Ancient Blood Ch 13

  • Ancient Blood Chapter 13

    Sky Haven

       Sebastian and Jenassa make swift progress through the hills of Falkreath hold as they give chase to the Blades and the Dragonborn. They are only slowed when coming across Fort Sungard overlooking the pass into The Reach. “Master!” Jenassa says as she slows her mare at the sight of Imperial and Stormcloak troops locked in battle, “Their fighting is blocking the pass… I don’t see a way around them. Should we… Master?” She looks back to Sebastian who is looking off into the distance to the Southeast. “Valthume… Hevnoraak” he says. Jenassa shakes his arm, “Master!” He snaps out of whatever ensnared his thoughts, “What?...”  She points to the soldiers fighting ahead of them. Sebastian holds up his hand and a red light builds up in his palm. With a flick of his wrist, he sends the energy out towards the swarm of combatants. After an eruption of magicka in a bright crimson flash, all the soldiers stop fighting. Instead, they howl and scream and begin running from the road in utter terror. “Come on!” He says, “That won’t last forever.” Jenassa follows him through the dazed and cowering soldiers.


       Moments after they pass through, Jenassa once again hears the clashing of steel on steel and the battle cries of wounded warriors. “Master…” she says, “What is Valthume?” Sebastian shakes his head, “A worry for another time. Keep riding!” They continue down the road along the Karth River until they find a number of dead bodies on the road. They stop and look the group over. A few Orcs and some of what appears to be Bretons that are clad in odd furs and armed with weapons made of bone and stone. “Who are these people?” Jenassa asks, “The Orcs are obviously hunters, but these Bretons…” Sebastian shakes his head, “I don’t know. A cult of some kind… This garb would not have been acceptable in society even in my youth. Can’t imagine it’s common in The Reach.” He holds his hand over the head of one of the corpses and closes his eyes. The corpse twitches a few times then Sebastian takes his hand away, “Delphine and Thou’Var did this… Esbern stayed behind them. These Wild Folk killed the Orcs and charged at them when they came up the road.” Sebastian looks down the road, “They call themselves Forsworn. I’ve no idea what that means, but this group came from the ruins of Sky Haven… They call it Karthspire, but I recognize the area. It’s not far… Come on.” They get back on their horses and make haste for an old stone bridge leading away from the main road.


      Halfway across the bridge, in the cool night air, the sounds of battle can be heard and the smell of blood drifts on the wind. Sebastian and Jenassa tie off their horses  to the bridge and creep up the path. From the size and condition of the encampment, it’s clear that the Forsworn have been here a long time as their make-shift structures span the full length of the ruins. “Fifteen… Sixteen…” Jenassa says counting the enemies in sight. Sebastian nods, “With room for more… Several of the inhabitants are not here… In the Temple perhaps?...” Jenassa spots the Blade Agents fighting to the left of their position, but not the Dragonborn. “Where’s Thou’Var?” She asks. “Over there.” Sebastian points, “I can hear him fighting off to the right.” Jenassa nods towards the Blades, “And them?” “Ignore them…” he says, “They don’t matter.” They easily sneak by the Forsworn focused on the Blades and find the Dragonborn battling one of Lord Hircine's faithful sorceresses… a Hagraven. A beast capable of tremendous dark works of magic and armed with claws that can rip, and currently are ripping, through steel armor.


      Jenassa grabs Sebastian’s arm and motions above. Several of the Forsworn focus arrows and spells on the Blades, but if they hear more enemies nearby, that will change quickly. “I’ll deal with them… You keep Thou’Var alive.” she says as she draws her blades and charges up the stone staircase. Sebastian looks back to see the hag take a hard swipe at the Dragonborn. The claws cut deep and he falls to a knee. Sebastian hurls a paralysis spell at the beast, stopping her in her tracks. She wobbles a moment and falls over. The wounded Dragonborn looks back, “Ack!... Sebastian…” Sebastian approaches slowly, “Can’t leave you alone for a moment…” he waves his hand and a frigid gust of wind blows the Hag several yards away. He raises a hand casting the healing hands spell on the Dragonborn. After a few moments, unseen by Sebastian, the Hagraven begins to stir as the paralysis wears off. “SHAW!” The Dragonborn shouts as an Ice Spear is launched at Sebastian’s back, but when the projectile gets close to him it shatters into a fine mist that only swirls harmlessly around it’s target. Sebastian stops healing the Dragonborn, pauses a moment, and looks back over his shoulder at the dumbfounded Hagraven. Glaring at the hagraven, Sebastian says, “I trust you can heal yourself from here… I’ll deal with her.” He turns and slowly walks in the direction of the Hag who is throwing every destructive spell she knows at him. All for naught. When the spells get remotely close to Sebastian, the Dark Star is triggered, turning the spell into its raw magicka form of an otherworldly blue mist.


