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I Have a Little Plan - Part XVIII

Started by Harlwystyr
Post #110213

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Daggerfall Covenant

"No," Thalric breathed. "Divines, no."

Scant moments earlier, their trudge into the courtyard of the Camry family's home had been a matter of weariness. Until they'd seen the streets before it littered with sprawling bodies.

Thalric rushed forward, Jalinda racing in order to keep up with him, with Durana and Harlwystyr right behind.

Thalric's home looked like a battlefield.

Pools of blood dotted the ground like small tar pits, beyond and within the courtyard, with eternally silent citizens that seemed to have rushed to their neighbour's defence and splendidly dressed men - Divines, prominent noblemen of Camlorn! - lying here and there.

Their bodies held scars and gaping stab wounds that had already begun to attract swarming flies, eyes staring in silent disbelief. The conflict had been handled with swords and daggers, and it had been brutal.

The doors of the house itself yawned open, with corpses heaped on the doorway. Thalric managed to climb over and in, calling his sister's name, with Harl, Jalinda and Durana right behind him. They found more dead nobles within.

Silence hung in the rooms like an insolent mockery of the deadly events that had taken place moments before. No one came to greet or attack them... just the dead.

Thalric stormed for his sister's bedchamber.

Josselyn Camry was sitting propped up against the end of her bed, legs pinned under three dead assailants. More corpses drew a thick and bloody path towards the chamber's door.

Her seamstress gown was slashed to ribbons, one shoulder carved open to the bone. Many daggers were pierced into her stomach.

"Josselyn!" Thalric wept, clawing dead men aside to uncover her, reaching to cradle her.

At his touch, her body shook and she whimpered. Harl wove a quick spell to heal, and another to banish pain.

Thalric's look was beseeching. "Can you save her?"

Harl shook his head, slowly and grimly. "Too many poisons seething in her - every last one of these nobles must have carried poisoned blades. Only the taint struggling in her veins hast kept her alive this long, but... no. 'Twould take a Divine, Thalric, and I've never been one of those."

His hand went out to cup Josselyn's cheek, to gently hold her head. "Yet the pain in her has ceased now. That much I can do."

Thalric embraced his sister fiercely, feeling his arms trembling, and kissed her.

The woman a few years older than he opened her eyes and managed a pain-wrecked smile through her tears.

"I'm sorry Thal. I'm no fighter," she gasped, blood coming from her throat with every word. Then she slumped, her eyes fixed intently on his, going dark and endlessly staring.

Captain Thalric Camry of the Camlorn Blades collapsed in racking sobs. Jalinda cradled his shoulder, with Durana stepping over to hold him close as well.

Harlwystyr watched them for a moment, then reached out and calmly ran his fingers down over Josselyn Camry's staring eyes. They both slid down.

"This is enough, and more than enough," the Old Meddler snarled abruptly through a set jaw, getting to his feet like an alert wolf. He whirled around and scaled the clustered corpses, moving his lips as he went.

He was two rooms away before he came upon a noble yet living, though gasping his last breaths.

Harlwystyr went to his knee, one hand placed upon the man's sweating forehead, and began to work his spell; peering deep into the man's mind to understand who did this, and why.

"Arthaurak! Of course!"

He ran through the last rooms of the house and out into the courtyard.

He glared up into the sky, with the presence of blood, corpses and empty silence stretching out to all sides. He threw back his head and furiously called Arthaurak to battle.

He did not have to wait long.

Appearing as mere specks in the sky at first came eight, nine... ten female shapes carried on wings, barbed tails waggling behind them, covered in light-blue-turning-violet skin, their mouths opening to reveal terribly fanged teeth promising pain. Out on the street, folk could be heard shouting.

As one, they drifted purposefully toward the Camry's home.

The only person standing in the house's courtyard watched them come, his own teeth coming forth in anger. Arthaurak had sent his winged twilights rather than coming in person. Of course.

Harlwystyr raised his hands and chanted a spell that lashed out at daedric beings with blue-white fire - and blasted them from the sky.

In an instant, every last of the winged twilights burst into drifting dust, like so many puffs of smoke.

More came into view, rising from behind nearby buildings in slow menace. Alarm horns sounded from the nearby ducal keep, horns that were answered by guards rushing from the city gates and from towers close by.

