Edit: Did a few minor edits as I left out a few words in the author's note for some reason.
AN: How you all doing? There's a bunch of rioting and looting going about in big cities across America so that's a thing. I hope you all are doing all right. We're gonna keep moving on today with Liam and Thaddeus in places unknown. I've got no new guest reviews for ya today!
Powerful Being Speaking
A Hill Lined with Corpses
Normally waking up for Liam was a pretty lackluster affair. There was no real fuss or buss about it; he just got up when needed and went to bed when needed. The boy never really went through that "phase" where children don't want to go to bed at a certain time or wake up early.
Now if you were to take a charge akin to that of a taser pressed against his arm, then things would change pretty quickly.
Electricity crackled as Thaddeus brought down the dwemer device. Immediately, Liam's body shook before the boy rolled off the side of the stone bed. With nervous jitter filling his veins, the vampire exclaimed, "W-What in the hell was that?"
As his voice came out he quickly looked around the room he was in. Despite being a complete unknown to the boy, he could faintly remember the same aesthetic from the past. A flash of a blue-robed man coercing him down into a ruin came to Liam's mind.
"Ha! Bet that woke you up quick didn't it?" said the eccentric fixer as he quickly put down the taser onto one of the workbenches within the shop. His voice came out in a decidedly low tone, brushing through the room in a rich baritone.
"Who are you?" murmured the vampire as he slowly began to push himself off the ground. A little bit of irritation came to his mind before Liam continued, "And what in the hell was that for?
The older man within the room quickly spun on his feet as he gave a large, overly slow, bow. Liam took note that the man's mouth was peaking into a growing grin. Pulling himself out of the bow, he said, "My name is...Thaddeus! And I am a fixer. The best in the entire ninth era! Now you however-"
The man suddenly stopped his speech to give his beard a few low strokes. He let out a low curse as he brought his hand back, forgetting the metal armor covering his hands. Looking over Liam could see a few long strands of the facial debris lingering on the metal tips.
"Ah, no matter. You my dear...otherkin are somewhere you don't belong. Tell me, how did you get down here?" Thaddeus finished as he started to slowly pace back and forth.
Liam's eyes went wide as it all came back to him.
The glowing symbol beneath his fingertips.
The floor dropping out, leaving a pitch-black chasm below.
A gigantic mushroom.
Then complete darkness.
The boy's eyes frantically looked about the room before settling on the metal covered man in front of him. Showing a bit of panic, Liam asked, "W-Where am I? The last thing I remember was falling down towards that mushroom."
The man across from him seemed to completely ignore the boy as he continued to pace back and forth, quietly muttering all the while. Thaddeus' voice came out as a buzz of bees with the man's thoughts being revealed to all around.
"No, no that can't be it. Hmmm...Are you from one of the clans? I heard they were starting to be more prolific with their little scouting parties. No, not that either. You're a blood-drinker for sure, but you have none of their normal markings, no sigils to make you stand out. A surface dweller perhaps?" ranted the man before suddenly stopping his pace.
Putting his thumb to his chin, the eccentric fixer leaned down towards Liam before quickly questioning, "Well? Out with it! I don't got all day."
At first, Liam was stumped. The eccentric, no the crazy man just didn't make any sense to the boy. From the golden armor to the slowly spinning staff on his back, the deranged old man was just too weird for Liam to make sense of. That and the fact that Thaddeus knew he was a vampire, yet he wasn't attacking him.
Finally making up his mind, the boy replied, "I-I was up on the surface. You know about Las Vegas right? The strip? There was this symbol, a glowy triangle thing. I touched it and the floor fell out below me...you know the rest."
As Liam explained his part, Thaddeus listened slowly shaking his head up and down as the boy talked. The man seemed to keep up his weird stature as he did, making the featureless mask just a bit more off-putting. Roughly, the eccentric fixer grabbed Liam before pulling him to his feet.
