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Journeys of a Buoyant Armiger (II) - Daring


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Journeys of a Buoyant Armiger (II) - Daring
"...I shall not shun risk, nor hide behind the mask of cautious counsel, for fortune favors the bold." -The Grace of Daring

The ancient tower of stone and metal loomed silently over the rest of the ruins in a sinister fashion. Endaros found it to be strangely chilling to stand beneath its shadow under the great moons Masser and Secunda. He had never before ventured into dwemer ruins. They were normally something explored by intrepid treasure hunters and knowledge seekers rather than holy knights. The Dwemer was known to have left behind great artifacts and valuable relics, an alluring prospect to those with great personal ambition.

Unfortunately many who would venture within found only their doom within ruins such as these. Their bodies never recovered from the deepest of the abandoned depths. Such treasures were rarely left unguarded after all, and many dangers lurked within the ancient corridors. The idea brought a feeling of unease to the armiger. He had no desire to be another forgotten skeleton lost amongst the machinations of the dwemer.

He could not turn back though. Although his adventuresome spirit may have brought him to dwemer ruins someday, he was not here for curiosity’s sake. Nor was he here for great riches or hidden knowledge locked away in some secluded vault. No, he was here for another reason entirely.

Two day ago, two children from a small fishing village had run off into the northern wilderness and did not return. The wilderness itself was an unremarkable expanse of dry hills and inhospitable terrain. Despite being a difficult land to transverse, it was mundane with very little of interest. In fact there was only a single place in the wastes that would interest the likes of bold children: the dwemer ruins of Nchumaluft.

It was fair to assume that’s where they had gone. From what he heard of little Rels and Nihra; they were just like him when he was just a boy: headstrong, mischievous, and reckless. The two were known to actively seek trouble both inside and outside their humble homes. For the most part their shenanigans were harmless and never were considered dangerous. But this time was different. Within halls of the dwemer, the ancient guardians would not discriminate curious children from malicious invaders.

Endaros had to hurry and wasted no time discovering and climbing through the circular stone entrance. Within, the dimly lit corridors echoed with the workings of strange machinery. Cogs whirred, pistons steamed, and metal clanged upon metal. Never before had he heard such mechanical noises permeating the air, but he quickly found it to be unpleasant and crude.

With a cautious haste he made his way through the ruins, and quickly discovered them to be vast network of maze like tunnels. There were many twists and turns, interconnected halls, and stairs that would both rise and fall. Occasionally there would be rooms filled with strange contraptions and tables covered in odd trinkets. Although the sights were fascinating, he kept focused on his task and refused to be distracted by the many dwemer wonders. His discipline eventually paid off when he reached the edge of a seemingly empty passage and heard a shout echo towards him.

“Stop!” A youthful voice cried out from the other end of the corridor. Endaros stopped midstep and peered across to see a dunmer boy standing thirty paces ahead, waving his arms wildly. “Don’t come this way! It’s full of traps!”

Upon closer inspection it was clear that the hall was indeed filled with hidden dangers. On the walls and ceilings he could see irregular openings and narrow chambers that likely held some form of projectile, blade, or skewer. Most traps could be avoided however by being aware of their trigging mechanism, commonly in the form of a floor tile. That knowledge gave him no advantage unfortunately, as the entire floor of the corridor was nothing but brass, square tiles. And each looked as suspicious and likely as the next. Whether it was a gauntlet to deal with intruders or a sadistic design for the amusement of a mad architect, it did not matter. He would have to get to the other side.

“Rels, right? Do you know the way around?”

“I- I forgot. We fled here when a metal spider started chasing us! It hurt Nihra!”

“Don’t worry, I’ll be there soon.” He paused momentarily and eyed the nearby shadows. A strange feeling of suspicion had crept into him. “Rels, do you know where the metal spider wen—“

His sentence was cut short by the sound of an automaton leaping from the pipes above. The spider construct landed on his back, wrapping its metal legs firmly around his torso. He could feel a great pressure forming around his arms and rib cage as its grip tightened. Furiously he resisted its vice and rammed it into the surrounding walls. After a brief struggle and considerable effort he was able to pry its legs from him and toss it into the trapped corridor.

Once the spider construct landed on a batch of tiles it was done for. Spinning blades emerged from the walls in an instant and butchered the spider construct in a most violent manner. Shards of metal flew through the air, forcing both Endaros and Rels to shield their eyes. When it was all over scraps of the construct littered the entire passage way.

Endaros raised his head and watched as the spinning blades hid away back to their dormant state, waiting patiently for their next victim. He cringed at the thought of suffering such a gruesome fate. The idea of being butchered and mutilated to the point beyond recognition was most disturbing.

The thought was broken however when a scream belonging to a young girl echoed down the hall from behind Rels. The boy gasped before turning to run to the aid of his friend, and disappeared around a distant corner.

Endaros gritted his teeth. Another automaton must’ve come across the children. If he had any hopes of saving them, he had to reach them quickly. The path that was before him was the fastest but was likely the most dangerous. If he chose to take it he would risk having his blood and entrails splattered across the walls or worse. Indeed the trapped corridor was an easy way to a gruesome death. But no time could be afforded to wander the maze-like ruins for a path around, and certainly no time could be afforded to hesitate. Hefting his shield and taking a deep breath, Endaros knew what he had to do. With a quick prayer he began a mad sprint through the gauntlet.

Time itself felt as if it slowed as he took his first steps. Not every tile was a trigger, for which he was grateful for. But he was not so fortunate to avoid all the traps entirely.

