tagSci-Fi & FantasyIn Over His Head Ch. 12

In Over His Head Ch. 12


Edovan was sure he had died and gone to paradise. Not Sovngarde, that old school Nord concept of the afterlife for brave and valiant warriors, who feast forever in a giant mead hall with the heroes of olde. No, this was his own PERSONAL paradise, and he knew it was, because he was in Yagaritte's bed, and she was was with him. Well, more like wrapped around him. They were naked and lying on their sides, facing each other, completely entwined, not in an active, aggressive sexual manner, but in a blissful, lazy, post-coital, afterglow kind of manner. Technically Edovan had never even had actual sex yet... but it was clear to him that in this paradise, they had.

His leg was again trapped between her thighs, her slick, warm sex pressed against his skin. Her right leg was wrapped around his pulling him to her. Her arms were squeezing him tight and his face was nestled in that perfect mid space of maximum deepness in the valley between her breasts as her left arm cradled him from behind supporting him so he would not slip from between them. Her right arm was wrapped around his shoulder and she was gently stroking his hair as she clutched him to herself tenderly. It was a perfect moment... in a perfect place, and he never ever ever wanted it to end.

So, of course, it did.

Not all at once... first she rolled over on top of him, not crushing him, but gently burying him underneath her much larger frame. But then her pressure on him began to decrease... he felt less and less of her weight, until he realized that she was herself weightless, and rapidly drifting upward and away from him. He tried to hold on to her, but her arms were stiff and unresponsive, and she kept rising till she was out of his reach. And he wanted to sit up but he couldn't for some reason and he cried out to her, "Why... why are you leaving me?!" and she kept rising and he could see an open doorway of pitch blackness behind her and she kept rising toward it and then she said, "Because I am not here." and vanished into the blackness. Suddenly the window to her room burst open and a howling cold wind blew in and chilled him to the bone, and yet he still could not move. He just lay there, shivering.

And then someone started poking him in the face.

* * * * *

That part, at least, was real. Someone was poking him in the face... with a stick. He opened his bleary eyes, and then felt the freezing wind across his skin. Okay, apparently that part was real, too. He looked up, scrunching his eyes A very short and heavy Nord woman with white hair and a face like a shriveled potato (who had to be at least three times as old as Margara), was on the other end of the stick. She poked him again.

"I think that's enough sleep for you, golden boy. Up and at 'em," her voice sounded a lot like a guar... deep, gravelly, and more resonant than a woman that size should have, like she was bigger on the inside somehow than the outside. And possibly filled with rocks.

Edovan sat up and swung his feet over the edge of the bed. He wrapped himself with his arms, shivering.

"If you are so cold why did you open your window?" the woman inquired, and then made a little exasperated sigh. "Oh, here, let me go close it for you since you can't make up your mind..."

She walked... waddled really... over to the large double window and swung shut both of the heavy wooden shutters which were covered with thick horker skin on the outside, then fastened the latch. The room was still cold, but at least he wasn't contending with the northern winds any more.

"How you feelin?" She said as she turned back to him.

Edovan took a quick physical inventory, moved and stretched, tested his bones and muscles. Nothing hurt. He reached up to the side of his head to feel the gash but it, too, was gone.

"I feel pretty good actually. You must be a miracle worker!" he exclaimed.

The old woman waddled over to him and pushed his head to one side with her walking stick without any warning. Then she poked him where his broken rib should be. He winced in anticipation, but nothing hurt, other than the stick being jabbed in his ribs. Lastly she aimed her cane at his nose and Edovan deflected it quickly with an arm, pulling his head head back out of the stick's reach.

"My nose is fine... trust me. Doesn't hurt at all," he assured her.

The old woman peered at him as if he was trying to trick her, or at the very least deprive her of the fun of poking him in the nose with a stick.

"Yeah, yer damn right I am. A miracle worker every day around here. But not for you. They said you were pretty bad, but by the time I made my second round you had started to heal on your own." She continued, " I don't use magic... no gods or healing words. Just good old fashioned medicine, potions, salves, and poultices. Takes longer, mind you, but gets the job done. I just figgered you still had some mojo goin' from that three ring circus you called a fight, hah!" she shouted, rapping her stick on the floor for emphasis..

