Straag Rod: Book 1, Part 1, Chapter VI

  • Crystal-Like-Law, Summerset Isles, 433, 3E

    His etched silver plate armor caught the reflection of the fiery sky while he crouched from the ledge of his post near the top of the Crystal Tower, the part of the Tower that held the tombs of the great Aldmeri ancestors; the Tower’s “Heart”.  His hand braced against the white stone wall as he leaned precariously forward to get a better look, his other hand resting lightly upon his bent knee, his silver-white hair, bound in its priestly partial top-knot, and green tower cloak blowing in the hot, dry breeze. Upon his waist was sheathed a sword of shining silver steel, the hilt made of joined Eagles’ wings and upon his back was a great golden Elven bow and a quiver of golden arrows. He himself was as an eagle perched high in his aerie, his red-orange eyes surveying the distant horizon.  And his keen eyes watched, squinting against the sky.

    Only there was no sun to squint against now, no daily shining joy to remind them of their time in the beginning, when God and Mer were nearly one. There had not been for days. Only the red flames, the churning clouds, dark, like burning embers upon a forge’s pit, and the searing heat.  Mocking and cruel.

    His hand moved slightly upon the stone wall, causing a cluster of dried leaves to burst into dust and be borne upon the torrid gust. He followed the particles as they swirled in the zephyr like a flock of birds evading a predator. They had once belonged to a living, green thing, its vines climbing the tower heights, using it as a trellis to reach the sun, its large yellow blooms making his days on the watch pleasant with their light, crisp fragrance. They were no more, burned in the swelter, along with everything else as far as his eyes could see. The forest near the Tower where he spent many hours hidden under its dense, verdant canopy, wandering its damp, fern-covered floor when he wanted to feel soft leaves and mosses under his bare feet was now a black, charred desolation. The many stumps now sticking up like sharp, jagged pikes. The little stream in that forest where he would fish, leaving the line idle as he lay propped against a rock reading, was now dry and cracked.  The rainbow-colored Canah birds no longer perched upon the ledge, waiting impatiently for him to offer the bread crumbs from his midday meal.

    He wondered if it was like this in other provinces?  Did they fare better? Or did their eyes also see nothing but burning skies and parched earth? He hoped not, not even on Summerset's worst enemies. No people deserved the sight that now greeted his eyes on a daily basis.

    How many days had it been? He knew not. Weeks? Months? Years? Did birthdays pass?  Were younglings born into this chaos? Would the burning skies be all that they would ever know? He hoped not. He prayed to Auri-El that it would not be this way.

    Time stops when you cannot see the sun and moons travel the sky. When you cannot see the many jewels glisten in the velvet night.

    Everything just stops. Even the great clock in the tower, it stopped. Frozen, as if harnessed by some dark force. The hands no longer moving, forever stuck on that infernal day. Twenty-seventh of Last Seed. A holiday, a holiday... the fruits of the harvest. 

    His face was flushed with the heat and he licked his parched lips, trying in vain to wet the blisters that had formed on his lips from being at his post for so long, exposed to the hot air, but to no avail. He lacked the spit. Yet his dry, irritated eyes could not leave the multitudes of Refugees against the backdrop of the burning sky, would not leave them.  It was his duty to watch them. He watched them to make sure they arrived safely. 

    They came in droves; some riding, some walking, some even crawling. From all parts of Summerset. The ancient cities, the tiny villages. From Cloudrest, high in the mountains to Lillandril on the golden coast. From Shimmerene, Skywatch, Dusk, Firsthold, Sunhold; and even their beloved capital, Alinor, with its many delicate spires of glass and crystal. The cities were now deserted, filled with piles of the dead. The great temples lay abandoned, broken. At first they tried to leave by sea for the Tamriel mainland, but the sea swallowed their ships, sending thousands more to a watery grave. The Tower was all that remained. The Tower was whole.

    To the North they came, or across the shallow sea if from Firsthold or Skywatch. The great migration to Crystal-Like-Law.  The last bastion of hope for their people. From all walks of life. Simple farmers, their meager possessions hoisted onto their livestock. To the grand, ancient nobles, who rode in horse-drawn carriages, sheltered from the blistering heat. He watched them all enter the Tower. And the Tower took them all in, like a sheltering mother and fierce father all at once, welcoming all that remained of the Sundered children of Anu. It was designed for this. It was designed to hold all their knowledge, magic, and to protect everything that was Altmer.  Including the people. And because he served the Tower, he would protect them too. With his bow, his sword, his magicks, and his life.

    His eyes then shifted to what lay beyond the flocks of Refugees.  That was his duty as well. To watch Them. Their camps were just visible to his keen eyes; great portals of bright flame. The many Gates. The demon hordes of Daedra.

    They were coming.

    Their commander was Molag Bal’s gift to Mehunes Dagon for a successful campaign; sent to torment Summerset while Dagon’s eyes closely watched Cyrodiil. The Emperor and his heirs were dead and the Empire was in chaos.  There would be no aid. The Tower’s Council of Mages, led by the Archmagister, in desperation, relinquished their authority over the Tower to the Thalmor on the promise that reinforcements would soon arrive. That was the final thing that he was dutifully watching for, for they all trusted his eyes, and nothing...

    He bent his head slightly in frustration. Not a single black and gold Thalmor banner was to be seen. Not for days. They were alone. Alone against such a horde. Alone against Molag Bal’s “gift”.

    To the Altmer, Molag Bal’s “gift” was known simply as Bet.

    The Beast.

    He had heard tales from the Refugees of his vile deeds and he was every bit the issue of the King of Rape. A great, hulking Dremora Lord with armor like burning coals and horns on his head that spiraled like a goat. He bore an axe that had the dark power of Coldharbour in its very metal. In his wake, only ash and death. Or even worse, undeath. Rumors, terrible rumors, for no one ever survived his onset. They fled. Bet… Äelberon set his jaw and bent his head, his eyes now on the masses of Altmer seeking refuge. He was coming.

    “There are more and more of them every day, Äelberon. The Tower cannot possibly hold them all.”

    Äelberon turned, still bracing himself on the ledge. Vingalmo had joined him, peering over it cautiously, his golden, Elven armor cast in an orange light. He looked troubled, his refined Altmeri features puffy from the excessive heat. Äelberon nodded and resumed his sentinel.

    Vingalmo didn’t understand how Äelberon could lean over the tower edge like that. He glanced down, the height was dizzying. Äelberon turned to watch his good friend peer over the tower edge, mischief in his eyes. Galmo was never fond of heights. Ironic being that his good friend hailed from Cloudrest, a city upon a tall mountain. Äelberon shook his head and smiled, ‘twould be like him fearing water. Ah, to swim the cool, crystal waters of Dusk now… 

    There was, and would always room in his heart for jest, no matter how dark the circumstance. To not smile anymore, aye, would be admitting defeat... 

    “Don’t fall!” Called Äelberon suddenly, his voice turning playful.

