: Oblivion can be quite the resource hog. I do find it to be more fun than Morrowind though. My fiction is mostly true to the game, except in a few places. The most glaring one is that in the game Cyrodiil is tiny, just 20 miles or so across. In my fiction I have dramatically expanded the size of the province, making it take weeks to travel across, rather than just one day.
More coming. Olen:
Thank you O. Lots more character development coming as well. The first six chapters were originally written by me just to establish a baseline of who Teresa was before the real development began. But when I wrote them, I discovered that she was also changing quite a bit just in them. It is nice when that happens without real planning.
This chapter will be the last of the Main Quest for Teresa however. The events in the MQ will continue, but without her being directly involved. Teresa will learn of some of the events as she goes about her adventures, and she will experience some of the fallout however. Zalphon:
Thank you Z. Winter Wolf:
Thanks Wolf. Yep, she is finally red again. It was strange seeing her with brown hair. This of course means her temper cannot be too far behind though...Destri Melarg:
It is indeed the first time Teresa has ever looked in the mirror and actually liked what she saw. It is the first chance she has had to pause and really start taking in how much the Emperor has changed her. All
: This post will finish out Chapter 4, and include a guest appearance by another character...
* * *Chapter 4d - For The Emperor
After buying some bread and cheese for the road from Talasma, Teresa set off on her journey to Weynon. The priory was not difficult to find, even for someone traveling across the countryside rather than by the road. The chapel tower loomed high enough above the trees that Teresa could see it from quite a distance. Drawing nearer, she found that a chest-high stone wall surrounded the grounds, which was divided up by low walls into cultivated fields, grazing for cows, sheep, and goats, a stable, and a smithy. Screenshot
It was a miniature city all in itself, Teresa thought. People dressed in ordinary work clothes moved to and fro tending the soil or the livestock, and she received more than a few stares when she pulled herself over the wall and leaped onto the grounds themselves. No one tried to stop her however, and Teresa made her way to the chapel itself.
There she found an actual monk, a young Imperial who introduced himself as Brother Piner. While he wore the simple brown cassock of a cleric, Teresa noted the hilt of a sword rising from the folds of his robe. When she asked for Jauffre, his eyes narrowed.
"What brings you to Weynon?" he asked, extending his hand in greeting. It seemed odd to Teresa. Since when did anyone ever want to shake her hand? Yet by reflex she put her hand within the Imperial's. His grasp was firmer than she would have imagined for a monk, and she felt his thumb press into the gap between the knuckles of her first and second fingers. For some reason that struck her as being odd as well, although she was not sure why.
"What is your business with Jauffre?" the monk continued, releasing her hand.
"I was sent by Baurus," she answered, wondering if she had failed some kind of test.
The monk questioned Teresa further, but she refused to reveal more than that. The Emperor had trusted her to deliver the amulet, she thought, and after what had happened under the prison she was not about to take any chances with it.
Finally the monk walked with her to their chapter house next door. It was a large building of stone, and even included a little arched canopy for carriages to stop underneath. To keep them out of the rain, Teresa imagined. The windows were narrow slits, too slender for a person to fit through. But her archer's eye noted they were wide enough to easily fire a bow through. While at first glance it seemed like a quaint country priory, she realized that it could easily double as a fortress.
Beyond the heavy oak front door she found a simple but comfortable abode. Yet for all of its size, it seemed strangely empty to the wood elf. Given all of its space and the number of laborers working in the fields, she would have imagined there would be dozens of monks in the monastery proper. Yet as Piner took Teresa to Jauffre's office on the second floor, she did not see another soul within the building. Had they all gone somewhere? Teresa wondered as the monk told her to wait in an anteroom, while he went through another door to announce her.
So Teresa waited, but the monk did not return, nor did anyone else issue from the office. Time seemed to drag on forever. What was taking so long? the wood elf thought. She only needed a few moments to give Jauffre the damned amulet, then she could get out of there and get back home.
Perhaps she should have told Piner that she had the amulet after all? she mused, that might have gotten some action. Memory of the red-robed assassins dispelled that thought however. Better to be safe, she reasoned, than sorry.
So with nothing else to do, she paced back and forth, growing more frustrated with every moment. Was Jauffre really in there? she wondered, or was Piner just stalling her? Why would he do that? Could he be one of the assassins? Could Jauffre be dead even now, and the other Blades whom she expected to be here?
No, she thought, not with all of the people going about their business outside. If there had been a bloodbath like under the prison, they would have all fled. Besides, there were no signs of fighting either inside the building or without. No broken furniture, or bloodstains, or smell of dead bodies, or clouds of flies that flocked to such things.
Finally Teresa could take no more, and shoved the door to the office open and burst inside. Within she found Brother Piner standing in front of a desk. Behind it sat a middle-aged Breton with a shaven head, also wearing an ordinary monk's robe. Teresa knew instantly that he was no priest. He sat with his back too straight, his eyes were too hard, and his every motion was that of a soldier. Teresa had seen it all her life. You could always spot a legionary, no matter how hard he tried to hide what he was. Their soldier's demeanor was burned into them like a brand into a horse.
Standing to one side of the room was a tall Redguard. Her straight, milk-white hair was tied in a ponytail, and her face was worn with care. She wore a full suit of leather armor, much like Teresa's own. An arming sword hung from one her hips, and a quiver of arrows from the other. She had that same stiffness in her frame and aura of danger hanging about her as did the seated monk.
