PoTM: Conjuration, Lesson Two

  • Vivec lay with Molag Bal for eighty days and eight, though headless. In that time, the Prince placed the warrior-poet's feet back and filled them with the blood of Daedra. In this way Vivec's giant-form remained forever harmless to good earth. The Pomegranate Banquet brought many spirits back from the dead so that the sons and daughters of the union had much to eat besides fruit.


    The Duke of Scamps came while the banquet was still underway, and Molag Bal looked on the seven pennants with anger. The King of Rape had become necessary and therefore troubled for the rest of time. His legions and Kh-Utta's fell into open war, but the children of Molag Bal and Vivec were too elaborate in power and form.


    The Duke of Scamps therefore became a lesser thing, as did all his own children. Molag Bal said to them: 'You are the sons of liars, dogs, and wolf-headed women.' They have been useless to summon ever since.


    The holy one returned at last, Vehk, golden with wisdom. His head found its body had been tenderly used. He mentioned this to Molag Bal, who told him that he should thank the Barons of Move Like This, 'For I have yet to learn how to refine my rapture. My love is accidentally shaped like a spear.'


    So Vivec, who had a grain of Ayem's mercy, set about to teach Molag Bal in the ways of belly-magic. They took their spears out and compared them. Vivec bit new words onto the King of Rape's so that it might give more than ruin to the uninitiated. This has since become a forbidden ritual, though people still practice it in secret.


    Here is why: The Velothi and demons and monsters that were watching all took out their own spears. There was much biting and the earth became wet. And this was the last laugh of Molag Bal:


    'Watch as the earth shall crack, heavy with so much power, that should have been forever unalike!'


    Then that stretch of badlands that had been the site of the marriage fragmented and threw fire. And a race that is no more but that was terrible at the time to behold came forth. Born of the biters, that is all they did, and they ran amok across the lands of Veloth and even to the shores of Red Mountain.


    But Vivec made of his spear a more terrible thing, from a secret he had bitten off from the King of Rape. And so he sent Molag Bal tumbling into the crack of the biters and swore forever that he would not deem the King beautiful ever again.


    Vivec wept as he slew all those around him with his terrible new spear. He named it MUATRA, which is Milk Taker, and even the Chimeri mystics knew his fury. Anyone struck by Vivec at this time turned barren and withered into bone shapes. The path of bones became a sentence for the stars to read, and the heavens have never known children since. Vivec hunted down the biters one by one, and all their progeny, and he killed them all by means of the Nine Apertures, and the wise still hide theirs from Muatra.


    The ending of the words is ALMSIVI.


    He extended his mind, breaching the barrier between the planes, wandering into Oblivion. The sulfur and ash assailed his nostrils, his face felt the heat and his eyes were nearly blinded by all the lava around him. He saw towers black as darkness in the distance, with fire burning inside them and he felt their hunger. The whole plane was hungry, vengeful. It was angry, because it was locked away, forever.


    “Careful now,” sounded Talvas’ voice, as if from a great distance.


    He then extended his arm and his fingers dipped into the hot lava. And they were searching through the creatia, looking for suitable subject. He needed one that was almost reborn, but only almost. A vestige that was nearly ready to power an animus, but still not complete. Something weaker, something-


    “That one! Now!”


    There it was, in the sea of creatia among all the vestiges, slowly crawling towards the shore to be reborn again. He reached towards it and grabbed it by a neck that wasn't really there yet and pulled. The world spun around him and all the lava and heat was replaced by ash and cold. He sent the vestige forward, into the morpholith, moulding the ash around it-


    “It's working!” Talvas cheered when Grulmar managed to mould the ash around the soul gem they trapped the vestige in. The ash guardian was hovering in the air, looking at them. “Perfect, perfect! Now give it a command.”


    Spin around, Grulmar sent the mental command through the sigil's connection. The ash guardian spun around, obeying him to the letter. Grulmar could feel the cold sweat on his forehead, the concentration taking a toll on him.


    “We did it, Grulmar!” Talvas whistled and looked at the Orc, Grulmar seeing his face from the corner of his eye. He clenched his jaws as he felt the telepathic link with the creature being strained, like a hundred year old rope being pulled apart. He growled, focusing, but he couldn't hold it.


    The moment he lost control, they could hear the sound of shattering glass and the soul gem that acted as the Ash Guardian's heart exploded into pieces, sending its shards through the air at tremendous speed. Talvas quickly raised a ward, the shards shattering against it, but Grulmar didn't have enough time to raise a ward, because that didn't come instinctively to him.


    He extended his open palm, creating a kinetic field in front of him, catching all the shards that were heading his way in mid-air. At least five of them stopped in the air, with the rest speeding past him, and then the stopped shards dropped to the ground. Grulmar sighed and leaned against the well, rubbing his eyes. Alright, not really an easy thing to hold several objects at once, he thought, wiping the sweat from his forehead.


