A.D.W.D. Chapter 20: Strength


    “So we meet again,” Amari addressed the same stream she’d crossed with a guide earlier, a guide who was now a prisoner.


    It still merrily bubbled along, marking the boundary of Markath, but did not otherwise respond this time. Logrolf had called for a halt by its bank to make final preparations. Since her help wasn’t needed, she had gone to wash up by the stream. Amari cast a glance back at the two Deadric followers; Logrolf was sitting cross-legged and compelling the vampire to mirror his position. She couldn’t tell if they were meditating or having a staring contest, either way she could feel intricate magic at work.


    Amari plunged her head into the icy runoff and pressed her face against the rounded river rocks as the current swept Tyranus’s blood away. Maybe if she stayed under the surface long enough the whole night would be washed away too. Alas, her body would not allow such mercy. The need of burning lungs overruled and she whipped her head from the stream’s numbing embrace; back into a world of demons and darkness.


    The towers of Markarth were lit in the soft blue of pre-dawn and loomed far too closely for her comfort. It was that time between night and day where darkness still shrouded the land and light’s presence was little more than a shadow. Past the farms and windmills, the city gates waited like the maw of some great beast. The Beast. Her stomach twisted and churned at the thought. Why were they going back! She dropped her eyes back down to the stream; the clouds of mud and blood swept away and in their absence only a girl, not quite a woman, stared back. The Daedric Prince of Domination had crushed Tyranus - the strongest mortal she knew and a Divine warrior - in mind, body, and spirit; dismissed Trebonde like a child; and brought an entire clan of Forsworn to its knees. Now she was going back? What could she possible do in the face of such power?


    Would Boethiah come, could she? Strendarr couldn’t. Did Amari want her to? Amari racked her brain for what she knew. After her family fled Wayrest , they often had to survive off bland porridge and roots because her mother always poured all their gold into clearing out every bookstore they passed. So, Boethiah: the Prince of Plots, Queen of Shadows, and Goddess of Destruction. Amari remembered something about a bloody arena pitting the ten races of Tamriel against each other and another story about eating some fancy elf-god and turning the shit into Orcs. She smirked at the memory of how indignant her father had become when she had laughed at that story. He’d said it was all racist propaganda to validate a proud race’s oppression. Either way, such a being brought her little comfort.


    She turned from the stream, wishing it was a warm fire with her folks reading stories waiting behind her, but no, only the cold, the dark, and the servants of Daedra waited. If only the stories had stayed within those bound pages! Destruction, enslavement, deceit, corruption, fate; it was too much! Her vision blurred and her feet began moving on their own, to where she didn’t know, didn’t care, as long as it was away. I’m sorry Trebonde. I can’t do it, I can’t go back. I’m too small, too weak.


    “Where do you go? Child. You run. But to where? The Master will always find you.”


    The flat, chilling voice stopped Amari in her tracks. The Nameless one. How was he free? Amari slowly turned, too afraid to make any sudden movements. The cloaked Forsworn stared blankly at her for a second, then a sly grin spread across his face and he threw his head back laughed, leaving Amari perplexed until he finally managed to speak between breaths.


    “You should see your face! Priceless!” After another bout of laughing at her, he continued again, but in Logrolf’s voice. “I take it this means my illusion works.”


    He cocked his head behind him and whistled at the form of the priest sitting in place of where the vampire was before. “ ‘Logrolf,’ come here boy! Oh, that’s a good boy!”


    The ‘Logrolf’ thrall ran over with hatred seething in his eyes and Amari stared at the two wide eyed.


    “Illusion? How? It looks so real, even your auras feel different!”


    “Practice and will. Now let’s hurry; this is still a draining spell.”


    “It worked on me, but what about the Prince…” Amari doubted.


    The Forsworn guised Logrolf walked to Amari and clapped her on the shoulder. “I’ve been at this game a long, long time, little one. I won’t deny He is powerful, but He is as thick headed as an ox… no, no that is a disservice to oxen. No, He won’t see the ploy until it’s far too late.”


    Amari felt instantly reassured at his touch. How could he defame Molag Bal’s name so blatantly and live to such an age if he didn’t know what he was doing?


    “Are you ready now?” Logrolf asked gently.


    Amari nodded.


    “Good. Follow.” Logrolf’s voice and whole stature changed again, indistinguishable from the Forsworn he appeared as. Amari followed without fear as they strode into the mouth of the Beast.


