Cryodiil's Champions: A Pirate Hero Part 2

  • The Amulet of Kings




    Ian S. McClure




    Well, looks like my luck's turned. Maybe.




    Spent a couple of days down there, twiddling my thumbs and thinking about fate and such. Impending death tends to do that to a lass. Didn't help that the Dark Elf never shut up, either! Got to the point where I could've strangled him through the bars, if only I could reach him. Never did like those Dark Elves—after all, they did kind of enslave me and my folk. Still, I'd known a few of them to be alright, I guess.




    Anyways, about the third day in, early in the morning, the elf goes, “Hey, lizard! Is it just me, or are you looking thinner? Hah! Then again, I'd never know. All you lizards look the same to me.”




    “At least we don't look like guar crap!” I replied. “You Elves should go crawl back into your volcano.”




    He snorted, but fell silent. We could both hear it, then—footsteps. “Hey… You hear that? The guards are coming… For you!” he taunted, before laughing evilly.




    My heart began to race for the first time in years. Sure enough, a bunch of armored folk were walking to my cell! But… They were no guards. And some noble-looking bloke was with them. “Is this the right cell?” one of them asked.




    “Of course!” the woman angrily shouted. “Why in Oblivion there's a prisoner here, I'll never know. I'll need to talk with the Watch.”




    “Stand back, prisoner. No sudden moves, or we will cut you down.” the first man snarled at me.




    “Hang on, I know this one.” the Redguard said, as they opened the cell. He was younger than the rest, and it showed. “Isn't she a pirate or something? Either way, she's pretty lucky.”




    “Why's that, huh?” I asked, trying to sound braver than I really felt.




    No one answered me. Instead, the woman went and pressed some hidden button… And the wall opened up! Some kind of secret passageway, it looked like. I was at a loss for words, but then the Redguard said: “It's clear, sir. We'll take point.”




    That's when the noble walked in. He stopped smack in the middle of the cell, looking at me with a face I couldn't really pin on any one emotion. “By the Nine.” he said quietly.




    “Sir?” the older man asked, cautious.




    The noble walked to me. He was old, but was more regal than anybody I'd ever seen. So why was he so interested in me? He nodded once, grim. “She is the one. The one from my dreams… And so everything falls into place.” He took a breath. “Gods, give me strength.”




    “Sir, you really shouldn't—“ the older man began, but the noble cut him off.




    “Tell me. What is your name?” he asked me—surprisingly nicely, all things considered.




    “Nix-Jeelai.” I said, before adding: “What in Oblivion's going on here?”




    “Watch your tongue, Argonian!” the older man said, stern. “You are in the presence of His Imperial Majesty! Uriel Septim himself!”




    “Easy, Glenroy. She did not know. Nor does it matter, truly.” the Emperor said, as I processed this. “Nix, he spoke true. I am your Emperor. Assassins have attacked my sons, and I'm next. My bodyguards, the Blades, are leading me through an ancient escape route… Which leads through your cell, by chance or fate.”




    “Sir, we really don't have time for this.” the woman said, impatient.




    “You're right.” he replied, grim. “Nix, come with us. I will pardon you of your crimes. There is a greater destiny ahead of you.”




    Everyone stood there, shocked, for a little bit. Including me. Eventually, the Blades got to their senses, marching ahead of the Emperor silently. The Redguard hung back, to guard the rear probably. He looked at me, clearly interested in me after the Septim's comment. I ignored him, taking the chance to show my displeasure to the Dark Elf—who was sitting in his cell like someone had hit him—with the best insulting hand gesture I knew. And then I followed them.





    We walked through the passageway, and I was still trying to understand all of this. Sure, I was a damn good pirate, but why would an Emperor be so… Affected, by me? And he mentioned a dream, too. I realized that the voice I'd heard in my own dreams was his. But, who was this Jauffre fellow? And what about that 'Amulet'? Whatever was going on, though, I'd been pardoned for… Well, who knows why. But that meant I could investigate that cavern, and get my revenge on Rilindaril and the rest. So the Septim had already gotten in my good books, so to speak. Sithis knew I'd have to repay him somehow, but it'd be worth it.