       The Hagraven gives up on her magics, she stomps forward to use her talons, but Sebastian hits her with another paralysis spell and she falls to the ground. He pulls a large soul gem from his satchel and lays it beside her. From the direction she is laying, the Dragonborn sees her eyes go from a look of rage to one of terror. Sebastian casts an eerie blue light upon her then holds out his hands as a dark aura reaches out to the Hag and dark red energy passes from the beast into Sebastian. The Dragonborn does not recognize a vampiric life drain spell, nor does he understand the gravity of its use in combination with the soul trap curse the old hag was hit with. Well versed in the use of soul trapping, the Hag is all too aware of what is being done to her as her life force is being leached from her and the gem beside her pulses with the power of her soul.


       Sebastian picks up the gem and looks at the soul within, “You should have played dead, my dear.” then stuffs it back in his satchel. He looks back at the Dragonborn still bleeding on the ground. “Did you forget the spell I taught you already?” Sebastian asks. The Dragonborn looks at him, “Huh? No, I just…” he begins casting the healing spell. As the magic takes effect, Sebastian notices a figure limping towards them whom he recognizes as, “... Jenassa?...” He darts over to her faster than the Dragonborn’s eyes can follow. She collapses in his arms and he sees four primitive arrows in her side and a number of gashes on her arms and legs. She mumbles, “I got th-them… I k-k-killed them all, Master… I-I…” “Shhhh….” he says, “Hush now…” He begins casting the healing hands spell on her from one hand and pulls an arrow out with the other. The way she jumps and screams when he does so causes him to look at the arrowhead, “Damn savages… The arrow heads are barbed, designed to rip at the flesh when removed… Jenassa…” She holds a hand to his cheek, “I-I’m strong, Master… I can… I can take it…” The Dragonborn walks up, “I’m sorry, my friend. I’ll take them out… you focus on healing her.” Sebastian nods.


       Several screams later, the Dragonborn stands and says, “Stay with her. I have to go help Delphine and Esbern with the rest of the Forsworn.” and with shield and flaming sword in hand, he charges off back into the fight. Sebastian holds up the arrows, “Forsworn, Bah! Brutes.” he breaks the arrows and throws them away, “Monsters… How do you feel, Jenassa?” She grunts as she tries to sit up, but lays back flat on the ground, “I’ll be okay… I just need to rest a moment. Forgive me, Master. I left the potions in the saddle bags… I was foolish…” He strokes her long red hair, “Nonsense… you have been nothing but brave for me tonight. Now, be still.” Sebastian looks around to ensure no more enemies are around then walks over to where the Dragonborn had fallen. He kneels down, pulling a vial from his satchel, and dips it into the pool of the Dragonborn’s blood on the ground, “There we are… almost ran out of you…” He flicks debris away as the blood flows into the vial.


