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The Lost Dragonborn 34
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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The Lost Dragonborn33
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.
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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The Lost Dragonborn32
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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The Lost Dragonborn31
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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The Lost Dragonborn30
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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The Last Dragonborn29
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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The Lost Dragonborn28
"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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The Lost Dragonborn27
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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The Lost Dragonborn26
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
The Lost Dragonborn25
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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The Lost Dragonborn24
"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.
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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The Lost Dragonborn23
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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The Lost Dragonborn22
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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The Lost Dragonborn21
"What do you think made him change his mind?" Vex asked.
She swung off her horse as Delvin climbed down from the wagon. A wagon they'd only brought at Brynjolf's request. So where the hell was the bloody fool?
"You're sure this is Wayward Pass?" Vex demanded.
"Are you doubtin' my ability to read a map?" Delvin demanded.
"I can hear you two bickering from out here," Brynjolf's voice interrupted before Vex could retort.
He stepped from the ominous pass, the look of exhaustion clear on his face.
"What happened to you?" Delvin gasped.
"Long story short?" Brynjolf replied. "The Thalmor attacked the College. They killed the Arch-Mage."
"No way, impossible," Vex declared. "I've seen her magic. She can handle the Thalmor no problem. And on her own turf-"
"She was in labor," Brynjolf cut in.
"What about the baby?"
Vex's eyes had darkened and she was stiff.
"Born still. They gave us the body to bury."
Brynjolf nodded towards the curve of the pass.
"She's a mess," he explained. "Some Di
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The Lost Dragonborn20
Screams echoed off the stone walls, contained and hidden from the army outside by the howling winds. Farkas flinched as Lilith squeezed on his hand again, this time bringing him to his knees. He didn't complain though. The door opened again and he glanced up, relieved to see Brynjolf, yet again, as the thief scampered in, bringing more water.
"Arch-Mage, I have to cut you," informed the Dunmer apprentice Brelyna.
She looked terrified of doing anything further to Lilith who was barely lucid. Brelyna ducked back down, drawing yet another inhuman screech from Lilith. Farkas tried to soothe her but was unable. He'd never been present for a birth.
"Be careful," Brynjolf said, swooping in and crouching next to Brelyna. "If the baby's close, you might nick him with the dagger."
He glanced upwards at Farkas before tossing him a damp rag.
"Use that to wipe her sweat," he instructed. "It should keep her from catching too bad a chill."
That was all he said as he turned back to Brelyna t
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The Magic Trick :iconspaceskeleton:spaceskeleton 100 44 if God has forsaken us :iconnanfe:NanFe 1,298 22 Commission 29 :iconladyreddarkness:LadyRedDarkness 185 10 Mass Effect 2: CHARGE :iconhigheternity:higheternity 2,298 333 I AM SHEPARD, LORD OF FLAME :iconfon-ronsenbutt:Fon-Ronsenbutt 79 30 ME2 - Cobra :iconaimo:aimo 1,514 221 Space Bros :iconpokketmowse:pokketmowse 3,073 529 Take the Chance :iconnanihoo:Nanihoo 196 29 Dragon Age Origins :iconbelldandy105:belldandy105 775 56 DA2: Harbinger of Justice :iconchacou:Chacou 908 150 Yvad Vs Cullen :iconslugette:slugette 74 41 +no warden is an island pg 2 :iconagainst-stars:against-stars 70 3 +no warden is an island pg 1 :iconagainst-stars:against-stars 56 2 Fenris-Hawke :iconekocentric:ekocentric 208 31 Adventures of Merdia and Astrid :iconrebeccasorge:RebeccaSorge 142 8 Dark Big Four :icontreepelta113:TreepeltA113 104 20


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...



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.
“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.
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.

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.
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 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.
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.


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.
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?

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.”


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.
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)
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.

