Straag Rod: Book 1, Part 1, Chapter VII


    Battle for Crystal-Like-Law, 3E 433


    Lathenil of Sunhold could not contain his tears when he heard the battle cry of the Pale Elf. It was a cry of defiance that rang throughout the Tower. He had challenged Bet. He had challenged the Demon of Coldharbour. The Beast that left only death in its wake. The Beast that made everyone else flee. This lone soldier. Lathenil watched from a position at one of the Tower’s many balconies and he was not alone. Many Altmer had gathered when they heard the screams of their brethren. Many then lamented and fainted when they saw the horrific crimes committed against them. And then they saw the Archmagister and the Pale Elf leave the Tower, descend its steps, and enter the battlements. No, Lathenil's tears were not tears of anguish, but of hope. That despite all the horrors of these many, many days, the defenders of Crystal-Like-Law still stood proud. He closed his eyes and blinked to focus his vision, coughing to clear his throat in the dry air. And then his eyes widened.


    “Gods…” Whispered Nelecar who was standing next to him. “He’s… he’s charging towards them. Alone…”


    Lathenil’s jaw dropped and he turned to Nelecar.


    Äelberon charged towards the Daedric hordes at full speed, a flurry of silver armor and golden arrows. He found weaknesses in their armor where none existed. His fellow soldiers followed his example and rushed at the Daedric army, their faces contorted in rage. And the Daedra fell, by the hundreds. Äelberon had only one objective, Bet.


    Bet continued to back up slowly, deeper into the mass of Daedra. If the Pale Elf wanted him, he was going to have to battle his way to him. Äelberon saw the Beast’s actions and scowled, as he brought down a Clanfear with a well-aimed arrow through the eye. “Coward! Do not hide behind your hordes, child of Coldharbour, face ME!” He growled, raising his bow to the air in defiance. “By Auri-El, I WILL clear a path to you! Even if I have to walk upon your very armies!”


    They gasped from their vantage points in the Tower when they saw what the Pale Elf did next. True to his word, he ran at full speed towards a winged Deadroth and with the sure-footedness of a Khajiit, he climbed the reptilian demon, and balanced upon its broad shoulders before shooting an arrow through its skull. As the Deadroth fell, he lept from it and landed lightly upon a Dremora’s shoulders, pausing just long enough to shoot it behind the neck where there was a gap in the armor, before leaping to his next victim. All the while inching closer to Bet. The Daedra tried to catch him, but he moved too quickly; dodging their fire and frost attacks, his grey cloak and hair following the momentum of his movements. Those that did not fall to his bow, fell when they hit each other in their attempts to strike him down with blade and magicks. Other Elves began to follow suit with the battle tactic, including Vingalmo, taking advantage of the Daedra’s slower speed. If they dodged the enemies in time, they’d fire upon themselves.


    Vingalmo lept upon a Daedra and aimed his fireball at a Dremora captain, leaping deftly onto another pair of shoulders as an ice spike was about to hit him, killing the daedra he was on top of instead. He saw Äelberon in the distance. He had but five arrows left. Vingalmo thought quickly as he slashed the throat of another Daedra with his Elven sword. He retrieved a full quiver from a fallen archer and again found his friend. “Aelberon! CATCH!” Tossing the quiver of arrows.


    Aelberon lept and caught the quiver midair. He nodded quickly to Vingalmo, his hair windblown, and resumed his shooting.  


    “Behind you!” Vingalmo cried.


    Aelbron swung his bow rapidly as he turned, knocking the Clanfear hard to the muddy ground. And then his eyes found Bet. He was to the distance, amid a sea of Elves and Daedra. As if in his own realm. The Beast had a struggling Elf in his grasp and bit down hard on the Elf’s neck, tearing her throat open. Äelberon watched as Bet drained the Elf dry and then tossed her away like a stone. She landed like a sack of potatoes upon the blood-drenched, brittle grass next to a growing pile of his dead brethren, their throats also torn open.  Bet then turned to the pile and leered. “Rise. Rise and fight for me. For Molag Bal.”


    Äelberon’s young eyes then witnessed something that he would never forget. The dead Altmer began to rise, taking up arms for the Daedric hordes as vampires.  Bet caught Äelberon’s gaze and their eyes met. Bet licked his lips as he smiled, his tongue a bluish black. He would enjoy turning the Pale Elf.


    “Go my new children, kill the Pale Elf.” He commanded, reveling in his might.


    Elves that were once his close comrades now turned toward Äelberon, their eyes black, their faces pale, and headed straight for him;  an army of the undead. He calmly slung his bow upon his broad back, and drew his sword as his left hand began to glow with the light of the dawn.  


    Rynandor saw that Äelberon had stopped moving as the assault against the Daedra continued. What was he watching? The Mage moved closer, dodging attacks and shooting Daedra with powerful elemental magicks, Lilandtar not far behind. They then saw Äelberon in the distance draw his sword against other Eves? What was this trickery? Why was Äelberon killing his own people? Why were his own people attacking him? Rynandor then saw the young warrior harness the power of the sun, casting its magicks upon his fellow Elves and Rynandor knew.


    They were undead.


    Gods! Bet was using the fallen against them. Turning them into vampires. And then he saw Äelberon sheathe his sword and raise both hands in the air, his gauntleted hands glowing with a bright, white light, as Vingalmo sped towards him, looking over his shoulder in fear as he ran. With force Äelberon brought his hands down and the spell was cast. A  shimmering circle was cast about him. Rynandor sucked in his breath. He had not taught him those spells. No, he was teaching the youngling the beginnings of Alteration...


    They spent hours in Rynandor’s study, using spells to move objects around. Little things at first, like septims and pebbles, for Äelberon had never done anything like that before.   Rynandor had laughed like a fool, when the boy surprised him by selecting an apple from a bowl and moving it across the room to where he sat, making the septim he was supposed to be moving drop to the floor. He smiled as he took a large bite, claiming he had been hungry. Such a fondness for apples, Rynandor sighed. Äelberon had been doing so well, and then the skies began to burn, and they had to stop. But no, what Rynandor witnessed now were not the simple spells of an apprentice. No, these were the Divine magicks of the Restoration school. The Holy magicks. Even he did not know such spells and Rynandor looked away briefly in awe.  


    “Vigalmo!” Aelberon cried. “Run, quickly! To me!”


    Vingalmo sped toward Äelberon, his legs moving swiftly, dodging attacks from both Daedra and the undead. A Dremora swung his battle axe at Vingalmo, and Vingalmo dodged by leaning back as he slid into the protective circle. Lilandtar set the Dremora aflame with a fireball spell. Safe within the circle, Äelberon and Vingalmo watched the undead gather around them. They were surrounded, their only protection the aura. Vingalmo then watched his friend harness the sun’s fire and target the undead that had gathered. Alright, Vingalmo thought as he watched them burst into flames, sometimes, being a Priest had its advantages. Vingalmo turned to his friend. Xarxes' arse, they both looked terrible, faces cut and bruised. Äelberon had a nasty cut over his left eye and Vingalmo could feel the blood trickle from his nose. It was broken. He was going to need a face sculptor badly if he survived this. 


    “You’ve been practicing.”


    Äelberon nodded slowly, a very slight smile on his lips. “Restoration, it would seem, is a perfectly valid school of magic.”


    Vingalmo grinned and slapped his friend’s back hard as they watched Lilandtar and Rynandor bathe the remaining soulless minions in fire; while Fal tore the heads off others.


    When the Circle dissolved, Äelberon took gazed upon Vingalmo. He had come so close to losing his best friend, and then his eyes found Bet again. He could feel his rage building. No, Bet would turn no more of his People.  Äelberon walked quickly to Bet, drawing his sword and reaching for his gilded shield. It was time to end this.


    Vingalmo grabbed Äelberon by the shoulder when he saw him head towards the Beast of Coldharbour. No! “Äelberon, no!” Vingalmo cried. “You’ll die!”


    Äelberon shrugged off Vingalmo’s hand and continued, striking down Daedra and undead with a might Vingalmo had never seen before. His silver armor quickly becoming covered in their blood. His body still glowing from his healing magicks. His face was now not the kindly face of his dear friend, but a face dark with rage. Dark with something else. As if seeing the suffering of his fellow Altmer made something in him snap. Vingalmo watched in awe as his friend brought down Daedra after Daedra. Gods, they were running from him. He blinked hard and coughed. It was as if Trinimac had been reborn. Auri-El’s great Knight. But Äelberon was no god, he was just an Elf. Vingalmo panicked as Äelberon approached the Demon of Coldharbour.  No, he was going to die!  Vingalmo rushed to Rynandor and Lilandtar, his face contorted with worry. Why weren’t they stopping him? They were just watching.


    “Masters! It’s suicide! You can’t let him!” He yelled, pointing to his friend. No, he was still killing his way towards Bet!


    Archmagister Rynandor stared into the young Elf’s eyes. His words shocked the youngling to his very core. “It is his destiny.”


    Worry turned to anger as Vingalmo shoved the Archmagister hard, knocking him to the ground. No one in the history of the Crystal Tower had ever dared strike a Mage, let alone the Archmagister and Lilandtar's eyes blazed with fury. He was ready to kill for this insubordination, as he charged his fireball. Rynandor waived his hand for Lilandtar to stand down and slowly got up.


    Vingalmo stared at the Archmagister in disbelief, why was he so calm? He was sending his best friend to death?! He could feel tears welling in his eyes. He was terrified for Äelberon.


