Date:- 2E 581 First Seed Morndas 16th
With no sunlight or moon to guide them through the city it made their journey difficult. The only light seemed to come from the clouds above and the stone walls of the city along with some of the major buildings in a sickly black purple light that would make one feel ill with nausea and a pulsing headache if looked at directly for to long. In the sky large winged creatures wheeled and dived on the currents of air, now and then they would swoop down and pick up individuals only to carry them off to some place unknown. They followed a fast flowing stream that stank of stagnant water and effluent Delte covered her mouth and nose with a silk scarf as they made their way along the banks, Volk and Left-Paw-Alight tried their best not to breath to deeply but in the end gave up and just tried to ignore the stench. Placed along the banks of the stream were small encampments of old run down market stalls and tents with sleeping bags inside. The occupants to which looked much like the others they had seen during their time in Coldharbour. Some scurried about on hands and knees like wild dogs looking for food baring their teeth at passing daedra and each other.
Delte circumnavigated most of these settlements and their occupants trying to avoid getting into a fight and giving away their purpose and location to the daedra. The fights they couldn't avoid were over quickly and quietly with either a dagger in the back or an arrow from Delte's bow.
As they approached one encampment they noticed a log fire blazing away with a strange man sat playing a lute and singing songs to a group of dishevelled looking humans with cold empty grey eyes wearing only rags. On the lute players head sat an old battered saucepan as a makeshift helmet. He wore a ragged tunic and breaches, on his feet were a pair of old leather boots with their toe caps missing. Left-Paw-Alight nudged Delte and pointed at the scene and said “Now that is strange.”
“What do you mean?” Delte said looking for an explanation.
“Singing and playing a lute shows signs of intelligence and a creative edge or soul.” came his reply “We should go and see if he is in a talking mood, maybe he can direct us to the fresh slaves or even Gresla.”
“Then let us go and have a word.” Volk interrupted at hearing this, he moved out of the shadows and headed over to the camp before Delte could stop him or urge caution. She sighed and shook her head and followed him over to the camp fire along with Left-Paw-Alight.
Volk was already sat down on one of the logs by the fire when Delte and Left-Paw-Alight arrived and sat down along side him, the man carried on playing for a short while and then stopped to look at the new arrivals. “Well well looks like I have a new audience, I am pleased to say. The old one wasn't in a very talkative mood, they just had no soul.” he said and started to laugh “Oh were are my manners, Sir Cadwell at your service.” He finished as he lifted up his saucepan helmet in greeting.
Delte, Volk and Left-Paw-Alight looked at each other with puzzled expressions on their faces. Volk introduced himself and his two companions to the man calling himself Sir Cadwell. Delte got impatient and asked “We are here looking for a way to the newly arrived slaves and a nord woman who goes by the name of Gresla Shatter-Shield.”
“I see well how about a trade first?” Sir Cadwell offered.
“Go on what kind of trade?” Left-Paw-Alight replied trying to define the deal in a less broader term than the one used by the strange man.
“Well let me see.” Sir Cadwell said as he stroked his long pointy grey beard as he thought “Ah ha I know what about a song in trade for information?”
Left-Paw-Alight sighed with relief and then said “I don't know any songs though, a spell I can teach you though.”
“No I need a new song, something cheerful in this dark and dismal place to help lift the mood.” came the reply from Sir Cadwell.
Delte shrugged her shoulders and confessed “I don't know any in the common tongue.”
“I have one.” Volk said with a cheeky grin.
“Oh gods no not that one Volk.” Left-Paw-Alight complained
“Now I am intrigued to hear this one master Volk.” Sir Cadwell said with a grin looking at the discomfort written on Delte's and Left-Paw-Alight's faces.
Volk took a deep breath and started to sing in a deep resonant tone:-
There was a young fop from Highrock,
Who thought he had a big cock,
He met a nordic whore,
They wiggled and jiggled all night long,
Till she screamed “Is it in?”
Volk and Sir Cadwell fell about laughing at the poem while Delte held her head in her hands and just groaned along with Left-Paw-Alight. Suddenly Sir Cadwell sat bolt up right and looked Volk in the eye and said “I was from Highrock you know.”