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 place but I knew his gaze was on us. Steinar was still on the ground, his hand still in mind which made it awkward to hold. I dropped his hand but stepped in front of him, his one defense against Miraak, since he had no sword. Miraak slid from his dragon, landing solidly on his feet, facing me. There was too little distance between us. And a part of me yearned to close that distance, to feel his mouth on mine and his hands on my skin. To feel his skin. The other part only saw the ghost of Dyre behind this man, saw the obstacle he was.
"I set no trap," he intoned after a few moments of silence.
"And yet, here we are," I retorted, sweeping my hands over the twisted library before me.
It made me nervous. As bad as Coldharbour was, this realm was worse. It reeked of isolation and sorrow. And regret.
"You do not care for this realm," Miraak observed.
I had hoped I hadn't made my feelings known.
"Then you must feel it."
His words were a low rumble and he reached up, removing his mask and the expression beneath was heartbreaking. I ached for this man who was my enemy. His mismatched eyes were pools of emotion, the contrasting colors making me want to comfort him.
"I regret it all," he admitted. "My betrayal, what it did to you Nithrogr."
"My name is Syra," I snapped, throwing my anger at him to suffocate the feelings of sympathy.
He gave me a sad smile, those scars seeming to stretch a bit.
"That you are so... forceful. Nithrogr is not alone in there, is she?" he asked.
"Our souls merged," I replied. "But I am the dominant soul."
My eyes narrowed at him.
"But feel free to touch me and see if you do not believe."
Miraak gave a low chuckle.
"In you, I feel Nithrogr, dominant or no. You are two halves. Do you so readily believe that she does not influence you?"
"Syra," Steinar hissed, his hand now gripping my leg.
I ignored him. With just the two of us here, I'd rather not take my eyes off Miraak. He was a complex man and I did not know if now he would attack, when he had the upper hand. The dragon watched us, his eyes on me, his expression significant though I could not place it.
"Free us," I demanded of Miraak.
"The master of the realm has brought you here," Miraak informed me. "I cannot free you, not against his will."
"The master of the realm?"
A Daedric Prince. A damn Daedric Prince. I was back in their notice, under scrutiny no doubt.
"Why would he bring us here?" I demanded. "Doesn't he know what I can do?"
We'd had a few arcane enthusiasts in the Brotherhood when I was growing up. And the one theory they all seemed set on was that I had some ability, or chance, that I could kill a god. It was one thing that puzzled me about Molag Bal dragging me into his realm. Did he have a death wish? Or maybe I couldn't. Was there a limit to how much of higher being's power I could absorb? Those lips twisted into a sad smirk.
"Do you think he cares? Here, in his library, he can keep an eye on us. You are part of his collection."
His eyes drifted past me, to Steinar, his eyes narrowing slightly.
"Undoubtedly, old Mora has grown tired of my attempts to be free of this place. And so he has brought you along to kill me. The end result is still the same. You will be stuck here."
"A risk I'm willing to take," Steinar growled.
Miraak sighed deeply.
"So be it."
He drew his blade, the grace in his movements alarming. I didn't know why I was so surprised. He was a killer anyway.
"Back off!" I snarled, sending a shout his way following my words.
He was sent back into his dragon and the beast snapped to, striking at me. I dropped to the ground,avoiding it and grabbed Steinar on my way up. He was heavy but had regained some semblance of control of his body. As I turned us in the opposite direction, running up the dark bridge, his legs were able to keep up, though he leaned heavily against me.
"We can't run forever," he argued in my ear.
I could hear a hint of fear in his voice but chose not to focus on it. I also chose not to inform him that yes, we actually could, run forever. Daedric realms were fairly infinite, depending on their master's will. But if said master's will was to have Miraak and Steinar battle, then he'd reshape the ground beneath us and send us right into Miraak.
"We need to get you a weapon," I said, absentmindedly.
I'd gotten so use to walking in shadow, in adjusting, and 200 years in Coldharbour helped get me use to the dark. Even as Steinar stumbled along beside me, I navigated the dark halls, avoiding stacks of books that Steinar either tripped over or trampled, noticing that it was getting darker, the lights drifting away from us. We were being herded. Or that was the intent. To send us scrambling back for the light. And had Steinar been alone, he probably would have fallen for it, given that he struggled, trying to make me go back towards the light. Probably because in this darkness, he was blind.
"Stop," I hissed.
"No!" he snarled back.
"Trust me, damn it!" I snapped, shaking him off.
As expected, he collapsed, not expecting the sudden withdrawal of support. I looked down at him, barely able to see him in the dark.
"Steinar, in all this, have I given you reason not to trust me?"
"You're a dragon!" Steinar spat. "And I am the Dragonborn. Its my destiny to kill you!"
"I was born with a human soul!" I threw back at him. "I was dying and Akatosh saved my life. Now that dragon soul he blessed me with has merged with my human one but at my core, I am human."
It felt good to say. Especially to him.
"Do you think I would ask for that burden? That burden that comes with being some predestined hero?" I asked. "Or a predestined villain?"
He was silent in the darkness and I pressed on.
"I do not think myself evil," I continued. "Though many of my actions would paint me as such. And while those actions are past, they have shaped me just as much as my current actions. And I can say with absolute certainty that destiny is crap."
Steinar scoffed.
"Of course you would say that. Yours is to die."
I curled my hands into fists, badly wanting to hit him. Or shake sense into him. Neither action would get me very far.
"I refuse to believe my destiny was to be raped," I said instead and I could feel him cringe, even if I couldn't fully see him.
I took a step towards him.
"My brother, my captor and even the Lord of Domination himself," I recalled. "I can't accept that such things were destined. And Steinar if my death is scripted to come about at your hands, I reject it that much more. I plan to live through all of this. Killing Miraak, killing my brother. I intend to live through it. And if I have to kill you to do so, then so be it."
"Its saying things like that that make me not trust you," Steinar pointed out.
"You're one to talk," I remarked dryly.
I offered my hand and somewhere in all that darkness, he found it and I pulled him to his feet, setting his weight on my shoulder again. He rested less on me as we continued into the darkness, with less objection from him.
"Why am I so weak?" he grumbled.
A fact I was wondering as well.
"Our souls were ripped from our bodies," I said, recalling what I could before I'd awoken. "And this is a Daedric realm. I spent two centuries trapped in one and as I said, I am two souls merged. Perhaps those factors make me somewhat immune to any effects."
I shrugged, careful not to shrug him off.
"Two centuries," Steinar repeated, not so much a question.
I took it as one.
"My brother ... sold me to Molag Bal," I explained, still not at rest with the information itself. "I was stuck in Coldharbour, frozen in time. Meanwhile, the world changed."
"So why did he release you? Why are you in Skyrim?" Steinar asked.
"I'm not sure," I admitted.
Up ahead, I could see the faintest hint of light and was instantly wary.
"If your brother had not raped you, would you wish him dead?" Steinar asked abruptly.
I glanced at him out of the corner of my eye, one eye on the light.
"No," I admitted and Steinar made an odd sound in the back of his throat. "What?"
"You do not believe in destiny," he went on. "Because of the hand you were dealt. But what if you had been the Last Dragonborn? What if our positions were switched and you were born me?"
"I'd pick a better helmet," I remarked truthfully and he glared.
"Would you believe in destiny if you were me?" he pressed.
"Who can say?" I asked. "I was born with greatness intended for me. Just not to the extent of saving the world."
"Well neither was I," Steinar informed me, the most he'd ever offered.
I waited, on the off chance that he would offer more about himself. And whether it was the darkness, the weakness he felt or the sense of impending battle, he did.
"I was born a bandit's child. My mother was one of their prizes and my father was the chief. I was a child and a fool. I didn't see that she was miserable. All I saw was the wild life these bandits lived. And my father encouraged it. Encouraged me to grow wild and lawless. I lured so many travelers to their death. So many families. My father was proud but my mother would hear of the roll I played in these plans from those captured. And her heart broke, even as she argued that it wasn't true, that the wicked child they spoke of was not me."
I remained quiet, listening, even as we entered the dimly lit room. Pages whispered beneath our feet, the black script moving across the weathered parchment. Steinar didn't seem to notice to the degree I did. He was lost to his past, a past he clearly did not visit often if the faraway look in his eyes was any indication. I knew it fairly well.
"Until she saw me one day, covered in the blood of a man my father's men had cut down before me. And when she saw me, not only her heart broke. Her mind did as well. She no longer cared for the consequences. The next time my father summoned her to his bed, she plunged a knife in his heart and then her own. And in one fell swoop I was an orphan."
I rested him against a stack of books. He seemed steadier on his feet now which was a good thing, I decided, beginning to dig through the fleshy pods around us and under the stacks of pages for a sword or even a dagger.
“Bad things happen sometimes and there's never... there's never a good enough explanation,” I said.
I stood, finding no weapons. Just books. Was it possible to bludgeon Miraak to death? I guessed I'd have to find out, I decided, picking up one that was fairly thick.
“Any luck?” Steinar asked, probably choosing to ignore my gem of wisdom.
“I doubt favor will shine upon us,” I admitted. “Daedric Princes have complete control over their realms. He took the light from us, probably to herd us back to Miraak. That hasn't worked. No doubt he's going to guide Miraak to us.”
“You know a lot about Daedric Princes,” Steinar remarked. “For only being in ones realm.”
“It helps that they're all the same,” I replied, tucking my selected book under my arm.
I extended my free hand to Steinar and he took it, leaning on me again as we set off, further into the darkness.


