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The Blue Orb

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READ THE PREVIOUS STORY IN THIS SERIES

I can feel them near me.

Their power bends the flames of our torches and candles towards them. My teeth hurt from the steady yank of some dark, strange gravity. And always, I can hear the sound in my head—churning around and rotating like the gears of some infernal machine. Burrowing orders inside of my twisted, Falmer skull.

Dig. Build. We work to fulfill their nefarious plans. That is all there is.

I think that the only thing keeping my thoughts alive are the wisps of my elfish nature that the skinchanging potion left intact.

The others are just zombies. Powerless underneath the iron will of these two…things.

The necromancers took hold of me two days after I’d drunk the potion that turned me into a Falmer. I’d been following the smell of oil and metal—deeper into the earth than I knew you could go—when it clamped on to me like the relentless grip of a god’s fist.

And it did not let go.

I have been hauling rubble from a pit that was blasted out by some kind of magic for three days. Piece by piece we move it—broken beams and shattered brick. The necromancers watch our progress from an enclosed platform above the pit.

Two dark, slender shadows. Four purple eyes glowing in the dimness.

I cannot kill them in this body. None of my magic works and my limbs are clumsy and crude. Good for brutality and labor, maybe, but useless for the elegant assassination I require. But I have the poison safe in a satchel on my hip. And I have my sword and daggers tied together and wrapped in a canvas sack that I keep slung around my back.

It won’t be much longer now.

I have no idea what will happen when the potion wears off. Hopefully there will be a warning, and I can slink away to one of the vacant burrows that pock the walls of the pit. I think the Falmer dig their own graves before they die, and then curl up inside of them. The living won’t go near them after a Falmer has dug one and gone inside.

One hole, one corpse of twisted bones. A perfect place to regain my true form.

Except when the time comes, I don’t know if I’ll have the will to stop working. I’ve tried to practice. Tried to pull my feet out of the assembly line and get into a pit. It feels like wading through a raging river—everything about it is hard and wrong. All of my instincts and desires push me in the opposite direction.

I must find a way. I must.

And if that poison Morlanus gave me doesn’t work—if I can’t separate these two men from their precious netherworld—I am going to be dead in about thirty seconds flat.

On the sixth day I start to feel the shadows of my true nature return. My skeleton starts to straighten, my fingers regain some of their elven dexterity. A single long, black hair sprouts from my green-grey skull.

But on the sixth day, we also finally dig up the blue orb.

I’m down close when it happens—maybe thirty yards away and coming back to refill my small, dilapidated bucket with another pile of rubble. The humming sound that ruled my thoughts and mind for what seemed like weeks grew so loud that I could feel it vibrating in my bones.

The three or four Falmer who were closest to the orb were incinerated immediately—their bodies turned into black husks that dropped to the ground in a meagre pile. The rest bolted. Scrambled over each other trying to get out of the deepest recesses of the pit. I had to kill three workers just to scramble free.

Behind me, the blue orb rose from the earth, propelled by some unseen force.

The other Falmer screamed and cried. Howling in rage at the thing they’d uncovered. A few of them shot arrows to no effect.

And then the Dark Lord descended. It wasn’t Mordred, the one I came to kill. It was his master.

I’ve done a lot of dark things in my life: Stolen every last Septim a poor farmer owns, fucked men and murdered them while they were still inside of me, burned down entire towns and smiled at the carnage, killed people by the wagonload in the name of Sithis.

But for all the pain I’ve sowed into the fabric of this world, the sight of that man made me feel about as evil as a fucking rabbit.

Each step he took down from the platform pulled seemed to pres me further into the ground. The small slices of bone-white skin that showed between his flowing black robes were so bright that they brought tears to my eyes—as if he was made from broken pieces of a burning moon.

But the orb obeyed him. He held up a hand and it stopped rising, stopped grinding out its metallic song.

“Aslam-Go-Grat,” the Dark Lord whispered, yet his voice echoed and bounced off the walls of the pit, filling and refilling my ears like a tide washing in and out on the shore.

The blue orb dropped to the ground, sending up a cloud of dirt.

I felt the grip of the Dark Lord’s will on my soul once again.

Ropes, sleds, it told me. Drag the orb up to the spire.

He pointed a finger at a metallic spear of metal that rose up through the middle of the platform he had been waiting on. Then he ascended the steps once a gain and resumed his position, overseeing the work.

At once, the Falmer scrambled to obey—reaching for rope and wood, rushing to build sleds to drag the massive thing higher. To do as their master bid them.

But as the elf began to grow back inside of me, I felt the necromancer’s pull on me weaken. His grasp began to slip just little. Just enough so that I was the last one to rush forward and begin my work anew.

When the time came, I would be able to break free.

I knew it.

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4 comments on “The Blue Orb

  1. Pingback: The Falmer Metamorphosis | Bus Ride Fantasy

  2. Pingback: The Bloodlust | Bus Ride Fantasy

  3. Pingback: Keep on Reaching | Bus Ride Fantasy

  4. Elspeth Aurilie
    May 21, 2013

    The imagery in this one is incredible, just so freaking poetic. And I was struck by the lines that begin with “I’ve done a lot dark things in my life….” There was a similar line in the beginning, no? It very nicely brings the whole thing around, reminding me from where she came, where she is now, while bringing up the contrast to Mordred’s master. Very nicely done.

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This entry was posted on March 23, 2013 by in Skyrim Fiction, Tales of Narova Black Hair and tagged , .
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