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Literature
The Lost Dragonborn 36
(General)
He still marveled at it. The Great Hall. Stories always found their way to him when he was a child, regardless that he was born amongst Dunmer. His light blue eyes did their daily scan of the room, taking in everything again. He couldn't believe he was here, amongst the great heroes, instead of nestled to the cold heart of the Dread Father. Perhaps even Sithis had turned his back on an assassin who so readily would sacrifice his pride to save both wife and child? He didn't mind too much, not today at least. Whispers had crawled their way back into the Hall. Shor had gone, leaving them express orders to stay their hand when it came to Alduin. And it seemed the dragon had returned once more, the great doors shut against the mysterious fog that the dragon seemed to bring with him. Arnan stood from his perch by the mead dispensers. He longed to be outside rather than trapped amongst the heroes who remained in the room. There were still a few, mostly the new heroes, dead and embol
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Literature
The Lost Dragonborn 35
(Syra)
I took stock of my body, not an easy task because everything hurt. I had dozens of bleeding wounds and the scorching taste of dragon blood in my mouth, pretty sure one eye was forever sealed shut by a mix of my blood, Alduin's blood and dirt. Not to mention the fact that I had just slammed onto stone ground,a  pure dead drop. Maybe, just maybe, I could have avoided it, maybe even bounced back from it as Nithrogr. But it would have meant sacrificing Lilith, the only person in the courtyard I gave a damn about. For all her magic and know how, no way could she survive being crushed by a dragon. I managed to open my good eye, my gaze trailing upwards as Alduin landed, slowly, as if he was taking the time to savor my end. I had to move, trying to force my body to respond and I got far enough for my fingers to twitch. Not fast enough as Alduin, his large body effortlessly landing above me, his hot breath engulfing my face as he stared down at me, his red eyes practically glowing
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Literature
The Lost Dragonborn 34
(General)
She hit the ground hard, robe torn and hands sliding in blood. None her own, only by pure luck. Lilith looked to Amarenthine, to an opponent that she had little hope of beating. Amarenthine once guided fate and from the shimmer of her deadly eyes, she now used it, her crystals appearing everywhere Lilith attempted to go. Never hitting her. Merely taunting her with the knowledge that, at any second, Amarenthine could simply choose to end it. And Lilith couldn't stop her. It was enraging, all the same and she threw up her hands, calling on ancient spells rather than those she'd picked up to have some hope of blending into the current , taking a deep breath as a cocoon wrapped around her, the vines that made it up cracking the stone beneath her feet. Her heart raced and a small scream escaped her lips as shards of crystal hit the side. She only relaxed a smidgen when she realized they hadn't gotten through. She'd seen battle before. That wasn't the issue. But in all those cases,
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Literature
The Lost Dragonborn33
(General)
She could feel it, the order, could feel it as it slid further from her grasp. It made her uncomfortable, for there had always been an organization to the mad chaos the realm had fallen into. A method to all the madness, a last remaining apparition of what the realm had been. She hadn't liked surviving alongside a ghost but it was survival. Standing as she did, staring at the sun which fluctuated in the sky, as if it couldn't make up its mind, she almost wept. She could feel the posted Saints and Seducers watching her. They knew who she was, knew her role in the March and despite her actions in its end, they would never trust her. The Isles were not home and never would be again. She felt tricked and her blood boiled a bit but she kept her head, stayed in control of her emotions.
“Thine!”
The fragment of her name echoed and she turned to her younger half sister as the woman skipped towards her, sharing the same skeptical stares from the guards. The difference was
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Literature
The Lost Dragonborn32
(Syra)
I held the sword in my hands, surprised I managed even that. My eyes tracked Lilith through the window, watching her and wondering how she could be so in control, so focused on building the pyre for Steinar. We wouldn't be able to take him home, wouldn't be able to bury him at Helgen with his mother. And so he'd end up buried in a strange land.
“This is your fault,” I declared, pressing my forehead against the glass.
My words were directed at Nithrogr. If she hadn't coveted Miraak, desired to bestow him freedom he'd lost a long time ago, Steinar would be here, as intolerable as ever rather than the martyr he was. Nithrogr didn't respond, slinking further into her solitude. She felt the shame without me adding to it but it made me feel better.
“Its odd.”
Serana's voice was a surprise but I didn't jump, acting as though I had expected her presence and keeping my gaze trained out the window on the sky that would soon be lit up with the first streaks of dawn.
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Literature
The Lost Dragonborn31
(Syra)
Everything felt wrong. My mouth was cotton as I rolled to my stomach, my vision swimming, my ears popping. My fingers scrambled for something, I didn't quite know what. And then a weathered but strong hand caught mine.
"Steinar?" I guessed, hoping to be right.
"Who else?" he snapped though it lacked his usual scorn.
He sounded concerned and wary. And maybe a bit scared. My vision righted itself, slowly, so that I could see we were in near darkness, surrounded by stacks and stacks of books. Pages covered the floor, almost like a second skin, and above our heads were lights, dim so as not to take away from the fact that this was a Daedric Realm. Everything in me could feel it.
"Miraak must have set a trap," Steinar growled.
I ignored him, choosing to test my leg strength. My stance was stable and good thing too as the books shifted, accommodating the wing span of a serpent like dragon as it glided towards us. My guard went up, especially when I spotted Miraak. His mask was back in
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Literature
The Lost Dragonborn30
(General)
His bones ached from so long exposed to the night chill. Skaal he may be but he was not immune to the weather, merely conditioned to it. He was content to merely enjoy the fire and perhaps doze awhile. But that was no longer a possibility, not when his daughter reentered the room, trailed by a Nord and the Halfling. He'd never have been able to tell, the Dunmer in her nearly disguising the Nord features. It was the eyes though, the cold blue that was not native to her kind and even more rare in his own. It was those eyes that zeroed in on him as she approached, sitting across the fire with no greeting to him, no acknowledgment past her steady gaze.
"I am Storn," he greeted, nodding her way.
"Syra," was her response, though she returned his nod.
"How is your injury?" he asked, lifting the warm mead to his chapped lips.
"Well," she replied. "The rest I got didn't hurt."
She looked away from him, her eyes falling on her female companion, the one who stayed tucked in the fire's s
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Literature
The Last Dragonborn29
(General)
The dark was a constant, one he'd learned to read long ago. He knew when she appeared, disturbing the constant flow and he closed the book he held, turning to face her. Or her mask because that was the only face of hers he knew.
"Priestess," he greeted with a nod.
He knew she was smiling behind her accursed mask. She'd seen the book and knew what he sought.
"Miraak, all these books and all this time you spend will never win you my identity," she laughed, taunting him.
"I've been trapped in this abyss for so long, I need a way to make use of my time."
The Priestess laughed.
"Master and I both know what you do with your time."
Her statement irked him, as if his motives were so obvious.
"What do you want?" he demanded.
"To warn you. Your old mistress and the Dragonborn are on their way to you. The other half of your soul," she informed him.
Miraak barely heard her, all his focus on her dig.
"My old mistress has not been of this world for thousands of years. Why would she be here
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Literature
The Lost Dragonborn28
(General)
"Excuse me?"
Syra's response was immediate. And predictably hostile. Her eyes went to Lilith, as if to say "fix this."
"Why do you say that?" Lilith asked.
Arngeir gestured to the warrior.
"Because Steinar is the Dragonborn," he explained. "He has withstood our collective Thu'um and the soul of the dragon of the north is within him."
"He's not complete," Syra declared, drawing the attention of the room to her.
She was watching Steinar, her eyes holding a touch of ancient intelligence within them. Lilith could see the dragon within her and she didn't believe for a second that Syra wasn't Dragonborn. Arngeir studied her, a look of recognition on his weathered face.
"By the Nine," he whispered, approaching her.
She tensed but didn't move as he stared into her eyes.
"Nithrogr," he said, in his forever soft tone.
Syra's eyes flashed in the dim light, reflecting the torch light.
"Yes," she replied.
The old Nord drew in a deep breath.
"Steinar, you must take them to see the Master,"
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Literature
The Lost Dragonborn27
(Syra)
The pin reeked of Molag Bal's influence, his power as familiar to me as Nithrogr's. It had been the odor that settled on everything in Coldharbour. Had I still had possession of my old armor, I had a feeling it would reek very much like the pin did. What made no sense to me was the pin was not of the Oblivion realm. It was a normal, man made trinket but one that had pushed a god from my body. Dyre was a lot stronger than I'd thought, especially now when he had an entire Hold at his mercy. While I had concern for Windhelm, I had problems to face here in Riften, namely at Goldenglow Estate, the face of which was Zeno and a scattering of his men. They hid it but I could see fear buried in their faces where I'd once seen respect and camaraderie. Lilith did not seem bothered, walking past them as they stood gathered in a small crowd, Zeno addressing them. At least he had been before Serana, Lilith and I had appeared in the distance. Namely me. Serana followed in Lilith's wake, as unb
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Literature
The Lost Dragonborn26
(General)
Fire was in her veins. The wind was cold but the wind had never bothered her. Vampires rarely felt anything. But she was feeling it now and she wrapped her arms tighter around Syra's waist, leaning in closer as her horse surged forward. She could not remember the last time she'd been on a horse. She'd been very young and had been afraid of their sheer size, uncertain of their footing. But something in her was attuned to the power in the horse, knew the surety of its footing and her fear was eased enough that she found herself enjoying the ride.
"Is this how you feel?" she whispered to Syra.
She knew the girl was listening to her, she didn't know how but she knew that this girl heard a lot.
"When you ride with such abandon, you feel free. You feel..."
She hesitated, unable to state just what it is she felt, searching her mind for the right glanced over her shoulder, a reptilian shape to her eyes.
"Alive," she offered, an ancient tone weaved into her words.
There it was, Serana
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Mature content
If the Cave be A'knockin' :iconblacknightmarerose:Blacknightmarerose 0 0
Literature
The Lost Dragonborn25
(Syra)
What was I thinking? I curled into a tighter ball, listening to my own breathing. It calmed me down and I needed it, still reliving just the sheer force of Brynjolf. I lifted my head, looking at Rossara. She was still in the chair by the door, still fiddling with the leather straps she brought into the room, hours before. I sat up, wiping away the sleep in my eyes.
"How'd you sleep?" she asked, not taking her eyes off the strips.
"About as well as I can," I admitted.
I noticed she was wearing new armor.
"Where'd you get that?"
"Mallus is a fence and he's affiliated with the Guild."
My blood ran cold. If I was right, the Guild wasn't exactly on my side. Rossara didn't notice, her attention on the leather.
"Since he took over the place, he keeps some of his wares in the basement. He noticed that there was sap all over my armor and offered to let me sort through some of it."
Her eyes lifted to my face and I noticed her eyes were blue and sharp.
"He extended the offer to you as well
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Literature
The Lost Dragonborn24
(Syra)
"He's home."
I didn't look up at Gancolm. I had heard Shadowmere as he arrived.
"Thank you," I said and he left.
I stared at my wrists, at the healing scabs. Zeno had said the best armor he could come up with, given the lack of time, supply and my size, was leather. I suppose I could scrounge up coin to order some custom armor if I had the chance.
"Syra!"
Brynjolf was like a cyclone, sweeping into the room, a breathless cyclone at that.
"I've ridden from Falkreath to Windhelm. I know how long that took me on an old mare. Riften is closer, yes," I said. "You better not have run my horse ragged."
I stood and faced him.
"I assume that you've heard about the cult," I guessed.
"Lass, we have to move you," he declared.
"I'm not going anywhere."
Something he clearly didn't want to hear.
"Its not safe!" he insisted.
"Nowhere is. The Dark Brotherhood is amongst their ranks, some of the deadliest assassins know to the world. As good as I am, I can't beat them all," I threw back. "And it c
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Literature
The Lost Dragonborn23
(General)
She moved, deathly silent,among the rafters that held the roof up in the Palace of Kings. She,begrudgingly, had to admit that only she could do this. Brynjolf had too much bulk to successfully hide amongst them. Rossara hadn't fully believed Brynjolf when he'd said the Thalmor were in Windhelm. But sure enough,three benches at the long table in the great hall were weighed down with them. As well as with Morag Tong. And observing it all was Ulfric who sat on his throne. Something was off about him but she couldn't place it. She risked it and dropped onto a lower rafter, careful to stay in the shadows. Not even a single lethally trained assassin noticed. She was confident in her abilities but even she knew that the Tong were a whole different level than her. Her thoughts were interrupted as one of the great doors opened, sending her scurrying higher again, in order to be closer to her exit. A woman walked in, her features covered by a mask that resembled what had been described
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Literature
The Lost Dragonborn22
(Syra)
She was silent. I never even heard her. Half asleep, I was  half listening to the sound of my own breathing, wrapped in my thoughts.  It was in that exhale, that extra whisper of air as it shifted, that I felt someone in the room.
"Hello, Babette," I greeted,sitting up.
She grinned, her eyes all I could see of her in the dark room.
"Astrid said you needed me, Listener," she chuckled as she sat in a chair.
"Have you ever heard of a vampire named Dyre?" I asked without pleasantries.
He wasn't my brother. Not anymore. He was a monster of the night and I would strike at him first. And to do so meant I needed to move first, to have time on my side.
"Can't say that I have," Babette admitted. "But I have a slew of contacts just waiting to do my bidding."
She was excited. The Brotherhood I remember were never one to actively pursue contracts on vampires and werewolves. The risk of infection or worse, digestion, usually had them sneaking the contract to professional vampire hun
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Critiques

by Rinmaru

Okay, so I've played a lot of your games besides this. Anyway, First, I love the female in this particular page. She seems somewhat mat...

Activity


(General)



He still marveled at it. The Great Hall. Stories always found their way to him when he was a child, regardless that he was born amongst Dunmer. His light blue eyes did their daily scan of the room, taking in everything again. He couldn't believe he was here, amongst the great heroes, instead of nestled to the cold heart of the Dread Father. Perhaps even Sithis had turned his back on an assassin who so readily would sacrifice his pride to save both wife and child? He didn't mind too much, not today at least. Whispers had crawled their way back into the Hall. Shor had gone, leaving them express orders to stay their hand when it came to Alduin. And it seemed the dragon had returned once more, the great doors shut against the mysterious fog that the dragon seemed to bring with him. Arnan stood from his perch by the mead dispensers. He longed to be outside rather than trapped amongst the heroes who remained in the room. There were still a few, mostly the new heroes, dead and emboldened who did not recognize him, did not know him and asked for his story. He almost laughed, almost told them the truth.
“I am an assassin of both Morag Tong and Brotherhood, who turned my back on all that to dedicate my last battle to Shor,” he wanted to say.
Wanted to tell them that he'd met his fate in the most miserable of ways, laying in a field, torn apart from facing off against a beast he'd raised and monsters from Oblivion itself. The great doors opened in the midst of his self tearing thoughts and, along with every hero in the Hall, he looked to them. Not sure why, perhaps expecting Shor or maybe Alduin had taken to opening doors. The tension alleviated when Tsun stepped in. Which shouldn't have bothered him but Arnan found himself unnerved by the man. He didn't laugh or joke and seemed content to be that way. He talked, yeah, but past that he didn't seem to have much personality. Did having such thoughts count as blasphemy? He didn't take the time to ponder such thoughts further, as he would have. Because the next person to step through that door was his daughter.