The cultists were in clear shock, not believing one of their own would go against their master's orders. Lilith didn't know which way their tide would turn when they snapped out of that shock but she would be ready when they did, attacking the rouge cultist mercilessly. She needed the book which the woman had snatched back up.
“Stay with them!” Lilith ordered, giving chase, holding her robes in one hand.
Her feet pounded after the fleeing cultists, who shed the rustic armor as she moved, revealing scanty robes beneath, the likes of which revealed her odd silver skin. A Dunmer then? She dodged the armor, mindful of the uneven ground which the woman ahead of her didn't seem deterred by. She seemed to be enjoying the chase, glancing back at Lilith even, revealing the second mask she wore. It was a mirror to the masks of old dragon priests, some Lilith had encountered, others she'd heard about. This one was pure dragon scale, as black as night, the eye holes glowing red. Lilith knew with certainty that she was staring at Alduin's dragon priest. All the best cults had one.
“Stop!” Lilith yelled.
She was already low on magic, the strain taking its toll after so little rest between uses but she would not let the woman escape. She tapped into the trickling stream of it, summoning a ring of fire around them.  The woman stopped just shy of running into the flames, turning to face Lilith.
“Whoever you are, you go no further!” Lilith declared.
That mask was infuriating. She couldn't gleam any details from her opponent, couldn't guess what potential trick she might have. Which would have been nice. The woman lifted her hand, thrusting it forward. Lilith was shocked as that simple gesture summoned slate crystals from the very floor, the likes of which sped towards Lilith, sharp and glimmering. Lilith dodged, narrowly, a splinter of the crystal catching her arm, cutting deep and drawing blood. Hissing, Lilith used her good hand to throw a fireball which the woman didn't even bother dodging. She made no move to stop it and it hit her body, engulfed her, but didn't harm her. She stood amongst the flames, calm. All Lilith could do was stare, mouth slightly agape, as the woman stood amongst the flames. Her surprise mounted as the woman waved her hand, the flames dispersing in a matter of seconds. And with the snap of her fingers, the woman vanished as well.

Brynjolf stood as Lilith returned, having taken off in a mad dash after the cultist. The Arch Mage held her arm, blood seeping from between her fingers. He saw Serana stiffen out of the corner of his eye. She made no other move, still crouching protectively beside Syra, letting currents of lightning dance between her finger tips as a warning to the straggling cultists around them. A few had left, in panic, not knowing what to do but knowing they wanted no part in this defiance. The ones left seemed interested in watching, none approaching to do harm or even offer an explanation. But it never hurt to be safe. Brynjolf stepped over Steinar, striding towards Lilith, reaching into his pocket and retrieving a cloth. Out of breath, she didn't say anything, extending her arm and letting him wrap the cloth around it.
“Any change?” Lilith asked, hoping that maybe, just maybe, the disappearance of the book would mean that.
Lilith bit her lip, looking at the face of the thief. He was too focused on the task at hand, patching her up. He was trying not to worry, she could see that. Lilith glanced around him, at Serana who was clearly not doing well. She was tense, not quite panicking outright yet but the potential was there. Meanwhile, Lilith had just thrown caution to the wind and given chase to an opponent she knew next to nothing about. Except that their voice was familiar.
“Its Syra,” Lilith declared, loudly.
Serana glanced over and Brynjolf looked up.
“She'll kill Miraak and drag Steinar back in no time,” Lilith went on. “I don't even know why we're worried. She's got this.”


“We're lost,” I declared.
Steinar whirled on me. As soon as he was back on two feet, his usual personality returned, no trace of the poor orphan bandit baby he'd been in the dark. He glared at me and I simply raised my eyebrow in response, something he saw in the faint light. Every step was brighter and I had no doubt that at the end of this trip, we'd find Miraak.
“We aren't lost,” he declared.
“So you say,” I sassed.
The banter helped him, I suspected. He was getting ready to fight for his life, for his soul. For his destiny. He turned away and stomped ahead. I kept my strides even and quiet. I didn't want to know what else lurked in this dark.
“I wish I still had my sword,” he confessed to me. “How am I suppose to fight him without a weapon?”
“I suppose it doesn't help if I say with the faith that good will triumph over evil?” I asked.
“But is he evil?”
Steinar's steps paused and he faced me.
“Miraak rebelled against dragons,” he pointed out.
“He's also enslaved people to unearth his temple. And his master is a Daedric Prince,” I argued back.
“And I was a bandit.”
“If you think your evil, then die. Let him kill you, “ I snapped.
Steinar sighed in frustration.
“I can't simplify everything like you,” he pointed out.
“Its called burying your feelings,” I informed him as I passed him. “For later.”
“And when's later?”
He followed me now which was a nice change of pace since I had an idea which path led to Miraak.
“Never,” I replied. “You eventually forget which hole you buried which feelings in so you don't risk it and leave them buried.”
I didn't know if he planned to say anything to that. A roar overhead cut us both off as a dragon zipped above us, flying just low enough that it knocked off books nestled contentedly on the top shelves.
“Run!” Steinar ordered as they rained down on us.
He didn't have to tell me twice.


