A third chapter in the series. Please tell me what you think!

Songs of Cinder, Book III: Twin Lamps' Light


The well-decorated private bedchambers were nicely lit. Tedryn was leaning on his chair, blowing the candles on the table and placing his ornate dagger back on its plaque, when a knock on the door interrupted his preparations for sleep. Tedryn opened the door to be greeted by a heavily breathing courier, almost drenched in sweat.

"What have you got for me?" Tedryn asked in a low key, clearly indicating his displeasure over such a sudden invasion of privacy.

"A letter, sera," the courier reached out to his satchel and pulled out a folded piece of flavescent paper. Tedryn took the letter before rewarding the courier with a purse of drakes and a loud shutting of a wooden door. He grappled his dagger and removed the seal in a hurry; letters were quite rare, not only because of the fact that the couriers find it very troublesome to roam the ashlands, but also because the Brenur plantation obviously did not house any nobility to be bothered with. The letter in Tedryn's hands didn't have any signs of being worn out by the ash, and the ink was almost as fresh as the moment it was written.

"Dear serjo Hlaalu-Tedryn," he began to read in the same low key, "The following letter is a business arrangement. I wish to purchase a number of your Khajiiti slaves as per House Telvanni's request. While it may seem quite unlikely that a respected slavemaster of your type would engage in a bad pennyworth like that, there is a considerable amount of money for your trouble that should cover everything. If you're interested in the deal, please be sure to write a letter of response before the 23rd of Frostfall, and meet my men by Pelagiad front gate the same day, where a caravan for slaves' transportation and a purse of nine thousand drakes, a thousand per slave, will be waiting for you. A party of trained battlemages will ensure the maximum safety of the caravan."

A seal of Great House Telvanni was placed instead of a buyer's name at the bottom of the letter, with the Daedric "Oht" slightly above the seal.

Mixed thoughts went through Tedryn's head upon reading the letter; the conflicting desires for both getting rid of the slaves and refusing the mysterious offer were on his mind. Most of the Khajiit were obedient servants, but Urjorahn's uneasy character and keeping conditions left Tedryn hesitant. Still, the deal seemed to be beneficial for him, and he quickly took out a piece of paper and an inkwell from his end table. Urjorahn woke up at midnight; eerie visions of a dark realm and distorted voices visited him in his sleep. He couldn't close his eyes, afraid of the nightmare's return. The same Daedric letters and outlines haunted him, yet no paper was left, and he started scribbling them on the walls of his cell. A sleepy guard, sipping sujamma to stay awake and clearly not afraid of losing his sobriety in the midst of a night shift, noticed the slave and headed towards his cell. The confusion in his eyes was seen even through his Bonemold helm. Urjorahn pretended to fall asleep in hopes of getting rid of the watching guard, who called his mate instead. The second one, clad in the same Bonemold, was already asleep by the grotto's exit, his helmet slowly sliding down his head, when a shout woke him up. Suprised and ready to expect the grotto's unwelcome trespassers, he unsheathed his rusty steel war axe, only to realise that it was a simple call that make him act hilarious. He walked down the squeaking stairs, sheathing his axe and putting the helmet straight after loud complaining at the blurry and darkened vision.

"Look here, Fadril," said one of the guards, who was standing by the cage door with an open bottle of sujamma in his hand.

"The slave is asleep, Dalamus," the just woken guard by the name of Fadril replied, "I thought you were going to show me anything worth the hassle. You should drink less."

"Open your eyes, oaf!" Dalamus pointed at the wall. It was written in Daedric all over, with a round outline featuring a large "Oht" inside.

"Well... That's..." Fadril placed his hand at the back of his head.

"Strange? Terrifying? Suspicious? We should report this to Captain Brenur immediately. Come on."

The two went up the stairs, with Fadril expressing his reluctance over visiting Tedryn's villa when the slavemaster is most likely to be asleep. Urjorahn was expecting some kind of a punishment, but he was not afraid. And that scared him even more.

A morning on the 23rd of Frostfall was as clear as most of the mornings over at the Brenur plantation, with all the clouds gathering above the hills as they always did. Tedryn was walking down the beaten path from Pelagiad, carrying a heavy purse over his shoulder. There was more than enough for him to buy some new garments and a decent house in Balmora. He headed to the guard tower south of the plantation, and opened the massive front door. The tower was obviously not as well-decorated as his private bedchambers were, but the interior did have a pleasing atmosphere mostly due to a fireplace on the ground floor. Tedryn placed the purse on an end table by the door before ordering a guardsman keep an eye on it, and requested to see Fadril and Dalamus. Both approached the slavemaster shortly thereafter.

"What is it?" Tedryn asked.

"We have witnessed suspicious activity in one of the slaves' cells. Daedric letters. Written all over the walls. I have never seen drawings like these in my whole life, muthsera. Sheogorath's madness took one of the n'wah for sure." Dalamus said.

The caravan was halfway to Sadrith Mora, the capital of House Telvanni on Vvardenfell, when it suddenly stopped. One of the sellswords took a look around, holding his lantern in front of him, before a swift arrow reached his throat. Several shadows moved through the bushes and and tree branches, taking out the escorting mages one by one before they raised a dust. Then, a dozen of ropes entwined the silt strider's carapace, holding the mount until it fell, knocking some of the slaves, including Urjorahn, unconscious. All that he heard was the ringing of blades and the loud casting of spells. Then, a male voice called him before getting his slave bracers off.

"Get them all to safety!" the man shouted.

Then everything went black.