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An Enchanting Tale By AaronDennis Characters: 11871

Updated: 2018-01-10 12:02


S'maash always had an affinity for magick—enchanting especially—his natural talent was rivaled only by his love for the art. In his days as a child of Morrowind, he ran about with his friends and siblings stirring up all sorts of trouble. While they tried to stow away on silt striders, large insects utilized for the purposes of traveling long distances, S'maash normally found himself in trouble for different reasons, such as skulking into a mage's workshop to catch a glimpse of a master spell craftsman at work. Most of his endeavors ended with a slap to the back of the head followed by the derogatory you s'wit, but that did little dissuade him.

Upon reaching adulthood in the year 4 E 221, S'maash, a striking, young, dark elf with a shock of gray hair on his head, and a gray-blue complexion, took a job as an inventory manager for a local union of mages in the town of L'Thu Oad. It was a small settlement southwest of Narsis, and his home town.

Working with the Mages' Coalition consisted of little more than taking notes on their studies and cataloging their findings. Other, menial tasks involving the organizing of reagents, soul gems, and magickal equipment kept him busy enough. Although he did learn a great deal about enchantments, the dunmer's curiosity was never satiated. His knowledge of over fifty enchantments was a testament to the fact that knowledge led only to more curiosity, and that led him to speak to one of the elder mages, an old altmer—or high elf—named Rosoleola, the head of the Mages' Coalition in L'Thu Oad. Ancient and surly with a shimmering, gold hue to his skin, he was not an easy person to approach.

"Master?" S'maash called.

The old altmer was stooped over an arcane enchanter, a malevolent-looking table adorned with the skull of a three-eyed beast, several candles, and a misty, green bauble. Rosoleola turned to the young dunmer while flipping through the pages of a journal.

"What now?" he barked.

"I couldn't help, but notice you're attempting to enchant that steel dagger with fire damage, " S'maash stated the obvious. Rosoleola winced as he returned his steady gaze to his journal. He remained quiet, absorbed, so S'maash stirred nervously before breaking the silence. "Why is it that we can imbue a weapon with fire damage, but not a shield or gauntlets?"

"S'wit…must you ask such a foolish question?" The altmer's voice was raspy and condescending.

"I'm afraid, I don't understand, Sir. I've been watching and taking notes for these past, seven years. Along the way, I have realized many truths, but some of them seem to have no logical base."

Rosoleola turned to the youngster with contempt. He pushed an errant strand of silver hair behind his ear.

"What are you babbling about now, boy?"

"Sir, a flame cloak spell can be cast by a mage. This provides him the ability to damage an opponent by merely standing adjacent him without so much as warming his own skin. Why not can a piece of iron armor be enchanted as such?"

Rosoleola was taken aback. He stared at the youth for a moment longer, squinting. The boy stood under torchlight with his feet firmly planted on the stone floor. The fires of passion and knowledge burned brightly in his red eyes.

The old elf adjusted his burgundy robes before answering. "Well now that is a question, isn't it…?"

His tone had changed as he looked up to the ceiling. S'maash detected a hint of ancient wonder, of memories long forgotten. The torch fires wavered with the forces of magicka in the workshop, casting shadows of the banners and tapestries depicting the progression of arcane studies, yet the elf kept his gaze on the old altmer, still awaiting a response; unnerved, he tugged at his faded, blue robes. Rosoleola took a pensive inhalation before providing insight.

"I can't really answer that, " he said and paused. The furrow in his brow was indicative of wonder, something rarely experienced by the aged. "Get back to work. You have better things to do than question magickal theory. Go make sure all the reagents are accounted for. Last time I looked for comberry, it took me twenty minutes to find where Naralia put them!"

The response given was less impressive than he had anticipated, or perhaps, it was less inspiring. Rosoleola eyed the boy, who nodded and left. Truthfully, the old elf was impressed, but altmer were not given to displaying such emotions, especially not to non-altmer.

Since the duty of reorganizing reagents was a tedious task, S'maash was still in the storage room when the argonian, Barters-with-Whispers, walked in. "Dunmer, fetch me the tome, The Studies of Wards, " the green, lizard-woman hissed.

He stood from his crouching position as he turned a jar of bone meal so the label faced out. He looked upon her. Barters-with-Whispers was ancient and decrepit; faded, yellow robes draped off her wiry figure. Still, her demeanor was rather imposing.

"Yes, Ma'am."

S'maash traveled through the short hallway over bronze carpeting to the study. While the floor of the workshop was of cold stone, its walls were gorgeous mahogany with darkened hues of deep brown. Massive, wooden shelving lined the walls of the library. Each shelf was filled from one end to the other with timeworn tomes. A mental segue took S'maash from his intended task. Dwemer Magick of Old, caught his attention; a leather-bound book.

Gingerly, he took it. The leather creaked as he opened it. While scanning over the pages, he saw the name Volendrung, an ancient war hammer. The dwemer knew quite a bit about forging magick items.

"What are you doing, you lazy layabout?" Barters-with-Whispers shouted from across the room.

Startled, S'maash dropped the book. It fell to the floor with a heavy thud. He gave a weak smile, picked the tome from the floor, and replaced it on the shelf before grabbing what he was supposed to have grabbed in the first place. He

handed the book over.

