An Enchanting Tale is a Skyrim Fanfiction based on Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim. Join our hero, S’maash, as he travels throughout the planes of Tamriel.
In this excerpt, S’maash and his friends meet with Falion, so they can travel to Deadlands.
At the courtyard, before the College of Winterhold, four adventurers met for a most daunting task. A chilly wind blew errant snowflakes about as dark clouds obscured the sun. The statue of Shalidor appeared to stand in approval as it loomed over the small group.
“I’m so glad you made it, brother. Having you by my side fills me with confidence,” S’maash cheered.
“It’s my pleasure to be here. I could never pass up a chance to stride through the planes of Oblivion,” S’maath admitted.
“This will be a most dangerous quest,” Brelyna remarked.
“A profitable one, to boot,” Zolara added, comically.
“I see why you needed a seasoned warrior, brother,” S’maath said in jest.
“Yes,” S’maash chuckled. “Let us make last minute preparations then. To my room.” The four convened in S’maash room, inside the Hall of Countenance. “Do we need any enchantments?”
“No,” Both Zolara and Brelyna announced.
S’maath stood smiling. He still wore the Glass Armor his brother had enchanted during their previous journey.
“I do not require anything, but you do,” S’maath proclaimed.
“How so?” the younger Elf asked with raised brow.
“I have brought you gifts.”
From a large travel trunk, one everyone had eyed previously in wonder, S’maath produced an ancient set of armor. It was eggshell white with hints of beige. The bony equipment was ominous in appearance.
“Bone Mould Armor,” S’maash asked.
“Aye, even the fine Nords of Skyrim have nothing so…terrifying,” S’maath commented.
“Where did you get this,” S’maash asked while running his hands over the individual pieces.
It was their ancestor’s armor. S’maash saw one more piece in the trunk, a beautiful, Elven Greatsword. Its golden hue and feathery filigree was gorgeous.
“You robbed our ancestors’ grave?”
“Not robbed…borrowed. S’mael was the greatest warrior of our bloodline. I have my equipment, and it will one day lay ensconced in my own burial chamber. Should either one of us live long enough to have children, they may one day borrow my armor, and I will be proudly looking down upon them.”
S’maash smiled as he shook his head. “Then, I shall have to enchant this.”
“By all means, take your time,” Brelyna offered.
S’maash took the new equipment to the Arcane Enchanter and set himself to the task. In a fashion similar to his current equipment, he bestowed enchantments upon the Bone Mould Armor fortifying his new sword and spell style of fighting. Of all the pieces, the helmet was perhaps the most terrifying. S’mael’s old helmet was designed to resemble the head of a Dragon, or rather the skull of one. Upon completion of his task, the Enchanter nodded to the group.
“Off to Dartwing Cave,” Zolara said.
Clamor of cheers ensued. The group left Winterhold for their next adventure. After some travel across the paved road, they cut down a beaten trail. From there, it was not long before they saw the entrance of their destination through a blustery snowstorm.
Dartwing Cave’s interior was laden with ice. The short, round, entrance chamber was bedecked with tapestries. The dark cloths portrayed the Necromancer’s symbol, a skull surrounded by hands. An unseen source of lighting made it an easy journey into the cave’s deep. At the center of a large room stood Falion.
“Welcome to my workshop. This is where I perform rituals most minds cannot grasp,” he announced.
Four, stone pillars stood in support of the chamber. Worn shelving lined the walls. On the ground was an evil-looking depiction of the Mage’s symbol, an eye over a pentagram. Oddly, the eye was closed and the pentagram was actually a heptagram, a seven-pointed star.
“There is no time to waste,” Falion said, holding a bottle with glowing red and black liquid. “This is the Blood of Dagon. With this substance, I will hone upon his very essence, Deadlands. Please enter the design on the floor.” Once everyone gathered, Falion drew a Daedric Dagger, a red and black blade with sharp, serrated edges and hooks. “Hold still.”
He passed to each person and made a small cut upon their forearms. A single drop of blood from each dripped onto the design at their feet. He then took the Blood of Dagon and traced the four-pointed star in the design. Starting from the other end, he then traced the three-pointed star.
