Joined: 7-August 07
Here is the final chapter. It's been a long ride and I am proud to say that I was able to finish this. It's 138 pages on MS Word, by the far the longest I've ever written. And this chapter is my longest of the story, being 12 pages long. I you like it, and thank you for following my story.
When I woke up it was nighttime and the stars were shining bright, high in the sky. It was truly a beautiful sight, and for a moment everything was peaceful. But then I looked around and I was abruptly sucked back into reality. Mankar was still dead, along with Jena and everyone else. I was the only survivor, but as far as I was concerned I could be dead too. After all, I was miles away from sure and I had not a clue how to steer the ship. And because it was night I couldn’t really see that far out into the sea, but I knew I was too far to swim, and even then I wouldn’t have lasted long anyhow. I never was a good swimmer.
I laid there on the cold wood floor for several minutes while I let everything sink in. I had stopped Mankar from whatever he was planning and hopefully the war would turn to the Empire’s liking. But then I realized that there was likely one other person that still threatened society: Alfhedil.
Through of the turmoil on this ship I had forgotten about the traitor. I could hear his fake Nordic accent now: Hey, Woody! How ‘ya doing lad?
It was all a trick and I never once saw it coming. Now, miles away from civilization, Alfhedil was probably leading the remaining Kvatch soldiers and cultists through the Bruman defenses. Soon the walls would topple and it would all be over. Then everyone will have died, because surely Alfhedil wouldn’t be foolish enough to let anyone live. Hassildor would die, Burd would die, and even Martin would perish as well. It seemed even in my victory I was still a loser. I wanted so much to go back and help defend the city, but there was not a thing I could do. Not as long as I remained in the middle of the sea.
After I was done letting everything settle in I sluggishly rose from the ground and took one last final look at the bodies. I went over to Jena and noticed her eyes were still open, and they still had the some look of shock as well. She deserved much more than she received. Unlike Mankar and his minions she did not deserve an early death. It was so saddening to see her go, but death is something no mortal can escape. I realize that eventually everyone dies, but it was still a hard thing to swallow. I closed her eyes with my hand, and then I glanced at Mankar. His body was still and lifeless as his claymore, thankfully I should add. His reign of terror was finally over.
And now I was stuck on the ship, with nowhere to go. Or at least that is what I thought until something so awe-inspiring happened I swear I almost soiled myself.
In the sky, the stars were moving around quite fast. Then, after circling around one another, they smacked into one another and a huge ball of dust exploded. The explosion lit up the sky immensely. When the cloud of dust settled a spirit floated before me, not fifty feet above the ship. The figure was extremely large and was dressed lavishly in expensive clothing and it resembled someone of royalty. It was a male, an Imperial in fact. Its hair was white and long, and his skin was wrinkly and old. At first I couldn’t put his face to a name, though he was very familiar. Then he started to speak, and his voice boomed and echoed throughout the area. And for some reason I knew exactly who he was. It was Uriel Septim!
He smiled down upon me from the sky while crossing his arms. He seemed really happy, but I really couldn’t say anything. In fact, I wasn’t even positive that I wasn’t really dreaming. I mean, come one, how could this be real?
“Rayden, I cannot begin to describe how proud I am of you.”
His grin was very wide and I wanted so much to say something back, but it was almost as if a spell had been put on me. No matter how hard I tried I couldn’t speak.
“I do not have much time, but there is something you should know. You have done a great deed for Cyrodiil. But alas, your mission is not yet complete I’m afraid. While the threat of Mankar has finally ended, there still lays yet another danger lurking in the background.”
I thought I knew what he was going to say. I thought he was going to point out that Alfhedil is still alive and leading the charge against the Bruma, but I was very surprised to learn that my theory was totally wrong, or at least according to Uriel.
“Alfhedil lies dead at the Gates of Bruma. The city has successfully defended itself for now, and the Mythic Dawn has retreated back to the Imperial City, leaderless to say the least. I hope this will cause a major ripple in their plans, but I am afraid there is someone else who threatens the Empire, and he is one of us.”
