An Elder Scroll Adventure
The young woman stood back as the sounds of the battle in the next room rang out. "What is your name, child?" asked the older man she was escorting. "Chantal Grize', your Majesty," she replied.
"I will be going no further. You must take this, the Amulet of Kings, to Jauffre at the Weynon Priory. He will know where to find the last heir to the throne."
"But your Majesty, I'm just a..." She quieted as he held up his hand.
"It's now up to you to close shut the jaws of Oblivion, Chantal. Good luck, may the Nine Divines watch over you, and farewell." He closed his eyes. As he did so, a panel in the wall behind him opened, and another of the assassins that had been plaguing them since leaving the Imperial dungeon leapt forward from his hiding place and buried his blade in the back of the Emperor.
"BASTARD!" Chantal screamed, thrusting her own sword forward into the throat of the assassin. The sound of boots behind her caused her to whirl.
"The Emperor is ... dead? We have failed, then." The tall Redguard bodyguard sounded downfallen.
"Baurus, he ... he told me before he was killed to seek out Jauffre at the Weynon Priory, that he would know of another heir. And he gave me this," Chantal said, holding up the Amulet of Kings.
"By the Nine! You must go at once, then. I will cover your back here. Take this key and escape these sewers. Go, girl, now!"
"Run! The city of Kvatch has been taken by Daedra!"
Chantal watched as the High Elf ran past. Cowardly Altmer. So civilized, yet so uncomfortable when violence happens. She sighed. The hill ahead of her had clouds of billowing smoke rising from it. Rising from where the city of Kvatch stood. Rising from where Jauffre at the Weynon Priory told her that she had to go to find Martin, the last heir of Uriel Septim. Great. She checked the sword at her waist, cinched her helm a little tighter, and began trudging up the road.
"Get back, citizen! This is no place for you!"
Chantal looked at the gateway to Kvatch. A set of horns about 15 feet seemed to have grown from the ground in front of the gate. "I have to get into Kvatch and rescue the Emp ... Priest of Akatosh! How do we do this?"
The guard pulled his helmet back, and ran his hand through his hair in frustration. "Look, I'm Savlian Matius, Captain of what's left of the Guards. We can't get into Kvatch until we do something with this Oblivion gate! These Daedra keep coming out of there. They came through and over ran us. Probably your Priest is still holed up in the Chapel, I think a few of our guard made it in there as well. But ... Look out, boys, here comes another one!"
From between the set of horns, a lizard looking creature appeared from nowhere. The two guards with Matius immediately took ready positions with their swords.
"Oh, screw this!" Chantal muttered. She quickly sheathed her sword and pulled out her bow. As the upright lizard began running towards them, she took position behind the improvised barricade in front of her and started shooting. She quickly put two arrows into the body of the creature, stopping it dead.
"Damn, lady, fine shooting." One of the guards said. Matius looked at Chantal in surprise. "With you here, we may have a chance. These things – gates to Oblivion is what they have to be – can be closed, because they closed almost all of the ones they used to attack us. I've sent men in to see if they could close this one, but..." His voice trailed off.
"Okay, I understand. I need to get to the Priest of Akatosh inside. And the only way to do that is to go through this gate." Chantal looked up at the sky. "Dammit, old man, was this what you meant about closing shut the jaws of Oblivion? I sure hope so." She looked at Matius and the guards outside of Kvatch, and started walking towards the Gate to Oblivion. "Wish me luck, boys!"
Jauffre looked at the two travelers, now that they had helped defeat the attack upon the Priory. He and the remainder of his soldiers gathered quickly around. "Hail, Emperor Martin Septim, Dragon Born!"
"Oh, bloody hell. Chantal, when you told me this back in Kvatch, I didn't really believe it. I still don't. My father – the man that raised me, anyway – was a farmer."
Jauffre approached them. "Your Majesty, we need to get you to Cloud Ruler Temple. That's the traditional home of the Blades, the bodyguards of the Emperor. You'll be safer there than any other place in Cyrodiil."
Chantal looked at Jauffre with a wry expression on her face. "And three guesses whose job it will be to get him there safely, right?"
Jauffre looked back. He saw the glint in her eyes, and smiled. "Welcome to the Blades, Grize'."
"Damn it," Chantal muttered under her breath. "Just find out about this mysterious cult that helped kill the Emperor. And then infiltrate their secret lair to get the Amulet back that they managed to steal. Piece of cake, right. And now this..."
She was crouched in shadows on a ledge above a huge cavern. The acoustics of the place were such that she could hear what was being said below her fairly well. A portal door to another plane was open, and the leader of the Mythic Dawn was talking. "I leave you now, my children, for Paradise!"
Chantal quickly got her bow ready, but she was too late. The leader passed through the portal, and it quickly closed behind him. The cult members he had been talking to started to leave the area, and gather around an altar situated in front of a large statue of the Daedra lord Mehrunes Dagon. An Argonian lay on the altar, tied up, apparently to be a sacrifice. Looking past the Argonian, Chantal could just see a closed book. The cover of the book had a drawing on it that looked very much like the shape of the Oblivion gate she'd seen before.
