Snippet #2205662

located in Skyrim, a part of Skyrim: The Mentor & The Sellswords, one of the many universes on RPG.

Skyrim

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Character Portrait: Dominicus Drayk Character Portrait: Adrienne Jastal Character Portrait: Sinderion Direnni Character Portrait: Vanryth Galero Character Portrait: Lynly Snowsong
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Drayk would not remember if there was any kind of thought process that had occurred in that moment.

As far as he could tell, there was only the fire, an intensity and a magnitude he had never experienced before. For a startling moment, it burned. Seared, scorched, singed, blackened. He had always been different. Fire had never burned him before. It had never hurt him. It caressed, it soothed, it warmed the body and the mind, a lover's embrace that could not be matched. He did not feel it at first. The signals of pain sent from his nerves to his mind were unfamiliar to him, unkind. Why was that? Why should the fire hurt him? It came to him quickly. He was resisting. His gates were closed, and so it sought to burn through his walls, eat its way to his heart, capture him in its own violent, destructive way. If he would only accept it, the pain would cease, replaced by something unimaginable to those that had never experienced it. In that moment, he was faced with a choice: accept or deny. Live, or die.

Conscious or no, the fire mage chose life, and was rewarded with bliss.

It was staggering, overwhelming. Like his very soul had lit on fire, ignited within his chest, warmth filling his body and mind. Not a burning, but warmth. It had been so long since he'd felt that embrace. How close he'd come to forgetting... he would never forget. Not now. Not after this.

From the outside, the inferno he was contained within seemed to stand still for a moment, before moving against the wind, beginning to swirl in a circular pattern, gaining speed and momentum quickly. It picked up off the ground, drawn to a center, swirling into something resembling a tornado. From within, Drayk was on his feet again, his eyes closed, hands slightly outstretched. His fingers tasted power again. There was little he was thinking about at the moment. The feeling was so consuming. He was aware of the danger near him, of the beast that had sought to kill him. He had half a mind to thank it for what it had done. It had forced the step he had been unwilling to make himself. But it had not intended to do so. It had meant to destroy him, and for that he could only respond in kind.

After her ice bolt had struck home, Adrienne had rolled to the side to try and evade whatever countermeasures the half-blind dragon would launch into, but she severely underestimated its reach and found herself tossed to the side for her trouble, three ragged gashes from its claws rent into her lower abdomen and hip. Tears stung her eyes as she tried to regain her feet, the sticky-wet sensation of blood running down her skin and soaking into her robes the least of her worries, accompanied as it was with a near-blinding pain. Red and white spots blossomed in her vision, obscuring nearly everything in her ordinary range of sight. The Breton supposed that she was simply lucky the dragon couldn't exactly see well either, as it had apparently switched targets, and no razor-sharp talon descended to end her miserable, wretched life.

It was almost ironic, really. How many times had she almost died, only to have that lasting oblivion ripped away from her by the forces of serendipity? She'd hated that, once, and even now, she was hard-pressed to decipher why she should be glad of her continued breathing. That was the pain talking, though. Most probably.

Sinderion, still dropped low and moving as quickly as possible while staying out of sight, paused in his movement when the dragon began to thrash around. It was far too unpredictable for him to make a shot right now, the product of the efforts of Lynly and Adrienne, though he had no way to know this, particularly. What he did note was that a mighty taloned forepaw caught the youngest Sellsword by the side, hurling her some distance from itself with a number of gashes. Mage robes were simply no match for such claws, though he doubted very much that even a full set of plate would do much better.

The wind shifted, and the scent of blood was in his nose. The filtering mechanisms were delicate enough for him to differentiate between species, and there was too much Breton- coppery, tinged with magic- in there for his comfort. Sinderion's hands tightened on his bow, his own life-essence filling his mouth when he bit down on his tongue with too-sharp teeth. The pack was in danger, and the beast was demanding that he act. Vengeance, protection... it didn't care which. He needed it, with a violence that made him shudder, the hairs on the back of his neck standing on end.