       A few moments later, the sounds of battle quiets and the voice of the Dragonborn rings out in the distance, “SHAW!!!” Sebastian picks up Jenassa and begins walking with her towards the shout. When close enough, he sees the old Nord on the ground and Delphine leaning on the Dragonborn with several arrows in her back, “Quick! Esbern was run through… My healing spell won’t work on him.” Sebastian sets Jenassa down on the stone steps leading up to Sky Haven Temple and, against his better judgement, begins to heal Esbern. “Why can’t I heal him like I do myself?” the Dragonborn asks. Sebastian’s hands glows with a golden light over Esbern, “It’s an entirely different thing to heal another, my boy. I can teach you later, if you wish. There are not enough healers in this world.” When Esbern begins to wake up, Sebastian pulls his hood up, “Back with us, old man?” Esbern coughs, “You’re a healer?” Sebastian shrugs, “I’ve been called worse things… Think you can take it from here? Your companions are pretty torn up, too.” Esbern nods, “Yes, I can manage. Thank you.” Sebastian looks to Delphine, “Ah my favorite innkeeper, the time has come for me to repay you for your kind service… I believe you know the drill from here, Thou’Var...You might want to sit down, dear.”  Delphine groans as she braces herself.


       After everyone is patched up, they take a moment to catch their breath. Jenassa lays on the stone steps with her head in Sebastian’s lap. He strokes her hair while she looks up at the star filled skies. “If this didn’t hurt so much,” she says, “I would be enjoying this.” He just looks down and smiles at her, “I would give you a vision, but you need to have a clear head right now. We’re not done here. There are bound to be more inside.” She growls as she sits up, “Then I’m… grrrr…. Going back to the horses… and get those damned potions.” She is limping and using her bow as a walking stick, but her determination makes the old vampire smile. “She’s quite a woman.” Esbern says. Sebastian looks over at him and thinks for a moment, “Yes… Yes, she is…. I suppose I should acknowledge that fact more often.” Esbern hobbles his way over to sit beside Sebastian. In a low tone he whispers, “I know what you are… I only got a glimpse of your eyes, but I saw…” Sebastian pulls his hood back and whispers in return, “And… going to throw a fit about it?” Esbern just looks at him for a moment, “I don’t know why you are here nor would I trust any explanation you could give, but… Your actions say much. You are helping the Dragonborn. Aid that, at the moment, we cannot afford to turn away. You have saved my life, the Dragonborn’s life, and very likely the world tonight… But if you threaten Thou’Var or try to turn him… I will fry you from the inside out, without hesitation.” Sebastian looks at Esbern, “You are a Lore Keeper of the Blades, correct?... Does the name Sebastian Shaw mean anything to you?” A look of realization washes over Esbern, “You are… You delivered the prophecy to us… But I thought… Is that why you are here, then?” Sebastian does not answer. He simply smiles as he stands and walks up to the top of the steps and waits at the opening to the temple.


      Once everyone is rested and assembled, they enter the temple and fight through the last of the Forsworn blocking their path. They navigate a maze of ancient traps and mystical locks to find themselves standing in the grand hall of Sky Haven temple. A place no one has walked in hundreds of years. “This is it…” Esbern says, “Alduin’s wall…” Sebastian and Jenassa look around the old temple as the Blade agents and the Dragonborn investigate the large mural depicting the Dragonborn Prophecy. “Aren’t you interested in the carving, Master?” Jenassa asks. “I’ve seen it before… I never got to see the rest of the temple, though. They were still excavating this place when I was last here. It was supposed to be a headquarters for the Blades in Skyrim. The Blades dumped an insane amount of their funding into building this place… Doesn’t look like it was ever actually put into use, however.” Jenassa lights a torch as they head deeper in.