    None of the guards hassled them as they passed and it wasn’t long before they were once again before the brass door of the cursed house. Trebonde was waiting for them in the center of the room, sitting on the one intact chair left. His gaze didn’t leave the flames crackling in the hearth when they entered. He hunched over a silver mace, gleaming red with blood in the light. It was pinned point down between the floor and his stump, and his good hand spun the mace to some beat only he could hear. Judging by the hole being worn into the stone, he’d been at it for some time.


    “Trebonde?” Amari tentatively asked, slowly approaching. “Are you alright? We came back for you.”


    The rhythmic scratch of metal on stone was the only response. With each spin he furrowed his brow and tensed his muscles. The right side of his face was a dark swollen mass from when Tyranus had kneed him. Amari cautiously extended an arm to tap her fingertips to his shoulder.


    “Trebonde? Please answer. You’re scaring me.”




    Amari flinched and withdrew her hand. Trebonde still didn’t avert his gaze from the flames and continued on in fevered speech, accenting his words with the grinding of the mace.


    He sees it. In us. In life. In everything. It disgusts him. We disgust him. I tried to hide it, have been all my life, but he sees it. He bores into your mind! Rips it out and shoves your face in it! His laughter… I am weak… not even a speck of dust in the grand scheme… only the shadow of a lie.”


    For a moment Amari was still. She knew exactly what he was talking about, but that didn’t stop her from drawing back her hand and slapping him across the left side of his face.


    “Get a grip of yourself! We survive remember! This isn’t over yet.”


    Trebonde shook his head as if waking from a dream, then groaned as he put a hand to his face. Both the Daedric followers were grinning at the exchange, whether in amusement or a hidden joke she wasn’t sure.


    “I needed that. Thank you? Wait; why are you here?!” Trebonde looked around as if seeing the room for the first time and spotted the form in priest robes. “You did it? You actually brought the priest back here? Why didn’t you run?”


    “Um…” Amari hoped the reds of the firelight hid the blood rushing to her cheeks.


    “Precious,” Logrolf spoke through his guise. “Come. The Master awaits.”


    Trebonde didn’t move, casting suspicious eyes across the party.


    “Why doesn’t the priest speak?”


    “I forbid it. Follow or die. I care not either way.” The man clad in Forsworn armor reached for the hilt of his sword, but Trebonde did not back down. He rose from the chair dragging the bloody mace behind him with distrust clear in his eyes.


    Amari jumped between the two. “Wait! Trebonde we can trust him. We’ve planned this out; the Prince will get what he asked for and then we’ll be free.”


    “Listen to the girl,” Logrolf spoke while closing the distance to Trebonde. He clapped him on the shoulder and continued, “Everything is accounted for.”


    Trebonde brushed the hand off and a look of surprise briefly flashed across the priest’s Forsworn guise.


    “Get your hand off me! I don’t know what you just tried or what’s going on, but I don’t like the smell of this.”


    Logrolf met Trebondes glare over Amari’s head, “Forward. It is the only way.”


    He met Amari’s eyes and she nodded. She knew something he didn’t, that much was clear, but she was holding her tongue.The walls did have ears. She left cowed by fear, but returned willful with fervor gleaming in her eyes. What had changed on that journey? She knew what they faced as intimately as he. Well, doing nothing wouldn’t help.


    “Fine, not like any other options are presenting themselves. You go first.”


    The party descended into the depths of the house, falling into line: first the vampire in priest’s clothing, then Logrolf with Trebonde close behind, and finally, Amari at the rear. She watched the mace swing in time to Trebonde’s steps, leaving a speckled trail of blood down the stairs. Far too much blood covered that mace to be from his fight the Vigilant.


    “Why do you have Tyranus’s mace? Where’s his body?”


    Trebonde didn’t answer immediately. The gagging scent of burning hair and meat came first. It drifted up the stairway, then at the base, pinned underneath burning shelves and tables, a charred form still twitched.


    “The demon… used his body. I stopped it.” Trebonde whispered; the horror still fresh in his voice.


    Amari gulped. All were quiet the as the descent shifted from stone walls to earthen tunnels. At the end the shrine awaited; the twisted visage of domination, brutality, and schemes given face. The Forsworn shoved the priest onto the platform before the altar and floating mace and stepped back.


    Amari took a step forward without hesitation and proclaimed, “Molag Bal, Prince of Domination! We bring before you the priest of Boethiah!”


