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Thread: Elder Scrolls: Birthright

  1. #1
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    Default Elder Scrolls: Birthright

    Attn: "Birthright" is a time lapsed fic, taking place both during and after the Oblivion Crisis, as well as after the Dragon Crisis in Skyrim.

    Rated T

    Summary: Raised in secret the Septim line lingers. Now the time has come for the last Septim to reveal herself, and unite the Empire that is rightfully hers, with an unseen ally, the last Dragonborn.


    BIRTHRIGHT

    "So long as you and your heirs wear the Amulet of Kings, than shall this Dragonfire burn -an eternal flame- as a symbol to all men and gods of our faithfulness..."
    - Trials of St. Alessia

    Children of the Gods
    -1-

    Screams polluted the air, men, women, children, innocent people fleeing, innocent people dying because a select few thought themselves better than the rest. The crimes of the Mythic Dawn were many, but this, this was their worst offense. The Imperial City was burning, and somehow, Adria felt she was to blame.

    What if she had escaped Paradise earlier? Could she have warned them? No. There was no way she could have known that the Gates would open within the city. Daedra swarmed the districts, paying no mind to whom they slaughtered. The guards battled in lonely groups of two or three, caught by surprise by the sudden appearance of the monsters. They never had a chance to mount a defense. In her heart she knew it to be the truth… the Imperial City was lost.

    All was lost.

    She felt a gentle hand on her shoulder. She looked up to see Martin looking at her with concern. "By Talos," Adria croaked, holding back tears. They had been separated from the Blades in the madness of the battle, taking refuge in a dark alley. All she had done, closing the Gates, purging the Great Gate of its Sigil Stone, invading Mankar's Paradise and retrieving lost Amulet of Kings, all of it was for nothing if the Imperial City was lost.

    And what if Mehrunes Dagon managed to break through and reach the mortal world?

    Martin frowned, his brows furrowed in concern, years of sadness etched on his face. Motioning for her to stay he glanced into the street, making sure they had not been discovered. He made his way back to Adria, placing both hands on her shoulders, and looking into her eyes. A fire burned in his eyes, one Adria had not seen in him since the Battle of Bruma, when they had tricked the daedra into opening a Great Gate. "We can do this," he said, holding her steady. "We must light the Dragonfires. It's the only way."

    Adria straightened, resting her hand on his cheek. "I know."

    Martin smiled with that foolish optimism that had led them through the trials of finding the Amulet of Kings. "Come then, Hero of Kvatch, we have a world to save."

    Adria nodded and drew her bow, knocking an arrow as Martin drew his silver sword, a spell prepped in his off hand. It was a mad dash to the Temple District. Adria's heart ached each time she saw an Imperial Soldier fall, but they could not help. They avoided as much confrontation as they could, weaving through the path of least resistance to get to the Temple of the One, to finally light the Dragonfires.

    Just as they reached the gates to the Temple District a group of Churls burst from it.

    She held her breath as she drew the bow back, the arrow a whisper as it flew forward, and downing a churl as it pierced his neck. Martin stood straight as he raised his left hand before him, electricity cackling and striking forth with near perfect precision. Sometimes she forgot how powerful of a mage Martin truly was. She drew another shot, missing the heart in her haste as the daedra charged her. She ducked beneath its sword, and knocked it away with her bow hand, while it was distracted she took an arrow in her hand and stabbed it in the eye, driving the head deep into its skull. She looked up just in time to see Martin flay a Churl up the middle before blasting it away. The creature landed with a sickening thud several feet away. Martin wiped the blood from his cheek before turning to her, offering his hand. She took it, and together they pushed the gate open.

    Only to have Adria's heart sink even further. The Temple still stood, but the entire eastern half of the district was in ruins. And it was no question why.

    Standing there was the very avatar of Mehrunes Dagon himself.

    The daedric prince stood hundreds of feet tall; she could barely bend her neck high enough to see his head. His skin was red as blood, two pairs of arms swung at the warriors at Dagon's feet, while he simply crushed any underfoot who dared venture too close. It was a massacre.

    Adria caught the look on Martin's face before he had a chance to recollect himself. Fear. He shook his head, placing a gentle hand on her back.

    "Come on!" he shouted, pushing her forward, "into the temple!"

