What a memory, the one that made me want to live, Atók the aspiring traitor to the Dragon Cult who, unless he did choose to become a lich like the others, was now long dead and I didn't get the opportunity to see the Dragon's face their own, risen by men, but I also never even got to destroy Molag Hurga with my own hands, even at that time I was simply enraged and doubt that I could have killed him.
I could feel myself grin simply because if I saw the Titan now... Not even the Waters of Oblivion could restore him from the might of the True-Veil, but also because I know that Pelinal is still alive, out there waging wars with the Wild Elves under different names.
"Lorkhan, how has your champion lived for millennia? I thought that they were still bound by mortal standards but he has taken more damage and lived longer than any man, is this due to strength you bestow upon him or from this other time you implied?" I asked the fallen Aedra as his mouth turned into a serpentine smile that seemed genuine.
"I would say that it comes from each of the Divines, he has received the power of each of us in some way, I would guess they bestowed their power upon him out of fear that he might have killed anyone who got in his way, even those that Auriel has chosen to shape his future for Nirn and that was the only way that they could have controlled him, but my influence runs strongest as while he is coated in their blessings, underneath flows my blood, I think the treasures he took from them have... broken his mind though, that would explain how he hates being called my vessel." He explained and now that I thought about it, that did seem plausible, it could even explain how he spared me with the Aedric energies within my body.
"Yes, I would have to agree with your theory, at least to an extent, but as far as I know, he is trying to lay siege to the Ayleids of Lake Rumare, in their Tower of the Ancestors, I doubt he'll hold it long if he does somehow take it but if he weakens their foothold in that land, even temporarily, perhaps the Divines will shift their support from the mer to man in the hopes of garnering more support, they do reproduce a lot more and a lot faster as a result of their shorter life spans after all..." I laughed, even with their reduced exposure to magicka and most of them living for only a few decades, they managed to overwhelm Elven armies with their sheer numbers, some of whom would prove exceptionally unique and effective in combat.
"Well his apparent mind wipes where he'll abandon his kingdoms are from whenever the Divines realise I am taking more control and can free him so they will completely erase his memories and even though he'll regain them over a course of weeks or centuries, he'll be too far into a new life to simply go back because then he'd be abandoning that kingdom to decay for one he knows is long gone." Lorkhan said, finally putting in the final piece of the puzzle, if someone could prevent these mind wipes, the race of man could truly start to form, perhaps he could even be the eternal king of humanity.
"Still, carry on, I presume that you took Atók's advice and wanted to survive, otherwise I'd be a little concerned of how good you look for a few millennia old corpse." The serpent jokingly said as I took a moment to ponder, once I reached this point I wanted company, but I couldn't return to Aldmeris, or even the Summerset Isles that were being established when I left... That was when I discovered the Wild Elves knew how to cross into the Planes of Oblivion and Merid-Nunda had her own.
As the portal closed behind me, the Ayleid sorcerer warned me not to stay too long or the Auroran's could consider me hostile to their Lady of Light, the fool wasn't aware of the strength an Aldmer had over him, some lesser Daedra wouldn't prove a problem for myself.
I drew the Shard of Aetherius from my back and proceeded forward into the Colored Rooms, my senses flurrying all over, from the joy of seeing Merid-Nunda again to the fear that she would look down on me for my actions, but if that is the. case, I shall finally be forced to condone for my sins to my... Our own people.
A few minutes into my travels, an Auroran, the impressively armored defenders of the Colored Rooms who so far left me alone, approached me and spoke.
"Why do you trespass in the realm of the Lady of Life and Energies mortal? Answer truthfully with good reason." Asked the Daedra in an almost mortal voice as his fellow guards surrounded me.
"I am Drola- I mean, I am Drol-Elain, I was quite close to her before the creation of Nirn, I wanted to speak with her again." I answered and tried to step forward, a clash of blades instantly blocked my path.
"Nobody is permitted to see Lady Meridia! Turn back now or we will be forced to strike you down!" It shouted and raised an axe, as excellently crafted as its armor and took a single step towards me.
