(PART 9 OF 10)


Laurenna sat by the window, so I crawled into bed for a quick nap. I had a strange dream: something about orks hammering weapons on iron and steel to make weapons. The hammering was very loud - it almost hurt my ears. Then the hammering fell out of time with the hammer. I awoke to find that the clatter I was hearing was caused by Laurenna fighting with two of Ragnar's guards. She was swinging a broadsword at each one of them, fending them off. One of the guards had already been hit slightly by her. My corner of the room was dimly lit, so they hadn't seen me yet. I quickly used the Amulet of Shadows for 80% chameleon effect and jumped out of bed.

I hit one of the guards with a spell of Medusa's Gaze. The other guard saw it happen, but couldn't see where the spell came from at first. He found out a moment later, when I hit him with the very same spell. Laurenna kept hitting the guards with her broadsword. I decided to use a weapon of my own. I still had on one of my Ring of Leaches, and blasted one of the guards with it.

That was a big mistake - I forgot that the blast radius was pretty big, and some of the effect accidentally hit Laurenna.

"Hey, I'm on YOUR side!" she shouted. "Oops, sorry!" I said, and cursed myself under my breath for such a stupid mistake.

I cast my own shield spell, "Dragon Skin". It is like wearing armor, but only lasts 60 seconds, and only works once each day. I grabbed my glass poison sword and used it on one of the guards closest to me. Laurenna used her sword on the other guard.

Finally, both of them fell lifelessly to the ground. "I thought you were watching the window." I said. "Oh, I am sorry, I had to leave the window for a few moments, you know, to, um, powder my nose." Well, how could I be angry with that? "Oh, Eldorf, I don't know what I would have done! Ragnar must have found out that his shaman is dead. That's the only reason his guards would have come here. Oh, but you're injured. You should heal yourself."

She was right. I was injured, not wearing any armor and such. I did a healing spell on myself. I still wasn't feeling perfect, so I plopped down on the bed again, and said "Laurenna, if you have to leave again, please wake me, ok?" She looked at me, nodded, and smiled.

Again, I drifted off to sleep.

When I awoke, I had another visitor. This time, it was no enemy - it was Wulfren, the White. The curse had been lifted, and he was back in human form! "Where is Laurenna?" I asked. He smiled and said "Oh, she's outside getting some water, should be back in a moment."

Suddenly, we heard Laurenna scream. I might have known I wouldn't get too much nap time in. I quickly got my robe on and we both went outside to see what all the commotion was about.

Instead of finding Laurenna, we found two more of Ragnar's guards, and they weren't too happy to see us. Wulfren got out his warhammer that I had found for him. I hit one of the guards with Medusa's Gaze, then summoned a Dwemer centurion sphere. Wulfren was taken back by this, not realizing I was actually a mage, but he got the idea quickly enough that this thing was on our side.

It was Wulfren against one guard, and my centurion sphere and me against the other guard. The warhammer struck a massive blow against the guard attacking Wulfren. The other guard tried to attack me, but my Dwemer centurion stood up to his attack, using it's own shield to defend itself, then having it's own blade shoot out of it's mechanical arm in a counter-attack. It took us a bit longer to put down the second guard, but we finally won the battle.

"Eldorf, old man," Wulfren shouted, "you never told me you were that good of a mage, that you could summon such a thing." I winked, and said "Oh, well, you know, I don't like to brag too much about myself." Wulfren looked at the centurion. "Where did you get such a creature?" "Oh, that old thing?" I said, innocently. "Well, just something I picked up from House Telvani. Very helpful, I might add. Doesn't talk much, but then again, it doesn't have to." Wulfren chuckled a bit, then looked around. "Say, where's Laurenna? She was supposed to be getting a bucket of water to put on to boil."

I checked around and noticed lots of footprints in the newly-fallen snow (it always seems to be snowing around here). There were two sets of tracks going down the ridge which would lead to the castle. What was disturbing was a third set of tracks that looked like feet being dragged in the snow. Then all three tracks came to an abrupt end. "Wulfren, it looks like she was dragged over here, then a teleportation trinket of some kind was used to transport the three of them somewhere else. I'd lay odds that she's been taken prisoner and is in the castle."

Wulfren's face became red with anger. "Ragner's going to punish her for Kreikan's death. I suspect he'll have her killed, if he hasn't done so already." I hurried back into the cabin to get the rest of my things.

