Volume 5 – The Adventures The Young Dragonborn
Chapter #226 – The Pilgrimage (3) : The Rituals Of Earth And Beasts
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As we arrived at Raven Rock at night, we found it still bustling as a day. The reason was mostly the market that was filled with a lot of goods from the ones we brought with us and sold to House Redoran, people would do anything to get these fresh goods now.
Avoiding all the focus points in the road, we went through the market area and arrived at the Manor House Redoran gave to us for staying as we all decided to spend the night in town.
The next All-Maker Stone we are visiting tomorrow is the Earth Stone and it is just right in the corner outside Raven Rock so there is no harm to recover today. The reason we are going through the Stones in that fashion is that we have to do the Pilgrimage the same way Aevar Stone-Singer did, he went to the Water Stone first then the Earth Stone, the Beast Stone, the Tree Stone, the Sun Stone and lastly the Wind Stone.
“Still, we can’t do the Pilgrimage on empty bellies. Everyone, come pick up a seat.”
I invited all the people we have in the Manor right now to the large dining table in the hall. From the kitchen, I came carrying a few dishes with strong aromas followed by Wulfur who was helping me with cooking.
Still, can you imagine it? Girls nowadays laze around and boys do all the cooking. Tsk tsk! I am disappointed.
Anyway, the smell of the food made everyone come out of their dwellings like hungry wolves. Even the Skaal trio were looking at the food while holding their breath.
“Hold your drool, everyone, we still need to make introductions. This is Chicken Brochettes, this is Mint and Cumin-Spiced Lamb Chops, and in that dish is my version of the Hawawshi which is a spiced mammoth burger in pita bread, that dish over there is Jull’s favorite the Chicken Shawarma, I always advise that you should eat all that with Tahini Sauce, Mayonnaise or Ketchup…”
“Jon! You have one second to shut up and let us eat or else!” That was Alina.
One must know when to retreat when his woman is about to get angry.
Still, I made a lot of meat recipes that I can’t really help but feel sad not showing off my skills.
I had a scenario in my mind where everyone listen to my explanation in awe but I feel like I am serving some zombies now.
Look at how they eating!… Goddammit.
“Ooooh! That was amazing. I ate like a pig.” Jullanar was patting her belly with satisfaction.
Dishes around her were cleaned empty.
Wulf and Jorna were having a lovey-dovey meal together and took their favorite plates to the side alone.
The Skaal trio were consumed into the Shish Taouk and the Persian Rice.
Nefertiti was politely eating the simple Horker Stew I which was right to her standards as a cat.
The most mysterious one was Alina, no one saw here eat but Jull made a fuss because the number of the empty plates around Alina has far surpassed her own… now that I think about it, when did that happen?
“Tsk! A bunch of ungrateful gluttons.” I cussed in a low voice.
“Come on Jon, you really did it this time, you have surpassed the previous record.” Jull said with a bright smile.
“Yes, cousin. Your cooking is as amazing as Uncle Jonrad’s.”
I don’t think that is a compliment at all.
“Jon always cooks better than Headmistress Nurina back at the orphanage.”
Because she can’t cook anything decent.
“Yes, Jon is the secret gourmet of Winterhold, his plates can save lives.” That was Alina.
“Oh! T- Thank you, Alina.”
For some reason, only Alina knows what is the right thing to say. And I think she is right, if the whole world came together on one table of Fried Beef Liver on the Alexandrian Style and French Fries, it will surely know peace.
The next day, I woke up those lazy bums to get an early start. They sure ate a lot and became too lazy to move.
Before we set off, one of Ongeim’s men came to inform me about the progress in Kolbjorn Barrow Excavation site. It seemed that they used the Utility Frost Atronach Spells that I provided them and dug to the entrance of the barrow, these atronachs can do a great job and all.
Anyway, after everyone was ready, we walked north to the Earth Stone outside Raven Rock.
The Earth Stone was not that different from the Water Stone in appearance feeling, it also had a pool of water around it and all. We activated the Runes on the Stone to issue the start to the Earth Ritual.
“We now need to head north to the Cave of Hidden Music.” Frea said.
We followed her silently but I suggested we ride out Flame Atronach Horses that we didn’t conjure at all to not make a scene around us. The Skaal trio liked the idea even though the Atronachs are Demonic Beings of the Daedric Planes. We eventually arrived at the Cave after going deep into the Isinfier Plains, there we found a cave where Frea led us, its walls were filled with inscriptions on its walls that seemingly belonged to the Skaal.
Outside the Cave, we could occasionally hear a strange musical sound that came from inside with the caves chilly air. We headed in with Wulfur on the lead carrying the Champion’s Cudgel and his Tower Shield, Jullanar followed him to ensure that there were no traps he couldn’t detect. The cave’s rocks were black and there were rocks hung from the ceiling and grew from the ground itself, the cave network was going up and down and was more complicated than what I ever thought it would be but it was mostly empty.
What came across first was a single draugr, one of those infamous undead creatures that dwell in most of the Nordic ruins.
