User:Mogribus/Alwin's bone pick

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Alwin's bone pick

The boy's giggle warmed the cold air: "Get up, bag 'a bones, you've done your part!" ordered Alwin. The skeleton obeyed, grinding and gnashing its joints with every move it made to stand up, almost twice as tall as the boy. "We got them good, didn't we?" asked Alwin and the skeleton eerily shook it's skull in agreement. "You've cut their gullets good, didn't you?" The thing lifted its finger and mimed slicing its own throat. Alwin burst into laughter, and the skeleton mutely followed suit in grotesque imitation, making the boy laugh all the harder: "You know... you are just as silly as this other one!"

I didn't know or care if he was addressing me or the skeleton. I just gathered myself and made my way through the amalgam of weapons, pieces of armor and pieces of flesh, a landscape newly seasoned in blood and feces. What could these unfortunates have done to Alwin to bring this upon themselves? I stumbled upon a severed head. In disgust, I rolled it with the tip of my staff to get a better look. Edwarn's face had retained it's last grimace, fixed in that very instant when Alwin's snare and the servant's blade struck in tandem. I couldn't imagine a mysticist magister throwing a soultrap with such accuracy, least of all an imberb neophyte. I looked at Alwin, trying to divine his age. His demeanor and stature were those of any breton or imperial child, but from what I knew of altmers, he could have been in his thirties... almost twice my age. I shuddered at the thought and promptly shunned it. Soon enough both of us were walking amongst the mangled corpses, checking them for... anything, actually. We never knew what piece of garbage the old man might consider a vital ingredient for his "operations". Alwin picked up a mace and clumsily swung it around, looking like a child more than ever... one old enough to be my father. He gave me the mace: "Hold this..." he said, "...we take the weapons".

"What... all?"

"Yes, all! You take the swords and axes, I'll get the bows and arrows".

"What do we need axes and bows for? We're not warriors, we can't wield them".

"Our summons can" - he pointed to the servant. "The old man will teach us how to bind a better skeleton to a scroll today... he told me that you once you learn it, and with enough blood, you can summon it anytime you want! But for that... weapons".

I knew right then and there that I would end up carrying everything while Alwin would just skip around me, babbling his infantile nonsense (his necromancer infantile nonsense) all the way back to the cave. I surrendered.

"Well... all right. You seem to know better".

"Of course I know better!" - Alwin was suddenly irritated by my involuntary irony - "Where's your head at?"

I looked down. Edwarn stared back.

"That's what we soultrapped this vermin for! Didn't we?" He placed such conviction in that "we"... this carnage wasn't my idea. What a lying, little... Alwin's voice broke me out of it: "Varan... you hear me?"

"Yes, I do, I'm... just a little tired, that's all. Sorry, let us... rest a little?"

This calmed him rather quickly... but not his enthusiasm: "Come on, you'll rest at the cave. Up you go, come on! We have bones in plenty and now... look! Weapons and a full gem! Enough to get started on a Guardian, don't you think?"

"I don't know what to think" - I mumbled absently, wondering how on Nirn I was going to carry all those weapons. I knew we would come back for the bodies. It seemed that "Packmule" was my middle name.

"Well, I think" continued Alwin as he lifted up the gem and gave me his widest grin, "that Edwarn's soul will make one fine servant".

I caught a glint of madness is his almond-shaped eyes.

"Who's boss now, eh Edwarn?" and Alwin's laughter warmed the cold air once more.