It was only the loud snap as his bow broke in two in his hands, the wood shattering beneath the force of his grip. That... was not somethig the Altmer was usually capable of, and Sinder swallowed heavily. This wasn't good.

Nearly all at once, the tornado of flame condensed in height and increased in density, gathering around each of Drayk's arms in a rush, before he lashed out with his right, a shout accompanying his attack. It struck true, the explosive dragon's fire striking its creator in the back of the head, sending embers and smaller flames raining around it in a wide radius. The dragon itself was dazed, stumbling about, trying to turn itself towards the new threat behind it. Just as it did so he released a second blast from his other arm, directly into its chest. The attack forced it back onto its hind legs for a moment, visibly denting its ribcage and turning what was clearly meant to be a roar into a muffled, choking cough.

As it was, it was more pain that at last enticed the belabored Adrienne to find her feet. When the first great blast hit the dragon's head, the ricocheting flames bounced about everywhere, and a few struck her- one in the left shin and another on the right shoulder, singing through her boot and small mantle to blacken the flesh beneath. As fire will do, however, it threatened to continue its destructive path until little of her was left but ashes, and she rolled painfully onto her stomach, icing her own hands over with frost and using them to put out what smouldering embers remained after that. To her slash-wounds, she applied a similar procedure, effectively freezing the leaking blood and coating over the rends in her flesh. It was by no means a permanent solution, but her body could withstand ice for much longer than fire.

It was only with great effort that she pushed herself to her feet, wobbling unsteadily for a moment until she found her balance mostly on her good leg, in time for something violet to whizz by her nose.

The spectacular conflagration of lights, flames, and glowing arrows were enough to distract Sinderion from his growing rage, and he shoved his unwelcome thoughts aside, running to Adrienne as she righted herself and steadying her with his free hand, the other still holding the broken pieces of his imperial bow. "Are you all right?" He asked, eyeing the frosted gash-marks in her side for a moment before he forced himself to look away. It wasn't going to do anyone any good if he got too upset and went on an uncontrolled rampage. She didn't answer, and he suspected that she might be in shock.

The few remaining soldiers put arrows into it where they could, and a glowing purple arrow from a bound bow struck true as well, accompanied by a bolt of lightning that had clearly not come from Vanryth's direction. All of this combined was enough to force the dragon back into flight, weary and wounded, but still capable of lifting itself. Heavy beats on the wind saw it carried away from the valley, heading north.

Drayk found himself dizzy, from any number of possible causes. He'd just been burned by a dragon, and his robes were quite literally smoking, but for all that, he did not appear greatly burned, merely darkened by soot and ash. The adrenaline of the fight had left him, and with it the bliss of holding fire in his hands once more. He fell to hands and knees, trying to sort out the rush of thoughts he was now having, with little success.

Elsewhere, a woman had emerged from the treeline, from the direction the bound arrow and lightning had come from. Indeed, she held a glowing bow in her hand, electrical energy leaping from finger to finger on the other. She was clothed in gray robes adorned with dark feathers, the skirt of which curved back behind her legs at knee level, apparently to ease running with the flat soled knee high boots she wore. The hood was pushed back, revealing raven black hair that was currently damp with sweat, as was her face. She hefted a tired sigh, watching the dragon leave.

"You win," she huffed, speaking to no one in particular and not really taking note of the multitude of mangled bodies around the site of the caravan. "That's the last time I ever hunt something that can fly that fast."

At the head of the column, Stonehammer had found what he was looking for; he walked directly towards the still struggling form of Captain Aelius, whose legs were buried under a crushed supply cart.

Sinderion's glance flickered first to Drayk, remaining there for long enough to assess that though battered, he was niether in danger of dying nor about to attempt to reduce all of them to ashes, which was enough for now. Seeing Stonehammer, he ignored the man; having heard pieces of the conversation, he wasn't so naive he couldn't figure out the intent behind his grim march to the cluster of Imperials. He also didn't much care at the moment. A newcomer had appeared as well, a young woman holding a purplish bound bow. He was curious as to the reason for the stranger's presence, and he'd caught her quip, but it sounded absurd in his ears. Neverthless, there were more importan tthings to attend to. Adrienne was beside him, and he could see Drayk, but he'd lost track of Vanryth during the chaos.