    Spikes shot from the ground and enclosed in cage around the sacrifice. Amari cast a quick flash of a smile at where Logrolf folded his arms. The Prince had taken the bait.


    “Mortal. I give you my mace, in all its rusted spitefulness. Crush the bones of this creature until only ash and blood remain.”


    Amari cast an uncertain look back at the Forsworn and he nodded in return, then she turned back to the mace. Trebonde frowned; this wasn’t like the girl he knew. That wasn’t a look asking to avoid murder; no, it was a look asking only for confirmation. What happened out there? If it was anything like what happened within the house… he flexed his hand and intercepted Amari.


    He brushed her hand away and took the mace from where it waited above a well lit by the fires of Oblivion.


    “Hey!” She exclaimed, “I can do this!”


    “That’s what worries me! You’re no murderer.”


    “How can you still say that…?”


    “Yes, you’ve killed, but not like this.”


    “And you have?”


    His silence was answer enough. He had blocked the memory of the first name he took in cold blood, but the Prince had forced him to remember. An innocent lad, but stealing his identity had been his ticket away from the Waterfront’s alleys. He would end this priest quickly, then the Forsworn.


    He took the rusted mace swung with all his strength at the priests head, and missed. It landed with a wet crack on the shoulder. The priest glared back without releasing a sound. Trebonde frowned and checked the twisted mace’s balance; maybe it was that he wasn’t used to using such a heavy, blunt weapon. He swung again and it cracked the other shoulder. More swings, each veering to avoid a fatal blow.


    “Just finish it!” Amari cried out. She had pressed herself against the dirt walls of the excavated room, unable to turn away.


    “I’m trying! The mace; it’s like it is guiding itself!”


    “It is!” The Prince laughed. “It craves blood and suffering! Wreak these and see it flourish! Only when it is sated will it allow his death!”


    A horrid silence fell over the party, broken only by the wet thuds of mace to flesh. Trebonde swung as fast as he could, hoping to speed the process by sheer numbers. With each strike the rust flaked off, revealing ebony veined with lines of bright green power. The demonic faces engraved in the mace seemed to spread into a wider smile with each strike, matching the grin of the true priest of Boethiah.


    Eventually the robed figure passed his final breath and the spiked cage receded.


    “Excellent. Now reveal its face.”


    Trebonde kicked the body over and gasped when he saw the face of the Forsworn, already start to flake and burn in the telltale signs of a vampire.


    “An illusionist!”


    “Yes. I knew he was mine. He failed and the torment he faced here will be nothing to what awaits him in Coldharbour!


    Child! Did you believe I would not see through the petty illusions of a MORTAL! You were deceived! You were weak! You failed me! …as well.”


    A slow clap interrupted and all eyes turned to Logrolf, now wearing his true face. He snapped his fingers at Amari and she felt like a haze was lifted from her eyes. Her sense of unstoppable confidence shattered and the fear set in as she looked at that sly smile, finally realizing he had never been her ally.


    “Oh Molly, Molly, no matter how many times it happens, I never tire of watching you kill your own.”


    The Beast hissed with enough force to bring Trebonde and Amari to their knees, but the priest paid no heed and walked to the altar, avoiding the platform concealing the spikes.


    “Molag Bal. You think you can best Boethiah’s faithful? I have won this contest before!”


    “Ah, but I have my own champion now.”


    Logrolf laughed. “Which one, the cripple or the child?”


    As he passed Amari, he palmed her on the head, paralyzing her in place. Trebonde rose to attack, but was sent clattering to the floor after the priest shot an empowered paralyzing blast into him as well.


    “There, now you have no one. We have played this game long enough! Molly, it is time we finished this.”


    “Your master is weak. Pathetic. I will have your soul and your suffering will be eternal!”


    The priest only laughed at the following mental assault that would have broken the others in the party. Logrolf withdrew a long length of chain coiled underneath his fur skins and began wrapping it around the shrine. As he wound the chain he chanted in a Daedric language with words similar to what Amari had heard her mother speak, but instead of smooth and guttural like the tide, these were like wisps of shadows punctuated with harsh barks like lightning. With each accent, the chains grew in brightness, until they flared a blinding white.


    Logrolf tested the strength of the chain and spoke, “A blessing from Boethiah herself. Now for a gift, no two gifts to the Goddess in return. Corrupting the Shrine of the Schemer into a Pillar of Sacrifice to the Deceiver; poetic isn’t it? My toiling for years to erode this foul shrine’s protections will finally reap its rewards.”


