The Argonian Chronicles
Rising of a Storm Part Two
“Quick, into the keep,” Hodvar said. He pushed open the door and I dove in, skidding on the cobblestone floor. Hodvar followed quickly after. Flames filled the doorway as Hodvar tried to close the door.
“It’s stuck, a little help, prisoner.”
I ran and tackled the door, pushing hard. The door scrapped on the floor, and the hinges growned. One hinge was bent from dislodged bricks. With a final push, the door moved, wood cracking until it finally shut. Hodvar slid the bolt into locking position. We both sighed with relief.
“That was close. Let’s hope it holds.”
We were standing in what appeared to be a soldier barracks. Beds were lined against the wall with a few chests and tables scattered amongst them.
“Looks like we’re the only ones who made it,” Hodvar said, turning to me. “Was that really a dragon?”
“Sure looked like one, got a few good looks at it.”
“We should get moving. I need to warn Solitude about this.” He drew a dagger and I cringed. Would he really just save me to kill me?
“Let me see if I can get those bindings off.”
I sighed in relief and lifted my arms. He slipped the dagger between the rope and sawed through the rope easily.
I rubbed my wrists. The rope had managed to cut into my leathery skin from all the excitement from running from the dragon. A few scales had even been dislodged and fell to the floor, the larger ones making an audible “click”.
“Check the chests for some armor. You won’t get very far in those rags. There should also be a sword around here.”
I walked to the nearest chest. There was surely some armor in there, leather Imperial armor. Not exactly my style, but I suppose it would work for the time being. A weapons rack on the wall held a few simple short swords, probably made of iron or some lesser material. I picked up the armor and the sword and walked over to a table, placing the goods on it.
“Better hurry and change, that dragon could come in any minute.”
I took off my tunic, and slid off my pants. The armor was a bit heavy as I placed it over me. Hodvar helped with some of the straps on the armor I couldn’t reach.
“Huh, you know, the Imperial look suits you,” He said
No it doesn’t, I thought, and I only gave a short grunt in reply. With the armor now done, I picked up the sword and gave a few practice swings. It seemed to be balanced, not perfectly, but balanced. Hodvar walked over to another chest. After rummaging around in it, he pulled out a bottle and a pair of boots.
“This is an ointment, should help with our burns,” He said, holding up the bottle. “And you should try these boots on for size.”
“Um. . .” I lift my foot up and wiggle my three toes. “My feet aren’t exactly boot friendly.” I had on a pair of footwraps, which protected my feet from the cold of Skyrim. Before I came here, I never wore anything on my feet.
“Mmm, I think I have an idea. “ Each boot had an iron plate strapped to them. Hodvar removed each strap. “Try these,” and he tossed the plates to me. I caught one, but the second landed on the stone floor with a resounding clang.
“Thanks,” I said, leaning down to pick up the second plate. I strapped each plate to my wrapped shines. They fit snug enough. I stood up and walked around a bit.
“Seems good enough, let’s go.”
With that, we moved to a gate that blocked the barracks from the hall. Hodvar pulled a chain and the gate slid into the ground. On an end table were a few pieces of gold and a red coin purse. I picked them up and tied the purse to my belt.
“Taking gold now, eh?” Hodvar asked, giving me an accusing look.
“I’m going to need it to survive. You took all I had when you captured me.”
“Sorry about all that. If we hadn’t been waiting for those Stormcloaks, you wouldn’t be here. If we get out of this, consider it a full pardon.”
“And if we don’t?” I asked.
“Then it’s the gods’ decision.”
At the end of the hallway was another gate. I padded over to it and was about to pull the chain when I heard voices coming from the other side. Slowly, I drew my sword and moved to the opposite wall to get a good look at whoever was speaking. Two Stormcloak soldiers, a man and a woman, were just entering the room. The room was a large and round, just a place where all the keeps halls met. The woman was holding her knees, catching her breath.
“We need to keep moving. That dragon is tearing up the whole keep,” The man said, putting his arm around the woman.
“I just need a minute.”
Hodvar peeked into the room. “Stormcloaks. Maybe we can reason with them.”
We watched for a little longer, waiting for the woman to gather herself, then Hodvar pulled the chain.
“What was that? Who’s there?” The Stormcloak man asked. Both of them drew their weapons as I stepped into the room.
“Oh, it’s you. Glad to see we weren’t the only ones.”
Then Hodvar stepped into the room.
“You!” Both the soldiers said in unison. The man looked at me. “You’ve allied with him? He was going to have you killed!”
“He is my best chance of survival. And we will all have a better chance together.”
“I will die before I ever ally with a damn Imperial!” The woman said, and charged at Hodvar. I was faster and intercepted her stroke. A mad rage filled her eyes and she struck out at me. I feinted to the right but she called my bluff and smacked my head with her shield. My horns took most of the impact, but still my ear-holes rang. She moved to stab at my gut, and I parried just in time. I bashed my sword on her shield, and she fell back, her shield moving to the side, giving the perfect opening. I took the moment and stabbed. The woman screamed as thick blood spilled from her abdomen. I pulled out and swung again at her neck. The blade was true and the Stormcloak crumpled to the ground.
