I decided to split this act into two parts because it was getting a little long and I think it will improve the overall effect. Part 2 will probably be out a week or two after this one (I still have a little bit more to shoot). I hope this entry doesn't seem too short as a result ?
High Hrothgar, home of the reclusive and mysterious Greybeards, is a silent, solemn place. Kept in a serene and tranquil ambiance, its inhabitants often assimilate to the aura. The only sound inside is the gentle rush of wind snaking through the winding stone corridors; flowing in and out in gentle breaths, the temple appears sentient.
It is this atmosphere that allows the elderly masters living within to remain focused and acute. Today, however, that atmosphere is interrupted.
Voice: Oh yes!
Voice: Mmmm, yeah...
Voice: Oh! Oh! Oh!
Voice: Gods, yes!
Voice: It's-nnnhgh been... too long
Gerruck: Heh... So impatient
Elyvaea: Oooh... just do me, Gerruck!
Gerruck: Say the other thing, come on.
Elyvaea: J-just do me, Dragonborn.
Gerruck: Haha! Oooh yeah!
Gerruck: That is me! I am the Dragonborn!
Gerruck: The almighty Drago-
Voice: I understand your... hunger... for one another...
Arngeir: But such a display is rather... disconcerting.
Gerruck pulls out in a rush, earning an irked scoff from Elyvaea.
Gerruck: S-sorry, Master Arngeir... I just, uh-
Arngeir holds up his palm and diverts his eyes.
Arngeir: No details. Please.
Arngeir notions behind him.
Arngeir: Please redress and meet me in the sanctum.
Without another word, Arngeir turns and marches from the room.
Gerruck: Well that didn't quite go as planned...
Gerruck awkwardly rubs the back of his neck. The last three days have been packed full of what Master Arngeir calls "preparation and training". Gerruck describes it as endless meditation. It involves a lot of sitting and even more praying. Gerruck is as devout as any Nord, especially when it comes to Talos, and has always considered himself to be quite religious. Now he isn't sure what to consider himself.
Eight hours of every day are specifically devoted to the Aedra; Akatosh, Arkay, Dibella, Julianos, Mara, Stendarr, Zenithar, and Talos (much to Gerruck's relief), with one hour of prayer for each. Then, after midday's meal, he begins a 3 hour prayer to the divine Arngeir preaches about most heavily: Kynareth. Following that, a series of meditation sessions at various points in the temple dubbed by Arngeir to have "high levels of energy".
It has been a monotonous cycle, and he'd be a liar if he said it didn't agitate him at times, but it is his job to obey the greybeards, not question them.
Gerruck: Sorry, my love. I'm sure this will be over soon enough.
Elyvaea, already back on her feet, trots over to her clothes, sitting neatly folded atop the table.
While Gerruck has had an incredibly busy three days, Elyvaea has had incredibly dull ones. She started by exploring the temple early on, expecting to find herself lost in grand, stone hallways. Instead the entire tour took her less than an hour. From then on, she spent most of the time, sleeping, reading, and gazing out over the temple's glorious view.
Elyvaea: It's fine. Do what you must.
Gerruck: I have a destiny to fulfill, and if that means I have to do these practices then so be it.
Elyvaea bites her lip. That is the one thing that has been agitating her the most. She picks up her clothes, soft, silken robes given to her by Arngeir as a gesture of hospitality, and slips them over her head.
Elyvaea: That's the thing though, Gerruck. What is this "destiny" we keep hearing so much about?
Gerruck tips his head and gives her a confused smile.
Gerruck: Why, to be the Dragonborn, of course. What else?
Gerruck: That's what the greybeard's do. They train the chosen one to be the Dragonborn.
Elyvaea sighs. That just isn't good enough.
Elyvaea: Okay? So then what? You finish training and then poof, your destiny is achieved?
She plops back atop the table and shoves on her boots.
Elyvaea: Doesn't any of this seem odd to you? No one has told you anything about what you're meant to achieve.
Gerruck redresses himself, donning the greybeard's matching robes.
Gerruck: I mean... maybe. But they'll tell me when the time comes, I'm sure of it.
Gerruck: And remember? He did tell us a a part of it. I'm to be the "Chamion of the Nine".
Elyvaea shakes her head. That answer isn't good enough for her.
Elyvaea: But why do the divines need a champion? Gerruck. They're not telling us something.
Gerruck furrows his brows.
Gerruck: I mean, maybe so.
Gerruck: But I'm sure they have their reasons. I have to go now anyway though, I don't want to keep Arngeir waiting.
Elyvaea shakes her head.