    “Damn it!” Talvas cursed, hitting his thigh with his fist in frustration. “I thought we had it. We had it, didn't we? What went wrong?”


    Grulmar raised his hand. “Could ya just give me a second? Need... to catch... my breath, so to speak.” He took a deep breath, exhaling through his nose, trying to calm his beating heart. “It wasn’t exactly easy to hold the vestige in the soul gem and keep the ash in one piece ya know.”


    “But it was docile, it obeyed your commands-”


    “No, matey, y’are not listenin’. I can't both control the vestige and hold the ash at the same time,” Grulmar interrupted him with a sharp voice, shaking his head. “The vestige literally rejects its new ‘body’, makin’ it impossible to stabilize.”


    “Alright, alright,” the Dunmer scratched his jaw, supporting his chin with his palm after that. “Using a morpholith like the soul gem worked like a charm, we made more progress than I alone made in months.”


    “Well, if it worked like a charm than we wouldn't be havin’ this conversation, would we?” Grulmar snorted, turning to the well and pulling a bucket cold water out. He took a sip, washing down the ash in his mouth. “I'm just saying that while it worked, it still isn't stable.”


    Talvas tapped on his upper lip with his forefinger and then pointed at Grulmar. “We tried a lesser soul gem and then a grand soul gem right? The time you were able to control the ash guardian was considerably prolonged, right?”




    “So maybe we need a more powerful morpholith,” Talvas suggested, pointing at the shards around them. “Something more powerful would prolong the stability of the animus.”


    “So what? Are we goin’ to get us a Sigil Stone or somethin’?” the Orc raised his eyebrows and then tapped his forehead. “What's that goin’ to solve for us, matey? Instead of the animus goin’ all boom on our arses we'd burn all the magicka tryin’ to keep control AND the form of the animus. We need somethin’ that can stabilize the construct on its own.”


    “Like what?” the Dunmer narrowed his eyes. “A daedric artifact?”


    “Sheogorath’s goats! No, absolutely not!” Grulmar exlaimed, slapping his forehead in exasperation. Getting an artifact like that meant dealing with Daedric Princes and as far as Grulmar and Daedric Princes were concerned, he had had enough of them. And getting an artifact from them...there was always a catch attached to it and Grulmar wasn't about to sell his soul or something along those lines for a piece of daedric junk, even if he saw one once wielded for good. Once, a sword that gleamed like morning, and that was at that stupid Volkihar castle, side by side with Auriel’s holy fire up Shiny’s arse. But that was the only time and he still wondered about it, wondered what Shiny had to give Meridia to be able to use it. He pushed himself away from the well, walking towards Talvas with raised finger. “Don't even think about it, alright? No tuskin’ daedric artifacts!”


    “Alright, alright,” Talvas raised his hands, grimacing. “No artifacts, mister moral.” He then knowingly smirked, leaning closer to Grulmar. “How about a black soul gem then?”


    Grulmar threw him a glare, gritting his teeth.


    “Just kidding, just kidding,” the Dunmer chuckled, playfully shoving Grulmar. “But what do you suggest we do then? Just let it go? I'm not sure I can, Grulmar. I mean, seeing Neloth do it with a mere snap of his fingers,” he started his rant again, snapping his fingers for the effect, “it just drives me crazy.”


    The Orc scoffed at that, putting aside a stray lock of hair that fell into his face. He pulled down the leather strap and began tying his hair again. “Most of these days I have to wonder what of that is Neloth and what is the tower,” he murmured.


    “The tower? What do you mean?”


    Grulmar looked at the Dunmer and realized he probably had no clue about the whole tower thing. The Orc wondered if he should tell Talvas about it or not, but frankly what would be the gain in that? He would probably call Grulmar crazy or something similar. “Nothin’, just babblin’,” he replied, shaking his head when he finished with the hair.


    It was slowly turning into a habbit, keeping things from Talvas. Grulmar didn’t tell him about the deal Varona made with Mogrul, because he didn't want to stain the memory of her in Talvas’ eyes - also because he didn't want to get punched in the face, which was what Talvas promised him if he ever threw dirt on Varona's memory. Nor did he tell the young apprentice about the death of his grandfather. Also that his cousin was being held captive by Mogrul. Nope, definitely not sayin’ that. Better to keep him in the dark, for his own good.


    “But the Ash Guardian,” he reminded Talvas. “We need somethin’ that will stabilize the animus, form its body and hold it on its own. Somethin’ functionin’ as its transliminal heart.”


    “Heart,” Talvas murmured, his expression darkening, his eyes growing colder.


    “What? Did I say somethin’?”


    “I might have an idea,” the Dunmer said, turning his back to Grulmar. “I'll be right back,” he said over his shoulder as he headed towards Tel Mithryn.