    Rynandor, sensing Vingalmo’s panic, put his hand on his shoulder and met the young Elf’s anguished stare, as the battle raged about them, as the screams of falling Daedra and Altmer rang in their ears. Vingalmo's eyes met the Old Mage’s wise, golden ones and felt time slow as Rynandor spoke gently, barely a whisper, yet with resolve. “Vingalmo of Cloudrest, I, Archmagister Rynandor the Bold, Seer-mage of Crystal-Like-Law, promise you that your friend will survive this. The Gods smile on him. He is chosen of Auri-El, he is the Eagle of our People. He... He is…” Rynandor paused, looking away for a moment, and then said what his soul wanted to say. “He is now the Stone of the Tower.”


    Lilandtar furrowed his brow. What the Oblivion was his old friend babbling about now? The heat was clearly getting to him. Rynandor continued, his gaze intensifying, and Lilandtar suspected that he was in the throes of one of his visions again, for his eyes were glazed and far away.


    “He was born for this and born… born for many things hereafter. He will know great triumph.” Rynandor's face suddenly darkened with profound sadness as the giant, black-winged beast again appeared before his eyes, its mouth spouting flame. “And he will know great tragedy. But he will live. He will endure. He has already endured for so long. Thousands of years. Thousands.  I do not understand, but thousands. So old, so terribly old, and now trapped. Trapped. Bound. I... I... I have seen it and it will be so.” He squeezed Vingalmo’s shoulder gently and his golden eyes regained their focus.


    Vingalmo shook his head in disbelief. Nothing the Old Mage said made any sense to him. He was just Äelberon of Dusk. Just a son of poor soldiers. They lived in a simple house in a grotto by the Sea. They were good people, but he knew the most powerful families in Summerset, Ronnie wasn’t any of these things. He was just Ronnie, and he was only forty-two. Not thousands of years? “I don’t understand.” Stammered Vingalmo.


    “Neither do I.” Replied Lilandtar, “But I think we’d best serve old Steel Plate by clearing him a path to this Beast, eh? If the Archmagister says he's going to kill the Bastard, well then he's going to kill the Bastard.” He shook Rynandor’s shoulder. “Archmagister? Right?“


    Rynandor shook his head to clear it and faced his friend. “Aye,” He said softly with a nod. He could still see the black winged beast in his mind. Gods, now was not the time for such visions. And he saw a red jewel at the Temple of the One… Rynandor shook his head again.


    Vingalmo drew his sword, and with a fierce battle cry he joined the two wizards as they rushed into the fray, beating the Daedra to the ground. They were joined by several trolls, including Äelberon’s Fal. The trolls with wide sweeps of their arms, knocked Daedra onto their backs, or they grabbed them and ripped off their heads. They could see Äelberon in the distance, he was now using his sword and shield, and his armor was awash with Daedric blood.  Bet was in his line of sight.


    The Beast was at work, creating undead for his army.  Äelberon ran a Daedra through with his sword and pressed forward. The other  Daedra began to shrink away from this Pale Elf, smelling the blood of their brethren that coated his armor. There was no stopping him. Bet lifted an Altmer soldier and was about to bite his neck, the soldier’s eyes wide with terror until he saw him. It was the Pale Elf, his shining armor catching the light of the waning Daedric fires. His sword was drawn, dripping thick with Daedric blood. His gilded shield had bits of Daedric flesh attached to it. His face was pale, the blood above his left eye a shocking contrast and his long hair blew in the hot breeze. His grey cloak was torn in places. But what struck the young soldier the most were the Pale Elf’s eyes. They were like fire as he looked right into the Demon’s eyes and spoke.


    “Drop him.”  Äelberon commanded.


    The soldier fell with a thud and began to crawl slowly away. Bet growled, spittle oozing from his snarling mouth. His breath rattling as he tightened his grip on his axe. He spit upon the floor. The enemy was here.


    “You’ve run from me long enough, Bet.” Äelberon spoke, his voice unwavering. “Now face me.”


    Äelberon readied his long sword, a glorious, shining weapon of an unusual alloy, with a carved blade, and a golden hilt with the motif of eagle wings, the beloved animal of their God-King. Borne upon his left hand was his great gilded shield, also bearing the motif of the Eagle. Bet growled and readied his war axe. They then circled each other; the darkness against the dawn…


    “Molag Bal enslaves. Molag Bal defiles. Molag Bal spawns children with the unwilling and harvests the souls of the unwary. He will harvest you…” 


    Äelberon clenched his jaw and answered.


    “Auri-El is the light of the world, the Soul of Anui-El, who is the soul of Anu, the Everything…” Bet roared when he heard the Holy words spoken. “The path has been laid. I will bring you to Auri-El’s light!”


    “DIE!!! Pig of Auri-El!” Screamed Bet as he raised his war axe.


    When they first saw Bet raise his great war axe and cry out as he prepared to deliver the blow, both Daedra and Altmer stopped fighting, and turned their heads to watch. The Daedra were confident, the Pale Elf would die and they would relish tearing his body apart and eating him in front of his People. The final act of humiliation before they profaned the Tower. No one, NO ONE withstood a blow from Bet’s war axe. It was blessed by Molag Bal himself and harnessed the very power of Coldharbour.  He brought down the axe and Äelberon raised his gilded shield to block the blow.


    The noise was deafening and echoed throughout the battlements and deep into the depths of the Tower, where the people of Summerset crouched in fear, farmers and nobles alike, waiting. They hung their heads in sadness, for no one could withstand such a blow. They were lost…


    Bet would break their Eagle's wings.


    Then, the impossible happened.


    For the first time in his life the Beast of Coldharbour knew fear, for Äelberon of Dusk had blocked the blow with his mighty shield arm, his own cry echoing in the battlefield. And the Altmer of Crystal-Like-Law felt a surge of hope. Äelberon then raised his long sword, and as he swung, he uttered a terrible speech, like rolling thunder. His eyes blazed like an inferno and his face was dark with righteous rage. He seemed to glow with the very light of the dawn.


    It was never known what he said, for even he did not know its meaning, but with that speech, the Daedric hordes suddenly fell to their knees screaming, so powerful was its force.  Rynandor’s hairs on the back of his head stood as he heard the ancient tongue and his eyes grew wide. It could not be… no Mer ever…


    “Zu'u los Kendaar-Sonaak do Auri-El, Kul do Krahstaaz! Zu'u los Ok Nahkriin ahrk Ok Uld! Zu'u Los Ok Aaz ahrk Ok Kun! Ko dii haal Zu'u gevild Ok Fen. Ko Ok Stahdim Faan, Zu'u nu fustir Hi wah hin Bormahro Suleyksejun!"


    And with those terrible words, the Beast of Coldharbour, Bet, the Bringer of Destruction, Son of the King of Rape, let out a piercing scream of agony and fell hard to his knees as Äelberon brought his sword down with a brutal swing upon the Beast’s neck, severing head from body. The Beast fell dead to the blood-soaked ground.


    It was over. 


    Äelberon dropped his weapon and knelt slowly, overcome as the energy left his body. He gazed to the distance, his eyes narrowing, his breath coming out in ragged gasps.  “Your will be done...” He whispered weakly.


    The Altmer began to rejoice, for in their eyes the battle was over. The Tower was saved. Lilandtar patted Rynandor on the shoulder as he laughed. “You were right! He did win, old friend.” He smiled, squeezing Rynandor’s thin shoulders, “Good old Steel Plate. Showed that Demon not to mess with a Dusken, eh? The Tower is safe. Let us finish with the rest of these hordes.” He then broke from Rynandor and hugged Vingalmo, knocking his helmeted head gently with his hand. “All is forgiven, boy. I promise I will not burn you to a crisp.”


    The two laughed, but Rynandor’s face was not joyful. He had turned his attention to Äelberon, who was still kneeling near the body of the Beast, his back turned. He walked to Äelberon and knelt next to him, ignoring the blood that now seeped into his robes. Äelberon was scanning the horizon, his eyes still blazing, but it was the boy’s face that took Rynandor aback. He touched Äelberon’s shoulder and turned the Mer slowly towards him.  It was no longer a young Mer’s face that faced his, but the face of one who had gone through years of anguish. The face was now lined, grim, and scarred with a short, silver-white beard, and bushy, silver brows; the shadows under his eyes were darker than any shadows Rynandor had ever seen.  But while the face was ravaged by time, the eyes showed great wisdom. It was a far older voice that then spoke to him. Deep and sad.


    “You cannot escape your fate...”


    Rynandor blinked, shaking his head, and was relieved when he again saw the Mer’s young face again, and the scars still fresh. Still able to be healed. The words never uttered. It had been in his mind. Thank Auri-El. “Äelberon,” Rynandor whispered, leaning in closer. “What is it? What do you see?”


    Äelberon turned slowly away from the Archmagister and faced the Horizon again. “Death. I see only Death.” His voice was dark, far away.


    Rynandor turned to the direction of Äelberon’s gaze and saw them in the distance. Closing in. Vast hordes, infinite hordes as far as the eye could see, bearing trebuchets and other war machines. The first battle had been but a mere skirmish to the Daedra. The horrible Bet, but a toy sent to distract them. He scanned the battlements frantically, so few Altmer were left.


    The Tower would fall, and his heart sank…



    257… 257 soldiers, 10 mages, and 34 trolls. That was all that remained of their once vast force. And they were looking at him, their eyes searching him for the answers. And he had none. Only Äelberon did not look at him. The young Mer had unstrung his bow after the fighting, setting the grand weapon down gently with his other weapons and now, he was looking at something else. At one of the damaged machines left by the Daedra. A Catapult that used a counterweight system. He lifted a broken support beam and began to measure it against the machine, he then began to scour the battle field for a similar piece of wood. There was a destroyed machine close by and he harvested wood from it, pulling it off with a mighty tug. He turned to Rynandor.