The first trap he set off fired dozens of darts from the ceiling, darts that would tear through flesh and skewer the bone. Endaros had only a split second to raise his chitin shield above him, and he could hear the darts piercing deep into its surface.

The second trap he triggered whipped a long blade from the walls, one that could surely slice a mer’s torso into two. Twisting his body to the side, he managed to dodge its sharpened edge by a mere hair and continued past it as it swept by.

The final trap that sought to stop him unleashed great flames into the air, flames so that powerful that they would sear the flesh of even the most enduring of the dunmer. Endaros dived to the floor and slid himself beneath the seething fire’s embrace, finally escaping the gauntlet to the other side. He had miraculously made it across unscathed, as if Lady Azura herself watched over him. But now wasn’t the time to celebrate.
Scrambling to his feet, he followed the path around the corner to where Rels had disappeared to. Before him he saw the boy standing between his injured friend Nihra and another fearsome dwemer guardian. Unlike the prior one however, this guardian was a metallic humanoid torso on top of a large brass sphere. It raised a bladed arm into the air at Rels, intending to deliver a fatal strike to the boy.

Endaros leapt forward, drawing his sword and with a mighty swing decapitated its bronze head from its shoulders. The centurion’s body lingered upright only for a moment before collapsing to the ground with a loud crash.

-------

Sometime later, Endaros emerged from the ruins carrying Nihra in his arms with Rels walking right beside him. It had taken a while but they had found a safe route to the exit, one without fearsome traps and guardians to block their way. In the far distance the sun rose upon the horizon, chasing away the night.

Although Endaros had healed Nihra’s leg as best as he could, she still had trouble walking and had to be carried home. She rested her head on his shoulder and slept soundly, now safely away from the dangers of the ruins. Rels himself seemed quite fatigued, but insisted he could make the journey. For the most part their trip back to the village was peacefully quiet, a blissful change from the constant sound of churning dwemer machinery. It wasn’t until they were just at the village outskirts did Rels speak up.

“How did you know?”

“Know what?” Endaros replied, staring ahead towards the village.

“That you would make it through those traps.”

“I didn’t.”

“But you could’ve died!”

“And I’m very glad I didn’t!” The armiger said with a light laugh.

The boy went silent once again for a few moments, staring towards the ground. “I’m not sure if I could’ve done something like that.”

Endaros shook his head softly. “I wouldn’t say that, Rels. You performed a far greater deed than I..”

The boy looked up at him skeptically, unsure of what he meant.

The armiger continued, “You placed yourself between that construct and Nihra, without a sword in your hand or a shield on your arm. Just a boy and you did something that great princes and proud warriors wouldn't have done. You considered her life before your own, and that may have saved her.”

Rels furrowed his brow considering the thought to himself as they came to the the front gate to the village.

“You’re a brave one, Rels.” Endaros said as he leaned his back on the wooden gate to open it. He paused midway before adding another comment with a smirk. “Just don’t go exploring dangerous ruins again for a while, alright?”

Rels returned a tired smile as the three made their way into the village.
This post was last modified: August 1st 2013, 01:04 AM by Horizon Seeker


Character Profiles:
Endaros Ilmori - Buoyant Armiger
Sunrio - Aldmeri Justiciar

Taren Jucanis - Imperial Deserter (Used for The Black Shroud RP)
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Grimhild Urdenheimr, Iogairn, Kazya, Nidali, Thorfinn, Yatur gro-Ushul
Post #47028
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As enjoyable as the first!

You really captured the feeling of those dwemer ruins--unpleasant and crude, indeed--I prefer bandit caves and nordic barrows, personally.


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Horizon Seeker
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Thanks for the feedback! I wanted to work on writing environment descriptions, so I'm glad that worked out.

Honestly I'm not sure if the flow and transitions are as smooth as I'd like. Though that may be because I wrote it so I end up reading it in a different way. I'll need to think more about that.


Character Profiles:
Endaros Ilmori - Buoyant Armiger
Sunrio - Aldmeri Justiciar

Taren Jucanis - Imperial Deserter (Used for The Black Shroud RP)
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Post #47234
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Very good. I'm not sure how believable I find them being lost for three days in though, but I'm sure that's just me.

In comparison to the last one the pace feels a bit clipped, if you know what I mean. Choppy? Though because much of it is action I think you can be forgiven.

Generosity is next?
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Post #47236
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(March 5th 2013, 12:22 AM)Nidali Wrote: Very good. I'm not sure how believable I find them being lost for three days in though, but I'm sure that's just me.

In comparison to the last one the pace feels a bit clipped, if you know what I mean. Choppy? Though because much of it is action I think you can be forgiven.

Generosity is next?

Hah, I was toying with the amount of time they were missing too. I'll change it to a single day since there's a inconsistency with three now that I've noticed...

I'll also probably make some edits to make it less choppy, as I was thinking that myself. It's definitely longer than the previous one and is composed of more parts, so just trying to connect them all is a bit rough. It's something that can definitely be better.

And yes generosity is planned to be next. I appreciate the feedback on it! Gives me a better perspective on what I need to improve.


Character Profiles:
Endaros Ilmori - Buoyant Armiger
Sunrio - Aldmeri Justiciar

Taren Jucanis - Imperial Deserter (Used for The Black Shroud RP)
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Post #47330
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Enjoyable again, though I agree that three days seems a stretch. But its in keeping with the happy ending-y heroic stories from "The Pilgrim's Path", so who knows. I see these stories about the Seven Graces more like parables than gritty realities.
This post was last modified: March 5th 2013, 07:31 AM by Thorfinn




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