    Vigalmo’s heart skipped a beat and he pulled back quickly from the ledge. Damn it, he wasn’t even in danger of falling. He glared at his good friend.

    “I hate you.” Vingalmo frowned, but then laughed when he saw Äelberon’s big grin.

    “Your face was priceless.” Äelberon laughed, “Soil yourself?”

    Vingalmo checked quickly. A spontaneous reaction.

    “Ha! Made you look.” Teased Äelberon before resuming his watch.

    Ronnie always knew when to break a somber mood with humor, Vingalmo thought with a nod while he regarded his friend. It brought comfort. It was the priest in him, to bring comfort. In all of this chaos, he never lost his compassion.

    “Do you see them, Ronnie?” Vingalmo asked, approaching the ledge again, squinting. “The Thalmor?”

    “No, Galmo.” He answered softly, leaning against the wall of the tower. “They do not come.”

    “They’ll come. They promised.” Vingalmo reassured his friend when he saw Ronnie’s body language.

    “And do you see?” Vingalmo then whispered.

    He was hoping Ronnie had not heard him and sighed sadly when he heard his dear friend’s voice.

    “Yes,” His tone grew serious again, pointing to the distance. “There, Galmo. Do you see the very bright fires? Lighter than what burns the sky? Near the horizon? Those fires are not in the sky, but on ground level. Those are the gates. That is where they are camping. It is closer than it was yesterday. They are heading this way.”

    Vingalmo scanned the distance in vain, but he saw nothing. “By the Gods you have the eyes of an eagle. I see nothing.”

    “Trust me, my friend, they are there.” He lept down from the ledge and faced Vingalmo. “I must report what I have seen to the Archmagister. Keep watch.”

    And he disappeared into the Tower, leaving Vingalmo to the watch the burning sky.



    Äelberon hurried up the steps and entered a large room where the Mages had gathered to discuss their ideas on defending the Tower. Archmagister Rynandor the Bold and Master Lilandtar were speaking with the others, their faces concerned. They stopped their discussion when they saw Äelberon enter.

    Rynandor watched as his Knight Guard crossed the room, imposing in his silver plate armor, his priestly top-knot adding to his severity. The youngling’s face betrayed him, however, and Rynandor turned away to face a window. Burning sky was all that greeted his eyes and Rynandor closed them, but he could still see the cast of what he saw, the reflection. It was pointless and he opened them again, and again faced the burning sky.  Rynandor could tell from the youngling's face. They would not come. It had been a terrible mistake to give the Thalmor authority. A terrible mistake.

    “Knight-Paladin Äelberon, have you news?” Rynandor solemnly asked, not even bothering to turn from the window.  He had taken to calling Äelberon by his full title lately. They needed to be reminded of religion, for many Altmer had turned to Daedra worship in the years preceding. They needed to see that the Auri-El was still revered. That he was still important.  There were other priests in Crystal-Like-Law, but only one Knight-Paladin of Auri-El.

    “Yes, Archmagister.” Äelberon nodded, bowing low in a sign of respect towards the Mages of the Tower.

    “The Thalmor? They have arrived then?” Asked one of the Tower Mages.

    Rynandor stroked his beard and pulled himself from the window to face the Knight-Paladin. So young to have such a title. The Knight-Paladin turned to address the Mage, his hand gripping the hilt of his sword. Rynandor had watched his mother slave over the forge to make that weapon. It was so beautiful a weapon that High Chancellor Ocato himself asked for a copy, offering to pay the lady a full years’ wages.  She refused, saying that only her son could wield that blade. The Chancellor was a kind Mer, very understanding of a mother’s love for her son. Another Mer would have punished her for her defiance, for she was not of high station. Rynandor, by then, was already used to the stubbornness of Duskens.

    “No, Master, no Thalmor banners.”

    The room erupted in commotion at the Knight-Paladin’s words. Angry outcries for putting their trust in another faction vied against rallies for continued Thalmor support. They were silenced when the Archmagister spoke.

    “There is more?” Rynandor pressed.

    Äelberon nodded. “Yes, there is more. The Oblivion gates are visible from the South, Archmagister. And their camps are closer than they were yesterday. They are coming.”

    “Are you sure?” Asked Rynandor.  He knew the answer, Äelberon’s eyes never failed him, but the reality of the situation was far too dire and he wanted to hear it said.

    “I wish was wrong, Archmagister Rynandor.” The Knight-Paladin replied. “They are coming.”

    “Then we must fortify our defenses and devise escape routes for the citizens.” Interrupted Master Lilandtar, holding his head high in defiance. “We have the best soldiers and Mages in all of Tamriel. We do not need the Thalmor wiping our noses.” There was some laughter in the room at Lilandtar’s harsh words, but also grumbles of protest. “I say, let the Daedra come...”

    Rynandor the Bold turned and faced the window again, stroking his beard. There was much work to be done.



    He stood at the edge of the battlements at the base of the Tower with thousands of his fellow Altmer soldiers, joined by their armored trolls, his silver plate a sharp contrast to their golden Elven armor. His golden aura of healing betraying his connection to the Order of Auri-El. They stood. Waiting. Watching. For days. For forever it seemed, though without the sun there was no real way to measure the passage of time. It had to be days. The Daedric armies had been advancing steadily toward Crystal-Like-Law, an Oblivion army of flame and Bet was with them. Yet now they stopped. They stopped at the expanse of charred, black trunks and ventured no further. Cowards, just beyond his arrow's reach.  Profaning that once lovely forest with their fire and filth.  Äelberon scanned the dense sea of burnt, broken stumps, squinting as the light from the fiery sky hit his eyes. He could not see.  He needed a better view.

    “Fal!” He commanded.

    His troll lumbered to him, his white, shaggy coat contrasting with his sturdy plate armor.


    The troll picked up the Elf and in a single fluid motion, Äelberon’s feet were balanced upon the troll’s powerful shoulders giving him a better vantage point. They had fought together for the better part of two years, suppressing two attacks on the Tower by The Beautiful, a dissident group bent on seeing the Tower fall. And when they were joined by Archmagister Rynandor the Bold, the trio was deadly. It was the way they did battle. They had foot soldiers and archers, but the most deadly were these such combinations. A troll for brute strength. A Knight Guard for close combat and marksmership, and finally a Master Mage of the Tower. Both troll and Knight Guard were to protect the mage at all costs. Rynandor was still at the top of the tower, watching the events unfold at the battlements from one of its many balconies. Ready to quickly descend should the need arise. Feather-falling* was the spell. The Archmagister could jump down from great heights and yet no damage would come to his body, cushioned by his grand magical field. 