Harl waited until all of his flying foes were close enough to reach with one spell, then served them the same way he had the first wave.

Three out of this dozen did not crumble to dust, but kept coming. So Arthaurak had been clever enough to ward some of them, after all.

Harl parted his hands and spread out a wall of lightning into the sky, hurling it forward with immense speed, and watched the winged twilights fall from view, some bursting like raw eggs, and the last three burning, spinning and shrieking in their ongoing agonies.

Harl worked a spell to give them a series of fireballs; blasts of flame striking out to seek their mouths, and hit. Gouts of flame burst from the mouths of the daedra, illuminating them from within before bursting them apart.

Men dressed in robes with the national colours of Camlorn appeared by the courtyard's entrance: crown mages, with staves in their hands, intent on Harlwystyr.

He ignored them, instead closing his eyes momentarily to cast a scrying spell, trying to find Arthaurak. His foe had to be close, somewhere over there, where the winged twilights had appeared.

There were still artefacts to recover before all of magic was restored, and what Durana had lent him was starting to fade, so there was no possibility of him teleporting far from the scene. There was just him, and the dwindling arsenal he had ready, against a foe obviously prepared for the day.

"Harlwystyr Ealthar!" a stern voice called, from the courtyard's entrance. "Surrender! Your time of stealing artefacts of the kingdom is-"

Harlwystyr ignored the rest. If these prowling crown mages were that foolish, if they could not see the peril to their own kingdom - or were already under the dominance of Arthaurak's mind - Camlorn might well be doomed. He needed their aid, not their attempts to arrest or oppose him. Another winged twilight arrived, a furious one with a mad look in its eyes.

The first barrage of staff blasts clawed at the wards Harl had raised around himself, and reduced them to winking, dying motes. He uttered a spell and appeared just behind the crown mages, felled one with a drawn dagger to the throat, snatched away the staff from the fool's failing grasp, and disintegrated its energies to invigorate and steady his shielding spells.

All around him, angry sorcerers flung spells and fired staves and-

He was gone again, translocated to the other side of the group this time, kicked a firm boot into the side of a crown mage and seizing another staff.

It exploded in Harl's grasp, the energies blinding and deafening him, even as his wards absorbed them and kept his body from disintegrating. Then he was caught in a volley of spells numbering fifteen staff blasts, twenty-five...

Magic roared in searing pain all over him, and he hissed a spell to reappear where he had originally stood, arriving dazed, his wards melted away under the pressure of the sorcerers spells. Some of them displayed cunning, aiming their next blasts with foresight even before he reappeared.

The winged twilight, completely forgotten and ignored by crown mages eager to destroy a lone man within easy reach, was close now, slowly descending in foreboding menace.

And here he was, barely standing, beset by these young fools.

"Camlorn," he snarled, "don't you rear your mages any more? Can't they see? And think?"

The daedra swooped down upon the crown sorcerers, its wings hurling some aside as its barbed tail spearing into the chest of another. On the horizon, Harlwystyr could barely make out another wave of them arriving. Malacath's spit, there was a swarm of them!

Well, at least some of the crown mages had finally discovered brains enough to peer up and see where the first winged foe had come from. He shouted, and the group fired spells from their staves into the sky, causing a quickening inferno that rent daedra apart like old pieces of cloth.

Chaotic fires raged across the sky, burning daedra were flung in all directions like boulders hurled from an erupting volcano, the courtyard rocked as its trees were set ablaze in great bonfires, and... sudden silence fell.

The sky was empty, fire was thriving everywhere in the courtyard as charred ground kept the heat alive, and... corpses were everywhere. More crown mages arrived, advancing around one man in a slowly tightening ring.

The man sank to his knees, nearly depleted of magic to use and wield and his body shrieking with bolting pain. The skin of his young body crackled like brittle parchment paper and fell away as he tried to rise, the seared flesh beneath barely pink and firmly stinking of nord roast.

So this was how it was all going to end, after all these centuries. Obliterated by eager, young fools striking out at the wrong target.

Fitting, somehow.

"Durana," he whispered. "I loved you."

They were stalking in for the kill, grim and cautious, staves aimed and fingers moving in patterns of battle magic.

"Now," someone commanded in a roar - and the barrage began.

"Idiots," Harl spat, as the world went from his eyes.
This post was last modified: November 17th 2013, 09:26 AM by Harlwystyr
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