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   Chapter 23 No.23

An Enchanting Tale By AaronDennis Characters: 16831

Updated: 2018-01-10 12:02

S'maash arrived in Whiterun during the middle of a chilly night. He hugged his blue robes tightly over his armor. Guards stood watch both inside and outside the city walls.

"Destruction magick's fine. Just don't go burning down any buildings, " a guard said.

"Never my intention, " S'maash replied with a nod.

He pressed on down the stone roads to Dragonsreach. Inside, warm fires burned brightly as an elderly maid swept the floors. Thorald, in his magnificent finery, sat upon his throne at the far end of the room. He stood when S'maash approached. Once they were close, the Jarl addressed his court wizard.

"Glad to see your return. I'll begin immediately as there is little time to waste, " he said. The palace's heat quickly warmed the elf over as he listened intently. "Word has spread like wild fire that necromages have taken residence in Strongmouth Cave. I don't like the thought of their evil machinations taking place inside my city walls. Their presence threatens my people, " Thorald announced.

"What would you have me do, " S'maash asked, slightly befuddled.

"I spoke to the Companions. They are willing to fight these necromages, but I fear their skill in blade and armor alone isn't enough of an effort. The Harbinger, Vilkas, suggested I speak to my court wizard. My decision is for you to speak directly with him in Jorrvaskr. See to what he requires. That is my order, S'maash."

"As you wish…I hope this can all be handled with haste. I–"

"Yield not to haste, mage! No doubt you have your own research, much as Farengar did, but I need you to help the Companions solve this problem without incident. Is that understood?"

"Of course. I will go see the Harbinger then."

He sped from Dragonsreach like a rabbit outrunning a fox and reached Jorrvaskr, mead hall and resting place of the Companions. The ancient, wooden building had the appearance of a capsized boat. Great, long, wooden boards lined its roof. Shields hung in decoration. S'maash entered through large, wooden doors.

Inside Jorrvaskr were three tables lining a fire pit where meat was cooking. The aroma made S'maash's stomach rumble. Three, seasoned warriors eyed him with curiosity. One, a gorgeous woman with trim figure and thick, auburn hair, approached him.

"Are we lost, dunmer?"

Squinting, he said, "Not in the least. I am the Jarl's court wizard, S'maash Ilteriel."

"Come, Aela, finish your story. Then, I will have words with this wizard, " a scarred man in heavy, strange-looking, steel armor said.

Aela walked back to her seat and beckoned for S'maash to sit as well. Then, she continued her story. The mead hall was alive with revelry that night.

"So, Farkas had tracked the frost trolls back to their lair. His brilliant idea was to charge in, sword swinging. I told him the best plan of attack was to sneak in, making little noise, and take the trolls by surprise. You should have seen the look on his face, yes that one, " she said, chuckling.

The third warrior, obviously named Farkas, had long, thick hair. It was graying, but he seemed every bit the powerful nord. He, too, wore steel armor, though it was a more common type worn by many adventurers, and not the kind emblazoned by wolfish features as Vilkas wore.

"I don't know why you have to tell it like that, " Farkas commented.

His voice was frightening and powerful but it reminded S'maash of Balimund and he smiled. Aela seemed rather boisterous in her demeanor as she spoke, and Vilkas appeared calm and collected- the leader, or Harbinger, as it were. Aela continued.

"Naturally, I explained that since we arrived at their lair, it was likely that more trolls were inside. That convinced him to follow my lead. Anyway, we skulked into their icy home and slaughtered a half dozen with relative ease, " she finished.

The warriors enjoyed a good belly laugh. After calming down, Vilkas turned his attention to S'maash. The crackling of embers broke the silent stare of the man's gaze.

"So, Thorald sent you to lend a hand with these necromancers? You've dealt with them before, " Vilkas asked.

S'maash stirred. "No, but he feels steel will not be enough to handle them. I am unclear as to what help I might provide, but I am not untrained. You might like to know my brother and I just recently killed KrifAhrkDir, the dragon atop Sigrid's Plunge, " the elf boasted.

The warriors around the table eyed each other. S'maash believed they were not taking his account seriously.

"If you can handle a dragon, a few necromancers should be easy work for you, dark elf, " Aela said.

"Come now, these are two very different opponents, but she makes a good point, what was it? S'moash?" Vilkas said, trying to recall the elf's name.

"Yes, S'maash; if we are to eliminate this evil influence, we will have to discover why they took residence in Strongmouth Cave in the first place. Furthermore, it is important to know what sort of powers they wield and to what end they are scheming, " the wizard contended.

"He talks

d into the large chamber.

It was roundish, a natural opening inside the cave. Old, wooden tables, alchemy tables, arcane enchanters, shelves, and many books laid about the chamber. It was a study area used by the forces of evil. As the Companions searched for the next path, S'maash saw a blue book.

He read the contents. Delyla believes this new spell she crafted, black command, as she calls it, will allow complete reign over the faculties of the undead. For now, we still bother with ambushing traders and travelers, killing them, and reviving them. I hope soon enough we can attack this plan with more vigor.

S'maash wondered about the implications. He was already aware of the undead atronach they were working on, but it seemed they had a larger plan in mind. Whoever this Delyla is, she is obviously their leader. Perhaps we should try to catch her alive.

"Vilkas, " S'maash whispered.

Vilkas came close before answering, "What is it?"

S'maash showed him the book. Vilkas read it rather quickly then stood pensively.

"Do you think we should take her alive, " S'maash asked.

"I don't."

The nord turned and walked back to the others, leaving S'maash with a quizzical expression. Aela led them to a large crevice in the cavern. No end below was visible. A series of wooden bridges was strung before them. Hewn from posts, large bridges were supported by thick ropes and attached to stairs, or other support beams. Paths both higher above them and below them were available. The archer huffed, looking carefully over the bridges.

"We'll move down, " she whispered.

S'maash gripped her wrist and pointed to necromancers who were descending the bridges and stairs from above. She nodded, but then she winced. Whether she was annoyed at herself or S'maash was inconsequential; they had company. Vilkas and Farkas took off running like sabre cats. They both drew their swords and attacked.

"You'll never end our efforts, " a necromage yelled.

The other casted chain lightning, striking both brothers with purple arcs of magicka. Next, the one who had yelled summoned a flame atronach. Vilkas reached the first necromage and ran him through with no effort.

"I'm going to cut you down, " Vilkas screamed.

Farkas pushed past his brother and climbed some stairs to reach the one who had summoned the atronach. "You're makin' me angry, " Farkas grunted as he ran.

Before Farkas reached his target, Aela fired an arrow into the summoned creature. "Enough of this, " she muttered.

S'maash stood by with folded arms, appreciating how the battle was unfolding. Once Vilkas pushed his opponent off his blade, he followed after Farkas. During their attack, the atronach shot fire bolts. Another arrow from Aela's bow struck the conjured demon and Farkas ran into it, bashing with the hilt of his weapon. He didn't even stop to attack, nor was his momentum slowed. Farkas just pushed through and cleaved the fleeing necromage. The opponent let out a dying scream before hitting the ground.

"They never knew what hit 'em, " Farkas said.

The death of the summoner caused a break in the ritual holding the demon bound to their plane of reality. The atronach was banished to Oblivion, and the brothers returned to Aela.

"Very nicely done, " S'maash congratulated.

They continued into the depths of Strongmouth Cave.

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