    Äelberon scrutinized the charred, leafless trees nearest to the battlements and readied his bow with a single arrow of frost*, catching the attention of his fellow soldiers. Some conjured bows in response, while others conjured swords. The flame atronach was so close, leaving a trail of flame in her wake. gliding through the blackened stumps, teasing him with her closeness. He could hit her if she just moved a bit closer. He drew his bow and aimed. The other soldiers watched in anticipation, some also aiming in the same general direction. It would be the first blow against the Daedra, and if anybody would be the one to strike the first blow to defend the Tower, it was the Pale Elf from Dusk. He was valued as an archer, for there were none in the battlements with better eyes than he. He was the Knight Guard of Archmagister Rynandor the Bold. He inhaled and they waited, holding their breath with him as he aimed. And then she moved back into the shadows of the skeletal forest, back to her Demon Master lurking his burnt refuge. Bet. Äelberon exhaled and relaxed his bow, his face darkening with anger, hardening the angles of his face.

    “Damn it!” He cursed as he leapt off Fal and stormed back to the Tower, while the other soldiers resumed their wait, their morale even lower.

    Fear and despair permeated the air of the Tower as the Refugees waited in terror. The beauty of the Tower, with its white marble and crystal walls, carved, seamless, now almost a mockery of the ugliness that was the predicament of the People Crystal-Like-Law sheltered. Refugees were everywhere, they huddled against each other for protection and comfort, and their eyes spoke volumes as Äelberon walked in.  Some eyes were wide with fear, some eyes barely contained anger, and some eyes… some eyes were glazed over and empty, they had given up. Äelberon then forgot his anger and gazed on the Refugees with tenderness, his chest aching with sudden emotion. Their suffering touched at his very soul.

    His eyes focused on a Mer in the corner, face dirty, blond hair matted, clutching his bleeding arm. He leaned against the cold marble wall, trembling in shock, for he had no one, though he wore the clothes of a noble. He looked to be around Äelberon’s age, but it was plain that he had not known the life struggles that Äelberon had known. One of the gentlefolk, not used to fighting. Äelberon walked slowly to the Mer and knelt beside him. The Mer cowered away, fearful of his touch. Ah, had the other soldiers hit him? Their morale was so low now that skirmishes between them and the Refugees were now commonplace. He had been doing much in the way of crowd control in these last days, but even his rank as Knight-Paladin was being tested by insubordinates. He raised his hand slowly and moved the bloodied hair from the Mer’s face, exposing a gash on his forehead. The Mer was shaking now, with tears in his eyes. Äelberon’s face became grim, what had been done to make a grown Mer tremble so? What had been done by his own people? The enemy was out there, under the burning sky, not the innocents huddled in the Tower.

    “No,” Äelberon whispered gently, “You need not fear me.”

    He got up to fetch a large bowl of water and some rags and knelt again near the Mer.

    It was the Pale Elf and the Lathenil's eyes went wide as the warrior removed his shining silver gauntlets, exposing strong hands that were so fair; the skin nearly white. And the eyes were very nearly the shade of the burning sky. It was said that some from the Southeast were still born with such coloring. But very few now and they had the more typical light eyes; like ice. He was one who had such coloring, save the eyes. Lathenil saw him when he first first arrived at the Tower. Like an eagle, the Pale Elf perched from the top of the Tower, watching over the People, his armor shining in the sky. A young apprentice mage, Nelecar, had said he was a Priest. He wondered where Nelecar was. He had run off when the soldiers came, leaving him alone to face them.

    “Where are you from, friend?” The Pale Elf asked as he dipped the rag into the bowl, ringing some of the cool water from the rag. He then applied it to the Lathenil’s cut. 

    “Sunhold.” He managed, wincing when the rag touched his wound. He watched the Pale Elf then grin.

    “Ah, a fellow Southerner. A beautiful city, Sunhold. I have stopped there many a time on journeys home when I was training at Alinor. I am from Dusk. We are a long way from home, eh?”

    A smile smile formed on Lathenil's lips. “I miss it so.” 

    The Pale Elf paused from cleaning the wound. “You know what I miss?” 


    “The Sea. I miss the blue, blue Sea.” The Pale Elf resumed cleaning his wound, the tone of his voice turning wistful as he spoke. “I miss the Sea at sunset as my father and I hoisted in the day’s catch onto the boat. Aye, she was a fine boat. And the Sea was so cool. We always indulged in a swim after a hard day’s toil.” His tone then changed, becoming more playful, “And… I also miss honey nut treats. Have not had those in weeks. I do not much care for sweetrolls, which is all they have here now.”

    The Pale Elf smiled when Lathenil flashed a knowing grin.

    “’Tis a Northern thing, this fondness for sweetrolls…” He continued, his peculiar red-orange eyes twinkling.

    “I wish I could go home.” Lathenil sighed while the Pale Elf finished cleaning his gash.

    “You will return, I promise. What is your name, friend?”


    “Well Lathenil of Sunhold, friend from the South, I am Äelberon of Dusk. Give me your arm, Lathenil, I need to cleanse the wound.”

    Äelberon gently took Lathenil’s arm and cleaned it with water, drying it carefully with another clean rag. When he finished, he put the bowl with the bloody rags down and looked into Lathenil’s amber eyes.

    “Now, Lathenil, I need you to hold still for me, can you do this?” He asked as his left hand began to glow with a warm light. Lathenil nodded, but his eyes were filled with trepidation. Äelberon shook his head. “I will not hurt you. I promise.” He soothed, “Hold out your arm.”

    The Pale Elf’s eyes brightened as he began to cast his healing magicks, his face intent with concentration, his mouth moving ever so slightly, invoking Auri-El. It seemed as if he wasn’t breathing as he cast, moving his left hand slowly over Lathenil’s arm, the tips of the fingers trembling ever so slightly. Lathenil’s eyes widened as the open wound, which had been exposed to the bone, began to fill. New tissue replaced what had been lost, without scarring, the work careful. It took some moments, but with a final exhale, the Pale Elf’s hand ceased to glow and the wound was healed. The Pale Elf, nay Äelberon, then let his left hand drop, and Lathenil saw the fatigue on his face, but the eyes that met his were warm.

    “Better?” Äelberon raised his eyebrows while he put on his gauntlets.

    Lathenil nodded, not knowing what to say. Before him was this warrior, a Knight of Crystal-Like-Law. The best fighters in all of the Isles, and yet he stopped to help him. Äelberon stood tall and offered Lathenil his hand. He clasped it and was hoisted up. They then shook hands.

    “May the Southern skies always be welcoming, friend. May the honey nut treats always be warm and sticky,” They both laughed and then Äelberon smiled, “And may Auri-El forever guide you. Peace, Brother.”

    And Lathenil watched as the Mer released his grip on his hand and disappeared up the steps, deeper into the Tower. 



    He found Archmagister Rynandor at the shrine to Auri-El near the Ancestors’ Tombs, kneeling. Praying. Äelberon stopped, knelt next to him, and kissed the Shrine.