"How long have I been asleep?" Edovan queried.

"You? " The old woman answered as she moved about the room straightening things, righting a chair that had fallen over by the window, rehanging a painting that had fallen off the wall next to the window. "Since noon yesterday, when you got your beak bashed by that young zerk's snapper."

Edovan flushed bright red at the memory... which was now coming back to him... in extreme close up AND slow motion. To be honest he was more than a little grateful he had been knocked unconscious after that unforeseen turn of events. He didn't know how he would even face her now, or everyone else for that matter.

"I feel bad for her. She must really hate me now."

"Oh you think so, huh? From what I heard she LIKED you a little TOO much..." the old woman said, cackling to herself. "Speaking of... did you see her here in your room before I came up here?"

Edovan blinked twice at the outrageousness of the thought.

"No, I just woke up. And the fact I'm still alive makes me think she couldn't possibly have been in here, because she would definitely have smothered me with a p-"

He let that sentence die a merciful early death, but it was too late.

"Ohohohhohoho... ahahaa... ehehehe!" The old woman tried to stifle a cough, brought on by her cackling. "Oh she'll smother you alright... ahahahaha. You are funny one! I'll give you that! But I don't think she hates you. She's been asking about your condition every hour or so. The reason I asked you if you had seen her is because she saw me carrying your things up to you a half hour ago and offered to carry them up herself. And I KNOW she was here, because there are your things."

She pointed with her walking stick at a bundle of furs, clothing and boots wrapped with red cord that was laying on the floor at the foot of his bed. The old woman was right... Utha HAD been here. But where was she now?

The old woman interrupted that train of thought quickly.

"So anyway, this isn't a social calI. I got orders. From the boss lady herself," she said sternly. "You are supposed to pack your shit and go. Post haste. Out with you. Get thee gone!" She motioned to the door with her cane. "Big man wants to see you out, so he will be waiting downstairs. I don't want the world clomping around in my infirmary."

And with that, the strange little woman waddled out the door.

Edovan's face went numb. He couldn't breathe. It felt like the world was spinning.

It couldn't be. He had survived! That had to count for something, right? Staan had told him that didn't have to win... he just had to make a good show of it. He'd only won one round, though. And the other two defeats were pretty decisive. Ultimately it was up to the Commander. And honestly after the mess he had caused yesterday, he could see her taking any excuse available to get rid of him.

This was awful. Nearly every good thing that was happening to his life recently hinged on him being accepted to this fighter's guild. Now he wouldn't be able to pay next month's rent to Margara, he wouldn't get to hang out with Staan... and worst of all, he had proven himself unworthy of the faith put in him by the woman he loved. He wanted to just run to the ocean and chuck himself off the pier.

He wouldn't do that, of course. But didn't know what he would do, either, honestly. The thought of leaving everyone and all his new friends made his blood freeze. His brain couldn't process it. The only thing he COULD think to do was take his stuff and get out like they said. He would go back to the Boar and talk to Margara. She might know what to do. Hell, with this effect he was having on women, maybe she should have HIM whore.

He reached down and grabbed the huge bundle and hauled it up onto the bed. There were two sets of clothes. On top was his newly repaired suit and oversize coat and boots that he had walked in here with. But underneath that was clothing and gear he had never seen before. There was an immaculately tailored matching dark brown seal leather jacket and pants, which was lined with seal fur on the inside for added insulation. Also a pair of hard leather boots with fur linings, and a large cloak-coat combination garment riddled with pockets and a slit at the top... perfect for a staff to fit through. Out of curiosity, he tried on the jacket. Not only was it a perfect fit, but the shoulders and arms were sewn in such a way that gave him free range of movement.

Edovan had seen this kind of of custom mage wear before, and it was not cheap. Whoever had paid for these... had his full measurements, had had them custom tailored, and by a tailor who knew how to sew for a combat mage. They had to be a further gift from Yagaritte, a congratulations gift that he had failed to earn. His heart clenched. He knew they couldn't return them. There weren't a lot of Bosmer mages in the world to begin with, let alone any under five foot tall. And there certainly weren't any others here on THIS island. His only hope was to try to freelance (the gear would help) and maybe he could pay her back? Worse come to worst he could fall back on working at the Boar. Or maybe he could take Mint's place? He was old, right? Had to retire some day.

