Agents of the Queen Part 24- An Elder Scrolls Online tale

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    Holy Ground  

     

     

    Ian S. McClure 

      

     

    "Come on, Father!" I cry, running through the grassy field. I was playing with my toy, a wooden figure of an Altmer warrior. Father says nothing. He is underneath a tree, reading something, but he does not come to me! Infuriated, I run up to him. "Why aren't you playing, Fa?"I ask, angry and saddened. 

      

     

    "I don't have time. I need to read this!" he snaps at me. I run away crying, not knowing that soon, he will slaughter my mother and— 

      

      

    "Damn it." I thought, awakening from my slumber. "That was Verolias' memory." I hadn't lived through the poor boy's eyes in quite a while, and so I had been unprepared. It was startling and disturbing to watch someone else's life through their eyes, knowing that they're dead. I look up, noting the sun just starting to rise, and I tried to distract myself from that grim train of thought. But it did not work. Instead, I looked back to my own memories—memories of my palatial home in Shimmerene, memories of time spent with fellow soldiers in the Rebellion, and memories of Elereth. I smiled a bit. Father would lash my hide if he knew I was with a Bosmer. But she was perfect for me—witty, beautiful. And I'd never admit it, but she was right, in the sense that being a woman could actually be enjoyable—at least in bed. Still, Daedric magic wasn't to be lightly used, so being Synia would, perhaps thankfully, be a rare thing. 

     

     

    As I thought of Elereth, however, I realized she wasn't sleeping either. Rather, she was off a short distance away, staring at the distant, but visible, ruins of Torinaan. I decided to walk over. "Everything alright?" I ask.  

      

     

    She turned to me, and I noticed she had been crying. "I'm just... Worried." she admitted. "What if we can't get the Font to work? I don't want to be... This, any longer." 

     

     

    "It'll be fine, Elereth." I said, lightly stroking her pale cheek. 

     

     

    She took a breath. "I hope so." She fell silent for a bit, before saying: "You're up early." 

     

     

    I hummed. "You remember the Veiled Keep, right? Where I almost died?" 

     

     

    "Of course." she replied, curious. 

     

     

    I hesitated, before saying: "Well, when I absorbed the soul gem—the one with Verolias—I seem to have... Inherited, his memories. I was woken up by one." 

     

     

    Elereth nodded slowly. "Huh. I wonder why... Well, hopefully we won't need to revive you again. Who knows what memories are in the other gems." 

     

     

    I nodded in return. We had a collection of large soul gems, to be used in emergencies. I hoped I would never need them again. I looked up at the sky again, now just in the beginnings of morning. "Come on. We should Torinaan soon. Hopefully the priesthood there can aid us, and you." I smiled, and then we both walked back to camp to rouse Suhr and Lilinastre. 

     

       

     

     

    The smell of burning fires was the first impression I got as we approached the holy site. "Gods damn it." Lili swore. "Is this place under attack too? Is nowhere safe from Estre?" 

       

     

    I sighed. "She must have stopped here on the way to Firsthold. We need to get there as soon as possible. But first, we find the Font." 

     

     

    "I would keep moving, traveler. Torinaan has fallen." an old priestess said, walking to us. "I am—was—the Aldarch here." 

      

     

    "We need to use the Font Aequiius. It's important." Elereth said quickly. "We'll help out in return, of course. We're good in a fight." 

     

     

    The Aldarch looked at Elereth, eyes widening. After a moment, she said: "It is... Rare, for a Bosmer to wish to use the Font. Much more rare for a vampire." 

      

     

    "How did you—" Elereth began, but the priestess shook her head. 

     

      

    "These old eyes see many things. But you seek redemption—this is good. Else I would slay you." she said. "But there is yet hope for you. Yes, the Font can remove your curse. But you must earn the gods' favor. The Altmer ones, mind—the Bosmer faith has no power here." 

     

      

     Elereth nodded, determined. "Tell us how we can earn this favor, then." 

     

       

    The Aldarch procured a map, which she showed us. "The center shrine is the source of the Daedra that have overrun Torinaan. To destroy their foulness would be a fine start on your path." 

     

     

    "Can we help?" I asked. 