    Rynandor saw the fatigue on the youngling’s face as he quickly recited the tenets of his Holy Order under his breath. Rynandor smirked. When he did not fight, he prayed. And when he did not pray, he read. A voracious reader. From the moment he set foot in Crystal-Like-Law, Äelberon of Dusk read.  And they called Duskens dumb oafs. Bah! The youngling spent more time in the Great Library than Rynandor did and he was Archmagister. Rynandor’s gaze turned tender when he saw that the youngling had finished his tenets. He was tired.  He had indeed been healing.

    “You’ve been healing again, haven’t you?” The Old Mage questioned, thoughtfully stroking his long, light blond beard.

    Äelberon sighed. “I cannot help it, they are desperate.  Master, they are suffering.” His head bent. He then continued, his face and voice always darkening whenever he spoke of the Daedra. His eyes always blazing. “They have stopped. They do not go beyond the trees. They are not within range. Bet is with them!”

    Rynandor’s eyebrows went up when he heard the name. The youngling dared to say the name openly. No fear. He turned to the Mage, his brow furrowed with the beginnings of anger.

    “Why have they stopped?! What trickery are we in for, Master?”

    “I don’t know but I feel something will happen that will catch us by surprise. Be vigilant.”

    The two rose and Rynandor beckoned Äelberon to his study.

    Rynandor the Bold was Archmagister of Crystal-Like-Law, but his study was not the most elaborate there. That honor belonged to Lilandtar of Cloudrest, Lord of House Larethian, whose study was covered in gilded artifacts and silken tapestries. Satin pillows, satin sheets, and ornately carved furniture. In strange, vivid shades of gold, purple, green, and orange. In contrast, Ryandor the Bold’s study was austere by Altmeri standards, just simple furniture and walls of bookshelves in a dark wood finish. But it was a typical mage’s study nevertheless in that it was a sea of scrolls, books, paper, and drying ink wells that were never quite closed properly. Äelberon closed a half-full inkwell absently and the Old Mage smiled.

    And when Äelberon of Dusk was not at the Great Library, he was in Rynandor’s study. Learning, despite telling Rynandor on many occasions that he loathed school. Yet he loved learning. Rynandor smiled again, learning was not school and he knew Altmeri schools well enough. A mind like Äelberon’s would have been stifled, for it did not quite work in the same way. The youngling did not ever sleep, it seemed. A warrior with a mage’s habits. A terrible combination, thought Rynandor.  As if Äelberon knew the time was limited and wanted it all to sink in before it was too late.

    “I saw you at the Library yesterday.” Rynandor started. He did not want to get to the point of the conversation. Not yet.

    Äelberon smiled at the Archmagister's words as he traced the spine of a book with his finger, noting its title. The contents of the book then began to flash before his mind as if he had opened the book and sat down to read it. He had already read this one.

    “I am at the Great Library every day, Master.” came the sly reply.

    Rynandor the Bold chuckled.

    It was a running bet and had been a joke among the Master Mages and the Soldiers of the Tower alike. How long would it take the poor, simple Dusken to read every book in the Great Library? A thousand years? Two thousand? Rynandor, in the beginning, had even put his own wager in, for he also thought it was a silly undertaking. Dubbed the folly of a Country Elf who didn’t know any better. But two years later, Rynandor now saw the value of it and he could sense the Country Elf was nearly done with such a monumental feat. Not the simple warrior they had originally thought him to be, but instead possessing of a most brilliant mind.  Rynandor sat heavily upon his desk, his thin shoulders stooped and Äelberon leaned against its edge casually, crossing his arms over his chest. They were alone now, the formality of Archmagister and Knight-Paladin now gone.

    “Ronnie, is your lenya here? Is she counted among the Refugees?” Rynandor asked.

    He was allowed into their family when the youngling took his Holy Orders, walking the Chantry just last year, and he remembered fondly the time spent with Ronnie’s family in Dusk. He saw the youngling’s face grow serious again.

    “Yes, she is here. She came driving a large wagon. Why do you ask, Master?”

    “Tell her to report to me, I will need her skill at the forge. I have asked that all the smiths report to me. And the forges in the depths of the Tower have been lit.”

    Äelberon nodded, searching the Old Mage’s eyes for an explanation, but the Old Mage remained seated at his desk offering none.  What was wrong? Why did they need the forges lit?

    “Go,” Rynandor ordered.

    Aye, he would allow the boy into his family soon. Ronnie was already close to his great grandniece. Rynandor watched the youngling leave his quarters and then he unlocked a small strongbox on his desk. He owed Tarri money. Most of the Tower now owed Tarri money. Rynandor had wagered that Äelberon would take one hundred years to read the entire contents of the Great Library. It had taken him only two. He owed Tarri 4000 septims. Bastard Mage had guessed right and his guess had been based on utter stupidity. Literally the first number that came to his mind, two, for he had been thinking on his wife’s tits at the time and wagered that they had never brought him a day of bad luck in the past. His old friend was going to have a lot coin to smelt. Ah, Lilandtar...



    Äelberon's mother was among the Refugees. His father had selflessly remained at Dusk with a band of retired soldiers and the High Priest of the Temple, to aid in the city’s evacuation, warding off the Daedra while the citizens fled. They had not heard from him in days and both assumed the worst.  Ever industrious, she had not let the impending terror or her own grief fill her with fear. When he found her at the Tower Barracks, she was calmly lacing a young warrior’s cuirass as he stood next to her, waiting patiently.  She wore the simple rough-hewn dress of a smith and a thick leather apron. Her long silver-white hair was bound in two great braids that extended beyond her waist, but he could see that little wisps had escaped to frame her face, which bore several grease stains. She had been doing far more today than lacing cuirasses.  Her long, pale fingers worked deftly, lacing the cuirass with tight stitching, far stronger than their original make. Äelberon had his father’s size, his nose, and some of his vices, he thought with a wicked smile, but he had his mother’s look and countenance.

    Save the eyes. The eyes were his own, for her eyes were the eyes of a Snow Elf, that strange light blue, like crystal, though she herself called herself Altmer. And his father had the deep golden eyes of a more typical Altmeri shade. No, Äelberon's eyes, they were his own. She looked up and caught his gaze. She had aged a bit since the sky began to burn, the wrinkles around her eyes more prominent, her face more drawn, but those crystal blue eyes of hers were still warm and merry when she saw her son. He was sporting his father’s naughty grin.

    “Ah! Here is my knight, and there you are, young sir." Giving the young warrior an encouraging smile as she wiped the sweat from her brow, creating yet another grease stain.  

    Äelberon smiled.  She rose from the stone bench she had been sitting on and extended her hand. Äelberon would have none of that though and pulled her into his great arms instead, lifting her in an embrace, kissing her forehead tenderly. Other Altmer looked up at the public display of affection. Some lifted their noses in the air in disdain. Those two touched. Duskens were known to be far less reserved.

    “They are staring.” She said softly in his ear as they held each other, her feet barely touching the ground.

