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   Chapter 2 No.2

An Enchanting Tale By AaronDennis Characters: 9363

Updated: 2018-01-10 12:02

The night passed relatively quickly, though S'maash scarcely slept. By the time the sun shone through the window, he was already packed for the week and ready to go. Moments later, his brother awoke. He had also packed the previous night.

The dark elf brothers locked their abode behind them before setting out for the Reyda Tong office, where they met up with Fara, who wore heavy armor, but no helmet. An iron mace hung from her right hip. Numerius was covered in leather armor, hiding his thick, black hair. He wore his imperial bow and quiver over his shoulders.

"I've brought your gear, " Numerius said.

More leather apparel sat by his feet, awaiting S'maath's body. After donning his protective equipment, the elf sheathed his steel sword.

"Is the boy going to wear anything, " Fara asked with a tinge of incredulity.

She looked him over. He wore only his blue robes. The clothing possessed a minor enchantment; the ability to recover magicka more quickly. No weapons hung about his waist, and no armor was draped over his body.

"I'm fine. Listen, I very much appreciate your help in this matter, " S'maash started. "This is very important to me. For a first trip, I don't expect to find much. My hopes are that we may come across a tome on magickal theory. The dwemer employed a slight variation on the schools of magick we use today. I–"

"I don't care about magickal theory, " Fara interrupted with a wave of her hand. "If you're looking for a tome, that's well and good. You keep your eyes open for books. We're looking for something to sell. Let's move."

S'maath smiled at his brother. It was evident Fara was the leader of the small band. S'maash was unfamiliar with rank in the Reyda Tong, but understood well enough that seniority dictated the taking of charge, so the crew pressed on and left for Damlzthur.

Moments of silent reverie passed while boots trudged over early morning dew. It was not long before paved roads turned to dirt. Then, the chatter began.

The young elf listened to the warriors. They were hoping for all sorts of valiant battles, riches, and stories to be told afterwards. He, however, was uninterested by such things. His happiness was predicated on obtaining more knowledge. As he followed behind his hired guard, his mind turned to questions.

Will we find anything? Dwemer ruins have been around for so long. It's hard to imagine anything might have been left behind after numerous expeditions. If anything were left behind, it would likely be books, though. Bull headed warriors often leave behind the most valuable treasure, knowledge. His ponderings had left him oblivious to the fact that the warriors were twenty paces ahead of him. A sudden sound demanded his attention.

He turned towards the direction of the noise. They had entered a forested area known to harbor alits, and one charged right at him; its awkward gait was a consequence of having only two legs and a large mouth. Unable to utter a sound, the elf simply stood there in shock. Gaping maw with razor teeth ambled closer. The leathery-skinned, purple, menace was hungry, slobbering. A fraction of a second later, S'maash heard the screams and battle cries of his crew as they fought the beast.

Alits were not altogether difficult to kill. The creature did not so much as manage to bite anyone. In fact, Fara had already struck it across the top of its head with her mace. It swooned from the blow, and S'maath ran it through with blade. The redguard shook some gunk from her weapon then approached S'maash. Her dark eyes were fierce.

"You have to be more careful. Keep pace with us or go back home, " she scolded.

He swallowed hard before nodding in accordance. He wanted to thank her, but she walked away. They continued their journey as though nothing had happened, yet the young elf's heart was still pounding. It soon settled in his chest while the warriors joked over the fun of the fight. It was not fun for S'maash; it was dangerous and scary, but it was only an alit after all.

S'maath looked back to his brother, who was then keeping pace quite well. "Not too shaken up, are you?"

"No, not anymore, " he smiled.

"Never were a fighter, " S'maath chuckled, hitting him in the shoulder.

"Is that so bad?"

"Of course not, you're a scholar, and that's good, but you know destruction magick. You could have burned that thing to a crisp."

"I suppose. I've never actually used an attack spell in defense before, " S'maash admitted.

"Maybe you'll learn more about magick by using it than reading about it in books."