"I guess we're not simply escorting me to her then then... I wish it were as easy as that but if you stand in my way, I won't show you mercy!" I shouted and slashed through the chestplates of the two stopping my travels then pierced the gut of the one who spoke before covering my palms in flame and incinerated its helm
A blade came flying down on my shoulder which I almost failed to block, the Shard narrowly sliding into a defensive position as I turned and drained the life from the Daedra who crumbled to the floor, it's golden, armor clashing against the ground then carried on walking, seeing the realm shift through colors and tones, iridescent and beautiful while each step I took advanced to another side of the spectrum.
I saw the Auroran's too change, blending in as they nocked arrows and fired, I barely had enough time to raise a gust of wind to slow their momentum as one scraped my shoulder plate, if I hadn't stopped it, the arrow would have pierced the armour. In retaliation I fired a bolt of lightning at the archer who swiftly prepared to fire another shot, struggling to see them in this environment where nothing stayed the same color and simply fled, releasing bursts of air to counteract arrows and to leap into the air, focusing my magicka to hold me aloft in an opening so that I could discharge waves of flame at the slightest movement, incinerating many of the knights as I felt my power weaken then after I killed all that I could see, I fell back to the ground and felt my vision go black.
I awoke later with my legs trailing on the ground, feeling my wrists bound together by a silencing spell and looked up to see an Elf with a pale golden skin, not quite Aldmer but not as lightly toned as the Chimer who seemed to be pulling me towards a city, a diamond among the gems in the realm as Auroran's wandered the walls widely with different shades of armor, many reserving their natural golden and atop a castle was an eternal light, almost blinding to witness when the Elf whispered in my ear
"Looks like you've awoke, you're definitely not the most liked mer in this realm at the moment after killing dozens of Meridia's warriors, it was... Amazing... To witness such power as you demonstrated, I'd say no other Altmer has such a capacity to unleash magicka!" He excitedly shouted, placing a hand on my wrists and examining my palms, apparently surprised that there's no marks from burns as I tried to pull the bonds apart, now noticing the Shard of Aetherius rested at his side in a thin cloth, he disarmed me and took away my magicka.
"I am no Altmer! I'm the last of the great Aldmer now release me or I'll be forced to execute you!" I shouted, trying to bluff as I felt the binds continue to summon themselves, this was a new kind of spell that I've never observed before and I seen the same effect shimmer over the Shard's cloth too, it repeatedly and constantly repaired itself so that I couldn't escape, he put a lot of thought into creating these.
"A-an Aldmer? Once I clear your name with Meridia I'll be taking you and this artifact with me, understand?" He stuttered, seemingly from shock and wonder at meeting me, I could feel the bonds tighten as he hurried at unnatural speed, as though he just casted a spell to run faster than any mortal could.
After a few minutes of his charge found ourselves winding through streets of the beautiful lights, Auroran's staring in confusion as we passed by them until we encountered a group of Mer before us.
"Halt! That is the one wanted by the Lady of Light's knights! Hand him over so that he may seek atonement at our blades or we shall strike you down too wizard!" Called one of the Ayleids who flung a wall of wind towards us, knocking my captor backwards and smacked my head on the floor, him on the other hand spraying air from his palms to help himself land on his feet.
"I'm afraid I cannot hand this Aldmer over, stand aside or I will be forced to neutralize you and your companions!" He called back to them as he dusted himself off.
"Very well, I'm sorry that it came to this, kill them both for lady Meri-" The leader called to his men but before he could finish his order, him and the others were knocked aside with tremendous force and I was already back on my feet as he dragged me off once more.
"Wh-What was that Altmer? How could you do something like that? You didn't even move!" I asked as I saw the group disappear behind me, still alive, just unconscious.
"All in good time Aldmer, first I must have you pardoned for your actions." He muttered and continued to run as I saw the growing gates of Merid-Nunda's citadel where the Auroran's guarded in their legions.