    Now, something I should mention here. Most of us Saxhleel, we don't follow any Divines, or Daedra, or whatever. We worship what we can see—the Hist trees, mostly, but also Sithis, and that's because even the Hist know it. Now, a lot of outsiders see it as some kind of evil, especially 'cause of the Brotherhood, but Sithis ain't good or bad. It knows its followers, and rewards them for serving him. And I can use all the help I can get. Not that I really care what other people believe, mind—you can follow Mara or Auri-El or damned Sheogorath for all I care.




    Anyhow, I'm getting distracted. As we kept walking, I swore I heard footsteps somewhere—that weren't our own. The Blades heard it too, and they were on edge. That's when we saw them. Some lunatics in strange armor, running towards us! I waited in the back with the Emperor, watching the assassins battle the bodyguards. The woman captain, she fell, a mace strike to the head, but the other attackers were killed off. I noticed that their weird garb disappeared when they died—some kind of spell.




    The Redguard looked at the dead captain, looking sad. “Sir. Captain Renault didn't make it. How in Arkay's beard did they find us?”




    “I noticed. We have to press on regardless, Baurus.” the Emperor replied, placing a hand on his shoulder. “As for the assassins… It is not surprising. Which is why we must hurry.”




    They opened another gate, but when I went to follow, the other Blade, Glenroy, stopped me. “You stay here, prisoner. We can't protect two people at once.”




    “How in Malacath's ass am I supposed to get out of here, then?” I demanded. “The Emperor himself pardoned me, remember?”




    “There are other escape routes. You will take one of those. Do not try to follow us.” Glenroy said angrily, then stormed off with the rest.




    I watched them go, then immediately went about searching the bodies for valuables. Hey, scruples aren't important in times like these. Found some potions on the attackers, and a nifty longsword from the dead bodyguard, solid steel. I swung it around, getting a good feel for the weight and such. That's when the wall exploded! Turns out there some giant rats running amok. Now, being rats, they're easy to kill, so they weren't a problem. And it turns out that they came from a cavern… My escape route.




    Soon enough, I had some more loot to write about. Some rough leather armor and shield, a bow, and quite a few arrows. I'm not as good an archer as I am a sword-fighter, but it's still pretty handy. At first, my only obstacles were rats, which again are easy to kill. But then, I found a bunch of goblins! The first went down easy, but then I had to deal with the rest. Luckily, they weren't that good at fighting, but I still got a couple of injuries. Nothing serious, though. And I got some kind of staff from the shaman, too, which is nice. Gold is good, after all.




    After that little ordeal, I heard voices in the next room. From the vantage point I had, I saw the Emperor and his guards, fighting off more attackers! Have to admit; they're pretty good. Even with all those daggers and maces flying around, those crazy people couldn't even touch the Blades or the Emperor. Once they were all dead, I hopped down to rejoin the group. “Did you miss me?” I asked sarcastically.




    “It's the prisoner!” Glenroy cried, drawing his katana again. “Kill her, she might be with them!”




    “Woah, hold up!” I said, outraged. “How could I be—“




    “She is not one of them. Stand down.” the Emperor said firmly.




    As Glenroy put his sword away, grumbling, Uriel looked at me. “They cannot understand my reasons for trusting you.” he said. “How can I explain… Do you follow the Nine, Nix?”




    Confused, I replied: “Er, no.”




    The Septim hummed. “Well. I have served them all my days. And on occasion, they gift me visions. I know of you—an Argonian slave, born under the Lord, who earned her freedom and turned to a life of piracy. But there are greater things in store for you.” He took a breath as I stood there, shocked at how much he knew. “I go now to my grave. I accept this, and will die peacefully. But you… You will accomplish a great many things. Some bad, yes, but you will do much good for Tamriel.” He turned to his Blades. “She will accompany us.”




    “As you command.” the Redguard replied, saluting. “We should get moving, then. No telling if there's more of them.”





    Despite his worries, the trip went pretty smoothly. We walked through more hallways, the Blades keeping a watchful eye for any more assassins. Eventually, we reached a rather large room. “Right. We're almost to the sewers.” Glenroy said.




    “Sewers? Smart way of escaping.” I said.




    Everyone ignored me. Glenroy went to the door, and twisted the knob. But it didn't open. “Locked. This could be a trap, eyes open.”




