Part 59 - Haknir

Clark picked up the scimitar, and a noise from behind them told him they were no longer alone. He turned, and saw that a ghostly figure had appeared near the entrance, which was now closed off. The ghost was wielding twin scimitars, and charging right at them.

Diablita swung the Bloodskal Blade, and a slash of red fire crossed the ghost's chest. At the same time, Brelyna's lightning bolt hit him, and he disappeared again.

But around the room, four more ghosts had replaced him, armed with bows, axes and hammers. Diablita charged at the nearest archer, and Clark did the same on the other flank. Brelyna summoned a flame atronach to even the sides, and fired a second bolt from her staff at another ghost.

When the first wave had been put down, the twin-bladed ghost re-appeared. Again they fought him for a short time, and he winked out again, with more of his crew taking his place.

"Are these tougher than the last lot, or am I just getting tired?" Clark asked nobody in particular.

"Both," agreed Brelyna. "Keep your ward up. I need to re-cast my armour."

Diablita was running around shutting down the archers as they appeared. Clark and Brelyna stayed together, and he protected her with his ward while she poured lightning into anyone who approached. As she switched to a second staff, he took the first and re-charged it, without interrupting the ward.

"How do you manage to sustain that for so long?" Brelyna managed to ask, as the last of the current wave of crew fell, and Haknir popped back in.

"Fortify Restoration on my whole outfit," he replied. "Azura's idea, and it really works well."

Diablita's sword didn't need recharging. "But I do," she told them, chugging a stamina potion as she closed with the ghost again.

For a third time, he left them, and more of his crew took his place. Not as many in this third wave, but they looked better armoured than the ones before. "No archers this time, which is something positive."

Brelyna's fresh atronach now put the numerical advantage in their favour, and they spread out to flank the remaining ghosts. "And if Haknir appears in the same place again, we'll have him surrounded," Diablita noted.

"We have to finish these two first," Clark reminded her.

The one nearest Clark and Brelyna unexpectedly got a fireball in the back from the flame atronach, and visibly weakened. The other took advantage of the atronach's diverted attention to send it back to Oblivion.

But that, in turn, gave Diablita the opening she needed. Thalin Ebonhand's ghost staggered as she struck, and he never regained his balance. Now only Garuk Windrime's ghost remained, and not for long.

Haknir was immediately back in their midst. But as Diablita had indicated, he was surrounded, and couldn't face them all. Since Clark was dealing the least damage, Haknir turned on him first, and flailed at the ward with his scimitars. Since a ward is best at deflecting spells, not blades, Clark was starting to wish he'd brought a shield.

But before Haknir could break through, he was brought to his knees by a powerful blow from Diablita, and a bolt of shock from Brelyna, arriving together. Clark quickly added a thrust from his sword, and Haknir finally fell.

Among Haknir's remains they found a second scimitar to match the one Clark had taken from the altar, except that this had a different glow than the first.

"One absorbs health, and the other magicka," Brelyna noted. "but not unless you wield them together. And there's something else in the enchantments to weaken or destroy armour, physical or otherwise."

"I just hope Rayya will appreciate what we had to go through to get them," Clark remarked. "The set of armour was a breeze by comparison."

"These don't look like they're made of Stahlrim, though. Are you sure they're the right ones?" Diablita wanted to know.

"I'd imagine they used Stahlrim to help enchant them, but they actually look like they're made of steel. Still, Chrysamere was made from Adamantium, but looked like Stahlrim, and Chillrend is Glass that's blue, so I expect these will temper with something else entirely. We'll ask Baldor, when we go back through the village."

"Ebony," Baldor told them, "and you'll need the Daedric skill to do it. These are clearly an artifact with at least some contribution from other realms. I could never have made anything like them, and I doubt any mortal smith could."

"The armour you found is a set, but these swords aren't part of it. They all may have had the same owner, but there are two distinct styles. I would imagine the armour is local, but the swords look more like they came from Hammerfell. How Haknir got them is a tale that hasn't been written, but as a pirate, he'd have travelled widely."

"But can you help us temper them?" Clark wanted to know.

"Not I," the Skaal replied. "I do not want to work on Daedric pieces, so I never learned to do so."

Clark recalled Iona telling him that Balimund could work Ebony, and she was learning to do that for herself. That was a little short of Daedric, however. Perhaps Eorland Grey-Mane, although he had a style of his own. His pieces were the equal of Daedric, but not the same. Serana had mentioned that the smith at Fort Dawnguard could train to the highest levels, so maybe he could do it.

Whichever it was, they were all back on the mainland. And so was Rayya, which meant that it could wait until he went back.

Back at Tel Mithryn, Vicuņa and Neloth had enchanted Brelyna's amulet to match the robes.

"There's just one small snag," Neloth told her. "The nature of the enchantment is such that you can't wear the robes and the amulet together. It just won't work a second time on the same person."

"That's all right. I wanted the amulet enchanted so I wouldn't have to wear the robes. They're practical, but they're dull, and boring. Besides, I don't want to have to wear the same outfit every day."

"And you should be wearing something with a bit more Telvanni style," Neloth told her. "You need to remind everyone where your magical prowess originates."

That gave Vicuņa an idea, and she went to fetch Ildari's robes from her chest. When they got back to Severin Manor, she'd see if she could alter those for Brelyna.

"When I see a guard's eyes following me," Brelyna said, back at Severin Manor, "it's not the same here as it was in Skyrim. Over there, I could just feel the suspicion that I was about to blow something up. Over here, he's just being male."

"Well, if you like that feeling, we should do something about your outfit," Vicuņa told her.

"And maybe her hair. That's a much better style than she used to wear as an Apprentice mage, but it's still a bit ordinary," Diablita added. "Still, that fits with the College-issue robes she's wearing. It's all a fit-in-with-the-crowd ensemble, if you ask me."

"I'm not sure I want to stand out from the crowd as much as you do," Brelyna answered. "I'm not built the same way."

"Perhaps you should," Clark responded. "As Archmage, you're supposed to be a figure of note, and draw some attention. And if the guards are noticing you, ..."

"Well, I am new here, and Velith and Diablita have been walking around half-naked long enough that they don't notice any more. Or not as much, anyway."

"So we need to stop that happening for you," Vicuņa pointed out. "Prepare to strut your stuff!"

Brelyna gets a new outfit (soon)

She held up Ildari's robes for Brelyna to look at. "We'll have to cut the front away; there's a huge hole where the heartstone used to be. But that's a good thing, because then your amulet will show."

"Won't I be showing a bit too much of me at the same time?" Brelyna complained. "I'll be feeling the cold if you go that far."

"We'll add an enchantment to keep you warm. Nothing says 'mage' like ignoring the elements, and dressing for pure visual effect. And yes, before you ask, I did that on mine. Being an enchantment, it doesn't wear off and give you a nasty surprise!"

Clark looked over at Diablita. Her chains couldn't offer much protection from frost, and he didn't recall her having enchanted them with anything but defense. "Same here," she admitted. "That's one reason I wanted to learn the mage armour spells instead. That, and needing a stronger enchantment than anyone could manage without a Sigil Stone. I could get enough frost protection, but not enough against physical damage."

Clark had a bit of advice to offer, from his memory of the Bear Riders. "When it's frost protection, enchant the piece of clothing you'll take off last."

"Good point," Vicuņa agreed. "Even the most wispy piece of lace can hold a full enchantment. And if you need them, you won't easily forget them!"

The way Brelyna blushed made Clark think that had happened before, but he didn't ask.