I wondered who he was talking about, and apparently he could read my mind.
“This one I speak of you will have to find yourself. Look deep, Rayden, and you will find the answer to the questions you seek. The Mythic Dawn is nonexistent now. They may perhaps attack further but they are no longer a threat to the province. Helseth’s army has eliminated the Mythic Dawn presence in Morrowind, so all is safe over there as well. I thank you again for your valiant actions, but please do not rest until the new threat is discovered and eliminated. But, do not think rashly on this. This time violence is not the only answer. Root out this potential traitor. Only then will the Empire be able to move on. Good bye Rayden. I know I can count on you.”
And just as quick as he appeared, Uriel Septim vanished. The stars were back into their normal position, and I stood there beside Mankar’s corpse, still stunned by what just happened. Then out of nowhere everything went black once again.
Again I awoke from my apparent slumber, and staring at me was Janus and Burd. I thought I was still at the seas of Anvil, but looking around I saw nothing but white, and then I realized I was quite cold. I was in Bruma!
“He’s waking up, give him some room!”
My eyes were finally focusing and I could see Burd motioning for a large group of Bruman soldiers to move away. Janus was helping him do the same, and then Martin came into the picture. He smiled at me and patted me on the shoulder. I was lying in the snow and I was hoping they would lift me up from the cold wetness.
“Just stay still, Rayden. We’ll have you in the warm castle in no time,” he said with the same smile.
And before I knew it I had been lifted up from the ground by a couple of strong soldiers. They hoisted me onto a wooden plank and then I was carried to the castle. There I was eventually laid down on Burd’s bed, in his chambers, which was the former Countess’s room.
“How are you feeling, Rayden?” Janus asked me with great concern. “Where is Jena?”
I could barely breathe the words, but I just managed to say, “Mankar…I killed him. He…killed Jena.”
Janus and Burd started to talk softly with one another and then I asked Martin, “I don’t know how to explain this, but…I spoke with Uriel Septim.”
He simply looked at me like I was crazy, as did Janus and Burd.
“What do you mean you spoke with Uriel? He’s dead!” Janus did not believe me one bit, and I didn’t know how I was going to prove myself.
“I can’t explain it to you, Janus, but you just have to believe me. He was in the form of a spirit or something.”
Martin shot Janus a worried look and then said, “Don’t worry, Janus, he’s just delirious. I’m sure he had some kind of dream.”
“No! It wasn’t a dream, I swear! I’ll tell you what he told me!”
“Rayden, calm down, you shouldn’t be yelling just yet. You are very injured…”
I paid no attention to Martin’s pleas and instead went on with what happened at that ship.
“He told me you all defended yourself against the Mythic Dawn and that Alfhedil is dead, leaving them leaderless. They retreated to the Imperial City, didn’t they?”
Janus was astounded by what I knew. “How…could you…?”
“He also told me the Mythic Dawn presence has been wiped out by Helseth’s forces in Morrowind. All is safe, concerning the Mythic Dawn at least. But there is a traitor in our ranks. Uriel told me this.”
“No, Janus, you know it’s true. Even before I left there were problems. Did you all ever find out who swayed those two guards to the other side?”
“We…couldn’t find anything. I simply left it at that. It is no longer an issue. But about Jena, you say Mankar killed her?”
I went on to explain everything. I told them about Velvus, the setup…absolutely everything. When I was finished with my story Janus was still uncertain.
“If all of this is true, how do you explain ending up all the way here in Bruma?”
As much as I wanted to, I could not describe how I went from being in the middle of the sea to here in the coldness of Bruma. Now I have never been a religious type of person, but I don’t know how else I could have gotten here if it wasn’t for Uriel. I know it was only a spirit, and I suppose there was always the possibility it really was a dream, but then how could one explain how I arrived here; and also how I know everything? Even if it was a dream, what I have said is true. I knew all about the death of Alfhedil and the Mythic Dawn’s retreat. There was no denying the truth, and that is exactly what I have said. Now how else would I have known that specific information?