“Soltak. Malakar. I force this reality bend to my will. Dagon. Alatar. Send these warriors to Deadlands,” Falion announced, dramatically.
A red glow erupted from the star at the group’s feet. “Whoa,” Zolara exclaimed in surprise.
“Remember, now! You cannot return until you break the anchor from Dagon’s plane,” Falion yelled.
A violent sound like burning wind had assaulted the room. “How do we do that?” Brelyna yelled back.
“Just take the Greater Sigil Stone from the War Machine’s interior. It will suffice,” Falion screamed.
A flash of blinding, red light forced the group to shut their eyes. Then, darkness washed over them, silence. After vertigo accosted the group, they opened their eyes; a vast wasteland was revealed; hot winds blew.
“My goodness,” Brelyna whispered.
The group stood upon craggy, gray stone. Cracks and crevices glowed with lava flowing beneath. Around them, more of the lava bubbled, and heat wavered off its surface.
“Where do we go,” S’maath asked.
S’maash looked around. It was obvious the only path was the traversable stone before them. A bridge-like structure led to a spire in the distance. S’maash took the lead, walking carefully. Above them, an oppressive sky of red clouds thundered with fiery lightning.
“I had not expected this…perhaps I will wait for you here,” Zolara jested.
His joke was lost on the group as they were mesmerized by the wickedness of Deadlands. They pressed onwards, covering much of the stone ground, which gradually became smaller. Menacing lava beckoned on either side. Carefully, they made it to a narrow section of rock. From ruined arches, there hung large and bulky sacs of skin.
Zolara prodded at one. “I think there is something in here.”
After a second to check it, the Argonian found a Silver Ring and two Septims. There were a few more from several other arches along the span of the bridge.
“Come, we should make haste,” S’maath said.
The Dunmer brothers maintained the lead. As they came ever closer to the spire before, they encountered two Scamps, devilish denizens of Oblivion. Scamps were covered in shades of brown fur and were man-like in appearance, though they possessed goat legs and twisted faces. Their high-pitched grumbles were less than threatening, as were their Fire Balls.
S’maath ran out to them. With one, powerful swing of his Malachite blade, he cut one in half. S’maash charged the other. Seeing its comrade defeated, the Scamp tried to run away, but S’maash impaled it from the rear, lifted it off the ground then smashed it back onto the stone.
“That was a gruesome display,” Brelyna commented.
“Aye, and simple, too,” S’maath added.
“They say Scamp Skin can be used in alchemical studies,” Brelyna added.
Zolara obtained samples. Afterwards, they continued to the spire. It was a very tall tower, forged from Daedric metals. Like all things from Deadlands, it possessed a subtle glow of red, giving an eerie contrast to the darkness of steel.
“It looks as though these towers are connected,” S’maash said, looking around.
“Yes, this one appears to have a bridge to that one over to our right,” Brelyna said.
“But where is this War Machine,” Zolara asked.
“Likely, beyond those immense, barred gates,” S’maath said, pointing to the distance.
It was obvious that the towers and bridges had to be traversed in order to arrive at or around the gates.
“We could jump around the dark, gray mountains blocking our path, or we could constantly heal as we swim through the lava,” Zolara suggested.
“You try that, we will be more sensible,” S’maath retorted.
“Fine…if you want to do it the boring way,” the Argonian resigned.
They entered the first spire through a malevolent-looking door. It seemed as though the steel had been beaten to provide the appearance of a face, but it may have just been the odd lighting of Dagon’s plane. Naturally, the interior was reminiscent of the exterior.
The stone floor surrounded a round fire pit. The guttural grumbling of angry Dremora rang throughout as the demons clad in Daedric Armor—and brandishing War Hammers—came from alcoves in the round spire.
“I smell weakness,” a Dremora muttered.
Bolts from overcharged Walls of Thunder provided by both Brelyna and Zolara were more than ample for the weak Caitiffs. The sound of steel skittering over stone prevailed.