    She chuckled, he could lift her clear off the ground if he wanted to. His Ata too.  He had been such a tiny, sick child, a strange thing for one born under the sign of the Lord, but now he was a bear of a Mer.

    “Let them.” He replied in her ear. “Maybe it will make them take the poles out their arses.”

    She slapped his back. Hard, making him grunt.

    “No swearing.” She warned.

    He put her down and grinned. “You smell like grease. Oiling armor?” He asked as he sat on the bench and played nervously with one of her braids. She leaned forward and kissed his forehead and then he felt her wrinkle her nose. Damn, he had thought being outside would have covered that up.

    “Aye. And you smell like smoke. And don’t go saying that it’s because you were outside. I can smell the difference. You’ve been at it again...”

    She was about to continue when she saw his face change. It was a complicated expression, but she knew her son well. As if he was desperate to continue with their light banter and not say what was really on his mind. He wanted her to talk about his smoking habit, to distract him from what really needed to be said. He was still playing with her braid and then she saw him bite his lip and lean his head against her side. The sigh was what killed her. She put her hands on his shoulders, tracing the fine etching of the silver-plated pauldrons she had made for him.  They were such broad, powerful shoulders, but even such strong shoulders could only bear so much weight.

    “What is it, child?” She asked, her fingers finding his scalp. It soothed him when she rubbed his scalp. Ever since he was tiny. He pulled back from her suddenly and the Knight-Paladin had returned.

    “Archmagister Rynandor wishes that you report to him.”

    She bent her head slightly and fiddled with her own braid, looking at her son. “And what would the Archmagister of Crystal-Like-Law want with a mere smith?”

    “He has bade all the smiths report to him. I do not know why. Come, Lenya, I will escort you.” He said formally as he stood, extending his hand. She took it and together they left the barracks.

    “Are they closer?” She asked as he began to lead her up the steps. When she glanced out of the Tower balcony, she could make out some movement in the trees.

    “Yes, they are now among the trees," Äelberon nodded in the direction of her gaze, “but they have stopped and will not go further. We do not know why.”

    They continued up a few levels of the Tower, but Äelberon suddenly stopped when he heard loud noises from below. Another skirmish. He squeezed his mother’s hand.

    “Lenya, I must take my leave. Continue up the stairs. Near the top, close to the tombs, you will find a shrine to Auri-El. Near the shrine is a room. That is Archmagister Rynandor’s study. I cannot come with you. I need to get back down there. There is trouble.”

    She squeezed his hand before letting go and continued up the stairs glancing over her shoulder to watch her son quickly descend the white steps, drawing his sword.



    Later that evening, by the candlelight, she dipped a clean cloth into a bowl of water and began to wipe her son’s bloodied face as he stared out into the burning sky, smoking his pipe. She would let him smoke tonight. He needed it. He had returned with several terrible slashes on his face, the work of a dagger more than likely. They would scar his face permanently if he did not see a master healer soon, as he could not cast right away and she worried as she cleaned his wounds. He had already refused his first assigned match and while she loved her son, she knew Altmeri women. They would take one look at his face and no matter how beautiful he was to her, they would be revolted. They would only see the scars and not the beauty of the soul he had. The goodness of his heart.

    “You promise me, when you have a spare moment. You will see a master healer?”

    He still stared towards the sky, puffing his pipe absently, his eyes very far away. She tilted his chin to face her, careful to avoid the wounds.

    “Ronnie. Promise me.” She emphasized.

    “Does it matter?” He asked softly and she released her hold on his chin and sat against the edge of the table, crossing her arms over her chest. 

    “Look at the sky, Lenya. Does it matter what my face looks like? My face be damned. I would gladly slash the other half just to see the moons again. Just to see the stars. The sun...”

    “I only want you happy.” She replied, dipping the cloth into the bowl again, watching her son’s blood mix with the water.

    “And I AM happy. Happy that she is now happy.” He retorted. “I want what you and Ata have. If I cannot have that, well then, I would rather have nothing.  If a woman only loves for a smooth face, then she is not worth loving. Ata was scarred and you took him and you love him. You are going to ask me to go against what I was taught? By your own example?” He rubbed her shoulder and smiled. “Come on, Lenya. Think on what you are saying. You raised me right. Or are the old fancy She-Elves of the Tower with their Northern airs finally getting to you?”

    She hit him with the cloth and he started to laugh until the pain in his face made him stop.

    “That is better. Now finish cleaning my face, so I can finally cast something to keep it from falling apart.”

    It had been a brutal skirmish and he was grim when he returned to her. Again between the soldiers and the Refugees. A matter of soldiers wanting to use the female Refugees. To "ease" their tension. The Daedra were already working their dark magicks and Äelberon would have none of that. He was a Priest and it was his calling to defend the innocent, even from his own comrades in arms. He had defended the Refugees, but it angered the soldiers and one, in a move of insubordination, slashed him, forcing the Mages to descend the tower and intervene, for the soldier had struck a Knight-Paladin of Auri-El. He had struck the Archmagister’s Knight Guard as he fought to maintain the peace.  He did not want them to, but they executed the soldier then and there and morale continued to sink. His own morale was low, he thought as he took another puff of his pipe.

    His eyes found a large pile of books upon the table. Tonight’s reading. All that was left. Then his eyes found her again and he knew that face. That faraway look. She was thinking on Dusk. On their home by the sea and the beautiful golden tree that greeted them when they unlatched the gate inside the grotto. Of the Canah birds that noisily roosted on the roof of their home at night. On the one they left there.

    “What did Archmagister Rynandor want?” He asked casually, trying to distract his mother.

    “I am to forge weapons. I start tomorrow; before dawn.” She replied her voice more quiet than usual.

    His distraction was not working. She loved him so. He loved him too. His strength, his ready grin, his jokes, his subtle wisdom. 

    “Weapons?” He pressed, his own emotion building slightly.

    “Yes.” She replied.

    Äelberon was puzzled. Weapons?

    “But the soldiers already have weapons, they conjure them.”

    “Nevertheless, I am to make weapons,” She continued, as she cleaned his face.

    Her bottom lip began to quiver and he knew that no matter what he said, he could not stop her thoughts now.  

    “It will give me something to do...”

    Her voice broke at the last words and her eyes finally began to fill with tears, the red rims contrasting  with their pale blue shade. She placed her hand on her mouth, and tried valiantly to fight them, squeezing her eyes shut and then opening them in effort. He took her by the shoulders and looked deep into her eyes. She was thinner than before.

    “Lenya...” He whispered softly.

    She touched his face tenderly, avoiding the gashes. “I cannot lose you too.”

    Her shoulders began to shake with sobs and the tears finally flowed. He wiped his mother’s face and then brought her close to him and together they watched the burning sky from his chair. He squared his jaw and clenched the bit of his pipe with his teeth as he brought his right hand up to cast healing magicks. No, she would not lose him, he vowed.