Volk stopped laughing instantly and his hand went to his axe waiting for the attack. Sir Cadwell looked him in the eye and scowled, then a smile spread across his face and he said “But I like that one, and there were many fops in Highrock who could boast.” Volk's hand fell back onto his knee as he relaxed.
“As agreed a song for information.” Sir Cadwell said as he put his lute down by his side “You are seeking entrance to the soul forge tower then if it is new slaves you are looking for. As for the maiden Gresla she came through a week ago now and will be soul forged soon, unless she has already met that fate of course.”
“What does soul forged mean exactly?” Left-Paw-Alight asked.
Sir Cadwell picked up his lute and started to strum it as he spoke “Soul forging is where the mortals are taken to the forge and have their souls hammered from their bodies. The soul is then forged into the chains you see above us going to those large spinning hoops of metal. Quite and ingenious contraption and Molag Bal's newest invention and plan.
“Wait what plan?” Left-Paw-Alight said.
“Oh to pull Nirn into Coldharbour of course.” came the reply from Sir Cadwell as he strummed the lute.
“Soul forging sounds painful.” Delte confessed.
“It is my dear, most don't survive the process.” Sir Cadwell answered “Those that do often go insane or feral.”
“Have you been soul forged?” Volk said wondering if Cadwell's madness might be a part of this process.
“Oh no my dear boy, I have been here for....ermm …. well let me see....” Sir Cadwell started to count on his fingers and then gave up “A long time, you see I came here when my head was unceremoniously removed from my shoulders in a fight.”
“How do we get into the soul forge?” Delte asked him
“Follow this river to the harvester mines.” Sir Cadwell pointed at the river and the direction they needed to travel in “Be careful in the mines they are filled with traps and beasties.”
Delte and the others rose to their feet and started to move again, Delte looked back at Sir Cadwell and asked him “What kind of beasties?” Secretly hoping it was not going to be giant spiders.
“Mostly undead and snakes.” Sir Cadwell said as he waved goodbye to them “Oh and give my regards to Eleanor when you see her.” With that parting remark he started to play his lute once more and sing the song Volk had taught him.
When they reached the river bank once more and started to follow it Delte said “I wonder who Eleanor is?”
“I don't know and there is only one way to find out.” Volk said in reply “Lets get a move on, sounds like we have some ground to cover.”
They followed the rive to where it vanished into the cliff face. A quick search revealed an entrance to some old abandoned mine that Sir Cadwell had told them about. Metallic clanking sounds could be heard echoing through the tunnels, along with hiss of high pressured steam shooting out of vents. Glowing fungus and lichen lined the walls in a strange blue glow within the tunnels, the light they gave off was enough to navigate by with ease. Delte took point as they entered the old mines, it wasn't long till they came across their first trap of a metal plate in the floor of the tunnel with holes peppered in it. A hiss of steam shot out of some pipes nearby and a set of iron spikes shot up through the holes, with no way to disarm the trap they had to time their run and jumps to be able to get past it without incident. Skeletons littered the ground with huge holes in skulls and broken bones, a testament to the effectiveness of the traps in the mines.
Delte picked the route through the mines trying to avoid most of the traps or find a easy path over them, on one of the traps she and Volk had managed to get across without any problems until it came to Left-Paw-Alight's turn. As he jumped over the trap the spikes shot out and skewered his trailing robes pulling him back and up to suspend him above the floor of the mine. The sound of tearing cloth could be heard as the robes start to give way due to his weight pulling on the seams. The spikes shot back down into the floor dumping the argonian onto the floor with a thud, Volk and Delte pulled him clear and helped him back to his feet. Delte stripped Left-Paw-Alight of his ruined robes and left him standing naked to the waist as she took them over to a rock and started to slice the bottom half of the robes away. When she had finished she handed them back to him and said “There put it back on, no more getting caught in traps.”
He looked at the robes and then Delte with a measure of disgust and shock, but didn't say a word as he put what remained of his robes back on.
They moved deeper into the mines all the while a steady ringing sound could be heard, Volk cocked his ear up towards it and told the others it was a hammer striking an anvil meaning they must be close to the soul forge.
