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I Have a Little Plan - Part XIII

Started by Harlwystyr
Post #106731

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Daggerfall Covenant

Thalric muttered another curse as he prowled down the dim hallways of Irlen Manor. Had he known that Lord Burrath Irlen and Harlwystyr knew one another, he would never have led them to this place. Burrath was a good man, but no doubt swayed by the old wizard's magic, which only added to Thalric's increasing flow of current headaches.

He was almost so lost in thought that he almost stalked past the guest bedrooms without catching the sound of voices murmuring suspiciously. He knew one to be Burrath's, and the two female voices - one of them with the unmistakable gruff undertone of Harlwystyr - had to be Durana and Jalinda.

Why would they not inform him of a meeting being held?

Brow knit in worry, Thalric backed up against the wall and silently opened the door just enough for him to peer through a crack.

And screamed.


Lord Burrath Irlen nodded and threw a gesture towards the beds.

On one of them rested a man lying still and silent, his jaw dropped and eyes rolled up in the back of their sockets.

Youngish, pleasant-looking, but not overly handsome, breton. Clad in the sort of robes favored by adventuring wizards. Breathing very slowly, but senseless. No visible wounds, or for that matter, scars.

"Who's this?" asked Harlwystyr through Durana.

"Oswyn Balwick, a hired mage in my employ. Young, loyal, a mage of modest skill. One of the men found him wounded near the forests to the north, and eye-witnesses have reported seeing him engaged in a spell duel with a superior mage. His wounds have been healed, but it appears he got caught in a terrible spell and hasn't much of a mind left."

"Brain-burned," Harl whispered, looking up at Burrath with a silent question in his eyes.

"Your new body, if you want him," the noble of Camlorn said gruffly. "High Rock owes you that much. Divines blast, a lot more. As do I."

Harlwystyr sent him a grave, bleak look for a moment. "Thank you."

He made Durana lean down toward Oswyn and closed his eyes. "Can you manage this, Durana?"

"Aye," Durana spoke from the depths of their shared mind. "Trust me, Harl. You'll just have to be careful in moving him about."

Nodded, Harlwystyr relaxed before he felt the surge of magic, willingly flowing with Durana's spell and drifted into the young mage, Oswyn Balwick's mind, gently putting the tattered remains of the brain-burned man's mind to rest.

"Careful now, Harl," Durana said, an arm holding at Balwick's shoulder to keep him down for now. "We don't want you getting up and stumbling over your own feet. What good is the body then?"

Harl sent her a very rare look that told her of his utmost displeasure.

Jalinda watched from the corner spot as the young mage on the bed stirred, then started to convulse and thrash.

"Don't try to get off the bed yet," she advised, not entirely sure of what to say.

The man on the bed thrust one arm stiffly into the air, tried to wriggle the fingers of that upraised hand, and flexed his jaw enough to say, "A bit ruuuuuusty ssssooo faaarr!"

Burrath rolled his eyes, but managed a quick smile. "You better remain in bed for a while until everything seems steady to you. We don't want anyone to walk in and-"

He was interrupted as the heavy door struck the wall, slamming into it with deafening force.


Thalric fought to breath after what he had just witnessed, struggling to stay on his feet as he almost fell into the room.

"You... tyrant!" he spat, glaring at the almost motionless man on the bed.

"Yesssss, thaaat I aaam," Harlwystyr's voice rolled out. "I've haaaddd to be. Hiiigh Rrrock demanded iiit. I acceepppt your judgement."

The limbs moved, and Harlwystyr got up from the bed, all colour gone from his face. "Yet, hearrr my judgement of ye: as it is time for ye to become wiserrr, Thalrrric Camrrry. Your frrriends need ye to be, and so does Hiiigh Rrrock."

Sword raised, Thalric's gazed manage to break free from Harlwystyr's, moving towards Durana. "And you, Lady Emhardt, do you judge me a stubborn fool as this old man thinks I am?"

"Of course you are, lad. You're a mercenary! Stubborn, callow fools is what most mercenaries are - and stay, unless someone gives them plenty of things to think about. You've had a lot these last days. Will it work, I wonder?"

He tore his gaze free and looked at Jalinda, her back against the wall. "You, Jalinda? Do you consider me a fool?"

Her dark eyes became two beacons of love. Two sad, yet dignified pools.

"I think you're a castle of strength who refuses to surrender," she replied huskily. "But unlike so many others, Thalric, you know when to hide your strength, rather than use it as a daily weapon. I love you for that."

Thalric blinked curiously at her and then lifted a brow. "I... see." His gaze went back to Harlwystyr, who now stood. His raised his sword a touch more this time. "I really wish I could trust you, Harlwystyr of Daggerfall, because I want to. I want to like you. Yet, where my mind is a small stone, yours is a towering mountain."

His sword tip swayed between pointing at Harlwystyr and Jalinda, with his feet carrying him backwards. "Your mind is more powerful than mine, and belongs to a wizard who's had centuries to practice deception. And so, you can trick me into wanting to trust you."

He stared between Durana and Jalinda. "Is this not true?"

"It is," Harlwystyr admitted, "but there are other things you need to know about these sort of spells, Sir Camry. Such deception cannot take place when raw minds peer at each other. Durana?"

The breton woman gave a nod and started toward Thalric, but the young mercenary raised his hand warningly.

"Don't bother. You may give me truth, but I won't believe you. There's nothing that you can say, any of you, to make me agree to let him peer into my mind. I hate that you can do that to Jalinda, and even more that she agrees to it, but you can - so isn't that, before the Eight, enough? The rest of us must manage with one body in life! If it's destroyed, we're gone. Why must you do this; taking over the minds of everyone to build your army of slaves? Why?"

"To help Tamriel," Harl murmured, "and never an army."

"Old Meddler, forgive me," Thalric replied sharply, "but I still don't believe you. I've heard you must recruit the Camlorn Blades, as well as a good number of mages in High Rock. Is that not an army?"

"A question if I may, Sir Camry," Durana asked calmly. "You've firmly proclaimed that you won't trust Harl, and never let him into your head. If Jalinda's life hung in the balance, or that of your comrades in the Camlorn Blades... would you let me enter your mind and body?"

Thalric look dumbstruck and knew it, feeling his lips trembling. He was scared to death of that proposal and ashamed of being so; could they tell that? Could they all tell that?

Durana always looked so wise... and Harlwystyr always seemed two strides ahead of whatever he thought...

He couldn't take this. Fool or not, he could not-

He had to get away, off by himself to think. Even away from Jalinda.

Almost dropping his sword, Thalric spun around and ran for the door; his weapon slicing through the air as if to rend invisible foes that threatened his life.

No one called his name or ran after him. No one at all.
This post was last modified: November 15th 2013, 10:14 AM by Harlwystyr
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