It was a sound proposition. The brothers held each other's eyes for a moment longer. S'm

aash knew most knowledge was derived from practical applications. Unfortunately, there didn't seem to be anymore to be gained by practical enchanting. The past, few, hundred years yielded no real advancement in that field.

The remainder of the day passed by quietly, only S'maash thought a little less and looked around a little more. The group then broke for a rest. Heat had turned morning dew to midday humidity during their trek.

"We could keep moving, " Numerius said with a harsh voice.

"No. My brother grows weary. His mind could roam for hours, but his feet tire quickly, besides, I hunger, " S'maath countered.

"Yes, and I thirst, " Fara added.

The group took seats on the leaf covered ground. They had moved off the dirt road to a beaten path. Overhead, the sun shone brightly. Shadows of the surrounding foliage bounced along the ground.

S'maash relaxed his back against a tree, basking in the cool of the shade. He was not a big eater, but thirsted instead. He noticed the fighters were eyeing him. Their stares did not hold disdain or contempt. They were, after all, often hired to accompany less athletic travelers on unsafe business, yet he grew curious.

"What is it, " he asked, addressing them all.

S'maath looked his compatriots over. With his mouth slightly open, his eyes darted about a bit as he gauged the looks on everyone's faces. He then turned to his brother as the others answered.

"Damlzthur might be infested with dangerous creatures…or worse, " Fara stated.

"Aye, automatons, " Numerius added.

S'maash ran long fingers through his mowhawk. Automatons were bizarre contraptions created by the long gone dwemer. The mechanical guardians were known to roam the halls of ruins like Damlzthur.

"I am well aware, but I have to…to find something, " he said, looking away.

"And if you don't, " his brother asked.

S'maash was pensive, yet he looked back to the group. "It is a possibility, I know. I can't sit around L'Thu Oad pouring over the same monotony, though, " his voice trailed off as he looked away again.

Fara stood and stretched her legs. "I hear you, elf. It was a similar reason my family moved to Morrowind ages ago."

S'maath smiled at his brother. Soon after, they put away their food and drink for more walking. The sun slowly worked its way over the sky, and the horizon grew dark. Once the sun set, the small creatures of Morrowind began their ritual music and dance. Several insects chirped in unison. The journey had lasted most of the day.

By the time the moons came out, Fara decided it was time to make camp. Pelt tents were erected and sleeping rolls unfurled. Numerius opted for first watch, but S'maash interjected.

"I can take it. I won't fall to sleep easily with so much excitement and wonder on my mind."

Numerius laughed as though it were a joke. S'maash was put off by his response, but before he formulated a reply, his brother jumped in.

"I'll take first with my brother. How's that?"

"Fine by me, " Fara replied.

She then looked to Numerius, who did not dream of contradicting her. With that, he nodded to the elf brothers.

"Thank you, " S'maash said.

"Of course, " S'maath answered.

First watch held little interested. The brothers discussed possible hazards Damlzthur might hold. Conversations then turned to magickal theory, which was enough to put S'maath to rest. Once S'maash heard his brother's snores, he woke Numerius for second watch. He then slept. No dreams entered his vision that night.

The following morning, Fara roused them. It took only minutes to pack their gear and continue the long journey. It was believed their arrival was less than twelve hours away. That time around, although sore, S'maash did not want to stop.

"There will be time for rest once we make our entrance, " he said.

"Fair enough, then, " Fara replied.

They continued their journey. They passed the beautiful mushrooms and flowers of Morrowind as they made jaunty discussions about treasures to be found. Numerius was hoping to bring back some dwemer metal for their house smith. Fara wanted only coin, so she spoke of artwork and small tools.

"And you, brother, " S'maash asked.

"I appreciate the experience. I have a good home, food, friends, and family. My life is good. You might think it simple, and you might be right, but it is good to me."

S'maash always took his brother's words to heart. But it is not enough for me. My experience will come from unraveling these mysteries. I must find something, some way. I refuse to accept these limitations…. His thoughts dwindled once his feet ached. Fortunately, Damlzthur was in sight.

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