Eventually they arrived in a large open cavern that had been bug out by the claws of some monster and various points in the walls tunnels lead away into the darkness, some went downwards others carried on the same level. The three of them found one tunnel that started to incline upwards back to the surface, Left-Paw-Alight summoned a small flame and held it up, as he did so the fire moved towards the tunnel that inclined meaning the tunnel lead to the surface. As he dismissed the flame skeletons and small imps poured out of the other tunnels, Delte and Volk held the front rank as Left-Paw-Alight cast spells and backed his way up the tunnel. Once the three of them was clear of the entrance Left-Paw-Alight cast a powerful kinetic blast at the tunnel roof bringing it down onto their enemies, and blocking the way back through the mines. The climb was steep and tiring for all involved, eventually they made it to where the tunnel flatted out and they saw the entrance that lead into a courtyard of some kind.
They emerged into the courtyard and was met by a huge towering fort built into the very wall of the city of Coldharbour. Its stones were made of a black granite with small bones embedded within them. A small wooden door sat at the top of a flight of stone steps, at the base of the steps there was a wooden table where a woman was sat writing in a book with a quill pen. The woman was dressed in a simple black dress and wearing black boots. They looked up at the sky and saw the huge metal ring spinning suspended above the tower, chains could be seen wrapping around it looking like huge metallic snakes coiling around their prey. Cries of pain and moans could be heard coming from within the large tower in between the strikes of the hammer sounds.
The woman at the table looked up and smiled at them as they approached, her smile was devoid of all emotion which set Delte's nerves on edge and gave her an uneasy feeling. She tightened her grip on her bow stave watching the open ground between her and the only door visible that lead into the fort.
“Careful Volk, I don't like the look of this.” She said as Volk stepped forward to meet the strange woman.
Volk nodded and walked over to meet her. “ Eleanor I presume?” He said to the woman.
“Why yess that iss my name.” She said stopping in her stride to keep a distance between Volk and herself.
“Sir Cadwell sends his regards.” Volk said with a grin thanking their lucky stars they had found another ally in this dismal place.
She threw her head back and laughed although it held no emotion at all which set Volk's hackles up on the back of his neck, slowly he drew his large two handed sword.
“Welcome mortalss to my lordss domain.” she said with malice in her voice “Ssubmit to me now and I will make your deathss quick and painlesss.”
With that she produced a black soul gem and held it up waiting for them to kneel before her.
“A black soul gem.” Left-Paw-Alight said to Delte “She means to trap us here, some friend she is.”
Knowing the implications of what the black soul gem meant Delte slowly pulled an arrow out of her quiver and dipped the point into a small pot of black paste.
“Sorry lady you are in my way and not being very helpful with talk of submission.” Volk responded as he hoisted his sword up and started a running charge at the woman.
As Volk covered the middle ground the woman's body grew in size and transformed, her bottom half turned into that of a large snake while the top half remained female but her teeth grew into large fangs dripping with poison, while her body gained another pair of arms. On the end of the tail a large rattle made a constant sound that put Delte's teeth on edge.
“A harvester of souls.” Delte shouted above the din of the rattle as she drew back on her bow.
Volk leapt into the air at the end of his run his sword high above his head ready for the down swing when he met his target. The harvester screeched at him and threw a bolt of magical lighting at the airborne Volk, it hit him squarely on his chest sending him flying back the way he had come to land heavily on the courtyard floor. Smoke slowly rising from his chainmail armour. The harvester began to summon more energy to throw another spell at Volk's prone form.
An arrow struck the daedra ruining its concentration and the spell died on its lips, a cry of pain and shock came from the creature as the fast acting poison from the arrow took effect and spread its way through the blood stream.
“Face me creature!” Delte shouted as she ran in the opposite direction away from where Volk lay. As she moved she loosed arrows in quick succession at the harvester of souls.
The harvester of souls screeched at Delte and slithered towards her with clawed hands outstretched. Left-Paw-Alight cast a healing spell over Volk's prone form, and then summoned up a fireball to throw at the daedra. The blazing ball of fire hit the daedra causing the harvester to throw up a magicka ward for protection and stop any more spells from hitting it. Small glowing orbs of light started to appear and travel towards the creature.
“Shoot the orbs.” Left-Paw-Alight shouted over to Delte as he now cowered behind his own magicka ward as lightning ignited the air between him and the harvester.
Delte took aim and shot an arrow at each of the orbs, she missed the last one as it struck the harvester of souls. She watched horrified as the wounds she had given it were healed as the light enveloped its nightmare form.
