Dominion: Chapter 1, Part 1

  • The Elder Scrolls Online: Dominion

    Chapter 1, Part 1: A Scoundrel, a Zealot, and a Novice

    Ian S. McClure

     

    The chill of Coldharbour remained with Volandril wherever he went in the hellish realm, permeating his bones. Right now, he sat in his cell, but not hours before he had his arm ripped off by a Clannfear, who proceeded to rip his throat out. Of course, he had recovered by now—such was the fate of all Soul Shriven. And Volandril knew that he probably deserved this fate of death and torment more than most. He was a liar, a thief and a murderer; a member of the Shadow Artisan gang, who had been used by the Worm Cult for even more nefarious ends.

     

    Volandril sighed as his memories returned to those horrible events. An anonymous contract had hired him to steal an experiment from the Shimmerene Mages Guild: a staff that could mend bones with ease. It had been a simple matter for Volandril to slit the poor girl's throat in her room and swipe the staff. The employer had rewarded him with an enchanted knife to the back; paralyzed, he was helpless when the Cult sacrificed him to dread Molag Bal. Now he had realized that he had nothing—none of his wealth or power, which had been previously so important to him.

     

    He was interrupted from his thoughts by the sounds of fighting, and his sorrow grew. No doubt there was another slave revolt in progress. He considered trying to help, to fight against the Daedra, but he knew it was pointless. He was weaponless and armorless, and even with his daggers and leathers he was surely no match against Coldharbour's elite jailors. And why bother? This rebellion stood as much a chance as the other—

     

    His cell door swung open, a translucent ghost of an Imperial man—old and blind—standing solemnly there. “Your fate lies not in this dread realm.” he said gravely, suddenly, and Volandril's world became enveloped in light. “Return now to Tamriel, for you have been chosen by the Elder Scrolls...”

     

     

    The light faded; Volandril was alone. He blinked groggily, and realized that he wasn't cold anymore! With a jolt, he sat upright, looking around. He could see the sunny sky, feel the warmth on his dark gold skin, smell the surf and hear the birds. He passed a hand over the stone that surrounded him—it was old, but looked good, looked normal, unlike the Daedric architecture he had grown used to. He was in a tower—some ruined tower—but why? And where? Somewhere near a beach; that much he knew. Perhaps he was back in his homeland, the Summerset Isles. It should've brought him comfort, but it didn't. He was wanted by the law; he had no desire to return to a cell, even if it was a mortal one.

     

    The door flew open then, and Volandril winced at the sound. A Khajiit swaggered in, his armor dark and his gaze cocky. “You awake now, wet one?” he asked, with a toothy grin.

     

    It took a moment for Volandril to find his voice. “What are you on about, Khajiit?” he asked warily. Sure, the cat-folk were uncommon in the Isles, but there had been rumors of an Alliance the new monarch had made with them and the Bosmer. And who knew how long he'd been away from Nirn?

     

    “Please, call him Razum-dar. Or Raz, for short.” he replied, bowing with a dramatic flourish. “As for what I am on about? Not every day that some Elf falls from sky to sea, yes? It is good thing, then, that this one could fish you out.”

     

    “I… Fell? From the sky?” Vol asked in fake disbelief. “You haven't been on that—what do you call it—moon sugar stuff, have you?”

     

    Raz laughed. “Oh, how little you know! Moon sugar makes one drowsy, but it is not skooma. One would think that you would know, eh? Your little gang is quite involved in that trade, after all...”

     

    Volandril sighed—whatever he was, he knew of his affiliations. “I submit. Take me to jail, then.” he said, resigned.

     

    “You think this one a guardsman? No, he is but a simple Khajiit, who knows many things.” Razum-dar replied. “A Khajiit that could use some help.” He waited for Vol's reply—none came. “You are Volandril, yes? Reported as killed by the Shimmerene Guard. Sacrificed, no?”

     

    “Whatever your sources are, they're well-informed.” Vol replied, his curiosity now piqued. He hesitated. “This… Will sound mad. But I was sacrificed, to Molag Bal.” He took a breath. “We—all of us—are in grave danger. He wants to invade Tamriel.”

     

    Raz clicked his tongue. “Raz has a nose for lies—which is how he knows you speak true.” he said. He thought briefly, then added: “As for the invasion, it has begun already. His Anchors, they are another obstacle in the Dominion's conquest of Cyrodiil.” Razum looked at Volandril, noted the confusion. “The Aldmeri Dominion—the alliance of High Elves, Wood Elves, and we Khajiit under Queen Ayrenn—we fight the other races for control of the Ruby Throne. Of course, such alliances are not perfect, which is why the Dominion came here, to Khenarthi's Roost.”

     

    “Khenarthi's Roost?” Vol asked.

     

    “Aye. It is a small island near Elsewyr. Very strategic, yes?” Razum-dar said. Suddenly, his grin faded. “Alas, the fleet is… Demolished. A massive hurricane blew over, killed many fine Marines. Those that remain are trying to convince the people here to join the Alliance, but they are not too trusting.”