“You’re asking the wrong person, Janus. I have told what happened, and if you do not believe me there is nothing I can do about that. What I know is that there is a traitor amongst us and they must be stopped.”
“No, Rayden, you are once again being paranoid. There is nothing wrong. Now is the time to rejoice for our victories. The Empire lives on!” Burd yelled.
Burd was happy…hell…why wouldn’t he? His leadership had obviously boosted his ego and confidence to new heights, but I just wish he would listen to me.
“I think you two should get some rest. I shall take Rayden to Cloud Ruler Temple. There is something I wish to show him before he goes to sleep,” Martin said.
Janus nodded, and then motioned for Burd to follow him out of the room. Martina and trailed behind, and then we said our goodbyes as Burd and Janus went to their rooms.
This was the only thing Martin said, and he said this not with a smile, but not with a frown either. He was emotionless and it appeared something was wrong.
“Is something the matter?”
“Yes, but we must not talk about it here. It is too dangerous I’m afraid.”
Martin led me out of the city and we rode on horseback to the Temple. There, the place was of course barren. No more agents were alive. I wondered what would happen to the place, but that really wasn’t important now. Jauffre had something of great significance to tell me. I could tell it by the look in his eyes.
“I found something, three days ago, shortly after you left.”
“You mean I was gone that long?” I interrupted.
“Yes, but please listen, Rayden. We can talk about that later, but or now just sit tight. This is very important.”
We walked through the entrance and Burd led me to a desk beside the fireplace. On the desk was a wrinkled piece of paper with lettering on it. It was difficult to read, and almost appeared as if someone had written it quickly without looking over it once finished. There were several misspelled words and the grammar wasn’t exactly first-class.
Martin picked up the parchment, looked over it quickly, and then handed it to me.
“Read it, but you won’t like what it says.”
I took the paper and held in front of my face and began to read:
The time has come for me to end my eternal suffering, in hopes that the gods themselves may forgive my sins. What a terrible thing I have done; to betray the Empire was not my intentions, but unfortunately that is what has happened. I only wanted the assassin, Rayden, dead. I never once wished for things to pan out how they have. And although they aren’t directly my fault, I cannot help but to feel that I have played a role in the destruction of Cyrodiil.
When I made that secret pact with Mankar, he assured me that he would not enter the Bruman area; that he would leave my city be. He even told me that Kvatch wouldn’t be touched as well, but obviously that promise has been broken, and now I know the truth. Mankar was only using me. With Rayden out of the picture Mankar will no doubt complete his mission, even if that means betraying my trust as well. I never should have listened to him to begin with, but what was I to do? I was desperate and only wanted safety for my people. Now it appears that all of that will be lost. The Mythic Dawn army is marching towards my city as I write this letter, and I fear I have not the manpower to stop them. Captain Burd is the lone soul who knows of my evil deed. He too believed in Mankar and thought that killing Rayden was the only way to bring Bruma peace, but we were both wrong and ignorant. Our desperation clouded our minds and brought false envisions. Burd whispered to me from the outside last night about how we should call the assassination off, but no…that cannot happen. I am about to pay for my actions, and so shall Burd. I told the two guards that were to do the killing to forget about Rayden and instead murder Burd. I feel bad about that decision, but I feel it is necessary. Burd cannot be forgiven for what was going to take place, and same pertains to me as well. Burd and I will be dead soon, and hopefully all can be forgiven. I regret what I have done, but now I must leave this world, in hope for a better a place. May Talos forgive me…
Now it was clear why Narina had killed herself. She, along with many others, had unfortunately fallen into Mankar’s grasps. The only good thing about this scenario is that in the end she admitted her wrong doing. If it were up to me I would gladly accept for apology, but on the other hand, that is not up for me to decide.