       After investigating the ruins, the five of them raid the Forsworn camp to set up a more fortified encampment of their own within the Temple. Once some basic defenses are in place, the group retires to the barracks. “This place makes for a better hideout than I could have ever hoped for.” Delphine says. Sebastian rolls his eyes then looks to the Dragonborn, ”What’s your next move then, Thou’Var?” The Dragonborn shrugs, “I need to make my way back to the Greybeards. The wall speaks of a shout that can bring down a dragon… They must know what it is.” Sebastian tilts his head, “Perhaps… getting them to tell you what it is though might be a bit of a hassle.” The Dragonborn looks at him confused, “Why do you say that?” Sebastian sips on his flask, “You’ll see… Best to try and.. Keep an open mind when dealing with the Greybeards. Their ways are strange to most folk, but there is a good reason for them. I wouldn’t suggest you actually try to become one of their number, but they do have wisdom that you can benefit from.” The Dragonborn takes a bite of a loaf of bread and follows it with some Nord Mead, “And what of you? Delphine seems to want to rebuild the Blades up here. I’m sure they could use a powerful mage, such as yourself.” Sebastian laughs, “HA!.... No, my boy… No… I have my own path to follow. Incidentally, my path here made me aware of something that might help you improve your Thu’Um… There is a Barrow on the border of Falkreath and the Reach called Valthume. A dragon cult built it long ago. An ancient Dragon priest was buried within. In life, he was a powerful sorcerer. In death, I fear he has become an even more powerful lich. With the return of the dragons, the priests will soon follow. They guard Walls like the one we found in Bleak Falls. I believe that if you stand before those walls you will learn new words of power. Unlocking their meaning would grant you new strength to use against Alduin when the time comes. I’ll be heading there soon. If you want to join us… you have to head in that direction anyway...” The Dragonborn ponders silently for a moment, “Hmm… Valthume… Where exactly?” He unfolds his map of Skyrim and Sebastian points out a path to the tomb entrance.


       Sebastian looks around for Jenassa and finds her outside in the temple's balcony garden overlooking the ruins in the valley below. The area has not been tended in ages and is highly overgrown, but still peaceful and lush. She is looking up at the stars and rubbing her side. “Still sore?” Sebastian asks. Jenassa jerks around, “Oh no… I’m fine, Master.” He smiles and pokes her side causing her to flinch. “Ahh… okay… It might be a bit tender.” she says. Sebastian shakes his head, “Take off the Cuirass… let me see.” She unbuckles her armor and lays it at her feet revealing several large bruises. The golden glow of a healing spell surrounds Sebastian’s hands as he rubs her skin and the bruises begin to fade and swelling shrinks. Again, Jenassa flinches. “You alright?” he asks. She nods, “Yes, Master. it’s just… the spell... Your hands are warm.” Sebastian shrugs, “Would you prefer cold? I could just rub a salve... “ “No….” she says quickly, “This is… nice.” She turns around in his grasp, facing out, and looks up towards the stars again, “What are those stars over there?” He looks up, “Hmm… That would be... The Lover constellation. One of The Thief’s charges in Aurbis. It’s season is... Sun’s Dawn, I believe. Those born under those stars are said to be graceful and passionate…”


       The doors to the Temple leading to the garden swing open. The Dragonborn steps out, “Sebastian, when do…” Sebastian steps closer to Jenassa and she crosses her arms over her bare chest. “Oh!… sorry.” the Dragonborn says. Sebastian turns his head to look behind him, “What is it, Thou’Var?” The Dragonborn looks away, “I just wanted to know when you wanted to leave for Valthume. It uh… sounds like something to... look into…” Sebastian sighs, “We can go tomorrow after we all get some rest.” The Dragonborn nods, “Alright… I um… Sorry for....” Jenassa growls, “GO AWAY, BOY!!” He returns into the Temple, without another word, and closes the doors. “Calling the Dragonborn ‘boy’ now are you?” Sebastian smirks. Jenassa shakes her head, “When he acts like one, yes!” She looks down, “Moment... ruined…” She turns around, “I’ll be fine, Master. I just need…” Sebastian kisses her… and not just for a second. She pulls away, “... to… rest...” after the initial shock wears off she returns his kiss. They embrace passionately as Sebastian raises one hand to the heavens, snapping his fingers, and the very shadows of the garden envelop the pair and they vanish.



    The Story So Far:

    Ancient Blood Ch 1   Ancient Blood Ch 2   Ancient Blood Ch 3   Ancient Blood Ch 4   Ancient Blood Ch 5   Ancient Blood Ch 6   Ancient Blood Ch 7 Ancient Blood Ch 8   Ancient Blood Ch 9   Ancient Blood Ch 10   Ancient Blood Ch 11   Ancient Blood Ch 12   Ancient Blood Ch 13   Ancient Blood Ch 14   Ancient Blood Ch 15   Ancient Blood Ch 16   Ancient Blood Ch 17   Ancient Blood Ch 18   Ancient Blood Ch 19   Ancient Blood Ch 20   Ancient Blood Ch 21