    They ran. Everything moved at a snail's pace. She shot arrow after arrow, scamps, dremora, anything and everything in their path they cut down together. At last they made it to the doors of the temple. The doors closed behind them, the sound echoing in the empty room. They caught their breath. "Mehrunes Dagon," she said between breaths, "he's here, he's actually bloody here!"

    Martin said nothing, shaking his head.

    "What do we do?"

    "Nothing," he said finally.

    Adria's eyes went wide. "What, what are you saying?"

    He took her face in his hands. "I'm sorry, Adria."

    Tears came, though she had no idea why. "Martin, what?"

    He shook his head. "I know now what I must do." He leaned his forehead against hers. "Thank you," he said his voice no more than a whisper, "for everything." He wiped away a tear from her cheek. "I had lost hope, and you gave me it again. Everything I am, I owe that to you. I know now what it means to be Emperor, what the sacrifice is, and why only I can light the Dragonfires." She stared at him, her eyes wide. "I love you."

    "Martin, I-"

    "Say it," he interrupted.

    "What're you-"

    "Please," he choked.

    She laid a hand on his cheek. "I love you."

    Then he kissed her, pouring all his love into the one action, and before she could react he was gone, sprinting toward the altar, the Amulet of Kings in Hand. The world shook as the roof finally gave way, knocking Adria to the ground with its force.

    The face of Destruction was staring down upon them.

    He stood at the Altar, gazing at her once with forlorn eyes before he smashed the gem against the altar. As soon as the gem broke Martin was bathed in a golden light. More of the roof came crashing to the ground.

    And then all Adria knew was darkness…

    -ooo-

    She felt the heat of fires consuming her, but she felt no pain. Instead she felt a rush, the daedra that had been at her heels moments ago were gone in an instant. She gripped the Sigil stone close, holding on for dear life. She had no idea what was happening. She didn't know what would happen if she dropped the stone, or if she moved too much. Soon she felt a release of air, a cool breeze on her face for a moment before she fell to her knees on solid ground. Her bow clattered on the ground in front of her as she knelt on her hands and knees.

    She heard Ilend cough beside her. She extended a hand and patted him on the shoulder. "Are you all right?" she asked.

    He nodded as he coughed into his hand. "You save my life. I will be forever grateful."

    Adria laughed lightly. "We aren't out of this yet," she said, stumbling to her feet and offering her hand to the Kvatch guard. "We still have to take back your city."

    He took her hand without a word. He was a coward. Adria knew this, but still, she couldn't leave him to die in Oblivion alone. She would not have that on her consciousness.

    It was as she turned that she heard the strangest sound. Here they were, standing in the burning ruins of a besieged Kvatch.

    And the city guard was cheering for her.

    The guard captain, Salvian Matius was the first to reach her. "Imperial," he said, taking her arm, "who are you?"

    She took his arm in turn. "Adria, and I'm just here to help."

    "I'm glad you're here then!" he said with a dry smile. "You've done it, you've closed the gate!" He stepped from her and turned to the remainder of his men. "This young Imperial woman," he pointed to Adria, "has given us the chance we had thought we could only dream of! She closed the gate! This is our chance" He paused, taking in the crowd. "We held the line! But no more! Now it's time to take back our home from these monsters! We will show them our hearts! I know we all have suffered, but this is our only chance.

    "Men!" he called, drawing his blade. "Let's go home!" He turned, and started forward, nodding once to Adria, who already had her bow in hand.

    "FOR KVATCH!"

    -ooo-

    Cool air greeted her, brisk and clean, instead of the fires of Oblivion and the smell of carrion and smoke. Adria's body was sore, still whole, but her heart felt like it was broken into pieces. She blinked her eyes open, taking a few seconds to focus. She was lying in a bed made with green blankets. The room was richly furnished, the walls made of fine wood and stone.

    Adria propped herself on her elbows, only to have a hand hold her back. She looked up to see, not Martin, as she had hoped, but Jauffre. He was still wearing his Blades armor, all illusion to him being a simple brother now pointless. The Breton had a look of relief on his face. "You're awake," he said with a relieved sigh.

    The room was slowly spinning. Adria shook her head to clear her vision.

    "What happened?"

    She started to sit up to have him push her back gently. "Slowly," he advised. "You've only just woken up."

    "Where are we?"

    "The Arcane University," Jauffre said quickly. He took a fine wooden chair and sat beside her bed.

    "What happened? The city, the Gates?" She paused. "Martin?"