    An unholy fervor burned in his eyes and spread into a savage grin as he considered the two paralyzed victims before him. “Hmm. Which one first? The girl. Yes; without you, so trusting, so desperate, this would have never been possible.”


    Terror froze her mind. She watched helplessly as he carried her stiff form to the shrine. The Beast was chained with bands of white spiraling about the altar and crossing the demonic bust looming above a well of now caged power. Think! Think! Think! Think! Think! She commanded herself to no avail. The priest set her at the foot of the shrine, fighting against the paralyzed muscles to straighten her back against the altar and wrap her arms around it.


    He pulled loops of radiating chain free then tightened them about her wrists and neck while chanting to Boethiah.


    “By the Brand that burneth bright,
    O Bellicose One!
    We call thy name into the night,
    O Deceptive One!”


    Power burnt across her flesh, the chain binding both flesh and soul to the altar. The binding reverberated through her soul and woke her own.


    “Thee we invoke, with blood trusting,
    By standing stone and twisted tower.
    Evoke thy powers, that potent bide
    In blessed battle and secret death.”


    Amari’s skeletal familiar burst to life, the bones aligning within her cheese cloth necklace. The runes blazed; violet flames escaped the damaged bones, cloaking half the squirrel in fire; and the tendrils of the spiraled rune engraved on its skull twisted.


    “By blackest night or burning sky.
    Most feared among gods, on thee we call,
    Blessing be on the dust thy tred.”


    The air thinned and distorted, until finally tearing. A new presence flooded the room with shadows that defied light. The air burned hot and arid, blood boiled. The shadows coalesced into the silhouette of a woman, ever shifting with serpent grace.


    “Boethiah,” the priest whispered in reverence and raised a bone dagger up high. “I offer you the first soul to ever be taken upon the Hated One’s altar!”


    “NO!” Trebonde’s bellow stopped the worshiper of Boethiah mid-action. He rose to his feet with each movement stilted as if he was breaking free from ice.


    Logrolf snarled and hurled another paralyzing bolt at him. Trebonde staggered as he began losing motor control, but with an incoherent roar he resisted and raised the demonic mace with dark purpose.


    “I. Will. Not. Bend!”


    Logrolf adjusted his grip on the dagger and Trebonde laughed, until the priest directed it not at him, but towards Amari’s throat.


    “But are you willing to sacrifice her to reach me?”


    Trebonde stuttered to a stop. Conflict clear across his face; blood roared in his ears and thoughts of breaking the priest urged him to press forward anyway, but a sliver of humanity wove through the chaos and stayed his hand. Behind the priest, movement within Amari’s crude necklace caught the rogue’s eye and he smiled.


    A clawed limb shot from the pouch about Amari’s neck and shattered the blade, the pieces disintegrating to ash before they hit the floor. Scuttles emerged, hissing at the shocked priest with an otherworldly fury. Trebonde didn’t hesitate to close the distance and laid waste to the priest with a flurry of blows. The mace guiding his hand to exploit the priest’s every weakness. With each strike the mace drank in the blood, the pain, the agony. It was no longer rusted scrap; it was alive and coursing with power, a power it shared with the wielder.


    The laugh of the Lord of Brutality slipped between the chains blessed by Boethiah.


    "The Mace of Molag Bal! I give you its true power, mortal. When your enemies lie broken and bloody before you, know that I will be watching. Now, I have a soul in Oblivion that needs claiming –“


    The shadowed form hissed.


    I still own him!”


    The spirit of Logrolf rose, powerful enough to be visible to the naked eye and resisted the pull of the mace’s demonic faces. One step at a time he fought past the grasp of Molag Bal and closer to the embrace of Boethiah.


    “My Mistress, I stayed true; I never submitted to the Beast! You failed Molag Bal! Your followers were too weak to break my will!” Only a few paces from the shadowed figure, he turned his ghostly head to where Trebonde still stood over the priest’s bloodied corpse and Amari was bound. “Enjoy the rewards of your failure. It won’t be long now before Coldharbour finds you.”


    With Logrolf’s death, the paralysis spells had broken and Amari seethed. Bound or not she wouldn’t let him escape. He betrayed her. He had using her hope as a weapon.; he had led her here like a lamb to the slaughter.