Hodvar had engaged the man, who wielded a large battle axe. The Stormcloak made a large swing, but Hodvar easily ducked out of the way. The heavy axe was much harder to wield than a short sword. Hodvar had no trouble quickly dispatching the soldier with a quick thrust to the man’s chest.
“Well done, Dian. You seem to know how to fight. Now let’s move.”
We took no more than a few steps when the Stormcloak man rose to his feet. He had picked up his comrades sword and raised it above his head.
A deep rumble filled the chamber and the ceiling caved in. The rubble fell onto the man. I barely had enough time to wrap my arm around Hodvar’s chest and dive out of the way, pulling him down with me. The roar of the dragon outside over powered the sound of falling debris.
“That was close, and too bad. I wanted that axe,” Hodvar said, lifting his head up and looking over my arm on his chest. I couldn’t help but chuckle.
Another rumble shook the hall we were in. I glanced up and saw cracks webbing across the ceiling.
“That’s not good,” I said.
“No it isn’t,” Hodvar added. “Move!”
I jumped up and pulled Hodvar up. We started running. Huge chunks of the ceiling fell behind us. A flight of stairs came up. We took five steps at a time on the small steps. At the bottom, the hall continued and rounded a wall.
When we rounded the wall, we were greeted with a terrible sight. The ceiling at the end of the hall was collapsing as well. A door was on the wall to the left.
“Quick, in there!” I yelled, my voice barely audible amidst the rumbling and crashing behind us. I slammed into the door with so much force that it blew off its hinges and slid across the floor with us on it like a sled. Dust floated in a white cloud behind us. The room we entered seemed to hold, the doorway now obstructed by a wall of rubble.
“-Cough- that was close,” Hodvar said, coughing again and gasping. “Where in Oblivian are we?”
I squinted and looked around the room. The dust cloud in the room obstructed my view. There seemed to be a few shelves and barrels, as well as other objects too obscured by the dust.
I can’t tell, looks like. . .”
“I can tell you where you are,” a voice said.
We both looked to the source and in the haze two figures stood.
“Really?” I asked, hopeful. My tail wagged a bit, only to droop as the unmistakable blue uniform of Stormcloaks.
“Your grave!” And they both charged. I rolled away from them. Hodvar made an unthinkable move and rolled towards our attackers. He drew his dagger and jabbed it into one of the Stormcloak’s boot.
“Aaugh!” The man screamed, and tried to pull away. The soldier had dropped his sword, instead using his shield to smack Hodvar. He protected his face with his arm. The Stormcloaks companion raised a war axe and moved to help his comrade. Hodvar kicked out at him and sent the man sprawling.
I was on my feet by now and jumped towards the wounded Stormcloak, who still swatted at Hodvar like a fly. My sword entered his chest, his ribs cracking around the blade. The man fell to the ground without another breath.
The second Stormcloak had gotten to his feet and was looking around for his axe. I ran toward him, and as he picked up his axe, sliced off his hand. He screamed and clutched at his bleeding stump. My blade seemed to move on its own as it swung up and cut his neck. I didn’t give the man a second look as he crumpled to the ground.
“Looks like we make a good team,” Hodvar said, and clapped me on the back.
“It isn’t over yet. How much further until we get out of here?” I asked, looking around for a door.
“I’m not sure. It’s been forever since I’ve taken this route. But there should be potions in here. Take a look around.”
I looked into some of the barrels. I expected food, but there were only potions. Through all the excitement, I had forgotten that I hadn’t eaten at all today. I was famished. I took all the potions and laid them out on a table. Then I looked at the shelves and grabbed a few more. After looking at each label of the potions and dividing them up, I went back to the barrels. Thank the gods that there was a barrel of apples in the far corner. I eagerly bit into the red flesh, taking a large chunk with my maw. It was so juicy and sweet. Some juice spilled out of my jaws and dripped down my neck. I swallowed, then just threw the rest of the apple into my mouth and chewed loudly. I was so hungry I soon devoured three more apples before Hodvar came back.
“The walls seem to be holding up well. You can rest for a few minutes before we move on.”
“Thanks. Do you want an apple?” I asked, holding out one of the last apples.
I tossed the fruit to him and then bit into my forth apple. We sat and chewed for a while, and finally I felt full enough to keep going.
“I’ll just finish this and then we’ll head out.” Hodvar said between mouthfuls.
“Alright,” I said. I rose to my feet and drew my sword. I took a few more practice strokes on the apple barrel, chips flying everywhere. It seemed that we would be making it out of here. I had no idea what dangers lied ahead, but I prayed to the gods that they would be few. I would soon find out that the gods have a strange sense of humor.
To be continued in part 3. . .