Alda'hirakam ghar Ara; Chapter 95

  • The stormy wind blew over the Bulwark, bringing more ash where the Redoran Guards kept vigil. They peered into the storm nervously, looking for any signs of the reavers. One of them cursed, another guard prayed for all of their safety for it was a dreadful feeling which they all shared on this cloudy day.

    Captain Veleth inspected the front gate and frowned. “Will it hold?” He sternly looked to the two engineers. It was his duty to make sure every defense at the Bulwark and on the side gate held, but there wasn’t knowing for sure. And, there was the matter of the young mer who had to put his nose in their business. Adril Arano had talked to him regarding this matter. Bitterly, Veleth had to help in everything he could. The lead archer had been acting rather secretive and avoided his questions at every turn. Veleth had been burning to know what Ciel’nn had said to her. And, Ondren Givrai too. It was a rock hard bite to take it all in.

    “Captain, we will not lie. It will hold to some degree. With not enough materials all we can do is hope for the best.” The engineer said with a sigh.

    “Azura preserve us. Is it really the Reavers coming for us?” The second Engineer asked.

    Veleth sighed in turn. “According to the kid. There will be many of them. So get yourself to safety in time.” He grumbled and looked away. He’d change this threat if he could, but it was out of his hands. He could only do is to do his very best to keep the civilians safe. It just might be the worst trial yet for me. Like this whole year has been. He turned and left.

    At the Temple, Slitter waited at the door while the young mer meditated. He couldn’t fathom why while others were preparing for the encounter. Asking Ciel’nn was out of question since he couldn’t stand the ex-criminal. The old mer looked down to his hands. I’m grateful he spared me when he did. Ciel’nn might hate me for the rest of his life, but I can live with it. I’m still working for to be a decent person.

    Suddenly he heard faint whispers and Slitter looked up, then toward the Shrines. Ciel’nn was as if he was listening to something. Or someone.

    They are coming…

    The old mer shivered as he heard the cold whisper as if it was whispered close to his ears. He looked warily around but saw only the young mer now standing up. Who had whispered? Why had he heard it?  His heart raced, nearly exploding from the eerie sensation. What is happening?

    The mer wiped his clammy hands on his pants when the young mer walked past him. Slitter looked to Ciel’nn who gave him a deadpan side-ways look. He felt like time had frozen and he was doomed to look at that face for all eternity. Slitter swallowed slowly.

    Then the young mer’s eyes shifted toward the door and he was gone.

    With a deep sigh, Slitter tried to relax. He closed his eyes for a moment and rubbed his temples.

    Erebain… A ghostly whisper called the old mer. We have a task for you.

    At the hill side gate, Ondren shifted and ran his hand through his hair when he saw the young mer coming towards him with the mercenary on his heels. He felt sick in the stomach. This coming battle was a lot to take on. Praying to the Tribunal hadn’t helped much. His whole body was attuning for the battle. The young Redoran Guard looked to Ciel’nn who stopped close to him. The young mer looked surprisingly calm, but there was something in his eyes, Ondren noticed. He cleared his throat. “This one is going to hurt, am I right?”

    Ciel’nn put his hand on the young Redoran Guard’s shoulder with his expression softening. He didn’t have comforting words of wisdom. Tilting his head slightly the young mer said. “I’d like to see you alive after this, Ondren.” His voice was quiet, yet hopeful. He averted his gaze then. “I’m as afraid as you are. I don’t know how this will end.”

    Ondren frowned. “What are you going to do?” He swallowed as the empty feeling in his stomach stayed. The young Redoran Guard glanced at the mercenary who looked seriously at him and shook his head. Fuck…

    Ciel’nn looked to his friend with a strong eye contact and said with a steady, almost cold tone. “We’re going after Sildras. I have a feeling he’s possibly leading the Reavers.” It was all he intended to do - find him and kill him. The young mer looked past Ondren.  “I hope to intercept Sildras before he reaches here.” He heard himself saying although with a saddened tone. He then felt a firm hand on his shoulder.  And I hope we’ll come back alive.

    “That’s a suicide mission!” Ondren cried. He looked to Teldryn, hoping he would say something.

    “We know that, kid. It’d  be the be the last deed we do for your people.” Teldryn said in a cool tone. “But he doesn’t do this out of his good heart.” He nodded when the young Redoran Guard’s eyes widened. “Indeed, we could have gone away with the next trade ship and leave you to your fate, but Ciel’nn said he needs to do this, go after Sildras.” He squeezed his partner’s shoulder. “We’re doing this so that we can leave this place. It’s not for the Counsilor or for Raven Rock.”

    Ciel’nn was looking sideways at nothing when his partner spoke. It was true. He held no alliances to anyone but to himself and Teldryn alone. And Solstheim had started feel like a trap that he’d never escape. At least he had found Teldryn. That felt like it was meant to be. Ciel’nn wasn’t sure if he believed in fates and destinies. He believed in freedom. His own freedom.

    Ondren stared at the young mer, words stuck in his throat.

    The young mer sighed and glanced at the young Redoran Guard for the last time before he slid between the wooden barricades. They’d wasted enough time by talking, and Ciel’nn wanted to move already. He heard Teldryn grunting as the older mer hurried after him.

    Teldryn hurried beside his partner. “How are you holding up, daelha?” He looked to the young mer, stepping closer to him. The way Ciel’nn had spoken at the gate was alarming, and Teldryn wished he knew what his love was thinking. “We’ll get through this, Ciel’nn.”