He put on his old clothes and bundled up the rest carefully with the red cord. Then he grabbed his staff from where it was leaning against the wall, slung it on his back, and headed downstairs to say his goodbyes.

His room appeared to be one of many leading off of a long hallway that looked like it ran the length of the building. He wasn't the only one up there. He glimpsed Baryk through one of the open doorways, who looked every bit as bad as Staan had described, and possibly worse. Lying unconscious and bandaged almost from head to toe, he looked positively ancient. But IF he ever recovered, at least he would have his place in this guild. That was more than Edovan could say.

He found the stairs at the end, and as he rounded them he could hear a huge commotion coming from below.

"You hussies are not gonna turn my infirmary into another Horny Boar! Now go away before I send for the Commander!", squawked a gravelly voice that could only be the old woman.

At the bottom of the stairs Edovan could see about fifteen feet of stone floor, and then a large set of double doors set into the wall, one of which was cracked open with Staan leaning his back against it, trying to hold it closed... with considerable effort. The potato woman was down there too, jabbing at someone on the other side with her stick, and several hands could be seen protruding through the door along the edges of it, both on the side and on the top. She jabbed savagely several times, then slapped the invading hands one by one with the end of her cane, each one retreating as it was struck, with a curse and female yelp coming from the other side of the door.

"NOW!" she shouted at Staan, who, with a big grin, gave a strong final shove, closing the door flush, with nobody losing limb or appendage in the gap. The old woman used her cane to strike a latch which was holding a huge wooden timber, that was being held at a 70 degree angle. Staan barely managed to jump clear as the huge hunk of wood slammed into metal slots in both doors, effectively barring them closed to anything short of a large battering ram or a full on siege tower assault.

"Finally. Some peace and quiet!" she said over-loudly as she waddled off to the left into the room out of his field of view.

Edovan continued his slow, grim descent, one step at a time. He was in no hurry. Staan dusted off his hands, stretched his muscles, and then happened to look up and see Edovan coming down. His face instantly split into its customary huge grin upon seeing his little friend, which was very confusing for Edovan. He thought they had gotten rather close in the short time they'd known each other... he would have sworn that Staan, of all people at the guild, would be sad about his predicament, or at least have some sympathy. Yet here he was, beaming at Edovan as if he couldn't be happier.

"Eddo... there you are! You're late! We gotta get you outta here, clock's tickin'!" he cried joyously. With that, he hurried over to Edovan, but stopped short, looking up at him quizzically, partially up the stairs. "Hey, why aren't you dressed?"

Now Edovan was really confused.

"I am dressed?" he said, very much puzzled "I'm wearing exactly what I had on when I came here," he said, looking down at himself.

"Nononoo... that stuff yer carrying..." Staan pointed at the bundle of expensive gear. "You're supposed to be wearing all of that. It's gonna be cold where you are going. You're gonna need it."

He gently turned Edovan around and prodded him back up the stairs, all while Edovan wore a quizzical look upon his face..

"The client gave very specific instructions that you are to be wearing that gear when you go to meet them!"

Edovan was not moving, despite the very convincing urging from the big man behind him. Somewhere, inside his big brain, logical brain was trying to work out the pieces of this puzzle.

"Wait... what client?" he stammered. "I thought I got kicked out for failing the challenge?"

"HA!" The potato lady cackled from her side of the room. It was one of the biggest alchemical stations that Edovan had ever seen

The big man tilted his blonde head. Now he looked confused. "What? No. Of course not. Why in Oblivion would you think that?"

Edovan didn't say a word, but his eyes unconsciously shifted toward the old woman who was intensely puttering away with tubes and beakers. Staan caught the glance and looked in her direction as well.

"Majj! What did you do!?!" he said accusingly.

The old woman ignored them both for a few seconds, but they both continued to stare at her until she looked up, exasperatedly.

"Whaaat? I just told him what the commander said," she answered, resuming her work at the station, swirling some blue liquid around in a beaker while holding it up to the light.

The look on Staan's face showed he wasn't buying it. His visage became surprisingly stern.

