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The Falmer Metamorphosis

turning falmer

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Three days in the bowels of Mzincalef. Pretty sure I’m going to die down here.

The hallways and chambers built by the dwarves go on for miles—thousands of stones and columns that just barely hold this underground city together. But the tunnels dug out by the Falmer, I think those go on forever. I can see the scratch marks where they dug them out with sharpened claws—countless pathways branching off and intersecting again, cutting a maze into the meat of earth.

I’ve kept my invisibility up the entire time. Festus warned me not to do it—said the fibers of my soul would start to burn like a piece of cloth held over a flame—but what choice do I have? The Falmer are everywhere.

And I never cared much for my soul. Let it burn, I figure.

Everything smells like singed hair and my mouth tastes like rotting flesh. Probably not a good sign. Who’d have thought your soul would reek so much?

Or maybe it only smells that way if you’ve mortared your life together with lies and murder.

Worse, it’s gotten me completely lost. Can’t smell a thing besides the burning, but I’ll be dead in about ten seconds if I let my invisibility drop.

I’ve been trying to backtrack to a place I recognize for an entire day. That just got me turned around three times over and now I can’t even tell up from down. That fucking marsh I chased Garland the Green through was like getting by pussy licked compared to this.

At least Arnbjorn won’t die down here with me. He tried to fight his way through, but it was never going to work. I sent him back up to the surface to wait.

Told him to make sure there was enough mead and ale for me to stay drunk for a solid week.

I could use a drink right about now, that’s for sure. All I’ve got left is a half-skin of water and the two potions I bought from Morlanus. I still think that second one is poison, but I’ve been thumbing the cork stopper for the last three hours, knowing what has to be done.

I guess the notion of me drinking the thing and then shitting out my own stomach has me a little skittish.

The next room must just be packed full of the blind monsters. Even with my senses all scraped out and ruined, I can hear them grunting and muttering and screwing each other. Gives me the shivers to listen to them all.

There’s no sense in putting it off any longer. My eyes are all swelled up and teary, and I’m about to start puking from the smell and taste that fills my mouth.

So I pull off the cork and drink the shape shifting potion in one big gulp.

It tastes thick and salty—like a mouthful of spunk. More like three mouthfuls, really.

Right away I feel it start to work. My stomach rumbles and shudders, and my bones start to bend and shift—expanding inside of me. The potion latches on to my spine and runs up all the nerves in my body. Fills my bloodstream and twists out the Bosmer inside. Replaces it with something darker. Angrier.

I feel a rage grow inside of me.

The bones in my arms are growing, too. Lengthening down towards the ground as my spine turns crooked and hunched. Long, sharp nails sprout from my fingertips—thick and strong, ready for violence. But none of it hurts so far. It’s more like getting stretched around so muscles got yanked and pulled that I didn’t even know I had.

Then my eyes started to change.

I howl at the pain, double over and puke out some green bile. It’s like getting my eyes melted with a hot poker—they get so hot they pop and explode, and get replaced by some kind of dry, sticky crust.

I gasp and sob and spit up some more puke. Wonder if they’ll grow back right when the potion wears off.

The world goes black and the pain subsides. I wait. And slowly, ever so slowly, the rooms starts to trickle bag in little blurs of purple shadows. Silver outlines of the columns and doorways.

The other Falmer in the room are interested in me now, all the noise I made. They scramble over in their crooked walk. Sniff at my crotch and lick the side of my face. One of them grunts at me in their crackling, broken language. It doesn’t make any sense.

Guess the potion doesn’t include a translator.

I figure their underground culture can’t work that much different than things to above, so I pick the biggest bastard in the room and walk over to him. Give him a sniff.

Then I tear is throat out.

He tries to sqawk out some kind of alarm, but it just sends a powerful geyser of green blood pouring from the space where his neck used to be. The others step back a few paces, twisting their heads with a morbid curiosity.

But they don’t draw their weapons. They just keep backing away until they’re huddled in the shadowy corners of the room.

Pussies.

I walk into the next chamber, the one that sounds like it’s chock full of Falmer. The crooked gait of my bones takes some getting used to, but it’s not so bad after a few dozen paces. The skeleton is built for staying low, weight spread out evenly.

A killer’s body.

The door opens into a massive chamber built around a pit in the earth. There are bridges and crosswalks that spit out across the chasm like a spider’s erratic webbing. The Falmer are coming in droves from four or five of the tunnels overhead—all of them heading in just one direction: down.

I’m so struck by the sheer size of the place that it takes me a second to realize my sense of smell has come back. Except it’s clearer and crisper now. Each sniff pulls in more and more hints and whiffs of this underground place. This must be what an eagle feels like, flying above a plain. Everything laid out before it—vulnerable and clear.

Down is where that strange metallic smell grows stronger. Down is where all of these twisted creatures are headed.

So down is where I go.

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3 comments on “The Falmer Metamorphosis

  1. Pingback: Entering Mzinchaleft | Bus Ride Fantasy

  2. Pingback: The Blue Orb | Bus Ride Fantasy

  3. Elspeth Aurilie
    April 29, 2013

    This is perfect. The descriptions of the physical effects of magic (and not just the transformation) are excellent. And I like Narova more and more and she’s still, by far, the best literary anti-heroine I’ve come across in a long time.

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This entry was posted on March 20, 2013 by in Skyrim Fiction, Tales of Narova Black Hair and tagged , .
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