He tried not to smile as the two emerged into the light, inches from him. His other half saw him first, skidding to a halt and stopping Syra. She threw a look back at the rain of books they'd just escaped, at the dragon that roared as it flew away in the opposite direction.
“You-you did that on purpose,” she accused, turning back to Miraak.
“I did,” he confessed, not at all ashamed.
Her eyes narrowed and she threw the book in her hand at him, her frustrations clearly mounting when it landed just shy of his foot.
“You kind of suck,” Steinar remarked.
“Enough,” Miraak said, cutting off an argument.
He pointed his sword at the Nord.
“I am eager to be free of my imprisonment. And you are the only thing that stands in my way.”
“You intend to fight an unarmed man?” Syra asked, crossing her arms.
Something in her expression told him she didn't approve.
“You're trying to appeal to my sense of honor. I have been without the press of others opinions for so long, things like honor have no meaning to me,” Miraak replied.
“Nithrogr remembers you as an honorable sort,” Syra retorted.
Behind his mask, his eyebrow twitched. So this was her game.
“Very well,” he sighed, relenting.
A weapon would do the Nord no good but Miraak snapped his finger and another dragon rose from the murky dark around them, landing in what space there was between the two parties. For their part, neither Syra nor Steinar flinched as that reptilian head swung their way, revealing a blade still shoved into his face.
“Well hello again,” Syra greeted as Steinar gripped his sword, drawing it.
The dragon growled and Syra braced herself.
“You are dismissed,” Miraak commanded of the dragon.
He had not summoned it for battle. This was a battle he was looking forward to, reclaiming a part of himself that he'd long thought lost to him. Steinar gave his blade a few practice swings, re-familiarizing himself with it. Syra watched him, a fact he was aware of. Her blue eyes were hard to read, her face a blank. He worried that was a result of Nithrogr's influence, worried that he'd be fighting this battle on two fronts. It was a bridge he'd cross when and if it came to it.
“Ready?” she asked.
Her fingers fiddled with one of the gauntlets she wore, adjusting it.
“What are you planning?” he asked, keeping his voice low.
“I've noticed, when I shout, there's a delay between when I can again. Perhaps its because the Thu'um is more for dragons and I'm mortal. Who knows? Either way, if it effects me, its got to affect both of you,” she reasoned.
Steinar was clearly confused, having not followed her logic and she rolled her eyes.
“Do not waste this chance,” she ordered.
Before he could say anything, she charged, darting towards Miraak. He seemed surprised by her charge, drawing and turning his sword, swinging the blunt side her way. Syra threw up her hand, the sound of the sword hitting the gauntlet echoing. She turned into his body, digging her elbow into his rib  and he grunted, not realizing she was done. At least not until she sent her fist angling up into his face, the force behind the punch, knocking his mask off. He was frustrated and that's when Steinar saw her plan.
“Fus Ro!” Miraak roared, the shout carrying Syra away.
Even not at full power it still packed quite a punch but she had told him not to waste his chance and so Steinar charged, hoping she was alright. Miraak seemed to be prepared for Steinar's attack, seeing through some semblance of his plan.
“Fus Ro Dah!” Steinar shouted, his shout packed with its full power, hitting Miraak.
The man's feet left the ground and he flew. Steinar was there to meet him, bringing his sword down. Miraak blocked him, his sword clutched in a death grip in his hand. Even strewn, Miraak was able to hold his own, his mismatched eyes narrowed in annoyance. Steinar tried not to be smug, the sense of victory he felt wasted when Miraak drove his boot into the back of his knee, the force behind it enough to cripple Steinar's stance. He fell forward, his sword sliding from Miraak's enough that the man was able to bring his up, narrowly separating Steinar's head from his shoulders. He rolled away, forcing himself to his feet. Miraak moved with surprising speed, his sword breezing through the air. Steinar only had so much time to block and he did so, shoving back with as much of his bulk as possible.
“Iiz Slen Nus!”
Syra's voice was clear but weighted with power. Miraak turned to meet her Thu'um as Steinar, wisely, chose to evade it, throwing himself out of its path. The power hit Miraak, his body encased in ice in the span of a second.  Steinar got to his feet, ignoring the ache in his leg, staring at the ice statue that was Miraak. Then he glanced at Syra.
“How did you do that?” he asked.
“Nithrogr was a dragon. She didn't have to learn the Thu'um,” Syra explained.
She rubbed her shoulder, clearly bothered by the pain she felt. Her hair was a mess, the few braids she wore unwinding.
“Is he dead?” Steinar asked.
“Yol Toor Shul!” was the response, the heat of fire radiating from within the ice statue until it burst out.
Steinar sprinted out of the blast zone as Miraak stood before them again, damper, probably more frustrated, his attention on Syra.
“I did not wish to hurt you, merely to get you out of the way,” he informed her. “I had thought you'd be wise enough to stay out of this on your own but I see that is not the case.”
Syra smirked.
“And that just pisses you off, doesn't it.”
“I will not deny that it isn't frustrating. But I have a solution.”
His solution swept down then on leathery wings, a dragon that had been perched atop the bookshelves. It caught Syra with its mouth, by surprise, taking off into the air.
“Syra!” Steinar yelled, his concern distracting him as Miraak charged.
He only just barely managed to block but the blade still caught him, slicing the skin of his forearm. If he had any hope of saving Syra, he first had to defeat Miraak. Which meant he had to focus.


The dragon's mouth reeked. I punched at its snout, pushing my luck. It hadn't impaled me with its teeth just yet but it was in a position to just that. Its wings carried me higher into the air, away from Miraak and Steinar, a fact I didn't care for.
“You asked for it,” I said to it, reaching deep.
Between its jaws, my body expanded, Nithrogr's form taking shape. I now had the advantage as those jaws separated. I dug my own teeth into the unguarded neck of the dragon who'd sought to keep me captive. He whirled, his jaws snapping, closing on air as I forced myself into my own body, losing my tether. I fell through the air, the dragon twisting mid air to catch me, probably ordered to take me away but to keep me safe. A task he'd thought would be easy. I tucked my arms against my body, facing downwards, falling faster. It hurt but I landed atop of on the bookshelves, sliding across the top on my back, inches from the edge. I took a second to breath, to relish not hitting the ground and not breaking anything, before the dragon landed behind me, his bulk rocking the shelf. I slid, grabbing the shelf's edge as it tipped, books falling into the bubbling sludge beneath us. The dragon's head swung my way, his jaws snapping at me as he tried to figure out the best way to grab me without injuring me before the shelf toppled over. I didn't give him a chance, kicking the tightly packed books out of place and slipping through the space created. The dragon behind me roared his displeasure, his wings flapping as he prepared to take off. I had more important things to worry about, sprinting across the shelf, listening for the sound of swords clashing. The library was rearranging itself, determined to help Miraak, to keep me from interfering.
“Steinar!” I yelled.
I beat at the shelves that moved to heed my progress, shoving books off and crawling through. If I couldn't go around I'd go through, no matter how many books I had to displace. When I was done, this realm would be in chaos, the knowledge collected in as many pieces as I could shred it into. Overhead, still trying to catch me, the dragon's jaws closed down on shelves, yanking them out of his way as he dug his snout in the space they left behind, trying to catch me. He was doing more damage and helping me at the same time, pushing aside shelves as he blindly searched, giving me a clear view of the two warriors I was looking for.  I drew a deep breath, running towards them.
“Wuld Nah Kest!”
The shout propelled me forward, bypassing the dragon overhead. I was back on the battlefield and Miraak noticed first, realizing he was my target. He shoved Steinar back, just barely dodging when I tried to tackle him. I turned the failed leap into a roll, misjudging the distance and going over the edge. I flailed, reaching for the receding floor only for a gloved hand to catch mine. I stared up into Miraak's mismatched eyes, at the heart break in them and the fear that slowly turned into relief. He'd been afraid he wouldn't make it, wouldn't catch me in time.
“I would have been fine,” I assured him.
He opened his mouth, gods knew what he was going to say. And then he cried out in pain, staring at the sword that pierced his abdomen. I couldn't help it, crying out, shrieking. My pain, Nithrogr's pain, heart shattering. Steinar withdrew the blade, yanking Miraak back by his shoulder. Despite the wound, despite that he was dying, Miraak never let go, pulling me up when he slumped over. I crawled to his side, pushing him on his side, my hands pushing down on his wound, as if it would do any good.
“Syra, what are you doing!?” Steinar cried.
Miraak's eyes found me, smiling just a bit.
“I am so glad I got to see you again, mistress,” he said.
“Shut up,” I commanded. “This is not the end, do you hear me?”
Steinar was looking at me like I was crazy.
“Syra, let him die!” Steinar ordered.
I glared at him directly.
“Why should the gods or princes decide his fate or yours? Your destinies? Why can't you co exist? Defeat Alduin together and then go your separate ways. Why does it have to be either or?”
Nithrogr roared inside me, her influence taking over.
“They're coming,” Miraak announced.
He still watched me even as he delivered his news.
“Minions of Hermaeus Mora. That book-”
He pointed to the book that was on a pedestal nearby.
“It will take you home.”
“And how will I know my soul's half will come back?” Steinar demanded.
“You don't,” was Miraak's response.
Steinar made a face but ran towards the book, realizing a few steps in that I wasn't following.
He was incredulous.
“Mistress, go,” Miraak urged.
“No,” I said, my voice laced with power.
Laced with Nithrogr.
“All those years ago, I failed you. They destroyed you and my father saved me.”
The words I spoke were her's.
“I betrayed you,” Miraak whispered.
His breathing was labored now.
“Humans and dragons could have lived together in peace. I should have led by example. I failed you, I betrayed you.”
I lifted my head, able to see, in the distance, the they Miraak had spoken of. The shelves that had hindered me parted, the dragon realizing that its master's master was in play flying away. A hand grabbed my upper arm, yanking me to my feet and I cried out in objection as Steinar released me. He reached down, lifting Miraak's body onto his shoulders.
“What are you doing?” I shrieked, thinking he meant to throw the man into the abyss below us.
He didn't answer, sprinting towards the book. I followed, waiting to see where his intentions led.
“You won't leave without him,” Steinar replied, setting Miraak down by the book.
He'd been nice enough to retrieve the two swords they'd been using, thrusting his into my hands. I knew it was his because Miraak's hilt was etched with green whereas Steinar's was an impressive red. I almost asked why he was armed when a hulking beast of slime emerged from the dark, roaring, its large head turning towards us.
“Lorker,” Miraak grunted.
I looked to the sword in my hands, that same panic setting in, temporarily replaced by confusion when Steinar stepped in front of Miraak and myself, wielding the sword.
“My mother was from Helgen, born and raised,” he informed me. “I buried her near the lake. Take that sword and let it be her marker.”
“What do you mean?” I asked, bewildered.
Steinar scoffed, turning fast and touching the book, activating it. He drew his hand back, stepping away from the eerie light.
“Prove me wrong, Syra,” Steinar ordered. “Prove to me destiny doesn't matter.”
“Steinar!” I objected, reaching for him, trying to go after him as he charged towards the Lorker.
The book's light engulfed me, my last image of Steinar cutting the Lorker deeply, unaware that two more had emerged. And then we were gone.