(Syra)

Nononononono. My steps froze when I stepped into the Great Hall. I was the center of attention which made denying the blood stain on the impressive carpet kind of hard as I tried tucking my bleeding arm behind my back. Like that would help any. My gaze surveyed the Hall, surveyed the heroes as they gathered around me, curious and confused. No doubt because they'd expected someone else besides the bleeding and battered bag of bones before them. I stepped further into the hall, ignoring the gazes that followed me. Tsun remained by the door, stone faced, leveling a stare that seemed to say to the warriors “Don't even think about it.” Probably to keep them inside. In there place, I would have been out there, preferring to save myself rather than wait for some legendary fable to save me. Miraak proved that the legends were true though. Steinar did as well. I reached the long table, pushing aside plates of food and mugs of ale, studying the napkins I spied here and there until I found a small stack that were relatively clean, only speckled with ale and even that was forgivable. Despite my audience, I sat on the floor, briefly eyeing the smooth floor. Everything here seemed too perfect, too ideal. It was eerie. Drawing my attention back to myself, I wrapped the napkin securely around my bleeding ankle, gritting my teeth against the sting. The blood that had been staunched by my armor, thankfully made to fit snug against its wearer, flowed a bit more freely for my liking once the boot was off. If I survived and got home, I'd need to see a healer and fast. I had two more napkins, choosing to sacrifice one to wipe the blood that had seeped onto my foot. For the most part, it had already dried and I didn't have time to waste fully cleaning it off. I wiped away what I could, checked that my ankle's binding was secure and then shoved my foot back into my boot before  I could regret it. Next came the bleeding wound on my arm, which hadn't stopped bleeding since that first crystal had passed through it. Of course, that was because Amarenthine had cut the armor open in her efforts to kill me. I uncuffed the gauntlet, letting it slide off and to the floor, grimacing as the fabric brushed the wound. It looked a lot worse than I thought, the skin already red and angry, fragments of crystal still lingering. I dug them out, a priority since who knew what Amarenthine could do with them.
“This may help.”
I looked up, vision obscured by the bottle of ale in my line of sight. I reached for the bottle, accepting it. To say nothing of the Nordic tendency to drink, I was pleasantly surprised to find this bottle was still full. I didn't ask questions, pulling the cork out with my teeth and pouring it generously on the wound. It wasn't perfect, wasn't the best fix, but I needed to be back in working order. I knew better than anyone that regardless of realm, Divine or Daedric, the effects on the living varied. Coldharbour had stolen enough from me. Calloused fingers wrapped around my wrist and I tensed, ready to lash out if the glare I shot at my helper failed as deterrent. And my heart froze as my eyes fell on the Nord before me. Those blue eyes met mine, a perfect match, given that they were the original owner. A wry smile painted its way across his face, the same face I remembered from the last time I'd seen him, playfully complaining that he was getting too old as he kissed my mother, laughing as she objected to the stubble along his jaw line. Stubble that was still there, still as deep brown as I remembered.
“Father,” I whispered, voice shaking and low.
I didn't want to say it too loudly, lest he be some trick conjured by this realm.
“Syra,” he said.
His eyes studied me, sadness in their depths.
“You haven't aged a day.”
There was more emotion than I'd ever heard from him in his voice.
“I haven't,” I replied.
What did I tell him? Did I explain that the monster that had killed him had succeeded in tearing apart our family? In turning his beloved into the same monster, in trapping his only daughter in the hellish realm of his master? Or did I lie? Was there a lie to explain how it was that I had gone centuries without changing?
“Dyre's doing no doubt,” he said, his tone bitter but pained nonetheless.
The truth it was. I was not so skilled as Brynjolf when it came to words anyway.
“Yes. He made a deal with Molag Bal to trap me in Coldharbour. And mother is a vampire,” I reported.
He swore beneath his breath, glancing around. Those gathered weren't subtle in their staring. They were clearly starved when it came to drama. He let out a frustrated huff and then, lacking anything else to do, he pulled my arm towards him, examining the wound a second before taking the ale bottle from me and pouring more into the bleeding maw.
“How are you here?” I asked. “Nord or not, you served Sithis.”
And this certainly wasn't the Void. My father did not respond, his focus on my wound but his face an open book. He was clearly pondering what he would say.
“Sithis demands everything from us,” he finally explained. “Our souls, those of our children and our friends. Even if you'd walked away, become a priestess, Sithis would own you. He had claim on your soul, the one too weak to keep you alive at birth. When I turned my back on him and Akatosh gave you a dragon soul, I took you away from Sithis.”
He didn't seem to feel too guilty and it made me smile a bit. His fingers spirited the napkin away from me, releasing my arm to tear it into strips.
“The Night  Mother stopped speaking to your mother about me, about any jobs. I knew that the only reason I was still sent out on contracts was because your mother made it so,” he continued as he bandaged my arm. “When I took you away, Sithis turned his back on me. I had no place in the Void and he had no claim to my soul.”
He did a click glance around the Hall, barely seeing it, it seemed.
“When Dyre attacked me, he didn't kill me. Tore me up pretty good and left me for dead. But I was alive,” he told me. “Near Skingrad and injured but I really thought I could make it home.”
There was a wistfulness to his voice and it hurt. My father had always been happy, eerily so for an assassin, some said. He'd laughed and joked and teased often enough that it seemed he couldn't be touched by the darkness of murder or the occasion when death claimed a fellow assassin. He'd simply shrug it off, throw a joke around and just accepted that we dealt in death, whether it was ours or someone else's. To hear him now, to know he was so close to home and hadn't made it.
“An Oblivion gate opened, near a small farm. I could have gotten away, could have left them to be slaughtered. But there was a kid, looked just like Dyre, before he strayed,” my father continued.
He looked at me now and I could see where he was going with this. He'd loved us both, no matter that he'd sacrificed more for me. Dyre had been there first, enjoying stories and songs from our parents, their hope that he would prove a skilled assassin. He was their first born, my father's son. He was the heart of our family. Or had been.
“I wanted to save him.”
I didn't ask if he meant Dyre or the little farm boy because in the moment that my father had made his decision, centuries ago, it didn't matter. That boy had been Dyre, before we'd lost him.
“I screamed to the Divine, to any that would hear me, to the Daedra even as I rushed into fight. I wanted to be heard and know that at least one saw, wanted them to know that I was a good father, despite the taint of Sithis on my soul.”
“And Shor saw,” I surmised.
“Yes.”
He hung his head on that note, as if he had reason to be ashamed.
“I abandoned Sithis,” I confessed.
There were no words to describe how proud I was. How honored I was as well that he'd risked his soul to let me live. And how grateful that Shor had seen him. My father looked at me again, unsure of what to say as well so I went on.
“No one came for me when I was in Coldharbour. I spent 200 years, alone and afraid and no one came after me or tried to save me. I felt angry. I hated the gods. Because Bal stripped away any memory that would comfort me, any emotion that was positive. I was a shell of who I was and who I was suppose to be.”
I withdrew my arm, the bandages secure on it.
“I was lost too. But I found my way and it led me hear to you,” I went on. “And I never thanked you, not once, for giving me a life. For ensuring that I'd make it this far.”
I wanted my father, wanted to stay here with him, no matter the consequence. But those consequences were looking to mean the end of life and I could not sit and think of Lilith or Brynjolf dead without wanting to do everything I could to stop it. I took a shuddering breath, leaning forward and wrapping my arms around him. I had never been an affectionate child and could tell that this took him by surprise. I was too focused, remembering his scent that still clung to him even now, the faint but sweet hint of honey and deathbell, wanting to give in and remain tucked away. Instead, I released him and grabbed my discarded gauntlet, pushing to my feet. The gauntlet slipped on surprisingly easy given the bump the bandage made. I didn't spend too much time on it, marching for the large doors. Tsun turned his neutral gaze to me and, seeing I was ready, nodded, unfolding his tree branch arms.
“I'm ready,” I assured him.
“They will not help you,” he informed me, nothing I hadn't expected of course.
I had seen their faces, watching me as I spoke to my father. I was a dragonborn but not the last and somehow, it went against their delicate sensibilities. For such great warriors, they were showing themselves to be cowards towards the unknown. I wanted one last glance of my father but knew if I turned, feeling even the slightest bit of uncertainty, he would see it and step forth. Instead, I drew Steinar's sword, the hilt biting into my hand as my body rejected it. I ignored its protests, curling my hand tighter, adjusting to the weight of the blade. It had felt like forever since I'd held a blade and I closed my eyes, swallowing around the lump in my throat despite how dry my mouth was. I focused on that blade. It was a mix of emotion, a blade in my hand again. It felt wrong and right, merging and I knew why. But I was no longer a victim,  I was the last thing that stood between destruction and the world newly opened to me. I was a protector. I opened my eyes and squared my shoulders. Tsun, sensing my determination, or perhaps seeing it, stepped aside, pushing open the door. I didn't thank him, didn't look at him. I stepped through that door, into the fog and I let my voice ring out.


(General)

The shout tore apart his fog, his curtain of security. He did not hide his dissatisfaction, his claws digging deep into the remnant of his wall. His. Much like he'd filled Skyrim with his allies, his forces and his influence, he'd conquered this realm as well. That she would come here as well. Even caged in mortal flesh, she was his equal, much stronger than the true Dragonborn he should have been facing. And he watched her walk through the slivers of fog that were steadily dissipating, sword in hand. A picture of defiance. Beneath the grey tinted skin of her mortal vessel, he could see Nithrogr, see her curled in defiance, ready to oppose him once again. Once more she would turn her back on duty and loyalty to what should have been her kind. For mortals.
“Nithrogr, you come to meet me in my realm,” Alduin intoned and she gazed up at him.
Her blue eyes narrowed and she lifted that glinting blade, pointing it straight at him.
“My name, you arrogant ass, is Syra.  And this is not your realm,” she declared.
“I have no time to converse with a mere mortal,” he retorted. “Nor do I wish to waste my time on a barbarian such as yourself.”
She swung that blade, one handed, in a dangerous arch.
“Then let's stop wasting time,” she insisted. “Nithrogr has nothing to say to you. But we both agree your scales would make impressive armor.”
Her arrogance dug at him, stabbing deeper than any of the wounds thus far inflicted on him or the sword still digging into his flesh. He launched himself from his wall, his rage and strength tearing at the stone. With a flick of his claws, he thrust the clutched stone at her. She dodged, leaping onto the first stone to crater into the ground before leaping onto the next, using it as a mere stepping stone to meet him as if they were equals. She lashed out with that blade, just barely making a small mark on his scales while his jaws snapped at her. He bit down on armor and as he squeezed, he felt the subtle tell as it gave, just a bit. He bit harder, in his blood rage hoping to bite her in half and end this minor headache. Acting fast, she twisted enough, stabbing her sword into his eye. It was a move he hadn't expected but should have and it hurt. That she had hurt him enraged him more. Like an accursed mortal child, he shook his head in displeasure, shaking her as well and releasing her from his jaws. She sailed through the air, hitting the ground with too little force in his opinion, the force of it enough to knock her sword aside. She grunted and rolled, moving even before he did. And he noticed the slightest hint of a limp. He chose to attack, his motions jerky, his depth perception greatly undermined by his missing eye as he tore across the space between. She saw him coming, changing from defense to offense, charging to meet him halfway. He was not at all surprised when Nithrogr emerged from that human skin, the change like water over rocks before angry jaws snapped at him. He ducked, reaching out with claws, digging them into her flesh painfully, tearing indiscriminately and holding tight even as she seared his face with flames and attacked him with her teeth and claws. All equally as sharp as his but ultimately useless in the face of his hate. She was not without options however, her wings flapping, lifting them into the air, something he did not have the liberty of doing as he ripped through scale to exposed skin beneath. He'd just tasted blood when her body beneath him shrunk, the scales and reptilian skin fading from his grip as she shrank back into that mortal form, falling away from him with ease. She didn't seem panicked as she plummeted, tucking and rolling as she hit the ground. They hadn't risen very high, probably of her own design. She rolled to her feet, sprinting and sliding the last few inches for her sword. Alduin circled above, noting the blood pouring down her side, her armor torn to shreds. Pride surged inside of him as he landed not too far from her, approaching slowly, taunting her. She was all but dead and they both knew it. It did not stop that defiant look of hers, did not kill the determination in those ice eyes as they peered from the curtain of her black hair. He growled, the time for words past as far as he was concerned, his body quickly closing the space between them, his hot breath in her face, fanning strands of hair and scraps of armor. Even still she never wavered, her stance fixed though shaky as blood pooled at her feet, her hands curled around her sword. Nithrogr was in those eyes, staring through her host and daring him with every fiber of their shared being. If she was so ready to die, so be it. He would see her tried by the very same flames that claimed her once before. On that note, he summoned forth fire, felt it licking the back of his throat, heating his chest. And rather than react, try to fight, perhaps try and take out his other eye with her pathetic little sword, she closed her eyes. He wished to watch her eyes as she realized her doom was upon her, realizing that these flames were for her and her alone, to return her once more to the sweet nothingness she had been. But know was enough, when it came down to it.
“Yol Toor Shul!” he roared.
He crowed his achievement as the words left his mouth, ripped through the aether towards his opponent. And very quickly, that was met with dread as he realized his own shout was a mere echo of her own.
“Spaan Haas Qah!”
Knitting together faster than his fire could, a shield formed around her, a pulsing bright white, protecting her from the flames meant to eat her alive.
“No!” Alduin roared, realizing this and moving.
To do what, he didn't know but he tore across the distance between them, an air of murderous intent clouding around them. She wasted no time, moving out of his path, scrambling away from him, trying to keep distance. As she did, he could see the flesh on her side, the fresh wounds he'd given her healed to a much less harmful point. The blood flow had receded and there were only the thinnest of cuts. It enraged him more but not enough to cloud his mind. He swung at her with his tail and rather than dodge, she hunkered down, taking the hint which should have stunned her. Instead, she used it as an opportunity to grab his tail, climbing her way onto his back even as he thrashed and bit at her, his  Voice doing little as well to thwart her given that he did not wish to harm himself. She held tight to his scales, her very life depending on it.


Tsun watched the World Eater as he tore apart the ground beneath him, his actions that of a caged animal as he went after the tiny halfling on his back. Did his heart yearn for battle? It did. The girl was no warrior and yet she was facing down the dragon to rival her own. Why she did not fight in that form he wouldn't know and would not ask. The sword in her hand, the one she'd put effort into not losing again, glinted in the weak light that illuminated the realm. She was angling it, angling her body, for some move she had planned. Alduin rolled, crushing her beneath his weight but when he righted himself she remained, body pressed as close as she could be to the very scales she'd come to rely on. That she had used his own body to betray him fueled the World Eater's rage and he took to the air with force, waves of dust carried in a full circle away from the source displaced. Tsun watched all this calmly.
“This is not your destiny,” he said to no one in particular.
He was not asked his opinion and if he had been, if he had also been a man who voiced his opinion where he was not concerned, he would have told her. Would have instructed her that her interference was pointless as her chance of success was low. If that discouraged her, then so be it. Fate could not be changed, he had found. It was in the air that Alduin was finally free from his pest, twisting before he perfectly arced, forces conspiring against her until her grip slipped and she fell back towards the ground, Alduin diving along with her. She was calm, looking towards the approaching ground.
“Fus Roh Dah!” she roared at it, buying herself a few more precious seconds as the shout lengthened her time in the air by mere seconds.
Time seemed to slow, though Tsun knew it hadn't. He watched the events play out, events that would remain in his mind so long as his existence continued. He saw the World Eater land, saw that glinting sword rise, clutched in the hands of a girl not fated to be in Sovengarde. Saw the determination in that young face as she fell towards the black dragon of doom, sword plunging with all her strength into the skull of the monster she was not fated to fight. He realized throughout that she'd been making the most gods awful roar, a mix of dragon and mortal, a small detail in the face of what she had just done. She had killed the World Eater, his cursed soul vanishing, his body fading like a bad dream while she stood among the would be carnage, looking like a goddess of vengeance and unbridled fury. She stood there, body heaving, armor torn and body beaten and still managed to throw her head back, yelling at the sky in acknowledgment of a hard fight won. Her body gave way though and she dropped to the ground, no attempt made to catch herself as she fell face first to the dirt.


Lilith gasped. She felt the shift, the one only Miraak seemed to feel. She knew instantly what it was. She rose from the barrel she'd been sitting on, the group having returned to the ship. Her jaw dropped a bit.
“What is it?”' Serana asked.
She sat next to Lilith's barrel seat, cuddling Ashanti, the big cat having taken a liking to her.
“He's dead,” Lilith announced. “Alduin is dead.”
“What about Syra?”
Brynjolf stepped forward. He'd been below deck with all the refugees from Windhelm, helping to feed and coax the shivering masses from their stupor. When he'd returned was unknown but he was staring intently at her, his anxiety in his face. She could see it, that he needed Syra to be okay. She honestly couldn't tell him one way or another.
“I don't know,” she admitted.
“Then where do I go to find answers?” the thief demanded.
Lilith wanted to shout at him. She could see how tense he was and knew the tone and bombardment of questions were due in part to his anxiety. That he'd never see her again, that she was once again lost for centuries. Lilith felt the same way, felt the ache that usually accompanied significant losses in her life. She'd lost mentors,friends and lovers before and each time it changed her, took a piece of herself. She'd faced the unknown and knew the darkness it could embed in one when left unanswered. And she was leaving that darkness in Brynjolf know, unable to give him the answers to save him. He sensed her hesitancy and her confusion and scoffed. His anger wasn't directed at her but at the situation. Even still, he glared daggers at Miraak. The man had been in a state of shame. He realized when it counted that he had not been ready to face his destiny and had doomed Syra to a fate unknown. Miraak had boarded the boat and then sat far away from the rest, staring at the city, as anxious as the rest of them to know Syra was okay. A roar caught their attention, that of a dragon. It preceded the gray dragon that soared into view. Lilith's heart dropped. She didn't have it in her to fight dragons. Not now when her priority was Syra. What was worse was the fact that this dragon was not alone, a mud colored dragon flying alongside him. Adding to the peculiarity, Lilith realized that the dragons paid them no heed, the large beasts flying on, attention focused elsewhere.
“Where do you think they're going?” Serana asked, following their movement as Lilith did.
Together, their gazes found the mountain. The tallest mountain in Skyrim in fact. Realization dawned on Lilith.
“There!”
She pointed, enthusiastic in her movements.
“We'll go to the Throat of the World, to Paarthurnax. He'll know what happened to Syra.”
Or at least she hoped so. If not, they would be back at square one, this time with no waiting answers.