    Jauffre looked at her sadly. "The Imperial City still stands. Thanks to Martin and the Amulet of Kings the daedra were pushed back into the planes of Oblivion, and never again will the Doors to Oblivion open again. "

    "Martin smashed the Amulet…"

    "Releasing the power sealed within. He took the form of Akatosh, and defeated Mehrunes Dagon." There was something more, Adria knew. There was something behind his eyes, he wasn't telling her everything.

    "He didn't make it, did he?"

    "Martin is gone," he said sadly, but obviously relieved that he was simply confirming what she had already guessed. "The raw power of Akatosh was too much for a mortal to bear."

    Adria held her head in her hands. "He knew," she cried softly. "He knew what would happen. " A dozen memories hit her at once. He knew before the end, that was sure… but had he known all along? "I loved him."

    "He sacrificed himself to save us, save everything we know," Jauffre said simply. He patted her on the back with fatherly concern. "Martin was possibly the greatest Emperor since Tiber Septim himself. "

    Adria sniffed, composing herself. "What now? Martin was the last Septim, the Empire…"

    "The Empire has its leaders," Jauffre explained. "The High Council will crown a new Emperor in time, now that the Dragonfires are no longer needed. Ocato will continue to lead the Council, for now, until an Emperor is chosen. And then there is the matter of you, Adria."

    Adria looked at him curiously. "What do you mean 'me'?"

    "It has been a week since the Martin's death. You've been unconscious since." He took a breath. "We were worried you were damaged beyond repair, the roof of the Temple of the one collapsed on top of you. Adria, you were found in the wreckage, miraculously alive, and nearly untouched save for cuts, bruises and your unconscious state. We were worried you had injuries we could not see."

    "Martin…"

    "I do not know if Martin was involved in your survival," the old Breton admitted. "It may be possible, though that is not what I was speaking of." He looked at her, like he was debating on continuing.

    He shook his head. "You must understand the critical situation the Empire is in at the moment," he started. "The Empire has no Emperor. It was a quiet and little known fact that Martin was crowned Emperor, only becoming common knowledge after his passing. Barely a handful knew who he was before that. He was not married, and had no legitimate children to claim his place on the seat of the Empire."

    Adria raised a brow. "Brother Jauffre, where are you going with this?"

    "You are with child."
    -ooo-

    Adria looked over the walls of Cloud Ruler Temple. It was a fitting name for the fortress. From here it looked like she was looking down on Cyrodiil from the very sky itself. It was like she was the ruler of the entire world, looking down upon her kingdom. She wished she could just stay here and enjoy this vision forever. But tomorrow they would march to battle, to lure the daedra into creating a Great Gate in order to get the Great Sigil Stone.

    She would be running straight into Oblivion for what seemed like the hundredth time.

    She had done it, uniting the peoples of Cyrodiil, closing the Gates and bringing support to Bruma. She just hoped that it would be enough.

    "What are you thinking?" said a warm voice behind her. Adria looked over her shoulder to see Martin behind her.

    "You know those transport seals the Mage's Guild uses?"

    He leaned on the wall beside her. "Yes?"

    She looked down. "This place needs one of those," she said with a mock sigh. "This place is quite a task to keep coming back to."

    He chuckled. "What makes you keep coming back?"

    "You," she said simply, looking in his eyes. When she saw him grin, she breathed in and sighed, looking out over the world once more. "And the fact that if I don't daedra will destroy us all."

    He laughed so loudly that Cyrus jumped a little on the watch tower across from them. Adria felt rather than saw the Blade's critical sneer, pointing it out to Martin, but it only made him laugh louder. The Blade shook his head and continued his patrol, much to their continued laughter.

    After a few minutes they controlled themselves. They leaned on the wall, looking out over Bruma, gazing at the speck of the White Gold Tower far in the distance. Adria felt Martin's arm beside hers. She moved closer, and he did not shy away. "We are going to win, you know," she said to him softly.

    He looked down at her, soft smile lighting up his face. "How do you know?"

    "Because," she said, leaning in, "I'm never going to leave your side, Martin."

    With slight hesitation he took her hand, holding it tight. "You've saved me in more ways than you know, Adria," he confessed, moving in yet a little closer. He lifted her hand to kiss it, but Adria was a move ahead of him. She pulled his chest her hers, and kissed him, releasing the passion she'd felt for months. He returned the kiss, wrapping one arm around her and the other on her cheek.