    “Archmagister, how long do you think we have?” He asked.


    “Hours… maybe a day.” Replied Rynandor.


    Äelberon gestured to the machines. “If we repair them, we can stall for time.” He then looked back at the tower. “And they can escape.”


    A soldier got up, her face bruised and swollen, eyes burning with rage and fear, and she screamed.


    “What do we know of these machines? We can’t fix them, we’re soldiers! I’m not an engineer, I do not know!”


    She fell to her knees and faced Äelberon, her voice shaking with sobs. “I am not Äelberon of Dusk! I am not the great Slayer of Bet! I’m just a soldier and I don’t want to die here today!”


    “Then go to the Tower and wait with the children like the coward you are!” Snapped Lilandtar, charging a firebolt spell as he rushed towards the soldier. “Go, now! Before I kill you and you DO die here today!”


    “Fine, I will, and may the Gods take you all to Oblivion!” The soldier left, heading back to the Tower, throwing her weapons hard to the ground, sobbing in fear and humiliation at her failure.


    Rynandor was moved and turned to the soldiers. They were covered in filth; daedric blood, Altmeri blood, mud, gore, and soot. Their faces were hard and worried. He needed to speak, he needed to give them the choice. He raised his hand to get their attention and they fell silent. Äelberon leaned against one of the machines, standing out against the blackness of it.


    “This is no longer about winning a glorious battle.” Rynandor began, “That time has long passed.” He bent his head, choosing his next words carefully. “This is a time where we decide if our people survive or not. Do the Sundered Children of Anu meet the same fate as the Snow Elves, the Dwemer? Sure, we can choose to run now, but they will chase us down, and they will slaughter us all, or worse. Or… we can choose to make a last stand here at Crystal-Like-Law, while our People flee. It may not work, but I would die at peace knowing that they had a fair head start.” Rynandor paced about the ground, while the other Altmer watched him. “This is a difficult thing to ask you, and if you do not wish to do this, I will bear no ill will and I will not call you a coward.” He said throwing a sharp glance at Lilandtar, who crossed his arms over his chest and looked away. “If you are NOT afraid, then you are one of them!” He gestured sharply to the piles of undead. “You are mindless and have no soul.  Fear, fear for our lives… Fear…” And he looked at Äelberon, his gaze turning tender, “for the lives of those we love… that… THAT is what makes us brave.” He continued, “This IS suicide. But a suicide so that our people may live on… so that they may endure. If you do not wish to die here, then the Tower is there and you may go inside and wait for our signal. And I will still count you among the brave for the service you have done today. You have done more than enough for a thousand Altmeri lifetimes. In these days of  burning skies, in this Great Anguish, you have made our ancestors so very proud.”


    Thirty-seven Altmer went inside the Tower and took their places among the waiting. Archmagister Rynandor faced the remnants and then turned to Äelberon, gesturing to the machines.


    “Can we repair these?”


    “I cannot repair them, Archmagister. I lack the skill.” And Äelberon took a weary breath as he continued, his eyes sad, “but… I know someone who can.”


    Vingalmo stared at his friend, his own face long. No, not her. Anybody but her.


    “Fetch her then.” Commanded the Archmagister.


    Äelberon nodded, his shoulders stooped, and he disappeared into the Tower.



    He could not find her, his brows furrowed. She was supposed to be among the citizens, near the gates that led to the tunnels, but he could not find her. There were soldiers, the soldiers that were left, and they were following orders. The citizens gathering supplies, making ready to leave. But he did not see her. He began to panic, his eyes stinging with tears. Was there an accident?


    She saw him approach, his face wrought with anguish, the war paint streaked with sweat and tears. His eyes scanning frantically. Searching through the masses of Altmer gathering at the gates. His silver-white hair was tangled and matted in blood, his cuirass caked with dried blood and dirt. His grey cloak in shreds, a gash over his left eye.  She ran to him and threw her arms around him, crying out in relief, kissing his cheeks, ignoring the cut of metal against her skin when her helmet pressed into it from her movements. The other Altmer looked on at the display of affection and gone was the condemnation at seeing the two Duskens embrace. The Slayer of Bet was among them. He lived and his mother rejoiced.  


    “My son, my son,” She spoke, her voice shaking with sobs as she held him tightly to her, “When we heard the axe strike, we had lost all hope.” She looked up towards the heavens and cried out. “Praise Auri-El, my son lives! He lives! The light of my life lives! My everything, my child!”


    He was surprised and let out a hoarse cry, his own vision blurring with tears. At first he did not recognize the She-Elf that ran to him, throwing her arms around him. Until he heard her voice and smelled her as he held her and his heart knew relief and for a moment he was a little boy again, taking comfort in being held by her.


    She was in armor!


    That is why he did not recognize her. She was in armor, with her old bow slung on her back! Not in her work clothes, but her old armor.  Hers, along with his Ata's, were on display in their home. His had been gilded. Hers was much lighter, for like her son, in her fighting days, she was a bowmer. He grew up seeing them, running his fingers over the eagle motif that was etched into the metal.  He should have known. They held each other tightly for a while, he lifting her from the ground again, even as his bones cracked in protest. He did not care. She was safe. Where was her hair, he thought, furrowing his brow again.   Äelberon reached behind her back and was glad when he felt a single, long, thick braid. He sighed, still shaking from his own emotion.


    “Did you think I cut it?” She asked, sniffing and laughing through her tears as she attempted to kiss his cheek again. Confounded helmet made it very difficult!


    He set her down and took his dear Lenya’s hands in his, holding them tightly to his chest. “Forgive your son his stupidity. He is a bit of an oaf for not recognizing his own lenya.” He replied softly. Äelberon looked at her, his eyes full of pride. “It still fits?”


    “Aye. We decided together that I would bring my armor to the Tower as he wore his defending Dusk.” She replied and then nodded in admittance, a twinkle in her eye, “Though I did have to widen your Ata’s cuirass a bit. Too much sugar has made him fat, the old bastard.” His eyes widened suddenly at her coarse language and they both laughed. But it was a laughter tinged with grief. She put her hand on his cheek when she heard him groan, his grief suddenly renewed. She hated that she touched his face with the cold metal of a gauntlet, but he didn’t seem to care and he closed his eyes at her touch, leaning against her hand. “He’s alright. I know he is." She soothed. "We are going to get through this. I know it. Ronnie, look at me.” He opened his eyes and met her gaze. “You slayed Bet, we can do anything. It is over.”


    “Lenya…” He said softly.


    Gods he looked so old just now. She sensed his sadness and grew silent. “My son does not share my joy. By the Gods, what is it?”


    “Come with me…” He whispered, his voice breaking slightly, “And do not let your eyes linger on what you see…” And he led her from the Tower.


    It was not over.



    He led her from the Tower and into the Battlements and she first felt the oppressive heat. When her eyes adjusted to the fiery light, they grew wide with horror, and her face grew pale. She let out a small gasp. All around her were the corpses of thousands upon thousands of Elves and Daedra. As far as her eyes could see. A shallow lake of blood replaced the parched earth. The black stumps of trees jutted from the ground like pikes. The sky churned with Daedric fire, and then she saw in the distance… Armies of them. Armies of them…


    Her breathing grew faster and she squeezed her son’s hand. It was Oblivion!


    It was... the Deadlands!


    “We will all die.” She whispered, terrified.


    His response surprised her. “Ne… ne… lenya, lenya aure, I will never let that happen. You will live.” He whispered, facing ahead, he squeezed her hand back, as he fought his own tears. He led her to the Archmagister.


    “Come my dear,” Gestured Rynandor, beckoning her to come to his hand. Ah, she had donned armor and Rynandor smiled slightly when he saw that she also bore a bow upon her back. The Duskens were a proud people.


    Äelberon let his lenya go, keeping his back turned. She could not see him like this. Vingalmo was also fighting tears. Äelberon walked to his friend and the two stood, side by side, and Vingalmo put his hand on Äelberon’s shoulder, as Äelberon bent his head, fighting hard to regain his composure. He took a deep breath, watching out of the corner of his eye his lenya walk slowly to Rynandor’s outstretched hand. 


    “You, my dear lady, have already done the Tower a great service.” Rynandor took her hand in his and gently squeezed. “Our victory today would not be possible without your work at the forge. Sometimes we forget that our greatest heroes are not always those of the battlefield, but those who make our battles even possible. But…” He lowered his head, his great lined face streaked with smoke and blood, his beard dirty and tangled. “This is no longer about a glorious victory. This is about survival. As many as there are that lie dead on this field, there are countless more within Crystal-Like-Law that still live. They will die if we cannot stall for time. We are going to give them that time.  These machines… these machines… ” He pointed to them, “Can you fix them, my lady? There are no engineers among us, only wizards, warriors, and trolls, but tell us what you need and we will help you.”


    She glanced at her son. He met her gaze and nodded, reassuring her.


    She walked to one of the machines slowly, scanning it with her eyes and the soldiers watched as the fear slowly left her face. Her back straightened, and she began to walk about the machine in earnest, studying it as if she had its schematics right in front of her. She looked up and found her son’s eyes. “Äelberon, can your men chop wood?”


    Her voice had a command that surprised even Rynandor. Yes, this was indeed the Lady of the Forge. He smiled.


    “Of course.” Äelberon replied with a nod.


    “Good, have your men gather with axes and I will be by shortly to explain the dimensions I require.” She turned to Rynandor, “Archmagister, how much time do I have?” 


    “Hours, maybe a day.”


    “If your men can follow directions, then I will be done in three hours.” She replied.