His head spinning Volk slowly got up and looked around the courtyard, he saw Delte hiding behind a wall buttress as she shot arrows at the daedra and Left-Paw-Alight being magical assaulted by lighting from the creature they were fighting. Volk picked up his two handed sword and ran at the daedra once more ready now for the attack.
Left-Paw-Alight watched as Volk charged past him and dodged a bolt of lighting, then ducked under a swipe from the clawed hands of the creature. His sword came in low and sliced the belly of the snake part of the body, intestines spewed out onto the courtyard as it reeled back in pain. It raised its hands high into the air to rain blows down onto Volk who was now moving in again to strike another part of the snakes tail.
An arrow from Delte's bow pierced the harvesters skull sending an uncontrolled spasm through its body. The snake tail whipped around and swiped Volk off his feet, he rolled away as the dead daedra toppled over and lay twitching on the ground.
Without pausing for a rest Delte bounded up the stone steps at the door picking the lock. Left-Paw-Alight and Volk looked over the book the woman had been writing in and noticed she was keeping some sort of accounts or tally system of souls entering into the soul forge. The latest entry was today along with a head count.
“I don't want to deal with one of those things again.” Volk said looking at the dead creature lying on the ground.
“Harvester of Souls.” Left-Paw-Alight said to give it the proper name of the creature they had just fought against. “One of the more powerful daedra that calls Coldharbour its home.”
“Are you two coming or do you wish to stand there contemplating your navels all day?” Delte said with a grin as she entered the now open doorway.
Inside the fort the scene was filled with a column of smoke rising up the centre of a hollowed out tower. A huge metal frame was built on the inside of the tower with walkways and stairs leading up and down to various levels. Patrols of daedra roamed these walkways with leashed clannfear by their sides snapping at any stray hands or feet from the prisoners that protruded from the iron cells that lined the walls. The heat was intense inside the structure and the hammering was a lot louder along with the screams of pain that sounded with each strike of the hammer. Animated black iron chains moved through the air on invisible pulleys they sped by at amazing speeds. Now and then they would catch hold of a iron cage from the wall and wrap around a hoop on its roof, only to whip it out of its socket in the wall and send it either down or up the tower. Full cages went down while only empty ones rose back up to the top. Delte took a chance and looked up at the top of the tower and far above her she saw a faint glow of a portal stone, she then looked down at the floor of the tower and far below them stood a giant figure wielding a huge hammer onto an anvil. Placed on the anvil was a figure which was to far away to determine what race it was, the hammer struck the anvil and then a second anvil where a piece of white hot metal had been placed. A link in a chain formed as the body on the anvil shrivelled up and became ash. Another figure was pulled from out of the cage at the base of the tower by two black animated chains and placed on the anvil ready for the next blow from the hammer and a new link in the chain.
Left-Paw-Alight looked closely at the metal frame work they now stood on and saw small faces screaming in eternal torment back at him, he placed a hand on the rail and closed his eyes to try and get a sense of the magicka involved in its constructions. He recoiled back in fear and a cold dread came over him. “By the gods, living souls being worked into the daedric metal to give it life and form.” he said as he recovered from the shock and horror of what he had sensed.
“We can't save them all though.” Volk added as he realised the magnitude of the task at hand “Even if we manage to save just one cage full of prisoners it will be a miracle”
“Then let us see if we can save the cage that holds your wife.” Delte said with a smile as she looked down upon a platform suspended in the centre of the tower by a long walkway and chains.
On the platform stood a robed daedra that would wave a control rod in a direction and then a cage would swing down in front of him, a lot of pointing and shouting would issue forth and then the daedra would write in a book. Once the writing was finished the cage would then be sent on its way down the tower to await the smiths hammer.
“Wait here.” Delte told the others “I need to go and have a chat with that daedra down there.”
She moved away and melted into the shadows, Volk and Left-Paw-Alight watched her go and stayed hidden on their perch which was a perfect vantage point to watch her progress below.
“Poor bastards.” Volk remarked in abject horror as he watched “If we get caught I am going to die fighting, there will be no surrender from me.” he promised.
“Agreed.” Left-Paw-Alight replied with a nod “Best we make sure not to get captured then, stay low and wait for Delte's signal.”
“Why is the book important though Paws?” Volk asked puzzled at why the daedra would need to write anything of mortals.