The boy didn't resist with Thaddeus easily hauling him up. The man looked down at Liam before a small frown came over his features. A little bit of pain came up into the boy's shoulder as the man patted him on the shoulder.
The touch came with a surprising amount of strength; Liam could feel his entire left side wobble a bit as Thaddeus said, "Ha! It's rare to see one of your kind down here, and you're a vampire to boot. Ain't that a kick in the head?"
Slowly the man pointed over to where he had thrown Liam's supplies, his bag as well as his mace and shield. Quickly, the vampire rushed over, happy to have the familiar weight at his side. It was a reassurance to the boy, a security he couldn't do without.
"Oh, what am I forgetting? Yeah, welcome to Blackreach son! Or what's left of it at least." declared the man with another small smile showing underneath his mask.
Still looking about in the small enclosed room, Liam thought Blackreach?
The name sounded a bit foreign to the boy, much like everything else he saw in the more supernatural side of life. Either way, it was still rather interesting to him, so Liam asked, "What's that?"
"One of the greatest subterranean cities you could ever behold! Well, at least it used to be. After a few ah, incidents the landscape changed quite a bit. Whole place used to go throughout the entire Northern continent! Well, it still does if you're willing to go a bit deeper than most." Thaddeus explained.
His voice came out in an unnaturally happy tone, with the man's speech being between that of an announcer's and just outright shouting. He also seemed to be a bit over sharing with everything he said, pumping out extravagant details that the boy didn't need to know. Either way, Liam was a bit glad that the strange man appeared to be so helpful.
If he wasn't, the boy might've been dead.
Putting up one finger in the air, the eccentric fixer continued with his tirade saying, "And that was after the second Aetherium War. Soon after the clans showed up and took over the place, with skulking Falmer roosting within the rest. Hey, are you listening?"
Liam quickly nodded his head, hoping the man would buy it. Slowly Thaddeus' suspicion died down with him walking over towards one of his workbenches. Hoping to glean some information out of the strange man, the boy inquired, "So what do are you doing down here?"
Thaddeus turned around with a bit of surprise showing through the bottom of his mask. Facing the vampire once more he answered, "Me? Well, I'm a fixer of sorts. I represent a group called...ah it's not really important right now. Let's just say we go around fixing things down here if something goes wrong. Right now, I'm on standby."
"Oh, uh okay then. You said something about clans?" began Liam. His voice came out with a bit of trepidation to it. He could still remember the first conversation he had with Falion. He had mentioned them, and the Mage didn't seem all too happy when he did.
Meanwhile, Thaddeus pulled the staff off of his back before roughly setting it down on a table. Immediately, the eccentric man pulled out what appeared to be a small blue rock before pushing it to the side. As the mineral left the staff, its budding growth of electricity grew quiet, with the bundle quickly fizzling out.
Slowly pulling off one of the staff's many cogs, the fixer explained, "Yep, them's some nasty folk. I don't suppose you'd have heard of em, being from the surface and all."
One after another, cogs were removed before Thaddeus pulled out what appeared to be some type of urn. Black liquid sloshed around inside the container as he poured it along the gears. To Liam, the fixer appeared to be doing some type of maintenance.
"They tend to be a bit secluded. Most of em don't really do much besides manage their...cattle and waste away," remarked Thaddeus in a slightly apprehensive tone. The way the man spoke of them, made the groups seem like some kind of unwanted neighbors.
Well, that doesn't sound too bad. At least they're not hurting anyone. Thought the boy as some small plans came to mind.
Maybe they knew something. Liam could finally have someone sit down and explain whatever the hell being a vampire was. His version of "it" was nothing like he had seen in movies. There was no burning to ash in the sun's light. There was no Count Dracula waiting for him in the dark. All there was was a list of powers he poorly understood and monsters to hunt him in the night.
If Thaddeus were to hear the boy's thoughts he would call him laughably naive.
"So kid how old are ya? I know that vampirism tends to leave its victims remarkably...fresh." asked the man as he finished oiling up his staff.