    -ooo-

    The armor was heavy. Adria was grateful that the Imperial Dragon armor was merely ceremonial. She'd dread the day she would have to trade her leathers and chain for this. It was clunky and she clanked like a kitchen with each step. Two weeks after her recovery the High Council began arrangements for her title ceremony. In the wake of the disaster Ocato was desperate for any chance to raise the moral of the citizens of the Imperial City. And he felt that giving the Hero of Kvatch, who had fought at their savior's side since the beginning, the highest honor possible besides Empress would be the best way to do it.

    It had been two weeks since she had learned that she was with Martin's child. The last Septim was inside her, the last of the line of the great Tiber was in her womb. The complications were disastrous. Had Martin survived it would have been something to celebrate. She was happy to have such a gift to remember him, to be a mother to his child. But this wouldn't be any child. It would be the last of the royal line. If any attempt at the throne was made, she would be cast aside, a harlot. They would say she never cared for Martin, and even if the child were his, it was an illegitimate claim. Now that she was to become Champion, the waters only grew more treacherous. Only the Blades knew, and a very confused healer. The Blades had been known of their love for each other. They had thought it a sign for hope, but even now Jauffre said that their allowance of such activities had been a mistake.

    For now, she would act the part. Until her pregnancy began to show, then she would be thrust into Cloud Ruler Temple under high guard, until the child would be born. "You are an adventurer," Jauffre had explained. "They will believe you to be on a quest."

    It was a decent cover. The future of the child was a matter for debate, if the child survived. Jauffre wished to have the child adopted into a common family. Immediately, Adria threw the option away. She had seen what the discovery of his parentage had done to Martin, the danger it had caused. No, she would not do that to her child, to his child. No, she would raise it, with the Blades.

    The Blades were nothing but the remnants of a time now gone to the wind. Jauffre had said they would wait for the next Dragonborn. It was a fool's wait. There hadn't been a Dragonborn since Tiber Septim. Even Tiber Septims children, though often called Dragonborn, were not truly, especially if you asked a Nord. This would give them purpose again, to protect the last of the Septims, their last highly guarded secret.

    Jauffre was somewhat disgusted by the idea of letting a man not of the Septim line take control of the Empire. But perhaps it was best, for now. There would be a time, Adria knew, and that the Septims would be needed again. By keeping them a secret they would be protecting them from the assassins that would surely come. When the line was strong again, maybe the Dragonborn Emperors would return, raised by their loyal Blades, and trained to rule with justice and mercy.

    Evidence of the siege were everywhere throughout the city. Stone walls were blackened, walls crushed, buildings destroyed, and even the occasional remains could be found. But still the people came to see their new Champion.

    They lined outside the steps of the Temple of the One, hundreds of citizens paying their respects. Legionnaires lined on each side, their armor polished and glinting in the sun. As soon as Adria saw the dragon avatar that Martin had called, looming high above the Temple of the One, the breath hitched in her throat. The Blades had already told her Ocato's plan to keep the avatar and rebuild the temple around it, a memorial to their last Septim. She knew immediately that she did not want to live under its gaze. Martin’s last act or not, it would only remind her that he was gone.

    She walked slowly down the path, stepping in harmony with the cheers of the crowd. It was a show, after all. The battered doors swung wide to admit her. And soon she found herself at the feet of the dragon.

    She knew nothing after that. She fell rather then moved to her knees, pain shooting up her legs at the contact with the stone. She stared at it with blank eyes. Why?! Why had he done this? They would have figured out a way, there had to have been something they could have done, together! She had no more tears. Her heart was broken, but now, so was her soul. She would carry on, but a part of her… a part of her died that afternoon as Ocato addressed the crowd, naming her the seventh Champion of Cyrodiil.

    A roar broke through her ears, breaking her from her trance, "Long live the Champion!"

    THE ELDER SCROLLS: BIRTHRIGHT
    Last edited by PhantomX0990; 14th July 2013 at 3:32 AM.
    Gamertag: PhantomX0990

  2. #2
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    Legacy
    -1-

    “We're all just songs in the end. If we are lucky.”
    ― George R.R. Martin, A Storm of Swords

    Baurus

    4E 1

    He swore he couldn’t see his hands in front of him through the mix of falling and blowing snow. Baurus tugged his black cloak closer to his armor, though it was in vain, the wind whipped the cloak about, and it barely clung to his shoulders. The fresh snow was light and airy at least, and not damp and wet. Still, he was a Redguard, his people weren’t built for the snow and the cold; at least not like Nords were. It was times like this that he envied them. The Blade looked back, his eyes hazed as he tried to focus. A muted shadow was moving behind him. “Adria!” he shouted over the wind. He paused as the shape grew closer, becoming more defined, and soon the Imperial woman was close enough to recognize.