She faintly remembered the hulking man, remembered his hand on her shoulder, turning her over and urging her back to consciousness. Everything seemed to be so enhanced, more intense and vivid. He'd glowed with ancient energy, even before he'd parted his lips and uttered those words to cast her out. Why he was fading from her mind made little sense. What did was that she was standing in snow, shivering and not happy about the cold. Surrounded by dragons. They studied her like she was a curiosity and indeed she was. Steinar's sword was at her hip and she wanted to draw it, show them the might that had slain their master, the World Eater. But she was exhausted and wanted a nap more. Which would have to wait. As Paarthurnax landed before her, stirring up more snow but also shielding her from the reptilian eyes of her audience, she stepped forward, enjoying the warmth that radiated from his scales. Or seemed to.
“Dragonborn,” he greeted, bowing a bit.
“Syra,” she corrected.
Her mouth hurt. Her lip was split and she tasted blood when she talked. Great.
“Alduin is slain,” Paarthurnax informed her.
His voice was sad but there was strength there. Syra blinked, her senses overloaded. She closed her eyes, fighting a growing headache.
“Where does this leave us?” she asked.
“You are free to follow whatever path you choose. You can return to the mortals or be among your kind.”
“I am not a dragon,” Syra declared.
“As you wish,” Paarthurnax relented.
He seemed to think she'd made her choice, moving to leave.
“Wait!”
Syra would have reached out but she was too cold, arms wrapped around her for warmth. Paarthurnax turned back to face her, waiting.
“Alduin almost killed me” she confessed. “But I, I don't know, it was like something awoke in me. I protected myself. I even healed myself to a point. Do you know how?”
Paarthurnax studied her, his ancient face giving nothing away.
“Alduin hid many secrets in places he knew his foes would never go,” he finally intoned. “Could never go. You can go to those places, learn his secrets. Learn those things. But it will take you away from Skyrim.”
“For how long?”
“That, Syra, depends on you.”
Syra sighed deeply, leaving the shelter and heat of the old dragon. The wind wasn't too bad, the mountain standing high above it all. The sun was up in full force and she realized how exhausted she was. Every part of her ached, very much like she'd, well, been tossed around like a dragon's rag doll. She didn't want to be here. She wanted to meet back up with her friends, wanted to celebrate and pretend that Windhelm was intact, that Dyre hadn't ruined lives and so many things were guaranteed. And most importantly, she wanted Brynjolf. Her heart ached even as her mind flashed back to that critical moment, the new Shout. What if the next was dangerous? What if she couldn't control it? What if she hurt him? She already knew what she had to do, turning back to Paarthurnax, letting her eyes shift to the reptilian slits of a dragon as she gave in to Nithrogr just a bit. The dragons watching stirred, clearly excited.
“Alright Paarthurnax,” she said. “Lead the way.”
The Lost Dragonborn 36
Alright, we're hitting that final stretch. Probably one more chapter. I cannot believe how this story has come along. Never fear those who have been enjoying their time reading. I appreciate each and every one of you.
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(Syra)


I took stock of my body, not an easy task because everything hurt. I had dozens of bleeding wounds and the scorching taste of dragon blood in my mouth, pretty sure one eye was forever sealed shut by a mix of my blood, Alduin's blood and dirt. Not to mention the fact that I had just slammed onto stone ground,a  pure dead drop. Maybe, just maybe, I could have avoided it, maybe even bounced back from it as Nithrogr. But it would have meant sacrificing Lilith, the only person in the courtyard I gave a damn about. For all her magic and know how, no way could she survive being crushed by a dragon. I managed to open my good eye, my gaze trailing upwards as Alduin landed, slowly, as if he was taking the time to savor my end. I had to move, trying to force my body to respond and I got far enough for my fingers to twitch. Not fast enough as Alduin, his large body effortlessly landing above me, his hot breath engulfing my face as he stared down at me, his red eyes practically glowing with the mix of malice and sick glee, if such a thing were possibly portrayed in dragons.
“Nithrogr,” his voice echoed in my head. “You retreat. Do you finally acknowledge that you are no match for me?”
Nithrogr raged inside of me and I was too weak to stop her, my sight suddenly intensifying as it did when she took over. But she was weakened too and there was only so much that she could push.
“She is better than you,” I managed.
My mouth was on fire, that fire spreading down my cheek as his blood dribbled down my cheek. I didn't let it deter me.
“She gave me a life when I should have died,” I added. “A legacy of dragons that do nothing but take. Lives, land and she went against it all and gave.”
I shot him a sneer.
“She is so much better than you and you think that your violent nature makes you superior.”
Those eyes glittered with absolute hatred now. And there was no doubt in my mind that I was going to die. I closed my good eye, accepting in that regard. I couldn't very well run at the moment. The cold vanished, replaced by an almost blistering heat and I forced myself not to be foolishly brave, not to stare death in the face, gritting my teeth as the heat became unbearable. Until it wasn't there anymore, replaced instead by the whoosh of air and a cold snow bank. Hissing as the sudden movement jostled my injured body as well as at the cold, I opened my eyes, shocked to find Falin  riding astride Ashanti, the likes of which was streaked with blood. Alduin roared his annoyance at my escape, built up flames emerging from his mouth as he turned on Falin. She smirked, smirked!, in the face of the World Eater, throwing up her one hand and changing the course of his flames as if it were nothing. Her other hand reached for her bow, which was slung over her shoulder. With speed, she had an arrow, firing carefully, the projectile hitting Alduin right in his eye. All the while, Ashanti kept running, her paws splashing through blood and sleet as she carried her mistress to my side. Not a smart idea, given that Falin had caught the attention of one very angry dragon but in what felt like no time, Lilith was there, sparks of lightning shooting from her hands, hitting the sword that still stuck out of Alduin's flesh, leaving an exposed wound that was perfect for attacks. He was still bleeding. Ashanti slid to a halt beside me and Falin leapt off, kneeling next to me, a healing spell already in her hands. I didn't object, unsure what good a spell would do me at the moment.
“Where's Brynjolf?” I asked her, looking into those green eyes.
“He's safe,” she promised me. “Ashanti wouldn't be here if he wasn't.”
She didn't elaborate and I didn't ask, letting my head lull towards the Palace of King's doors, in time to see Serana and Miraak drop to the ground, finally free of the great hall. Miraak wasted no time, picking up a discarded sword and charging into battle. Serana paused at my side, kneeling, one hand on my shoulder.
“You okay?” she asked.
“I'm not dead yet,” I replied.
She nodded and was gone, following Miraak and Lilith's lead. Falin helped me sit up, her fingers touching my wounds, a spell on her lips. My skin knitted back together, slowly. Much slower than I had hoped.
“I can't heal you all the way,” Falin remarked.
She cast a glance at Alduin, finally face to face with Miraak.
“Can he beat him?” she asked.
“He has to,” I insisted.
“Because he's the Dragonborn?”
She seemed puzzled by the concept.
“You're Dragonborn.”
“I'm not The Dragonborn,” I pointed out. “This isn't my destiny.”
Falin studied me, really eyeballing me as if she was trying to figure me out. I chose to ignore her, my gaze steadily focused on Alduin and Miraak. The dragon was losing, at least it looked that way on the surface. Between Lilith, Serana and Miraak, he couldn't keep up, his wounds still hindering him. When he'd attack one, another attacked and he'd find himself facing lightning or Lilith's strange vines. I could feel his frustration, like a fog in the air. Once more, those red eyes shot to me, murder in them as if I was the source of all his misfortune. And his that rage fueled him, his tail whipping around, catching Lilith by surprise this time, slamming into her and sending her flying, the vines that had slowly wrapped around him withering away.
“That looked like it hurt,” Falin remarked as she got up, clearly no longer concerned with me.
I was grateful as she darted across the mix of stone and mangled bodies to an unmoving Lilith, leaving me to crawl to my feet, knees shaking before I managed to brace them and fully rise. I managed to stay on my feet for what amounted to two seconds before I was hit from behind and sent face first to the stone below. As if I hadn't spent enough time on it. I glared up at Amarenthine, though we hadn't been formally introduced. The bitch had the gall to smirk at me, despite being covered in withered vines and that was as far as she went as she looked to Alduin, her body practically reshaping before my eyes, crystals rising from her skin, glowing with daedric energy. And then, flying away, collecting in mid air to open a shimmering portal, the light of which radiated blindingly. I closed my eyes against it, hearing the tell tale sign of Amarenthine running for it. And then I heard the sound of Alduin's wings, carrying him away and I forced myself to peek, seeing the blurriest image of him flying towards the portal, disappearing inside.
“No!” I cried out, scrambling back to my feet.
Adrenaline was pumping but my body only obeyed so much, shaking a bit even as I looked at that portal, felt the energy that seeped from it. I looked to Miraak next as he and Serana ran towards it.
“He can't get away!” I insisted as Miraak got closer.
Yet for all his talk, I could see the fear in his mismatched eyes. I couldn't blame him. He'd spent centuries trapped in Apocrypha, under the thumb of a Prince. I knew the feeling. I'd be just as hesitant to leap through a strange portal, after having my freedom back. I'd lived that fear and still did, knowing Molag Bal could be lurking around any possible corner. Miraak looked to me, as if he knew where my mind went, as if he could. Despite knowing where his fear came from and knowing that it was probably very much like a steel fist clutching his heart, I couldn't sympathize.
“Fine,” I said. “Stay.”
I acted before my brain could stop me, charging into the glowing portal, leaping and only letting myself think about it when the damage had been done and the magic within it wrapped around me, sucking me away from Skyrim to who knows where.


(General)


Lilith moaned as she came to. Her stomach ached, that was the first thing she knew. As did her head. Opening her eyes, she stared up at Falin, confused at first until it all came back to her. Alduin. Right.
“Did we win?” she asked.
“Define win?” Falin retorted, essentially answering that question.
Lilith sat up, slowly, the ache in her head sharpening. Despite what Falin had said, the destroyed courtyard was quiet, littered with cultist bodies draped in the armor of either the Thalmor or the Morag Tong. There was, however, no sign of  Alduin or Amarenthine. Or Syra. Yet Miraak stood across the expanse, staring at the place where Syra had last been while Serana crouched next to him, both of them quiet and unmoving. Lilith got to her feet with no help from Falin, a plus, hurrying over. She felt as she always did after a battle. Drained and weary, still ready for a fight, hoping that the chaos was over however.
“Where's Syra?” she demanded as soon as she got close.
The words had fallen out of her mouth as soon as Serana had turned to look at her, the vampire's eyes dimmed by exhaustion.
“Your guess is as good as ours,” Serana admitted.
She gestured at the air, at the sense of magic that lingered there. It was strong, powerful. Divine. Lilith's eyes couldn't help but widen.
“Syra leapt into a portal that your sister conjured,” Serana explained. “After Alduin.”
She rose, brushing snow from her armor, the likes of which was torn. They all were in bad shape. Miraak was bleeding, his exposed skin rubbed raw and he leaned a bit more to the right, relieving some pressure in his left foot. Lilith's own robes were torn or stained with blood, her body ached fiercely and she felt numb, the magical drain hitting her now. All a result of battle with Alduin and  Amarenthine, both of whom would crush Syra in her weakened and outnumbered state.
“We have to go after them,” Miraak insisted.
“I'm game,” Falin piped up.
She actually seemed excited by the possibility and all too nonchalant for what they were suggesting and agreeing to. Miraak looked at her now, his eyes pleading, begging her to fix the situation.
“Why didn't you go?” Lilith couldn't help but ask.
She could see so much in his eyes. There was guilt there and a hatred turned inward. But she didn't have time to coddle him, time to make sure he was okay.
“I-I couldn't.”
His admission was so agonized and broken and she understood. She had been to Apocrypha, had wandered in its darkness. Endless centuries of that couldn't have been easy but they were not undeserved. For him at least.
“Syra spent centuries in Coldharbour,” Lilith said, her voice even and laced with the pure rage that stirred in the pit of her stomach. “The horrors of which you cannot even imagine. And she jumped into the unknown without a thought. And you hesitated.”
He already felt the guilt, that same feel of cowardice eating at his Nordic pride. Lilith turned away from him in disgust, her gaze landing on Serana.. The vampire was staring at her in disapproval and it was enough to chastise Lilith. Syra didn't benefit from them being at each others throats.
“I won't hesitate,” Miraak assured her.
There was resolve in his voice, a fierceness that she should have found reassuring but didn't.
“I cannot open a portal to follow where they've gone,” Lilith said.
She knew Alduin's secrets well, courtesy of Odahviing. Where the dragon rested, she could not follow.
“Unless granted permission, I cannot leave Nirn,” Lilith explained.
Her gaze went upward, at the sky above.
“And that permission would take too long to get.”



He flinched a bit, the redguard pulling the bandage taut, tucking it neatly and securely. His arm throbbed with the ache, his body coming down from the adrenaline rush. What of Windhelm hadn't ended up a casualty had made it to Falin's ship. And true to her word, Falin had kept the brunt of Alduin's cultists off them, only a few stragglers left for him to handle. Handle he did, left mostly unscathed save for a bleeding gash on his shoulder, which Falin's first mate saw to with skill that spoke of a healer's background.  
“There you go,” the redguard said, patting his arm.
He seemed proud of himself but knew enough to keep moving, to make sure that the remainders of Windhelm had food and attention. Brynjolf sat back, staring at the city, telling himself that the absence of angry dragons in the sky was a good sign, if only to keep himself seated and out of the way. Falin packed a punch all her own, Serana was a vampire, Lilith was, well, Lilith and Miraak was a hero of old. And of course, Syra was able to become a dragon. This fight had their names all over it. Meanwhile, he had no business in its midst. He was a thief. Not the best and not the worst, but a thief nonetheless. In the grand scheme of things, he'd played a small part, barely worth mentioning. A footnote really. He sighed, deeply. He was exhausted.
“Feeling faint?”
The redguard was back, materializing almost from nowhere. Brynjolf shook his head. Those dark eyes studied him and then nodded towards the city.
“That little bundle of crazy that flung y'all in? That little girl is the closest a lot of us have to a daughter,” he confessed.
He nodded across the deck, at an impressively built Nord, bigger than most if Brynjolf was being honest. He'd seen the man haul up the anchor on his own before disappearing below. He was older and missing an eye. Yet despite his size and the missing eye, he had little presence.
“He's seen more than his fair share of battle,” the redguard explained. “The definition of a broken man. He went to fight the Dominion and all it got him was a dead family. He quit for years or so he says. Out on the streets until little Falin found him. He had his scars and she had her slave bands. They formed a bond over the crappy hand dealt to them and he came to work for her father. And as soon as Falin got her ship, he volunteered to be on it. Don't doubt that if he had any reason for concern, he'd be in those walls.”
The Nord looked up with his good eye, sensing he was the center of someone else's attention. Brynjolf nodded at him but it seemed to be the redguard's presence that calmed him down.
“What about you?” Brynjolf asked the man before him.
“My sister was a slave. Sold into the life by our father,” the red guard explained.
His smile twisted and there was rage in his eyes.
“She would still be if not for Falin's father, Marius. When his wife and youngest were taken, that man was possessed. He tracked every lead , even if it led to nothing. And he freed every slave he found, returned those he could. I never thought to see my sister again until Marius sailed to the island. And Falin had made her so pretty.”
That rage was gone, replaced by a soft chuckle.
“Braided her hair, made her a necklace out of bow string and pretty pebbles.”
He shrugged.
“They gave back my sister and my time on this ship ensures that she'll never be a slave again,” he said.
He cleared his throat, clearly done talking about himself.
“All I'm saying is if our girl is in there, your friends will be safe,” he summed up.
“Look!”
The man perched in the crow's nest yelled out, surprising those below. He wasn't concerned, pointing towards the docks. Brynjolf couldn't restrain himself, rising, spotting Lilith instantly. She came into view first, the others trailing behind.
“Is that the Jarl?”
“He's alive!”
Cries from the citizens rang out around them,  their eyes zeroing on Ulfric who was indeed slumped against Miraak and Serana. Falin waved at the crew and he could hear a collective sigh pass through her men, even as his own throat seemed to tighten. Because Syra was not among them.



(Syra)