It was difficult to read argonians. Their scales made it nearly impossible to detect emotional cues in their faces; although, that day it was obvious she was not pleased.

"Apologies, " S'maash said.

"S'wit."

Narrowing her eyes, she blinked then left the young elf. A new curiosity brewed, and he immediately ran out of the study, down the hall, and back to the arcane enchanter, where Rosoleola was picking soul gems for his next task. The magickal gems were shades of blue and purple.

"Master, " S'maash called.

"Mmm? What now?" The old elf didn't turn from his work.

"Which is the closest, dwemer ruin?"

"Oh, let's see, should be Damlzthur. Why?"

"I need to study their artifacts. I have to know how they were able to create Volendrung."

Rosoleola sighed as he shook his head in desperation. "What nonsense are you spouting? Don't you have better things to do?"

"With respect, Master, no I don't. I need to understand…."

The altmer stood as straight as his creaky body allowed, and finally he turned. "Mmm, " Rosoleola muttered, stroking his long beard. "Well… it isn't safe, you know?" S'maash was slightly surprised. Not only did Rosoleola's voice lose the twinge of aggravation, he had not expected understanding, much less the concern for his safety. "You really care about enchanting don't you? I've watched you, you know? You've come a long way in a short time, " the old elf said as his head bobbed up and down a bit. "I undertook a few quests of my own around your age. I'll tell you what. I'll give you an advance on your pay. Hire some men from the Reyda Tong. Maybe you can find what you're looking for."

Again, S'maash was astonished. "Thank you, Master!"

"Yes, yes. Here, this should be enough, " He smiled as he handed S'maash a small, coin purse. "Don't get yourself killed! You have a brilliant mind, but I fear that some things simply are what they are, so don't get your hopes up. You hear me?!"

"Yes, Master. Thank you again, " S'maash replied taking the gold.

Rosoleola made a shooing motion. S'maash smiled from pointy ear to pointy ear while running out of the workshop. He crossed the paved road to a large, stone building, the home base of the Reyda Tong, which was a sort of guild for fighters in Morrowind. Its appearance came about after the dissolution of the Empire's grip.

It was a warm evening in L'Thu Oad and a bead of sweat ran down S'maash's face as he knocked on the wooden doors. A sign above read: Reyda Tong Fighters. The door opened seconds later, revealing another dark elf, who looked much like S'maash.

"Oh, it's you. Come in, brother, " the elf replied.

"S'maath, Rosoleola gave me an advance on my pay. I need to hire a few of you to travel into Damlzthur!"

S'maath was a few years older than his brother and much stockier. His thick, gray hair grew sharply and unkempt all about his head.

"Sounds dangerous. What has he got you searching for?"

"You misunderstand. The research is mine. I was reading through a tome on dwemer magick. As you well know, I've been enthralled with the mysteries of enchanting for some time. I believe there may be some answers stowed away in their old ruins."

The brothers walked through the foyer, passing a rack of swords. Much like the mages' workshop, the Reyda Tong's office was bedecked with amazing tapestries depicting its own history, a much, more, violent one. Further inside, the two found themselves among mixed company; an imperial lad, a redguard woman, and another dark elf.

Amidst a room of etched stone and mahogany walls, the warriors all greeted their guild mate's brother with a simple nod of the head. The dunmer brothers took seats on a cushioned bench between a rack of mead and a rack weapons. A fire burned in the stone pit at the far end of the room. The gentle crackling unleashed a bit of smoke.

"Fara, my brother says he wants to hire us for a trip into Damlzthur, " S'maath announced.

Fara, the redguard, adjusted the straps of her iron breastplate as she fidgeted in her seat.

Her dark face crinkled a bit while she snipped. "We have plenty of work here."

"I have payment, " S'maash interjected.

"How much, " the imperial asked.

S'maath turned to his brother. "Well, " S'maash started as he pulled the string on the pouch. He poured the gold coins onto a round table. "Twenty five gold."

The three warriors laughed at the paltry sum, but S'maath was sympathetic. Once the laughter died down, he took his glare off his comrades to look at his brother to ask how long the trip was to be. Taking a moment to think, S'maash said it was only a week long.

"We're not riskin' life an' limb for twenty five gold, boy, " the other dark elf replied.

S'maash looked at his brother questioningly.

"Why don't you go home for now? I'll see what we can do, " the elder brother instructed.

S'maash put the coin away and left for home, slightly ashamed, but not defeated. The walk home was a rather slow one. Night had just settled in before he arrived at his front door. He heard the chirps of insects for a moment then entered his family's abode. The shutting of the door behind him shut out the noise as well.

With their parents deceased, S'maath and S'maash lived in the modest home together. The young elf busied himself with dinner for the two. Not long after, S'maath entered the house to find rat stew warming over the fire.

"I had a long conversation with Fara, " he yelled out from the common area.

S'maash entered from the kitchen. "What did she say?"

"So long as the Reyda Tong can lay claim to any profitable artifacts, they'll back your endeavor."

"Good news, then. I'd like to set out as soon as possible."

"We can leave first thing in the morning. Numerius, the imperial, will join us as well as Fara. It will just be the four of us, so we'll need to be cautious"

"Of course."

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