Several things happened at once, and Adrienne's weary mind, fatigued by the strain of remaining conscious, struggled to process them with anything even remotely near her usual clever capacity. For whatever reason, her brain priortized Drayk, but he seemed to be okay, and something else was nagging at her. Dark doe-eyes instead swung to Stonehammer, approaching the captain, and she started forward, hand still at her side to staunch what little seeping remained. It was a futile effort, however, and there was no way she was making it in time to stop him from what he was attempting. "Why?" she asked, more to herself than anyone else in particular. "Why is it so important that he dies?" Looking around, it was plain to see that the ground had been watered with plenty of blood already, and right now in her exhausted state, she was simply unable to comprehend the need for more death.

Sinder wasn't really sure how to respond to that; he had to confess, he didn't care as much as she did. Death was a fact of life, and whether this Stonehammer chose to bring it to his adversary was little concern of the Altmer's. They were mercenaries by trade- they killed people for far less than the fate of a country. All the same, he felt... awkward. In her softer moments, Adrienne reminded him just a little of his sister, long lost to his past, and that engendered the instinct to do or say something that might put her at ease. Hesitantly, he placed his hand on her shoulder, shaking his head silently. "It is not our concern," he pointed out quietly. "Do not trouble yourself with all the world's ills." He also wanted to tell her to take a potion, but he wasn't sure if she had any, and Drayk didn't look in much shape to be healing anyone at the moment.

"Not yours, But mine," Lynly monotoned, breaking away from the group and marching her own way toward Stonehammer and the Captain. She still seemed to be in full control of her thoughts. It was as if she didn't just strike a dragon's head, nor if the dragon even attacked. Looking at her now, she would give no indication that she had even been in a fight or she had even been in danger. Perhaps it was the Nordic way. Lynly looked just as unperturbed as Stonehammer himself. Both seemingly had a like, singleminded way of doing things. Whatever Stonehammer's was, Lynly's was to see the job, and her honor, intact by the end of the day. She stepped in between the great Nord and the Imperial Captain, blocking his way with her sword. "Let him speak." She asked before turning to the man.

"Where were you? Where were you while your men and the Stormcloaks and these "Sellswords" fought and died against the Dragon? Why are you under a cart instead of on the field? Answer well Aelius," Lynly asked evenly.

The captain struggled to breathe, but managed to work his way out far enough to do so. At the annoyed twitch in Stonehammer's weapon arm, however, he stopped, and spoke where he lay. "Where was I? Among my men, that's where! I--" he winced and clutched his side momentarily, grimacing. "I took up a bow, to fight against the dragon, while the man you've seemingly joined forces with did nothing, leaving his soldiers while he searched for his bloody hammer! I'm under a blasted cart because I thought to take cover, not stand out in the open and be obliterated senselessly! What have you to say to that, Stonehammer?"

The Nord warrior shrugged slightly. "The man speaks true enough. Fear compelled him to fight among his men, all angles of retreat cut off, and further resistance against freeing us resulting in only his death. As for myself, I gave myself a task upon my capture, and I do not let tasks go unfinished. Aelius dies. If no one completes the task for me, I will do it myself. The loss of life on both sides was unfortunate, but unavoidable." His eyes flickered in the direction of the newcomer, who had noticed him as well, but other than that, they did not acknowledge each other. The young woman was still huffing at the escape of the great scaled beast.

"There is no honor in killing a wounded man," Lynly added, satisfactory with the Captain's answer. Had it been anything else, had he left the fight to cower, it would not have been Stonehammer who would have killed Aelius, but her. "And there is no honor in leaving your own men in order to placate your need for vengeance," she said turning to face Stonehammer. Had she not have to worry about the man scattering the Captain's brains all over the cart, Lynly would have lifted it up and let the man out. Though with the silhouette of the man baring down upon them, she doubted that would be the best course of action. Instead, she'd have to try and persuade the man to leave his vengeance behind, else even more blood would have to be shed that day.

