Date:- 2E 585 Morning Star Turdas 7th.
In recent days the small fort town of Helgen had seen more action than it had all winter, this was mainly due to the new arrivals from Bruma. Men and women and some children walked or limped around the town battered and bruised. Soldiers struggled to help their comrades that were crippled due to missing limbs and blood soaked bandages stemming the flow of blood. Flies buzzed around some of the wounded as healers worked on people laying on stretchers moaning in pain, now and then the sound of a saw cutting through bone and the screams of pain came from a tent in the market square.
A small group of mages stood huddled around a fire warming their hands trying to keep out the chill. The town had the air of defeat and the smell of death. The people who lived there walked around in a daze at the news of one of the Ebonheart Pacts largest defeat of the war so far, and it was at the hands of Molag Bal and not one of the two enemy alliances. The news was Bruma had been sacked by a daedric invasion force and Cloud Ruler Temple which housed a massive garrison of Pact troops was now being pulled from the very face of Nirn into Coldharbour. There was also a name on everyone’s lips a dunmer who showed cunning and rallied the fleeing troops to organise a fighting retreat through Jerrall's Pass, it was the disgraced general Veldam Arendu of House Telvanni. It was also he that commanded the mages to pull the mountains down into the pass to stop the daedra from following them back into Skyrim.
The two guards stood on watch at the forts main doors watching the crowds as they went about their daily business with a bored look on their faces. A scream and a commotion from the crowd caught their attention as a huge senche mount along with its khajiit rider appeared where the crowd parted like a wave breaking on the shoreline. The two guards looked at one another in a stunned silence and then back at the rider and mount as the khajiit dismounted and walked up to the two guardsmen. The rider was dressed in casual clothes of his people and carried a large curved blade on his back. His fur was striped with yellow and black and had the same pattern as the fur on his mount. The khajiit stopped in front of the two guards and gave a long low bow to them as a show of respect with a sweep of his arm, his tail twitching.
“This one wishes to deliver a letter to Veldam Arendu of House Telvanni.” he said as he rose up from his bow.
“Give me the letter khajiit and I will make sure he gets it.” one of the guards said as he held out his hand.
“This one must deliver the letter to Veldam regretfully.” came the reply from the khajiit as he looked at the guards. Seeming to sense the building tension the senche mount gave a low menacing growl and lowered itself to the ground.
This caught the attention of the two guards who gulped down their fear and looked back to the khajiit who was now smiling at them.
“Very well stay here I will go and find him.” the guard said with an indignant tone as he turned round and entered the fort leaving his partner alone with the two khajiit.
Time seemed to stretch as did the silence while the guard was inside the large fort looking for Veldam so he could collect the letter from the khajiit.
“Nice mount there.” the remaining guard said nodding over to the large senche mount after a while of waiting trying to ease the tension and boredom “Where did you buy him?”
“This one did not buy him, he is my brother.” the khajiit said in a reply.
“Brother? How can you call a beast of burden a brother even if its a large sabre cat?”
The khajiit sighed and looked at the guard “It would take to long to explain to you, just that we share the same mother and father. So he is my brother.”
The guardsman was about to open his mouth once more to speak when the door behind him opened up once more and his partner appeared along with Veldam.
Veldam stood before the khajiit arms crossed as he regarded him dressed in battered armour with a blood stained bandage covering his left eye “I am Veldam Arendu, speak now cat your name and purpose.” he said to the khajiit as a way of introductions with an authoritative tone “What do I call you?”
“This one is Shar'Ki, my brother is Mah'rut.” he replied with another low bow to Veldam and then pointed to his senche mount.
Veldam raised an eyebrow as he regarded the mount and then said “You have a letter for me?” his tone still sharp and direct.
Shar'Ki delved into his satchel and produced a scroll with a red string tied around its middle with a wax seal holding it together, a sigil of a flame embossed in the wax. Veldam's hand stopped short of taking the scroll as he hesitated and looked at the wax seal recognising the mark.
“How did you know I would be here?” he asked as he took the scroll.
“This one is a courier.” was the only answer from the khajiit Shar'Ki as he turned around to walk back to his mount.
Veldam and the two guards stood watching him leave the town through the gates that would take the courier to the Falkreath and Whiterun road. Veldam spun round and headed back inside of the fort before he closed the door he spoke to the two guards once more “I am not to be disturbed, under any circumstances.” he then slammed the door shut.