Serana fell back as Syra sat up, coughing, reaching blindly for something to grab onto. Brynjolf reacted faster, crouching, letting her flailing hands seize hold of him.
“Lass, shh,” he urged, smoothing his hand over her hair.
“Heal him!” Syra managed.
“Him?” Lilith repeated, looking to Steinar.
He was still unconscious, his soul not yet returned. But looking his way froze Lilith cold as she saw another man rising from the ground, as if some magic dropped him there. His gaze went to Lilith, a mix of blue and brown that distracted, almost, from the pool of red that stained his hand as he pressed it against his chest. Miraak. She knew without explanation, moving, surprised that Serana was already there, a healing spell cradled in her hands. Lilith stood in between the two at the feet of Steinar's body. Because that's what it meant. If Miraak was here. That Steinar hadn't made it. She looked to Syra who was near inconsolable in Brynjolf's arms, sobbing and soaking the front of his armor. She had so many questions to ask but one look into those fierce green eyes told her that he now was not the time. Instead, Lilith stood in silence, staring down at the dead Nord and she felt a sadness come over her, covering her mouth. She hadn't liked him, not how he'd been so arrogant and hotheaded. But it was such a waste of a life, so young compared to her own. To Miraak's, Serana's and even Syra's. Tears ran down her own face, silent but powerful as she let herself have this moment to just sob in tandem with her equally grief stricken friend.
The Lost Dragonborn31
So, sorry for the feels. I don't want to spoil anything in this box because sometimes things don't load how they should. But I was bawling at the end of this chapter because I'm feeling very emotional to start and to make it as sad as possible, I had to listen to super sad music. Anyway, new chapter. I am back on track, getting back in gear. I forgot how much I missed Skyrim and Syra and this story, writing other projects and playing Dragon Age (its so addicting) But good news. I have already started chapter 32 and hopefully can bring that to you soon
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 shadow, hood pulled low over her face. He had tried to coax her out, urge her to join his conversation with the other Nord, Steinar, but she had been stubborn and silent, only interrupting when Steinar began to reveal too much. With Syra's presence though, the Nord had fallen into his own silence. But it was not him that Storn needed to speak to.
"I do not presume to know the All Maker's will," he began with. "But to reunite the dragon within you with Miraak-"
He broke off, shaking his head, unable to share the dread he felt. It was the youth in her face, the appearance of innocence that a hard life had cost his daughter. The youth of this Halfling's was eclipsed by a weariness that just seemed wrong.
"That's the thing, its not just Nithrogr inside me," Syra argued. "I'm more than a dragon soul in a human body."
Her voice was calm but carried weight as she rested a hand on her chest.
"I was a mortal soul, a weak one, but still mortal. Nithrogr is a part of me. I am not a part of her."
It was a subject that had clearly been raised in the past and one she'd given some thought.
"The only way to stop Miraak is to kill him, for good," Storn informed her.
Her face gave nothing away on how this news made her feel.
"I know," she replied, her voice as steady as it had been before.
"Can you do that?" he asked.
"She won't have to," Steinar piped up, his own voice laced with bravado.
Storn pointedly ignored the lad. He had no doubt that the boy would stand some chance against Miraak but not against Miraak and Syra, if she did not speak the truth of her feelings on taking Miraak's life. "Miraak never betrayed Nithrogr. He was loyal to the very end to her and she to him."
Syra's eyes widened a bit.
"Are you implying-"
"It was always viewed as odd how close the two were for a human and a dragon," Storn informed her.
"How do you know this?" snapped the woman in the shadows.
Storn ignored her as well as she had ignored him though he heard the faint whisper of his daughter's voice as she explained.
"He loved her."
Syra's voice was low but audible. The hand on her chest curled into a fist.
"And she him."
Her eyes changed, briefly, the blue pupils becoming the slitted eyes of a dragon. The change barely lasted a second but Storn caught it, sitting back a bit in caution. Syra closed her eyes letting out a deep sigh.
"The monster that was once my brother has an entire Hold of innocent people held hostage. He controls an entire army, one he's used to attack innocents," she said. "And his biggest ally is a overgrown lizard who is suppose to devour the world."
She opened her eyes, the pupils back to normal as she stared at Storn across the fire.
"If Miraak has to die so that Steinar can fulfill his destiny and I can tear Dyre apart, then Miraak will die. And even Nithrogr cannot stop me."