"I can not allow you to slay this man, Stonehammer. I have agreed to aid him and his unit, and I will not turn a blind eye while he is murdered," She stated, jaw set and stare level. "There has already been too much blood shed today. Take what is left of your own men and leave, peacefully," she entreatied. Though as solid as a rock herself, Lynly really did not want to fight this man.

Her words caused the massive man to pause and think for a moment. His grip on the hammer relaxed somewhat. "You'll be finishing your trip to Markarth, I presume?" he asked of Aelius. The captain nodded wordlessly. At that, Stonehammer hooked his weapon onto his belt, seemingly satisfied. "Then he lives. The task can be carried out another day." Without further discussion, he stepped beside the cart and hefted it up, allowing the captain to slide out. He gestured down the road. "Go."

The Imperial captain signaled for what soldiers remaining under his command to follow, and the weary group set off, Aelius clearly eager to be away from the Nord. Stonehammer turned back to Lynly. "I have another task to carry out before departing. I was instructed to put these ones," he pointed to Sinderion and Adrienne, and then Vanryth and Drayk, "on their way. I must speak with them."

A calloused hand grasped Drayk on the shoulder, and the owner of the hand, Vanryth, made his own way to a knee. He would not allow his hand to falter until he was absolutely sure the boy was himself again. Van-- everyone knew the boy's plight with fire. Having been within a maelstrom of flame couldn't have done him any favors. Though the Dunmer was glad to see the boy was still alive and not a toasted crisp. In his other hand he held a steel blade, one he picked up very recently. When the dragon spewed his fire and engulfed Drayk, Vanryth himself was preparing to make the beast pay. Though he could not make it in time for his blade to taste the scale of the dragon before Drayk had erupted in a flaming tornado.

Though, the boy was alright, and it seemed like Sinder and Adrienne were as well. That was all that mattered at the moment, that they were all alive. He gave Drayk a comforting squeeze and let a wry grin crack his stoney exterior. They did just fight a dragon. Things could have turned out much worse.

Drayk did not recognize the dark elf at his side at first, seeingly only injuries and disfigurations, but the vague feeling that the two of them were aquainted kept him from reacting suddenly or violently. It came back slowly. That was Vanryth. The other elf was Sinderion. And the Breton was Adrienne. They were mercenaries of a kind, in service to a Mentor that had helped them overcome the things they feared most: themselves. They had been following his trail when they had been attacked by the dragon.

The mage pushed himself back on his heels, smoke still rising from his robes in lazy curls. Despite it all, he felt calm. The air smelled... good. Warm. Skyrim had always been too cold a place. He didn't feel cold anymore. The dragon was gone, and though it would be difficult to call it a victory, he was distinctly aware of the contribution he had made to the fight. His attacks had taken the creature by surprise, injured it, given the others a window to attack, and in the end, driven it away. He felt satisfied.

There was still the matter of moving forward, however. Drayk pushed himself to his feet, dusting himself off and rejoining the group. It seemed the Imperials had left, though the mercenary that had been with them remained. He wondered if the Nord would still be willing to give them anything useful. First, however, Stonehammer put his gaze on the newcomer, the woman in the dark robes, who had rather quietly joined the immediate conversation as well.

"You wouldn't happen to be here for me, would you?" he asked her, garnering a few puzzled looks from some of his men. She gave a cheery laugh that was rather out of place, shaking her head. "Don't you worry yourself. Shade pointed me this way. I just had to go after the dragon when I saw it. Hircine would have loved a kill like that. In any case, I think this little group is what I was supposed to find, so I think I'll stay and listen, if you don't mind."

Stonehammer shook his head, appearing almost amused. "You're a fool to trust him, Maya." She laughed at that as well. "Perhaps. I've never been one to live a safe life, though."