"Well, if I can't get the amulet back from Mankar Camoron right now, I better take that book to Martin so he can figure out what we need to do next." Her bow still ready, she notched an arrow and took aim.
"Chantal, you've done so much for me and our cause. I do not feel that I can ask you to do more."
"Your Majesty, you're already dealing with what happens when someone decides that a Daedric Lord needs to directly influence Nirn. If your research says that we need to fight the fire that is Dagon with the fire that is something belonging to another Daedric Lord, then by the Nine I'll get you that thing.
"Then read this – there is much information in this book that might help you."
Chantal picked up the book and started reading. "Ah, this looks interesting – and I already know where this is. I'll be back soon, Your Majesty."
"What did you do to get this, Chantal?"
Chantal grinned. "Not much – but let's just say that I don't think I'll be invited to any more dinner parties with Countess Caro any time soon. The sight of her and all her guests stripped naked as the day they were born in front of everyone was ... well, you'll probably read about it in the Black Horse Courier." Chantal didn't mention that her own clothes had also been taken, or that she'd had to run nearly 5 miles stark naked herself.
Martin had a twinkle in his eyes, though, and a grin on his face while looking at Chantal. "The Sanguine Rose. I never thought to see this again. I once possessed it briefly, a lifetime ago, it seems now. To obtain it – and HOW you had to obtain it – I honor your dedication to our cause."
He looked down at the staff in his hands. "And knowing what you had to do to get it – I wish I had been there as well."
Chantal looked at Martin closely. "Your Majesty only has to request it and I will give him a command performance."
Jauffre came running into the room before the startled Martin could reply. "Your Majesty, Grize', there's been an Oblivion gate open just outside of Bruma. They need our help!"
"Okay, Captain Burd. Here's how we're going to do this. You follow me. You watch my back. You pay attention to what I do. And if we're very lucky, all of us will live through this," said Chantal.
"Bor, Soren, you're with us. According to the Blades, this lady knows what to do!" The small group quickly gathered their supplies, including extra potions of healing, and headed towards the open gate to Oblivion.
The bedraggled group of guards, led by Chantal, came out of the now closed gateway.
"By the Nine, that was a mess!" exclaimed Captain Burd.
"Yes, but now you know how to deal with any further Oblivion gates," Chantal said.
Jauffre was waiting nearby. "Yes, he does. But the problem now is that the Daedra are innumerable, while there most definitely is a limit to how many guards there are here at Bruma. We need aid, and you already know how limited we Blades really are."
He looked exhausted from strain as he continued. "Grize', we've reports that gates such as this are appearing in other places around Cyrodiil.
"Martin, we're going out there tomorrow morning – possibly to die. You're no longer a priest of Akatosh, you know. You're the Emperor now – or you will be when this mess if finally over. Whether that means we'll be together then or not is up in the air. I'm not really suitable for court, after all."
Martin looked at the woman who said those words. "No, my dear, you're not a proper wife for a proper Emperor of Cyrodiil. But..." he held up his hand when she started to speak. "I'm hardly a proper Emperor, after all. Bastard son of an Emperor and all that, so quite frankly, I don't give a damn what some prim and proper Court lackey might think of you – or us."
"You've always been a warrior woman – you won my respect at Kvatch, when you saved me from those Daedra. Since then you've won my heart and my love. In my soul, you are my Empress already."
Chantal gazed into the eyes of the man she loved. "Then to Oblivion with the rest of the world. Tonight is for us."
From a darkened corner in the Chapel of Talos, the leader of the Blades watched the two soon to be lovers. He smiled, and motioned to his aid. "Baurus, let's make sure that our Emperor is left alone for a while. It's been a terrible world since Uriel was assassinated, and Chantal has been in the middle of it right from the start. I think she's the best thing to happen to Martin."
The Redguard looked at his Grandmaster. "Jauffre, you old dog, you're already planning the line of succession, aren't you?"
Watching Chantal and Martin descend the steps to the basement of the Chapel, where the living areas for the priests of Talos were located, Jauffre said with a smile, "I think our Emperor has already taken care of that. All we need to do is make sure he – and our new Empress – survive tomorrow."
"A kiss for luck, Martin!"
"Return to me whole, my Queen. And with that Great Sigil Stone, so we may put an end to this damnable invasion!"
Chantal leaped through the Oblivion gate. Once through, she saw the Siege Crawler that would spell doom to both Bruma and all of Tamriel if she failed. "By the Nines – give me the strength to do this!" she muttered under her breath.
"You know, my dear, that's quite an impressive statue, of quite an impressive woman."
"I don't know, Martin. Do you think that armor makes my butt look fat?"