Liam approached from the side, watching him work, and replied, "Twelve."
Thaddeus stopped messing with the staff before turning back around with an incredulous look on his face.
The older man gave out a hearty laugh before saying, "Oh, you're serious. I'd say you're sixteen, maybe seventeen if you push it but whatever. Wait, either way aren't you a bit young to be on the strip?"
The vampire quickly thought up an explanation. While trying to throw off the topic with a bit of nervous laughter, Liam answered, "There were some...crazy circumstances."
The other person in the room finally seemed to finish up his maintenance with him roughly shoving the blue stone back in place. Immediately, the stave started to sparkle with blue electricity at its tip with the gears turning once more.
The eccentric fixer hurriedly moved about the hut before approaching the double doors, marking the buildings only exit. Giving the two large hunks of metal a push, Thaddeus wrenched the workshop open. It quickly revealed the outside world to Liam's eyes.
All around the place was stained with a light blue tinge. The boy could see the same large, glowing mushrooms dotting the landscape. The towering fungi had large tentacles reaching down towards the ground with some even touching it. In the distance, he could see an entire myriad of structures.
There were collapsed buildings, towers mostly with large oblong shapes of metal jutting into the sky. Up above Liam's current location hung a glowing orb, acting like the areas own artificial sun. Liam couldn't see the end of the place. There were large rolling hills covered in flora of similar make, with the same buildings dotted about, for as far as his eyes could see.
Quickly turning around, the boy gave a quick look at the workshop he came out of.
It only stood about ten feet tall with a rather flat roof. The place was made of a mix of cut stone and golden dwarven metal, much like every other building around. Out in front of the shop, there were large flowered beds that seemed to be growing some type of food right next to a rather curious lever.
"Ah, I wouldn't touch that if I were you," commented Thaddeus stopping the boy before he could even try.
Liam turned back towards the man. With a little bit of wonder showing on his face, he asked, "Why?"
His answer was a single finger pointed over towards the back of the shop. Standing taller than the building itself was what appeared to be some type of robot. It was stationary, but Liam could see a rather thick wire heading all the way from the lever to the machine.
Nope, I'd rather not have to fight Mr. looks like it could kill me with a single misplaced step. Thought the boy before hurriedly backing away.
Despite the rather dreary atmosphere, Liam could confidently say that Blackreach was beautiful. The large spiraling towers of metal and fungus, surprisingly, were easy on the eyes. However, the place felt a bit off to him, almost as if there was something missing.
Even with the dazzling view, the entire chasm felt empty. It felt dead. (1)
"Beautiful isn't it? I expect it would have looked even more brilliant if its owners were still around; it's a pity." Thaddeus expressed as the two began to descend the stairs leading away from his workshop.
Taking in a gulp of the earthen air, the vampire replied, "It...it is."
Blackreach was unlike anything Liam had ever seen. Beautiful wasn't enough to describe it.
"Ha! I thought you'd like it. Now, not saying that I don't enjoy some company, but you're really not supposed to be here." said the eccentric man as he abruptly stopped his walk. His tone came out a bit sad but filled with an almost eerie finality to it.
Thaddeus quickly brought around his mask's glowing lenses until he spotted something in the distance. Following the man's gaze, Liam tried to make it out. In the end, the boy had to squint a little but he could easily see a circular tower stretching up into the pitch-black above. It looked about a fourth of a mile off.
Pointing up towards the structure, Thaddeus explained, "Now, that is your ticket back up. Jus-"
With a bit of a frown, the young vampire interrupted, "What if I don't wanna go back up? Why can't I just look around a bit down here?"
The metal-covered old man tilted his head slightly before letting off a low sigh. For a few seconds, the man stood there quietly contemplating something. His posture seemed to straighten out as he stressed, "Look kid...you are not supposed to be down here. No one is. Unless you're from the clans or secretly the kin of the snow elves, you're not gonna make it. That's putting beside the fact that you're twelve."
