Se’rith took the South Road just after noon. The common snow storms had thankfully subsided and this made her journey somewhat easier than recent forays from Winterhold. As she approached the ruined fort she had been attacked from she dropped into an attack stance and readied her Sparks and Lesser Ward spells. This time however she passed by unharmed and soon enough came to a cross roads. A signpost indicated that the South Eastern road would take her to Windhelm, and indeed she could see the city’s walls in the distance. A second arrow pointed North West with the word Whiterun etched into in. She consulted her map and saw that the road to Whiterun was long and passed through an area of Skyrim called The Pale. She proceeded on her journey until a wondrous sight stopped her in her tracks. Two large, fur clad giants were escorting a massive woolly mammoth up a mountain track. Her eyes almost popped out of their dark sockets. Yes ofcourse she had read of mammoths and giants but seeing in them the flesh was another thing entirely!
Her observations were rudely interrupted by the whistling of arrows and crude battle crys. The giants, that had hitherto been peaceful and serene, quickly drew clubs. Well she called them clubs but they were really trees! Running down the path a group of four ruffians were pelting the mammoth with arrows. Its cries of rage punctuated with whelps of pain. Her flank soon sported several goose feather fletched missiles. Se’rith was incensed that such a majestic creature was being set upon by such low life. She ran towards them shouting in elvish and releasing the power of her magic. One, rather emaciated bandit, took a bolt full in the chest and almost doubled up in the air as she opened a massive hole in the centre of his chest. He fell over a rock dead, his black linen cloak enshrouding him like a funerary robe. The air around her was suddenly filled with more arrows but also balls of fire. She looked up the path and a heavily armed adventuring party was charging into the fray making short work of the bandits but also taking the fight to the giants despite Se’rith’s pleas. She took a step back into the shadows of a nearby barrow as these adventurers were wielding great power and her jaw almost hit the floor when two mages brought down the shorter of the giants under a barrage of Fireballs, oh to wield such power!
OT-adventuring bands from Adventurers and Travellers Mod.
As the battle continued she withdrew further into the entrance to barrow. She sheathed her weapon, now a dagger she had found in the ruined cairn where the Alchemist had been murdered by a bandit outside Winterhold. She could hear voices as she approached the barrow and as she turned the corner she saw a heavily armoured Redguard and a blue robe Argonian engaged in deep discussion. Steel was drawn and the crisp smell of magic permeated the air as she approached but Se’rith held her palms open, facing them to indicate the Dunmer way that she came in peace. Though still wary the Redguard woman introduced herself as Selma and her companion as Beem Ja. They were discussing whether to go into the barrow, that Selma called Iron Bind Barrow in search of treasure. Beem Ja shook his head saying he didn’t like the smell and that he wouldn’t go in. Selma let out and exasperated gasp at the Argonian and stepped into fissure in the cliff face that acted as this barrow’s entrance. ‘Well then Dunmer, are you coming?’ came her voice from the darkness.
With a shrug of her shoulders Se’rith followed Selma in and it took a minute for her eyes to get used to the change in light level. The entrance was an ice tunnel, carved into the rock itself. The workmanship was old but there was evidence of recent activity as the walls and ceiling were covered in sticking webbing of the finest silk. THe drawing of steel further down the passage made Se’rith run forward to see Selma engaging the two largest spiders Se’rith had ever seen. They arched back on eight legs exposing hairy fangs, dripping with venom. One such fang scraped the Redguard’s vambrace as she lurched forward to attack, the venom’s acidic properties hissing on the steel armour. Se’rith released a bolt that blew the spider up on contact. She was perplexed at the power behind the spell but a blur of blue and a flash of green answered her query. Beem Ja sped past her and also made short work of the second spider with another blast of eldritch energy.’Ha, I knew you’d follow Beem Ja,’ cried the Redguard as she charged down the passage. The Argonian and the Dunmer followed until they came to an immense cavern whose ceiling was lost in the darkness. The webs were of an immense density here and the smell of death, decay and carrion hung heavily in the air. Weapons were drawn and spells were ready but nothing prepared them for the monstrosity that dropped with cat like grace from the darkness above.
A third spider hissed and spat its angry venom at them, a spider so large that it instantly relegated the previous two to the second largest she’d ever seen. It was huge. Its spindly legs looked more like tree trunks and its eight green eyes shone with wickedness. Selma launched itself at it burying her steel longsword into the beast’s bulbous abdomen, ichor and blood spraying out of the wound. Se’rith jumped onto a boulder to give herself a perfect angle to loose a lightning bolt a the spider. It glanced of its hind leg splitting it to the bone. The Argonian was meanwhile pouring arcane fire into the spider. He held his hands open in front of him like a fan, yellow flames arching out pushing the spider back.
Thats when things began to go wrong. Beem Ja lost his footing on a desicated corpse wrapped in webs on the floor. As he fell his magic fizzled out as his concentration waned. The monster had found its opening. With a sickening squelch it impaled the Argonian on its two front legs while with a speed that belied its size, buried its fangs into Beem Ja’s neck and injected its venom into his body. The mage convulsed twice and then stayed very still. This provoked a berserk like rage in Selma. She charge the spider jumping on its back and hacking at the back of its head. Multifaceted eyes were gored on her sword. Se’rith for her part exhausted herself pouring bolt after bolt into the spider. Caught between blade and spell the monster fell, its legs collapsing in on themselves. Selma run to her fallen companion and cradled his head in her gore stained hands.
Se’rith watched sorrowfully as the Redguard gently laid Beem Ja’s head down. She dug in her pack for a stamina potion as the fight had bee a hard one and she could feel her connection to the magical weave weaken. Selma was distraught. She thanked the Dunmer for her aid and apologised for leading her into such mortal danger. She bade Se’rth grant her the respect of solitude as she dealt with her dead friend. Se’rith totally understood and walked to examine the spiders corpse. She collected some dripping venom in an empty water bottle and walked off into a side passage. There she found a grand entrance to some sort off tomb. Even from a distance away she could feel an evil chill.
She quickly backed off and bade farewell to Selma. Heading back on the road she noticed the sun low in the sky. Her road was still long and she was getting ready for a night walk when out of the trees a most welcome sight appeared, an inn. Named the Nightgate Inn, she entered and closed the door. Falling onto a bench made from a split log she closed her eyes and let out a long, tired breath.
OT- Cloaks from Cloaks mod by Noodles.