I hit rock, slippery rock, sliding across it, not knowing where I was but knowing it would probably not be good to slide off said rock. My intuition was right. I stopped my slippery exit, barely in time, my legs dangling off and water slapping my armored ankle. I took a moment, breathing, preparing myself for whatever horrid world would be my new prison. I wondered also how long it would take for said world's master to realize I was trapped there. I didn't get much time to dwell on that thought, the sound of glass screeching against glass drawing my attention. Instinct had me on my feet, slipping out of the way as a slate crystal drilled into the place my torso had formally occupied. I leapt, landing, just barely, on another rock.
“All my planning,” sighed Amarenthine.
She stood on the water that churned around us, unmoved as slate crystal ran under her feet.  Her fingers danced and with it, shards broke away, flying at me. I threw my arms up, protecting my face and, more importantly, my eyes.
“Finally, I was going to rid myself of Lilithianna. Master would have you and Miraak. But you couldn't let me have that, couldn't simply sit back and let it flow.”
The shards didn't seem to be enough for her, a particularly sharp and long piece stabbing into my arm, right past the armor. I cried out, slipping back and falling on the rock. I could feel blood from my arm as well as the dozen or so cuts on my cheeks and I glared, defiantly, at Amarenthine. She didn't flinch at my anger, her fingers moving again, only this time her crystals retreated.
“How much did it cost you to step through that portal?” she asked. “I know your history. By the gods, I practically wrote it.”
“I don't believe that,” I declared.
I smirked.
“I've assassinated writers and other artists. They're some of the most stubborn targets. They never think that this is where their story ends, that this is how it ends, at the end of an assassin's blade.”
I chuckled.
“No, if you were a writer to my fate, you would know it wasn't a glorious one. You would have left me in Coldharbour or killed me before then.”
“You died untold times in Coldharbour,” Amarenthine confessed.
I took it as a good sign that her crystals, which had quivered in the air, waiting for their next taste of my blood, folded back into her skin.
“I had nothing better to do, waiting as I did for Lilithianna's guard to fall, for her to settle into a state of complacency and for Alduin to return. I watched you. And every time you died, it was with a smile on your face, as if the skills you were learning, the survival was something to be ashamed of. Your sibling betrayed you, long before you ever found out your imprisonment was his fault. How you could die like that-”
She stopped, some brief flash in her expression revealing a million different things.
“Molag  Bal didn't let me go,” I realized. “You did.”
Amarenthine said nothing, her eyes narrowing just a bit, just enough to let me know I was on the right track.
“I always felt like I was being watched and I was so sure that it was Bal. So certain that he was messing with me, letting me think, over and over again that I'd gotten away when really it was you,” I accused.
And it made a heck of a lot more sense now. Molag Bal had plenty he could be doing, watching Dyre to make certain he was coming along, scouting for potential souls to corrupt. Why would he look inward at a pathetic soul he knew was trapped when he could strengthen himself? Why jeopardize centuries of potential growth to watch what was essentially a bug in a jar?
“You knew my story,knew why I was there. You... you thought we were the same.”
Today seemed to be the day for realizations and this one hit much harder than the one where Amarenthine was my rescuer. I stared at her, hard.
“So why let me go only to work with my brother? If you thought we were alike so much, why align yourself with Dyre? Why try to kill me or imprison me in Apocrypha? You crossed Molag Bal. Why not Mora too?”
“Because Lilith got to you first,” Amarenthine admitted. “And because despite the assassin you were born to be, the monster a dragon should have warped you into or the tormented soul that  Dyre or Coldharbour should have made you, you were good. Born good and uncorruptable.”
This seemed to frustrate her. Her expression darkened and for the first time, I noticed there was a splash of color to her eyes, a surprising green I didn't expect.
“Why couldn't you even try?” she asked.
Whatever cease fire she'd called abruptly stopped. Without even a twitch of her finger, shards darted towards me. I didn't brace, lashing out instead.
“Yol Toor Shul!” I roared, the fire swallowing the smalls.
More importantly, they hit the water, creating a curtain of steam that hung in the breezeless air. I wasn't certain how good Amarenthine's eyes were and I chose not to worry about them too much, leaping onto another rock and then another in a mad dash to the shore. It was graceless and the progress was slow as the water slicked rocks offered little traction but I managed to not topple in the water. I could only guess the steam had cleared as I heard the sound of glass shattering against rock just behind me. I swore and kept moving, choosing not to let panic quicken my steps, no matter that I was closer now to the shore. The current was strong and led to a waterfall. One that seemed to fall into nothing. Blinding pain exploded in my left ankle and I cried out, my automatic response to grasp my ankle which upset my balance, sending me falling into the water. Or would have. Strong arms reached out, catching me in a strong grasp, yanking me from the water as more crystals fell and thrusting me to the shore.
“Cease Amarenthine!”
The voice was laced with power, the likes of which surged, meeting the piercing crystal and stopping them mid air. The man that stood between her and I, built like a Nord physique wise but so much taller.
“Tsun,” Amarenthine sighed, clearly irritated.
She stepped across the water, pieces of herself falling aside to create a foot path.
“Step aside,” she commanded.
“Your master has no power here,” Tsun declared. “And so you have no power here.”
He stared her down, no fear in his stance, his hand never moving for the weapon. He had confidence in that statement. Or confidence enough that he thought he could handle Amarenthine on his own.
“Leave this place,” Tsun ordered, probably saving himself from whatever attempt she'd make to force her way past him.
“When have you ever known me to be this easy?” she demanded.
“Your father calls to you,” Tsun informed her. “Freed from the depths of Oblivion he calls you back to the Shivering Isles. As does the Lord of Madness.”
I didn't miss the sharp intake of breath, the narrowing of those green eyes.  The Lord of Madness. What was left of the Hero of Kvatch. The man she loved versus me, the person she felt compelled to destroy. I saw her gaze flutter to me. And perhaps if it had just been her lover, I would have won. But Tsun had thrown her father into the mix. In her place, if I knew Brynjolf and my father waited, I would have gone. Perhaps we were more alike than we seemed. She waved her hand, closing it harshly, letting her crystals swallow her whole in a sharp cocoon that shattered, the shards fading into nothing. And Amarenthine was gone. With one problem dealt with, Tsun turned his hulking attention to me, towering over me. I had clearly spent too much time in Skyrim, too use to looking up at everyone. Those hazel eyes held little emotion as he studied me, squinting as if he couldn't quite determine what I was.
“Rise, Dragonborn,” he finally said.
“You know who I am?” I asked.
Because if he did, then he knew I wasn't the last and probably stood no chance against Alduin wherever the bastard was.
“Yes,” he replied.
He reached down, lifting me up, surprisingly gentle for a man of his heft. I mentally checked my ankle, realizing that Amarenthine's lucky shard hadn't pierced straight through my ankle. Perhaps it wasn't suck a lucky shard then. Personal inventory done, I looked at Tsun.
“I'm not who you think,” I declared.
“But you are who we need,” Tsun declared.
There was no emotion in his voice. This was fact. I could have been anyone to him, the first dragonborn or the last. And he would have said the exact same thing. I was who they needed.
“Come,” he instructed and he turned, his footsteps sure.
Never wavering or faltering as he headed for the thick fog that seemed to settle around us, unnatural in its existence. I followed him, taking a deep breath as I made my way into that dense fog, both anxious and ready for whatever happened.
The Lost Dragonborn 35
If you wonder what takes me so long to write chapters and such, its how I write. I write with music and usually on shuffle. So of my collection of 1,082 songs, on shuffle, if I start on a pumped up, this means war, song, you get a fight scene. If it isn't done in the song time, as if often the case, I start writing based on the next song on the roster. As you can imagine, I end up with  A LOT of open word documents lol. And then it becomes a game of patching scenes together, expanding or cutting pieces, basically editing to make things fit. And then of course, when I have characters by themselves, as Syra often is, I have to rely on my own personal character songs (ask if you want to know any individual character's song lol).

Also, I have decided to change the cover on the story. Nothing personal to LBE, I still love the cover he designed me but I like change, like shaking things up.
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(General)


She hit the ground hard, robe torn and hands sliding in blood. None her own, only by pure luck. Lilith looked to Amarenthine, to an opponent that she had little hope of beating. Amarenthine once guided fate and from the shimmer of her deadly eyes, she now used it, her crystals appearing everywhere Lilith attempted to go. Never hitting her. Merely taunting her with the knowledge that, at any second, Amarenthine could simply choose to end it. And Lilith couldn't stop her. It was enraging, all the same and she threw up her hands, calling on ancient spells rather than those she'd picked up to have some hope of blending into the current , taking a deep breath as a cocoon wrapped around her, the vines that made it up cracking the stone beneath her feet. Her heart raced and a small scream escaped her lips as shards of crystal hit the side. She only relaxed a smidgen when she realized they hadn't gotten through. She'd seen battle before. That wasn't the issue. But in all those cases, as strong as her foes had been, she'd always known she was stronger. But Amarenthine was stronger now and while Lilith had been raised by Dibella, a goddess who appreciated beauty over war, Amarenthine had been created to wage it.
“I could use a hand here,” she mumbled but her only response was the sound of battle outside of her cocoon.
She swore then, knowing she couldn't hide forever. Rising a bit to balance on the balls of her feet, she touched the vines, felt their power and then she lunged forward, willing the vegetative wall to part. Amarenthine didn't expect that, leaping to the side, sliding across the blood slicked stone and coming to a stop only when she raised a crystal wall to heed her progress. Her onslaught didn't stop there as she lunged forward, throwing what she could at Lilith who let the vines protect her. She could at least do that, at least keep Amarenthine occupied. For how long, well, she didn't know.



He didn't know why but when Nithrogr or Syra or whichever one was in control took to the air, he grabbed hold, intent to not be left behind. She sensed his presence but didn't mind as she attacked Alduin. He was enraged by her insolence and he fought without mercy, using every advantage he had. Miraak held tight, guarding his face as balls of fire rained down, the smoke burning just as hot. In that smoke was where Alduin hid, cutting through it as silently as an assassin to slam into Nithrogr. He was bigger but not faster and she slid away from him before he could latch onto her and do any real damage. And thus far, she'd avoided the fire balls, choosing not to fight fire with fire but rather freezing what she could, including Alduin's tale.
“If you can get one of his wings, we can bring him down,” Miraak strategized, having crawled his way to her head.
He had no idea if she heard him until she banked right, her change of course lining her up with Alduin's underbelly. The ebony dragon nearly screeched to a halt, not wanting to be too exposed, also changing direction so that he shot into the sky, dodging the storm he'd created. Nithrogr followed, a stream of ice following him as he went. Alduin roared his anger as he felt the pressing cold, whipping his head around to blow fire at them. Nithrogr was fast but not fast enough and Miraak fell back a bit to avoid suffering any burns. He pitied both the dragon and the woman as he realized that their red scales were scorched by Alduin's flames and no doubt Syra had felt the fire as well. Worrying about wounds came later however and Miraak made sure that this risk, getting closer to the raging serpent, was not wasted, drawing his sword. He'd relieved one of Falin's men of it as a backup, should Mora intervene. Thus far the god had not but he would rely on the accursed weapons no more than necessary. Burned but not beaten, Nithrogr pressed on and there was an understanding between them as they both realized what needed to be done. Picking up speed, she drew closer to Alduin who still flew into the heavens and as his tail came into range, she snapped quickly, her jaws closing down on it. Miraak knew then he had to move and move he did, running across the blood red scales that meant safety and leaping onto the black scaled back of his destined enemy. He had no time to seek out a weak spot amid those black scales and instead plunged his sword with as much force as he could manage into the World Eater's back. Wisely, Nithrogr chose to fall back, folding her wings in as Alduin turned to snap, not appreciating the nipped tail or the sword that stuck out of his back. No longer was Nithrogr his main concern. Alduin realized rather quickly that he'd picked up a passenger and he fully intended to give Miraak the ride of his life. With naught but a sword to keep him on the dragon, Miraak braced as Alduin rocketed out of the sky, the wind slapping at his face and he wished for his mask, if only to stop the stinging bite of the cold against his cheeks. The Palace of Kings came into view, rushing closer and Miraak realized the dragon intended to scrape against it, smearing him wherever he could. Thinking fast and only of immediate survival, he released the sword, leaping, midair, from Alduin's back as the dragon plowed into one of the walls, knocking stones free that only benefited Lilith who was alternating between fighting her sister and defending from the cultists. Miraak, himself, landed on the Palace's roof, sliding along and only just barely managing not to fall off. He was almost dreading the possible retaliation he'd face once Alduin was up except for the fact that the dragon didn't get the chance. Nithrogr was on him, her sharp claws digging into his back, her jaw closing around his neck and drawing blood. Alduin roared his pain becoming angry as the two dragons thrashed, their bodies knocking into the wall. And Miraak could see his borrowed sword, digging deeper and deeper into Alduin's back, could see the blood that welled up there as well. If he could get the blade, could pull it out, it, coupled with the blood from Nithrogr's current bite would weaken the World Eater further.


Falin slid to a halt, looking back at the sheer chaos, watching what she could see of it, fairly secure in the Grey Quarter.
“There are dragons!” she exclaimed.
She looked to Brynjolf, to the faces of the people they'd managed to find hiding throughout the city, all different versions of afraid and terrorized.
“I am missing dragons!”
“Trust me, you're missing nothing,” Brynjolf said and she smirked.
He shook his head, a small smile saying he didn't believe himself either. Still they had a job to do.
“Let's keep moving,” he urged and pressed on.
The streets they took, leading to the docks, were empty and quiet. But it was still tense travel. The people had whispered warning of cultists posted throughout, to watch the exits and stop anyone who made for them. Which was precisely what Brynjolf and Falin were attempting to do. His eyes nervously scanned the buildings, looking for any trace of movement,even the slightest of changes.
“Thaille no doubt will have let Ashanti loose on the docks,” Falin mused quietly.
A volume Brynjolf hadn't been sure she knew.
“Its as secure as anything can be then,” he replied.
“Don't underestimate Ashanti. She's so effective at what she does, pirates tell tales of her legendary savagery!” Falin bragged.
Brynjolf snorted, an avid enjoyer of wild tales. He'd never heard mention of a lioness or Falin. Glancing at her, where she stood at his side, faintly humming with magic as they pressed against a wall, eyeing the open pathway that led through the Quarter and to the docks and seeing nothing. He moved forward, quietly, urging those who'd been trapped to follow.
“So, care to explain why I've never heard of you?” he asked.
Falin smirked. Despite her relaxed posture and distracted nature, he could see something below the surface, something dark and she tilted her head just so, the necklaces she wore slipping aside a bit to reveal a black ring around her neck. His eyes narrowed on it instantly, the contrast to her bronzed skin alarming. She rolled her eyes and he knew that the slip had been intentional.
“My mother was a slave, sold to a friend of my grandfather's. She chanced upon my father and they fell in love. He bought her and freed her and eventually married her. My sister was born and then me,” she explained, eyes scanning as they moved.
She was now more alert than him. Which was probably better since he could only do so much compared to someone who could magically throw people.
“When I was 7, the slavers who'd owned mom raided our wagon as we were heading to the Imperial City from Anvil. Almost killed father. Crippled Audarra.”
She snorted, looking somewhat cynical.
“They ruined perfectly good product being stupid,” she scolded shaking her head. “My mother and I were slaves for six years, dragged everywhere by slavers as they tried to avoid my father, grandfather and a whole slew of Imperial forces. Until one day, they couldn't run fast enough. They got caught and father handled them.”
She cracked her knuckles, her gloves muffling the sound as she raised a hand, stopping their progress with a gesture. Her green eyes flashed as if she was picking up a sound. Given that they'd been moving so fast specifically because of the dragon battle going on only feet from them, this pause had to be because somehow, she'd picked up a sound other than that. A new one and if Brynjolf had been paying better attention, he would have heard it to. Falin didn't give the all clear but kept speaking.
“My father taught me that life had ups and downs. You didn't have to let yourself be walked all over, regardless of your lot in life but that it still could happen. That the important thing was to just be enough to ensure that you could be happy.”
Her fingers moved, magic humming around them now and she smiled now, her face settling comfortably into the expression.
“There are no stories about me because I don't leave anyone alive to tell them. I want happiness without having to worry about looking over my shoulder every day for a whole line of enemies,” she went on.
That's when he caught it, the stampede of boots that echoed from on high. His gaze trailed upwards as he watched bodies leap from the roof tops, dressed in armor that fit that of the Morag Tong.
“Falin,” he said.
As expected she was already on it, her magic forming a bubble that caught the falling bodies, their weight dragging it down in places but otherwise keeping them safe. When enough had piled on, however, she threw them aside, immediately aware of the handful of wards magically adept ones had conjured.
“I hate those things,” Falin mumbled as Brynjolf drew his sword.
“Wards?”
“Very much so,” she replied, reaching into her tall boots.
She moved with speed, the only sound a whistle of air as her the secret knives she threw hit their marks, two of the ward wielders downed in seconds.
“How equipped are you,” Brynjolf asked.
“Very,” she replied.
The Tong impostors still remaining were closing in now, aware that the elf was packing and the Nord was an unknown. Falin glanced at the people with them, many that had the clear look of emancipation and others who were so traumatized, they just accepted that this was it. That they were going to die.
“Bryn,” Falin said.
She hummed with magic again, hands curling into fists.
“Yeah?”
He was a bit eager that maybe she was going to come up with some brilliant strategy. Foolish, he supposed, given what he knew of her.
“Take them and go,” she commanded. “I can handle these idiots.”
“Falin,” he objected.
“You have one sword, Nord,” she cut him off. “And from what I've seen, no magic.”
They took a synchronized step back together, realizing that the force approaching was getting closer.
“Just get out to the docks and leave the door open. Ashanti has never left me behind and she won't now.”
She seemed certain, confident and Brynjolf sighed, knowing this was not the time to argue. Any other time and he'd have a million contingencies for every possible thing to go wrong. Apparently not being an active thief anymore had dulled his skills. He gritted his teeth but turned to the citizens.
“Keep moving!” he ordered, herding them on.
Falin watched him go, before she turned back to her opponents, dropping her usual smirk.
“So, guys, before we go any further, I think we need to have the talk,” she informed them.
Her movements were subtle, a simple fidget there to work the knife from the sheath she kept strapped to her wrist, feeling the ghost touch of the blade and its hilt as it slid down her skin.
“I don't care your faith, your race or your gender. You're all the same in my eyes. Though the one I will remember is either the most flexible or the biggest. Depends on which presents more of a challenge. Now then-”
She brandished her knife defensively, crouching slightly.
“Who's first?”