Thaddeus' words only seemed to raise some more questions in the boy. Quietly, they stuck onto the tip of Liam's tongue, just begging him to ask. Doing his best to ignore it, the boy quashed down his curiosity then said, "Fine...let's just go."
"Good, because considering the fact you're not one of the Falmer and that you look like you'd sooner fit in with those covens in Wallachia than anything down here, I'd say you're better off top side." acknowledged the man before starting off his walking once more.
Paying attention to it now, Liam could make out a distinct clanking noise from each one of the steps. With a bit of a disheartened sigh, the boy followed after.
-A Short Distance Away from Thaddeus's Workshop-
The Snow Elves were a pitiful bunch. They were once a great and powerful race, calling the snow-topped mountains around the world their home. They were considered to be once of the most prosperous societies to ever exist, but in the end, they were betrayed. Their skin began to sag, filled with rot, as the newborn of their kin became something worse.
They would become the Falmer.
These creatures would best be described as horrid mockeries of their former selves. They had their eyes wilted, their skin shriveled, their heads hairless, and their minds decayed. Eventually, there were no more "Snow Elves" left.
An entire society was left to nothing but dreary hunters preying upon those who would tread within the dark with the only remnants of the once proud race being shown through their pointed ears.
Usually, such creatures would only skulk about in the deeper caverns within Blackreach, down beneath the undergrowth. Yet, every few weeks they would send groups out, hunting for any who had the folly to brave the depths.
These hunting parties could number anywhere from one or two all the way into groups of thirty or more. It mostly depended on the size of the tribe itself.
After a certain vampires fall, the noise stood out like a beacon easily alerting one of the bands that roamed within the rolling hills of Blackreach. The group, numbering twenty-two, hurriedly rushed forward hoping to catch sight of new prey.
Using their enhanced hearing, the hunting party came across something not of their own. Its footsteps were loud, making the ground itself scream in frustration. As their prey walked, it let out the sounds of clanking metal which easily echoed into the cavernous halls. After some quick stalking, the eldest of the Falmer decided to wait.
The area near the fallen shroom was thick and mossy with nothing but flat ground. The mushroom itself was still letting off the same glow, illuminating all those around. He wasn't going to lose another of his band that night. That Falmer held the title of Gloomlurker; he held himself to a higher stature.
The Gloomlurker and his band stalked after their noisy prey. Each one of them did their best to stay in the shadows, their blackened armor matching the pitch-black holes of darkness between the glowing shrooms. After a few minutes of giving their prey chase, it hid away within one of the Deep One's old structures.
The Gloomlurker could feel the uncomfortable sting of light prickling at its skin. Slowly it brought up its decayed eyes to just barely make out a large blurry object up above. The creature quickly let out a few grunts and growls, ordering the rest of its kind to stop.
A few short minutes passed with the Falmer band waiting within the dark. Their waiting came to an end with the prey revealing itself, but this time there were two. The same clanking noise from before made the Gloomlurker's ears twitch in frustration; the second one however, it seemed lighter almost as if it were one of their own.
Shaking his disheveled head the Falmer put that thought to the side. If the thing were of its kin then he would surely smell it, no it was surely one of the clans. As it walked, following quickly behind the other, it let out a bloodstained stench. The smell permeated the earthen caverns, announcing the vampire's presence like an airhorn to all that would listen.
The Gloomlurker snaked his dried tongue within his mouth as his stomach let out a low gurgle. Either way, it would end up tasting the same.
"So...how long have you been down here?" inquired the vampire. His voice came out with a bit of his usual nervousness. He had been trying to make some type of conversation as they walked to no real success. Thaddeus had quickly shot down any real conversational flow, leaving Liam alone with his thoughts as they walk.
"Most of my life." answered the man, continuing to trudge forward. His voice came out bored, the complete opposite of his earlier ramblings. Thaddeus's mind was elsewhere.
Liam gulped down a glob of saliva before trying to think up some kind of response. The eccentric fixer had gone almost completely quiet during their walk constantly moving his head back and forth, scanning the dark. The boy couldn't quite place why.