Wooden logs crackled as the flames in the hearth dried up the sap and consumed them throwing out its heat into Veldam's room, a large bear fur rug had been placed a few feet away from the fire with its head looking at the door to the room. Sunlight streamed in through the open windows to the room showing a simple bed against the wall opposite the fire, and a desk with a chair in front of the window. Veldam sat at the desk with his back to the window allowing the natural light of the day to illuminate the desk as he stared accusingly at the sealed scroll in front of him, to his right was a open bottle of molag and a full glass of the black fiery liquid. Slowly his hand reached for the glass shaking with anticipation of the sweet release the alcohol would give him and send him into a drinking binge to forget the grief of the day he received the news of Delte's demise via the same handwriting and wax seal. For the past three years he had avoided the letters that Left-Paw-Alight had written to him, the first half of which he had lived in the bottom of any bottle he could lay his hands on. Now though it seemed as if fate had caught up with him and decided to play its cruel joke on him one more time. The hand reaching for the glass balled up into a fist and smashed into the glass and bottle sending them both flying across the room to smash against the wall. He had lost his commission as general because of drink, it was then that he started to pull himself out of the bottle and try to rebuild his life. During which he had gained a small following of soldiers that went with him on dangerous missions deep behind enemy lines, most of the soldiers in his small unit were like him and looking for death and volunteered for the most dangerous jobs.
He snatched the scroll up and broke the seal as he unrolled it on his desk, Veldam placed a candle stick on the top of the page to stop it rolling back up and started to read its contents of the familiar writing of Left-Paw-Alight. Once he had finished he read the letter again and again his one good eye widening in shock and surprise, a smile spread across his features as he stood up and walked over to the open windows.
“You boy!” he shouted down into the courtyard at a stableboy. The sudden shout startled the young boy who looked around the courtyard looking for the source of the voice “Up here you s'wit, get my horse ready I leave in the hour.”
The stableboy looked up at Veldam and touched his forelock then ran over to where his horse was stabled.
Location:- Northern border of Whiterun Hold, Shatter-Shield clan holdings.
Date:- 2E 585 Morning Star Sundas 10th
Night had fallen across the clan hold of the Shatter-Shield clan, its citizens who lived and worked there had already packed up work for the day leaving the streets and fields empty. Inside the clans tavern people were singing and drinking as they consumed their evening meal while they caught up with the local gossip. The merriment from the tavern could just be heard inside the longhall of the clan where Volk stood by the large fire pit reading a scroll delivered earlier that day by a khajiit riding what was described as a huge sabre cat. His long hair now a pure white hung loose over his shoulder, a reminder of his journey into Coldharbour and the tolls that Oblivion exacts upon mortals. He scratched his bearded chin as he read the letter from his long time tutor and friend Left-Paw-Alight.
Dear Volk Shatter-Shield
I hope all is well there in the hold of Whiterun. How is Brom and his new wife taking to their union?
Tell Gresla and Fraki I say hello, I miss you all but my work here is important to the alliance and Tamriel. Also I hope to see your youngest soon, although I am not sure on the name you both chose for her, but I understand the reason why.
Again I have sent a letter to Veldam I just hope he reads this one as I want both you of you in Winterhold. My reasons for this request? I believe we can bring her home Volk, I speak of Delte Hlervi. I will need you both to help me in this though
All I ask of you both is to come here to the college and hear me out. If you think it is too risky I will not pursue it and will drop the research. I have arranged rooms for Veldam as well as for you and Gresla with enough room for two smaller beds if you wish to bring the hatchlings with you.
Gresla walked up behind Volk and slowly wrapped her arms around him as she rested her head on his large broad back.
“Another letter from Paws?” she asked him already knowing the answer.
“Yes. The children in bed?” he answered her as he caressed her hands. He didn't need an answer as the silence told him they were both sound asleep.
“Mmmmm!” Gresla purred her reply “What news does he bring this time?”
“He wants me to go to Winterhold to try and save Delte.” he said as he turned around still in Gresla's embrace to kiss her “But I gave you my word no more adventures, so he will have to make do without me.” he placed the letter down on a table as he took Gresla in his arms.
Between his kisses Gresla said to Volk “If you don't go to try and save your friend I won't be able to do anything with you. Besides I have noticed you have sharpened your swords and polished your armour for a journey. If you don't go to Winterhold I will go on a field trip there with the children to visit Paws without you.”