    More days. Äelberon continued to watch the Daedra, his bow ready. It was nightfall, they could actually tell for once, and he could still see the bright flames of their camps flicker and dance between the stumps. Black, orange, red, black, orange, red.  The very colors of Dagon's plane. They were making his world theirs. He knew it.  Vingalmo was sitting on a tree stump near him, eating a sweetroll. All around them the mood of the battlements had improved significantly. Soldiers were chatting among themselves, sharing drinks, or getting ready to retire for the night. There was even time for humor, and apologies to the Refugees had been made days ago. Days passed, they thought, and still they did not come. They stayed within the dead forest, just out of range of Äelberon’s arrows.  They did not come and the People grew confident.

    Vingalmo watched his friend as he took another bite of his sweetroll. Ronnie paced like one of the caged snow bears in the Tower Menagerie, scanning the dead forest. Restless. Vingalmo sighed and glanced around. There were other soldiers present, he had to be all formal.

    “Äelberon, friend, relax. I don’t think they’re coming. Crystal-Like-Law is proving too much for these Daedra!” Vingalmo said, relishing the sweetness of the icing. It was a rare treat now. He had discovered Lilandtar’s private stash of food stuffs and he helped himself. Damn, if he was going to potentially give his life in defense of the Old Tower Mage, the least the Tower Mage could do was let him have a damn sweetroll.  

    “I will not relax until they are gone.” Äelberon replied, tightening the grip on his bow.

    “They won’t come, they fear us.” Smiled Vingalmo, swelling with pride.

    It was the attitude that permeated the Tower as well.

    Äelberon walked to Vingalmo and squeezed his shoulder. Perhaps it was the right attitude? Perhaps he should rejoice as well in their good fortune, but Äelberon just could not. Something deep in his soul knew that something was not right. All he could see was black, orange, and red, and he frowned. 

    “Stay, share a drink with the rest of us?” Vingalmo looked up, eyeing his dour friend.

    “No, I will retire early tonight. I will return to the Tower.”

    The voice was dark and gruff and it frightened Vingalmo, making him laugh nervously. What was eating Ronnie?

    “Why? You are done reading.” Joked Vingalmo. “And most of us are rather poor now. Save Master Lilandtar, who has made a fortune thinking on his wife's two tits! Two years! We underestimated you, Dusken. You read bloody fast.”

    Vingalmo was rewarded by that Dusken's stance relaxing somewhat.

    Äelberon smirked. He could not believe that the bet had been serious. In the beginning, he had almost been insulted, but not now. “I just feel like walking the Tower and then I shall go to bed.” 

    Vingalmo studied his friend in the light of the fiery sky. He no longer read, aye, but he roamed the Tower now, touching everything it seemed, gazing at the artifacts. He knew how his friend’s mind worked. He was trying to memorize everything. Trying to contain it in that mind of his. It was futile. He didn’t even know why Ronnie was bothering. The Daedra were going to turn right around and head back to Oblivion. Even stranger was why Archmagister Rynandor made his poor lenya slave at the forge for days making weapons.

    “How is your lenya?” Asked Vingalmo, taking another bite of his sweetroll.

    “Exhausted. They ran out of supplies late yesterday.”

    “I honestly don’t know why the Archmagister sent them to make weapons. It seems to me an exercise in redundancy. Unless they are making weapons for you!?" Vingalmo suddenly erupted in a peal of laughter. "HAHA, you are the only one who uses them anyway.  What? Is Äelberon of Dusk going to break his blades on the armor of every Daedra he meets?”

    Vingalmo then brought his hand to squeeze Äelberon’s forearm.

    “I’m teasing you, friend. But I truly don’t understand, we won’t need them. Our conjured weapons serve us well. You do not know what you are missing. The speed, the power of the weapon is unmatched. You are among our best and that is even with your poor weapons, imagine if you had a good bound bow at your side?”

    “They are Daedra.” Äelberon replied.

    The darkness in his voice returned and Vingalmo frowned at his friend's persistent stubbornness. It was a sore spot between the two. In that sense, they were paired with the correct Tower Mages, for Vingalmo and Lilandtar had similar views on summoning while the Archmagister and Ronnie avoided it. Vingalmo dismissed Äelberon’s notion with a wave of his hand and then ran it through his dark, golden-blond hair. He would need drink soon, for he was hot, his light golden skin uncomfortably sticky with sweat under his Elven cuirass. 

    “They are under our control. Besides is it not fitting that we would use their own against them in battle? It doesn’t matter anyway, I don’t think they are coming. They are afraid. Go, find your lenya and give her a big kiss from her Galmo." He squeezed Äelberon’s forearm again. “I’m going to enjoy a drink with the other soldiers. You sure? Not even a drop?” He leaned in closer to his friend and whispered, “On my honor, Ronnie, I will not tell Auri-El.” Vingalmo smiled as he raised his right hand, feigning an oath. “You can keep your hair bound and everything!”

    “No friend.” And Äelberon turned away from the soldiers and headed back to the Tower, his heart heavy with worry.

    He found his mother asleep in their quarters, her hands blistered from days at the forge. He sat next to her and watched her for a moment, then took her hands in his. His left hand began to glow. She sighed in her sleep as the pain left her face. When he finished, he kissed her forehead and then walked to the balcony. It was even cooler than normal. The oppressive heat that had been the hallmark of the Daedra's arrival was diminishing and a the hint of a cooler breeze blew in the night sky.  He could even begin to see Masser and Secunda looming faintly through the churning vortex. Were they truly leaving? No, deep down, he knew that they would not leave. It was only their foul magicks at work.

    “You cannot sleep either?”

    Äelberon turned to the voice. It was Archmagister Rynandor. His long, light blond beard catching the light of the sky, the lines of his face deep, serious. He was among the eldest of the Tower Mages and the most powerful. A Sapiarch among them. He would not be sleeping either. They were too much of like mind.

    “Ah, she is sleeping,” He observed when he saw Äelberon’s mother. “Good. She has done me a great service.”

    “They will not use them.” Äelberon commented.

    “Nevertheless, they are there, in piles in the battlements, and I feel better. It was I who bade her rest. I have put her in charge of the evacuation, and gave her the key to access to the underground tunnels.  She will lead the people out of the Tower.”

    He looked intently at Äelberon.

    “They are going to attack then?” Äelberon asked.

    “With a vengeance. Best you be rested. I will wake you when it is close.”




    He woke with a jerk, startled by the imagery of his latest dream. So beautiful, like a moonlit night sky with her ebony hair and skin like smooth ivory. He had never seen her before and his brows furrowed, puzzled by the "why" of it. 


    Rynandor was leaning over him, shaking him gently. Äelberon turned and saw the sky from his bed. It burned again, the tease of coolness of yesterday only a bitter memory.

    She faded from his memory too.

    His head turned to where his lenya normally slept. She was now gone. The Old Mage placed a hand on his chest.

    “She is safe. It is time.” Rynandor whispered.

    “May it be so.” Äelberon whispered back, getting up. 