When we arrived, he weaved between the soldiers, his eyes targeted on an opening that grew until the gate stood behind us and we saw her, the glowing golden form of Meridia, as stunning as I saw her that last time before she left, sat in a throne as she watched Nirn and before the Altmer could speak I forced my leg in front of his, tripping him up and tried to run towards her.
"It's been a long time Merid-Nunda, hasn't it? A few millennia since the creation of this world I believe." I shouted, a smile growing on my face as she noticed my aging form and after a few seconds realized with a gasp.
"Drol-Elain, it has, I expected that you would have passed on by now, you're as stubborn as you always were." She laughed and walked towards us, shrinking down to the size of mortals when the Altmer came forward.
"Greetings my lady, I am a representative of the psijic order, my name is Tandélion and I understand that this Aldmer has caused your Daedra to search your realm in order to kill him as retaliation for him cutting them down, I wou-" The Altmer tried to explain but Meridia quickly raised her hand to stop him.
"Yes, I did need to kill some of your realm's guardians as they wanted to prevent me reaching here, I apologize but... You're the last of the Et' Ada I could meet with... Especially since I ordered the destruction of Aldmeris..." I explained then bowed my head in shame, her blank expression telling me she knew of Molag Hurga and sighed.
"I knew that an officer of your mortal armies struck a bargain with a child of Molag Bal, I thought that you might have been less susceptible to the corruption of mortality Drol-Elain, never mind that you would have the knowledge not to deal with a Daedra such as those of Coldharbour." She shouted, the palace drifting to a crimson hue to reflect her disappointment of my actions.
"I know, but whilst I was a general in the armies, I did more than any other officer or priest ever did, all of them simply thought of how to write up the tales of the heroic Aldmer coming in to bring education to the feral mortal races... But they never put a single foot in these countries, simply just sat in comfort while drawing up strategic maps of the areas where they would send in their legions to kill everyone on what they believed their land. Their quills had as much of a hand in the murders of all those innocents who simply just committed the crime of standing in the way of our progress as my blades and magicka." I explained, remembering the faces of those I killed, the screams of children, the crying of wives, I didn't discriminate for a single moment or show mercy to anyone.
"When I was captured by the humans, I saw their lives, their fears and most intimate moments as they simply tried to survive, keeping me in fit condition so that they could ransom me for medical ingredients, spells and simply anyone including the Snow Elves to help them... They were more unified as a single ship drifting through sea than our entire legions of Mer delivering what we believed was the will of Akatosh... We didn't deserve to have Lorkhan's curse lifted off of us, in fact, we deserved to face judgement for our crimes... Even then, I asked the Titan to simply insure no Aldmer would ever reach divinity, he interpreted that as kill us all." I continued, laying out every detail so that Merid-Nunda would realize how much mortality changed me.
I could feel the glare of the psijic, his youthful naivete told him that the Aldmer must have all disappeared from age or disease but now he knew exactly what we did and at what cost we would do it, but also that I went beyond our limits and brought the Daedra into the equation to level the scales then I felt the binds tighten around my wrists, producing a wave of magicka that attracted the Lady of Light's attention as she turned to Tandélion.
"Release Drol-Elain now mortal, if you refuse then I will have the Aurorans escort you to the distance that the spell breaks." She demanded and took a few steps towards him, preparing to summon her knights as he quickly regained his composure, or at least acted as though he did.
"I'm sorry Lady Meridia, I understand that the both of you may have met in the past but as the last of the entire race of the First Elves, he must be preserved, at this point he is as important as any other artifact of our vaults, this I can assure you that he would be cared for by the psijic ord-" Tandélion tried to explain but was cut off again, Merid-Nuda becoming more enraged by the minute as her glare almost felt as though it would burn him into a pile of ashes.
"Y-Yes Prince of Light, I'll release him..." The Altmer feebly said, as though he was worried of the repercussions but rested his palm on one cuff, quickly making the binds disappear.