“Well, that certainly took me by surprise. So there is yet another traitor amongst us?” I asked disappointedly.
“No, I do not think so. When you stopped the two guards from murdering Burd, I believe he realized things had turned on him. He also knew the reasoning behind Narina’s as well, but he was simply too afraid to say anything. He likely figured that since the two guards and Narina were dead, nothing would ever come up. This also leads me to believe that he didn’t know of this letter. Had he, he would not have let it lying around.”
“Where did you find it, Martin?”
“It was hidden underneath Narina’s bed. I brought it here for safekeeping because I didn’t really know what to do. But now I’ve figured that out. I’ve been living here ever since you left for Anvil, and don’t ask me why, but I looked under the bed to see if it was a mess underneath. I was planning on tidying up the place and keeping things clean for Jena, and then I found that letter.”
“What do you suggest we do then?”
“We’ll have to confront Burd; there’s no doubt about that. But we’ll have to treat this issue with extreme delicacy. Burd will immediately go on the offensive once we bring these accusations up, but once he sees the letter he’ll have nowhere to hide. I expect him to be remorseful, but there’s no way of telling for sure. He might attack us when he sees the letter, who knows. We need to be prepared. I also think bringing along Janus and few guards wouldn’t hurt either.”
“But what if the guards are on Burd’s side?”
“Hmm, I don’t think that is the case, but I guess brining guards isn’t necessary. Hurry, time is of the essence. We need to resolve this matter before anything else happens.”
We left the temple and rode back to Bruma. It was getting very cloudy and any minute I could that in any minute snow was going to start pouring from the sky like rain. I wasn’t very excited about that, for I was cold enough as it is.
Upon our arrival at the city we entered the castle immediately and head straight for Janus’s room. Since Martin and I had somewhat earned ourselves a high rank, none of the soldiers questioned us. When we reached outside of Janus’s door Martin knocked twice. Within a few seconds Janus opened the door, with a look of surprise and agitation.
“You do realize its midnight, don’t you?”
“I am sorry, but there is something you must see, my lord,” Martin replied back with sincerity.”
Janus reluctantly took the parchment, wiped his eyes with his sleeves, took out a pair of reading glasses, and began to look over the letter. It took him no longer than two minutes to read it. I think he reread it several times just to make sure he was reading it correctly. He had just been woken up from sleep after all.
“This is terrible. Where is Burd?”
“I don’t know, sir.”
“It’s actually almost unbelievable. I’ve known both Burd and Narina for quite some time. It never would have donned on me that they would do something like this. But then again, I do not believe they meant anything bad towards the Empire. They were only trying to salvage their lives and their city, although they could have done it in a more honorable way. I hate to say it, but Burd will have to be hanged for this.”
“What? Is that really necessary? Obviously he’s changed his ways, or else he would have already killed Rayden!”
Martin was vivid with determination to change Janus’s mind. To be honest, I didn’t really know what to think.
“Martin, listen to me. We’ve just stopped the Mythic Dawn threat, and now we have someone else who poses us potential threat as well. I don’t see why you would to keep him around. The Empire has almost been obliterated from existence. Martin, we have to start from scratch now. Burd, while likely has regretted his bad judgment, cannot be allowed to live. It is simply too dangerous.”
“But he wanted to kill Rayden for Mankar! Mankar is dead! What reasons would he want to kill Rayden now?”
Janus looked at Martin, and thankfully I think he was beginning to come around and understand Martin’s view.
“Well, I must admit, I’ve never thought of that. Then what do you suppose we do if not hang him?”
“Let him apologize for his mistake and move on. From what little experience I have had with him, Burd is a good man and could make for an excellent leader for this land. Talos knows we’ll need as much help as we can if we want to restore the province back to its former glory.”
“Fine, fine, you are right, Martin. I apologize for my rushed judgment over Burd. I just don’t want anything to happen to you two. If it weren’t for you all I’d be dead as of now. Lead the way to Burd’s room.”