    It took precisely three hours. She was right. And the results of their combined labor were three working Daedric machines, Catapults.  Ten men and two trolls manned each catapult. They gathered great piles of weapons near each machine. Whatever was lying around and was sharp, Daedric, Elven, it mattered not. Lilandtar had disappeared to the Tower while they worked and when they finished, he was waiting for them, bearing a small cart filled with pouches of leather. He began to carefully distribute them among the soldiers manning the catapults.


    “Do not,” He said slowly to the soldiers, “drop them. This is some of my most potent stuff. Place it gently, and I mean gently, onto the catapult and please, for the love of Auri-El, aim it at the Daedra.” 


    The soldiers could not help themselves and laughed.


    “Is that your ENTIRE collection of elemental powders?” Asked Rynandor, turning to his old friend.


    “All of it. It’s not like I’ll be needing it anymore. Might as well put it to good use. Besides, I always fancied a good explosion.” Lilandtar shrugged, as Rynandor patted his shoulder.


    He was being extremely brave, but Rynandor knew he was thinking about his wife and two children at Cloudrest. Rynandor did not have family, save Anwe, and Anwe was part of the defense at Cloudrest, probably watching Lilandtar’s family for their families were quite close. Rynandor was very close to her, but they were not immediate family, so his sacrifice would be far easier to make. He had thought about telling Lilandtar to go into the Tower, but Lilandtar angry would be worse than an army of Daedra. If he had made the decision to die, he had made it. His thoughts were interrupted by his old friend’s voice.


    “I don’t even know if they are alive, Rynandor, so no, don’t send me to the Tower. They are probably dead, in which case, I have nothing to lose.” Lilandtar spoke as he crossed his arms over his chest. “Yes, I know you well enough that I knew that was what you were thinking.”


    But there was one person yet among them who did not deserve their fate. He squeezed Lilandtar’s shoulder and walked towards the Catapults. She was putting the finishing touches on the last one, her son bracing the wood with his strong arms as she tightened it. 


    “Knight-Paladin, may I speak with you a moment?” Rynandor asked.


    “Of course, Archmagister, Lenya?”


    She nodded, as Äelberon gestured to another soldier to brace the wood in his stead. He found his gear and slung his bow upon his back, taking care quickly to make sure the weapon was secure. There were so few arrows left, he would use sword and shield for the rest of the fight, but it was his bow. His bow made by her, he wanted if safe. It was the weapon that challenged Bet. He slew Bet. Don't think on that now, Äelberon chided himself. There is still so much more to do.


    He then gathered the rest of his gear, slinging his shield, sheathing his sword, before meeting with Rynandor who led him a short distance away. Lilandtar watched the pair as they whispered.


    “I have no desire for her to remain, Ronnie.” Rynandor whispered, “We have much less time than we think. They are coming.” He looked at Äelberon, “I do not, however, want her to be alone as she leads the people out of the Tower.”


    “Nandor, no.  I will stay at the Tower. I will not abandon my post.” He was resolute, and clutched the hilt of his long sword as he spoke. It was the first time he used Rynandor’s family name.


    “I know you would never abandon your post. As much as it is destroying you inside, as much as I know your heart is breaking,” Rynandor cleared his throat, quelling his building emotion, “you will never bloody abandon your post because you are the most stubborn Mer I have ever known.” His tone grew exasperated, “I curse all Duskens. Does she know?”


    “Yes.” Äelberon bent his head, “She has long sensed that when I became a Knight of the Crystal Tower, that it would come to this.” His tone then matched Rynandor’s. “She is as stubborn as I am, for you see that she now dons armor.  Our city is a stubborn city, Nandor. We will fight until we breathe our last. You knew this when you picked me. If I die knowing that she is safe and our people are safe, I am content. She will be the same, as was... is my Ata, who donned armor to protect Dusk." The young Elf's nostrils flared with pride and his Dusken accent thickened. "As are all who share the blood of my clan.”


    “Then I shall bestow upon you a gift, my great knight,” Rynandor paused, his voice breaking, “Damn it. My great friend.” He turned and gestured to the soldiers who were preparing for battle. “Which among the soldiers here would you trust with her life? I will give you whichever soldier you select and his sole purpose will be to protect her. For your service today. It is, I think, the only gift you would ever want. Her safety.  I wish… I wish I could spare more. If I had a legion, I would spare it.”


    “Vingalmo, I give him Vingalmo.” Interrupted Lilandtar, his face grim, as he came running over, panting in the heat. “Take him, he’s the best here, save you and he loves her like she is his own. He is the best protection she could ever possibly have.”


    “No, that is impossible.” Rynandor shook his head. “He is your own Knight Guard.”


    “Bah! I was about to kill the lad earlier today anyway. You! Steel Plate, you’ll be my Knight Guard. I think you’ll be enough for the both of us to share.” Lilandtar looked up at the large Mer, “You’re certainly large enough. Take Vingalmo, please. I am in agreement with Rynandor. You have done so much today. I want what you’ve done today to be worth something. It will be worth something if she lives. Please.” Rynandor tried to speak, but Lilandtar cut him off. “It’s settled, Vingalmo! Come here!”


    The youngling, who was helping other soldiers load piles of weapons next to one of the catapults, turned to Lilandtar. Rynandor set his jaw. He knew the sacrifice his dear friend had just made. “Yes, Master?”


    “Go with Äelberon, he has a special job for you." Lilandtar suddenly turned to Rynandor and narrowed his eyes. "Let’s go kill more Daedra, friend!” Lilandtar smacked Rynandor hard on the back and the pair headed to the front of the battlements to join the remaining mages.


    Vingalmo walked up to Äelberon. “What is it friend?”


    “Come with me, please.” His voice  heavy with sadness.


    Äelberon led Vingalmo to his lenya. She was now sitting on a tree stump at the edge of the battlements, watching the Daedric hordes from a distance, her face flushed and sweating from the heat. She had removed her gauntlets to make her work easier and he saw that her hands were now raw and blistered. 


    He would not have that.  


    He knelt slowly beside her and took her hands in his and squeezed them hard, kissing them, healing them one last time. She met his eyes. He looked so terribly old today. Then he kissed her forehead as he set her hands on her lap.


    “Put on your gauntlets, Lenya.” He said softly, their foreheads still pressed together.


    “To stubbornness.” She said, slipping them on.


    “Aye, to stubbornness.” He replied.


    “My little monster slayer.”


    He smiled at her words.


    “I slay the monsters and yet where are my damn honey nut treats?” He grumbled, “Xarxes' arse! They do not pay us nearly enough, do they?”


    “When you come home, you’ll have your fill of them.” She then smacked his back hard, “Don’t swear.”


    He took a deep breath and cleared his throat. He did not want to tear himself away from her. “Galmo…”


    Vingalmo knelt next to his friend, biting his lips, fighting tears. They were not supposed to cry, but... 


    “Guard her... with your life.” He said softly. Äelberon took Vingalmo’s hands and joined them with his Lenya’s. “She is your Lenya now.” he continued, regarding his best friend with red-rimmed eyes, “And you are my brother.”


    With those last words, he stood up and walked away from the two as the first shots from the Daedric war machines struck the battlements hard. They were here. With a fierce battle cry, Äelberon of Dusk, the Slayer of Bet, drew his sword and shield and turned to face the enemy. No, she would not die here!


    “Vingalmo!” He cried savagely as he moved away, cutting a scamp in half with one swipe of his sharp blade. “Bear her to the Tower! Keep her safe!”


    Vingalmo now knew his mission. He grabbed Äelberon’s lenya by the waist, pulling her away as more shots hit the battlements, closer to the Tower this time. The shots caused explosions of fire and smoke, the noise deafening as the remaining soldiers, wizards, and trolls gathered; readying themselves for their final stand. She screamed loudly for her son and tried to pull roughly away, but Vingalmo would not betray his friend, his brother. She beat his shoulders hard, demanding to be freed from his grasp, screaming in grief, but he did not yield.


    Her wails of anguish echoed hard in Äelberon’s ears as she and Vingalmo disappeared into the Tower…



    They formed a line of defense. Äelberon, Rynandor the Bold, and Fal the troll, were at the head. Lilandtar was in the back, in charge of the catapults. He was scanning the distance, waiting, his hand ready to send the signal.


    “Ready your catapults.” He commanded, his green eyes blazing.


    The trolls loaded the catapults with weapons, and finally upon each one was gently placed an elemental pouch. The first volley would be fire.


    “Steady,” He commanded.


    He was waiting for them to come into range. It was powerful stuff, but it was precious and he would not waste it for show. He was aiming for their machines. Destroy the machines and the battle would be easier.


    “Wait for it, wait for it… FIRE!” He brought his hand down hard.


    The catapults lurched, sending forth many sharp projectiles. Swords, axes, daggers, and pikes were flung into the air. Daedra were impaled, their screams of agony piercing in the hot breeze, and then the little pouches hit the ground. They were small, unassuming, but when they struck, the chemical reaction produced by the impact was such that they exploded into fireballs of immense size, swallowing machines and Daedra in billows of molten flame. 


    Rynandor looked back at his friend, and the soldiers cheered. They had sent a message, they would be fighting back. “Another volley,” Commanded Rynandor.


    “Of course, friend.” Lilandtar turned to his men, his air confident. “Last time we roasted them, let us now freeze them!  Load the Catapults!”


    Again screams from the Daedra as the raining elven metal pierced their armor. Those that were not hit, ignored the ice that built around them, making light of Lilandtar’s second batch of pouches. Until they tried to move. Limbs severed from bodies as the frozen powder did its work, making limbs brittle like glass. The targeted Daedra fell in pieces upon the battlefield. Unable to even scream. Lilandtar gazed upon the grisly scene with intense satisfaction, tilting his chin slightly upwards in defiance.


