The tile rooftops of the Talos District entertained Enathrae for only a short while. The soft soles of his specially crafted leather boots easily bending over the curvature of the clay tiles, allowing him to remain steadfast in his pace. The urban setting soon surrendered to the arboreal furnishings of the arboretum that grew to the west of the city proper. Trees taller than most of the buildings in the city grew in a close-knit collective perhaps no more than a few square miles. While the surface was groomed with paths and well taken care of topiaries, the trees grew together as if stretching out for the haunting touch of like beings. It made the perfect path. The Dunmer leaped from one branch to the next, his trail marked only by the fluttering leaves and the scattering birds. Soon, he would stop.
High noon had crested over the few spires for the College of Whispers, their shadows only nigh existent with the sun so very high above. The pale bricks made in an age that had long since been forgotten had shone brightly, unhindered until the shadows slowly consumed them. The windows that were once open to the world around them were now shut, locked. The scents of alchemical concoctions and newly casted spells had become an afterthought ingrained into the now tattered tapestries. Despite the illuminating sun, the College seemed dark. The campus grounds once teeming with life were not speckled with but a few dim shadows wandering from one task to the next.
Enathrae descended from the branches. Soft were the steps of his feet as he hit the cobblestone walkway that encircled the academy. His steps were silent as he crept toward what appeared to be the main entranceway. A grim, ebony door ripe with age that had seen more greatness pass through its archway than the Hall of Valor. Yet, there was something strange about that door. As the gleam of the sun passed through the trees, painting the building in a vibrant glow the door remained enshrouded in shadow. An ominous cloud lingered over the portcullis, reverberating with magical energies across the strings of the aether like the strings of the lute heard in the distance. “What business… do you… have here,” inquired a soft voice?"
The voice was but the remnants of a whisper. A gentle annoyance carried on the breeze. Or the faded memory of words passed echoing through the trees of the arboretum. Yet while the words seemingly came from a distance, Enathrae felt a contradictory notion. Was the voice real? Did it exist amongst the environment, emanating from some terrestrial being? “What BUSINESS… do YOU… have here?”
No. It was a distant voice, but Enathrae knew it was closer than its creator had hoped he would. The voice was whispering from the depths of his mind, a place well beyond his typical excursions and a place that was quite easily accessible by the nominal power of this place, the College of Whispers. The Dunmer extended his arms, stretching his fingers as if attempting to feel his way through the power of the aether that carried the Magicka being used against him.
Enathrae’s fingers began to curl as if tickling the ivories on a piano. His hands twitched as if resisting the pull of some unforeseeable grasp, pulling him towards the door. Closer and closer the Dunmer stumbled as he tried to resist the force. But this unseen extraterrestrial force was powerful, more powerful than Enathrae had the pleasure of ever encountering before. His soft-soled leather shoes were not designed to provide the traction required to resist his unseen captor.
The gravel stirred beneath his feet, disturbed by his struggle. But the dust did not come from his steps. Sand and dirt stirred in the recesses between the stones that made up the cobblestone walk. It danced and swirled into tiny cyclones that were pulled toward the Dunmer, yet further away gathering before the doorway enshrouded in shadow. The sand coalesced into the shape of a single humanoid being its arm outstretched as if to grasp the mer.
But Enathrae was cognisant. His struggle was just as much mental as it was physical. However, he was trained. He was trained in the art of acting and reacting to arcane interference with his plans. He did not fall slack to make the magician work harder. He did not fight back to tighten its encumbrance. Enathrae moved swiftly, jerking his arms in a circular motion to exploit the lag Magicka experienced when combating the physical.
As the Dark Elf pulled free from the magician’s grasp, Enathrae deflected the now formed arm. A robed arm at that, clad in dirty grey cloth that was now thrown out wide. But the creature’s body did not budge. With a wide defensive opening, Enathrae thrust his offensive arm forward, his palm turned up. The strong and sturdy heel of his palm snapped outward like a flash of lightning. “A test…”
Enathrae’s hand trembled as it met the resistance of what felt like a stone wall. The tremor that followed the sting of pain sent a shiver down his spine. His mind was drawn blank with what followed. With the force of Volendrung smashing into his chest, the Dunmer was thrown backward. His arms and legs thrown forward by the force of his abdomen hurling back, away from the enshrouded door. The air pulled from his lungs was replaced with the burning sensation of suffocation until his ass hit the cobblestone. His head rolled backward alongside his arms as he tried to protect his vital points from the impact. Rolling backwards the Dunmer tumbled down the few stairs that lead up to the platform where the College sat. “You have NO BUSINESS here…”