Storn nodded in response to my words before he rose. And bit by bit the other trickled off to sleep, Brynjolf only leaving at my request. Soon it was just Serana and I. She was watching me from under her hood but I kept my eyes on the fire.
"You should get some sleep," she suggested. "I think Lilith wants to start out early tomorrow."
"You're one to talk," I retorted, kicking myself as I realized what she was.
Serana shook her head.
"Look, we're walking into a temple that no one has been in for thousands of years," Serana pointed out, tone even. "And the owner of said temple is somehow alive and able to control people enough to make them unearth it. Who knows what else he can make them do or who else is under his control."
Her logic so far was hard to argue with.
"I don't trust Steinar but I trust you," Serana went on. "And it would make me feel better to know the person I trust is alert enough to watch her own back."
I smirked.
"I can't. Sleep I mean. I'm too awake."
Passing out earlier didn't help either.
"I'm so ready to be done."
I sighed, not knowing how to elaborate.
"What's done for you?" Serana asked. "At the end of this all, where do you see yourself?"
I closed my eyes, letting my mind drift.
"I'm at Goldenglow Estate. I can finally hold a weapon again without being afraid. Can finally waste a few days just laying in the grass, knowing that nothing is going to happen. No one is coming to attack me. I'm free."
Serana was watching me, her eyes shadowed. And I knew she wished for the same thing, wanted what I wanted.
"And I want you there," I declared.
Serana seemed surprised, momentarily, before she smiled.
"I want to be there too."
There was nothing more to say but it seemed wrong to leave it at that. I opened my mouth, to say what I didn't know but was cut off as a loud roar echoed into the peace of the Great Hall. I scrambled to my feet, Serana in tow and ran outside into the snow. Lilith was on her feet, eyes on the dark sky. She'd just risen too, the indent of her knees in the snow still clearly visible.
"Dragon?" I checked and she nodded, fireballs appearing in her hands.
"Its circling back," Serana reported, probably the only one of us who could see clearly through both the snow fall and the dark.
Lilith tried following Serana's gaze but the frustration on her face told me that wasn't going well. Serana saw it as well, lightning dancing in her hands.
"Its directly above us," she informed Lilith. "And coming closer fast."
It seemed to be enough for Lilith who thrust her hands up, the fireballs turning into streams of fire. They didn't get far as they hit the dragon and, with another roar, he changed direction, zipping upwards. Serana threw her lightning then, letting it travel across his hard skin as he fled. Magically inept, I watched all this from the ground, vision enhanced by Nithrogr. The dragon flew towards Miraak's temple, landing just out of sight.
"I think Miraak knows we're here," Lilith reported. "And why."
"Then he's smarter than we thought," I replied.
"Or we're being watched," Serana suggested, her words followed by the slamming open of the Great Hall doors.
Steinar stumbled out, sword in hand, Brynjolf in tow carrying a torch.
"Dragon?" Steinar panted.
"A warning," I told him. "From your better half."
He made a face, one of loathing and resentment, or at least that's what it looked like to me, but that was it before his attention returned to the dragon.
"Where'd it go?" he asked, looking at Serana, the only one of us, I suspected, that he could tolerate.
"To the temple," she replied, nodding.
I'd have thought Steinar would sit on the knowledge and decide the best course of action to take. Instead, he took off, surprisingly fast in his heavy armor.
"This idiot," I growled, chasing after him without thinking either.
"Syra!" Lilith objected, her voice already far away.
I chose to ignore her, a choice she no doubt read in my mind and would lecture me about
later. If there was a later.

It was the action he'd been looking for. Finally a dragon he could slay. He'd been stuck in the temple with the old men so long it had begun to drive him crazy. And yeah, he felt like a part of him had been missing. It was an itch he couldn't scratch and the Greybeards didn't understand, the confusion when he brought it up evident in their faces. And as much as he didn't like the tiny halfling, he was somewhat grateful that he had answers now and angry that they'd been so easily handed over to her while being kept from him. He was the dragonborn of legend, the one sung about in songs, whispered about in stories to little Nord children as they fell asleep. He was the last and it was his destiny to slay the World Eater. Not the half pint running behind him. The snow stung at his skin as he pounded across the wooden bridge, the temple in sight now. The dragon sat atop the structure, looking down at him, amusement in its reptilian eyes. It dared mock him. He reached for his sword, his hand only just grazing the hilt when he felt it, the surge of heat that touched his back right as another dragon flew over his head. He recognized it immediately and gritted his teeth as the dragon, Nithrogr, or Syra, whatever her name was, flew at the waiting dragon. In response, his leathery wings sprang to life, lifting him into the air with surprising speed, Nithrogr following after. She was smaller, compared to him, and so faster, able to avoid his snapping gaze as he tried to catch her with his teeth. Her response was a blast of fire, her Voice deeper than he would have expected and echoing with more power. A blast of frost was her response, though the dragon clearly knew he stood no chance, even as a path of frost crisscrossed its way across Nithrogr's back as she dove for the ground. The other dragon followed and last second, right as she would have crashed, Nithrogr shot back up, leaving the other dragon to tumble to the ground, his large body sliding easily in the snow, leaving behind a muddy wake. Steinar wasted no time, hurrying to the fallen dragon that flopped just a bit. He rammed his sword into face, between its nostrils, twisting with savage determination, watching those eyes all the while. The dragon was angered by both his actions and the humiliation that came with crashing to the ground. It opened its mouth, blasting Steinar with frost. He covered his face, releasing his sword as the force behind the Shout sent him flying back. Next the dragon went for Nithrogr, fueled by its rage, its wings beating faster. Steinar shook off the Shout, waiting to see what she'd do, if she'd attack. Instead, the female dragon shrunk, body returning to that of a mortal, one that fell from the dragon's path, landing easily on one of the pillars of the temple. Confused, the dragon took a sharp right, zipping right for her.
"Move you idiot!" Steinar yelled, ignored as the Halfling braced herself, her knees locking.
The dragon was on her now, his jaw parting and his mouth snapping at her. She leapt then, grabbing the sword still embedded in the dragon's face, using it to pull herself onto his head and then onto his back, a fact he didn't like too much as he shot into the sky again, flying upside down in an attempt to shake her. Syra held on, even as the dragon landed, thrashing wildly and trying to crane his neck to snap at her. Steinar took his chance, running towards them, a shout on his lips. He was too slow though. The dragon shook Syra off, throwing her a good few feet away where she crashed into another pillar before dropping to the snow, dazed. It was those seconds that counted as the dragon closed in, only to be stopped by an imposing masked figure, the likes of which appeared out of nowhere between Syra and the dragon.
"Cease," he ordered, standing tall, voice clear even with his mask.
The dragon did not seem to like the order, looking as if he wanted to object, wanted to fight. And instead, he backed off, shaking his wings off before lifting himself into the air and away from them. Steinar watched it go, really wishing it had had the courtesy to leave his sword. Meanwhile, Syra's vision cleared and she beheld the strange man who'd saved her. Who was now facing her, standing over her.
"If I had not seen it, I would not have believed it," he whispered, offering her his hand.
She should have been suspicious, should have wondered who he was and how powerful he was to have just appeared from thin air. But she felt calm, as if at peace, taking his gloved hand. There was no warning of what he would do afterwards, pulling her to her feet and into his arms, his grip on her waist firm. Even then, she found her attention focused on his mask, his voice.
"How is it possible?" he asked. "For a dragon to live inside a mortal form?"
"Who are you?" Syra whispered, her voice unable to go higher than that octave, her mind desperately grasping at memories not her own that had the answers she sought.
Unbidden, her hand reached for the mask and he let her. Let her pull the mask away, revealing the face of a Nord, his face decorated by three scars that stretched from the bottom left side of his face, trailing through his full lips, all the way across his cheekbones and stopping just shy of his left eye, the likes of which was brown. His other eye was a deep blue. And it was with the sight of those eyes that she finally seized hold of the memory.
"Miraak," she breathed, shocked.
So this was the man they had come to kill. He lifted a hand, caressing her cheek.
"Nithrogr, I have waited so long to see you again," he informed her, his eyes seeing through her, as if he could look into her very soul.
"I came to kill you," she informed him and his faint smile did not waver.
"I was told," he admitted. "But you won't."
"How can you be so sure?" Syra demanded.
"Because the bond I shared with my mistress is a deep one. No doubt it transcends time."
He leaned in closer as he spoke and Syra could only focus on the stubble along his jawline, the same deep brown as his hair which hung long, to his shoulders and the way his chest felt beneath her hands as she rested them there, the only thing she managed to do as he kissed her. And with that, her resolved cracked, just a bit. But a bit was enough and she hated herself for realizing that, grateful when Miraak was yanked away from her, giving her room to think. Serana stood now between her and Miraak, fangs out, her eyes glowing red. Syra reached out, catching hold of the vampire's arm as Miraak returned his mask to its place on his face.
"Ah, more guests," he mused, his voice as collected as it had been when he'd ordered the dragon away.
"Are you hurt?" Serana asked, voice low and directed at Syra.
"I'm fine," Syra replied, releasing her arm, slowly.
"I am nothing if not a gracious host," Miraak went on. "I grant you safe passage into my temple. Let us see how fortified you are when the advantage is mine."
His words were followed by his disappearance, the likes of which was sudden and silent. In that silence, Syra became aware of the crunch of snow under boots as the others caught up. The others being Steinar, Lilith, Frea and Brynjolf. Her face went red as she realized that the thief had seen her kiss Miraak, his own face hurt though he approached her with a weak smirk.
"Well, lass. Never a dull moment, huh?" he joked.
"Brynjolf-" she began only to stop.
What explanation did she owe him? Really? He seemed to catch her line of thinking but said nothing.
"We should take advantage of his offer," Lilith announced. "It'll give us a chance to see what's going on inside."
"Or it could be a trap," Frea argued.
The two said more but Syra didn't listen. She was tired and cold but wide awake at the same time. And with each passing second, she became less and less sure of her resolve, wrapping her arms around herself. It wasn't just the kiss. No, the emotional rush before that as well as the crushing wave of memories Nithrogr had pumped into her mind had cracked her. Lost in thought, she didn't feel the calloused hand as it gently touched her arm but when it registered, she looked at Brynjolf. He offered her a smile before he held up a fur laced coat, like the ones she'd seen back at the Skaal village. He winked and she took it, sliding it on, the act of kindness hurting her all the same.
"Thank you," she said in a low voice.
"Frea,we're going," Lilith insisted. "This was our whole reason for even coming to this island. To find and kill Miraak. The plan doesn't change just because he knows."