    Another wave of Daedric missiles suddenly rocked the battlements, and the earth shook, scattering the Altmer as they dodged the fires. In the aftermath, one catapult lay in ruins, its force destroyed, their bodies torn to pieces from the impact. Rynandor scanned the smoldering battlements. Lilandtar was towards the back, on his knees, clutching the stump that was his left arm, his face contorted in pain. Äelberon was already running to him, sword sheathed. He picked up the wounded Tower Mage and carried him a distance away. Rynandor ran to his friend, kneeling beside him. The wound was gruesome, and Lilandtar was very pale.


    “No, no, no, I’m fine.” Lilandtar gasped. “Tell Steel Plate to not make such a fuss. I still have one arm left.  I can still command the volleys.”


    “No,” Replied Rynandor, “Äelberon, take him to the Tower.”


    “I WILL not go!” Snapped Lilandtar, his green eyes bright with anger. “I refuse. You cannot make me go. I am still of use. You need me to aim the catapults. You need Steel Plate to fight and shove his sword up as many Daedric arses as possible! You cannot do this all on your own, Rynandor. I am with you until the bitter end, so slap a healing spell on this stump, and let’s finish this.” He waved his stump impatiently, his face grimacing in pain, “Steel Plate, make yourself useful, please.”


    Äelberon managed a slight smile at this old Elf, for he was an incredible Mer. Lilandtar of Cloudrest.  Lilandtar, the Silver-tongued. Lord of House Larethian, if not the oldest or the most powerful, it was the wealthiest house in all of Cloudrest. Husband to the most beautiful She-Elf in Cloudrest and father to two young, young children at an age when most Altmer were very much done with having children. The Tower Mage coughed hard and the pair saw the blood foam at his mouth. Rynandor nodded at Äelberon and his hand glowed, running it over Lilandtar’s stump and with great effort he managed to stop the bleeding, but moreover, he stopped the pain, and the old Elf’s face began to relax. With a sharp exhale, Äelberon dropped his hand.


    “You’ve been practicing, Steel Plate. That feels fabulous. Now help me up, you two. I’ve volleys to command and I can still cast with one hand. Get back to the front and make yourselves useful.”


    The pair pulled Lilandtar up, and he slowly made his way back to the remaining catapults, his back straight. Rynandor stared at Äelberon, they both knew he was dying.


    “Now that was insulting, wasn’t it, Mer?” Lilandtar turned to his remaining men at the catapults, “and I won’t stand for insults.” He then gestured to his ornately embroidered robe with his good hand, now stained with blood and soot. “And they ruined this robe! My FAVORITE robe! Do you know how much this robe cost?”


    They shook their heads.


    “It cost more than your yearly salaries, that’s how much it cost. Well, that insult to both me and my tailor will cost them dearly.  It is now time for my favorite.” He grinned maliciously, his brows furrowing in defiance. “…lightning.” His voice finding strength. “Load the catapults!” 


    They piled the catapults with weapons at his command and then upon each was loaded a single, small pouch, each adorned with a purple satin ribbon. He always fancied the color purple. It was his wife's favorite as well. He took a deep breath, not now. 


    “Wait… On my signal… FIRE!”


    Another volley shot through the sky and more screams as weapons came crashing down. The lightning magic was the most potent. It hit a target and then cruelly bounced to another target, and then another. The chain lightning spread throughout a large radius, frying Daedra from the insides, their armor filling with putrid smoke as their bodies burned from within. The smaller scamps caught in the lightning’s path simply disintegrated into piles of ash.  Lilandtar smiled, the Daedra would win today, but it would cost them dearly. He had 10 pouches left. Enough for 5 more volleys.


    “Load the cata--“


    A terrible explosion shook the earth as Daedric missiles hit the battlements, its force knocking most of the Elves hard to the ground. Another catapult fell, and the Altmer were down to one. Lilandtar slowly got up, blood in his mouth and ears, his head reeling from the impact. He turned to his final team, his face in a rage.


    “Load the catapult! Put it all in. No more saving. This is our last volley. Make it count. Aim for their captain.” He hissed.


    They saw him in the distance, a great Dremora Lord. He was no Bet, but eliminating him would bring down the morale of the Daedric forces. He took his aim carefully, his eyes blurred with pain, gritting his teeth.


    “Wait… Wait… Easy… FIRE!”


    The final volley of the Elves was a cataclysmic combination of fire, ice, and lightning, spreading through a huge radius, and shaking the ground with incredible force. An Elven greatsword impaled the Dremora captain and his screams filled the ranks of Daedra as they themselves were engulfed in flames, ripped apart by ice, or electrocuted. The destruction was immense and when the smoke finally cleared after some hours, their forces were greatly diminished.


    The Altmer began to regain hope. Despite incredible odds, this tiny Altmeri force had managed yet again to thwart a mighty Daedric army. Emboldened, the remaining soldiers, mages, and trolls, let by the Slayer of Bet, let out a fierce cries and charged their enemies, bringing death to the remaining Daedric hordes.


    Mehunes Dagon grew impatient; it was time to bring down this Tower, and in retaliation, He set wider the gates, allowing more Daedra to pass through. It was time to bring the Sundered Children of Anu to their knees, for their arrogance and pride. But he felt his time grow short as His eyes rested upon Cyrodiil.


    There was a Septim...



    Äelberon was kneeling beside Fal, the great snow troll. It whimpered softly while his Master gently petted him. There was no hope; the troll lay disemboweled on bloody mud, its breathing coming in labored gasps, its rattling lungs quickly filling with liquid. He had tried in vain to heal the wounds, but it was too much and Äelberon’s shoulders stooped from the great effort. All he could do was provide comfort. He wiped the sweat from his brow, and he turned when he heard Rynandor’s voice.


    “Ah no… Not Fal.” Rynandor knelt beside Äelberon, “I am so sorry.”


    They both looked horrible. Äelberon’s armor was no longer silver, but a strange mud-red color, so caked it was with Daedric blood and gore. He had unbound his blood-matted hair and it was now in a loose braid, the ceremonial leather stained red. The top-knot was probably causing him pain, Rynandor thought. He didn’t blame the boy for wanting to be comfortable. The white war paint was gone and Rynandor couldn’t quite tell how much of the blood on his face was Daedric, or his own. It was Äelberon’s hands that surprised the mage the most. He had removed his gauntlets to try to treat the troll. Huge bruises covered his shield hand and arm, black, purple, and blue against the whiteness of his skin. His sword hand was not much better, rubbed raw in places from his grip on the weapon. He had not even bothered to heal himself.


    “Where is Lilandtar?” Äelberon asked his eyes weary, continuing to gently stroke the troll’s shaggy fur.  He looked up and met the Old Mage’s gaze. One arm of Ryandor’s indigo robe was torn off, exposing the thin golden arm underneath. The Mage had several cuts and bruises on his face and hands and bits of his beard were burned off. His had lost his Mage’s hood hours ago and his short hair was exposed to the wind. It stuck straight up, and in all of this mess Äelberon found himself grinning. “You look like you were struck with one of Master Lilandtar's shock powders.”


    Rynandor chuckled and tried to flatten his hair. It was under a bloody hood all the time, he never cared how it looked. “Not everyone can have such pretty hair.” Rynandor joked, grabbing Äelberon’s long braid.


    Äelberon smiled, his ata used to grab his braid like that. 


    Rynandor gave it a friendly tug and then let go turning towards the battlements. “Lilandtar is resting, but he will need another spell again soon, the pain is returning. He is dying.” Rynandor looked to the distance and sighed. “They are coming.”


    “I know,” Äelberon’s voice was far away.


    The troll let out a slow exhale and died. Äelberon bit his lip and closed Fal’s three eyes, his head bent in grief. Tower Mage and Knight-Paladin were silent for a few moments, honoring the passing of Fal, the Tower’s mightiest of Troll Guardians. “How many are left?” Äelberon asked after some silence, turning to face his dear friend, as he slipped his gauntlets back on.


    “On their side… Thousands upon thousands of Daedra in all shapes and sizes, wielding massive machines of destruction. On our side… No trolls, 56 soldiers, two mages, and one Äelberon of Dusk.”


    “I like those odds.”


    The two Mer shared another chuckle.


    “Ah, if you weren’t a priest, Ronnie, I’d get you drunk on Shimmerene wine right about now. And bring you to the best brothel in Alinor.”


    “That will not be necessary.”


    “Still, even now?”


    “Even now.” Äelberon smiled.


    “You do not miss it?”


    “One does not miss what one does not know.” The Elf smiled again.


    “Auri-El better appreciate your fortitude.” Rynandor retorted. It was met with another knowing chuckle. Impending death were making the Elves almost silly. Well, Rynandor smiled, they could either cry or laugh. It pleased him that the predominant emotion in the battlements was not despair, but great resolve with occasional touches of humor. These Elves were of fine stock. The lot of them. “But to have never known the touch of a She-Elf. To have never known love?” Rynandor continued.


    Äelberon turned to him, his expression slightly surprised. “But Rynandor, what does it matter to touch if there is no love behind it? And you are wrong… I DO know love. Love of family, love of friends.” He gestured to the sky, “Love of Auri-El. What did you think the motivation for all that I have done today was? It was my love for these things.”

    The wise words took Rynandor aback. The wisdom of his words.


    Äelberon paused as he stroked the troll one last time, “Rynandor, what now?”


    “I think we are at a slight disadvantage if we remain here.” Rynandor replied.


    Äelberon chuckled again. “What do you propose, then?” 