“Enjoy your last breath,” Brelyna said.
The scintillating drone of the spire itself was all that emanated. The group looked around for a clue; above them, an odd balcony was laden with red and black, bony hooks. It spiraled all along the walls towards the tower’s apex.
“Well…it’s up, we must travel,” S’maash ventured a guess.
Since it appeared a straight shot around the balcony protruding from the interior wall, the group needed to find the way to the initial step, which was many feet above them. Searching the area from which the Caitiffs came, they located a door. It led into a tight corridor on a slight incline, and it led to a juncture providing a way only left or right. The group took the right, also at an incline, where they were greeted by a Spider Daedra.
“Ack! Kill it!” Zolara demanded.
Upon seeing the intruders, the spider with voluptuous, lady torso, rubbed her heaving bosom while casting a protection spell. The elf brothers again took charge and made an easy kill.
Zolara studied the creature for a second then removed eggs and webbing. “I’ll bet these will come in handy.”
The group came upon the door the Spider Daedra was guarding and pushed beyond. They found themselves back in the center of the tower, only about a story higher, and on the spiraling balcony. Charging up the circular path—boots pounding—they cut through more Caitiffs. In their defeat, the enemies either slid down the balcony or fell over with a resounding thud.
“Quickly,” S’maash said.
Soon, the long, spiraling balcony led to another, twisted door. Beyond it was another tight corridor to their left. It led at a sloping decline, while a corridor to their right led up an incline. With a shrug, they continued up.
During the rush, S’maash broke through a trip wire. A massive, red, sword blade came crashing down, but the ever-vigilant Zolara noticed the situation unfold in the knick of time. He shoved the Dark Elf hard. The blow forced S’maash over and onto the ground, but safe from the trap.
“Apologies, friend, didn’t want to have to carry pieces of you back to Tamriel,” Zolara chuckled.
S’maash stood and looked at the slowly rising sword; the blade was serrated and deadly. He was glad to have only fallen over. The remainder of the group looked around briefly before continuing into the large room beyond the trap.
Four pillars with thick spikes were positioned in the center of the room. They were less for support and more for intimidation. Grumbling caught the explorers’ attention; a Daedroth had entered from the far end of the room. The scaly, large mouthed, crocodile-like demon stumbled about awkwardly before casting a protection spell and enveloping its body with a soft glow.
Zolara wasted no time, immediately firing erratic bolts of purple lightning- Wall of Storm. Brelyna followed suit with her own Wall of Ice; frozen shards of magicka quickly covered the ground. Once the beast was cold and slow, the Dunmer brothers hacked at it with their greatswords.
S’maash moved off to the Daedroth’s right. He slashed low at the knee joint causing great damage. His brother moved to the demon’s left. In a spinning motion, he brought his own blade across with much speed, thus hacking clean through the Daedroth’s arm. S’maash, as quickly as he initiated the first strike, brought his blade around his left shoulder then above his head, and finally brought the blade down in a smooth strike.
The Daedroth, being so tall, was cut badly from the chest; dark blood poured from the wound. Attempting to counteract, the demon grumbled and reached out with a powerful claw. Because S’maash was already standing low to the ground from his power strike, the Daedroth easily knocked him to the ground. Fortunately, continued blasts of magicka finally overtook the Daedroth. It collapsed dead.
“Ouch,” S’maash said, standing.
S’maath met his eyes with a slightly comical expression. S’maash knew what was coming.
“Yes, come on,” S’maash groaned.
Zolara pilfered some Daedroth Teeth. Then, the group continued into the hall from where the demon had emerged. Beyond the hall, were doors on either side of a large room. The group momentarily split as they checked the doors.
“Where does yours lead?” S’maath called out.
“Outside to the bridge,” Brelyna answered.
“Then we have our path,” S’maash said.
The group convened at Brelyna’s door. Bursting through and into the strange plane of Oblivion, the group ran across the precarious balcony, a long bridge with no rails. The craggy stone did not look strong, but looks were deceiving. From their new position, they gauged their surroundings.
Zolara pointed. “Look, that must be the War Machine.”