She ducked instantly, avoiding the streams of lightning that shot over her head, searing into the door she'd come through. Serana rolled across the stone floor, finding shelter under the table.
“Serana, I wasn't expecting you.”
There was surprise in his voice. He'd probably expected Syra to be coming through the door, for Syra to come for him. She was only too pleased to know she'd disappointed him even as that disappointment turned into disgust, her nose wrinkling as the smell of the room hit her. Rot. She'd smelled it often enough as her father's madness reached its peak before her mother had hidden her away and she saw its source. Bodies littered the floor of the great hall, in various states. Faces twisted in horror or mindless bliss, necks wounded. Either slit or decorated with fang marks. Serana surveyed all of it with an amassing feeling of nausea. She had to wonder if this madness had been caused by becoming a vampire or if, deep down, the sweet boy in all Syra's borrowed memories was an illusion to hide the monster he had always been.
“I thought you liked surprises,” Serana said without humor.
Dyre smiled and she could see those fangs of his, still tinted red, blood like paint on his lips.
“You have no comprehension of my preferences.”
“I don't want to,” Serana declared.
She chose then to leap onto the table, zipping across the table, her empty hand picking up a knife along the way. Dyre smiled, watching her approach, backing up only a few feet as she leapt at him, leading with the knife. Rather than the retreat she had expected, he leaned into the attack, redirecting it, throwing her aside with her own momentum. Serana didn't care. She was better at ranged attacks, her body twisting and lightning cracked to life, tearing through the air. Dyre was not the spell user she was but he knew enough, his ward springing to life last second.
“Now Serana. You didn't think it was going to be that easy, did you?” he inquired.
His knuckles cracked, his hand already reforming as he shed the mortal facade he hid behind, the sharp talons of his inner monster exposed as the transformation took place.
“I prepared for Syra,” he went on. “A far bigger threat compared to the likes of you.”
Serana glared daggers at the vampire lord before her, not at all intimidated. In fact, her resolve to destroy him was stronger now, staring her down as if his madness trumped her reasons for wanting him dead. As if he wasn't responsible for the slaughter they fought amongst.
“I can give you a moment,” he said, as if he really expected her to follow his lead.
Serana sneered at him.
“I don't need to warp myself to beat you,” she declared. “I am a daughter of Coldharbour and I'm stronger than you will ever be, no matter how much time passes or what form you take.”
She cracked her knuckles, curling her hands into fists, letting flames spark to life, licking her skin. Dyre roared at her boasting, his inferiority always a sore spot and she grinned, knowing just what threads to pull to incite his anger when she needed to. She let him charge this time, let him come to her, the knife she'd grabbed clutched in her hand, slowly succumbing to the heat of the fire she held. Dyre closed in, his speed something she hadn't quite calculated for and she braced herself, thrusting her hands forward, flames eating their way across the distance, what little of it remained, between the two vampires. She saw the start of a ward going up and that was it, right before the ceiling above collapsed. Dyre was instantly lost amongst the falling stone and Serana knew better than to let revenge blind her, ducking out of the way as a roaring dragon emerged from the rubble, his body covered in black scales, his jaws snapping and latching onto the hide of the red dragon that seemed determined to make up for its smaller size by slamming him into whatever surface it could. Serana kept moving, one eye on the warring dragons as they raged atop the stone, the other searching for somewhere that limited her chances of being crushed. Neither dragon seemed to care that she was skirting their fight, too focused on each other, on tearing the other apart.
“Syra is the red one, in case you were wondering.”
Serana nearly jumped out of her skin, whirling, prepared for Dyre or some other minion, only to find  Miraak. He was dusting himself off, covered in melting snow and dirt, a bleeding cut marring his face and a million more it seemed on his arms.
“What happened to you?' Serana demanded to know.
“I was on the roof,” he replied.
His mismatched eyes scanned the remains of the great hall.
“Where's Dyre?”
“Hopefully under the stone,” Serana admitted.
Her gaze went back to the dragons and, following hers, so did Miraak's. Her hands crackled with lightning and she let out a deep breath, preparing herself.
“Not your fight,” Miraak warned.
“That is where you're wrong,” Serana insisted.
She didn't explain, didn't feel she had to as she charged forward, skillfully moving through the debris, thrusting her hands out, waves of lightning shocking the air before colliding with ebony scales. Alduin ignored her, mostly, the bigger threat Syra who had sunk her teeth just shy of his throat. Serana wasn't deterred, channeling her magic into an ice spike, aiming for one of the sources of blood that she could see. She only knew she'd hit it as Alduin roared, his body whipping around violently. He slammed Syra against the wall, stunning her as she released his throat. That chaotic dragon's head whipped to her, fire building in his throat. Serana barely managed a ward, the result of the dragon's power forceful enough that behind her ward, she felt the briefest tinge of heat, her feet sliding in the grainy stone beneath her.
“Wuld Nah Kest!”
Her ward failed and she felt the heat, felt it just barely scorch her palm. In that same span of heart beats, she felt Miraak, knowing it was him only by chance. He sped forward, catching her in his wake, dragging her to safety. Alduin, focused on them now, lurched forward, his massive body covering the distance Miraak had created. He grabbed Serana's hand, yanking her behind him as they ran, stumbling every so often in their hurry, around the still standing throne and towards the great doors. All the while tailed by Alduin who was much faster. Miraak hit the door, shoving with all his strength only to find that it was blocked from the other side, probably by more fallen remains from the roof.
“The other door!” Serana suggested breathlessly.
He hurried to push it only to find that it budged a mere inch before meeting resistance. His heart sank fast. He had not thought his freedom to be so short lived but nevertheless, he turned to face his destiny, stepping in front of  Serana as she began shoving against the door, her vampiric strength creating some space but not enough for even her slight frame to escape through. Miraak did his best to shut out her efforts, his gaze on the charging dragon, his lips already forming a shout, one that wouldn't be enough. Whatever Dyre had done, or even Amarenthine, gods it felt good to have a name for her now, they'd somehow made the World Eater stronger than he ought to be. Or else Miraak overestimated the strength it had taken centuries to acquire. His heart stopped as those sharp teeth drew closer, any second he'd feel them digging into his flesh and he could only stare, fear choking whatever shout he could manage. Syra felt no such hesitation, there in an instant, on Alduin's back, her own sharp claws latching onto his scales. She fought with as much strength as her smaller frame could manage, her teeth sinking into the collection of scales defending the base of his neck. Alduin roared his displeasure, his wings lifting him with each power fueled flap, lifting himself into the air and dragging Syra with him as she snapped at him. Miraak could only stare as his adrenaline calmed just enough, still pumping enough to keep him from collapsing as he watched the dragons crash through what was left of the roof.


She threw up her hands, the armor of vines that encased her weaving itself perfectly to protect her from Amarenthine's crystals. The potions she'd secured to her belt clinked together, only three remaining, having somehow survived the barrages of crystals that her half sister sent her way. With each wave, she got a growing sense of franticness from Amarenthine. As if she needed Lilith to feel powerless, as if there was no point if she couldn't tear Lilith's mind apart with fear and anxiety before she shredded her flesh. Lilith almost felt pity, holding her ground, defending. Always defending, hoping Amarenthine wouldn't notice the cracking stone pathway beneath their fight, the vines Lilith could spear tunneling at her command, rooting the source of Amarenthine's crystals. It was getting hard. Crystal moved much faster then vines and it was only in the thinnest of breaths that Lilith had managed to keep the most potentially lethal of attacks from hitting her. Even still, blood dripped down her arm, her robe's sleeve cut cleanly.
“Father is free now!” Lilith informed her half sister, hoping to slow the assault.  “With how expansive Oblivion is, he'll no doubt find another realm. He'll need you Amarenthine!”
“Need me?” Amarenthine snorted, taking the bait.
Lilith almost cried in joy before jumping as slate crystal spikes stabbed into the ground on either side of her as well as behind her. She guided her vines, directing them to circle her, letting a few rest over vulnerable parts of her body, namely her jugular.
“I was shaped in the image of your mother, urged to protect you.”
Those spikes shook, a by product of Amarenthine's rage that had centuries to grow. The spikes began to grow thorns and Lilith realized with dread she was not the only one planting a trap. She channeled more power into her own, hoping that she'd finish first.
“He couldn't even take me with him when his family ran,” Amarenthine spit. “I was not you, not the love child. Not an abomination.”
Her crystals shook.
“For all his talk about Order, he created a great deal of chaos,” she remarked. “I'll fix it.”
Lilith made her move then, her vines shooting from the ground, wrapping around Amarenthine. Confident that her vines knew their tasks, she focused her attention on the crystals surrounding her, bolting from the circle of them as the thorns shot free, ripping through the air and piercing the stone where she'd been standing. Lilith ran, ignoring the few thorns that caught her, shredding her robes further, biting her lip when a crystal sliced at her legs. Amarenthine shrieked somewhere behind her, frustrated at the vines that had encircled her body, yanking her down. Lilith cast a quick glance back, regretfully watching as her half sibling was swallowed whole by the vines, her rage induced screeches accompanied by the occasional emergence of a slate crystal, quickly swallowed again by the vines. Lilith, fairly safe now, took a moment to collapse against a large slab of stone, her body shaking. Ancient spells ate at her magic faster than more recently learned spells, especially when she didn't have time to plan them. She chastised herself, knowing she should head indoors, to assists Serana, Miraak and the rest, having seen the two dragons crash against the Palace of King's roof, swallowed whole as the roof collapsed, yet unable to move as she regained her bearings. As it turned out, she needn't have moved, surprised when Alduin tore through the roof, Syra along for the ride. She marveled as the two broke apart, Syra arching perfectly, the turn sharp but well executed, especially given the less than perfect turn Alduin completed, his larger size unable to sharply turn. Still, he fought with brute force, slamming into Syra, the two dragons flipping through the sky, tearing each other apart as they did, their chaos violent. Lilith could only stare, the world seeming to slow when Alduin's jaws closed around Syra's wings, tearing with little regard. She knew, just knew, that Syra would fall, even before she started her decline. She racked her brain for any spell, anything. Because there was no way she or Amarenthine or any of the cultists still alive would survive a dragon landing on top of them. She didn't think fast enough, didn't move, instead watching in horror as the falling dragon shrunk, steadily, until it was Syra, mortal Syra, that hit the unforgiving stone ground with a sickening thud. All she could hear was white noise after that, the sound seeming to go on forever even though she knew it was a matter of seconds.
“Syra!” she screamed unable to really stop herself, running and stumbling to the immobile dragon born.
As expected, there was no response, no movement on Syra's part. And Lilith worried. Was she dead?
The Lost Dragonborn 34
We're nearing the end here so I figured I should say it now because no doubt I'll be explaining other things in the end. I am at 34 chapters and COUNTING. Something I never thought would happen when I first thought out Syra's story. I'm almost going to miss being in her head. Hopefully  I can get the next chapter to you even quicker though I'm in no hurry for the Lost Dragonborn to end. Its one of my favorite things to write.

ALSO I have no idea the anatomy of dragons and what not so I had to make it up as I went along.. And as for Miraak's freeze up when Alduin decided to play death tag, well, if you've ever been in one of those fights where your character is a good distance away shooting arrows or spells, the dragons will do this god awful slither walk that just scares the piss out of me for some unknown reason.
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(General)


She could feel it, the order, could feel it as it slid further from her grasp. It made her uncomfortable, for there had always been an organization to the mad chaos the realm had fallen into. A method to all the madness, a last remaining apparition of what the realm had been. She hadn't liked surviving alongside a ghost but it was survival. Standing as she did, staring at the sun which fluctuated in the sky, as if it couldn't make up its mind, she almost wept. She could feel the posted Saints and Seducers watching her. They knew who she was, knew her role in the March and despite her actions in its end, they would never trust her. The Isles were not home and never would be again. She felt tricked and her blood boiled a bit but she kept her head, stayed in control of her emotions.
“Thine!”
The fragment of her name echoed and she turned to her younger half sister as the woman skipped towards her, sharing the same skeptical stares from the guards. The difference was in the hostility, as the younger had never done anything to them, had never started a March and had in fact greatly helped in ending the current one.
“Lilithianna,” she greeted, her tone coming out tired.
She was though. Each Greymarch wore her out and she hadn't yet restored herself.
“Lilith, I insist,” her younger half sister insisted.
She didn't give Amarenthine the chance to correct herself, spreading her arms wide in some gesture meant to encase all of the Isles, it seemed.
“Isn't it wonderful?” she asked.
“It is chaos,” Amarenthine grouched.
“There is always method to madness, as you are so fond of saying,” Lilith reminded her with a wide grin.
“There is no method here,” Amarenthine argued. “Not anymore.”
Lilith studied her face, no longer as chipper as she had been.
“Are you...displeased?” she asked.
Her lips formed an answer automatically and truthfully, she was not certain what that answer would be. The sound of a boisterous laugh stopped her and drew their gazes to doors, to the new Sheogorath and former Hero of Kvatch.
“Ah someone to cheer you up,” Lilith remarked.
Amarenthine ignored her as Darus made his way to her side and  indeed, just his presence cheered her up, increasing only when he wrapped an arm around her waist, drawing her in against his body. The simple gesture spoke wonders to her. It said that she was his and he hers. It was a gesture she'd seen her father, their father, do many times to Dibella. It was how the God of Order asserted himself to others who may covet her and it was the same for Darus. He was a man of battle and order and she loved him so. Now though, looking at him, her heart ached. His copper hair was almost completely white and his eyes were already lost, looking more feline than human. She so missed their warm, brown depths. Her face must have shown distress because his brow furrowed.
“What has this worrisome expression on your face?” he asked. “Or who? Tell me so I may smite them!”
He grinned at her and she offered him a small, tight smile.
“I'm just tired. Greymarches do not come easily,” she informed him.
“And now they never shall again!”
He was cheerful and upbeat, basking in their victory as Lilith did. Too similar they were.
“I believe Thine would benefit from some alone time,” Lilith hinted at, mischievous and suggestive by nature.
No doubt a result of being raised by Dibella. Regardless, she vanished then, possibly the best trick she knew. Amarenthine turned now to Darus, touching his face, enjoying the hint of stubble she felt.
“How do you feel?” she asked.
He had not escaped battling her father unscathed. Any other battle and she would have been at his side, battling with him as she had as they'd crossed the whole of the Isles together. She would not interfere in a battle with the two men she loved most, no matter how much that objectivity had killed her. He curled one hand around hers, kissing her palm.
“I get better with every day. Haskill says the Isles are helping, claiming me as theirs.”
He grinned.
“I will be honest, when I saved Kvatch, I never dreamed the path would lead me to ascension.”
She didn't have the heart to tell him that he was not ascending, falling into step with him as he led her in a walk. She'd seen the madness that lay in both aspects of his realm and did not wish to see more but she had his time, at last.
“Tell me, then,” she requested instead. “Has Haskill told you of your duties?”
“He did,” Darus replied, his face fixed in an expression that said he hadn't quite enjoyed that particular lesson.
“And?”
“And while madness is not a realm I saw myself ruling over, it is not the worst.”
His face shadowed and she knew his mind had gone to Mehrunes Dagon. She had seen how close he and Martin were, how close they would become, though she had no idea of the drawing power of Darus herself. Looking into his face as he fought not to lose himself to dark memories, she marveled on the fact that she'd shaped this man's destiny, had weaved his image into the late Emperor's dreams. It was her hand that had created the circumstances of every pain and sorrow in his life as well as its joy and her meddling only ended with Mehrunes Dagon's defeat. She had never glimpsed more than that to see that their threads would cross. That he would be the one thing that gave her purpose again. And she knew not how to tell him.
“It is done,” she urged him from his darkness.
His striking new eyes fell to her, softening and he smiled.
“Yes it is.”


She woke, not realizing she'd fallen asleep. She must not be as accustomed to staying up all night as she had believed. But she had to match Dyre's own biological scheduling. Swinging her legs over the side of the bed, she stood. Someone had lit a fire in the hearth. A wasted gesture on their part. For one, her body was only partially in Tamriel, in Nirn, for that matter. Discomforts like cold and hunger she did not feel. Of course, she had thought the same of sleep. She strode to the window, to the harsh silver and slate crystals that she'd weaved over the glass, peering at her reflection without that cursed mask to hide her face. She liked it, looking dangerous, the sharp edges of her face not just tell tale signs of how twisted and black her heart was now but also enough to draw blood. Her body was crystal, the same crystal that once brought the Greymarch, that echoed her father's will and power, until he'd chosen to make it more than a conduit. He'd breathed life into her, given her purpose and in the end had endangered her purpose by selfishly throwing his lot in with Dibella. Smiling, the gesture reflected as more of a sneer, Amarenthine tilted her head, strands of her brown hair falling over her shoulder. She hadn't dreamed or even thought of Darus in so long. The memories made her ache as she realized how empty some parts of her still were. There were places emotions like vengeance and hatred could not go and she had no problem facing that emptiness in the event that her determination and focus ever wavered. That day had not come yet and it never would so long as she saw everything Lilith had gained in the face of her own loss. Reaching down, she secured her mask, the crystal shaking as she hid her face of rage beneath scales of indifference, recalling that for all his love and dedication, Darus had ultimately betrayed her as well. She turned away from her crystal wall ,leaving her room and heading for the throne. In her mind, she replayed the events that had led to her departure from the Isles she'd called home. Remembered the months she'd spent feeling weaker and weaker, wondering why Haskill had seemed so satisfied each time she'd asked him to assist her with one tonic or another, something to bolster her strength. Attempts that never worked. Her hands curled in fists. Good old Haskill, using her father's last remaining loyal subject to weed out the location of Order Crystals and sending Seducers and Saints to destroy them, all actions approved by her mad lover as he lost more and more of his mind to the Isles' influence. How she was the last of those crystals and her wide range of possible brethren were wiped out because of a demented assistant and a manic lover. She emerged into the war room, finding the table empty, the general that usually cowered there gone. Her curiosity was peaked. He never left the room if he could help it, too scared to draw the attention he'd warrant if he slipped through the throne room to escape. She almost dismissed it as him finally growing a pair until she finally made it to the throne room. Ulfric sat in the throne, his eyes glazed over and unseeing. And then there was Dyre, the boy who wanted to be a monster, sitting on his own mangled throne of corpses. He was wiping his mouth, adding the general's body to that throne. Behind her mask, Amarenthine smiled, remembering that he was indeed a glutton. She knew more about him thanks to her master. Hermaeus Mora had always watched over Syra and Dyre was a means of obtaining her for the god's collection. She hadn't been aware when she was just Jyggalag's daughter but the Princes were always in competition with each other, always wanting what the other had and sometimes what their Divine counterparts had. This petty rivalry had led to the little beast before her and his ilk. Her father had stood apart from them all, refusing to really touch anything in the world of mortals lest it be corrupted or he be treading on another of his kind's work. He didn't have time for the pettiness that ran rampant amongst them and this was, of course, before Dibella.
“I see your making use of the sacrifices,” she remarked of Dyre as she announced her presence.
She was amused and let it show in her voice. After all, what was it that had destroyed Order but a pretty face? Who wouldn't find that laughable?
“Syra hasn't shown up yet?”
Dyre lifted his head, pupils dilated and mouth stained red. He'd certainly eaten his fill.
“On the contrary. My sister comes here.”
Amarenthine bit back a chuckle. If she came here, that meant that Miraak lay dead, body congealing probably. She wanted to clap in excitement, having been unable to stand him since she'd met him. More so upon their first meeting as he'd tried many a time to kill her. All for naught.
“How do you know this?” she asked.
“We have eyes everywhere, my dear priestess.”
Dyre hopped to his feet, licking his lips, his hungry gaze turning to Ulfric. It would be so easy to let him sink his fangs into the Jarl but the man was their shield. She was only so strong and her actions had gone unnoticed so long by the Divine because she did not leave a wake of dead bodies in her path. A man such as Ulfric, a man with such a glorious legacy. Even the most uninvolved of their ilk would turn their gaze to see him breathe his last.
“Turn your eyes elsewhere if you're still hungry,” she hissed, sauntering to Ulfric's side and resting on the arm of his throne.
The man remained transfixed on nothing, gaze empty as ever, not knowing that the woman beside him was his greatest ally against Dyre. The vampire made a face at her but did not push the issue. He knew better, she hoped.
“Sister departed from Raven Rock hours ago,” he reported as he began the infernal pacing he so valued.
She was quite tempted to break them at this point.
“And what do you intend to do?” Amarenthine inquired.
“I will send troops of my own to Riften, to hold their army there,” he said. “She will receive no aide save for what she brings with her.”
“Careful,” Amarenthine chided. “One might assume you didn't want this to be fair.”
As expected he laughed, enjoying her dry humor and sarcastic wit only when his mood was high.
“As I always, I move forward with trepidation.”