"Oh, uh that's cool I guess...alright you know what? This isn't working, so I'm just gonna come out and say it. What in the hell are you looking at?" Liam replied with his brows sharply pulling towards the ground.
Thaddeus stopped walking for a second before turning his head around to face Liam. The man let out a low hum before saying, "Oh that? Just taking a look at our guests. You're a vampire, can't you see them?"
"See what?" questioned the boy.
The strange man's answer was to point a single finger out into the dark. Squinting, the vampire looked over hoping to catch a glimpse of whatever had Thaddeus so spooked. At first, he didn't notice anything, but after a few solid seconds of searching the boy saw a humanoid figure blending in with the gray.
The creature was hunched over by a boulder with its thorny black armor blending in perfectly in the dark. The only way Liam even took notice of it at first was the thing's head. Its two long ears twitched every few seconds as the creature continued to stand there, sword and shield in hand.
Liam's eyes went wide.
Desperately, he turned his head side to side as the boy noticed more and more of the foul creatures. They were slowly surrounding the pair with all of them armed in a similar manner to the first. Quickly the boy began to count them in his head.
"T-That's...How many?" Liam muttered while taking a single fearful step back. One of the things stood out from all the rest. Unlike its brethren, it had a large horned mask covering its face. Looking over, he could also see that it had a chitin-made ax strapped to its back.
Thaddeus slowly pulled the staff of his back before laying it over one should. The gears started to turn faster as the weapon began to emit more and more electricity, shooting off little spools of light into the dark. Expecting the worst, Liam did the same hurriedly pulling out his gear in panic.
"Well boy, I hope you know how to use that thing. Damn the Falmer to Oblivion; they're not supposed to be up this far." Thaddeus fumed before stomping on the ground. The man quickly let out a loud bellow, screaming his defiance into the dark.
Surprisingly, Liam saw a few of the creatures falter with the less armored ones backing away slightly.
"Come on you son's a bitches! I know you can hear me, so stop skulking around in the dark." fumed the strange man, slamming the bottom of his stave into the ground.
There's too many of them. Thought the vampire as the Falmer circled about with none taking charge. Their leader let out a few hissing growls before raising his ax up into the air. When the weapon reached its peak he screeched, the inhuman noise reeling within Liam's ears.
Across the hill, chaos erupted. (2)
The entire band split up into small groups of three, completely surrounding the hill Thaddeus and Liam were on. As the Gloom lurker charged forward a trio ran after him, their poorly made armor clinking as they did. With a little yell of his own Thaddeus pointed the stave forward directing it at the group.
Instantly, the electricity spinning around the weapon's tip launched forward, shooting through the air. The Gloomlurker brought its hands down into a forward roll just barely letting the bolt of lightning pass overhead. His kin behind him were not so lucky.
Matching the Gloomlurker's original battle cry, this time at a much higher pitch, was one of the poorer equipped creatures behind it. The smell of ozone hit Liam's nose as the thing fell to the ground. The Falmer's heart stopping before it hit the ground. The other two in the trio faltered.
Sparks flew as Thaddeus blocked a low strike from the Gloomlurker.
"Go on kid! I can handle myself, get out of here." exclaimed the fixer as he continued to push against the Gloomlurker's ax. For the man's size, there was a surprising amount of power hidden in him. Sweat began to build upon Thaddeus's brow as he pushed the thing off him.
With what little tactical ability Liam had he tried to find a way to help, to do something at least. His eyes bore over to where the majority of the Falmer were just a short distance away, they seemed to be waiting for something. As quickly as he could, the vampire turned his head around giving short glances at the thinly spread perimeter the rest of the foul beasts were making.
Their numbers to the left are thinnest. Break them. advised the voice of Molag Bal. This time, it came as a sort of reassurance to the boy, settling his fear.