"We'll fight our way into the castle, even if I have to take every last man down with me." "Actually, you might not have to do that yet." I said. I mentioned the secret entrance, and said we need to find out where Laurenna's being held, first.

We made our way through the cave behind the castle and found our way to a door leading up to the foundation. That led us to the dungeon (the first place you always look for captives), and the ever-cheerful VonSchlepp.

"Eldorf, you're back." I have bad news for ya." I cringed. "Laurenna's here." he said.  "The guards beat her up pretty badly, and threw her into a cell back at the end of this hall. She's still alive, but considering her injuries, I don't hold much hope out for her." I brushed past him and tried the lock. "Charmed!" I grumbled to myself. "It won't open. Who has the key?" I demanded. "Ragnar has the only key." was the reply.  "I doubt he'll give it to you willingly. He wouldn't even leave it with me, and I'm the dungeon master here."

I looked at Wulfren. "We have to get her out of there. If he has the only key, then we must act now to save her life." Wulfren's only answer was to take out his mighty warhammer. I nodded in agreement. "Wulfren, here's two amulets for you that Granny made. One is for levitation, and the other is for chameleon. We'll need stealth to get into the throne room. Once there, we'll decloak and attack."

"Yes, we will," said Wulfren, "but you take the guards. Ragnar is mine."

We made out way out of the dungeon, and up the hallway to the stairwell. Just then, we heard a guard coming our way. Quickly, I turned to Wulfren, and told him to hide himself. He disappeared in a puff of green smoke. I did the same. The guard walked right by us, oblivious to our presence. We walked quietly to the stairwell, and made our way through the door. Up one flight of stairs and over to the entrance of the throne room. I made ready the Medusa's Gaze spell, and Wulfren and I stepped into the throne room.


The guards attacked, and I didn't know which one to paralyze first. I shot off one spell, but one of the other guards hit me with a mace, stopping my second Medusa spell. Wulfren smacked the guard with his mighty warhammer, and the blow knocked the guard to his knees. I took advantage of the time by hitting the next guard with another Medusa Gaze spell. Wulfren was busy, so I decided to call up some help.

I brought forth a hunger, a daedroth, and another Dweamer Centurian Sphere. Wulfren was swinging his mighty warhammer as if it had the weight of a feather, even though it had the power of a battering ram when it struck. Two guards went flying back 3 feet with one mighty swing.

Meanwhile, my summonings were busy keeping the other guards at bay. The daedroth kept spitting poison, the hunger kept draining the life out of the guard it was hitting, and the Dweamer sphere kept stabbing with it's retractable sword at anything nearby.  I really wanted to summon a flame and storm antroch, but feared the blast from their spell effects might accidentally hit Wulfren.

Ragnar was right there in the middle of the fight. He was using his appropriately-named blade, Kinslayer. "Eldorf, you wretched Breton, I'll separate your skin from your very bones!"

With that, he lunged at me, blade thrusting forward. My Dwemer centurion, bless his mechanical heart, managed to get in the way, blocking Ragnar's blade. I used the few seconds of time that gave me to throw a blast of poison spell at Ragnar. He screamed in anger and tried to strike me again.

This time, his blade was met with a more powerful object: A very, very angry Wulfren, with a mighty big hammer. The warhammer of Thorjan Bjorg knocked Ragnar's blade right out of Ragnar's hands. 

The other two guards had fallen dead from the summonings I had brought forth, so now it was just Ragnar, myself, and Wulfren.  I stepped back, not wanting to get into the crossfire.

"Ragnar," I said, "you asked me to hunt down this white wolf for you. Well, never let it be said that Bretons can't hunt as well as Nords can. Here's your white wolf!"

Words simply cannot describe Ragnar's rage, especially when my Dwemer Centurion sphere accidentally rolled over on his foot (well, I wasn't sure if it was an accident, or if it was by design - it certainly had the right effect, though!). His face was a nice shade of purple, and he let out a yell about his foot, then said something nasty about clunky Dweamer machines. Wulfren motioned to the blade, Kinslayer, on the floor, indicating that Ragnar pick it up.  I could see Wulfren was toying with Ragnar. I decided to let him.

"Well," I said, "I see the two of you have some differences to discuss, so I'll be over here by the bar."  With that, I stepped out of the way, and the two warriors faced off with each other.