“Let me say what she had difficulty putting into words,” Brynjolf volunteered and Lilith nodded.
The thief joined her on the deck, looking up at the sun kissed sky above them, at the stars fading as the light overtook them. Lilith hadn't been able to bring herself to go below deck, her guilt that strong. Then again, she hadn't seen Syra go down either. She idly wondered if while she'd been agonizing through the night if Syra and the thief had stolen a few hours of sleep and time, cuddling under the stars. Shaking those thoughts from her head, she realized Syra still hadn't made an escape below deck. Which meant the Dragonborn had given Brynjolf permission to speak for her and chose to remain nearby. Risking it, Lilith glanced over her shoulder and caught the quickest hint of blue as Syra ducked away. Brynjolf snapped his fingers to regain her attention and she gave it, wanting to know where she and Syra stood.
“Your half sister can see the future and manipulate events to happen. So its not too far a stretch that maybe she caused Dyre's mind to break as it did. That maybe he would've been okay or her father wouldn't have gone out on that last job, that he would've sensed something was off and remained home or sent someone else had you not hurt Amarenthine," Brynjolf explained.
“She blames me for her life's destruction,” Lilith surmised, understanding the logic.
He nodded and he now glanced back at Syra who hadn't resumed her spying. Brynjolf nudged Lilith with his shoulder and nodded to the back of the boat.
“I don't play messenger often,” he said. “And for good reason. Go talk to her.”
Reluctantly, Lilith rose and crossed the boat. Every step reminded her that even if she stood still, the boat brought them ever closer to Windhelm, a destination Falin had assured them she could get them to in one piece. More or less. Her words. She couldn't go into battle with things left unsaid. So she picked up her pace and, reaching the sliver of boat left behind the cabin was surprised to find Syra sitting on the railing,perfectly still. Lilith leaned next to her, looking at the ocean and the trail they left in it.
“My mother once told me that this world is an ocean and we are all stones in it,” Lilith stated. “She use to quote an old friend of hers, someone I never met. Each stone, big or small, makes a wave, makes ripples. Though in the case of people, that's not always a good thing.”
“I want to hate you,” Syra declared. “I want to act like I'm still the same person who came into Skyrim.”
She sighed, hanging her head.
“I hate realizing I'm not. Because it makes it all so real.”
“Syra,if I could go back and know how my actions would affect Amarenthine. I would have chosen anyone else besides Darus. I would have taken over the Isles myself.”
Syra looked at her then, studying her intensely, seeing only what was behind Lilith's words. Which was truth.
“I know you would,” she admitted.
“So, you're not mad?”
“I'm not mad.”
She still looked depressed and despite Syra's dislike of being touched, the arch mage enveloped her friend in a surprise hug, squeezing ever so slightly.
“Ugh,” Syra groaned, fidgeting instantly.
That was her only attempt at escape and it was meager at best.
“You're not fighting as much,” Lilith remarked, still hugging.
She might not get another opportunity.
“Between you and Brynjolf, I've become rather immune to your overwhelming displays of affection,” she grumbled out her explanation.
“Speaking of Brynjolf,” Lilith leapt on the topic.
“You may not,” Syra declared and a grin lighted her features at Lilith's disgruntled huff.
She shook Lilith off and hopped from the railing, lifting one hand to point at the sky.
“We'll be at Windhelm's docks within the hour,just beating the sun,” she reported.
She traced something she saw in said sky and Lilith struggled to find whatever picture had Syra's attention.
“If that woman is your sister, I'm going to leave her to you,” Syra reported.
She turned to face Lilith.
“No one else has the power to take her otherwise.”
“Wait, were you two back here making battle plans?” Lilith inquired.
“I made them, he listened. And hen I had nothing else to say, he talked.”
Syra shrugged.
“Its our process.”
Lilith shook her head.
“Alright, wow me,” she relented.
“Miraak will be facing Alduin,” Syra went on. “And I intend to help him where I can.”
“What about Dyre?” Lilith asked, puzzled.
She studied Syra's face and saw her jaw clench, saw how badly Syra clearly wanted to face him, saw that the nightmares he'd instilled in her would only be ended by his death at her hands. She gave up peace to ensure victory.
“He was right. We trained together too long. And he's had centuries to hone his skills and learn new one. All I learned was how to run away,” Syra explained, the admission killing her. “Serana is better suited to facing him. She has both magic and power.”
Lilith rested a hand on her shoulder and offered her a smile, though it did little good.
“You're doing the right thing,” Lilith assured her. “Not the easy thing and not what you want. But the right thing seldom is.”
Syra scoffed but said nothing in response to Lilith's words.
“Bryn says that the Thieves Guild has many assets in Windhelm and to that affect escape routes,” she chose instead. “That they haven't heard from them means there's a good chance they're dead.”
“Which means Mercer could be involved.”
“And Astrid,” Syra added. “But that's more Babette's suspicion than my own.”
“She's about 300 years old, that Babette,” Lilith remarked. “Not someone to ignore.”
“I am well aware,” Syra agreed. “But neither of them are stupid. At this point, they're in the wind. She's an assassin and he's a thief. Not soldiers and not maniacs. I doubt they ever really bought in to this dragon cult nonsense but were just in it to get ahead.”
“They're a problem we can worry about later,” Lilith deduced.  “The more pressing issue is how we're getting past the walls.”
“I would have thought you would have read my mind,” Syra remarked dryly.
“I'm pausing for dramatic effect,” Lilith shot back.
“Falin assured me she had that covered,” Syra explained.
“Falin?”
Lilith's doubt was in her voice.
“Yes, Falin.”
“You don't worry that she's a little... not all there?” Lilith asked.
“I know she's crazy. But you don't send crazy off with one of your best ships and a strong crew,” Syra pointed out. “Whatever else she may be, she's capable. And I'll trust that.”


She gave the signal, two of her men dropping her own personal bottles of fog. The Queen's Ruby hadn't seen much battle in awhile, not since it was decommissioned as a war ship. She'd taken a few hits, mostly in defense, from pirates and other unsavories. All she'd come out of near unscathed. But she'd never lead the charge under her new identity. The walls of Windhelm came into view and as she'd expected, there was no trace of anyone on the docks. If they'd cast of at dawn, as had been the original plan, that would be a different story. Leaning as she did against the railing, she wondered of their fate. If they'd come unsuspecting into port, what would have happened? Would she be detained, used to keep the Empire at bay? Or her life bargained with to ensure goods kept finding their way to Windhelm? Even the Queen's Ruby was worth something. After all, it was a warship. Outdated, yes, but still left with cannons and a strong frame. Ashanti pulled at her pant leg, wanting her attention and she looked at the beast a moment before she kneeled, hugging the large neck as she'd done when she'd been a child.
“We're as close as we can get, Captain,” Thaille reported, appearing from nowhere as he usually did.
For a man of his bulk, he had no business moving in such a way. Falin grinned, rising and resting a hand on Ashanti's head.  For all her wonderful qualities, the Queen's Ruby had one flaw. She had bulk to her. And while Falin appreciated a full figured woman, it made maneuvering a proverbial bitch.
“Keep us steady, Thaille,” she instructed.
“Cannon fire?” he asked, falling into step with her as she began making her way towards the cabin.
“I'll send you a signal if I can. Windhelm may be a rebel city but the people in side are not all soldiers.”
The last thing she wanted was to find a family crushed by a cannon ball. Thaille nodded that he understood where her mind went before his eyes went to the rag tag group that had emerged, probably aware that they had arrived.
“Your father would kill me if he knew I was sending you in with strangers,” Thaille remarked, fortunate that said strangers were out of earshot.
Falin grinned at him.
“You and I both know I'm capable of looking after myself,” she said, bumping his shoulder.
“And razing the Hold to the ground as well,” Thaille chuckled.
He patted her head, mussing her hair.
“Leave this place in better condition then you left Anvil, please.”
Falin cracked her knuckles.
“I make no promises.”
She slipped away before Thaille could do or say anything else, joining Lilith's awaiting party.
“How's everyone doing tonight?” she joked, earning her a mix of unamused and serious faces.
She didn't let it bother her, fixing an amused and bored expression on her face, as if it was just a raid on pirates.
“This is your captain speaking. If you look due West, you'll see the lovely Hold known as Windhelm. Home of the Palace of Kings. That's all I know about it as I never much paid attention to lessons when I was a kid and I still don't now,” she went on and she saw Brynjolf smirk, biting his lip as he did to avoid outwardly encouraging her.
“You said you were going to get us in,” Syra prompted.
“And I am,” Falin assured her.
She gestured for them to follow her and they collectively did to the ship's side where her men had cleared the cannons, leaving a vast opening.
“No doubt, you've noticed that my on deck cannons are not secure and for good reason. Those are not multi-purposeful. They do one thing and that's shoot giant balls of fire and iron until other ships sink. I, however, don't just shoot giant balls of fire and iron. I shoot people.”
“You're going to shoot us into the city?” Lilith inquired.
“Its way more fun than it sounds,” Falin assured her. “Safe too. I've done it loads of times.”
“With how many people?” Syra asked, crossing her arms.
“One.... okay, me and hundreds of pounds of startled lioness. The point is I can do it,” Falin swore. “And the options are limited.”
“They are,” Lilith agreed. “Amarenthine will no doubt have shards of Order crystals all over the place or at least on the entrances and exits. If even one is disturbed, she will know and we lose the element of surprise.”
“So its settled then,” Falin crowed in triumph. “Some things to remember. If you can grab onto the wall, grab onto the wall. If not, don't tense when you fall.”
She could tell an army of questions accompanied her last statement, knew said army was all in the name of nervous delay and so she called forth her magic, letting it seize hold and before any of them could react, she threw them, following in their wake. It was a lot harder to throw herself than it was to throw others but she managed it, enjoying that brief illusion of infinity before she hit the stone.


(Syra)

I landed solidly and on my feet, taking a few precarious steps and almost teetering off the edge and just managing to throw my weight back. I spun, face to face now with Falin. She was grinning like a madwoman. I wanted to unleash my fury on her but couldn't really. She'd gotten us in and she was simply following the popular opinion that she was crazy.
“Ok, besides almost dying,” Lilith said. “Is everyone in one piece?”
“Yep,” Serana grunted,followed by a grumbled chorus on confirmation from Brynjolf and Miraak.
“Good,” I said, talking before Lilith could. “You all know what you need to do, so get moving.”
“I'm suppose to be doing something?” Falin asked and I breathed deeply, kicking myself.
I honestly hadn't expected her to be here. I glanced at Brynjolf who was watching me. I didn't doubt his capability and I'd argued him into a corner hours earlier. His stake in this wasn't personal and therefore, I couldn't risk him, couldn't put his life on the line so I put him out of the line of fire and told him to get as many people out as he could.
“Go with Brynjolf,” I ordered. “This fight is going to get messy and I don't need to worry about hurting innocents.”
No, Dyre had done enough of that for both of us.
“Sounds fun,” was Falin's response.
There wasn't much else to say. Everyone knew where to be. Brynjolf to his contact in the Grey Quarter and the rest to the Palace of Kings. And for some reason, as Miraak, Lilith and Serana leapt into action, I couldn't move. Brynjolf either, except to come to me, seizing me in a near bone crushing hug.
“Don't fall apart now,” I mumbled into his chest and he chuckled.
“If we live through this, lass, I'll weep then,” he promised.
I tensed when another arm landed on my back, just above Brynjolf's, discovering that Falin had joined in. She seemed confused by my surprise, offering me a smile.
“What? Wrong move? I just... I felt a lot of love in this moment and thought it was an anyone can join kind of thing.”
Brynjolf laughed, backing off and taking Falin with him, the crazy elf.
“Go set something on fire, Syra,” he ordered, turning and leaving me as if he knew I didn't quite have the strength to leave him.
Falin waved as she followed and I turned to catch up with the rest.


Windhelm was quiet, not the same city I remembered the last time I was here. Then I had been a starving, homeless assassin. Now? I didn't know what I was past finding and ending the horrors that had found there way into it. The closer we got to the city, the more bodies and blood we came across, looking down from the roofs at them as they littered the snow and stone. I could see Lilith's face, see the pain it brought her as she looked at Dyre's handiwork. At her sister's handiwork and by extension her own. She was suppose to protect all of Tamriel, all of its people and she felt she'd failed them. In nearly the same breath as her resolve strengthened and she steeled herself,letting that pain turn into anger. Her magic was on the air, churning around us. She was more than mad. She was pissed. I pitied Amarenthine for just the briefest of seconds before I remembered Steinar who had died because she manipulated events. I reached down, resting a gauntlet on Steinar's blade, drawing strength from his memory. He was no doubt dust now or at least his body was. The rest of him lived on inside Miraak.
“Cultists,” Serana updated us. “Outside the palace doors.”
She was right, though I only spotted them as we got closer, not having the benefit of vampire sight. She moved with speed I couldn't match, leaping from the roof, chains of lightning already zipping through them. They may have posed as Thalmor, most of them, but they certainly had enough magic to answer Serana's back with. And that's what I leapt into, sailing off the roof and landing in a snow drift. I rolled from, narrowly avoiding a fire ball right before a wave of Thalmor clad elves and Nords alike surged towards me.
“Fus!” I roared, knocking them off balance as best I could.
“Don't hold back!” Miraak yelled.
He'd landed beside me, using the shock his feet were probably in from such a high jump to his advantage. He kicked back at these cultists, defending against the ones that attacked with blades and axes with his own sword while his staff generated piles of whirling tentacles.
“Cast offs from Mora?” I demanded.
“He has not seen fit to take them from me,” Miraak replied. “What better way to repay his kindness?”
His tone was bitter and his mismatched eyes held a bloodthirstiness I hadn't seen in him before. I didn't address it, shoving men aside with my shoulder, surprised to find that some of them were scrawnier than I was. My eyes scanned for Lilith and I found her, looking like an avenging goddess as men attacked her only to catch flame. Her body was alight with a flame cloak and she was anything but happy, her eyes transfixed on a single point. And as I looked over, I could see what that point was. That priestess had stepped from the Palace, barefoot and nearly naked in the cold air. She reached up, removing the mask and letting waves of brown hair fall forward. Were it not for the sharp, glass like appearance of her face, she could easily have passed for a dark elf.
“Cease!” she bellowed and at her command, the cultists backed off, each one at the ready as she parted their numbers like a knife through butter.
“Amarenthine,” Lilith hissed.
“Lilithianna,” Amarenthine greeted.
She smiled, the gesture cruel and the corners of her mouth cracked, the sound of glass breaking audible in the winter air.
“You made yourself a threat I cannot ignore,” Lilith growled. “I have come to kill you.”
“Look at you,” Amarenthine laughed. “So important, so cocksure. The little abomination come to teach me a lesson.”
She lifted her hands, her fingers becoming sharp crystals.
“I am not the weak pacifist you manipulated centuries back, abomination. My master made me strong and I am pure. You can never hope to claim the same nor hope to ever command the power I do,” she bragged. “You can only grasp at straws and barely that so long as you continue trying to behave as the mortals do.”
Fire gathered in Lilith's hands.
“I am more than enough for you,” she declared.
Amarenthine rolled her eyes, glancing over her shoulder.
“Men, know this,” she cooed, addressing the cultists. “Our master comes to our defense. Let us show him that his followers are not weak!”
The cultists roared in agreement, rallied and Miraak swore beside me. I glanced his way.
“She means for them to tire us out,” he said. “To weaken us before Alduin arrives.”
“Don't worry,” I assured him. “That won't happen.”
Even as I spoke, the cultists surged forward, still shouting and Lilith chose then to strike, pouring everything she had it seemed into her flames. I could just make out Serana, tearing through men to make it to the doors and had to trust that nothing inside was too much for her to handle.
“Miraak, back up!” I ordered and I reached inside, willing Nithrogr awake, as if any dragon could resist the blood lust in the air.
She responded willingly and fast, her body taking over my own, coaxing fire from our throat in a ear shattering shout.  It was her body but I was in control, roaring my battle rage at the cultists, only vaguely aware of the suddenly silverish gray crystals that sprang up at Amarenthine's will. She was not my job, the cultists were and a dragon did not deter them, so confident in Alduin's power were they that they didn't see me as a threat until my jaws were around them or my fire engulfed them. Their screams echoed in the emptying courtyard , a horrible chorus even as their numbers dwindled and their bloody or charred corpses hit the ground.
“Nithrogr!”
Miraak's voice held warning, a warning he needn't have made. Everything in me could sense another dragon, especially one so close to Akatosh and I lifted my gaze into the sky, away from what few cultists remained, beating their useless weapons against my scale armored body. Black wings cast a shadow over the battlefield, blotting out the dying moon and carrying the harbinger of destruction. I roared at him, disputing his claims of dominance and his very presence. And he roared back, landing, his scaled body curling around the top of the Palace of Kings. Red eyes pierced into my very soul, as if he could see us as individuals rather than the beast we were. It did not matter now, his men that lay dead, wounded or stupidly loyal at my feet. All that mattered was that Alduin, the World Eater, had arrived.
The Lost Dragonborn33
Alright, we're nearing the end, ladies and gents. TLD will prob wrap up in one or two...maybe even three more chapters. Isn't this exciting?
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(Syra)