    It was the Archmagister himself who helped fit Äelberon into his cuirass, fastening the lacings as Äelberon prayed, reciting the tenets of his Order.  He could feel his emotion building. Rynandor had never done this before. He was the Tower Mage, the Archmagister. Fitting a cuirass was the job of a servant. Yet here was Rynandor the Bold, fitting his cuirass. It was an ultimate show of respect. They were no longer Knight-Paladin and Archmagister.  Rynandor was letting Äelberon know that they were now equals.  When Äelberon was in his armor, Rynandor faced him and placed his hands upon his shoulders, gazing intently into Äelberon’s eyes.

    “Ronnie?” The Old Mage asked.

    “Yes, Master?” He replied.

    “Call me Nandor. You have earned the right to be a part of my family. Anwe was always far smarter than I. She knew right away.”

    They embraced warmly, accepting each other as family and Äelberon then reached for his green tower cloak.

    “No,” Rynandor spoke, “not that one. Today you wield your weapons for more than just a Tower of marble, crystal, and glass. Today you wield your weapons for our people, for our survival, in His name.”

    Rynandor pointed to the small shrine of Auri-El in Äelberon’s quarters.

    “Wear his colors today as His Knight-Paladin.”

    Rynandor then retrieved the light grey cloak from a wardrobe. On it was the emblem of Auri-El in gold. He draped it over Äelberon’s shoulders, fastening it to his cuirass.  Äelberon reached for his helmet and again Rynandor stopped him.

    “You will not wear your helm today. Kneel.” Commanded Rynandor the Bold.

    Äelberon knelt upon one knee, holding his helm under his left hand. He watched as Rynandor took a small, flat vial from his robe pocket and opened it. It was a white war paint.

    “This war paint has spent an evening under the Shrine at the Tombs of our Ancestors. It has been blessed. You will wear upon your face His emblem as Knight-Paladin of His Order. Just as you did when you took His Orders on that great day. Do you remember?”

    Äelberon nodded as Rynandor began to paint his face. When he finished, Rynandor put the vial of war paint aside and wiped his hands carefully on a linen. He then removed from under his sleeve a fine circlet made of silver and moonstone, the prized stone of the Elves. It glowed with a blue enchantment.

    “I wish the Daedra to see the face of their slayer. I want them to know true fear.” Rynandor said as he fitted the circlet upon his head.

    “I want them to see the Pale Elf from Dusk and know that he was chosen by Auri-El to defend the Tower. That he is His Tower of Strength. Silver and white, like the snows over Eton Nir.”

    Rynandor then retrieved Äelberon’s bow, sword, and shield and placed them reverently upon the table as Äelberon remained kneeling.

    “I want them to know the power of his wings.” Rynandor said as he took the Shield and slung it upon the Knight’s back.

    “I want them to know the sharpness of his beak.” He said as he took Äelberon’s sword and handed it to the Knight, who sheathed the weapon.

    “I want them to know the sting of his talons.” He said, handing Äelberon his golden bow.

    In a fluid motion the great weapon was strung, ready for battle.  Only he had the strength to string a bow while kneeling. Only he had the strength to string that bow. The Old Mage then took a deep breath and put his old, bony hand on Äelberon’s shoulder.

    “Now rise, Eagle of our People. Rise, Eagle of Auri-El. Rise, and show these Daedric dogs what Aedric might truly is.”

    Äelberon stood slowly, gazing deep into the Archmagister’s eyes.

    Then they heard the screams. It was time.  



    In the night, they had come, while the Altmer slept. They had gathered an innumerable force just outside the battlements. Daedra as far as the eye could see. Legions of them. All types. Hulking Dremora, slender flame atronachs, towering frost atronachs, quick-footed scamps delivering supplies to the Dremora captains, reptilian clanfears; their talons menacing, the intelligent Xivilai, and the worst, the Deadroths of Molag Bal and Mehrunes Dagon. And in the center of the vast force, was Bet.

    The Demon of Coldharbour.

    He was tall, towering above the Dremora lords. His armor glowed like black, burning coals. His helmet had great black horns that curved like a goat. The skin that showed beneath the helm was the color of ash, and his eyes glowed with a vampiric fire. His mouth was open slightly, exposing his great fangs, poisoned spittle oozing. On his right hand, he bore a great Daedric war axe that glowed grey like the realm of His Lord, and it already was dripping with Altmer blood. His left hand glowed with a menacing red light.

    And they were not alone. With them, naked, bruised and bleeding, were hundreds of Altmer prisoners. The soldiers reacted almost immediately to seeing their suffering brethren and began to conjure weapons. It was time to do battle. And then… and then…

    The spells failed.

    The soldiers tried again, frantically casting their spells, but to no avail. There was great commotion in the soldier’s ranks. The Tower Mages looked concerned from their position in the back of the battlements and began to move forward. A Tower Mage stepped forward, Lilandtar, his face haughty, and cast a summons. A flame atronach. He smiled and nodded to the Daedric hordes in arrogance. He could still summon.

    Satisfaction turned to horror when the atronach began to fire flames at the other Tower Mages, causing them to scatter. Lilandtar was horrified.  This was not supposed to happen, summonses were under their control! They managed to subdue the atronach with blasts of frost magicks, but the realization hit them hard. They could no longer summon and the soldiers were without weapons. Where was Archmagister Rynandor?

    Bet’s booming laughter could be heard from deep within the ranks of Daedra, sending chills through the Altmer ranks.  He cried out to the army of Crystal-Like-Law. His voice, a roar echoing throughout the battlements.

    “Now that we have your attention! Watch and know true fear!” 

    Bet grabbed one of the Altmer prisoners and made his way to the edge of the Tower battlements while the soldiers, mages, and trolls looked on, dragging the Mer across the dusty ground, the brittle grass cutting into the Altmer's skin. He then hoisted the Altmer into the air like a child's doll and threw him roughly to the ground, holding him firmly with one great armored hand. They watched in horror as he began to flay him alive with his war axe, starting at the chest. The high-pitched screams resonated throughout the Tower, and the Altmer inside trembled. And then Bet suddenly stopped, looked up and watched, the Altmer below him trying to crawl away, his blood staining the dry grass red as he tried to hold his skin to his chest. He sensed a presence. There was calm amid the terror. From where? Bet's glowing eyes watched the Tower as two Altmer appeared.

    The first was a final Tower Mage. Much older than the others, with a long, light blond beard and dark, plain robes. His great lined face calm and serene. Bet snarled and spat upon the ground, this one was no summoner.

    Walking with the Tower Mage was a lone soldier, clad in heavy silver plate armor, a circlet of silver upon his head. He glowed with healing magicks and then Bet noticed the hair. Long, silver-white hair. He was pale and terrible, like the morning… On his cuirass was a light grey cloak bearing the symbol of their cursed Elven God-Kng. The sworn enemy of the Daedra. Auri-El. This Pale Elf was His Priest! His Paladin!