Liam's eyes zeroed in on the weak link the Prince had pointed out. At the bottom of the hill, there was only one unarmored foe. It held a single chitin sword in one hand. Unlike most of the other in the band, this Falmer was by its lonesome.
Perfect. Thought the boy before shooting forward. The creature let out a low cry of distress as Liam's shield impacted its side. Instantly, the brute tumbled practically falling head over heels as its malnourished body went into the air.
Behind him, Liam could hear the same crackling noise burrow itself into his ears. Thaddeus launched out large bolts of electricity, seemingly every second. The foul creatures fell in droves with a large amount of them dead or dying. They were the lucky ones.
Those who survived felt their entire bodies fight against them as waves of numbing pain lapped across their skin. Only a small few could fight through the pain, pulling themselves back up and into the fray. Even still, small spasms would come from their muscles, slowly eating away at the strength they had left.
Liam ignored it, pushing forward back towards the stone hut. Behind him, a trio of the Falmer quickly followed with the three letting out fervent cries as they chased. Closer to the hill, another group of the creatures strained their eyes trying to decide which battle to join.
Hearing the cries of pain coming from the hill the cowardly beasts decided to chase after Liam, trailing a good thirty feet behind.
Liam's mind reeled a bit as the sounds behind him grew more numerous, the sound of pattering feet sounding in the distance. Up ahead the boy saw Thaddeus's workshop come into view. Steeling himself, the vampire stopped dead in his tracks.
The first three approached wildly swinging their black-chitin swords at Liam. Quickly, he raised his shield barely knocking two of the blades to the side. A small flash of pain came from the boy's side as the third struck true, tearing out a piece of his flesh.
Instantaneously, the wound began to bubble and froth with ruby-colored blood rushing to the area. The pain began to fade as Liam seethed, "You're gonna regret that!"
The Falmer didn't respond, only letting out more low growls. Having the three so close to him was going to be a problem, although not entirely.
Trying his best to respond in kind, the boy slammed his mace into one of the creature's side. A single spine lashed into the Falmer's hip; it let out a piercing wail as it crumpled towards the ground like a puppet with its strings cut. The beast's hip laid in pieces.
The other two quickly backed away yelling out what sounded like howls. In the distance more cries responded, this time much closer. Looking over, Liam could see the other two appeared to have some type of makeshift shields.
The small, buckler-like, contraptions were made of the same blackened chitin. They just barely covered the monster's chest as they held them close. Feeling more adrenaline pour through his mind Liam muttered, "That's gonna be a problem."
The vampire could feel the Prince's presence wash over him. It was quiet for a moment before saying, Their strength lies not with the equipment itself but the poison it carries. None of its ilk will ail you.
The boy took Molag Bal's comment with a grain of salt. Their tools looked primitive, but he bet that they would still do their jobs. Rushing forward with no plan at all just seemed like an accident waiting to happen. Liam needed an edge.
Answering his thoughts was a small memory that chimed: Try out your bound weapons on the gear. I had a few mages in myriad suggest something. You'll like it, promise.
Looking down at the small in-laid runes on his mace the vampire thought Well it couldn't hurt...
Small amounts of magicka began to travel from Liam's pool. Quickly, the trickle turned into a downpour as the boy pushed it out calling for something to answer. The runes on his mace glowed a bright purple as his spell came to an end. Looking down, he was able to see just what the characters did.
Liam's mace had an ethereal outline near its edge. Observing it, he could see that the Lesser Daedra he summoned was already formed around the weapon without any input of his own. Through the film-like glow of his bound weapon, the boy could still make out runes shining brightly as he waved it in the air.
The fight for control wasn't present whatsoever. The wannabe spell-sword could only feel a small dribble of his magicka disappearing into the void. Putting it to the side for now, Liam brought his eyes back up to face the two Falmer in front of him. (3)
"Well, here's hoping." commented the boy as he strode forward. The two creatures across from him slithered back, fear showing on their faces. Every few seconds they would let out animal-like hisses as they tried their best to puff themselves up and look more threatening.