What they saw was nearly incomprehensible. The War Machine was a construct of Daedric steel, black with an eerie, red glow. Churning blades spun at the ends of what looked like horizontal pillars. It was unclear how the War Machine moved, but by the looks of it, it was creeping ever so slowly and unleashing a horrific, droning sound.
“Where is it going,” Brelyna asked.
They all traded glances. No one had a clue. With a frown, S’maash thought back to Falion’s words; he said that to return to Tamriel, since the portal shut behind them, they needed to retrieve the Greater Sigil Stone from inside the War Machine. What is the safest way to do this?
The War Machine was far below them, and aside from several, menacing mountains with sharp peaks, they saw only the door to the second spire at the far end of the bridge, but that spire didn’t appear to lead anywhere else. Furthermore, they needed to get to a second, much higher bridge, to reach a gate, which blocked the War Machine.
“What are you doing,” Brelyna asked him.
“I don’t, I don’t know where to go,” S’maash admitted while hot winds whipped about his head.
“The second spire might lead us where we need to be,” Zolara howled.
“It’s as good a plan as any,” S’maath replied.
They continued into the second spire, and much as the first, the interior held a red hue, and also like the first, they cut through a few Daedra before reaching the peak. The room was covered in some material not unlike batwings, though much sturdier. Two Dremora, one in black robes with a Daedric Greatsword, and one in Daedric Armor with a Daedric War Hammer, attacked.
“I will feast on your heart,” one claimed.
“I honor my Lord by destroying you,” the other shouted.
The demons were not overly difficult to fight, but after their defeat, the group found little other than some treasure in Hanging Sacs. “There’s nothing here,” S’maash complained.
“Not quite,” Brelyna rebutted.
On the far wall were large gears, which were built into the spire’s structure, and below them sat a lever. She pulled it, and the gears rolled with deafening clanks.
“What now,” S’maath asked.
“Let’s work our way back down and check the doors,” S’maash suggested.
All the running in the excruciating heat, down the batwings, and through the doors, was tiresome. Over an hour had passed since their arrival, and they had not stopped running or fighting. Finally, they reached a door that led back outside.
“Whoa!” Zolara called out.
He had taken the forefront after opening the door and was beset by fear. Beyond the door was nothing but a short bridge. Before anyone uttered another word, the tower rumbled. Holding onto each other and pushing back inside the tower, S’maath managed to tug the Argonian inside the spire.
“What,” Brelyna started, but the short bridge extended. From the opposing end, another spire across from them also extended its bridge. Once the portions met in the center, the bridge effectively connected the spires. “I suppose this is the way.”
“I think you’re right, Brelyna,” S’maath smiled.
Careful scrutiny of their surroundings revealed they were very high up. From their new perspective, the war machine looked like a creeping, mechanical Dragon, but without a head, wings, or tail.
“Hopefully, from the looks of it, this next spire will allow us to work our way down,” S’maash said.
They pushed through the door into the spire, expecting what the previous two held, yet all they saw was a grating of sorts. It was little more than a round, metal platform with several, large holes.
“There’s a switch over there,” S’maath exclaimed.
“Perhaps, we can take this down,” Brelyna offered.
S’maath looked from her to the switch. He walked over, passing some still bloody skeletons. When he reached for the mechanism Zolara howled a warning.
“What,” the Dark Elf asked.
“Why all the dead bodies,” Zolara asked with a point of his snout to the ground.
“I’m certain, it’s fine,” S’maath said, pulling the switch.
A jolt moved through the group. The lift clanked as it lowered them.
“I…am not so sure about this” S’maash said.
With furrowed brow, he looked over the bones, assuming they had simply died in the spire. After a moment, the reason became clear; the lift was lowering them onto large pikes built into the ground beneath.
“Move, move, move!” S’maath ordered, and shoved them all off.
By hopping off and dropping some ten feet below to the ground, they avoided death, yet the landing was less than gentle. They shook their heads in dismay before bolting through the only door in the spire. Outside, they were surprised to find themselves right, smack behind the War Machine.
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