    The rune upon Scuttles skull finished waking. The one engraved in the living ink of Hermaeus Mora’s knowledge. Once more the barrier between worlds, already worn to a thin film at the shrine’s nexus, distorted and tore. From the focal point of the twisting rune, a gateway opened and issued forth a wave of Oblivion creatia. Acrid and slick as oil, it spread outward to coat the familiar. It reached the bound between Scuttles and Amari and then shot towards her.


    The memory of Scuttle’s binding flashed before her. To that night the Lord of Fate emerged from that cursed Black Book to strike at her from the very same path; only this time her mother was gone. The oily creatia washed over her, drowned her, but did not deny breath. She shuddered as it seeped into her aura, shifting the violet hue to a dark green. Dark oil slid between the chain’s binding and her soul; and with it her grip on reality. The world seemed to darken and fade to into the distance. She felt scared, alone, small. Despite her pride, all she wanted was her Ma.


    Then her mother was there before her. Seated at a desk of black brass surrounded by towering stack of tomes that she furiously read in a never ending search. Studying upon just one of the countless platforms raised on stilts above a roiling sea of acidic creatia stretching to the horizon in all directions. Above everything, a hurricane raged with the all-seeing eyes of Mora watching from the epicenter.


    Amari’s entrance sent a gust of wind ruffling Yvarra’s papers. She looked up from her desk and the look of annoyance quickly changed to one of shock. They rushed to embrace, but Yvarra stopped short and placed a hand just above Amaris cheek in a caress. The slick creatia covering her daughter repelled her spectral flesh and she smiled, a smile filled with both relief and sorrow.


    Va Moraistarn. I am sorry you ever needed it. What I brought upon you can never be forgiven...”


    “Mother?” Too many emotions filled the word to decipher.


    “Go now, before the spell fades.”


    “I don’t want to leave you again!”


    “You must, or you too will be trapped here. Never give up and know that I still fight for you from here. Return the same way you came; focus on where you desire to be and your familiar will lead you.”


    Amari’s vision blurred and she nodded, unable to speak. Trebonde was still trapped between two Greater Daedra and Logrolf needed to pay. She clutched her familiar close to her chest and Apocrypha faded away, but her mother’s parting words followed.


    I love you


    The clap of displaced air heralded her return and she stood before Logrolf and the Queen of Shadows, free. The priest’s mouth barely had the time to form the word, ‘How’ before Scuttles’ launched from Amari’s arms, a streak of black and green, bursting through the spirit flesh of Logrolf’s arm as the hand reaching towards the shadowed avatar’s embrace. The creatia coating was already receding from Amari, but she landed a backhand before it faded completely.


    Logrolf’s spirit flew across the altar room and slammed into the earthen walls on the far side. His soul’s fire escaped in gouts from what remained of his elbow and half his face sloughed off from the backhand. Amari rushed to the downed spirit and Scuttles scurried after along the walls, but she stopped short of the reeling spirit. She no longer felt the rage at his betrayal. Everything had been moving so fast; she had been so powerless; she had forgotten who she was. Acting only out of fear and to survive, her thoughts had begun to emulate the beings she sought to escape. Those few seconds of reprieve with her mother had centered her. Logrolf was no longer a threat; she didn’t need repeat the past, she could let him go.


    “Take him Boethiah. I can forgive him.”


    “Take him?! You dare give command to ME?! Remember this mortal. You are alive only because you amuse me. Forget this and you will be forgotten, erased, a dust that never was.


    No, I do not take. If he wishes to enter my realm, he will have to prove himself one last time.


    Prove you are truly Logrolf the Willful and defeat this insolent one in a combat of the spirit!”


    Logrolf willed the ectoplasm of his face to reform and stretched the matter to reform his arm. Faded by the effort, but still shimmering, he interlocked his fingers and stretched his arms before him.


    “So, it is to be age versus youth in a battle of will. Even without my body you are no match against me!”


    Amari responded by planting her feet and willing her essence to expand about her hands as globes of violet soul fire. Logrolf closed the distance like a swooping hawk and gripped the extended essence.


    “You think you are clever, girl? There is a reason no one uses that style anymore.”


    The priest pulled back and Amari felt her soul wrenched from her body. Her cry altered to a ghostly tin as her body fell limp behind her. Logrolf stretched his spectral mouth impossibly wide to loom over her head. Then Trebonde struck. The mace tore through the spirit like wind through a cloud. As the demonic faces passed, they inhaled and drew in the priest’s essence. Logrolf howled in pain, then shoved the struggling spirit of Amari between the two as a shield. Trebonde flanked left and Scuttles right, forcing the priest to constantly turn and backpedal in a dance of death to the amusement of the Daedra.