The temple was large,imposing in the dark of the night. And there was an air of loneliness to it mixed with the bone chilling cold. I craned my neck as we trekked after Lilith, following the winding stairs inside. The temple had held up a lot better than I had thought it would, if it truly had been destroyed by dragons ages ago. Despite being in the enemy's stronghold, where who knows what kind of traps awaited us, my attention kept wandering back to Brynjolf who flanked the group. He would catch my glances and give me a wink or a smile and I'd turn back around, keeping an eye on our surroundings as we passed through what appeared to be mass tombs. I eyed the bodies stretched out on their slabs, knowing that sometimes, the dead did not stay dead.
"He can't be letting us in trap free," Serana observed, though we'd met no resistance.
So far. Lilith glanced over her shoulder.
"I only just managed to read his mind. He seemed sincere when he said we had safe passage."
"What does he expect in return?" I asked, my question meant for Lilith only.
It did not stop Steinar, who scoffed.
"From the kiss he laid on you, I can guess what he expects in return."
I glared at him, a fact that didn't seem to bother him.
"Enough, Steinar."
Brynjolf's voice was low but gruff, an edge to it. Looking back at him, I could see the irritation in his eyes as he glared at Steinar. Steinar smirked over his shoulder at the thief.
"Even you saw it. Clearly there's not much of her that can resist Miraak. Despite all her big talk."
"Are you intentionally trying to piss me off?" I snarled his way, forcing him to look back at me.
I stepped closer, trying to make myself appear bigger, even if such a thing was impossible.
"Whatever issue you may have with me, put it aside. If Miraak does harbor some feelings for the dragon in me, that can only work in our favor."
Steinar smirked at me,condescendingly.
"And what about your dragon's feelings for him?"
His eyes narrowed but his smirk remained.
"Or your feelings for him?"
"I have no feelings for him," I snapped, matching his smirking condescension with righteous anger. "Enough, both of you."
Serana stepped in, her irritation on her face.
"The two of you, standing her, arguing as if stopping him is our only mission."
She looked at Steinar.
"The faster we stop Miraak and unify your souls, the faster we stop Alduin and complete your destiny."
She looked at me next.
"Remember, Dyre has a whole city of innocents. And every passing second runs the risk that he will make a snack of them."
I nodded after a minute in surrender and Steinar took a step back. He shot me one last look before he continued on, passing Lilith. She looked at me and I could feel her in my mind, trying to find who knows what before Serana stepped between us, her presence urging the Arch Mage to keep walking. I didn't much care, turning my gaze to Brynjolf as he approached me, passing me without a glance. I watched his retreating backside, watched all of them as they continued on. I don't know why I did it, my own feelings still a mess as they drifted back, but I reached out, touching Brynjolf's hand with hesitation. There was no hope for my relationship with Steinar and on both Lilith and Serana I was unsure. Even this tangled mess of emotions Miraak stirred made me uneasy. The one relationship that I was even somewhat clear on was Brynjolf and I wanted it to last just a bit longer. I waited for a second, worried that he'd reject me and feeling such relief when his fingers intertwined with mine. His gaze stayed forward and I knew he was still not over the kiss I had with Miraak or the implications that Steinar had thrown my way. But he wasn't holding it against me. It was enough to almost warrant a smile. Almost.