    “There's a side passage, back there. Worth a shot.” the Redguard said. But when we went there, it was a dead end! Just then, we heard the door open behind us. “Damn it, behind us! Emperor, prisoner, stay here, you'll be safe.” Then, they charged into battle, shouting.




    The Emperor turned to me then, his eyes sad yet accepting. He removed an amulet from his neck, and handed it to me. “I can no further. You alone must stand against the Prince of Destruction.” he said, clasping my hand. “Take the Amulet. Give it to Jauffre—he alone knows where my final heir is. Find him. And close shut the marble jaws of Oblivion!”




    I nodded, impressed by his determination. That's when the dagger appeared from behind the Emperor, slitting through his neck.




    The assassin was tough, as I saw when I leaped back and drew my sword. He seemed heavily armored, but could dodge my blows with ease! He continued to dodge my attacks, and tried to stab me at every opportunity. Eventually, after I blocked another flurry of strikes, I slashed at his knee. He collapsed, and I took the opening to stick the longsword through his head. Panting, I looked at the Emperor's body. I barely knew the man, and as a pirate I really should've hated his guts, but… I didn't. I mourned him.




    “We've failed. I've failed... Rest in peace, Uriel Septim.” the Redguard said, nearly at tears, entering the room and closing his eyes. He then frowned. “The Amulet! Where is it?”




    “I have it.” I said, walking over.




    He hummed. “Nix, was it? The Emperor, he trusted you. Maybe it was his Dragon Blood. The Septims see more than lesser men… You should know, the Amulet of Kings has great power. Most think of the Red Dragon Crown, but that's just jewelry. Why did he give to you?”




    “I need to find some man called Jauffre. Supposedly, there's another heir still alive.” I replied.




    “Gods. Then maybe I can redeem myself...” he said. “Jauffre is the Grandmaster of the Blades. He lives as a monk at Weynon Priory, near Chorrol. He'd know if there was another heir, for sure.” He looked at me with a serious air. “This is a huge responsibility. Take the Amulet to him as quick as you can. Leave through the sewers, you'll be near the Imperial City.”




    I hummed. “What about my damn pardon?” I demanded, suddenly remembering.




    “I'll make sure it goes to the necessary people. Just this once, though—any further crimes, and you'll have to deal with the consequences.” the Redguard said. “I'm Baurus, by the way.”




    I nodded. “If we do meet again, I'll remember that.” I said, though I didn't think it would happen. With that, I left him to guard the Emperor's body. The trip through the sewers was boring; obviously the assassins had left once they'd done their job. I stared at the Amulet of Kings, and I thought about selling it. It'd be worth a lot of gold, I'd wager.




    But I couldn't, for some reason. Can't, actually. So, it's time to find Jauffre, and do as the Emperor said, whatever it actually meant. I'll need to head into the City for supplies, but then it's off to Chorrol, and then… Well, who knows, really.





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5 Comments   |   DeltaFox and 1 other like this.
  • Sotek
    Sotek   ·  May 7, 2017
    Oh by Hircine so many memories buried here between the lines...... 
    Nix-Jeelai is one interesting character. Makes a change to see one such as her. 
    • Tenebrous
      Oh by Hircine so many memories buried here between the lines...... 
      Nix-Jeelai is one interesting character. Makes a change to see one such as her. 
        ·  May 7, 2017
      Thanks! Was trying to go for a less 'clear-cut' hero with Nix, glad to see it's working out. And I'm also glad I've captured the whole nostalgia of Oblivion; was kind of worried I'd strayed too far from the original dialogue.
      • Sotek
        Thanks! Was trying to go for a less 'clear-cut' hero with Nix, glad to see it's working out. And I'm also glad I've captured the whole nostalgia of Oblivion; was kind of worried I'd strayed too far from the original dialogue.
          ·  May 7, 2017
        Don't worry from straying from the original dialogue. That's great for generic play but with stories as you know each character is different from the way they act, look and speak. Their views are different and a whole load of other things. 
        Wha...  more
  • DeltaFox
    DeltaFox   ·  April 16, 2017
    I can see Nix-Jeelai as an anti-hero.
    • Tenebrous
      I can see Nix-Jeelai as an anti-hero.
        ·  April 16, 2017
      Yep! I wanted a less 'clear-cut hero' than my other stories. The original concept was an Altmer, but AotQ already has Ardolan. The NPC companion system will also be fun, characterization-wise...