"My love, I think your butt is incredibly cute and looks perfect to me. And since I'm to be the Emperor, my word is law. But until we finish this one last task, your wonderfully biteable butt will have to remain in armor and not in the regal robes it – and the rest of you – so richly deserve."
"Okay, okay. Just don't hurt anything delicate of yours sending me to Paradise. Although..." Chantal smirked, "technically this will be sending me there again, if last night was any indication."
Martin looked around the room, where Jauffre and Baurus were pointedly attempting to not overhear their conversation. "I don't think that our version of Paradise will compare quite with whatever perversion that Mankar Camoran has come up with as HIS version, my dear."
"So probably no snowberry jelly to, erm, enjoy at certain times." Chantal grinned. "A shame. It's so useful in the right application."
"Be careful, my love. This isn't quite like the Oblivion Gates you've gone through in the past. This is a creation of Camoran' mind."
Chantal nodded. Her hands quickly moved up and down her body, touching briefly on her weapons – enchanted Daedric Longsword, the Blade of Woe (oh, if only Lucien knew she still carried it), Daedric bow. Her armor was spotless, as befitted the Divine Crusader, and with the Skeleton Key, Nocturnal's Cowl, and the Boots of Springheel Jack in her pack, she felt she was ready.
"Do it, Martin. Send me to Paradise – so I can kill Mankar Camoran and end this damnable war!"
"I must, my dear. It's the only rid us of Mehrunes Dagon. Baurus and Jauffre will make sure you – and our unborn child – will be cared for, and kept from the politics of the realm."
"Unborn child? How can you know so quickly? I ... I wasn't sure myself."
Martin smiled wryly. "One advantage – or curse – of being of dragon blood. I regret that I cannot spend my life growing old with you at my side, seeing our sons and daughters grow up. But I don't regret a single moment of the time we've had together, know that I love you, Chantal Grize'."
Martin threw the Amulet of Kings down, destroying it – and Chantal watched in horror and amazement as he became Akatosh. He attacked Mehrunes Dagon – and then was victorious! "Come back to me, Martin," she pleaded, but to no avail.
In the midst of the temple, Martin, now the avatar of Akatosh the Dragon, became a statue before her eyes.
"Come with me, child. You will be rewarded for your efforts in ending the reign of terror by Mehrunes Dagon, but your future now depends upon you leaving this town. The Imperial Council would have been hard pressed to allow the bastard son of Uriel Septim on the throne, but they would have allowed it. They would never allow his widow to rule, even in a regency."
"Damn you, Jauffre! Do you really think that I covet anything here without Martin by my side?"
"No, my lady. But given Imperial politics, with no Emperor on the throne, I suspect things won't be easy for us – or your child."
Chantal looked at him in shock. "Milady, the Blades have protected those of Dragon blood for centuries. We can tell when another comes."
"I am not some delicate flower that you have to protect and guard against harm, Baurus. By the Nine, I've been past the gates of Oblivion and survived. These are just some scratches is all."
"Milady, being bitten by an elder vampire is not just a scratch. You were two days without treatment, and barely survived the encounter, let alone the aftermath."
"The Imperial Council are blithering idiots, Baurus, and you know it. My Martin sacrificed everything for this Kingdom. I will not allow it to be destroyed from within simply because I am with child. He or she will have a place to grow up and call home."
Baurus sighed. "Milady, the Blades will serve you however we can. I don't suppose it would do any good to try to stop you, anyway. You're better with the sword and arrow than any of two of us."
"And don't you forget it, Baurus!" Chantal smiled. "Okay, now then – what's this down at Bravil? Some new island mysteriously showing up in the middle of the Niben?"
"Well, Haskill, that was ... interesting. But explain something to me."
"Yes, my Lady Sheogorath?"
"Okay, make that explain TWO somethings to me. First, why are you calling me that, and second, just how long have I been here, because ... I'm still pregnant and it certainly feels like I've been here long enough to give birth."
"Ah, my Lady Sheogorath, both are simple. With your defeat of Jyggalag, he has retreated to the voids of Oblivion, and you are now the ruler of the Shivering Isles as the Madgod Lord, or in your case, Lady Sheogorath. Thus, you have now ascended to, and have become, a Daedric Lord. As for your second question – this is a realm of Oblivion. In your previous life as an adventurer on Nirn, time passed sequentially. It does not do so here. And since it would have been inconvenient for you to do battle against the former Lord Sheogorath and Jyggalag, he decreed that your pregnancy would be held in abeyance until things were done."
"I see. I didn't realize that was within his power, to change what happens naturally."
"My Lady Sheogorath, as you learn, you will find that it is within YOUR power as well. You are now the ruler of the Shivering Isles. Whatever time passes here is as your will. Should you decide to give birth to your daughter tomorrow, then you will do so."
"Daughter? Martin and I had hoped..."
"Ah, Lord Akatosh. That will be interesting, the Dragon Born child of two Daedric Lords. Most appropriate."