Elyvaea: Yeah, I get it.
Gerruck smiles. Bending over, he gives her a peck on the cheek before leaving the room.
She watches him trod away, seemingly unaffected by the discussion. She didn't expect to completely sway him into skepticism, but was hoping he'd at least try to do some digging. Either way, it doesn't change anything; because if Gerruck won't do it...
Gerruck exits the room, befuddled. The questions raised by Elyvaea never occurred to him until now. He always put his faith in the greybeards, trusting they would inform him as necessary.
As he walks his boots thud against the floor. Loud cluds echo into every corner.
But when really is "necessary"? Arngeir has yet to even explain the reasoning behind all the ridiculous practices he's made Gerruck do. Yet then again, it has only been three days.
Gerruck groans. He runs his fingers over his head, burrowing them into his hair and shaking his head. This is too frustrating.
He rounds the final corner to the center sanctum and quickly readjusts himself for Arngeir's presence.
Gerruck: Sorry for the inconvenience, Master Arngeir.
Arngeir gives out a light huff.
Arngeir: Your devotion towards your love is honorable, but misplaced.
Arngeir: That focus should be given to the divines for now on, Dragonborn.
Gerruck stutters, not sure how to reply. Surely he can't be serious?
Gerruck: I agree that I should focus on the divines, but I cannot just give away my time to her.
Arngeir: The role of Aedric Champion requires full devotion to fill. But we will discuss this later. Come, we have more training.
Gerruck has to clench his jaw to keep from talking back. He takes his place by Arngeir's side however, not about to let this go so easily.
Gerruck: This role I have to fulfill... It cannot be easy, correct?
Arngeir: Of course not.
Gerruck: Then it would make sense that I take needed time to relax, specifically with a loved one, from time to time?
Gerruck: Ease tress, keep my mind focused, and all that?
Arngeir: This is all to prepare you for what lies ahead. You will understand in time.
Now it is Gerruck's turn to groan.
Arngeir: Now please, we must focus training.
Gerruck: Fine. What is there to do this time?
Arngeir: Time is running out. I have decided to hasten your training and we will therefore be doing something different today.
Gerruck's curiosity piques.
Gerruck: Really? What is it?
Arngeir walks up top the great, solid bronze doors with a smile.
Arngeir: Come and see.
Gerruck shields his face from the sun as he follows Arngeir into the courtyard. His eyes quickly readjust and see Arngeir already ahead of him.
Gerruck: Is it combat training? Strength training?
Gerruck: Ooh! Are you going to use the voice on me? Some sort of magical defense practice?
Gerruck: You'll have to go a little easy at first, I'm not s-
Arngeir: Just sit next to me here, please.
Gerruck: Right. Sorry.
He rushes over and takes a knee on the icy, rock patio.
Gerruck: So? What will it be?
Arngeir: Well... None of those...
Arngeir: To hasten your training I thought it best to join you in meditation today.
Gerruck: ...Are you serious?
Arngeir scrunches his face, raising an eyebrow.
Arngeir: Um, why wouldn't I be? Now take a seat.
He then turns away and bows his head, slipping into a trance Gerruck knows he won't come out of for another few hours. Sucking in a breath, Gerruck plops down beside him and sighs.
Gerruck: Why did I get my hopes up?
Arngeir: Meditation requires silence, Gerruck.
Gerruck: Yes, Master Arngeir.
A gentle tide nudges crushed ice into the dock pillars outside the Riften fishery. The wood beams creak as the frozen pellets, floating like lily pads, crackle against the side.
Valindor stands over the edge, peering at the water below as he strings line through his fishing pole. It is early morning, the sun has just begun to rise, yet hides behind dense clouds overhead. He prefers to see the sky above, a beautiful, majestic blue to compliment the water below, but this would have to do.
The morning is always the best time to fish. The dawn has yet to bring out the noise of the market and most citizens are just beginning to stir from sleep. It is quiet, peaceful.
Voice: Mornin', Valindor.
Riften Guard: Another early fish, eh?
Riften Guard: Any luck yet?
Valindor smiles; very few people are up and eager to socialize so early in the day.
Valindor: I just started. We'll have to wait and see.
Riften Guard: Mind if I join you? It's always exciting to see you reel in a biggin'.
Valindor: Of course not. I don't see why you bother asking me all the time.
Riften Guard: Eh, a little courtesy goes a long way.
Valindor: Aye, can't argue with that.
Valindor: I didn't see you yesterday. Anything interesting happen?
Riften Guard: Same old same old. I just got stationed at a different post.
