Chapter 24: Silverdrift Skirmish
44 1 1
Reading Options
Font Size
A- 15px A+
Table of Contents
Loading... please wait.

There are only two, highly unaware, bandits standing between myself and the entrance to my destination. They sit on stiff chairs and are paying minimal attention to their surroundings. It only takes me even a cursory glance at them to realize this. And a cursory glance at them also reveals to me the identities of all of their possessions that are on their person. Things like gold and small arms that I fully plan to take for myself.

I could easily remain invisible and utilize something like my spirit alt-form, something I have yet to use at all, to sneak past them. Or I could conjure wisps, which is itself a power that I possess due to my spirit alt-form, to lure them back inside the lair and into the waiting, unholy, hands of the draugr inside of the crypt… 

I possess so many abilities, even at this young stage in my time as a jumper, that moments like this almost make me feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of options I possess. And it is at this moment that I feel a pang of… Not hunger, but thirst. And thirst cuts through the indecision I am feeling. 

I switch spells again, this time opting for a “Calmness” spell that will keep one of my two victims calm when I attack his peer. I feel the energy seeping out of my fingers shift and change even as I descend to the snow-covered surface beneath me. I begin to walk forward, keeping my eyes on the two guards even as I raise my finger at the guard. 

Without a word I will my spell to fly out of my fingers and a light blue projectile jets out of my digits. This also breaks my invisibility but the spell is silent and neither guard is actually doing their job. The blue projectile speeds forward and collides with one of the guards chest, hitting him and spreading through him. This, somewhat unsurprisingly, is noticed by his peer who sees the projectile and huffs in shock and fear. He stands up out of his seat and actually spots me. 

He pulls a blade off of his back and points it at me, fear and anger mixing in his gaze. His companion spots me thanks to his fear and calmly smiles at me. 

“Hey! What’d you do to Arvost?!” The Nord with the weapon drawn asks me, concernedly. I roll my eyes at the figure and do not even bother raising my hand to deal with his weapon. 

I simply glance at the greatsword he is wielding and chuckle. I use telekinesis on the man's weapon and I feel something akin to an invisible force jut out of me, like a phantom limb. It dances through the air separating the two of us until it reaches the man's weapon. It coils around the blade in the man’s hand. 

Right as the guard is about to wave his sword around in an effort to intimidate me I tug the weapon towards me. Doing so is a strange sensation but it is one that is easy for me to perform. The weapon weighs almost nothing, and I can intuitively tell that my telekinetic capabilities are potent enough for me to lift a horse with relative ease so a weapon like this costs almost nothing as far as my vast magicka reserves are concerned. 

He gasps as his weapon is forcibly yanked from him and hurled onto the snow by an invisible force, my own, increasingly decent, telekinetic abilities. With each usage of telekinesis I can feel my familiarity with this potent power increasing, though it is a bit of a shame that it costs me an internal resource to make use of if I want to use my best version. 

I have weaker versions of telekinesis that cost me nothing, as far as internal energy goes, but they are less powerful and are static in their growth. In fact I have several abilities where I have both a version that uses up some sort of energy and is capable of growth, and a lesser version that is “free”, so to speak, but is weaker in capacity. These abilities are almost invariably ones that involve the usage of my mind to alter reality in someway, whether it is speaking to someone with telekinesis, or shape-shifting into various animal shapes. 

I continue my approach wordlessly and before the man has time to react to my psychic abilities his eyes widen. Before he can scream I point a single finger at him and will another power to activate: an invisible beam shoots out of my fingertip and hits him, painlessly, in the throat. He is shrouded in an immaterial cloak that seems to cast a dark shadow over his skin and when he opens his mouth to scream no sound comes out. 

He does not realize this and continues to scream, even while stepping backwards. His companion is still completely enthralled by my spell and sees nothing wrong with what is going on. My only active foe is the guard who has been silenced by my magic. The guard attempts to back away from me but I don’t let him and I trip the figure by tugging at his foot with telekinesis. He falls, painfully, to the floor, and while he is in mid-air I lunge, speedily, at him. 

I cross the distance that separates us, a distance of well over twenty five feet, in a single burst of speed. I am so fast that I lunge after he begins to fall and am standing over him before he hits the ground. This burst of speed is magical in nature and thus handily defies any attempt by things like physical laws to police my actions. 

The guard clatters to the ground, and is helpless before me. At this range I can easily control the very blood in this man’s veins all while his friend smiles pleasantly at me. I feel his heart beating rapidly in his chest and I can hear his blood speedily flowing through his body. 

As a vampire I possess potent hemokinesis and activating it is as simple as willing the man’s lifeforce out of his body. I raise a single hand over his fallen form, even as he attempts to crawl away from me, and he silently cries out as his blood stops listening to his body. I can feel his blood bending to my will, and I smile as I begin to will it out of him. 

He freezes as his blood refuses to listen to him. And a second later his blood flows out of his body, out of his eyes and lips, and begins to flow into my arm. It touches my skin and is absorbed by me, supernaturally vanishing as it seeps into me. Color begins to touch my skin, darkening it and granting it an almost healthy looking glow. 

Several tendrils of blood flow out of him and snake through the air towards me. As I feed on him I feel my thirst be slaked, for now, even as the bandit is drained of his lifeforce. Nevertheless I am feeling quite greedy and already planning to devour his friend as readily as I devoured him.