    Rynandor patted Äelberon’s shoulder, got up, and beckoned the remaining Elves to approach. The Archmagister cleared his throat. His second big speech in this disaster. He hated making speeches, preferring to leave that to Lilandtar. He cleared his throat again, swallowed, and took a deep breath.  “Well, my friends,” Rynandor addressed the small company of Elves, “It seems that Mehrunes Dagon has his twisted little Daedric heart set upon our little Tower.”


    They laughed.


    “Well, I say… that if he wants this tower THAT badly, he’s going to have to clear us out of it first! We know Crystal-Like-Law like the backs of our hands, let’s make this as difficult as possible. Altmer! To the Tower!”


    They cheered and Rynandor smiled. It was such an awful speech. He could feel Lilandtar's scowl.


    They marched inside, just as the first waves of Daedric missiles struck the outside of Crystal-Like-Law and the building shook, but the Elves inside were not afraid. They were glad, for the Tower was now abandoned, empty of their fellow Altmer. They first journeyed to the back of the tower, below ground level, to the great gates where their brethren had escaped through secret tunnels hours before. Rynandor paused at the entrance. If the Daedra discovered this gate and opened it, it would be the end. 


    “Lilandtar?” The Old Elf stirred, he was being borne by two soldiers. His dark grey hair plastered to his head, his golden skin drawn, and his eyes sunken. But when he opened his eyes, they were still bright and keen. “Have you strength for one more spell?” Asked Rynandor.


    “Only if I get to destroy something.” Lilandtar smiled.


    “Your will be done, my friend. Let us seal these gates, so that none shall pass.”


    With effort, Lilandtar took his place next to Rynandor and they stood in front of the gates. Their hands began to glow with an eerie pale orange light. All around them rocks and objects from the Crystal Tower began to lift into the air above them, and then they were hurled with magnificent force towards the gates, smashing them.  The Tower Mages continued their efforts and the doors themselves began to buckle and snap as the ceiling collapsed onto the gate, sealing it, the metal fusing with the rock, the marble, the wood, and the crystal into an impenetrable mass.


    There was no way out now. They were trapped in Crystal-Like-Law, sworn to defend the Tower with their dying breath. The Mages’ hands stopped glowing and with a gasp, Master Lilandtar collapsed.


    Äelberon, gently picked up the Tower Mage and he was borne up the steps to his lavish study. The company of Elves close behind, suddenly solemn, knowing that one of the greats of the Crystal Tower was near death. Rynandor opened the door to Lilandtar’s study, filled with books, tapestries, artifacts, and ornate curtains from Valenwood and Elsweyr.  Äelberon set the Mage upon his soft, downy bed. He stirred and smiled a bit as his head rested on his soft, golden satin pillows for one last time. He nuzzled against the sweet-smelling pillow and opened his eyes, still green, still bright. With his one hand, he beckoned Ryandor and Äelberon to his bedside as the other Elves watched; some now shedding tears. His voice was frail as he spoke.


    “Steel plate,” he whispered as he slowly removed an amulet from his neck. Rynandor tried to help him, but was met with a sharp look. Even near death, he would accept no aid. His bloodied hand placed the amulet in Äelberon’s hand, and he closed it upon the amulet.  “Take this, and… deliver this to my son, he is but a child now, but he is to rule my house. If he still lives, which for some reason I think he does. Lilandril is his name. The new Lord of House Larethian.”


    Rynandor was about to speak, but Lilandtar cut him off with a weak wave of his hand.


    “Oh, you don’t need to be a seer-mage to know that this one, yes, this big, brave oaf of a Mer will survive to deliver the message. Duskens are stubborn.” He faced Äelberon, “You will do this for me, yes?”


    “It will be done.” Äelberon replied, his head bent.


    “Rynandor, in the strongbox, quickly, there is a letter. Fetch it!” He gasped, fighting the pain. Rynandor opened the strongbox and pulled out a sealed letter. He brought the letter to Lilandtar and laid it on his chest. “Steel Plate… no…” He paused before continuing, resting his good hand on Äelberon’s forearm. “I will be nice to you as my time is now near and Aetherius beckons me… Äelberon… It is a fine name… An old name… A Snow Elf’s name…” He sighed, “Do you know how much money you’ve made me in your time at Crystal-Like-Law, Snow Elf?”


    The young Altmer laughed, understanding the joke.


    “I want to repay you. You see this letter on my chest? The letter is to my steward in Cloudrest. It grants you a position, should you want it, and if my house still stands, and my children still live, as Captain of my guard. In charge of my family. My house is one of the noblest houses in all of Summerset. I can picture no one else good enough to watch over them. To guard them.” He took the letter and placed it in Äelberon’s other hand. “Take it, my son, and know that Lilandtar of Cloudrest, greatest Mage of the Crystal Tower, always admired you, even though he never showed it…”


    He coughed and beckoned Rynandor closer. “Oh my dear friend,” He gasped, taking Rynandor’s hand in his.  “Of all the Mer in Summerset, yours is the face I am most glad to be seeing as I die, and since you know how lovely my wife is, you’ll know that I’ve just paid you an enormous compliment you old, ugly fool.”

    He laughed softly, and with that the great green eyes finally faded. There was one last shuddering gasp, and Lilandtar of Cloudrest, Lord of House Larethian, Master Mage of Crystal-Like-Law,  passed to Aetherius.



    Rynandor was lost in thought for a moment, lost in his grief for his dearest friend as the Tower shook from the impact of the Daedric machines. They then heard loud noises as Daedra began to storm the Tower. There was no time for proper tears, no time to even observe proper custom. Later, grief later, Rynandor thought, clearing his throat to address the remaining Elves.


    “I will seal the doors to his study. At least they will not defile his body, and may the flames of the falling Tower take him. Everybody out.”


    The soldiers followed by Äelberon left the room as Archmagister Rynandor the Bold lifted his hands once more, and as he did with the great gates, he crushed metal against marble with the force of his magicks and Lilandtar’s study was sealed. He turned and addressed the remaining soldiers. “Scatter. Engage any Daedra you find. When this Tower falls, and it will fall, I want it taking hundreds of Daedra with it. Make them search for you. Make them send more! Fill this tower with Daedra!” He was grim, defiant.


    The Elves nodded. They separated and scattered about the Tower, their final mission for their Beloved Tower clear. 


    “Äelberon,” Rynandor called as the youngling was about to follow his fellow soldiers.


    “Yes, Rynandor.” He replied, carefully tucking away Lilandtar’s letter and his amulet into his cuirass. He did not know how he would deliver this. He would leave it up to Auri-El.


    “Remain with me.”


    “Where are we going?”


    “To the top of the Tower. To the tombs…”


    The pair made their way up the treacherous marble  and crystal steps to the top of the Tower, stumbling as the building buckled and shook under the relentless Daedric onset. They were not alone. Close behind were multitudes of Daedra in pursuit. The pair fought fiercely as they made their way up the stairs; Äelberon leveling scores with his sword and shield, while Rynandor destroyed them with his powerful elemental magicks. The white steps of the Tower dripped with Daedric blood as the Daedra drove the pair ever upwards, toward the tombs of their ancestors.


    Äelberon ran a Daedra through with his sword. Rynandor noticed he still had his bow upon his back. Gods, he hoped he would have that bow forever.


    “We cannot let them reach the tombs!” Äelberon cried, smashing another with his shield, the skull crushing upon impact.


    “I know. When we get there, we’ll need to seal the door behind us. We will be trapped, Äelberon, but I will not allow our ancestors to be defiled. Destroyed, yes, but defiled, no. Not by these heartless beasts.”


    Äelberon doubled his efforts, swinging his sword with great speed. His cries of defiance were awesome to hear, striking fear into the hearts of the Daedra. Rynandor watched and time slowed as the unthinkable happened. While Äelberon blocked the heavy blow of a Dremora Captain, a small scamp snuck up the steps to where the young Altmer stood and plunged a daedric dagger deep into Äelberon’s right thigh. He cried in pain, and Rynandor snapped to attention, vaporizing the scamp with lightning. But the damage was already done, Äelberon fell hard upon the stairs, the Dremora Captain ready to deliver another blow, bringing down his greatsword that glowed with a fire enchantment.


    And Äelberon, broken and wounded, face streaked with sweat and smoke, still managed to block the blow. Rynandor’s rage grew in him, he would not let this Elf die. This Elf could not die. If he died...


    The Tower would truly...


    Another blow was blocked and the Dremora Captain began to swing mercilessly as Äelberon struggled to get up, slipping on the steps, but still managing to block each blow with his great gilded shield. Rynandor’s hands began to glow with the orange light of fire and he sent shock waves of flames towards the Daedric forces. Their screams of pain echoed throughout the white Tower stairwell. The horde temporarily thwarted, Rynandor grabbed Äelberon by the neck of his cuirass and with great effort, his muscles fortified through magicks, dragged the now unconscious Elf up the remaining steps, his red blood leaving a trail upon the white marble, still clinging to his weapon, still fighting Daedra in his mind. 


    Rynandor unlocked a pair of gilded doors, saying a quick prayer to Auri-El as he did so, and he dragged Äelberon inside. He then sealed the doors with his Alteration magicks, trapping them inside and the Daedra out. He could hear them pounding on the molten mass that was once the doors, but it was now impenetrable.  It was a large room, circular, blinding white with a large crystal dome that was the Tower’s roof. Arranged in a circle around the crystal dome were the tombs of their Aldmeri ancestors. Like jewels that adorned a crown, dramatic with their arches.


    And at the center. Transparent Law. Still red, still glowing with its fire, surrounded by wings. The roof and new tombs built around it, to protect it. Through the crystal he could see the fiery sky, and the light bathed the room in vivid shades of orange, yellow, and red. In sunlight this was the most beautiful room of the Crystal-Like-Law.


    Today Transparent Law would... Ryandor set his jaw. He knew what he needed to do. 