Valindor: Being a guard sure sounds like a drag. I don't know how you do it.
Riften Guard: You get used to it. It used to be w-GAH!
Valindor: What? Are you o-
Valindor nearly drops the pole from the shock. He watches his friend drop to the wooden floor in what seems like slow motion. When his face cracks into the beams, exposing the long shaft of an arrow in his back, Valindor can no longer hold on. As the guard's body ceases to move, Valindor's pole clatters to the ground.
His tongue twists into knots. A million words race through his mind but he can;t find the means to speak a single one. A crimson liquid trickles from the corpse and drips between the wood boards. The sound of the world fades, drowned out by the soft splash of the droplets as they smack into the water below.
Valindor drops to his knees, staring speechlessly at his friend.
Entranced by fear, he doesn't hear the soft pats of metal boots behind him.
A thunderous stomping instead roars in his ears.
Valindor looks up and gasps.
The tallest man he has ever seen charges across the dock towards him. The behemoth reaches over its back as it does, grasping the hilt of a sword more gargantuan than anything Valindor thought possible.
Completely taken aback, his body is paralyzed. His mind goes blank. He peers down into the mask charging at him, absorbed into the eyes, black as pitch. He sees nothing different as his torso burns with unimaginable pain and his head rolls up to the sky. Black.
Voice: Excellent work.
Voice: That secures the rest of the perimeter.
Voice: The fools inside still have no idea.
Voice: Gather your spawns...
Voice: ...even the lowest of Bal's servants can decimate this town of degenerates under my command.
Voice: Failure to do so...
Ellia: ...will result in your death.
Three days earlier...
The Sacellum of Boethiah has been reduced to a lowly grave. The stench of death reeks from the once majestic tribute to the daedric lord, profuse by remaining corpses both new and old. Whatever magic that once kept it warded from unwanted visitors is gone being quickly taken advantage of by the most rueful enemies of Boethiah.
Argus: Hmmm, it still works.
Argus: This is an enchanted pillar rather than a vessel for Boethaih's power.
Argus: It is information, Erinye. We need all we can get.
Argus maintains complacency as he speaks to his associate. Her quick temper and fiery attitude is well known, or rather feared, throughout Coldharbour. That, mixed with her insatiable bloodlust, is perhaps the reason she was appointed as commander of Molag Bal's armies, or rather as one of them.
Erinye: No, we need to be hunting.
Erinye's voice is like that of a serpent. It is sharp and fierce, with long hisses that close out her sentences. Her mask makes it no less intimidating, amplifying it into a resounding growl.
Erinye: She has entered Nirn in another form. Every moment we waste she grows stronger.
Argus slides his hand from the pillar, feeling the magic fade from his palm.
Argus: Her power is compressed for now. Even after the dragon break will it take her time to grow to full strength.
Erinye: Always so confident, Argus.
Shaking her head, she drops from the withered stones making up Boethiah's statue.
Erinye: But we know nothing of how she did it. We're blind and wasting time. There will be no restrictions once the dragon break commences. No stopping her.
Argus: Enough. We have our orders and it's time to give some. That's why we are here.
Erinye: Do not forget that we are equals, Argus. You do not command me.
Erinye: But you are right, I will admit. If we are tasked with Boethiah we must delegate the remaining tasks elsewhere.
Argus: Speaking of which.
Erinye: Tsk. About time.
Ellia: Apologies, commanders.
Ellia: I hope I did not keep you waiting.
Argus: Your arrival is adequate, Ellia.
Erinye: You're late, little spawn.
Erinye: Quiet, Argus.
Erinye doesn't bother looking at him, instead glaring coldly at the daedra before her.
Erinye: You will carry out this mission faster.
She takes a deep breath and clenches her fists, clearly displeased with what she is about to say.
Erinye: You will command the first assault. The dragon break approaches and we need a firm grasp on Nirn before it does.
Erinye: A thorn in our side must be eliminated. Their effort to rid the world of the children has gone on long enough. End them.
Erinye finishes sharply and cocks her head to the side. Argus take it as his queue and speaks in her place.
Argus: You will start with the city of Riften. It is a small, enclosed hold. The mortals will be trapped inside.
Ellia: How should I proceed afterwards?
Argus: There is a man there, one of the vigil. Let him escape and he will surely bring them to you. Kill them in whatever way you find best.
Erinye: Understood, spawn?
Ellia: Understood, commanders.
A low, growled laugh starts to build up behind Erinye's mask. Her head lifts to the sky as it grows in volume.
Erinye: The time of the Aedra is over!
Erinye: The age of Molag Bal has come!