It didn't work.
Wrenching his weapon into the air, Liam sprinted towards the first. The mace clipped into the side of its shield. A hopeful smile came onto the boy's face as he saw large cracks appear on the Falmer's equipment. As quickly as he could, he slammed his mace forward again, shattering the buckler into pieces.
The Falmer let out an ear-splitting screech as its fingers crumpled in. Large parts of the beast's skin were missing, being left on the serrated edges of Liam's mace. Blood started to splash onto the ground, splattering the mud below red. A foul stench hit Liam's nose, akin to rotten milk. Almost immediately, the vampire's nose scrunched up in disgust.
As more of the foul beasts approached, their far-flung footsteps barely reaching Liam's ears, the single Falmer left quickly turned around and ran. The monster dropped its sword and shield as it scrunched down towards the ground letting out animalistic cries in its wake. Slowly, the Falmer disappeared into the dark. The boy had bought himself a few scarce seconds.
"Shit!" cursed the boy as he passed by one of the foul beasts, pulling back towards the workshop.
The monster in front of him paid him no mind as it tried its best to nurse the wound on its hand. The thing's breathing started to sharply increase as it rolled on the ground. It began with a few short spasms. More blood leaked from the creature's ravaged hand as it started to convulse, its muscles contracting and expanding with now will of its own.
If anyone with a modicum of medical knowledge were to be at the scene they would identify it as the creature going into shock.
Six more passed over the hill closet to Liam. The boy felt a bit of his earlier fear creep up his throat as he backed up against the workshop's wall. The six continued to sprint forward letting out their own individual cries, weapons raised high.
Frantically, he looked around before a familiar lever met his eyes. The dwemer piece of machinery was sitting just a few feet away, tempting him. Not thinking of the possible consequences, Liam rushed towards the device. The well-maintained lever was pulled back without any resistance whatsoever. Below him, the boy heard a few small clicks as machinery started to knock itself into place.
Quickly pulling himself back towards the workshop's wall, Liam's eyes went wide as a giant automaton roared to life.
AN: Well folks that's it for this chapter. Sorry but I'm gonna have to leave you on a bit of a cliff hanger. Story-wise there was a lot of stuff covered in this chapter. The first half was mostly dialogue focused. I'm not going to comment on the hints itself, but I will say there is at least one major revelation in it if you pay attention to some of the wording.
In the second part, I tried to make it more action-packed. There's still a lot more stuff story wise thrown in there but I see it as a lot more thrilling. I was planning to add on more with the scene, specifically I cut out a bit with Thaddeus, but it was already too far in with the chapter size. I wanted to have the whole fight be done in one chapter but my writing style just won't allow it.
Shall we move onto the annotations?
(1) This is one thing I'm trying my best to hit hard on in any locations that you see in the Elder Scrolls series. A lot of places are a whole hell of a lot larger than they are in-game. Blackreach in particular stretches out all across the Reach (The western half of Skyrim) but was said to have collapsed before the fourth era.
A lot of places are like that too, with them being comically small when compared to how they are described in the lore. You can take the Imperial City or even Whiterun for example. Each of these two locations are much, much larger in the lore when compared to in-game.
(2) This entire battle was a bit of a challenge for me. I had to write it twice. I kept getting small details wrong while trying to keep track of everything. In the end, I sat down and drew out a small map of what was going on to help organize it in my head.
This isn't really important to many readers, but it worked surprisingly well when I was writing the scene. It's just another tool to add to my writing "arsenal."
(3) I thought I'd just clarify on this small detail. The runes allow for Liam to use his mace as a conduit for making a bound mace or shield. Overall they do the forming for him, which takes out a large part of the willpower required to hold everything together.
He will still need to learn how to actually summon more than one Lesser Daedra to use the two pieces of gear at the same time though.
Other than that though, like always I'm open to any and all criticism, so if you have any go ahead and hit me with it! I should be seeing you all in a couple of days.