    The wills of the two spirits were locked in a stalemate. Amari would not relent, she had defied Molag Bal, she would not let this follower break her! Only he had also defied the Daedra. He sought to crush her outright at first, but now it had become a battle of attrition, one where he had to constantly maneuver past her flanking allies. They both knew she would not be able to keep her mind steeled as long as him, but she didn’t need to. In a desperate gamble, Amari redirected all her focus and charged it all into a single bite upon his wrist. She didn’t need to be the one to kill; she only needed to create an opening for the others.


    The bite burst through his arm in explosion of soul fire and ectoplasm. She was defenseless to attack now, but the shock gave the brief reprieve from his grasp that she needed. Scuttles leapt from the wall, in tune with her thoughts, and burst a hole through Logrolf’s chest the moment the priest’s grasp broke. As the skeleton passed through, Amari escaped through their link into the safety of his runes.


    Logrolf’s counter came to slow to reach Amari, but the attack sent Scuttles tumbling to the floor, still damaged from the previous battles. As the squirrel tumbled, Amari jumped the link back to her own body and Trebonde descended on the priest again with the mace. The priest retreated into Amari, whi waiting with spears of violet fire extended from her hands. She plunged the spears deep into the priest's back and, now anchored to her body again, flung the dissipating spirit overhead.


    The crumpled form landed at the shadow of Boethiah’s feet and she looked down upon her follower with disdain.


    “My Goddess, please…” Logrolf pleaded in a hallowed rasp.


    “You failed and now you beg. You are nothing to me. You are Dust.”


    With the flick of a shadowed hand, Logrolf the Willful became no more; swept away as dust cursed to travel the Void.


    “Well done mortals. I have not been amused so for far too long. You have proven to be of strong will and clever. I shall grant you one wish, should it please me.”


    A hiss emanated from the shrine bound behind chains of power.


    “It was MY mace that crushed your pathetic priest! Now remove these chains defiling my shrine! Take your place as lords over the weak!


    Amari and Trebonde traded glances. Scuttles only stared vacantly ahead from Trebonde’s shoulder, panting from the violet flames licking his damaged bones. While Boethiah punished her priest, he’d retrieved the fallen squirrel. Now two gods of polar opposites demanded a choice be made.


    “I know what to do,” Amari stated and Trebonde nodded for her to lead.


    “Boethia, Queen of Shadows, Goddess of Destruction. I wish to be free. Free of the Tyrant. Free of the Daedra that seek to control me. I want this shrine to be erased from the world!”


    The shadow smiled and Oblivion’s light cast upon Amari from between its teeth.


    “This pleases me.”


    The shadow left its wall and swept across the floor into Amari. She gasped as the power rushed into her. It burned down to her fibers, shadows enveloped her, and the presence of a Prince overwhelmed her mind. A cry stuck in her throat, now raw and burnt, and the tears streaming down her face burst into steam. A voice boomed as if from her own thoughts.


    Ewrr… mortal flesh is so fragile, but you are of Breton blood. You will survive the duration of this task. This is but a shadow, a sliver, of my full power.


    Amari was not so sure she could survive even this small sliver. They moved as one to the Shrine of Molag Bal and the chains thrummed in their presence. When Amari looked she saw not only the visage of the Beast hidden deep in a Dwemer ruin, but also a matching ruin of brutal architecture, stark and dreary. Boethiah moved her hands to clasp the chains and Amari felt them wrap around the shrines in both realms. No, it was one shrine existing on two Planes.


    “You chose poorly, mortal. You forsook true power for empty promises.”


    Power surged from Boethiah’s shadow and surged into the chains. Amari screamed and felt something snap with her blood. For the second time in two days, her racial power was released. Her blood roiled, the flames of her aura hardened to crystal, and once again she was clad in the Dragonskin. The scales flared to blinding levels and she felt some reprieve from the power burning her from the inside.


    “True power? I shall show you the true power of destruction!”


    Boethiah wove a lattice of power and chains about the shrine, then using Amari’s arms, pulled the chains taunt. The lines bit in deep to the shrine, making it crack and tremble, but the will of Coldharbour still held it together.


    “Bearer of the mace, strike the altar!”