      

     

    "Of course. You are clearly her friends, despite her condition." the priestess replied.  

     

     

     "Then we should go, yes?" Suhr said. "The shrine is not too far." 

      

     

    "We should stick together." Lili added.  

     

      

    "I agree. Let's go!" I said, as we all ran into Torinaan. 

     

      

     

     

    "Watch the Clannfear!" I shouted, as Elereth rolled out of the way, quickly firing an arrow into the beast's eye and banishing it. I whipped to my left, slashing at a scamp. "Lili, atronach to your left!" She deflected its fireball with a ward, then froze it solid and shattered it with magic. As I shield-bashed a banekin before stomping its head in, Suhr acrobatically leapt over me, throwing one dagger at a Dremora and the other at the second. As they both fell, he retrieved his weapons, then returned to my side. "We’re clear, move forward!" I said, advancing to the center shrine's building. "Right. Keep watch, Lili. We're going in." 

     

     

     The old Altmer door slid open, and we walked in, Lilinastre remaining outside. We immediately saw the shrine proper, surrounded by a dark aura, with a powerful-looking Dremora standing guard. "Right. Suhr and I will rush him."  

     

     

    "I'm low on arrows." Elereth said, checking her quiver. "I'll have to restock when we get back to camp. But I'll make them count." 

      

     

    Suddenly, Suhr grabbed his neck, gasping! The Dremora had found us, and was choking him with magic. Immediately, Elereth fired two arrows into it, making it release it's hold on Suhr. I ran to it, doing a diagonal slash, but it dodged. It drew an impossibly-sharp blade, snarling. I blocked its attack once—twice—three times, before stabbing it. It gritted it's teeth, the blade jutting from it's stomach, but it was not dead yet. Telekinetically, it pushed me back, before removing my sword from it's body, wielding both blades as it advanced menacingly! 

     

      

    But the attack never came. A blur tackled the Dremora, and Elereth proceeded to quickly, brutally tear out its throat with her fangs! She spat out the tainted blood, grimacing. "Dark Moons, Elereth!" Suhr cried, appalled.  

     

      

    She immediately started to sob. "Damn it! I didn't mean to—didn't want to—I don’t know what came over me!" 

     

     

    I sheathed my blade, walking over. "It's alright, Elereth. It's alright. This will all be over soon." 

     

     

    "How can you say that!?" she cried. "How are you so sure!?" 

     

     

    "I'm not." I admitted. "But I have faith—hope, that the Font works. And if it doesn't... I will still love you. You know that." 

     

     

    Elereth fell silent, not saying anything for a long while. Eventually, she choked out: "We should get Lili, come on. We'll know soon enough." 

     

     

     I smiled softly, and we all exited the ruins. But my smile soon faded. Lilinastre was on the ground, surrounded by fallen Dremora! She was breathing heavily, blood pooling slowly around her. "Gods! Lili!" I cried, running over despite my fatigue. I flipped her over—she had various small cuts and injuries, and one deep wound in her left leg, which was broken. Judging by the fallen Daedra, she'd been hit by a mace. "Somebody get the Aldarch, now!" I said, louder than I expected. 

     

     

    Suhr promptly ran off, as Elereth procured a bandage, wrapping the wound tightly to stem the flow. "I'm no expert, but she'll live, I think." she said shakily. 

      

     

    My sister stirred, looking at me. "Hey, Ardolan." she said, trying her best to be casual despite the obvious pain. 

     

     

    "Lili, stay with me. Don't black out again." I said, clutching her hand. 

     

      

    She winced. "The stories never did mention the agony. By Trinimac, it hurts. But I'll live." 

     

     

    "Yes. Yes you will, child." the Aldarch said, walking briskly, Suhr right behind her. "I've found some more priests, they'll tend to her with me. Our best healer was lost, but we'll make do." 

     

     

    "Do you think she can recover fully?" Elereth asked, worried. 

     

     

    "I don't know yet." the priestess replied. She looked at Elereth, seemingly judging her. "And by Xarxes, I was wrong about you. Vampire you may be, but you are no fiend. As soon as your friend is stable, you shall be informed." 

