Elara's Song, Chapter Five

  • Imperial City, Temple District

    The first emissary of the Aldmeri Dominion to Cyrodiil signed his final piece of correspondence of the evening with a flourish, precisely folded the parchment, and carefully dripped wax on the letter, sealing it with the insignia of his office.  He glanced around his study, lustrous books lining the walls, and decided to forgo his typical routine of reading in favor of a walk around the Temple District.

    The Altmer slipped out the front door of the embassy, followed by a few Thalmor soldiers.  It was a necessary precaution, for even though the remnant of the Empire would not dare risk an open attack on a peaceful Dominion delegate, Tamriel was still in turmoil.  He looked to his right at the gate leading to the Green Emperor Way, and turned decisively to the left, intending to stroll in a clockwise fashion around the central area dominated by the Temple of the One and the avatar of Akatosh.  If only I could walk fast enough around the God of Time and speed things up to see what is to be…or walk counter clockwise and return to the past?  He laughed at the absurdity of his thoughts, pleased that the night air would clear him of such nonsense.  Yet his ability to see things differently was a large reason for his success and subsequent appointment with the Dominion.

    Masser’s light gleamed in patches off the cracked limestone pavement, but it was swallowed by the burnt portions, which seemed to grow larger as the emissary stared at them.  He shivered, remembering the night when the Imperial City burned.  He stopped and heard the barely audible footsteps of his guardians pause behind him.  His eyes wandered to the open air temple itself, the dragon statue’s head and chest thrown back defiantly, wings spread in a gesture both passive and active at the same time.  Just like Tandilwe, the temple priestess, and other Imperial City citizens stood, arms interlocked, encircling the Temple of the One, defying the Dominion soldiers bent on destruction during the sack of the Imperial City.  A sack he desperately tried to prevent.

    Elenwen, the Altmer sighed.  She was one who led the destruction throughout the city, while he ordered his soldiers to stop them.  After all the bloodshed of war, and they had to fight against each other.  Elenwen had never forgiven him for standing with Tandilwe and the other citizens and protecting the Temple.

    “Mark my words Toranir,” she had said, fury barely contained.  “You will live to regret letting this shrine to a Septim stand.  Then all of our progress will be for naught.”

    The Dominion wanted to reward her for her service in war, but also needed to show overt disapproval of her actions in the sack.  So she ended up as an emissary to Skyrim, still a part of the Empire, but far enough away to keep the Cyrodiils happy.  Her name was almost as black as that of Dagon himself.  Toranir winced, as Skyrim had become more important in recent months, and her actions increasingly erratic.  Ancano’s behavior at the College of Winterhold had been an embarrassment to the Dominion, and it turns out he was sanctioned by Elenwen personally.  Then the torture and eventual death of an elder scroll priest, and repeated assassination attempts on that priest’s daughter, who was now Arch Mage.  And apparently Dragonborn.  He lightly touched the bridge of his nose, wishing he could massage away the pain caused by this singular problem. What to do about a Dragonborn? He glanced again at the statue.  It seems your legacy rears its head again, Septim.

    In the aftermath of the White-Gold Concordat, Toranir found himself appointed the first emissary to Cyrodiil, a grand duty as he was responsible for explaining and encouraging support for the Dominion’s position with the Emperor.  As Mede was a Colovian, it required the utmost delicacy, and Toranir was perfect for the position.  His diplomatic skills were unparalleled, and the citizens of the Imperial City received him warmly, as his actions to preserve life had not gone unnoticed by the populace.  He believed in a time for fighting, but believed all effort must be used to maintain peace.  “It is hard to pull the beast back once it has been set free”, he murmured, and glanced uneasily at the statue again.

    Tandilwe, the priestess of the Temple of the One, had been present during the Oblivion crisis, and the two Altmer had quickly struck up an easy friendship.  “I will never forget the image of the Champion of Cyrodiil, on one knee before Akatosh, head bowed, droplets like stars shining at her feet,” Tandilwe reminisced one evening as they had been standing inside the Temple gazing up at the night sky.

    Toranir felt his blood go cold.  “She?” he asked sharply.

    Tandilwe blinked.  “Of course.  Not every hero needs to be male,” she added, misinterpreting his tone.   “She hung around the temple for a month or so, weeping at the foot of the statue of Akatosh when she thought no one was looking.  Sometimes she would just gaze up at it, and I never knew if she was simply caught in the memories of that sacrifice, or communing with it.  We see all sorts of things in the temple,” she added.  “Sorrow makes man and mer alike do crazy things.  Then she left and I never saw her again.  Oh, there were rumors that she defeated the return of Umaril the Unfeathered and reinstated the Knights of the Nine again.   Anytime a horde of monsters were routed it generally was attributed to the Champion of Cyrodiil, but you know how stories can grow.  It is odd how it seemed she just disappeared though.”  Tandilwe tapped her teeth and grew thoughtful.

    Toranir’s agitation grew at the mention of Umaril, though he hoped he masked it from Tandilwe’s sharp eyes.  “Could you describe her or draw a picture?  Do you remember her name?”  Tandilwe looked at him queerly, and he quickly added, “I think a book should be made, to honor both her and Martin’s sacrifices for the protection of Cyrodiil.  Anything you can tell me would be much appreciated.”