“You seem to know me better than I do.” he said as his mouth moved down her neck to the bare shoulders. Volk slowly peeled her dress down further “I want you and the children to come with me, it will be good for them to see a larger city.”
“Well before we go to Winterhold let me feel you inside me, I want to give you another son the eight willing.” she said as the dress fell to the floor.
Volk shook his head with a grin and said “I don;t care boy or girl as long as it is healthy and you survive childbirth.” he then cupped one of her breasts and kissed it gently as he moved down her body exploring it with his mouth and tongue. Gresla gave a gasp as his tongue explored her jewel. With one hand on Volk's head her fingers entwined in his hair she brought her other hand up her torso and gave her breasts a squeeze with a moan of pleasure. In the firelight their bodies writhed in each others embrace, skin glistening with sweat.
Location:- Winterhold City, College of Magic.
Date:- 2E 585 Morning Star Morndas 18th
Veldam paced up and down his side of the table in the meeting room which Left-Paw-Alight had booked for their first meeting in three years. On this rare occasion sunlight illuminated the room through its stained glassed windows giving some relief from the constant snow storms of the past few days. Every time Veldam stopped to turn around and head back the opposite way he would send a scowling stare at Volk who sat on the opposite side of the table. Volk sat quietly trying to avoid the gaze and picked crumbs out of his beard from breakfast. The only sound in the room was the marching boots of Veldam has he paced up and down the floorboards.
Volk frowned trying to think what to say to the dunmer, but every conversation he played through in his own mind ended with an argument, so he remained quiet hoping that Left-Paw-Alight would arrive soon.
“So while you and Gresla have been fucking and making spawns of yourself Delte has been stuck in Coldharbour?” Veldam broke the silence as he stopped and leaned on the table glaring at Volk.
“It's not as if we planned it that way old friend.” came Volk's reply as he met Veldam's gaze for the first time “If it hadn't been for her sacrifice we would all be stuck there or worse.”
“You had better pray Paws can....” Veldam was interrupted as the door swung open as Left-Paw-Alight walked into the room holding his staff in one hand and some books in the other, his robes flowed behind him as he strode up to the table and sat down.
“Well this is nice all old friends together in one place.” he said to Volk and Veldam eyeing them both “Amesia my assistant is with Gresla looking after your two hatchlings Fraki and the young Delte she is quite the handful much like her namesake.”
“What?” Veldam responded in shock looking at the argonian and back to Volk.
“In memory of the sacrifice Delte made to allow our escape, my wife and I named our new born daughter Delte as a way to honour her memory and friendship.” Volk said with a heavy sigh.
Veldam sat down in his chair mouth open in shock as he realised how selfish he had been in his own grief “Forgive me Volk, Paws.” he said looking at them both.
Volk shrugged and smiled at his old friend “Nothing to forgive.”
Left-Paw-Alight had kept the name of Volk's daughter a secret from Veldam for this very meeting, his plan had worked and he sat back in his chair smiling as he witnessed the fruits of his plan ripen.
“Shall we dispenses with these recriminations now?” Left-Paw-Alight said as he looked between them both.
“Agreed.” Veldam replied as he turned to face the argonian.
“What is this plan you have in mind?” Volk asked as he turned his full attention to the argonian.
“It's quite simple really, I came across some information about Delte during my investigation into the Dark Anchors and what they represent.” Left-Paw-Alight said as he looked between his two friends.
“Where did this information come from?” Veldam asked.
“From a reliable source who is working against Molag Bal that is all I will say.” the old argonian replied as he tried to deflect the question.
“How do we get her back?” Volk spoke up again “I hope its not going to be another trip into Coldharbour.”
“Nothing as drastic as that Volk, I intend to summon her to us in Winterhold.” came the reply from Left-Paw-Alight “This is why I need you both here to make the balance needed for the magic to work.”
Left-Paw-Alight thumped his staff on the wooden floor of the room, a few moments latter the door opened again and two young mage apprentices walked in carrying a large wooden box between them. They reached the table and put the box down on its surface then turned to Left-Paw-Alight gave a short bow and left the room once more closing the door behind them.
“In this box are two sword made of obsidian that are attuned to the heart,” Left-Paw-Alight looked at Veldam “and strength.” he turned his head and looked at Volk.