I held the sword in my hands, surprised I managed even that. My eyes tracked Lilith through the window, watching her and wondering how she could be so in control, so focused on building the pyre for Steinar. We wouldn't be able to take him home, wouldn't be able to bury him at Helgen with his mother. And so he'd end up buried in a strange land.
“This is your fault,” I declared, pressing my forehead against the glass.
My words were directed at Nithrogr. If she hadn't coveted Miraak, desired to bestow him freedom he'd lost a long time ago, Steinar would be here, as intolerable as ever rather than the martyr he was. Nithrogr didn't respond, slinking further into her solitude. She felt the shame without me adding to it but it made me feel better.
“Its odd.”
Serana's voice was a surprise but I didn't jump, acting as though I had expected her presence and keeping my gaze trained out the window on the sky that would soon be lit up with the first streaks of dawn.
“Everything I got from you, from your blood and I never got a hint of Nithrogr. I know a bit about your bond with her, how it feels,at least for you. But you kept all of Nithrogr.”
“The way I see it, real Dragonborns, they're born with a dragon soul,” I reasoned. “Their bodies know what they're in for. Nithrogr was thrust on me. So I doubt I have dragon blood. Just a hybrid soul.”
“Are you scared? That she's taking over?” Serana asked.
“Always,” I admitted. “It never occurred to me that I'd be around long.”
Serana leaned against the wall beside me.
“Remember what I said earlier? About not getting a hint of Nithrogr? I think she only has what power you give her,” Serana confessed. “So, the times she's taken over, its because you wanted her to. Or needed her to.”
“And how do you propose I stop her from seizing full control?” I demanded to know.
Serana leveled her gaze on me, completely serious in her next words, not that she had been joking before.
“Find something your willing to fight her for,” the vampire advised.
The sound of footsteps approaching brought our conversation to a close, our attention now drawn to Brynjolf. Serana wordlessly left, though she paused in the doorway next to him, her back to me. I had a feeling they were communicating silently and I didn't care. Let them think they needed to handle me with care if it made them feel better.
“You okay?” he asked.
“No,” I admitted.
He sat down beside me, setting an extra blanket in my lap. I must have been shivering. It didn't matter. Nothing was registering.
“He sacrificed himself lass. That wasn't a call you made,” Brynjolf assured me.
“But it should've been,” I insisted.
Realizing I wasn't going to put it on myself, Brynjolf retrieved the blanket, shaking it out and throwing it around my shoulders. He then leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees and hanging his head a bit. He was exhausted. We all were or should've been. Sleep should've taken me not too long ago but I kept seeing Apocrypha. Steinar. Carefully, I set his sword down and then leaned against Brynjolf.
“Miraak is downstairs. I suspect he is waiting for you,” Brynjolf said, though he clearly didn't want to.
“Let him wait,” I said even as I felt the monster within stir, curious.
“You should-” Brynjolf began.
“I cannot control myself when he's around,” I confessed. “I don't know him. Shouldn't. He's centuries older than I am even before Coldharbour. These emotions shouldn't exist. I shouldn't exist.”
Brynjolf tilted his head to look my way.
“My mother,” he said abruptly, the subject not one we'd ever approached.
He seemed confident in it though, pushing on.
“She was a romantic. It got her heart broken over and over again but she always bounced back. Always believed that there was someone out there for everyone.”
He chuckled.
“I didn't believe her. I watched her heart broken and crying and just assumed that some people were just meant to be alone. I even resigned myself as one such person.”
His lips curled up into a faint smile.
“And then, I laid eyes on the most beautiful woman I'd ever seen. Granted, she handed me my ass and killed a fellow thief, but not undeservedly so.”
Those eyes of his drilled into me, as if he could see into my soul.
“There's no one else for me. And if that stands true for you, well, that means you had to wait about 200 years for me,” he pointed out. “So, maybe my mother ran out of time before she met her man and all that time doubting her should've been spent better.”
I looked away, scoffing to save face.
“What a dumb thing to say,” I decided.
His fingers gently caught my chin and he turned my head back, kissing me just as gently. It was quick, fleeting, and I wanted more but he drew back, a softness to his eyes as he stared at me.
“Steinar or Miraak, I'm glad you came back,” he admitted, his finger brushing over my lower lip.
“You want to kiss me again?” I guessed, biting back a smile. “Don't you?”
“So much,” he confessed. “But Miraak-”
I leaned forward, kissing him again and clearly surprising him as I wrapped my arms around his neck, leaning into him until we slipped from the sill, falling the short distance to the floor.
“I will always choose you,” I assured him, pushing myself up so that I hovered over him. “Especially when it comes to Miraak. He is Nithrogr's and you are mine.”
Brynjolf's lips quirked.
“Lass, I'm happy to hear that,” he admitted. “More than you know.”


(General)

Lilith twisted her hand, putting her all into the fire that sparked to life, eating at the wood of the pyre. Some of which was a bit damp from the snow. She'd spent eons building pyres, watching all manner of comrades as they passed on to the next life, the one thing she couldn't do. Not yet at least. The same rang true of her relationship with Farkas, did it not. One day, he would pass, he would leave her. And if she one day met her untimely end, where was there for her. She was more than human, possessing a foothold in both the Divine and Daedric circles. She didn't need godhood, simply a place to rest once her time was up.
“You are lucky,” she said to Steinar as the fire circled his empty shell.
If he had a soul of his own, one not currently merged with Miraak's, he stood to gain entrance into Sovengarde. And if Steinar did not,well, the end result was the same. Sovengarde. She envied him that.  Footsteps in the snow caught her attention and she glanced up, her eyes landing on Serana. The vampire crossed her arms, lifting her chin as if she expected Lilith to argue with her being there. Instead, Lilith returned her gaze to the fire.
“Whoever that woman was, she has to pay,” Serana declared.
“Agreed.”
This from Syra who joined them as well, probably in Serana's wake.
“We've sat idly by long enough,” she continued. “We need to get to Windhelm and stop Dyre. Stop Alduin.”
“How do you propose we get into a walled city?” Lilith asked. “The Thieves Guild hasn't even been able to get in.”
“Ports are closed and the water front guard presence has increased,” Brynjolf agreed. “However-”
His presence Lilith hadn't counted on and she turned away from the fire to look his way. He was busy rubbing his chin with his free hand while the other was casually wrapped around Syra's waist. A development Lilith hadn't expected.  And one she would focus on later.
“However?” Lilith prompted.
“Mercer got word awhile ago about a merchant ship. The Queen's Ruby, the ship was called,” he recalled.
“Fancy name for a merchant's ship,” Serana remarked. “Or else I'm old fashioned.”
“She's not just any merchant's ship,” Brynjolf explained. “She's a decommissioned ship for the Emperor's fleet. A personal gift to its captain from the Emperor himself.”
“No way would the Stormcloaks not seize an opportunity to get their hands on it. Even without cargo, commanding that ship would give them an edge. And having the captain as a hostage?”
Lilith shook her head at the possibility.
“They could try,” Brynjolf agreed. “Though the captain is said to be absolutely bonkers.”
He chuckled.
“Anyway, the ship's been out to sea and probably hasn't gotten the heads up that Imperial ships aren't delivering goods to rebel Holds any longer. It stands to reason that they'd go to Windhelm,” he went on.
“Dyre wouldn't pass up cargo,” Syra declared. “He may be a vampire and not need to eat but his allies and the people he feeds from do. He needs the cargo on that ship.”
“Which means we need to intercept it.”
“We're in luck then,” Brynjolf announced. “Because when Mercer got word, the Queen's Ruby was set to dock at Raven Rock.”
“If its docked, there's a good chance it will be leaving at first light,” Lilith reasoned. “Which means we have to go now.”
“I'll get Miraak,” Serana announced, turning on her heel and heading inside.
Lilith looked back at the pyre, not able to see past the flames without squinting a bit.
“Find peace,” she whispered and she hoped, no matter where he ended up, that he did.


She stared out at the ocean, imagining a scenario in which she didn't feel an entire beach between her breasts, rubbing what little cleavage she had raw. Below her, leaning against the very mast she was perched on was the accursed First Mate, her father's right hand, who he'd sent to watch out for her. And he'd gotten his hands on another lute, strumming it and yowling out some tune he'd made up. If she'd been in a rotten mood, she might have told him to shut it but as it stood, her mood was great. Despite the whole sand cleavage thing.
“What's the status of those supplies men?” she called down, trusting her father to have hired men with an ounce of worth in their bodies.
The First Mate paused in his yowling to glance at the men still unloading cargo before tossing Falin a dry look. She grinned down at the hulking redguard.
“You love me!” she declared,knowing it was true.
Thaille had been with the family for as long as she could remember and was probably the best friend her father could ever have. Which was why he'd been chosen as her First Mate when she'd been given the ship by her grandfather, a decision he acted like he hadn't chosen for himself. At the end of the day, however, he loved it.
“I'm here for the large cats,” Thaille insisted, grinning at the resting lionness beside him.
Ashanti lifted her head long enough to coo at him before she laid back down. However she was alerted to something, her ears flicking back and forth as she slowly surveyed her surroundings.
“I haven't seen any big cats save for the sabre cats all over Skyrim.”
The high elf announced her presence as she seemed to materialize onto the ship. Ashanti was on her feet in a heartbeat, snarling, back arched and ready for action,
“A lionness? That really takes me back.”
The elf smiled.
“We didn't invite you on board,” Thaille said, setting down his lute.
He was muscle on top of muscle and had he stepped to the elf, he would have towered over her.
“I rarely wait for an invitation when the balance of good and evil hangs in the balance,” the elf continued.
“Stop dancing around the issue,” sighed the woman who stepped up behind her, her arms crossed.
She faced Thaille.
“We need passage back to Skyrim.”
Thaille shot a glance upwards, at his captain, deferring though from the clench of his jaw she could tell he wanted nothing more than to tell them to fuck off.
“We're a cargo ship,” she called down. “Last I checked, people aren't cargo.”
“They're not,” the altmer agreed. “But-”
“I'd say that rests this case,” Thaille cut off. “Aye, Falin?”
“That's Captain Falin to you, Thaille. But agreed.”
The altmer rolled her eyes.
“Bryn may have been right,” she grumbled, cleary regretting those words.
She looked to her companion who simply crossed her arms, tilting her head a bit as if she was waiting for something. The altmer took a step back.
“Alright Serana,” she sighed. “Have at them.”
Serana moved with speed that Falin found impossible, ramming into Thaille. The redguard found himself practically soaring across the deck of the Queen's Ruby, missing the railing by inches and falling into the water. The crew around them froze, clearly shocked that someone so small had thrown the hulking redguard. Quicker than the rest, Falin lurched into action, leaping from her perch, grabbing a hanging rope, one she'd tied to her mast to prevent her upper body strength from deteriorating from long months at sea, and swinging to meet Thaille's attacker. Serana was clearly ready for her, spinning out of the way of Falin's booted feet. Falin would not be deterred and she took a chance, reaching out as if to grab Serana. Serana smirked, seeing that she had the upper hand as Falin was still turned, not yet recovering her landing. She found herself surprised when instead of a slap or a punch, magic pulsed from Falin's hand, the flames licking at Serana's face. She threw up her arms, her armor taking the most damage though she could feel the fire licking at her unguarded hands. Hissing she stepped back, aware of a surprising chill. Lilith, no doubt, as the altmer came to her rescue. Falin leapt back, rolling out of the way as splinters of ice bee lined for her.
“Grudge!” she yelled though she need not have.
Her crew was aligned with her desires and when she stretched her hand upwards, her bow landed solidly in it, a quiver of arrows following seconds later, said arrows scattering across the deck. Didn't matter. Falin grabbed two, barely sparing a second to line up the shot before loosing the arrow. Lilith had't expected anything to come from the attack but was surprised as the arrow tore through her sleeve, embedding itself in the mast. Lilith was surprised but regained her composure too late though. Falin was quick, darting across the deck, an impish grin on her face a mere second before she delivered a roundhouse kick to the Arch Mage, one packed with power that sent the elf reeling. Serana, still slightly flaming, intervened then, grabbing Falin by her shirt, lifting her just enough to throw her as well. Unlike Thaille, Falin had trained for years to get out of all kinds of fixes, using her own core strength to turn herself mid air, landing solidly on the deck. Serana prepared to charge but was cut off by the snarling lioness, the fangs of which gleamed, indicative that she'd protect her mistress at all costs. Serana crouched in preparation, not sure how far she'd go but willing to wing it.
“I leave you two alone for five minutes and this is what happens.”
Syra's voice stopped her midstep as the halfling ran onto the ship, skidding to a halt as soon as she saw the lioness. The feline stopped its snarls to consider her, clearly confused at something. Those pale eyes blinked and Syra lifted her chin, ready to challenge it should it come to that. Her gaze did not stay on the beast, swinging instead to Falin. Her ice colored eyes narrowed as she really studied the face before her, not at all deterred by the arrow pointed at her.
“If you intend to shoot me, I suggest you do so fast,” Syra instructed.”Be warned however that if you attack me, I will not hesitate to return the favor.”
Falin considered it, her lips twisting into a pout that made Serana sure she wouldn't go through with it.Quick as lightning, Falin proved her wrong, notching an arrow that flew right at Syra. Serana moved then, not quick enough but she didn't have to be as Syra caught the arrow with surprising ease, stepping forward, bracing herself before opening her mouth.
“Fus!” she bellowed, the sheer power behind the single word shaking the boat as it hit Falin and her beast, sending the two flying back.
The elegantly carved bow that Falin carried was flung from her hands, sliding uselessly across the deck where it wouldn't do her much good.
“Nice work,” Lilith praised, rubbing her jaw as she came to stand by Syra.
“Much better than yours,” the halfling criticized.
“Serana was the one who started the fight,” Lilith argued.
“And you did nothing to stop it.”
Syra's lack of sympathy did not go unnoticed, even as she grabbed Lilith's chin, studying her face which was swelling ever so slightly. After a moment, she smirked.
“Might want to ice that,” she advised before releasing her and striding towards Falin.
The ship captain scurried to her feet, shaking off the force that had sent her to her ass. She gave Syra a cocky smile.
“I always did like powerful women,” she said, cracking her neck.
Syra took a defensive stance, as if the fight wasn't over. As it turned out, it wasn't. Falin moved, fast as lightning, daggers materializing from hidden sheathes in her boots. She moved with a fluid grace that Syra matched and possibly even surpassed as she caught Falin's arm, twisting it while managing to avoid the second dagger. Syra's fingers dug into the well tanned flesh of her opponent, hitting some nerve and one dagger clattered to the deck which Syra kicked away. Thinking the former assassin's attention was elsewhere, Falin brought up her other dagger, aiming straight for Syra's neck. Syra ducked, releasing Falin's weaponless arm as she rolled across the deck and back to her feet. Falin was in the shadow of her steps, determination on her face as she switched tactics, spinning, bringing her leg up in a solid kick that met one of Syra's reinforced gauntlets. She did not expect the kick that Syra delivered to her chest, enough force behind it that it winded her as she went sprawling back to the deck, downed only for a second before getting back up. Had Syra wanted to drag the fight on any longer, she would have waited, giving the girl a chance to attack again or formulate a plan. Maybe even get her beast involved. But every second she wasted on the ship, fighting a captain of a ship they needed,especially when none of them had an affinity for sailing, meant more dead in Windhelm. And so Syra charged, ducking as Falin stabbed forward with her dagger and driving her fist into the girl's elbow. A move she knew from experience hurt. The dagger clattered to the floor and Falin, hissing, recoiled.
“Oh you bitch!” she hissed, falling to the deck and cradling her arm. “You broke it!”
“Its not broken,” Syra assured her. “Baby.”
“Well now that everyone's disarmed,” Lilith spoke up before Falin could argue back. “As I said, we require passage.”
“And once again, we're a cargo ship,” Falin threw back.
“If you don't help us,” Syra said. “A lot of people, innocent people, are going to die.”
She was bearing down on the woman, hoping that something in her eyes could potray how serious the situation was. Those green eyes stared back, reading her unspoken words and she glanced at ilith.
“Where do you need to go?”