    His weapons. Preserve them. Rynanor pried  Äelberon's sword and shield from his hands and removed the bow from his back.  Leaving the youngling for a moment, Rynandor unsealed one of the tombs. He then prayed, knowing what he was doing was blasphemous, but... but.


    It was the future. 


    Rynandor glanced at the youngling. His face was pale from blood loss. It needed to be done. With a hard pull and a grunt, Rynandor pulled the line-wrapped bodies from inside a tomb and replaced them with the shield, the blade, and the bow. Let the other artifacts, the other special relics fall, but these three things. Let these things survive. 


    Let new legends be born today. Rynandor would see to that. They would know. 


    He then took a box, an old wooden box, one of those puzzle boxes. Made by a young, young hand, the turning panels in the shapes of grape vine blossoms, sea birds, and shells. The youths. And he placed that, and what was inside it into the tomb as well. "It begins", he said softly to himself. 


    Satisfied, he now turned his attention to the poor youngling.


    He groaned with effort has he hoisted Äelberon onto a marble table that was used to prepare bodies for cremation. To prepare them for the ascension. It was not really an ascension, but it was the closest the People could ever come to it. All save the great ancestors that were sealed here. Only they did not need this rite performed, so great was their connection to Auri-El. Äelberon knew this room well, for he was a Priest of Auri-El and Rynandor knew he often performed such duties.


    Äelberon stirred, and his eyes fluttered open. He felt the pain and he gritted his teeth. His blood beginning to pool on the table. He started to rise. Where were his weapons?


    “No. Lie down, I need to pull the dagger out.” Rynandor pushed Äelberon down onto the table. He took out a small Elven dagger from his robes, a mage’s last line of defense, and turned to Äelberon. “Bite down on the hilt, this is going to hurt a lot. Their daggers have barbs and rough edges. There is no time to cast a soothing spell, I am sorry, and I need the magicks to heal you, at least to stop the bleeding, I am nearly spent. So few spells left.”


    There would be no reather-falling to cushion the impact. He needed his magicks for other things. For the youth's healing, and for... the binding. It would take everything he had, ll his power, and Rynandor knew what he would be giving up.  


    Auri-El I leave our fates to you.


    Äelberon nodded, bit on the hilt, and looked up at Rynandor, bracing himself. The Mage gently put a hand on Äelberon’s damp forehead and whispered softly. “I am going to pull now, I will make it as quick as possible.”


    Rynandor began to pull out the dagger. Äelberon bit hard on the hilt of the dagger, squeezing his eyes shut, breathing hard and heavy as waves of pain hit his tense body, his hands violently clenching the sides of the table, his knuckles whiter than his pale skin under his gauntlets. They could smell Äelberon’s blood, for the pounding grew more intense as more Daedra piled onto the doors. There must be hundreds outside the doors now, thought Rynandor as he worked.


    When the dagger cleared Äelberon’s leg, his blood began to come out in quick spurts, and he fell back, nearly fainting, his body reeling in pain. Rynandor threw the dagger to the floor and quickly pressed his hands on the wound as his friend gasped for air. Äelberon sat up again, bracing himself on the table with his left arm, his breathing still heavy.


    Rynandor’s hands began to glow with the golden glow of healing magicks while the Daedra mercilessly pounded on the doors and the Tower began to shake and wobble. The first cracks on the Tower ceiling appeared and blocks of stone began to fall around them. Rynandor did not lose focus, however, and continued to work his healing spell and Äelberon's breathing grew steadier and his mind cleared as the pain diminished.


    Äelberon marveled at the skill of the Archmagister, he would never have had the focus to cast with the walls coming down upon them.


    Rynandor let out a gust of air and removed his hands. They did not have time. It was going to fall. He needed to get him to safety. “There, I’ve stopped the bleeding, but I don’t have time to do more, we don’t have time. Can you stand?”


    Äelberon nodded, his face still white, and Rynandor helped him up. Äelberon immediately stumbled, dizzy with the blood loss. More blocks of stone fell and the Tower began to lurch and buckle as the Daedra’s pounding became mixed with their screams of terror and the noises of cracking stone, wood, metal, crystal. Only Transparent Law remained whole. Perfect. The Tower was beginning to fall, taking many Daedra with it. Rynandor leaned Äelberon against a wall and walked to one of the tombs.


    It was open. “What have you done?” Äelberon gasped, seeing the bodies upon the floor. Their Ancestors!


    “One last effort to save you,” Rynandor replied.


    Äelberon’s eyes grew wide. “This is blasphemous! Are you mad? Me? Not us? Nandor?”


    “No, I am not mad," He turned to face Äelberon, "You are more important to save than a dead ancestor. They are dead. They are the past. Revered, loved, but the past. You are the now, the future... I don’t even know if this will work, we will probably still die. I did my job, the Daedra will not defile their bodies. If I can perhaps save you in the process as well…” He paused, “When you defeated Bet, I saw something in you that has never been seen in an Altmer before.” He paused again, struggling to find the words.


    There was more.


    “I don’t know what it is. And then you read all those books. All of them. All I know, is that you need to live, Äelberon. I knew this from the moment I saw you, practicing in the early morning light a the Training Center. Practicing with that old bow, while others slept, that you were right for this, that you were meant to be here in the Tower's final days. It is why I had to seek you out. It is why I asked you to serve me in the Tower. Please, my child, damn it, get into the tomb.”


    Äelberon set his jaw, his leg throbbing. “Only if you get in too.”


    The Old Mage lowered his head, suddenly very sad. He had planned on dying at the Tower, the alternative that he saw was far, far worse. Because he knew he could not live without it, but something about Äelberon’s gaze was knowing, and his next words were telling. He knew. It was the Old voice that Rynandor then heard. The voice he had heard in the battlefield.


    “You cannot escape your fate.”


    Rynandor nodded. He could not escape his fate and he blinked, clearing his mind of the vision, only for more to replace it. The Sea would take him in the end, leaving this poor Sun bird alone.  Alone? Sun bird? The Sun birds tried to journey to Aetherius only to burn in its light! What were these visions now? Madness! Äelberon would be alone...


    No... he would not be alone. 


    “Rynandor?" The young voice had returned and Rynandor snapped to attention, the visions disappearing, his eyes turning to the youngling. "Help me in.” 


    The Tower Mage helped the wounded warrior into the great stone tomb, and he followed close behind. Rynandor sealed it and they waited, lying down upon the smooth, white stone, the weapons wedged between them. They could see the fiery sky from inside the tomb for the crystal of the dome formed the tombs' ceilings.


    So this is what their Aldmeri ancestors see when they look up from their graves, Rynandor thought.


    He could hear Äelberon’s labored breathing next to him and the screams of the Daedra were loud as ever. The lad was unconcious and Ryandor reached for the wooden box in the tomb and willed it open with his magicks, admiring the youth's cleverness in the lucidity before their People's fall. It yielded to him and he slipped his fingers inside, parting the soft, worn silk until he felt the smoothness of crystal, while the other hand held the box fast, secure to his chest. He then let his eyes travel to the back of his head and drew on the magical power that he was linked to, He could feel his body glow red behind his closed eyes, feel unity with its purity.  His magic faltered briefly when he felt the Tower lurch a final time, but he focused, feeling the essence of all that they held dear pass through him, through his finger tips, onto what he touched.


    Yes, let new legends be born, he mused to himself. For, I, Ryanandor the Bold, the last of the Sapiarchs, the last guardian of Transparent Law, will it so. 


    There was a great rumble that shook the earth, and then they fell. Fast, while his magicka surged, while he held the box and what was inside.


    And then there was silence... 



    Äelberon’s eyes fluttered open. He felt his leg throb with an intense pain and his heart beat hard against his chest. He was alive.




    He slowly turned his head to the side, ignoring its terrible pounding and through dust-swollen eyes, he saw Nandor. Rynandor was watching him, his bruised face and robes covered with white dust, his long beard tangled. Äelberon began to cough hard as the white dust filled his lungs when he first tried to speak. Rynandor immediately rushed to his friend, bracing him as he coughed. Äelberon looked up towards the crystal dome through watering eyes. It was cracked and it was nightfall.




    The sky no longer burned with Daedric fire. Looming over them were millions upon millions of shining stars and Masser and Secunda. Full and bright. The night was clear and the air! Oh Gods! The air was fresh and cool. So cool on his fevered skin. Like the blue, blue Sea of his home. Äelberon could not contain his emotion and reached feebly to touch the crystal in disbelief, the tears now freely flowing, like little streams coursing through his dust-covered cheeks. He wanted to touch the stars themselves. To hold them in his hand. He had not seen them in so long. His hand reached, straining, shaking.


    Touching the Sky...


    He turned to Rynandor, his shoulders beginning to shake. “When?” He sobbed, his voice no more than a hoarse whisper.


    “Right before you woke up.” Replied Rynandor, his voice also thick with emotion, his lined cheeks also streaked with fresh tears. "You were lost to the world for a spell."


    “What happened?” Äelberon’s eyes narrowed, knowing his friend well, “What have you seen?”


    “I saw,” Began the seer-mage of the Crystal Tower, his eyes in another place as he recounted his vision. “I saw the Temple of the One in Cyrodiil. Ruined. In the Temple of the One stood the last Septim,” He turned to Äelberon, unable to stop his own voice from breaking. “A priest, Äelberon, a priest of Akatosh, like you. The last Septim confronted Mehrunes Dagon without fear; alone, save only a great Champion beside him.” He then laughed through his tears, “An Altmer thief, of all people, she was the Champion.” He continued, “The last Septim then took the Ruby amulet, the Amulet of Kings and cast it upon the ground. It shattered and then, another crystal of red shattered, and another...  Gods! He took the form of Auri-El, a great flaming dragon and defeated Dagon, closing the gates forever, sundering Mundus from Oblivion. This is what I saw in my vision.” Rynandor held his friend close to him, supporting the youngling's head on his thin should, and wept through his next words. “And when my vision faded, for the first time, I saw the sky and felt the cool breeze. Oh Gods! They are gone. The Great Anguish that has tormented us for days... is over.”


