The road to Winterhold was long, cold, and rather desolate.
Most of the landscape beyond Windhelm was simply snow, ice, and rock, with nothing but the wind and the occasional distant howl of a wolf to break the silence. The road itself was easy enough to follow (when it wasn’t covered over with windblown snow) as it twisted and wound ever northward, but the view left a lot to be desired. This cold climate, however, was perfect for Tebi. She was born and raised to slog through the snow, after all.
Not quite trotting, but not quite walking, the warhorse had kept up a steady pace since they’d left the stables of Windhelm early that morning.They had been traveling for the better part of the day, and the sun was beginning to sink towards the horizon in the sky above. By the time they reached their destination, it would truly be setting, and that was why they could not falter. The ice fields of Winterhold became very, very dangerous places at night…
Tarene tugged Tebi to a stop as the trio crested one snowy hill. In the distance towered a large stone structure, castle-like in appearance, and set apart from the surrounding town by a winding stone bridge and a visible drop. The town that lay before it was…well, a bit disappointing, really. A trail of rotting rafters, scattered stones and broken foundations trailed out to and over the side of the sharp cliffs that dropped into the ocean below; evidence of a larger settlement that had been cut down by some great destruction. Hmph.
Winterhold hardly looked like any ‘great city'….
“Ah, home, sweet home…” The sellsword huffed a breath quietly at the sight. He wasn’t looking forward to facing some of the people there in town, but he’d already agreed to help Tili, and he couldn’t avoid these issues forever, besides. “Tili, this is Winterhold.” He turned to look up at her, where she sat in Tebi’s saddle.
“It may not be much to look at, now, but don’t let that fool you. This place was built way back in the First Era, and for centuries, it was a center for magic and politics. Nowadays, not so much politics, but certainly still magic.”
“Can you make it okay?” Taren asked him again, pulling his way too heavy arm around her slim shoulders.
“By the Spirits!” Crassus exclaimed, exasperated as they left his doctor’s. They’d come in early morning to have his cast cut away and the metal- spirits he didn’t even know what to call it. It was like a cage that moved with his leg, keeping it stable but allowing him to bend his knee finally. He could walk much easier and much faster now, even with the cane in his other hand. “This is so much easier than the cast, you don’t even know Tare.”
“You’re such a fucking baby, you know that?” She said out the side of her mouth, helping him down the walk-way. “The casts are fun, everyone signs them.”
“And yet not a single signature on mine.” He said dryly.
“What? My name doesn’t count?”
“Brat.” Crassus snorted, kissing the top of her fringe affectionately.
“Your brat. Baby.” She said, jabbing her brother’s side and making him hiss. Looking past his shoulder, she spotted a cute turian her age with yellow markings she didn’t know the colony of. “So, back on subject. What about that cutie over there?”
“For the last time, we’re not talking about boys-” But he turned and he looked. And his cane slipped from his hand.
When he came to, it was with a nasty headache and a tangy taste in his mouth. He couldn’t feel the warmth of the sun anymore, so he was either indoors, or had been out of it long enough for night to fall. Or maybe not. There was a fair portion of his memory that was just too fuzzy to make sense of. Keeping his eyes closed for the moment, the Altmer briefly ran his tongue across his teeth to make sure he still had them all. Then he grimaced and spat out the mouthful of bloody scum he found, as well. Yuck…
Wherever he was, it was damp, and cold(er than it had been outside in The Rift), and he could hear water dripping from somewhere in the distance. The drops echoed as if falling in a large space, and Tarene quietly furrowed his brow. He’d been out on a road in the middle of nowhere, with no structures in sight, so clearly, he had been moved. The familiar pressure of his quiver strap across his chest was gone, as was the usual weight of his sword, bow, and pack. Someone had unarmed him, and moved him…and possibly clubbed him over the head, too.
Warily, the young mer opened his eyes and glanced around his new surroundings, keeping still both to avoid attracting attention and because his head was still killing him. He found himself indoors (as suspected), in a stone cell that was most likely underground, or at the very least near the center of the structure, judging from the lack of windows and the need for candles and braziers everywhere. Most interestingly, though, he was not alone in the cell. Tarene shifted to look at his cellmate, who had been similarly disarmed (and subdued, he assumed), and sized them up for a moment.
“I don’t suppose you have a better recollection of getting here than me?” The Altmer asked. “I can’t seem to remember the last few hours in any great detail.”
@sleepinthegardn: Dear best man I know. Another year by your side is an adventure beyond my wildest dreams. Thank you for loving me. Supporting me. Guiding me. Dreaming with me and creating with me. I promise this year and for all to come I will do the same for you. Happy birthday my love. (photo by @tearintaren )