“I have come up with a way to summon her to us here by using her true name which I obtained from reliable sources. With her being trapped in Coldharbour for so long she will be disconnected from Nirn. For this I have acquired a sky shard which is attuned to the realm of Aetherius.” he continued to talk to the two men as he explained the ritual “The swords are to sever her link to Coldharbour that I will manifest as chains, you two must slice them with the swords on my command. Then I will lower the sky shard down which will attune her soul back to Nirn.”
Volk stared blankly at the argonian while Veldam nodded his head as he listened to how the ritual would be performed.
Left-Paw-Alight stood up and opened the wooden box, the inside was upholstered in a red cushioned cloth. Lying in this cloth lining were two obsidian longswords, both beautifully crafted engraved with runes and inset gems. One of the swords had faint pulsing veins of red stone deep inside its core, the other sword had the same design and pulsing light, but this one had a green light to it. The pulsing light reminded Volk of the rhythm a heart would beat to.
“Why the strange markings on them, and the pulsing what is it?” Volk asked as he looked in awe at the two weapons.
“The red and green represent her heart and strength.” explained Left-Paw-Alight “The reason they are pulsing is because they are both attuned to the heartbeat of Nirn.”
“Nirn has a heartbeat?” Veldam spoke up his tone disbelieving.
Left-Paw-Alight smiled and sat back in his chair as he steepled his fingers “Nirn is a living breathing world, and like all things alive it to has a heartbeat. As a shaman of my people we understand this more so than any other race on Nirn.”
“I take it this blue glowing crystal is the sky shard?” Veldam said pointing to a egg shaped crystal lying between the two swords. Left-Paw-Alight just nodded his answer.
“I want to know about this ally of yours.” Volk said as he looked over the swords and crystal mesmerized by their construction and design.
Left-Paw-Alight sighed and closed his eyes as he tried to arrange his thoughts. “You won't like it Volk, which is why I don't want to worry you both.”
Volk and Veldam looked at one another and then at the argonian.
“Spit it out we should know everything just in case.” Veldam said as he walked back to his chair and sat down once more.
“Very well the information comes from a female dremora aligned to Boethiah, who you know is no friend of Molag Bal.” Left-Paw-Alight sat back in his chair slightly relieved to let the information slip.
“That is correct,” Veldam said as he looked over to Volk “my guess is Boethiah has agents in Coldharbour to try and disrupt the Lord of Domination's plans.”
Volk broke his gaze away from the obsidian swords to look at Left-Paw-Alight “I guess pulling Delte out of that place would constitute to a disruption then?” the smile and wink from Left-Paw-Alight was all he needed to know the answer to his question.
“Lets get this over with and get my battle sister home.” Volk spoke again to the old argonian in an impatient tone.
“In good time Volk.” came the reply from Left-Paw-Alight “We must wait for the twin moons to enter their new phase, so we have three days to wait.”
“Why wait we have all we need.” Veldam slammed his hand down on the table making Left-Paw-Alight jump.
“It corresponds with her birth sign general, the more sympathies we can have aligned to our ritual the easier it will be.” Left-Paw-Alight said as he regained his composure. “I wish to free her as much as any of you, but remember Delte has been trapped in Coldharbour for thee years. There is no telling how she has been effected by the rigours of that place.”
“I am not a general any more, they took my commission away just over two years ago.” Veldam said as he rubbed his eyepatch “I dived into the bottle and made poor judgements which cost lives.”
“I know” Left-Paw-Alight said softly to Veldam.
“You will always be general to me.” Volk said to the dunmer “How did you loose your eye?” he added as he looked at Veldam.
“I lost it in Bruma during the assault by the daedra when it was sacked.” came back the answer from the dunmer.
“Makes you look meaner than usual.” Volk said with a smile and a wink, both men burst out into laughter. Left-Paw-Alight sat back chuckling at the joke as well, and pleased to see the animosity between them both vanish.
“I would like to propose for us all to forget about our worries for the next three days.” Left-Paw-Alight said as he stood up from his chair “Also I would like to see these two hatchlings of yours and Gresla.”
Veldam looked to the old argonian and said “I will second that, I also wish to see this woman who keeps my best warrior at home. She must have a golden fanny.”
Volk reddened with embarrassment and smiled as they all walked over to the door he put his two meaty arms over the shoulders of his two friends on either side of him as they left the room.