    She stumbled in the snow drifts. Baurus offered his arm, and she took it with a weak smile of thanks. He placed a gauntleted hand on her shoulder. “Are you doing alright?” he asked loudly.

    She touched her showing belly with a soft nod. “My feet are killing me, but otherwise we’re alright.”

    Baurus nodded back. They started walking together, his hand on her back, helping push her forward, his sword hand ever on his weapon. “You didn’t need to come.”

    She sighed, giving him that annoyed glance that he knew so well. “I told you already. I wanted to be there to hear this myself.” He shook his head. He knew she wouldn’t budge. She was just as, maybe even more, stubborn than Martin had been about these things. Just like when Martin insisted upon leading the Battle for Bruma, despite the advice of his trusted Blades, even against Adria’s own advice against it. “Besides,” she said, breaking him from his thoughts, “I was losing my mind, sitting in that damned fortress every blasted day and night. I think sore feet and a little cold are more than welcome compared to insanity don’t you think?”

    Baurus chuckled. “Fair enough.” In an instant, he stopped. He held out his arm to stop Adria as well. She gazed at him, confused for a moment before she heard it herself. Baurus drew his katana, stepping in front of Adria. His brow furrowed in concentration. Humming. Someone was humming a song, and they were coming closer. The snow and the wind made it hard to pin point the direction, but Baurus was ready for anything. From the corner of his eye he saw Adria draw her short silver sword.

    The humming stopped, but the sound of muffled footsteps still drew closer, until a shadow appeared just at the edge of the Blade’s vision. Baurus pointed at the shadow with his sword. “In the name of the emperor,” he called out, his voice threatening, “declare yourself!” The shadow stepped closer, coming fully into sight. It was a middle aged Nord. He wore intricate blue and grey robes and a faint grin on his face. Baurus scowled. “Don’t come any closer,” he warned, aiming the blade tip at the man’s throat.

    The man opened his arms. “Sorry to worry you, sir Blade. I am Brother Holger, caretaker to my fellow brothers.” The Redguard’s blade didn’t move an inch. “I watched as you descended the mountain, and I wish to escort you to the Temple of the Ancestor Moth.”

    “Thank you, Brother,” Adria said behind him as she put away her weapon. He felt her step forward, but again he threw his arm out to block her.

    “Say the code,” Baurus ordered, his eyes never leaving the Moth Priest. “The jaws of Oblivion have been closed.”

    Holger sighed. “Dawn’s new day has been ended.”

    Only then did Baurus lower his blade. He nodded, sheathing his weapon. Brother Holger bowed and turned on his heels without another word. Baurus and Adria looked at each other, the Champion giving a small shrug and following, the Blade following shortly behind her. Baurus was silent as they followed the monk, but Adria was never one for silence. “I thought the Moth Priests were blind?”

    The man didn’t turn around. “It is a… result of reading the Elder Scrolls, yes. Over time the Scrolls take their toll on the reader’s eyesight. When this happens, the reader retires, and comes here, to one of the Temples.”

    “Then who is reading this prophecy we have come to hear?”

    “You misunderstand,” Brother Holger says with a sigh, “they are not truly blind, not at first. Before true blindness settles in, they can only read the Scrolls, see the hidden truths, nothing more. They call themselves blind long before that, wearing blindfolds to secure their vision, saving themselves only to read the Scrolls for as long as possible.” He pauses. “Brother Hjar will read this prophecy, and it will be his last, for his visions fade.”

    They were silent for a time, following the monk down a rough path in the snow, until they reached a small group of buildings. A Temple of the Nine stood tall in the center, around it numerous buildings of all different sizes; even an entrance to a crypt.

    The snow wasn’t as thick here in the small valley, in fact, it seemed like spring. The sky was brilliant with stars. The moons were huge, red and pale in the midnight sky. Brother Holger smiled. “I will take you now to Brother Hjar in the Temple.”