    Bet roared in defiance and dragged the crawling Altmer back to him to continue his gruesome work, signaling his brethren to do the same. They then mercilessly grabbed prisoners by the hundreds while the Tower Battlements watched, dumbfounded. The prisoners’ screams were deafening, and the dry ground finally knew moisture after so many days of drought and heat. But moisture of a most perverse kind, for it was not water that quenched its thirst, but blood.  The ground was now a vast, shallow sea of blood under a burning sky.

    Red upon red.

    Those that had finished flaying began to eat their victims or feed them to their beasts or impale them onto their dreaded black machines. But, as they desecrated the bodies of countless Altmer, Bet began to retreat slowly back into his horde, the flesh of his Altmer still dripping from his chin. He saw him coming, the Pale Elf.  He did not stop. While the Pale Elf’s comrades were stunned and unable to move, he was approaching from the Tower, crossing the battlements, along with the Tower Mage, and later they were joined by a white troll. The Elf’s gait was brisk, his face painted white, his eyes blazing with Holy fire. Bet had never before seen such eyes. While the other soldiers watched in horror, some vomiting, others fainting, this Elf remained steadfast and closed in.

    Bet continued to retreat back slowly, this one had no fear, but it would soon be over. Like all the others, he would be unable to conjure a weapon and the massacre would begin. He belched loudly and threw the remains of the Altmer to the ground, his craving for blood and flesh barely quenched. He readied his axe. The Pale Elf still approached. Unrelenting, still showing no traces of fear. Bet then watched as the impossible happened, a great golden bow was readied by the Pale Elf as he continued his approach.

    He had a weapon!

    The Daedra stared at each other in surprise. He had a weapon! The Tower Mage then raised his glowing hands, and suddenly revealed were great stores of weapons scattered about the battlements. The Old Mage’s hands then began to glow with a pale greenish light and he was joined by other Tower Mages at the front of the line, their hands also glowing with the same light.  Then they cast their magicks, the Tower Mages of Crystal-Like-Law, releasing it upon the Elven soldiers. As if released from a nightmare, the soldiers began to quickly gather the revealed weapons, taking up arms, their spirits renewed, as their companion trolls formed ranks close behind. Then together, the Altmer cried out, their voices as deafening as the screams of their brethren had been earlier, their weapons raised in defiance.


    It was then that the Pale Elf stopped walking, just beyond the line of Tower Mages. Alone and still without fear.  His stance defiant, bow equipped with a golden arrow, his eyes burning with fury as his silver-white hair blew in the hot breeze. Bet watched as the Pale Elf then drew his great, golden bow, and cried fiercely as he let his arrow fly, his voice like thunder.

    “BET! Foul demon from Coldharbour. I, Äelberon of Dusk, Eagle of Auri-El, challenge YOU!”

    The Daedric army followed the arrow's path as it flew far past their ranks. Its mark was true, landing right at Bet’s feet. And the Daedra, for the first time, felt fear. Bet let out a bellowing roar, his eyes wild with rage at the insult, readying his axe.

    The challenge was accepted.


    Requiem allows for the construction of elemental arrows. Feather-falling is a spell from Requiem's Alteration school that negates falling damage for 60 seconds. 

    Straag Rod Book 1 ToC

    Chapter V    Chapter VII


73 Comments   |   SpottedFawn and 3 others like this.
  • Caladran
    Caladran   ·  June 21, 2019
    Amazing chapter! I loved Albee's moment with the young noble and the
    Arch-Mage preparing Albee for the fight. The walk toward Bet was like a
    cinematic and epic for me. :)
  • ilanisilver
    ilanisilver   ·  March 13, 2018
    Very cool to see the Oblivion Crisis from another province’s point of view. Th scene with Äelberon and Vingalmo gets played out by me and my husband anytime we’re somewhere high. He’s terrified of heights, and I love them, so he goes out with me whenever ...  more
    • The Long-Chapper
      The Long-Chapper
      Very cool to see the Oblivion Crisis from another province’s point of view. Th scene with Äelberon and Vingalmo gets played out by me and my husband anytime we’re somewhere high. He’s terrified of heights, and I love them, so he goes out with me whenever ...  more
        ·  March 13, 2018
      It was one of the hardest set of chapters to write. The source material is scant, a couple of sentences here, a few there. Literally building a world on a glass foundation, or crystal, lol! ESO does much to fill that gap by letting you visit Auridon, but ...  more
  • KingsOfOld
    KingsOfOld   ·  March 23, 2017
    I hope that you will see this.  I believe there is a small font issue here.  Up til this point I could read the font because of its color...but not here.  So I hope this can be fixed, because I am loving the story thus far!
    • The Long-Chapper
      The Long-Chapper
      I hope that you will see this.  I believe there is a small font issue here.  Up til this point I could read the font because of its color...but not here.  So I hope this can be fixed, because I am loving the story thus far!
        ·  March 23, 2017
      Yes, I recently changed my blog format, but perhaps some blogs were not changed. I have fixed it now. Glad you are enjoying the story and thanks for bringing this to my attention.  :)
      • KingsOfOld
        The Long-Chapper
        The Long-Chapper
        The Long-Chapper
        Yes, I recently changed my blog format, but perhaps some blogs were not changed. I have fixed it now. Glad you are enjoying the story and thanks for bringing this to my attention.  :)
          ·  March 23, 2017
        No problem at all, and thank you for such an interesting tale!
  • The Long-Chapper
    The Long-Chapper   ·  November 14, 2015
    Thanks, Spotted Fawn. Means a lot. I sometimes wish I had not written this so early in Albee's tale, but it needed to told. Summerset is revisited several times. 
  • SpottedFawn
    SpottedFawn   ·  November 14, 2015
    This chapter was amazing! I am such a sucker for nice dramatic, cinematic, action scenes! The scene with his mother was so touching, and Albee is just so GOOD at heart that I can't help but hope everything works out for him. I love the contrast between Äe...  more
  • The Long-Chapper
    The Long-Chapper   ·  October 9, 2015
    Again, thank you. I still encounter mistakes as well, but I try to fix them when I notice them.
  • Rhoth
    Rhoth   ·  October 9, 2015
    I have a few minor nitpicks and spelling mistakes I've noticed, but the chapters I've read so far are more polished and more interesting that some published novels I've read.
  • The Long-Chapper
    The Long-Chapper   ·  October 9, 2015
    Thanks Rhoth. Oh no! I like writing, but no, no, no, no professional for me. Already have a job I love doing. This is purely for fun.  But thank you for the kind words. 
  • Rhoth
    Rhoth   ·  October 8, 2015
    Excellent chapter! Loved the byplay with Rynandor and Aelberon's mother.

    Have you ever thought about writing professionally?
  • Exuro
    Exuro   ·  September 14, 2015
    No worries. Now introducing the new line of TES themed Hallmark cards! I would buy, lol.