    “Yeah, sure,” the Orc muttered, leaning over the well's wall, looking down into its darkness. The well could have been four to five steps deep, a narrow tunnel filled with darkness, with a light at the end of it. Light? A mere reflection of the sky above and Grulmar focused on that distant reflection that made his head so small and so dark in the distance.


    What would he see if he looked more closer? The person he used to be or the person he was becoming? Maybe he didn't want to see either of them, both his selves staring back at him from the dark water, their red eyes judging and mocking. He shook his head and spat down the well. A reflection is nothin’ but an illusion, a mirage of what we want to see or what we are afraid to see. A reflection is a lie.


    He then grimaced, watching the water’s surface ripple as the spit finally reached the bottom. Well, that wasn't really smart, matey. Who's goin’ to drink that now? He reached to the pocket of his robe and pulled out a small vial with blue liquid, quickly swallowing its contents with a sour expression. He felt the magicka washing over him and immediately felt the relief of the energy crackling through his body.


    He then heard footsteps and he turned towards Tel Mithryn to see Talvas returning. The Dunmer was carrying something in his hand, something roundish, glowing with a faint red glow and Grulmar narrowed his eyes as he felt the thing's heat emanating in his head, singing of memories of fire and brass. “No,” Grulmar gasped and raised his hand. “No no no, ya can't be serious.”


    “What?” the Dunmer’s face wrinkled in confusion, taken a back by Grulmar’s reaction. “You said it yourself. We need a stronger morpholith and this could be it.”


    Grulmar grasped the sides of his head, as he felt the pressure rising. “It burns in my head!” he growled. “It burns as the dawn of time and the end of it.”


    “What in the Oblivion are you talking about?” Talvas threw his arms up. “Fine, if you don’t want to do it-”


    But Grulmar didn’t let him finish because he knew what he had to do. Talvas wasn’t realizing it, but he had awakened the heart stone’s magic and it was now screaming with denial, rupturing Grulmar’s thoughts and that had to stop.


    He reached out with his right hand, invisible fingers lifting the stone from Talvas’ grasp, pulling it towards Grulmar. While his right hand did that, he reached into Oblivion with his left, grabbing another nearly formed vestige by its unformed neck, burning a sigil into its resonance, and he pulled it to Tamriel.


    The stone dropped into the ash and the vestige was drawn to it like a moth to a flame. And then it began moulding itself and Grulmar just watched, the pressure in his head disappearing.


    “It… It’s forming its body on its own!” Talvas gasped, watching the ash guardian rise from the ground, the stone absorbed into its being. He circled the animus, shaking his head, as Grulmar felt his senses probing the link. “It’s sentient, but… Not intelligent. As a child, but a child millennia old. It awaits orders, it wants to serve.”


    “It’s lookin’ for purpose,” Grulmar murmured, sensing it to be true even though he himself wasn’t sure.


    “Grulmar! We did it! We’re mad wizards and we did it!” Talvas patted him on his shoulder and Grulmar flinched at that.


    “If anyone’s mad here it’s ya,” he grimaced and shook his head. “I’m just an idiot.”


    “Come on, cheer up,” Talvas poked him with his elbow. “It works! So much to research now. What are its limitations? Capabilities? Can it form body from something other than ash? Stone? Water? We have more work to do.”


    Grulmar narrowed his eyes, watching the ash guardian, its imitation of a face formed from ash staring back at him, waiting for his commands. He then released the vestige and the animus crumbled to ash, the heart stone gone.


    “We’ll need more stones,” Talvas remarked thoughtfully.


    “Yeah. We’ll need more stones.”



6 Comments   |   Meli and 7 others like this.
  • Caladran
    Caladran   ·  March 21
    For a second I thought Grulmar is going to throw the stone to into the water.  They're precious with their experiments! :D
    • Shadow Arm
      Shadow Arm
      For a second I thought Grulmar is going to throw the stone to into the water.  They're precious with their experiments! :D
        ·  March 21
      They're such nerds, aren't they? :D
  • Hworra
    Hworra   ·  January 3
    I'm baack! Love the continuing experimentation that Talvas and Grulmar engage in, feels like real mage-work and really fleshes out why a Heart Stone is needed in the process.
  • Paws
    Paws   ·  December 29, 2017
    They better get more stones, agreed. So Grulmar was keeping things from Talvas, and a big part of why is because he was protecting him? Quite sweet, warms my transliminal heart :) 
  • Santa-Pocky-Hah!
    Santa-Pocky-Hah!   ·  November 29, 2017
    Talvas and Grulmar's antics remind me of Dr. Frankenstein and his assistant, Igor. Except in this case, Igor is a green-skinned foul-mouthed idiot troll. XD
    • Shadow Arm
      Shadow Arm
      Talvas and Grulmar's antics remind me of Dr. Frankenstein and his assistant, Igor. Except in this case, Igor is a green-skinned foul-mouthed idiot troll. XD
        ·  November 29, 2017
      bwhahahahaha. I love that analogy! :D