     

    Volandril hummed. “Alright. What do you want me for?” he finally asked.

     

    “He has some jobs for you.” Raz replied cryptically. “But he will inform you later. Surely you are tired, yes? Eagle's Strand is not a mighty fort, but it is where Dominion calls home on the Roost. They will not bother you—he recommends you explore a bit, hmm? Meet the soldiers, the locals. Dry off a bit, heh.”

     

    Vol nodded. He was yet confused, but he had a job offer and safety from the law due to this Raz. That was enough for him. “Whatever this job is, I'll need some gear.” he said. “I use lightweight armor and daggers.”

     

    “They shall come, fret not!” Razum-dar said, cheery once more. “For now, this one must leave, but he encourages you to explore the fort, as well as the temple nearby. Ta for now!” And with that, he was off.

     

     

    Volandril exited the ruined tower, stepping onto the grass and looking around. Various armored mer and catfolk rushed to and fro, or lay injured beneath the sun, tended to by healers. As he took all this in, he noted an armored, heavily bearded and stern-faced Bosmer stride up to him. “You there—you're that chap rescued from the water, eh?” he said gruffly. “Hmph… Don't look like much, but I've been wrong before.”

     

    “You have me at a disadvantage.” Vol replied with a slight smile. “Your name, good mer?”

     

    “Daengorn, of the Dominion Marines.” he said, removing his bone helm to reveal matted black hair. “Commander Karinith assigned me to accompany you—says someone called 'Razum' said you'd help us out.”

     

    Volandril nodded, concealing his surprise. What was Razum-dar up to? “You heard correctly. Like I told him, though, I'll need gear. And I still don't know what it is I'm helping with.”

     

    “Two things, really.” Daengorn said gruffly. “The Commander's got reports of wounded at another area, Shattered Shoals; we're to help anyone out there. And some mage-types need help with something too, so we're gonna see them now.”

     

    Volandril followed Daengorn to another area, where a massive stone was shooting fountains of water. An important-looking wizard with ostentatious robes stood at the forefront. “Yes, Lalandre, we'll be studying this in great detail!” he said, his voice arrogant. “Just wait until Galerion learns of this!” He looked at the two new mer, and frowned. “Oy—someone deal with these soldiers! Ishira, find out what they want.”

     

    A young, lithe Khajiit mage walked over, bowing her head respectfully. “Ishira, at your service.” she said. “Forgive Ealcil, for he is a typical High Elf, and cares only for his discovery.”

     

    Vol chuckled. “A good thing, then, that I am not typical. Volandril.” he said, shaking the lass's hand.

     

    Daengorn grunted, crossing his arms. “So, you folk say you need something from us. What is it?”

     

    “Ah, yes. There is a temple to the far east; the Temple of the Mourning Springs. From there, Ealcil removed this stone.” Ishira sighed, suddenly worried. “And from there, an army of skeletons surged forth.”

     

    “Well, that's a problem.” Daengorn said dryly. “Right, you heard that Volandril?”

     

    “Of course.” Vol replied. “So, Shoals or Temple first?”

     

    Ishira cleared her throat. “Excuse me. I am skilled at magic, and very much would like to get some 'real-world' experience...” She took a breath, then said quickly: “May this one—I, rather—accompany you?”

     

    “No way in Mara's teats.” Daengorn replied.

     

    “Absolutely, we could use the help.” Volandril replied, at the same time.

     

    Daengorn sighed. “Fine, take the girl, then. I'm not responsible if she gets killed, yeah? We leave tomorrow, first thing in the morning. Vol, your gear's at the armory, so suit up and grab your daggers.”

     

    “Daggers?” Ishira asked, as the soldier marched off. “An odd choice for a fighter.”

     

    Vol chuckled. “They are useful if you rely on stealth, like me. And I'm sure Daengorn can handle open combat, with all his plate armor.”

     

    Ishira nodded. “Is exciting, yes?” she suddenly said. “All my life, my parents have been over-protective. Now, I get to see the real world! Who knows, perhaps I'll even leave the Roost!”

     

    Volandril grinned—her enthusiasm was infectious. Perhaps he could yet redeem himself, put his past behind him... “Indeed.” he said simply, with a slight grin, and left to gather his gear.

Comments

2 Comments   |   Teineeva likes this.
  • Paws
    Paws   ·  November 14
    Volandril is already an interesting character, and it's always a pleasure to meet Raz again. It's weird because so much time has passed since meeting him, and so many things have happened, that reading the dialogue between Raz and Volandril felt like a br...  more
    • Tenebrous
      Tenebrous
      Paws
      Paws
      Paws
      Volandril is already an interesting character, and it's always a pleasure to meet Raz again. It's weird because so much time has passed since meeting him, and so many things have happened, that reading the dialogue between Raz and Volandril felt like a br...  more
        ·  November 14
      Thanks! I've been deliberating this for a very long time, mostly because I don't want to re-tread AotQ. Seeing that Razum-dar still feels "fresh" is a huge relief.