    Trebonde rushed forward and brought the mace crashing down on the altar. The mace smelled weakness and guided its wielder’s hand towards a critical crack on the well to Oblivion. Even though that weakness was of its creator’s realm, thus a reflection on itself, it did not care. No matter the source, weakness must be crushed. A shockwave erupted, throwing the mortals back, but the shadow of Boethiah remained and spread to envelope the exploding shrine. The debris hurled outward and as it passed through the shadows, it turned to dust. A fine layer settled across the room and only crater remained of the shrine; the link to Coldharbour was erased. Only a last echo of Molag Bal’s voice escaped the destruction.


    “Boethiah cannot protect you… I will hunt you to the end of your days…”


    The shadow scoffed.


    “I gave you freedom. Now will you fight to keep it? Remember always this:


    As you will it, so it shall be.”


    *** ARC II, FIN ***




    *Logrolf's summoning ritual is based off a Pagan ritual I found for Pan and modified to fit Boethiah.


    *Va Moraistarn: Ayleidoon for The Portal of Woodlands, or Journey through Woods. Hermaeus Mora is also known as the Woodland Man.





14 Comments   |   Felkros and 1 other like this.
  • SpottedFawn
    SpottedFawn   ·  April 1, 2018
    *frantic clapping* Wow what a great way to close an arc. You have such a way of describing the Daedra and their power, it gives me a fresh eye with which to look at the games. Well done. There's a lot to keep gushing about; I loved the battle between Boet...  more
    • Exuro
      *frantic clapping* Wow what a great way to close an arc. You have such a way of describing the Daedra and their power, it gives me a fresh eye with which to look at the games. Well done. There's a lot to keep gushing about; I loved the battle between Boet...  more
        ·  April 2, 2018
      *graciously bows* what can I say? I like twisted and gritty characters. Sadly only about a quarter of part 3 is posted and I still have a while left on my hiatus.
    • Exuro
      *frantic clapping* Wow what a great way to close an arc. You have such a way of describing the Daedra and their power, it gives me a fresh eye with which to look at the games. Well done. There's a lot to keep gushing about; I loved the battle between Boet...  more
        ·  April 2, 2018
      *graciously bows* What can I say? I like twisted and gritty characters.
  • Exuro
    Exuro   ·  February 11, 2016
    I've started an outline for another Vitus tale, so just a little more lighthearted
    The next arc will be more balanced with the ups and downs. This arc was about passing through the crucible, so it kinda needed to be dark, but she survived and can m...  more
  • Sotek
    Sotek   ·  February 11, 2016
    It’s awesome that you have finished Arc two Exuro and what a finish. Write something fun and easy going next. It makes a great break and refreshes the mind. I always try to have roller coasters in my story. You’ve gone dark, so it’s time to shed some ligh...  more
  • The Long-Chapper
    The Long-Chapper   ·  February 9, 2016
    Don't sweat the word too much. Yes, the plural is in the wrong place, but often names manipulate grammar rules somewhat. Fore example, Ebonnayne means dark-haired, an adjective. Aelberon uses it as a noun, specifically as the name for someone. To make a w...  more
  • Exuro
    Exuro   ·  February 9, 2016
    That was a lot of stupid typos... thanks for catching those Rancid and Lyall; and to Lissette too for the even worse ones from the draft! Fixed them.
    @Lissette: [chugs both sujummas and goes to work] It's a good milestone for me, maybe by time Arc I...  more
  • Lyall
    Lyall   ·  February 9, 2016
    Yes! Can't wait to see what happens next. Oh, and if your doing a break, do a Vitus (However you spell it) and friends, please! Those are too good. Also, I noticed this:
    "I want to this shrine to be erased from the world!”
  • The Wing
    The Wing   ·  February 9, 2016
    Yeah and something weird happened to the comment box as I was writing it - all the lines bunched up and overlapped so I couldn't really see what I was typing anyway. I tried to correct some spelling mistakes but just ended up making things worse I guess. ...  more
  • The Long-Chapper
    The Long-Chapper   ·  February 9, 2016
    Happens, I make mistakes in comments too. 
  • The Wing
    The Wing   ·  February 9, 2016
    Aw, and I made mistakes in my comment. 
  • The Wing
    The Wing   ·  February 9, 2016
    This was absolutely stunning. I love the raw power of the Daedric Princes but their simultaneous lack of control over Mundus. Not only this this dance grippingly written, but I was also very impressed by the amount of character development that took place...  more