She had entertained thoughts of a throne of corpses, expecting Dyre to be sitting on one as she returned to the Palace of Kings. And was only disappointed. The vampire remained on the same stone throne, Ulfric standing beside him, an empty shell under Dyre's influence. It was rather infuriating.
“I leave and suddenly you stop killing. Did we not warn your sister of the potential doom?” she demanded.
She did not say that said sister was no doubt locked away within her master's realm, never to arrive and therefore, the entirety of the Hold would be slaughtered. She was practically giddy with excitement of so much death.
“Syra has started on this path. Even if I did not slaughter thousands waiting for her, she would still arrive, thinking I did. I think it best to wait, to keep my cattle alive. She will no doubt go to every possible length to save them and I wish to give her that chance,” he replied.
He smirked and the Priestess almost wished she could paint his likeness. He'd been turned so early in his life that his face still held instances of the innocent boy he must have been before he'd become warped and depraved as he was now. She had seen child vampires in her long life, perfectly angelic faces that could hold monsters beneath, monsters that fed savagely and with a hunger they chose to never suppress. As children often were known to do in the face of maturiy. But Dyre was something else. He was dark and sadistic, a murderer and everything that would serve Sithis well if Sithis could have kept a hold on him rather than losing the boy to Molag Bal as he had. He was shaped by the Brotherhood, taught by Harkon and manipulated by the Priestess herself. She honestly wondered though what he could do if she had not been placed at his side, to masquerade as a madwoman who simply wanted to watch the world end. If he knew her agenda, knew he was simply a puppet in her plans, what would he do? Would he turn against her and demand the same of Alduin? Or would he not care so long as she held her end of the deal and helped him claim the sister that drove him? She was almost tempted to ask him, to lay it all out for him, for she hated her curiosity being left unsatisfied. But she had to be ever mindful of her master's agenda as well, which only allowed her own to exist because they intertwined. And as soon as he fully had what he wanted, she would as well.
“I will trust you judgement of your sister,” she relented as she made her way up those stairs.
She took her seat on the arm of it, leaning against him, attempting as she always did, to entice him with her body though his interest was little. He was too smart for her to slack though and he expected the light seduction, the aggressive taunts that spelled out her courting him, a facade she would keep up until the moment when she would finally spring her trap.



It was the silver skin that had her thinking. Liltih stared out at the ocean, waiting and watching for Windhelm, despite the fact that it would be a few hours yet. She remembered chasing that... priestess, remembered that silver skin and those crystals. Heck, she'd found a shard of said crystals in her skin and had clutched it in her hand. It was no ordinary crystal and quite possibly would never be found in Skyrim or any of Tamriel for a while. The only place she'd ever seen such things was the Shivering Isles and that had been during the Greymarch. She remembered seeing those crystals appear, remembered feeling immeasurably guilty as the already mad residents of New Sheoth had been driven even madder as they tried and failed to remain calm. All had been uncertain of what the outcome would be and even Lilith had doubted the Hero of Kvatch would be able to rise to a challenge thrown down by the gods before his time. She closed her eyes, not just reminicing but letting herself truly remember all the actions that had led to her father's freedom. She had made many a questionable choice then, had shut off her humanity in an attempt to survive the game of politics and trickery she had to weave, all that Haskill had assured her needed to be done. Lilith's eyes flew open, memories she'd pushed aside cascading down upon her as she recalled one thing she'd hoped to forget. She had not successfully ended the Greymarch alone, they had not. There was no way that the Hero would have let Lilith approach him. By then he was too jaded, too aware, Mehrunes treachery and Martin's death fresh in his mind. Physically he was a threat and approaching him thusly had been out of the question without him seeing them as allies. And so she'd gone to the one person who was capable of achieving said feat.  She  opened her palm, looking at the crystal shard again, not wanting to believe even the slightest chance that this new enemy had once been her ally but able to see the connecting threads more an more clearly now that she'd faced the woman in battle. There was no way to really tell other than to rip the mask from her face and see and even that she was hesitant to do. If she had to though, she would.
“What's that?”
She jumped, surprised to see Syra beside her, wrapped in Serana's cloak again.
“Syra,” she admonished, pressing a hand to her chest.
“You had ample opportunity to hear me,” Syra retorted with little attitude and Lilith sighed.
She brought her hand up, showing the crystal to her friend. Syra studied it but there was no familiarity in her gaze, no hint that she knew what it was. Which either meant she'd never crossed paths with the priestess or she had but it had never come to a fight. Either way, it didn't matter if Syra had or not since the woman's connection was quite possibly to Lilith herself.
“The cultist that sent you and Miraak into that book? I ran after her and she threw but one attack and was gone.”
“Gone?” Syra repeated. “Like she vanished.”
“I suspect because she doesn't exist, not fully at least, in this world anymore,” Lilth confessed. “No...I know that's why. She long ago shed the flesh that allowed her to move unhindered through Nirn. And now she is a mere spirit, traveling through thought.”
“You know quite a lot about her,” Syra caught on.
She was eyeing Lilith, not with suspicion but with a curios sort of glance. One that meant a lot to Lilith, who didn't really want her only friend looking at her like an enemy.
“This is a shard from an Order Crystal. And my father is the Daedric Prince of Order,” Lilith explained.
Syra blinked, clearly surprised but not quite knowing, it seemed, how to react.  And so she waited, her features settling into a mask of indifference.
“The last time I saw these was in the Shivering Isles. My father was punished for my birth by being made into a new god essentially. He became Sheogorath and was only allowed to reclaim his realm during a time known as the Greymarch. It was futile as he only got so far before it would end and the cycle would continue. Until mother came up with a way to end it. She chose the perfect time to strike, when all eyes were on the battle against Mehrunes Dagon. She hurried to Haskill, the Mad God's one constant and she struck a deal. When the dust settled and Akatosh retreated, mother was gone and I had a new mission.”
“And Akatosh had no idea?”
Syra seemed skeptical and rightfully so. Lilith smirked.
“He had tasked me with protecting Nirn. And Sheogorath was too mad a mind to be trusted unchecked. It did not seem at all suspicious my actions, given that no one knew of mother's actions who was not personally involved. The plan called to in essence replace Sheogorath so that father could be defeated and freed to wander the wastes of Oblivion. It was not ideal but it was a solution we could not pass up.”
She turned from the water, taking a seat on the deck and leaning against it. Syra chose to remain standing.
“I had a few tasks before I could enter the Shivering Isles. The first being that I had to ensure that the Greymarch was set, that my father's Knights were strong. To that, I went to Amarenthine,” she said, the name filling her with a deep and cutting sadness.
And Syra heard the emotion in her voice. Lilith cleared her throat however and moved on.
“She was Jygglag's first daughter, forged from the original Order Crystal. He carved her as a likeness to Dibella, whom he of course loved and gave her life. It was not an uncommon practice for the gods to create children. Akatosh had his dragons and Molag Bal his vampires. Amarenthine, as I understand, was welcomed, accepted.”
“As you understand?” Syra repeated. “Meaning-”
“Amarenthine is older than I am,” Lilith explained. “And father loved her. And she him. He had created her to help him maintain order and she did so. She was able to see the future, to know what needed to happen for life to continue and so when she sensed a threat or knew her intereference was needed, she would do just that. She could contact mortals through their dreams, with Vaermina's permission. There was little cause then to stage a coup against my father as he still was amicable with the Divines. And so it went that the world spun peacefully. Until my birth.”
Lilith sighed that last part.
“My birth and the fact that I was hidden away made punishment severe for my parents and any who helped them. Mother lost the ability to influence this realm personally, her physical form torn asunder. And father's punishment was Sheogorath. His exact opposite. And while Amarenthine had no idea about my whereabouts, she was still punished indirectly. The Shivering Isles were no longer her home and Vaermina made it difficult for Amarenthine to do her duty.”
She managed a small smile.
“My sister was resilient though. She fled to Nirn and hid herself away, in places where she would not be disturbed and she summoned the Greymarch when it was time. She gathered the Knights, forged the crystals and led armies in place of our father. And always she hoped it would be the end. That she could return home , Jyggalag could reclaim his place and things could go back to normal.”
“She didn't hate you? For causing the events?” Serana asked, her question and presence coming from nowehere.
Lilith glanced at the vampire who sat in front of her, clearly having been there awhile. Lilith had been more focused on Syra but figured it was a tale that would either be repeated or need to be.
“She loved me,” Lilith said. “I met her once, when I was younger, before the Oblivion Crisis. She had been guiding the world long enough to know that some things were inevitable and I was. And she accepted that. We didn't see each other until I came to her with mother's plan. She assured me the army was ready to reclaiming the Isles. Which meant I needed only to find a new Mad God.”
“Does this have anything to do with the disappearance of the Hero of Kvatch?” Syra asked.
Lilith turned to the woman in surprise and Syra looked away.
“I did some reading,” she admitted. “When I was in the Brotherhood and had down time. I wanted to know what I had missed.”
Lilith grinned despite the somber tale she'd only half weaved.
“You could've just asked,” she said.
“I was avoiding you, remember?” was Syra's reply.
Ah yes, Lilith did remember. Figuring it better to drop the matter than have Syra try avoiding her again, she returned to her tale.
“The Oblivion Crisis had ended only a month or so before the Greymarch. Our window was small and we needed the Hero of Kvatch. But he was still grieving. He'd lost many friends to the Crisis, the closest of which was Martin Septim. He had a lot of guilt and regret on that front and his distrust of the Daedric and Divine mirrored yours Syra. While he believed he'd failed Martin, the gods had as well in their failure to keep him alive. He was a mortal who'd been touched by Oblivion. He would see my divinty and daedric natures as well as Amarenthine and Haskill, the Mad God's assistant was not a people person. There was no way to approach him. Until Amarenthine decided to enter his dreams. He knew instantly that he was not dreaming normally and she had no choice but to reveal herself.”
“Well we know he didn't kill her,” Serana mumbled and Syra snorted.
“Quite the opposite, really,” Lilith confirmed. “He fell in love with her.”
“Dumb,” Syra judged.
“Oh not at first sight,” Lilith scolded, swatting the halfling halfheartedly. “But she visisted him often to gain his trust and it was the result of much time spent together. Either way, he fell in love and came willingly to help. Amarenthine had to remain behind to push the Knights and I worked from the shadows to stir discontent in the courts of Mania and Dementia. Sheogorath was getting attacked from all fronts while Jyggalag began to break through. Meanwhile, Haskill positioned the Hero of Kvatch perfectly to gain the loyalty of New Sheoth's populace as well as Sheogorath's.”
“And he just let you use him?” Serana asked.
Lilith's face scrunched up, as if she had smelled something bad.
“I was not... as good as I am now. I used a lot of underhanded means and at this point, I was not above manipulation. I told him that Amarenthine could not survive much longer without returning to the Isles and he believed me. Everything he did, he did for her. He had no problem taking over as Sheogorath or facing Jyggalag and freeing him. In the end, everyone who mattered...won,” she said, her voice growing small when she noticed Syra's gaze had gotten pretty intense.
Particularly around the words “who mattered”.
“I didn't know what it meant for a mortal to take over as a god,” she hurriedly said in her defense. “But you can't kill a god so easily. The Hero, he remained loyal to his position and eventually, the madness took hold. He became Sheogorath in more than name and the madder he got, the more he just...forgot Amarenthine. I had given her back her home and freed our father. But she had surprised me because she'd fallen in love with the Hero. And as she so elegantly put it, I had destroyed him.”
Syra and Serana were silent and it was that silence that killed her just a bit. Serana's judgement didn't much affect her but at least if the vampire had reacted, given how tied she was to Syra's inner workings, maybe Lilith could have gotten an idea on what her friend was thinking. She let them sit in silence for a few minutes but neither one caved and she threw her hands up in defeat.
“Last I knew of her, Amarenthine had left the Isles and disappeared into Oblivion to find our father. And before this crystal, I could only assume she either found him or perished.”
“But this crystal proves neither,” Syra pointed out, her voice steady.
She finally looked at Lilith, her fingers moving with lightning speed to grab the crystal.
“This just proves that she chose a different route. She's working against you!”
Syra's voice was rising with every word, drawing attention from the crew as well as Miraak and Brynjolf, both of who were so busy avoiding each other that they had little time for anything else. Syra threw the shard to the deck.
“She is responsible!” Syra declared. “For Steinar's death and whether she killed them or not, the deaths of all corpses in Windhelm!”
Those blue eyes were reptilian slits which told Lilith how deep the rage went.
“I know and I'm sorry,” Lilith admitted, reaching for her friend.
She didn't have a plan of action, something in her compelled her to comfort her friend, and Syra practically threw herself away, her actions violent. She looked as though she wanted to say more, needed to in fact but instead she stormed away, choosing to retreat to the opposite end of the ship. Serana remained, gesturing at Brynjolf to go after Syra while she meanwhile returned her attention to Lilith. The vampire seemed at a loss for what to say.
“She blames me, doesn't she?” Lilith asked.
“Our bond fades as the days pass,” Serana admitted. “What memories I have of hers are old, from a time when she was someone else. And very little of that person remains anymore. She is upset and rightfully so. But he can and will convince her that she has changed. And so have you.”
The Lost Dragonborn32
Well, given that there's a three month (or more) gap between chapters, I feel I should apologize. I've been branching away from Skyrim, not that I don't still love it, for about three reasons.
1) I've been getting into Mass Effect (forcing myself not to write a story about it)
2)Dragon Age has claimed my soul in such a bad way (I've thus far beaten Origins and started Awakening)
and
3) I'm admin in a group called Heroes of Tamriel on Facebook (check it out) and given that it is just myself and the group's creator, the lovely Arch Mage herself, well, its a bit difficult to keep up with everything.
Never fear though. Next chapter, we return to the war scarred Skyrim for a final show down with Alduin, Dyre and the Priestess.
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  1. How long have you been on DeviantArt?

  2. What does your username mean?

  3. Describe yourself in three words.

  4. Are you left or right handed?

  5. What was your first deviation?

  6. What is your favourite type of art to create?

  7. If you could instantly master a different art style, what would it be?

  8. What was your first favourite?

  9. What type of art do you tend to favourite the most?

  10. Who is your all-time favourite deviant artist?

  11. If you could meet anyone on DeviantArt in person, who would it be?

  12. How has a fellow deviant impacted your life?

  13. What are your preferred tools to create art?

  14. What is the most inspirational place for you to create art?

  15. What is your favourite DeviantArt memory?


Alright. Here we go.


1. 7 years, give or take
2. I just combined my favorite two things, Black and Rose. The Nightmare came from the awful fact that I was having a lot of nightmares at the time brought on by anxiety.
3. Creative. Crazy. Hostile :P
4. Right Handed
5. I have no idea
6. I write. I've been on here attempting base work but those came with too much hate for me to continue them.
7. I would LOVE to be able to master any other kind of art. Mostly I'd just like to be able to draw my own art instead of paying an arm and a leg for others to do it.
8. Oh no, I am not surfing through that many pages to find it. I have ALOT!
9. Style of art doesn't matter. Usually what I favorite either speaks to me or it makes me laugh and I want the artist to know ,like, "Hey, this made me laugh." And sometimes people don't let you comment so next best thing
10. :iconrinmaru: . I frickin love her games and it was actually her DA page that led me to them. Hands down, she be my fave.
11. I think part of what I love about DA is the anonymity and learning things about people through their art. So, I probably wouldn't want to meet anyone.
12. I have about 3-4 people on DA who are/were friends of mine irl. And one of them, who shall remain unnamed, really sent my emotions on a roller coaster. Some drama happened between us over the dumbest thing and suffice to say I got kicked to the curb. But she came back and picked me up only to drop me at a different curb. I don't hate her. I'm actually glad because it helped me see the issues I had with ending relationships with people and once I saw that, I was able to work through them.
13. Notepad and a keyboard. My two most used. Notepad only because its universal. It limits my format but it means I can open my works on any computer if I don't have mine.
14. My room. Usually when I'm working, my cat curls up next to me and its a frickin ice box in my room which makes it even better. It puts me at peace and helps me work faster.
15. My favorite DA memory. This was probably the easiest. When I first started DA, I personally had nothing to post and I wasn't ready to post my fanfictions yet (All Naruto). So I started it but for a few months after, I shared it with a friend of mine. Skip forward a few months. I had some fanfics up and some traffic. But there was a problem. Our account was being accused of art theft. I thought they were mad because of my fanfics. I was worried I had stolen someone's idea or character or something without meaning to so I started to review my gallery and saw that my so called "friend" had been posting others work. It was upsetting because, yeah, when I confronted her about it, she got mad and long story short, our friendship ended. That's not why this is my fondest memory though. Seeing all those people who got so mad about the art theft really instilled in me a sense of community on this site as well as calmed me when I was worried that someone would steal my works. With so many people who are willing to call you out on here when you steal, I've got nothing to fear.

  • Watching: Inuyasha: Swords of an Honorable Ruler
  • Drinking: Grape-Cranberry Juice

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Blacknightmarerose
Ariha
Artist | Hobbyist | Literature
United States
Current Residence: Hell
deviantWEAR sizing preference: what?
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Favourite genre of music: Jpop
Favourite photographer: dont have one
Favourite style of art: ....chibi
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MP3 player of choice: Sansa
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Favourite cartoon character: Naruto
Personal Quote: Man, fuck your couch
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:iconripond:
ripond Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2017   Writer
In case I don't get the chance to say this tomorrow, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!Have your cake and eat it too Party 
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:iconblacknightmarerose:
Blacknightmarerose Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2017  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks so much! Just seeing this DAYS later lol but I appreciate it very muchHug 
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:iconsiobhan68:
Siobhan68 Featured By Owner May 24, 2016  Professional General Artist
Thank you so much for faving my Skyrim fanart! :heart:
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:iconhyo38:
Hyo38 Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
happy b-day
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:iconblacknightmarerose:
Blacknightmarerose Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
Many thanks and sorry for the delay in reply. Just don't much come on DA unless I have something to post.
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:iconzilverdex:
zilverdex Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you for the fav!
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:iconblacknightmarerose:
Blacknightmarerose Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
You deserve it
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:iconfradarlin:
fradarlin Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks for the fav! 
Aisha by fradarlin  
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:iconmenkhar:
Menkhar Featured By Owner Oct 22, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you so much for the fave! Have a nice day :-)
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:iconconn1321:
Conn1321 Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2015
Thanks for the watch! It means a lot! 
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