“It will have the names and possible dates recorded within. It is very difficult even for daedra to work magic on such a magnitude as this without using True Names.” Left-Paw-Alight replied “A True Name is the one we are born with and then the Gods and stars give us more names, if someone knows them all then they can do things with a soul whether it is mortal or divine. The more powerful the being the longer and harder the name is to learn and pronounce. My guess is they record them in the book so they are then known to the smith either through a telepathic link or another book below us.”
“What is your True Name then Paws?” Volk asked with a grin and complete innocence to the implications of the question.
“Let us just say the name you know me by is not my real name to begin with.” Left-Paw-Alight said as he watched Delte make her way across the walkway to the centre platform “Not that I don't trust you with it, its just that you wouldn't be able to even say my saxhleel name properly to do it justice. Your father gave me the name of Left-Paw-Alight when we first met.”
Delte crept along the walkway careful not to make a sound, even though the din of the hammer on the anvil echoed through the tower a simple misplaced sound could alert her target. She pulled the fell dagger from its sheath and instantly felt a sense of apprehension and a wave of joy from the blade. A thought entered her mind from the sentient soul within the blade of tasting daedra blood after such a long time would be a beautiful feeling. She gave one quick look around at her surroundings and made sure the guards were all out of ear shot, and they were all to far away to lend aid to her target if it didn't die in the first blow.
Delte concentrated her magicka in a small portal made up of the shadows around her and stepped into it, she leapt the distance between her and the daedra as it started a new entry in the book within a blink of an eye. Her dagger appearing in its kidney, she quickly pulled it out and sliced across its throat before it could recover from the pain and shout the alarm. The dremora died in her arms as she let it down silently to the floor. She quickly pulled the robes and mask off and put them on as a disguise while she read the book, picking up the control rod she placed this in her belt. The dagger she held let a wave of healing energy wash over her as it consumed the soul of the dead daedra, she noticed her aches, grazes and cuts healed in that instance leaving no marks.
The book was written in the daedric runes which Delte could read due to her dunmer heritage, within the book were the names of all the prisoners that had come through the soul forge along with dates and the places in Tamriel from which they came from. Engrossed with her search for Gresla's name she never heard the guard walk up behind her with the leashed clannfear by its side in a parody of a human guard and his guard dog. Volk and Left-Paw-Alight was to far away to lend aid to her and they watched helplessly at the scene unfold below them.
“What is the meaning of this?” the dremora demanded as it looked at the dead dremora on the floor with black blood pooling from the wound that sliced its throat and puncture wound in its back.
“He had made a mistake, I was sent to correct it by Eleanor.” Delte responded in an authoritative tone “Do not disturb me again or I will consider you as part of the mistake and will have you dealt with in the same manner as he was.” She pointed to the dead dremora on the ground without looking up from the book trying to give off an air of confidence and power.
The clannfear sniffed at Delte's feet unsure of the scent it could detect, she closed her eyes and prayed to Mephala for guidance.
“Child of Mephala say this exactly 'I am the Keeper of Names.'” the disembodied voice said to her from the dagger she held.
Delte opened her eyes and kicked at the clannfear as she said “I am the Keeper of Names. Now get your mongrel away from me weakling.”
The dremora pulled back on the leash to heel the clannfear and spoke in a frightened tone “I am.... forgive me Keeper. I will carry on my patrol.” with that the dremora bowed to Delte and walked away with the clannfear in tow.
Delte let out a sigh of relief and looked at the dagger and then placed it in its sheath deciding to deal with it once she was free of Coldharbour. In the book she noticed one name started to glow in red she blinked her eyes and the voice spoke again from the dagger.
“This is the mortal you seek is it not?” the voice spoke again. “Take the control rod and call up the cell number.”
Delte pulled out the control rod and concentrated on the cell number, the small gem on the end of the rod started to glow with a green light as chains started to descend down the tower far below her. She saw the gem change colour slightly and looked down her eyes following the chains and noticed that they had attached onto a cage full of people. She smiled and then gave the mental command for the cell to rise up to her platform. She looked up at where Volk and Left-Paw-Alight where hidden and waved at them to come and join her.