    Ciel’nn looked at the older mer. “I’m terrified, Teldryn.” He then stopped and turned to his partner. Placing his hand on his Teldryn’s chest, he said. “Please, I’m not asking you to follow—”

    “I’m coming with you, Ciel’nn.” Teldryn looking directly into his partner’s eyes through the chitin visor as he placed his hand on the young mer’s chest. “I’m not letting you go after some crazed Reaver alone. You know that together we’ll have a better chance to survive.” He paused for a moment. “Don’t push me away.” The older mer said in a low tone.

    “Teldryn…” The young mer shifted to pull off his helm. The ash storm wind assailed his eyes and Ciel’nn narrowed his eyes to see better while his hair blew around. He watched Teldryn doing the same which he hadn’t expected to happen. His heart raced. “I’m sorry. I’m just afraid to lose you!” He nearly cried and reached out to put his hands on his partner’s cheeks before pressing a hard kiss on Teldryn’s lips.

    The older mer wrapped his arms around his partner, pressing him against himself and returned the kiss as roughly as he received it. He felt Ciel’nn shiver against him momentarily.

    And urgency seemed to fade for some time. The ash storm raged but even that seemed be non-existent while they embraced each other with closed eyes.

    “Let’s go hunt for this Sildras. I’m eager to meet him in person.”

    The lead archer gritted her teeth as she gazed at the mass of Reavers coming toward the Bulwark. In her entire life she hadn’t seen so many reavers at once. We have enough arrows, she thought. It’s only a matter of timing. Avoni Rindo glanced at her archers who looked back to her, nervous. She had told about them the poison and they had been shocked. “The Reavers won’t fight fair, so we won’t either.” And so the young mer’s words were passed on across the Redoran Guard. “I want you to get creative with the ways you shoot. Show them no mercy.” She had said.

    “You’d better come down and surrender with your lives!” One Reaver shouted as they were closer now. “We’ll kill you all!”

    “What are you doing, Tenaru? This is no place —” Brivan demanded as The Alchemist in a Telvanni robes headed toward the Bulwark stairs. He grabbed her arm.

    Tenaru shot a grim look at her former lover. “You do not command me, boy.” She said in a sharp tone, and she flashed a smile when he blinked in surprise.


    “Fight for the Redoran, Brivan. That’s all I require from you today.” Tenaru sighed. “I need to go. And stay safe.”

    “You have no mage or the power of a Wizard!”

    Tenaru briskly climbed the stairs up to the Bulwark. The Redoran soldiers nodded to her and gave her space to go next to the lead archer. She nodded to Avoni and then addressed the massing Reavers in front of the Bulwark.

    “No mage?” She said sternly. “They have a mage!”

    As on cue, the Redoran Guards on the sides threw four heart stones toward the reavers, and Tenaru flicked her wrists. “Obscure them!” She said in a commanding tone.

    As the Heart stones hit the ash before the Reavers, four ash guardians rose from the ash. The reaver close to them snarled and began to fight them.

    “Volley!” Avoni shouted, and then she watched as the volley hit the shields of some reavers. She signaled for another volley that left almost instantly.

    The volley rose in the air, arched high then fell on the reavers. As the first Sacramento green tipped arrow landed on a reaver’s shoulder, he screamed in agony and fell on his knees, holding his shoulder. Then he began to convulse as the poison attacked his body. He did not hear the screams of his fellow reavers that were facing the same fate as him.

    A devious smile spread on Tenaru’s face and she cast chain lightening on the reavers. To her critical eye, they had downed some reavers already. But there’s more coming I’m sure, she thought.

    Avoni’s archers had started to send arrows in a way they saw best. Some of them kept score of fallen reavers.

    At the gate below, The Redoran Guard, with shields, prepared to defend the town should the reavers be able to break the gate somehow. Captain Veleth was among them. He couldn’t believe the young mer had been right all along. Wishing he’d listened to him, Veleth braced himself for a shit storm of the reavers.

    Brivan gritted his teeth. He was still bitter that Tenaru was involved with the fighting. If anything should happen to her… He wouldn’t forgive himself. Still many things to tell her. After this I’ll tell her everything. He shifted and gripped his sword tighter. Ahead came a wave of cheering as if someone was coming to join the the Reavers.

    The hill side gate had been attacked by a small band of the reavers. They had hoped to get through with minimal resistance, but Ondren, Raryn and ten Redoran Guards welcomed them with a fierce defense. Among then was a rising star of the Redoran Guard, Helain Elms, who led the defense. And if Ondren wasn’t busy keeping the Reavers getting through, he’d admire the older mer with a chitin shield and an ebony spear. I need to talk to him after this mess, Ondren decided and thrust his sword into the reaver’s leg. Blood spilled from the wound, and the Reaver was done as the young Redoran Guard brought his sword down.

    Ciel’nn didn’t flinch when the shouting and screams reached his keen ears. Instead he kept walking with Teldryn beside him. The Redoran Guard  would have to deal with the Reavers on their own now. They had marched up hill and looked for signs of the reavers. Then they had headed to the North-East.

    It felt as if the storm had gained strength over the Solstheim, but Ciel’nn ignored it and drew his blades out. He narrowed his eyes inside his helmet. There were a small group of Reavers coming toward them.  If he wasn’t wrong. “Must be the party that stabbed my leg.” Ciel’nn said in a low tone.

    “The kid with the two handed sword?” Teldryn asked as he readied his sword. He considered to summon his Flame Atronach as he eyed the approaching group.

    “No, he’s not with them. What a pity.” Ciel’nn replied and glanced at his partner. “It’s still going to be thrilling. I’ve a feeling their rogue wants to dance with me.” He grinned inside his helmet.

    “I’m taking the crazed one with axes.” Teldryn nodded. “Deal with the third one when you can.”

    Ciel’nn nodded back and turned his head to the Reavers that stopped a short distance from them. The young mer titled his head.

    Let the dance of ash begin.




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