Martin patted Janus on the shoulder, and then the three of us walked down the hallway to Burd’s bedroom. Martin knocked on the door but received no response. He shot Janus and me a worried look and then knocked even louder. The door flew open and Burd came sprinting out with his silver claymore in hand.
“Where are they? Have they breached the walls? Call the guards! Quick, we have to defend the city!”
Apparently Burd thought we were being attacked. Martin was quick to subdue his anxiety.
“Calm down, Burd, nobody’s attacking us.”
“Oh…sorry,” he said embarrassingly as he put his sword away. He was dressed in a plain brown shirt and long brown pants. It was first time I had seen him without his armor. He was well built. “It must’ve been a dream. But it was so real. I dreamt that Mankar had risen from death and had led an army of Mythic Dawn cultists into the city.”
“Well thankfully that is not true. Mankar is dead, according to our little hero here,” Hassildor said a little questionably. He still didn’t believe me yet. “We need to talk to you, Burd. It is very important.”
“Can’t it wait till tomorrow morning, sir? It’s very late and I need some sleep.”
“No, Burd. Believe me; this problem needs to be dealt with swiftly. Until then we cannot move forward as a country.”
“What is wrong, Janus?”
Janus looked around at all the soldiers that were poking their heads around corner, looking at us wondering what was going on.
“Let’s step inside your room and talk. We don’t need to air our dirty laundry with everyone.”
So we stepped inside Burd’s room and he closed the door.
“What’s going on?”
Suddenly Burd could sense something was seriously the matter, and it had to do with him. I could tell he knew this because his eyes were darting from Janus to Martin and then to me. His face was sweating and his hands were shaking. It was all about to be laid out in front of him. Hopefully he would not try and deny it. That would only make things more difficult than they already are.
“Martin found this letter lying under Narina’s bed.”
That is all Janus said, and if you ask me, that’s all he had to say. He simply handed the letter to Burd and he read it there right in front of us. Towards the end his hands were shaking a lot. He knew his secret was no longer that anymore. Burd looked into my eyes and started to cry. But not like before, when Narina was found dead. These tears were silent, and not loud. And I could tell they were true as well. He was sorry for what he had done.
“Rayden…I…I don’t know what to say. I just, I didn’t want to say anything to any of you. I made a mistake by listening to Mankar. When Narina died I thought perhaps everything would be okay and just maybe the guards wouldn’t go through with what we told them to do. And it really confused me why they would attack me in the throne room. But, reading this letter, I now know that Narina had them go after me. But it deludes me as to how they told the guards to make and attempt on my life, but also that doesn’t matter. What does matter is that I should have come to you earlier. I just…felt so ashamed of myself, for even thinking such a thing. I cannot even begin to tell you how sorry I am, Rayden.”
As soon as he was done speaking, all eyes were on me. Everyone wanted to know how I felt about the situation, something I hadn’t really spoken about that much up until now.
“Burd, I forgive you. I can see in your eyes that you truly are sorry for what you almost did. I also realize that you were only trying to help your city and your people. I am actually impressed by that, although you could have done that differently. But, it’s all in the past and the time is now to move.”
I think Janus was a little questionably with my immediate forgiveness, but Martina, and of course Burd, were very pleased.
“Thank you, Rayden.”
Burd shook my hand and then Martin patted me on the shoulder. The three of us left the room, leaving Burd all alone to finally get some sleep. I thought we were going to get some sleep as well, but then Janus said, “Well, I’m not a bit sleepy. And, Rayden, I’m actually a bit curious about your story about seeing Uriel. Care to tell it to me over a few drinks? You can come to Martin. Since you’re a priest perhaps you can shed some light on Rayden’s interesting accusation.”
When I thought about it, I really wasn’t tired either. And Martin appeared to have the same feelings as I, so we went downstairs and into the dining room, where Janus called for an Imperial female servant to bring bottles of Tamika Vintage. The lady brought the bottles and we drank as I went into detail about everything that had happened back on the ship.