The change of direction of the cells did not go unnoticed by the guards within the tower. Volk and Left-Paw-Alight were seen as they made their way to where Delte waited for them. A klaxon sounded the alert and daedra started to rush up the flights of stairs towards them. Delte watched their progress from her vantage point and noted the timing was going to be close. She looked down at the cell as it rose up to her platform and leapt over the side to land on its roof. She then threw her disguise off and strung her bow ready for combat.
The cell stopped at the platform as Volk and Left-Paw-Alight ran down the walkways length to the cell, Delte loosed two arrows at a pair of daedra that were in hot pursuit of her two friends.
“Jump and get on we are going all the way to the top.” Delte shouted above the din of the alarms and sound of hungry clannfear coming to eat them.
Volk jumped and cleared the gap with ease, he spun round as Left-Paw-Alight jumped and caught hold of his arms and hauled him the rest of the way onto the cells roof. The prisoners in the cell were all shouting and asking to be freed when they realised their new passengers were mortal. Delte shot another arrow at a clannfear as it tried to leap after them. She then dropped her bow and grabbed hold of the control rod and pointed it up at the open sky where the portal crystal was stood on the roof of the tower. The cell lurched up and began its ascent back to the top floor of the tower.
The occupants within the cell gave cries of shock and pain as they were tossed about like rags dolls as the cell rose up through the tower. Volk peered through the bars in the roof of the cell at the people within and shouted “Gresla Shatter-Shield!”
A woman came into view with long blond hair which fell down tussled and knotted, her blue eyes starred up at Volk and shouted in disbelief “By the gods Volk! Its you.” she then burst into tears as he reached down through the bars and held her hand.
Volk looked up at Left-Paw-Alight and Delte with joy on his face and shouted out to them both “She is alive.”
Lighting bolts flew past their heads as some of the daedra cast spells at the rapidly ascending cell, Left-Paw-Alight knelt down on one knee and with staff held in one hand he bowed his head as he closed his eyes. A bubble of magicka energy spread out from him the gems on his staff glowed with the power he focused through the staff. The shield enveloped the cell and its riders to protect it from the harmful spells the enemy were casting in their direction. Delte launched arrows one after the other as they rose up the tower, her supply quickly dwindling.
“Hold tight sweetness we are going home.” Volk shouted down into the cell “Can't this thing go any faster?” he shouted at Delte as the air rushed past his ears, his long hair flailing about in the turbulence.
Delte fired her last arrow and picked up the control rod once more and waved it above her head, the cage lurched and started to climb faster.
Animated chains shot out from the fort walls trying to attach themselves to the runaway cell, dremora hitched rides on the animated chains to try and reach the speeding cell and the mortals that were aboard trying to make their escape. Most flew past missing the cell as it sailed on past, those that managed to gain a purchase were quickly kicked off or cut down by Volk and Delte.
The cell came to a sudden halt smashing a metal cog and pulley system as it reached the top floor of the tower. Delte rolled off the cell in one fluid movement and cut down the two dremora guards. Volk leapt to the floor and sliced down on the large padlock on the cell door with his huge two handed sword. As the lock hit the floor the prisoners threw open the door and surged out of the cell picking up what weapons they could find. Left-Paw-Alight was already making his way up the final flight of stairs to the rotating portal crystal killing the daedra that came down the stairs to stop him with fireballs. Delte quickly followed him along with the escaped prisoners. The blond haired woman ran over to Volk and threw her arms around Volk's neck and hugged him, he returned the embrace and kissed her passionately on the lips, and then pulled her head close to his chest and held her tightly.
“Volk we need to leave now.” Delte shouted down from the platform above as she pointed to a massive force of daedra of various kinds fighting their way up the stairs to their location.
Volk took Gresla's hand and they ran up to the platform where the crystal was.
Volk arrived at the crystal and saw Delte and Left-Paw-Alight both examining it as it rotated on its axis in a black metal frame.
“How long till we can get it open?” he asked Delte.
“Not now Volk let us try and focus our energy.” came her reply.
“I think I can open this on my own but it will take time.” Left-Paw-Alight said deep in thought.
Delte walked away and looked down at the floor below where the cell cage now lay in ruins, the daedra had stopped advancing up the stairs and now waited on the floor below, she walked over to the top of the flight of stairs and saw some start to make their way up the flight of steps to the platform. Looking over at Left-Paw-Alight as he started to charge the portal with magicka, and a glance at Volk looking into his wife's eyes she looked back at the advancing force knowing they would not have time to get the portal open.
