Ebony and Snow Chapter 1 Part 4

The creature was large. It was brutal and it wielded a massive version of the club the Forsworn guard had carried. Its skin glistened with some sort of oily excretion. It moved in rivulets through its bulging muscles. It had small, evil, yellow beady eyes and its mouth ringed with fangs that were curved and sharp. It looked at the Brierheart, who gestured it forward. With a speed that belied it bulk it launched itself at Zora and Lydia. The former took a crushing blow from the beast’s mace on her two hander but could do nothing against the crushing fist that smashed her nose in and toppled her to the ground, blood flowing profusely from her face. Without stopping the beast spun on its axis and brought its club to bear on Lydia. The ringing of bone on metal rang across the camp as Lydia took a full blow on her shield. The beast seemed to give a quizzical look, as if wondering why Lydia was standing, that soon turned to anger and pain as Lydia slashed across its chest with her longsword  Foul looking black blood poured forth, steaming as it came into contact with the cold air.

‘So you bleed, eh,’ growled the Nord. ‘Come and bleed some more then you black hearted bastard.’ She advanced on the beast again standing astride Zora’s prone body.

Deana and Vilja fought with the Brierheart as Lydia exchanged blows with the beast. The Forsworn proved an able opponent and Deana was forced to ditch her bow and support Vilja in the fray. Having the benefit of a flanking companion our friends were soon able to gain an advantage over the foe. Deana’s mace got through his defences and crushed into his sword arm, the squelching and sickening sound of breaking bone followed. To his credit the Brierheart didn’t scream, hateful eyes staring out of one of those antler headdresses. Moments later that head was flying through the air as Vilja’s blade went through its neck. Turning to help Lydia, Deana saw the Nord, now helmless and bleeding heavily and her shield arm lying limp by her side (her shield cloven on the floor), slide her sword through the beast’s chest and appear out of its back. Its black blood flowing down Lydia’s arm. Momentum drove the beast onto the blade as it roared loudly, its mouth open wide its forest of fangs seemingly about ot bite Lydia’s head off. Yet Deana could see the light it’s eyes had gone. With one last whimper it dropped to the side taking Lydia’s blade with it.

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OT – Black Hills Goblin courtesy of Skyrim Monster Mod

‘What the hell was that thing?’ exclaimed Zora a few hours later as she woke up. Vilja had done her best to patch her nose as she slept. Lydia lay on a pallet inside one of the Forsworn’s animal hide tents. Deanthala had exhausted her supply of potions on Lydia but she had been battered heavily by the beast and needed the rest. As both warriors rested Vilja and Deana explored the camp. The Forsworn had established a substantial presence here, Jarl Balgruuf would have to be notified, and Deana had recovered a map of Skyrim with annotations and dagger through the town of Markarth. What did these portents mean?

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Ebony and Snow Chapter 1 Part 3

The party continued moving Westwards across the Tundra. Both Lydia and Zora suggested making for the small settlement at Rorikstead. A rest there would be a welcome repose before heading back to Whiterun.  Deanthala had also asked her companions if they would aid her in the collection of pelts  for the Guild. Vilja and Lydia immediately acquiesced but Zora put up more of a fight saying she was not wasting her talents gathering rugs. Deana’s timely reminder of a certain rescue from a Necromancer Cult put a quick end to any discussion. With Nirn’s sun at their backs they ploughed a furrow through the grassy tundra towards the West.

The hunting was sparse with only one wolf hunted down, its skinned pelt securely strapped and wrapped in leather hanging from Deana’s backpack. The trek to Rorikstead took under an hour but upon reaching the settlement’s southern border something familiar and yet terrifying caught Deana’s eye. Among the bushes just off the road a corpse, some sort of wandering merchant specialising in reagents by the looks of her ransacked bags, was found. A nasty wound had split the woman’s abdomen but it was the two arrows sticking from her back that made Deana gasp. The wooden shafts sported feathers she had only seen once, sticking out from the bodies of her foster parents. Forsworn! If they were in the area the settlement at Rorikstead was in danger from those heartless bastards.

Deanthala explained the situation to her companions and they all agreed they could not let Rorikstead suffer the same fate Deana’s parents had met. A track led up into the mountains from the road were the corpse was found. Both Lydia and Zora, very familiar with terrain here, indicated that the track led to an old outpost called Serpents Bluff and it could well be that the Forsworn had taken camp here. Deana nodded and led the party up the track.

Though some attempt had been made to hide tracks there was ample example of heavy traffic coming to and from the the summit. Deana crept forward stealthily with Vilja, the other two lagging somewhat behind them (clanking heavy armour not ideal for a reconnoitre . Her heart stopped in her mouth when she saw the first savage woman. Feathers adorned a head dress on her head, fur armour adorned her body and a club sporting what seemed to be sabre cat teeth hung at her hip. Indeed these Forsworn were a savage people. Her breath started to come in quick pants, her palms sweaty, her heart beat pounding in her ears. She turned back to Vilja, her violet eyes tearing up. The Nord gently placed a hand on Deana’s wrist.

‘We shall avenge your parents,’ the Nord said. Deana nodded and nocked an arrow to her longbow. Drawing the string to its fullest extent, she held the string taught, with a prayer to Azura on her lips she loosened the string and the arrow sped like lightning to embed itself in the Forsworn’s neck. A bright red fountain of bled erupted from the wound. Vilja screamed a battle cry and charged into the fray, impaling her steel sword into the woman’s body. At this all hell broke loose. A volley of arrows came over from behind a grassy knoll followed by several Forsworn wearing what seemed to be antlers on their heads. They charged at Vilja while Deana shot arrow after arrow, her arms aching with the effort. She saw more Forsworn pour from the Camp  these more lightly armoured than the antler heads. She turned her fire on them and grinned wickedly as she saw one drop dead with an arrow lodged in its head. Vilja was hard pressed by two familiar figures in steel armour soon charged up the path to make short work of the Forsworn. Five of them lay dead and Deana felt no sense of revenge or relief, strange as she was expecting some sort of righteous indignation! Vilja was somewhat wounded and Deana lobbed a health potion at her which she acknowledged with a nod, quaffing its contents and then lobbing the empty bottle over the cliff face. A large roar from the camp brought everyone back to battle readiness as they looked towards the large, hulking figure approaching from the Camp, a Forsworn Brierheart just behind…

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