Kinslayer swung at Wulfren, but the armor he was wearing stopped the blade from doing more than a nick in Wulfren's armor.  The response was Thorjan Bjorg's warhammer slamming into Ragnar's side. The blow sent Ragnar falling 3 feet sideways.

"Get up, killer!" Wulfren shouted.  He waited for Ragnar to get up off the floor.  He did so, and lunged at Wulfren, with a slashing attack, shouting at the top of his lungs.  The warhammer easily deflected Kinslayer, causing Wulfren to turn to his left.  Ragnar fell into him, then bounced off, falling to his feet.  Wulfren stepped back, and waived at Ragnar to get up and try again.  Ragnar was no pushover, but Wulfren was giving him a run for his money.

This would be a battle that Nords tell over a campfire.  

Ragnar got up, and then raised his blade up over his head to strike it down on Wulfren's head. Wulfren got his warhammer in first, striking Ragnar squarely in the head. The blow killed him, and Ragnar fell on the floor, dead.

Wulfren looked at me and said "Eldorf! I didn't know you could summon an army!" "Oh, well," I said, sheepishly, "I don't like to brag about myself." I grinned at him, then turned to Ragnar's dead body. The key to the dungeon was on him, and I took everything else as well. I offered him Kinslayer. "No, you can keep that. I don't want anything of his anywhere near me." I understood, and stored the rest of the items.

We headed back to the dungeon, using the chameleon effect to avoid the guards. Wulfren was still accused of having killed his father, still a wanted man. We didn't need any complications, so stealth was the best way to go. We would have to hurry, since my Amulet of Shadows was nearly exhausted; I had been using it a lot lately.

We found VonSchlepp, told him what had happened, and he waved me to the back of the hallway. "Laurenna, can you hear me?" "Eldorf?" came the weak reply. Well, she was alive, anyway.

I used the key, and opened the door. Both Wulfren and I dropped down the ladder, where we found Laurenna on a bedroll. She was badly bruised where the guards had dragged her by the arms, and she had a bruise on her cheek where (I assume) Ragnar had slapped her with a gauntlet-covered fist. I helped her to her feet, and the first thing she did was wrap her arms around me, and plant a kiss right on the lips. Well, I wasn't expecting that, but ok, I'm the big hero, and such, so I took it in stride.  Wulfren just looked at me with an amused look on his face. After we all regained our composure I asked Wulfren what we should do next. "Well, we could rescue Sigrid, though I doubt that would be wise, considering Laurenna's condition. I suggest we take her out of this place, get back to her cabin, and then discuss what to do there." I didn't agree. I thought we should rescue Sigrid while we were so close.  However, when I could see that Laurenna could barely stand, I agreed with Wulfren's suggestion.  We needed to get her out of here quickly and tend to her wounds.

I had one, maybe two more shots of 60 seconds of chameleon before my Amulet of Shadows was exhausted. We made our way out of the dungeon, and scampered to the stairwell door unseen, made our way up the stairs to the trophy room, into the master bedroom, down the secret door, into the cave, and out the back of the castle. Laurenna leaned on me most of the way. I felt sorry for her, having to go through all of this.

Once we were back at Laurenna's cabin, I made her a quick cup of tea and told her to take it easy. She took the cup, and gave me a kiss on the cheek. Wulfren brought a damp cloth, and we tended to her bruises.

"Laurenna, Wulfren and I will go back to get Sigrid. I want you to stay here. If the guards come, I want you to duck into that secret passage in the back of your cabin." "Oh, I wish I could come with you." she said. "It's just as well," Wulfren interjected, "since the stairwell is close quarters, it's probably not wise to have a crowd there." I nodded in agreement. "Take care." I said, and kissed her on the forehead. "Don't worry about us." I said. "Your brother has a pretty big hammer, and I have spells that I can use. Between the two of us, I think we can pull this off easily." Laurenna smiled, and reached up to give me a hug, then planted another kiss on me. "Hurry back." she said.  Wulfren looked at me, winked and grinned.




We headed back into the cave behind the castle, Wulfren was right on my heels all the way. On our way up the stairs, he asked me what we should do about the guards."You know, they'll still think I'm a wanted man." he said."I think I have one more shot with my Amulet of Shadows," I replied, "so use that to get us into the tower past the guards. We'll have to be quick about it, since it'll only last 60 seconds."Wulfren nodded, and we continued up the stairs. We tried to be very quiet, and as we came to the mid-way point, I heard a guard sneeze around the corner. Well, I was hoping we were near the top, but I was wrong. I fired the Amulet of Shadows one more time, faded out, followed by Wulfren doing the same. We snuck past the guard quickly, though I think he noticed something pass by him. We hurried up the stairs, two more flight, and encountered another guard. This was at the top of the stairwell.