If she closed her eyes, she could almost see their progress, deeper into the temple. It almost made her smile. However, she was too charged up, anxious in her excitement. And had it been up to her, she would have sprung some semblance of a trap on the party. But the temple was the one place where Miraak's control was near absolute. After so many ages within Apocrypha, he'd learned at least how to keep her from doing too much within what had once been his sanctuary.
The voice whispered through her mind and she lifted her head, though her master was nowhere in sight, choosing not to manifest himself.
"Yes, my Lord?" she asked, eagerly awaiting his orders.
A single word from him and any restrictions Miraak had placed on his temple would be whisked away and she could do as she pleased. The excitement grew as she waited, surrounded by the presence of the very master that had made her whole once was a feeling of coming home and she basked in while hoping he would speak faster.
"Enter the temple and fetch me my prize," he intoned, his voice echoing in the recesses of her mind.
She wasted no time, opening her eyes, leaving the mental room in which she did her best work. Windhelm returned to her, the reeking evil the scent she loved coming back to. The touch of misery, fear and blood were nice accents. She'd been out of her own mind long, viewing the blood stained stone floor of the Palace of Kings through her mask. It was a nice touch, the congealing red a nice touch against the dull slate. Certainly better than the rug. She rose from the arm of the throne, giving the poor brainwashed Jarl a quick pat. She had no time to search for his keeper, her lord's bidding more pressing than anything. She motioned at the guard, one of the meat sacks by the door. The look of pure fear that flashed across his face was delicious, as if he was worried that this was it. That his time had come. She nearly laughed but chose not to, waiting patiently as he approached her. Her excitement had been quenched, subdued by the sense of purpose she had no that she'd been given a task. The guard now stood before her, shaking ever so slightly. And she loved it.
"I require something of you," she admitted to him, pausing to study him.
He was far too thick, too muscled to serve her purpose. But someone else had caught her mind and remained in it since she'd first entered Windhelm.
"Bring to me the beggar woman," she commanded.
"Yes ma'am."
The guard bowed, his voice flooded with relief as he nearly ran out. The Priestess was too focused on her preparations, lifting a fruit bowl from the great table and dumping it out, the fruit carelessly rolling to the floor. It would serve its purpose, she assumed, studying it. Her observation was interrupted as the guard hurried back, the beggar in tow. The Priestess smiled, the expression hidden behind her mask, the mask in the image of her master.
"Hello, beggar," she greeted, stepping forward.
Every step closer, meeting the fetched wretch halfway, made her body tingle. She was doing her master's bidding, actively again, rather than the orders from the fanged mouth of a child. And it was a refreshing change. She savored death but in her excitement, she moved fast, her long nails slicing through the soft but weathered throat of the poor woman before she could fully process what she was doing. Her other hand brought the bowl forth, catching the fresh blood, at least until the beggar's stunned body got the idea, falling to the floor at the horrified guard's feet. She didn't waste her time, turning with her bowl of gathered blood, retreating back to the arm of the throne that she'd laid claimed to and sitting. Slowly, she ran one finger through the blood, not allowing herself to be distracted admiring the color, intoning the words needed to return to the almost godlike state of being she would need to enter Miraak's temple without leaving Windhelm. The blood responded to her influence, following the path her finger made for it. It took a bit longer than she liked, the beggar's blood not as magically inclined as the court's wizard had been, but finally she felt it start to work, her body separate from that of her soul, of her astral being. And with that done, she was free to carry on her mission.

I didn't fail to notice the cultists, how they watched us, their masks hiding the fact that their eyes followed us. But I got the feeling.
"Creepy, aren't they?" Brynjolf remarked.
"Understatement," Lilith said as Steinar snorted.
Serana didn't respond, choosing instead to pull her hood over her head. I chose to not say a word, wondering instead how much further we'd have to walk. And what would happen once we got there. What trap Miraak would spring.
Lilith's voice was a whisper as she stopped and indeed we all looked, beholding the approaching cultist. Underneath the stocky armor, the woman's curves were nearly obscured but there was no hiding the feminine walk, the likes of which one would need to possess curves for in the first place, hidden or not. There was a near ethereal feel to her and my eyes narrowed, the dragon in me stirred. Lilith seemed on edge too, tensing when the cultist stopped before us, holding a covered item in her hands. Her fellow cultists were watching her now, their heads turned, as if her approach was a surprise to them as well. "Something's not right," I said, my voice an uncertain whisper.
I gripped Brynjolf's hand tighter as an ominous feeling took hold. Something in me didn't want her uncovering whatever it was she held. It was the source of the wrongness in the room, twisting and corrupting the air and , by extension, us as well.
"Welcome, Dragonborns," the cultist said, her voice filled with dark glee.
"That voice-" Lilith began as the woman lifted the corner of the cloth.
"No!" I objected, the outburst instinctual as I lunged forward.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Steinar move too and in this we were in perfect sync though neither of us was fast enough. The cloth slipped away, revealing a black book. As fast as she'd dropped the cloth, the cultist opened the book, turning it towards Steinar and I, tentacles shooting out, wrapping around us.
"Syra!" Lilith cried and I felt her seize my waist.
Glancing at Steinar, I saw Serana and Brynjolf pulling at him. Despite their best efforts, though, the book was slowly pulling us away from them, the tentacles tightening. The sensation was less physical though and more as if the clammy arm had burrowed in, resting on my soul. Steinar grunted in pain, his hefty body collapsing, his eyes glazed over as what could only be his soul was yanked into the book. "No," I cried, reaching out as if I could catch what was already gone.
It did nothing for my cause as the tentacles that had just deposited Steinar snapped back for me, curling around my arm, pulling with more force. The ripping sensation tore a scream from me as I too was yanked from my body, the book's pages the last thing I was aware of before complete and utter dark.
The Lost Dragonborn30
LAST EDIT! And then we pick up where I left us off MONTHS ago which I am sorry for.  I so badly want to do more with the Skaal and their village. Its one of my favorite places and I so badly wished you could choose to live there. Though, given Syra's hatred of the cold, I doubt she'd want to.
That being said I hate the island of Solstheim...mostly because I can't spell it right to save my life half the time. I also hate this new trend of calling Paarthurnax (another name I cannot spell allthe time) me gusta.
  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


Blacknightmarerose's Profile Picture
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

Journal History



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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 
Blacknightmarerose Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2017  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks so much! Just seeing this DAYS later lol but I appreciate it very muchHug 
Siobhan68 Featured By Owner May 24, 2016  Professional General Artist
Thank you so much for faving my Skyrim fanart! :heart:
Hyo38 Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
happy b-day
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.
zilverdex Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you for the fav!
Blacknightmarerose Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
You deserve it
fradarlin Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks for the fav! 
Aisha by fradarlin  
Menkhar Featured By Owner Oct 22, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you so much for the fave! Have a nice day :-)
Conn1321 Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2015
Thanks for the watch! It means a lot! 
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