auspex_caelo: (Illusion)
Stratos Caelus ([personal profile] auspex_caelo) wrote2016-04-29 10:43 pm

Fooled You! (April Writing Prompt for [community profile] nexus_crossings)

“Look out! It’s a Xivilai!”

“What?”

“…A really big daedra! With a giant axe!”

“Aaah! Retreat!”

Boots pounded on the floorboards as the two of them charged out of the hall. Stratos skidded and threw himself back against the door, slamming it shut. Felix just kept retreating, sprinting straight for the open window and half-vaulting, half-scrambling through it.

”Felix!
Come back!”

“What are you doing?”

Stratos looked around to see their cousin frowning at them over her paper-strewn desk. ”Oh! Sorry, Marcella. It’s just a game. We didn’t mean to disturb you.”

“It’s fine.” She paused awkwardly. “What are you playing?”

He shrugged, peering at her work. There were a lot of sketched diagrams on the papers, and some of the symbols looked familiar from his lessons. It was a lot more complex than the enchanting he’d learned. “Just Oblivion Gates. Felix likes that one.”

“Oblivion Gates?” She gave him an odd, surprised look.

“Don’t you play that here? It’s simple-”

“No, no, I mean- I don’t, but… we have it here too. I-I mean, isn’t that for little kids?”

“Felix is a little kid.”

There was an indignant piping from the window. “I’m not! I’m seven!”

“Sorry,” he conceded peacefully. He hesitated, offered, “Would you play, Marcella? Felix is the Champion and we need someone to be Dagon. Or you can be Martin if you want, I don’t mind really.”

“I can’t,” she said immediately, bluntly, then looked embarrassed. “I’d like to, I just… have to work on an enchantment to show Ushug first.

“Uncle said we didn’t have to do lessons while we’re staying here,” Felix chipped in, pulling himself up to lean over the windowsill. It was lucky their aunt didn’t keep flowers there.

“Well, I do. That’s part of being an apprentice, you have to do as your master says. Ushug says if I want to play around I better get the job done on time.

“Aww, that’s no fair. We came all the way here to visit you!”

“It’s just the rules, Felix.” Stratos was disappointed too, but he didn’t dare complain. The Orcish smith intimidated him, and besides, he wasn’t sure if Marcella would be offended. She was frowning hard right now. “Well, um… we’ll go and let you get on with things. …I hope you finish soon, though.

“Yeah,” she muttered, poking her charcoal stick at the diagrams. “Me too.”

———

Another day, another lowland rainstorm, and this time Martin Septim addressed his troops before the disused forge that jutted from Aunt Lartia’s house.

As Great Gates went, it was a pretty good one. The doorway loomed dark and shadowy behind him, full of sharp edges and toothy metal stacks.

“…And so I call upon our Champion to enter this accursed gate, brave the dangers within, and save this great city from the jaws of Mehrunes Dagon! This will be a perilous day for us all, but have faith, and trust that Akatosh will grant us victory!”

Felix brandished his toy sword, putting extra vigor in his cheer to make up for having to play all the Legion soldiers as well as the Champion. “For the Divines! For Tamriel!” He set his jaw with an entertainingly fierce expression and marched toward the gate. “I’m going in.”

“We’ll hold the line until you return,” Stratos assured him, although there wasn’t much to do while he waited. He’d just have to try and imagine leading a battle against a horde of daedra.

He hoped his little brother wouldn’t mess with anything. At home it was easy to pick a ‘sigil stone’ you already knew was in there. He had to just trust Felix wouldn’t grab anything precious or dangerous. He understood about stuff like laboratory safety, after all.

Too bad Marcella still wasn’t around. It was much better when they had enough people to do the whole battle-

“I’ve got it!” Felix called out triumphantly. There was a scrambling and a clattering that said he wasn’t being quite as careful as he’d promised. Stratos sighed. “I’m coming b-” There was a sharp gasp.

Stratos peered into the darkness. “Felix? Did you hurt yours-”

He was interrupted by a squeal and a clamor of overturned armor stands as Felix tore out of the forge and right past him. Something came clanking after him. A figure in spike-laden black armor, flames licking up the points of its helm as it charged out of the darkness. Stratos recoiled so fast he landed on his butt, gaping up at the monster.

But it only got a few feet before slowing to a halt and leaning against the wall, hunched and wheezing. Slowly he realized the guttural spluttering from within was stifled laughter. Marcella pulled her helm off and turned to grin at her elder cousin, black hair askew and shining with sweat from however long she’d been in there.

“Oh, Stendarr! Did you see his face?” She was choking, trying to stifle her giggles. Then she took in where he was sprawling on the flagstones and broke down hysterically. After a minute, he started laughing too.

They’d make it up to Felix later.

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