We both made our way up the ladder into the tower dungeon, and quietly closed the door behind us, just as my amulet ran out of power. As we both became visible, Sigrid let out a cry of joy.

"Are you here to rescue me?" she asked. "Yes," I replied, "I am Eldorf the Wise, and I believe you already know my associate, Wulfren the White." Just then, Wulfren's chameleon spell wore off, and he appeared next to me. "Oh, Wulfren, you're alive!" She ran and hugged him, squeezing him until his eyes almost bugged out of his head.

I tried using my Amulet of Shadows, but it was complexly out of charge.  It would be hours before I could start using it again.  In a way, it wouldn't matter.  We only had two such amulets, and Sigrid would be visible as we went down the ladder.  There would be a guard waiting for us there.

"Sigrid, we made it up here using a chameleon spell, but my amulet is completely discharged, and will take an hour just to regain enough power for one more shot. We'll have to fight our way out."She nodded, understanding what was to take place. "Wulfren, when we leave here, I'll paralyze the guard.You'll have to take care of him, ok?" Wulfren nodded, and readied his warhammer.

The moment we went down the ladder, the guard saw us. I hit him with Medusa's Gaze, and Wulfren did the song-and-dance with that big warhammer of his. The other guard ran up the stairs to help. I jumped in front of Sigrid and used my glass poison sword to defeat him. We made our way down the stairwell back into the caves. We were both wanted men, now.

This was supposed to be a vacation, right?

We made it up to Laurenna's cabin. Laurenna was overjoyed to see her mother back safe and sound. Laurenna gave me a hug, and thanked me for saving her mother. "Oh, well, I did help, but Wulfren here did most of the work." "Yes," she replied, "but without all of your efforts, none of this would have been possible. A great evil has been lifted from this island. You have our thanks and gratitude." I smiled at her, and said "Oh, all in a day's work for me."




Wulfren said "I still need to find a way to prove my innocence to the people. If I show myself in the village, I'll be arrested. "Can you think of anything or anyone who might be able to clear me?"

I said I would check in the village to see if anyone could help. "Ask Lisendra." Laurenna sighed, "She may know something." "You sound as if you're not comfortable making the suggestion." I said. "Oh, it's ok, I just...." her voice trailed off, as if she wanted to say more, but was unsure if she should continue. Based on that kiss in the dungeon, I could tell she had feelings for me. I just wasn't sure how to proceed. Never-the-less, I had a job to do, and needed to start immediately.

I headed on down to the village. One person after another was asked, but no one had any useful information for me.

Finally, I headed to the inn. Lisendra was there with her hunting group. She didn't even need a mug of mead - she simply told me to see the innkeeper, that she had a note for me. A fast query with the innkeeper produced a letter with my name on it. It was an urgent note from Fiona Klang, the lighthouse keeper's wife. She needed me to come to their cabin and talk with Erik about something very important.

It was just a short stroll along the shore line to the lighthouse. Once there, I was greeted by Fiona Klang. She told me that Erik and his wife were going to leave for Dagon Fel, but wanted to finish some business that might be of interest to me.

"I am leaving soon with Hellena and neither one of us will be coming back to this place. But before we go, I have to get this off my chest." Erik handed me a scroll from the table. "I have been imprisoned ever since I witnessed that murder in the forest. I have here a deposition. I trust no one but you, Eldorf. I know that giving it to you, it will be in safe hands." Erik took a deep breath, and handed the scroll to me. I took a look at information inscribed in it. This was the information that Wulfren needed to clear his name! Erik was an eye witness to the death of Wulfgar the White, and in his description, it was confirmed that Ragnar, Wulfren's step-brother, was the killer. This information will certainly clear Wulfren's name.

"Erik," I said, "do not worry. This is the information needed to clear Wulfren the White's name. I will see to it that it is put into the proper hands. You have the word of Eldorf the Wise."

Erik and his wife hugged each other. I bid them both a safe journey back to Dagon Fel, then headed back to the hunting lodge. Wulfren will be very happy to see this deposition.