    Baurus shook the show off his cloak, lowering the hood and taking in the room, seeing Adria do the same. The temple was simple. It had a rustic feel. Normally, Baurus was used to temples, they were a part of everyday Blade life, but here he felt like he was intruding somehow. Pews lined on either side of the main isle, and all around the room candles and torches flickered, making the shadows of statues dance along the walls. Purple banners hung along the walls, and the air was thick with the smell of incense. Here and there a brother sat in the pews, chanting an ancient song that Baurus didn’t recognize.

    In front of the altar of the Nine an old priest knelt, his eyes covered by a red blindfold. He seemed to be leading the chant, his back to the altar. Brother Holger motioned for them to stay there before he made his way down the center aisle. He knelt beside the priest at the altar and whispered in his ear. The old priest nodded. Brother Holger made his way back to Baurus and Adria. “Brother Hjar is ready to read the Scroll for you.”

    Baurus looked at Adria, who nodded. Baurus went first down the aisle, his hand wavering over his blade out of habit. When they reached the monk he did not stand, but instead motioned in front of him. Baurus and Adria shared another glance before she knelt in front of the old Nord priest. They were silent for a time. Finally the priest broke the silence, “Such fire I see in you.” He nodded as if confirming something to himself. “The fire of one who has faced the realm of Oblivion and returned to tell the tale.”

    Adria moved to introduce herself, but the Moth Priest raised a hand to stop her. “I know who you are, Hero of Kvatch. After all, wasn’t it our order that requested to speak with you?” The old man paused. “And you, Blade, the loyal friend and guard, standing to defend what is left of your reason for existence; or at least the shadow of it.”

    “How did you know all this?” Adria asked, her voice barely more than a whisper.

    Hjar smiled. “You told me, your very essence speaks more than words or sight ever could. You are here because those of our order who still reside in the White Gold Tower have seen what is to be, and have decided to share it with those who would bear witness to it. The future contained,” the monk explained, “in the lives of your descendants, the last of the line of Tiber Septim.”

    Adria’s eyes went wide. “How-“

    The priest interrupted, “Why else would you travel here, instead of the Imperial City? You do not wish the world to know. A wise choice, given the political state of the Empire. But you did not come to hear an old man rant.” At that the monk reached into his robes, revealing what Baurus instantly knew to be an Elder Scroll. It was larger than he had expected it to be. It was inlaid with gold and jewels, and was at least the length of his forearm. With reverence, Brother Holger removed Brother Hjar’s blindfold. The older monk kept his eyes firmly closed as the blindfold fell away.

    Adria stared at the Moth Priest kneeling before her. Baurus was watching Holger who had stepped the altar and pulled on a white rope that lead to the ceiling. Within minutes of pulling the rope Baurus began to see them. Hundreds of them. Black moths came from the ceiling. Ancestor Moths, he realized, literally, they’re moths. They seemed drawn to Hjar, and the old Moth Priest welcomed them.

    The Moth Priest nodded. “Now, we begin,” he said. Then he opened the Elder Scroll, his eyes opening, revealing clouded blue eyes. The priest paused a moment before beginning, “I see before me a line spanning generations, the line of Akatosh blessed, the line of Talos, Tiber Septim; represented by a golden thread. I see words written, no, carved in the bones of dragons, ‘Birthright'. A bright blue thread crosses that of the gold, a separate prophecy, coinciding with the fate of this one. I will try to see that prophecy.” The priest paused, a slight scowl etched on his face, and was that worry? “All I see is a dragon, black, with red eyes. The vision changes. The threads intertwine. Their goals become one, and a deep voice whispers these words; “That which was willingly lost will be returned. The past, long forgotten will be remembered. The End’s bane will join the Bane of Mer. The crownless will once again be made king.” The old man paused again, and he closed the Scroll. “And that is where I see no more.”

    Delphine
    4E 191

    Delphine threw another log onto the fire, the meager flames picked at the fuel eagerly. She stood straight, her muscles complaining after the long day's ride. She watched the flames for a few seconds, watching the tongues of fire twist and bend, the smokeless fire was weak, but served its purpose, if somewhat halfheartedly. It had been two days since Esbern left; he said it was, "Too dangerous to keep all our eggs in the same basket." Delphine agreed, though she did not like it. They were stronger together than apart. The Thalmor would not give up in their hunt for the Blades, the last of the sacred order that once were the most dangerous organization in all of Tamriel. Even though they were remnants of what they once were, the legendary were now nothing but legends themselves.