"Thank you Tandélion, I believe you said your name was? But there's something else I'll be needing... That spear never leaves my side..." I growled, stretching my hand out impatiently as he looked to Merid-Nunda who shook her head.
"Drol-Elain, I will give you a chance to start a new life of serenity where you may see the beauty of life but only when you feel you are ready to atone for your sins will you be allowed to travel once more. But for this chance I would have you complete a task to prove that your strength of judgement has rectified this fault in your actions but as payment for this opportunity, that artifact and all the blood it has spilt can remain with the Altmer so he doesn't return to his order empty handed..." She stated, my eyes falling back onto her, in disbelief of such an offer for a new start to my life but also that I would have to give up the Shard of Aetherius, I would give up what I would say at this point was an extra limb, it felt unnatural to be apart from it but if I wanted to start a new slate, to truly detach myself from Drol-Elain, the Et' Ada, the murderer and the destroyer of his own people and become Drolan Greywyn the Aldmer, a solitary hermit who would have the chance to live and eventually die in peace.
I looked her in the eye and without a word, I nodded.
"Very well, return to the psijic order Tandélion, whatever you wished to discuss will have to wait until Drol-Elain has proved himself, or has died." She coldly ordered and turned away from him but not before he tried to part his lips and two Auroran knights appeared at his sides and marched off with him.
"Now Drol-Elain, there is a powerful Daedra that each Prince cultivates in order to present our potential mantle's a true challenge to prove their strength to earn our place, it is called Shadowrend, a being of complete darkness that takes it's shape as that of it's opponent, gaining their strength and knowledge as it always evolves, constantly trying to become stronger so that it can feed on the souls of anyone without the strength and fortitude of mind to challenge it." Merid-Nunda described, telling me of the challenge it's sure to present.
"It will feed off of your sins, turn your flaws into it's strength, you will face the darkness within yourself and try to come out as the victor, I will ask you now that the mortal is gone, are you sure you are prepared? If you wish I can summon the monk back and let you go with him, or even that you may try to escape and continue to live this life as you have." Merid-Nunda was giving me one last chance to not seek redemption, it was a trick question laid out to see if I changed over all this time.
"No, I can defeat this Shadowrend to prove my resolve and I assure you I will not lose."I returned as we continued walking until we found ourselves in a region devoid of colour, multiple Aurorans stood guard over a field of darkness and in the centre of it I saw a weapon, it's form constantly reforming to another until it sensed me and ultimately rested on a beautifully crafted spear.
The soldiers readied their weapons in fear of what would happen when it stopped changing and I nodded to Merid-Nunda, preparing spells and taking a first step, the black mist seemingly trying to devour my boots as I heard a laugh like my own but ethereal with an ominous aura then stared at the blade and from the mist surrounding it, came myself, a perfect shadow down to every detail, taking care though to intimidate me by generating drops from its hands, even as they dropped in complete darkness, I know that it represented the blood I spilt.
"Shadow, I have been ordered to cut you down, but stealing my body for your own design, I'm perfectly fighting myself..." I shouted at it, the mouth remaining stationary as it pulled the spear from the ground assumed a combative stance, now I could perfectly see it, the form was made as a more refined replica of the Shard of Aetherius, cut from ebony as black soul gems formed the majority of the blade, a copy meant to devour souls rather than give a deeper connection to Aetherius.
The stance it stood in was my common technique, holding the spear over its shoulder to be prepared to block any attack I threw at it, a sword could be lengthened to mimic the stance but it was intended for a spear, putting me at more than a disadvantage as I drew a longsword of magicka and stood as its own shadow, preparing to attack or parry.
After minutes of stillness as we stared at each other, two sides of the same coin, I channelled flames through my sword and slashed with it, sending a wave of heat toward the copy and charged behind my attack, seeing the spear block the attack as I slid beneath it slashed at it's legs, surprised when I found the spear narrowly save it and saw a fire glow in its hand, forcing me to use my momentum to release the sword and launch a gust of air behind me to get on my feet, seeing where I laid was immediately lined with flame as I turned while summoning a dagger that I plunged in my shadow's shoulder, surprising it as the spear thrust in for to pierce my gut.
