Intrigue and Magic Chapter 4 Dead Mens Respite
Kyra’s frustration with the menial tasks set to her by the College, her increasing worry over Quin and Azgrak’s deepening boredom in the small country town had set the half-elf into motion. It was fate then when a courier arrived with a mysterious letter telling Kyra she should explore the Source of Power within Dead Men’s Respite.
Without hesitation the half-elf had seized the chance for a change of pace and scenery and had quickly gathered up an armload of supplies for the journey and cajoled Azgrak into swapping his mead tankard for his twin axes.
A further stroke of fate had Quin brush past the two as they prepared for the journey, and as Kyra half wished, half dreaded, the archer had at once agreed to join them.
Kyra now found herself creeping through a dusty ruin, her blood thrilling to be once more on an adventure and her mind temporarily eased of its recent heavy burdens.
Azgrak alternated between grinning his big toothy grin as he fossicked through the ruins, and scowling as noises in the shadows caused him to grip the shaft of his axes more tightly. Kyra could almost feel his pulse thrumming through the floor and she knew this was exactly what the big orc needed. He was built for hunting… not drinking.
Kyra turned and caught Quin staring at her, his familiar half smirk pasted across his lips. The archer too seemed in better spirits since they’d left Winterhold and Kyra couldn’t help but wonder what it was about that town the so tortured the handsome young man. She flashed him a smile and her heart was lifted when he returned it with genuine warmth.
The trio silently moved deeper into the ruin; Kyra’s magic poised and ready to be unleashed. Hapless Draugr fell to her fury while others were cleaved by Azgrak’s twin axes. Others still crumpled silently to the floor with arrow shafts sticking out of their faces.
Kyra lead the small group, ever downward following the ghostly apparition they’d sighted on entry to the ruin.
The three had to wade through deep water at one point and Kyra wrinkled her nose in distaste at what the water might do to her lovely white fur cloak.
All thoughts of vanity left the half-elf as she heard the familiar heavy breathing of Draugr up ahead. Her eyes narrowed and a spell leapt to her fingers.
Kyra rounded a corner and entered a room and heard the cry of a Draugr. She unleashed a blast of lightning at the shambling thing even as she called a fireball to her left hand and took aim at another rotting creature rising from its sarcophagus.
She released the fireball and watched with immense satisfaction as it caught the Draugr in the chest and exploded; sending the thing back to its death and scattering bones around the room.
Another of the dead creatures swung a heavy broadsword at the mage and she narrowly sidestepped and avoided being cleaved.
Kyra unleashed another fireball and hissed as it impacted closely on the attacking Draugr sending licking flames dancing all over her body. She murmured the words to a healing spell and felt the bite of flame cool instantly.
The Draugr was amazingly still alive and as it drew in breath to shout Kyra realized it was a Scourge and would require more concentration to vanquish. She distracted it with a blast of lightning while an arrow whistled past her right ear and embedded itself deep in the creature’s chest.
Kyra sucked in her own breath and released her fearsome Thu’um, sending a killing wave of frost onto the Draugr. The creature stumbled, now fully bathed in all elements of magic; flames still licked at its feet, electricity still arced through its body and now killing frost enveloped it.
The Draugr had no chance and slumped to the ground, its final death delivered.
Kyra’s blood sang with battle lust and she had to rein in her excitement in order to be stealthy once more and slip further into the ruin.
They soon came to a narrow bridge spanning the entire length of a room and as she approached, swinging blades flashed down and up, down and up… promising death to the fool who tried to cross through the bridge.
Kyra glanced at Azgrak. The big orc shrugged his shoulders helplessly. Kyra turned to Quin who shook his head slowly.
Kyra sighed and stepped up to the beginning of the bridge. She welled up her strength and called on her Thu’um once more. She unleashed her shout and was propelled forward at lightning speed; covering the entire length of the bridge before the blades had even swung from one side to the other.
She steadied herself, looked around and pulled a rusted handle and sure enough the blades shuddered to a halt.
Quin and Azgrak hurried across the span, both giving apprehensive glances to the halted blades. Kyra waited patiently for them with her hands on her hips and gave them an imperious look as they sheepishly came over to her.
Azgrak opened his mouth to speak but Kyra silenced him with a look and the three continued silently on.