    "Auntie Delly," said a small voice, breaking her from her thoughts. She looked across the fire; Emilia's small form was sitting cross legged, her arms wrapped close around her. The little girl spoke again, "Where's my papa?"

    Off being a fool. Marcus insisted on hunting, saying he was feeling 'cooped up'. How, she wondered, could he feel cooped up when they never stayed at the same place twice? "He will be back soon," she said shortly.

    The little girl held her legs closer to her chest. "Why can't we have a bigger fire?"

    "Because we might be seen."

    "By the tall people with pointy ears?"

    Delphine looked at the girl sadly. She was so innocent, too innocent to know the true nature of the Thalmor. "Yes, the bad elves."

    "'Elves'," she repeated, taking in the word.

    Delphine kept a hand on her blade, scanning the trees for any sign of danger. Marcus should have been back by now. Silence hung, save for a few birds chirping nearby. The girl piped up again, "I'm cold."

    Delphine gazed at her. Maybe this was the power of her heritage, guilting people with sad eyes. Without a word, the last Grandmaster of the Blades took her own cloak and draped it over the girl. The girl was absolutely swimming in it. "Better?"

    Delphine couldn’t help but smile as the pile of wool nodded.

    Delphine's hand went straight to her weapon when she heard footsteps approaching. She turned, to find Marcus strolling into the campsite, his line full of salmon, and his black hair and leathers drenched. Her childhood friend smiled. "I'm back," he said with a silly grin. Within seconds the fish was in Delphine's hands and Emilia was in Marcus'. He situated her so she sat on his hip. He nodded towards the salmon in Delphine's hand. "How about some fish?"

    Delphine cooked the fish, watching Marcus play with Emilia with a wary eye. Marcus was teaching her swordplay, each of them wielding a carved stick, while he showed her the steps passed down by his Blade teachers. Marcus touched her with the stick for what seemed like the tenth time. His daughter threw down her stick and fell to the ground, pouting. "I'll never be good at this," she cried.

    Marcus smiled softly. He threw his stick into the woods before kneeling down and putting a gentle hand on her shoulder. "We will find you something else," he said cheerfully.

    "Like what?"

    "What about archery?"

    "Archery?" she repeated, chewing on the foreign word.

    "Bow and arrow?"

    Her eyes lit up. "Oh yes, papa, please!"

    He smiled warmly. "Next town we stop at we will get you your own bow, how's that?"

    "Thank you," she repeated over and over, running circles around him.

    Marcus stood and laid a soft hand on her head, halting her celebrations. "Now, why don't you go wait in the tent for dinner?"

    "Yes, Papa," she said, still brimming with excitement. He knelt down and hugged her. She gave him a kiss on the cheek before skipping to the tent they shared.

    Marcus watched her go with pride. "She's growing up," he said sadly.

    Delphine glanced away from the fish. “Children tend to do that.”

    Marcus gave her a look, but merely laughed lightly as he gazed back at the tent. “I almost forget that sometimes. Someday I’ll be fighting off suitors and assassins.”

    Delphine smiled. “Well, if you deal with suitors the same way you deal with assassins...” Marus laughed. "Archery?"

    Marcus planted himself beside the small fire. "It makes sense," he said with a sigh. "Every other child of Adria has been male and been trained in swordsmanship."

    "What does that have to-?"

    Marcus interrupted, "Emma is the first Septim female in nearly two centuries, and, just like our many greats grandmother, she'll be a master of the bow. I'm sure of it."

    Soon dinner was finished and their bellies full. Delphine was on watch, patrolling the campsite and eyeing the tree line. Marcus sat beside the fire, Emilia in his lap as he told her stories. "Maybe it's time for a new story, "Marcus declared, ”the story Hero of Kvatch perhaps?"

    Her eyes went wide. Marcus grinned.

    Delphine looked at him. "She's only seven, Marcus do you really -"

    "I think she's ready to know," he interrupted. At that he reached into the pack at his waist, revealing an orb the size of his fist. It was black, orange, red, and gold, the colors swirling beneath its glass-like surface. "My father gave this to me," Marcus explained. "Can you guess what it is?"

    She stared at it with wide eyes. "Can I hold it?"

    Marcus shook his head. "It's not a nice thing Emma. This is a Sigil Stone," Marcus said with pride. “This is the proof that the story I’m about to tell you is real, more real than anything.” His daughter looked at him curiously. “I say that, because it’s our own family history.”
    Gamertag: PhantomX0990

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