I moved to the side and pulled my knife vertically over, almost managing to slash the bone when it was covered in a coat of lightning as defence, using it's opportunity to tear out the knife and heal it's wound, the face was still aligned with no emotions but I swear I heard the laugh again mock me for thinking that killing my duplicate would be easy.
I summoned a smaller blade and flung myself with another push of wind straight for it, noticing that it took a few seconds to analyse my blade and composure then tilted the spear to match my attack and then tried to place the handle over my throat, narrowly sliding out of his lock and backing away as he pressed the attack, trying to bludgeon me with the handle while slashing and stabbing with the spear's point, my armor being lined with scratches or small dents until I pushed back, spraying a combination of lightning and fire then lowered my hands to summon a pair of daggers that I placed in it's chest, the blow clearly damaging it as though I stabbed a person in the heart but quickly recovered.
"I guess if this is a new life I don't really need a trick in case I ever find Molag Hurga again... But I'm not wasting my time with you anymore." I whispered, it's ears pricking, proving it did hear me as I surgically cut my arm, using telekinesis to pull out a treasure I hid in case I ever lost the Shard, a small gem hewn from the artifact that despite it's size, could provide me with a significant boost of power as I released an enchantment on it, allowing magicka to come forth from it once more.
As the shadow realized my secret from scanning my memories and attempted to kill me as I was distracted but it proved to be too late as a white fire enveloped both of my hands, chilling the air while simultaneously heating it and found lightning arcing between my fingers, spraying forth the three elements of destruction all at once. The shadow seemed to fade as the white of the flames brightened the entire field of shadows and lightning clung to its armor, watching victoriously as it turned into an ash, the spear being the only thing left behind, but I heard the laugh continue as I stared at the marvellous weapon.
I begun thinking of the power I could harvest with it and lifted it slowly, taking a few steps slashing around with it, seeing it was even more lightweight than the Shard of Aetherius, then stabbed at the air, feeling stronger for even holding it, then forced it straight back into the ground it was torn from.
I turned around to see the Auroran knights bowing to me as Merid-Nunda took steps into the field, her radiance terrifying the shadows away from her and looked pleased with me.
"You have passed your trial Drol-Elain and have faced the Shadowrend of my Colored Rooms, there are two paths I can set forth for you now. In the time of need for the realm, you could take my mantle, becoming the Prince of Life and Energies, mortals would praise your name, even if you were simply by my side, similar to Clavicus Vile and Barbas, would you take this offer of being my champion and possible successor? Being given unending immortality?" She smiled and explained but as she noted through the deal, it became obvious it was a trick question, a way to test the hypocrisy of my destruction of the Aldmer and I shook my head.
"I above all mortals are the least deserving of that honor, I have killed too many to be the Lord of Life, or even to serve at your side, besides, that isn't a fresh start, simply continuing the existence of Drol-Elain but with the potential of becoming a Daedric Prince so I must decline Merid-Nunda." I smirked back and explained, her grin growing as I knew now that I truly passed.
"There is an island that none of the mortal races have yet discovered, with a sizable amount of materials on the land, I shall send an Auroran with you to assist your needs and anyone who travels to the isle will be able to explore it and still leave, but until you have truly changed from Drol-Elain to whomever that you wish to be, there shall be a barrier that will allow you to explore the ocean close by, but will prevent you leaving, is this what you wish?" Merid-Nunda's smile shrunk but remained, she seemed joyful to help me move on to live a new life.
"I would be eternally greatful for that my lady"
Hey guys! That's the end of this episode! I hope you enjoyed seeing Drol-Elain begin to truly become this new person and that you liked seeing a younger Tandélion, I shall hopefully have the next 4 episodes up in no time so that I can continue with AoKG with the major details of Kerus' backstory behind him