“Well, Rayden, I have to say, there are some flaws in your story,” Janus said just after taking a long sip from his bottle of wine. “Since you hit your head on the ship, don’t you think you could have been seeing things?”
“You’ve got a point, Janus, but I…I don’t know, it was just so real to me. It didn’t seem like a dream or anything like that.”
“And even if it was a dream, how can you explain what Rayden told you? How else was he to know of happened back here?” Martin said before taking a small drink from his wine bottle. Martin had barely touched his wine, a signal that perhaps he was not much of a drinker.
“That’s true, Martin. So, we all agree that is was most likely a dream, but obviously a unique one. But I’m still not convinced; I mean…can spirits really enter your own dreams?”
“I’m not exactly sure on that one, Janus, but I believe it can be done. I don’t really see any other explanation. It’s either that or Rayden can tell the future,” Martin laughed.
I still didn’t really think it was a dream, but that’s all over now. Janus was set on believing it was, and there was no swaying him. Besides, I really didn’t care that much anyway.
“And how did he make it all the way back?”
“That I cannot explain unfortunately. It just happened. I don’t think we will ever know the truth.”
Janus thankfully left it at that.
“Okay, now that we have that pretty much settled, what is to become of the Empire?” Janus said before taking a huge gulp of his drink. Unlike Martin he appeared to be a heavy drinker. Me, I was a little bit in between. I could take or leave the stuff, it mattered not to me.
“I don’t know what is to become of us, actually. I expect the Council will send a wave of representatives out to help restore order,” Martin commented
“Yes, that will come soon,” Janus said rolling his eyes. “And for some reason I have a bad feeling they’re going to want to change everything.”
“How so?” I asked.
“Well, the leading member of the Council, an Altmer battlemage named Ocato, has been rumored in being interested in the job for some time; though that information isn’t well known. I have my ways of obtaining that kind of talk.”
“You think he’ll take control of Cyrodiil and name himself Emperor?” Martin asked.
“Yes, that is what I think will happen. Eventually I believe the entire Council will rule over Cyrodiil specifically. They are power hungry and it is the perfect time to make a move. It’s unfortunate really, because in my eyes Ocato is more focused on the interests of the other provinces. I am not sure he would make an effective ruler. Plus, the ruling of an Altmer would spark riots all over the country side. But, who knows what will happen. But, I think we all should recognize that change is coming to Cyrodiil.”
We finished our drinks while telling stories of the past, not worrying about the future, at least for tonight. My stories of course were a little more interesting than the others, and Martin and Janus were bewildered by my adventures. Soon it was nearing five o’clock in the morning and we all agreed at least a little sleep was the best option. But, before I left for my room, Janus called to me while Martin left for Cloud Ruler Temple.
“Rayden, I just wanted to thank you for everything you’ve done. I…cannot even being to tell you important you have been to the province Cyrodiil.”
“Yeah, well, it just sort of happened I guess. But I can’t take all the credit. It was a joint effort, you know.”
“Yes,” he said while putting a hand on my shoulder, “but if it wasn’t for you Mankar would still be alive and right down our throats. You’re a very good person, Rayden. Don’t every let anyone tell you any different. You’re name will go down in history.”
It was kind of ironic, if you think about it. Mankar once told me the same thing if I was to do the opposite of what I have done.
“The Savior of Cyrodiil; that is what they will call you. Sounds alright, eh?”
But that was a long time ago. I took the right path and have carved my own way into the history books. Nobody can take that away from me.
“Yeah…..that doesn’t sound too bad I guess.”
This post has been edited by redsrock: Jan 26 2008, 03:46 AM
*Hey everyone, TES Fiction is looking to revamp its very talented group of writers. So, if you love to write (TES or non-TES), come on over! Whether its stories, poems, song lyrics, etc, it doesn't matter!*