It wasn’t long before they came to a familiar looking hall with a great door at its end. Kyra recognized the door and the immense and intricately carved locking mechanism that sealed it. She delved into her pack and pulled out the stunning ruby claw they’d secured earlier in the ruin (and hadn’t Quin’s eyes bulged out at seeing such a valuable prize!) and looked carefully at it.
She stepped up to the door and pressed her hands on the strange cold stone. Kyra heaved and turned the rings of the door, changing the sequence of the patterns. When she was satisfied she fit the claw into the three holes and imagined Quin’s face at seeing her slide the valuable gem stone claws into stone holes.
She turned the claw and smiled grimly as the who mechanism turned and the door shuddered.
Kyra stepped back as a rain of dust fell down around her and an earthy grating sound filled the ruin. Azgrak watched as the door began to slide down, revealing the passageway beyond.
Kyra fondled the claw for a moment then wordlessly tossed the ruby prize to Quin. The archer caught it and his eyebrows rose incredulously. Kyra shrugged and turned back to the now gaping hole where the door had been previously.
She started forward. Azgrak gripped her arm and when she turned to him he tapped his axe pointedly. Danger.
Kyra nodded and crept forward more cautiously, her fingers tingling with magic.
The mage led the way into a great and once obviously beautiful royal hall. The decaying bodies of long dead nobles slumped in thrones at the sides of the hall and were presided over by four more thrones on a raised platform. Above that she could see an altar of sorts and knew this boded ill.
The undead spectre stood in the centre of the hall, his unearthly sword pulled and ready to do battle.
Kyra edged forward and suspected she knew where battle would come from.
Groans and sounds split the silence from all around her and as Kyra suspected, the sitting Draugr suddenly lurched to life and drew wicked looking weapons.
All notion of being stealthy gone now, Kyra opened her mouth and cried out while simultaneously unleashing fire and lightning at any undead she saw.
Quin and Azgrak joined in the fray and soon the air was thick with magic, screams and powdered bone as Draugr fell to the powerful trio.
Kyra moved her way through the hall dispatching enemies with ease and kept one eye on the spectre who was advancing up the stairs now toward the alter. The trio inched up behind him as their foes thinned out.
A sudden cracking sound split the air and Kyra turned in time to see the lid fly off the alter at the top of the stairs. She recognized it now as not an altar but a very large and impressive sarcophagus. The undead spectre raced forwards, towards the thing climbing out of the sarcophagus.
Kyra recognized the horned demonic visage of a Draugr Deathlord and she called to her companions then raced up the stairs. She unleashed her lightning even as Azgrak brushed past her, his axes aimed squarely at the Deathlord’s head.
The Draugr king screamed at Azgrak, knocking the big orc back with some kind of shout and Kyra took the opportunity to fling a fireball at his face. The fireball connected and knocked the king backwards.
Kyra hurled more lightning at the Draugr king and noticed arrows flying through the air to burrow deep into the thing’s chest. Finally, the combined might of the fearsome trio and with the help of the undead lad, the Deathlord staggered, fell and did not move again.
A sudden hush descended over the tomb and Kyra’s heart still raced in her chest. She looked around and noticed the undead spectre walk over to a small door and turn back toward her. His face turned up in a lovely smile and a lute appeared in his hands. As he strummed silently, the air surrounding him shimmered and became a pure white light that seemed to welcome the spirit.
As Kyra looked away from the blinding light she thought she heard a farewell whisper. The light winked out and when Kyra turned back, the spirit was gone.
“Well. That was good to work out the kinks” Azgrak murmured twisting his head from side to side and cracking his knuckle.
Quin nodded and said, “Nice to know you can still wield an axe Big Bad. I was beginning to suspect all you could wield was a tankard.”
Azgrak glowered at the archer and Kyra couldn’t help but smile.
“Come on. Let’s get out of here.” She said.
The three made their way back to the exit of the ruin in companionable silence and Kyra felt good for the first time in a long while. Her boys were sated and pleasantly bickering, they’d scored some loot to sell on the way back, and she’d used more magic here than during her entire stay at the College.
It seemed the name of this place had rung true. It had been respite.
Intrigue and Magic Chapter 5 coming soon… Missed the previous chapter? Catch up here: Intrigue and Magic Part 3
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