     

     

     

     

    I restlessly paced outside the makeshift camp the priests had set up. With the death of their leader, the Daedric forces were in disarray and vulnerable to mass banishment. We had saved Torinaan. But at what cost?  

      

     

    "Ardolan. Pacing so only makes things worse." Suhr said, sitting on the ground. 

     

     

     

    "I know, I know. But this is my sister we're talking about." I said, tired. Nonetheless, I sat down, next to Elereth. 

     

      

    She looked at me. "The Aldarch gave me permission to visit the Font. I have to kneel in it, and pray that it helps." She sighed. "I'm so sorry. This is my fault! If I hadn't needed a cure, Lili would still be fine."  

     

     

    "Don't blame yourself, Elereth. You didn't have much choice—Aluvus kidnapped you to infect you." I explained. I grasped her hand. "As soon as I know Lilinastre's status, I can come with you, if you like." 

     

     

    Elereth nodded, wordlessly. Just then, a young-faced priest appeared. "Er—sir, the Aldarch wants to see you." he told me.  

     

      

    "Excellent, I'll be right there." I said, my armor clinking as I stood. I walked beneath the main tent, where Lili was sitting. She looked at me, smiling a bit, which put me slightly at ease. 

     

      

    "Your sister will recover." the Aldarch said. "But she needs time. I estimate at least three weeks before she can walk again—much more to be able to run and cast spells." 

     

     

    "Of course, of course." I said, gratefully shaking the priestess' hand. "I imagine she'll be staying with you. Will you be safe here?" 

      

     

    "Yes—actually, I wanted to tell you." she replied, grim. "We found some of the former High Kinlady's notes. She's moving onto Firsthold, if she hasn't already besieged it. You must hurry."  

     

     

    "Don't worry about me, brother." Lili piped up. "They'll fix me up." 

     

     

    "You should go, anyhow." the Aldarch said. "Your friend—the Bosmer—requested you be there when she uses the Font." 

     

     

    I nodded, taking a final look at my sister, then I left the tent. The walk to the structure that contained the Font was silent. Eventually, we reached it. "This one will wait outside." Suhr said, smiling softly.  

     

     

    Inside, the ruins were dominated by a large pool- the Font Aequiius.  We were alone. Elereth took a breath, then looked at me. "I hope this works... I love you, Ardolan." 

     

     

    "I love you too, Elereth." I replied. Without further ado, she removed her leather armor, placing to a side with her bow and quiver. Naked, she walked to center of the pool, kneeling and closing her eyes. For a few, absurdly long heartbeats, nothing happened. And then, she was suffused with a warm, golden light! It enveloped her, to the point that I couldn't see her at all. And when it cleared... She was herself. Her skin was no longer deathly pale, and when she turned to me, her eyes were once again soft gold. Without words, we embraced. 

      

     

    That will suffice for this entry. Elereth is cured, and Lilinastre is safe. When we reach Firsthold, and deal with Estre, I will write again. Until then... 

     

      

    -Ardolan Larethbinder

Comments

5 Comments   |   D3LTAFOX and 1 other like this.
  • Sotek
    Sotek   ·  April 29
    This was a walk down memory lane for me. Clannfear, such vivid memories. 
    Glad to see Elereth is cured...  I wonder what else awaits them.
    • Tenebrous
      Tenebrous
      Sotek
      Sotek
      Sotek
      This was a walk down memory lane for me. Clannfear, such vivid memories. 
      Glad to see Elereth is cured...  I wonder what else awaits them.
        ·  April 29
      Thanks! If Daedra give you nostalgia, there's *plenty* of them in ESO. Admittedly, most belong to Molag Bal, or other Princes rather than Dagon, but still. Glad you liked it!
  • D3LTAFOX
    D3LTAFOX   ·  March 29
    I like it! :D
    I'm gonna give you a better review after catching up on the rest of the story.
    • Tenebrous
      Tenebrous
      D3LTAFOX
      D3LTAFOX
      D3LTAFOX
      I like it! :D
      I'm gonna give you a better review after catching up on the rest of the story.
        ·  March 29
      Thanks! Glad you liked it.
  • Tenebrous
    Tenebrous   ·  March 29
    Update: Minor spacing edit, and I changed a very small bit of text to avoid redundancy.