Another soldier, Teresa thought, although at least she was not pretending to be a monk.
"What in Nirn do you think you are doing!" the shaven-headed man growled, rising from his seat. That also made the sword tucked under his robe plain to see. "We have important matters to discuss. Now wait outside and you will be dealt with appropriately."
Teresa felt herself wilt under his harsh words and even hasher stare. She wanted to squeak like a mouse and scurry off to hide. Exactly what she had done all her life when the Imperial Legion turned their wrath upon her. But she did not do so this time, much to her own surprise. Instead she shut the door behind her with only a slight tremble in her hand. When she turned back she saw the Redguard had a hand on her sword, as if it were just casually resting there.
"I am here for the Emperor." Teresa found herself spitting out with an extreme effort of will. "He sent me here."
"What?" the Breton said in surprise, his tone more gentle now. "Just who are you? What are you doing here?"
Teresa took a moment to calm herself. For days she had imagined this moment, rehearsed it all in her mind. But now that she was here she did not know what to say. It was nothing like she had imagined. She felt like she was fighting the goblins all over again. Her heart was racing, her throat was dry, and her skin cold as ice. She had to control herself, she thought. She had faced an assassin; she had faced goblins, she could face this soldier pretending to be a monk.
Rather than talk, she reached into one of her new belt pouches and drew forth the Amulet of Kings. The Redguard's hand fell away from her sword and her grey-green eyes widened, as did those of the two men.
"By Talos!" the Breton gasped.
"Jauffre," Teresa said. The surprise evident on all three of their faces made her feel more in control of the situation. She looked to the older monk. "Are you Jauffre?"
"Yes," the Breton said. His voice had lost all of its former anger, and now seemed filled with joy as he rounded his desk and stepped closer. He reached an eager hand out to her. "I cannot believe it. You have the amulet!"
For a moment Teresa recoiled out of reflex. Then she steadied herself, and set the Amulet of Kings in Jauffre's fingers.
"My name is Teresa, and the Emperor wanted me to give this to you," she said, now feeling calm, as if simply referring to the old man had brought her strength. She remembered his piercing blue eyes, and again felt their warmth fill her. "He said that he has another son. One the assassins did not know about. He said you know where he is. Find him, and give him the amulet."
For a moment Jauffre stared at the giant red gemstone in his hand with wonder. Then his features settled back into a mask of determination. He looked to the Redguard first and laid his free hand on the woman's shoulder.
"Go Julian," he said, voice now filled with enthusiasm. "Ride hard to Kvatch!"
"I will bring Martin back, sir." The Redguard saluted Jauffre, closed fist thumping against her leather-clad breast. Teresa almost felt like she would blush when she turned to her and did the same. Then she left the room, her pronounced limp barely slowing her determined stride.
"I do not know how you managed to get this," Jauffre said in amazement, looking from the Amulet of Kings to Teresa. "But you did the right thing coming here. You may have just saved the Empire, all of Tamriel, from destruction. When the Emperor and the Princes died, I sent all the Blades I had here at Weynon for his last son. We are waiting for them to return with him. He was illegitimate, so his birth was kept a secret to avoid a scandal, and to protect him from the Empress. Now he is our last hope."
"But where are my manners?" Jauffre continued, now the kind host as he lead her to a comfortable chair next to his desk. "Come and sit. You must be tired from your journey. Are you hungry? I will send for some food."
Teresa allowed herself be led to the chair and sat down. Her heart slowed with relief. It was finally over! she thought. The moment she had put the amulet in Jauffre's hand, it felt as if a heavy weight had been lifted from her.
She recounted her story at the Breton's prodding, and he plied her with sweet cakes and wine. She discovered that Jauffre had known the man who had died in the alley, saying that he was an agent of the Blades who was watching Daedric cults. When she told him that she had been arrested for his murder, the monk swore that he would have the charges against her dropped.
"Now," he said after she had finished, "how can I reward you for what you have done? I cannot give you a title, only the Emperor can do that. My order is not wealthy, but I am sure we can spare some gold though."
"No," Teresa said, shaking her head. "I cannot take anything."
"You have done a service to the Empire which cannot be dismissed," Jauffre said staunchly. "I must do something for you in return."
"You do not understand," Teresa said, tears welling up in her eyes. "He died right in front of me, and I couldn't stop it. He believed in me, and I just watched him die..."
"Do not carry that guilt with you," Jauffre said quietly, rising to lay a hand on her shoulder. Not the soft hand of a monk, but the hard grasp of a soldier. "Could have, would have, should have... Play that game with yourself and it will drive you mad. Believe me, I know better than most."
Teresa gently took his hand and moved it off her shoulder. While part of her desperately wanted to be comforted, she could not let a soldier see her this way. Her entire lifetime had taught her to never show them weakness, else they would exploit it. She did not think Jauffre would do that, but old habits died hard.
She rose, knowing that she had to get out of there. Jauffre did not try to stop her as she walked to the door.
"The new Emperor will know what you have done, and I will never forget," she heard Jauffre say as she opened the door. "If you ever need anything, come and find me, or him. Anything..."
Teresa nodded. Part of her was screaming to take the money and live rich and fat for the rest of her life. But another part of her saw the Emperor's face in her mind and remembered his words. He had given her something no amount of gold could compare to. What she did, she did for him, and nothing else.