ahead into the ash wastes. Azura bless us.

    The ground shook violently, and Ondren and his fellow guards wobbled by the force of it. “Stand your ground!” The young Redoran guard yelled as he grasped the edge of the wall with gritted teeth.

    In the Alchemist’s house, Tenaru prepared the bottles that they wouldn’t break when the ground shook again. Making potions in this weather was impossible, let alone keep her stall open. She picked up bottle from the floor and frowned as she inspected it. No cracks. Tenaru put it back on the improvised-fall-protection shelf. Nodding to herself, the Alchemist’s thoughts returned to Ciel’nn and Teldryn. I hope they’re fine. But it feels like no normal storm. By Azura, what are we into?

    The blizzard howled outside without a pause, and Dram thought he’d heard something in it. Voices and laughter within the constant wind. Those didn’t belong to any mortal. It sounded like the Daedra were having a tea party. The tones the young Reaver caught were cold, and it would have chilled any mortal’s blood. Dram was troubled by this.  The island  is being contested, he thought. And we’re caught in the middle. Little tramp-lings.

    He opened his eyes as if waking from a long dream. We only have to endure the storm.

    Casseth let out a breather. He had been observing his brother doing his thing. It wasn’t clear what he did. Dram hadn’t explained much, and the older brother didn’t ask. He trusted him. Maybe it’s better not to ask, the older reaver thought. He looked to his brother with an unspoken question on his lips.

    “We’re just tramp-lings in this storm.” Dram said quietly. “Endure.”

    The door of the Great Hall opened, and Folms slipped inside. After he closed the door, his eyes searched for Sildras. “We’re running low on food. Vother wants to know when we’d get more.” He enquired, feeling everyone’s eyes on him. The reaver archer had to admit the Great Hall was cozy and so warm. His and Vother’s bands were stuffed in the smaller cottages. It had caused some fights among his own band, but they weren’t serious ones, yet.

    “Tell him that as soon as you’ll go to hunt. Each band is responsible of their own food. I thought that’s obvious, Folms.” Sildras said from his seat, near the fire pit. He held the gaze on the Reaver Archer. Did the giant of a mer really think he’d arrange all their meals? He possibly couldn’t take care of them all. Every band leader was responsible for their own.

    Folms frowned, uncertain of what to say. Vother had sent him for answers and yet he knew this answer wouldn’t please his friend. No, it would enrage him. He dreaded to go back with such answer.

    “We send out our own hunters every other night. I’d suggest for you to do the same.” Selvura said from the side table. “It’s a risk that everyone must take in this blasted storm.” She studied Folms for a moment. You’ve picked a wrong friend from Vother, kid.

    They watched the Reaver Archer nodding to Sildras, then leaving the Great Hall.

    Dandera sighed. It felt wrong to send the kid away without any food. “We should have given him some— “

    “Then they would all come here asking for more. We can’t share the little we have now.” Sildras pressed as he leaned back in his chair. “I expect every band leader to deal with this. I’m the Reaver Lord, but you can’t expect me to be the mother hen to everyone here.”

    They already had shared the food with other bands when they conquered the village. Food reserves had begun to dwindle, and everyone had to do their part in the name of survival. Too many mouths, but I need them, Sildras thought.

    He was still bothered by Dram’s warning of a bloodbath. Somehow it seemed more likely to happen before the spring season. The Reaver Lord hoped to avoid it. But what can I do when we have one screw loose amongst us. He leaned to the side to grab his mug of wine. A sip of wine to soothe his troubled mind.



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