    “And Crystal-Like-Law?” Äelberon asked, his eyes still upon the sky, regarding it through the veil of his tears, entranced. It was the loveliest night sky he had ever seen. Lovely, like jewels on black velvet. The moons like ivory against ebony. Ivory, ebony... he felt himself slipping, overcome. 


    “We’re lying on it. It is razed.” replied Rynandor, holding him tighter to him. The Tower is razed, but..., Rynandor, despite everything, managed a smile. 


    “Yet we live?!” the youngling gasped, his starting to glaze from the pain.


    “It was our position that saved us, my boy. That is why I went to the top. I knew... I knew we would survive if we made it to the burial tombs. I... had seen that too.” Rynandor was... He was weak now, lesser, diminished, but he was satisfied.  His his found the small box next to the youngling's weapons. The small wooden puzzle box with turning panels of grape vine blossoms, gulls, and shells.


    All was not lost. 


    Rynandor could not suppress the chills that shot up his spine at the realization. One.


    “I see… Praise be to Auri-El, Auri-El adonai. He is the light of lights and I am humbled by His mercy... so beautiful, ivory against ebony, enchanting... rielle... ”  Äelberon’s voice trailed off, his lids heavy with exhaustion and his body relaxed. He continued to gaze at the sky, the glorious night sky, fascinated, as he slowly faded to a deep sleep…



    10th of Evening Star, 4E 201


    Äelberon’s eyes fluttered open, and he felt Koor’s wet nose on his left hand. He gently stroked the dog’s muzzle and slowly turned his head, his senses still very dull.


    Where was he?


    The room was of grey stone, with a matching floor. He was on a simple bed, fur blankets covering his naked body. To his right was an alchemy station. Resting on a stool next to his bed was the man he spoke to earlier, his eyes closed, but he was not sleeping. His mind was weak and he struggled to remember the name. It came to him after some thought. The long, white beard... Whitemane… yes… Kodlak Whitemane… He opened his mouth, but it was terribly dry and his tongue stuck to the roof of his mouth.


    “How long?”


    It was no more than a hoarse whisper, a croak, but Whitemane heard it and stirred, opening his eyes. He leaned towards the Elf, his face relieved, and placed a hand gently on the Mer's chest. The Elf looked terrible. Visibly thinner and Kodlak had worried that if he slept another day, he would never have woken up.  They had to force feed him water several times as he slept, taking care to make sure he did not choke. They all took turns at his bedside. Vilkas read to him as he slept, but the most curious was little Ria.


    Tilma had wanted to cut the Elf’s matted and dirty hair, but Ria became uncharacteristically angry and snatched the shears from the Old Woman. She then disappeared from the quarters only to return moments later with a bucket of warm water, soap, linens, and her own comb. She then sat upon the stone floor and tenderly unbound the Elf’s hair, storing the leather in a small pouch, which she then attached to a string and fastened around the Elf’s neck. She then washed the Elf’s long hair, dried it, and then sat for hours using her comb to detangle his hair. He did not demand that Ria explain herself, but she knew this Mer, on that Kodlak was certain.  When she finished, she then left, her face nearly in tears. She would explain herself eventually. 


    “Eight days… Your Shield-Siblings almost lost hope. But I know the strength of your heart. I knew you’d wake up eventually.” He smiled, his light grey eyes twinkling.


    Äelberon closed his eyes. So long? Shield-Siblings? He was confused. He remembered Helgen and Alduin and the rest was such a blur. Then it came to him. Bleak Falls Barrow… He had promised. He suddenly tried to get up, but he was so weak, and fell back to the bed with a low groan. “Water… please…” He whispered, lifting his head a little. 


    Kodlak Whitemane brought a tankard to his lips and he drank, feeling the cool liquid soothe his parched throat. With a sigh he let his head fall back again. Äelberon closed his eyes and tried to think, to focus the events in his mind, shaking his head in frustration. He reached to run his fingers through his hair and his eyes went wide when he no longer felt it. Where was it? His breathing quickened. He looked at the Nord and narrowed his eyes.


    “Where is it?” The Elf demanded, his expression was almost panicked.


    Kodlak was taken aback. It was just leather binding.


    “Where is it? Tell me!” He demanded again, his voice darkening, the beginnings of a desperate rage in it.


    Kodlak put up his hands in defense. “Don’t worry, it is safe. Look down.”


    Äelberon looked down and found the pouch around his neck, opening it quickly to remove the thin leather lacing. He sighed in relief and clutched the leather lacing close to his chest, his eyes welling with tears. It was all he had left. If these Nords had…


    “I don’t understand, Elf.” Said Kodlak, “It’s just leather.”


    The Altmer then closed his eyes and furrowed his great silver brows. His tone then became mournful. “It is all I have left from my home. It is all that I am. You would not understand this, Nord, for you are but a child in this world.”


    Kodlak watched the Elf intently, realizing just now how alien they were to him. He had seen Thalmor before, but never an Altmer that wasn’t Thalmor this close, save maybe in Windhelm and they were not as this grand Mer was. They were not typically warriors, though long ago, one of Jorrvaskr’s greats had indeed been an Altmer.


    “I want to understand, because you are my Shield-Brother now. You had earned this right, though I think you originally came to Jorrvaskr to die. The Gods, my friend, it seems, have something quite different planned for you.”


    “It would seem so…” The Elf replied, the slightest of smiles creeping upon his lips.


    Kodlak then realized. He may have come to Jorrvaskr to die, but he did not want to. He fought for eight days and won. Such a fighter and he did not even know this Elf’s name. “What is your name, Shield-Brother?” Asked Kodlak Whitemane.


    The Elf opened his eyes again. Great luminous red-orange eyes, bright, clear, and wise. The very eyes in his dream. He slowly turned to Kodlak Whiteman and found his voice, remembering who he was. He spoke, his voice clear, but still tinged with sadness.


    “I am…  Äelberon of Dusk. Slayer of the Demon Bet, Knight of the Crystal Tower, Knight-Paladin of Auri-El. I come from Summerset Isles; a land of shimmering, blue seas and golden coasts. Of orange blossoms and rainbow-hued canah birds. The land of Eton Nir and rolling green hills, of great cities of glass and crystal.  I am Altmer...”


    His face then turned dark and Kodlak could see the pain in his eyes.


    “And I am exiled from my beloved home.”


    The Elf turned away from Kodlak and lifted the leather lacing and looked upon it lovingly as he fingered it with his long, pale fingers. "This, this little piece of leather is all I have left from there.  I am older, Shield-Brother…” He said it slowly, letting it sink in, “than four of your lifetimes, and I have seen much of life, and even more of death. And yet..." His features brightened a bit when he turned again to face Kodlak Whitemane.


    "I endure. For it His will that I do so."


    Straag Rod Book 1 ToC

    Chapter VI      Chapter VIII




56 Comments   |   SpottedFawn and 3 others like this.
  • Caladran
    Caladran   ·  June 21, 2019
    Touching chapter with all the deaths. Lilandtar's death got me teary eyed, but at least he died in his chamber. :)
  • Wulfhedinn
    Wulfhedinn   ·  April 10, 2018
    Awesome. All I can say. It's a shame Khajiiti culture doesn't have awesome events like this and that Dar'jari's a selfish coward, I'd've loved to write something as truly epic as this :)
  • The Long-Chapper
    The Long-Chapper   ·  June 19, 2016
    Thanks, Probs. the Tower chapters were some of my favorites to write. :)

    Addiction is not a bad thing.
  • ProbsCoolerThanYou
    ProbsCoolerThanYou   ·  June 19, 2016
    Damn you Lissette! You've got me addicted! This was my favorite chapter so far, and shoot, I almost teared up when Fal died.
  • The Long-Chapper
    The Long-Chapper   ·  October 21, 2015
    @Nemanja, thanks for the kind words. If you could see what I see in my head when I read this chapter... that music is cool. 
  • Nemanja
    Nemanja   ·  October 21, 2015
    Damn,reading this while listening to Two Steps From all that is holy,this is amazing!
  • The Long-Chapper
    The Long-Chapper   ·  October 6, 2015
    @Karver - I can totally put potato faces aside, it's mostly that I don't play keyboard mouse all that well and I don't think I can absorb myself well in a game if I'm constantly struggling with controls. I gotta take the time to map it better. 
    @Exu...  more
  • Exuro
    Exuro   ·  October 6, 2015
    Oblivion has mods too, I'm sure at least one of them fixes potato faces. I've noticed lots of hints, one of the later chapters has one sentence mentioning the Psjiic Order in passing, I hope that was one! They're one of the fractions I'd like to see fleshed out.
  • Karver the Lorc
    Karver the Lorc   ·  October 6, 2015
    Not fond of potato faces, huh? Be glad you´ve never met me
    Shame though you never actually played through Oblivion. It´s an awesome game, despite it´s flaws. Maybe you should drop by in TES Classics someday. You know, to feel the nostalgia
  • The Long-Chapper
    The Long-Chapper   ·  October 6, 2015
    Yes, understandable. The gods and daedric princes really have some blurred lines and multiple functions. 
    Ooo, I've never played Oblivion beyond the initial prison sequence cause I had huge problems with controls and then the potato faces. I can't l...  more