"Majj... what did you say to him? Your. Exact. Words." Staan said with a sudden air of authority. "Don't make me pull rank on you."

It occurred then to Edovan he didn't even know the guild rank structure, though he had to imagine Staan was pretty high up to outrank the lady in charge of the infirmary

She put down the beaker she was holding and looked up at them sullenly from under her eyelids, with her head tilted toward them.

"Whaaaat? Just said what she said. He needed to pack his shit and go. Not my fault that the rookie took it the wrong way."

She ignored them both again and went back to her blue beaker. Now she was tapping it lightly against a shelf like she was trying to shake something out of it.

"Oh for the love of Mara. That's not what she said at all! She said to make sure he took all his gear and got out of here by a half hour till sunrise. The client gave express orders that they are to meet at sunrise!"

Staan turned back toward Edovan, looking as apologetic as possible. "I'm sorry, Eddo. Majj may be great at healing people, but she's not so good at peopling. Anyway, we don't have time for this. We have to get you dressed and on the road, or the Commander will have both our hides!"

Eodovan started to move slowly, despite Staan's big hands on his shoulders.

"So I'm in? I get to stay?" The fires of hope had started to burn in his heart again, but he wanted to be sure before he threw wide the doors and started his internal celebration.

"Are you kidding me? You knocked Mountains on her ASS. Nobody has ever done that before, since she started her challenges! Hahahaha!" He started to clap Edovan hard on the back as they climbed the stairs together, but caught himself and changed it to a solid pat on the back.

"And she totally cheated with that shield. Nobody even knows where it came from, and she isn't saying. But it's not like whatever that weird metal was is lying around everywhere, right? If she hadn't had that, you would have fried her the second round, game over." Staan sounded almost giddy at the thought of it.

They topped the stairs, and stopped outside the room Edovan had been given. Staan pointed to the open doorway.

"Go change. I'm gonna go check on Baryk real quick. Holler at me when you are ready."

And with that, he turned and headed down the hall, chuckling to himself.

Edovan had to stop and take a few deep breaths. It was a bit much to take in. In the last ten minutes he'd been in bed with Yagaritte, found out that wasn't real, been poked in the face by a mean potato, kicked out of the guild, found out that wasn't true either, and now he was supposed to be putting on the nicest gear he'd ever seen and going to meet his mystery client on his first guild mission. Was THIS real? Was it another dream? He kept expecting to wake up back at the Boar and be told he had laundry duty and find out all of this so far was a dream. Well, if it was, it was good one right now. He better make the most of it!

Just a few minutes later he and Staan headed downstairs with a now fully outfitted Edovan, there were also fine deerskin fingerless gloves with cold resistance enchantments, well actually pretty much everything had cold resistance enchantments, but hey, fingerless! The best thing though was the big hooded coat cloak combo, which was surprisingly light and moveable for its size. Edovan had mistakenly thought that it had slot for his staff to slide through. What he found when he examined it closer is that it was a pocket, specially made to hold his staff, perfectly measured for its length.

They stopped in front of the barred doors downstairs. Staan started to reach for the large timber. Majj was still playing with her beakers and burners.

"I wouldn't do that if I were you..." she said nonchalantly and went back to swizzling some murky green glop into a dark red glop that looked like blood, if blood were boiling and chunky.

Staan pointed to the door, she shook her head in a back and forth motion looking while looking straight at him. He pointed upstairs and she nodded and gave him a thumbs up. "

"Ok Eddo, I don't suppose you have anything to make us fly?..or even just make us float for a bit?" Staan asked, only half seriously.

"Why? " Edovan asked.

Because I think Majj wants us to go out a window.

* * * * *

They had gotten out of the window in Edovan's room easily enough. Fortunately it opened on to the roof of the lower floor. Unfortunately, the lower floor was apparently just shy of 20 feet tall and that was way further than either Edovan or Staan wanted to drop to reach the ground on the side of the infirmary. Edovan knew that levitation was a real thing, though a much higher level spell, but much to Staan's disappointment he didn't know it. Also fortunately , so far they hadn't drawn attention from the huge crowd of women that was still milling about the doors on the front of the building.

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