    Tandilwe smiled, “I would be honored to assist such a noble purpose.  Her name was Jeannette, a Breton,” she wagged her finger, “and she never let a beggar starve for food or kind words.  She was a good one, she was.”

    So Toranir had spent the years scouring Cyrodiil for traces of this mysterious hero, whose sorrowful description at Martin’s death seemed to him to be more than the sorrow over a lost comrade.  He made a tour of Cyrodiil, acquainting himself with the people and their rulers, searching for and interviewing those who may have been alive during the Oblivion Crisis.  His pretense at writing a book about two of Cyrodiil’s heroes established a fair amount of goodwill, and he became more than one of those “damn Thalmor.”  On a lucky chance he uncovered real estate records in Skingrad to a home belonging to a Jeannette Bonnet, Rosethorn Hall.  The house was then deeded to a Reynald and Eyja Jemane at the turn of the era, which, he discovered were both the proprietors of Jemane Vintners.  Their wines had not come into prominence until their son, Martin Jemane, took over when his father retired.  Toranir checked the marriage records versus Martin’s recorded birth date, and found a significant difference.  It was not unheard of in those times to conceive a child out of wedlock, but Toranir decided to visit Weatherleah, the family’s homestead and vineyard.

    “The Jemanes are visiting relations in High Rock,” the foreman of the vineyard answered, but gestured towards the house.  “Adalwig the cook might be your best bet.  She has more stories than the Imperial Library.”

    Toranir did find Adalwig to be filled with stories but he realized he needed another lifetime to plumb those depths.  Fortunately she left him alone to devour a tasty stew in a room that seemed to function as a library and receiving room.  He cast a muffle spell and poked around the dusty bookshelves, noting the difference in interior housekeeping compared to the immaculate fields of grapevines.  Many titles were familiar:  Battle of Sancre Tor, The Amulet of Kings, all volumes of 2920, various almanacs and informational books on plant growing.  Tucked away on the topmost shelf of the tallest bookcase, Toranir pulled down what appeared to be an old journal.  The Altmer leafed through it quickly ready to dismiss it when a sketch caught his eye.  It was female, with red hair and features most decidedly Breton.  Underneath was written the words, She has returned to Weatherleah, and dated 25th Rain’s Hand 3E433.

    The Altmer ambassador tucked the book in his robes and bid his hostess an elegant heartfelt good-bye, hoping to receive a request for a return visit so that he could return the journal, which Adalwig quickly offered, impressed with the fine manners of the emissary.  His remorse at the small bit of petty theft rapidly disappeared and was replaced with anxiety at the contents.  He did not peruse the journal until he was in the safety of his study in the Imperial City and it did not take him long to discover that Martin Jemane was indeed the son of Martin Septim and the Champion of Cyrodiil, entrusted to Reynald and Eyja to raise as their own. 

    The image of Tandilwe’s weeping Breton entered his mind again.  Attachment was a natural by-product of war and danger.  He had seen many Dominion soldiers grasp at any straw of happiness they found, to ease the constant fear of death.  He understood how it happened.  Now he had to determine if any descendants remained alive.  War would be certain to break out again if a Septim heir was discovered.  And Septims were always dangerous to mer-kind.

    A touch at Toranir’s elbow pulled him from his reverie.  His closest aide and guardian, Olor, looked at his master with concern.  Toranir smiled reassuringly and continued his walk, hoping to hide his internal agitation.  Just that evening he received the confirmation that he dreaded.  Elara Rammligr did appear to be a descendant of Martin Septim and the Champion of Cyrodiil.  And the fact that she had the voice sealed her fate.   Now all Toranir had to decide was how to dispose of her without causing a Tamrielic incident.

    “Oh, Auriel,” softly escaped from his lips and he looked back at the dragon before re-entering the embassy.


  • Vazgen
    Vazgen   ·  June 17, 2013
    That's a nice insight in Elara's origin. Though not familiar with Oblivion, I find your description of the Imperial City picturesque  Being the Dragonborn is always hard to explain, but you've done it very authentically! 
  • Kynareth
    Kynareth   ·  October 5, 2012
    @Vix, thanks for the comments!  I wanted to create a more sympathetic Thalmor character, as they are the current bogeyman of Skyrim.  It is a challenge to write a character whose perspective is not human, but with many human characteristics, just expresse...  more
  • Kynareth
    Kynareth   ·  September 15, 2012
    @Charlie--a little bit of a nostalgia post, and it is honestly how I role played my Oblivion hero and a story I wrote (for my own personal enjoyment) about the time for my character after the Oblivion crisis.
    @Ricardo--that is interesting to know ab...  more
  • Eviltrain
    Eviltrain   ·  September 13, 2012
    Bloody hell. Good show.
  • ricardo maia
    ricardo maia   ·  September 13, 2012
    Now you've raised the bets and introduced a new factor in the tale. I remenber each time I created a new character, by level 10 or 15, a group of mercenaries and some brotherhood assassins came after me. I've never found out who sent them - could have bee...  more
  • Batman
    Batman   ·  September 12, 2012
    O.M.G hahaha that was bloody awesome. I loved all the references to Oblivion and it wasn't til you started talking about Martin and the hero that I was like ahhh I know where this is going, still it was a great piece of background. can't wait to see this ...  more