Delte closed her eyes and bowed her head and said to the man next to her with a sword he had picked up from one of the dead daedra “Give me your sword.” the man handed her his acquired sword without protest. She walked down the first few steps and sliced the rope holding the portcullis up in its recess that would block off any entry to the platform with the crystal, it dropped with a metallic thunk. The daedra below her stopped their advance up the stairs waiting for her next move. Volk's head shot round and looked at her through the bars of the gate way and ran over to her.
“Delte don't do this.” he pleaded with his friend.
“You are going home Volk.” Delte said to him with a smile on her face and then turned around to walk down the steps “Tell Veldam I love him.” she added without looking back.
With that she ran down the steps to the waiting hoard below, moments latter Volk heard the clash of weapons and Delte singing a song in her native tongue. Volk looked over at Left-Paw-Alight as he charged the portal up with magicka looking for an explanation but all he saw was the old argonian concentrating on the task at hand but in his eyes he saw a sadness. Volk started to try in vain to lift the heavy portcullis back up to try and get to Delte and to help her against the daedra below. Cords of muscles stood out on his arms and neck as he strained against the portcullis as he tried to lift it he gave a roar of frustration and then collapsed on to the floor, Gresla knelt by him and tried to comfort her husband the best she could. The din of battle below them still sounding out as Delte fought the daedra below on her own.
The sentient dagger that Delte wielded in battle proved to be a boon to her in the fight as each time it tasted the blood of one of the daedra it would heal some of her own wounds. Surrounded by enemies she spun, parried and dodged their blows, each time one made a mistake she stepped in and ended its life with one swift blow. The strain from using her magicka in combat was starting to show though as her attacks became slower and fatigue set in making the muscles in her arms burn with the strain.
“I don't understand why she is singing.” Volk said as he watched Left-Paw-Alight streams of magicka now flowing freely between the argonian and the crystal.
“It is her death song.” one of the prisoners said.
Volk looked up at the man who had spoke to him and saw a dunmer stood before him in rags, red eyes looked down at Volk and a smile appeared on the dunmer's face as he bent down and helped Volk and Gresla back up onto their feet.
“Don't weep for her, it is not our way.” he said to Volk “Just make sure you carry out her last wish.” he added.
A lull in the fight happened around Delte as she watched a large daedra step through the crowd around her. A circle was formed as the large dremora stood before her with a huge mace and wearing full plate armour made up of the same black metal adorned with runes as its fellow dremora. She gulped down air and tried to take advantage of the rest to regain some of her strength and speed. Her armour was now hanging torn and ragged from the weapons that had hit or been deflected by her parries a fraction to late. Blood stained silk under the leather flapped about in the breeze as she wiped her mouth of blood and spat on the floor whilst looking at the newcomer. Delte smiled and pointed her sword at the dremora “Come on then, I may miss the portal but I will build a bridge back to Tamriel from your dead bodies.” she said mocking the daedra.
There was a loud pop as the crystal imploded inwards and then exploded out again showering everyone on the platform in dust leaving a shimmering portal open and leading back to Tamriel. Scenes in the portal faded in and out of focus as various places were seen within, the prisoners started to pour through the portal back to Tamriel.
“Volk Gresla come on we have to leave now it won't stay open for long.” Left-Paw-Alight shouted above the roar of the wind that came blowing through the portal.
“We are not going without Delte.” Volk shouted back as he tried to lift the portcullis again.
“Come on Volk we need to leave now. Don't let her sacrifice be for nothing.” came the reply back from Left-Paw-Alight.
Resignation crossed Volk's face as he ran over to the portal with Gresla and took hold of Left-Paw-Alight's hand and then grabbed hold of Gresla around the waist as they leapt through the portal. Moments latter the portal closed with a thunderclap and was gone.
Delte had begun her fight with the champion dremora with the mace when the portal closed trapping her in Coldharbour, her sword locked in a contest of strength with the dremora it started to laugh and then spoke from behind its helmet “You are trapped here mortal.”
“My plan was never to escape. It was to buy my friends time to open the portal.” Delte replied with as she slipped the dagger through the chinks in the plate armour and into the soft body underneath. As the dagger transferred some of the soul energy from the dremora a blow from behind took Delte unawares and then her world went dark.