“Leave it to me!” Wulf insisted to face the draugrs on his own.
He waved his heavy hammer with one hand and it curved left and right destroying the draugr’s limbs and skull. Wulfur was using his Golden Aura that can do a lot of harm to undead. It really suited him.
As we reached the deepest part in the cave, Frea said that we arrived at the Chamber of Song. It was a large space at the deepest point of the caves and where the music came from. We looked around and found a large structure made of stalagmites and stalactites that was the main source of the music. It produced it occasionally with a pattern.
“What should we do from now on?” Wulfur asked.
“See those stones over there? If you strike them in the right order you will produce music similar to that of the cave. It is what is what you need to do.” Frea said.
“Until the music stops.”
Wulfur nodded and turned around to the stone. He held his hammer with two hands and struck the first stalagmite. It produced a sharp tone just like the cave, Wulf struck the rest of the stalagmites and they all made a different sound.
“I get the gist of it now. This is fun. Wulfur Loves Music!”
With a wide smile on his face, he started striking all the stalagmites in succession. The music grew louder and louder to the point that we all started covering our ears. Wulfur was so much in the zone and the pattern changed and intensified more.
“Jon, my hammers.” He called for me asking for his tools in my ring.
I took out two hammers made from Orcish Metal, these were Wulf’s two smithing hammers, I threw them at him and he switched to them and started drumming on the stalagmites as if he was some sort of a pro drummer.
The sound of the music started growing weaker after some time and Wulfur resonated his drumming skillfully until it reached its end.
“Damn, bro! These moves were lit… Woohoo!” I couldn’t help but praise Wulf and high-five him.
Drumming on Stalagmites with Hammers… I don’t know which school of Rock can handle that talent!
“This has taken awfully too long!” Frea said.
“What does that mean?” We asked.
“Normally it is some few strikes and it is over, I am not sure what that was but certainly the Earth felt something with the strikes and the prolonged the Ritual.” Frea said with a lot of admiration towards Wulfur.
It is decided then, let’s call it the Earth Rock School!
We returned to the Earth Stone outside Raven Rock and completed the Earth Ritual. We then headed to the Beast Stone.
The Beast Stone was located near the east side of Solstheim, south of the Skaal Village, in the Felsaad Coast region. We followed the east bank of Lake Fjalding where we hunted one of the Bull Netches when we were drunk, and then we continued north shortly we saw the spire of the stone pillar. We activated the Ritual of Beasts faster than before and listened to what Frea had to say.
“The Ritual of Beasts is may take a lot of time and not easy to complete. You should find a beast in distress and offer it help, I suggest that you all go to different directions around the stone and try to find any opportunity. We will wait for you here.” Frea said.
“I see.” I nodded and signaled for my people to gather.
“We need to find something fast, Nefertiti, I am depending on you.” I said as I removed Nefertiti’s hat from her head.
This hat was hiding her long black ears that moved a lot. Nefertiti nodded with firmness and started moving her ears around.
“This way!” She pointed towards the south.
“Fine, lead the way.”
We all moved in one direction after Nefertiti and went down the hill from the Snow lands to the Ashland.
Once we walked for almost five minutes, Nefertiti’s expressions intensified and she transformed to the Beast Form right away, she then turned into a bolt of shadow and disappeared like a ghost.
“Damn! She is good.” Wulfur, who is the slowest in the group, said with a pale face.
“Don’t mind that now, let’s go after her, I feel her signal forward.”
I was a bit worried and ran as fast as I could to the south. Nefertiti rarely acted on her own and was mostly not concerned with anything, but when she does become concerned, it is mostly because of something that she is annoyed with.
After ten minutes of running, I saw some hunters running away from one direction while carrying some claw-like wounds. Before they could get away, I teleported in front of one of them.
“Speak! What is going on?”
“Move aside! Move!”
I didn’t want him to run away so I caught him with Telekinesis and held him in the air.
“Speak or I will send you back?”
“Dammit! You are a mage, go deal with it! A black beast, it is going to kill us.”
It seems that Nefertiti attacks some hunters… was she trying to save an animal?
It wasn’t far from the truth anyway. When I arrived at the hunters’ camp, I found Nefertiti destroying a cage with her claws, in the cage, there was a small bear cub.
“Hey, girl. Why all the fuss?”
I ran towards her but she seemed upset and didn’t reply.
“Here, let me try.” I moved her paws aside and broke the cage easily.
“Come out.” I tried to take the small guy out but it was a bit scared.
Nefertiti turned into the Human Form again and pulled the bear cub outside of the cage, it came out with her effortlessly.
“Didn’t I tell you to not attack humans before telling me?”
“They were bullying him.” She replied.
“Oh. It was like that…”
Nefertiti had a similar experience. I saved her why she was taken by some College Students to use her for shooting practice. We are together ever since.
The others managed to find us after some time and Bjorna said that she can track the little cub’s mother easily. With this we could return the little bear to his mother, Jorna could talk the mother out of attacking us easily.
With that, we returned to the Beast Stone and attempted to finish the Ritual of Beasts.