As I feed on the corpse a wholly new ability bubbles to life and erupts within me, one that didn’t activate even as I slew my enemies in the Hunger Games. It is a terrifying parasitic ability born of greed, murder, and envy, and as I learn of it I immediately fall in love with it. I feel a fraction of the essence of my foe seeping into me! Shades of everything positive he was flow into me, from pieces of knowledge to skill with a bow and arrow… 

Fragmentary glimpses of his memories seep from his mind to mine, and I feel things like his bits of his physical strength being added to my own. I can instinctively tell that it’s only a fragment of the person he was, but still… 

And even more frighteningly, for my foes anyway, I can tell that this ability can be trained, and improved. For now it is imperfect, bestowing me mere shades of the positive qualities of my fallen foes, but if I train it enough it may be able to steal everything from them when I take their lives or otherwise end their existences. 

I can scarcely imagine how terrifying this could become if I can train it to the degree that it could steal even a quarter of a deity’s potent powers and skills. I can also tell that this will work on anything I slay, not just the living!

At the same time a small skill book appears in the infinite inventory I possess that I’ll be able to read from later. I don’t doubt it won’t be very useful but even a single step forward in any skill can lead me to mastery further along the course of my chain.

The bandit’s friend is perfectly unbothered by what he witnessed, and when I turn to face him he is smiling gently at me. Having already used hemokinesis, blood manipulation, to slay his friend it is easier for me to do it again than it had been a few moments ago and a few moments after he smiles gently at me his bloodless corpse lies in the same spot he had once been resting in. 

I struck him with a silencing spell before he could scream out in pain, and shades of the second guard flow into me as readily as the shades of the first guard did. And another tiny skill book appears in my inventory, as if solely to add insult to injury.

I run my hands over the corpses of the guards and find little of value aside from a few dozen septims between the two of them. I also grab their weapons, since I have quite a talent for blacksmithing and their cheap iron blades won't cost me much to sharpen and improve considerably. I could even resell them for a nice profit!

I feel quite full thanks to the blood I have just absorbed and am almost humming with joy as I get up and walk towards the door leading into the necromantic crypt. As soon as I place a hand on the black door I feel my senses begin to attune to what lies beyond the door. 

I feel something akin to an unintended assault on my senses as scents of dried blood, undead corpses, and other arcane things touch my senses, though still hugely muted by the thick door of Nordic ebony that stands between them and myself. I steel myself and push the door in front of me open. 

Immediately beyond the door lies a large room that was converted by the now slain bandits inside of it into a makeshift Nordic kitchen. A large cooking pot is resting over the remains of a small fire, with soup still inside of it, and surrounding that pot are the corpses of bandits. I step into it and allow my eyes to scan the scene in front of me.

A snap usage of “Sherlock Scan” causes “Observe” to level up and reveal to me handy information about my surroundings. One of the big things it allows me to ascertain that is wholly new is the cause of death of slain beings it scans. 

The power also brightly illuminates a number of footprints in the soft dirt underneath my feet leading at first to the kitchen from deeper in the crypt and then away from it. This suggests that the murderers of the bandits, unsurprisingly, did their dark deed and then retreated back into their eternal lair.

The bandits were all slain by fire magic and the axes of draugr, members of the dreaded dragon-cults that once ruled over humanity. I don’t get anything as precise as time of death, but this’ll still surely be immensely handy in the future if I want to investigate murders.

The blood that lines the floor is mostly dry, but I raise my hand and still call it to me anyway. It answers my call and obeys me without much resistance, only taking a split second longer to obey me than the blood of the bandits I had drained did. It seeps into me and feeds me but the amount of sustenance that I get from the blood is far, far less than the amount that I got from the bandits I slew myself. The blood that had lingered inside of the bandits also answers my call and feeds me, offering more sustenance than the dried blood did, but not vastly more.

The corpses of the bandits are beginning to decompose faster than they would otherwise due to the heat of the room. The room is still quite warm, and after I drain the corpses of the blood that was still inside of them I telekinetically begin to pile the corpses onto each other. It takes me a few moments, though that is primarily because I utilize more than one stream of consciousness to speed up my efforts here. 

I also empty the pockets of the corpses with telekinesis. Doing so is a sublte, fun usage of my powers that rewards me by giving me more weapons to work with, including arrows, as well as a few potions and many more septims. These bandits were not doing badly for themselves, which is helpful for me since it means that their deaths greatly fatten my pockets.

When the bodies are all on top of each other I point a single finger in their direction and a small but sweltering ball of fire explodes out of my digit. It dances out of my fingertip and glides through the air until it collides with the corpses. As soon as it does they go up in flames, and the room’s temperature leaps upward as the macabre bonfire is created. 

I glance at it for a second, before I take a deep sniff of the air around me. As I do I can smell scents known to me and ones that were previously unknown. I detect the presence of various little treasures that I can claim for myself. I can’t quite tell what these treasures are, from this distance, but I know that they reside inside the crypt and that the actual crypt isn’t too deep. 

I distantly hear the sounds of something shuffling about, something bigger than the various insects that call this place home. And after a few seconds the source of those sounds emits a weird sound with its voice, a sound that it takes me a second to realize is it muttering a prayer of sorts in the ancient language known as “Dovahzul”, or “Dragon-Speech”. 

I chuckle and begin to venture deeper into the crypt.