Skyrim Story - After Her Legend: Part 5: The Calm
When Derbana opened her eyes, she looked around at her surroundings. They were in the Black-Briar West Boilery, just south of Whiterun. It was closed for it was about three in the morning at this time. In the center of the room, they were still in the same position as they were in the dungeon seconds ago.
Still holding Jerthar in her arms, Derbana looked up at Quaranir.
“Why did you bring us here?”
“You're still wanted by the guards of Whiterun and we have to talk for a moment.”
“Don't worry, I'll keep quiet about the Order just as did with the first Eye of Magnus.”
“It is not just that. We are always thankful for allies in the world such as you. Your brother and his mentor helped us locate the other artifacts of Magnus, but his spells...they are interesting. Though we of the Psijic Order have mastered such spells, we've never encountered one outside the Order capable of such magic.”
“What are you planning to do?”
He chuckled, “No, no, we have no intentions of doing your brother harm. In fact, we want to offer him some time on our island. He won't become a member of the Order, but he'd only need a few months to perfect his craft.”
“He'll be gone?”
“For a few months, he's almost got the mastery of his spells. We'd just be helping him along. Of course, we're not going to take him right away. I'll return in a week for his answer. However there's a few things you need to settle outside that door.”
“Thanks, Quaranir again for your help.”
“Think nothing of it, we wouldn't have been able to help if you didn't do what you needed to. Now go home to your husband. You deserve it.”
“Good bye, Quaranir.”
He smiled, “Don't worry, you'll see me again.”
Blue energy shot up in small vertical stripes until his aura turned blue and with a final smile, he vanished in a beam of light. Holding her brother in both her arms, she lifted him to the door. Resting him down to the ground, she picked the lock before heading outside with the two together.
Immediately outside the door, there was the night guard who ran up to her.
“Halt, you two are under arrest.”
“How much is our bounty?”
“For your crimes, the bounty is five thousand gold.”
“Need I remind you that I'm your Thane?”
He sighed, lowering his blade, “Fine, come along and we'll get this sorted out.”
Derbana still carrying Jerthar in her arms, they went to Dragonsreach and talked to the Jarl who needed to be woke. After spending the entire morning and most of the afternoon, all the explanations and answers were done. They rested on a bench near the entrance of Dragonsreach as everything was being deliberated.
Having regained consciousness sometime during the questioning, Jerthar while still wearing the red robe sat next to Derbana.
“How do you think they're going to vote?”
“I think everything's going to be just fine. So, you've grown attached to that robe?”
“Yes, I have actually. I know those that wore this before me were men, they too were wizards just like me. I'm honored to wear it.”
“You do know that those robes have been unclean for thousands of years, right?” She smiled.
“I knew since the beginning. Why do you think I'm wearing these over my regular robes? I'll clean them in the morning.”
There was a moment of silence between them as Derbana was afraid to ask this question.
“What do you plan on doing now?”
He smiled and looked into his sister's eyes, simply shrugging his shoulders, “I don't know. I was hoping to get a house in Whiterun, but there seems to be none available and since the Battle of Whiterun, most of the city is still in repair.”
“There may be something I can do to help with that.” She smiled wide.
“I don't like it when you smile like that...just to let you know.”
Soon enough, the deliberation was over and Jerthar was pardoned for his crimes against Whiterun. They were finally able to return home to which Jerthar smiled, holding the key to his new house.
“Thank you, Sister. They said the previous owner of this house was a, uh...Heimskr, I believe. Did you know him?”
Two weeks after she arrived in Skyrim.
“Praise Talos and Ulfric Stormcloak, they are in the right as the world would be better with...Ah!” He said as an arrow pierced him in the back.
Derbana stared blankly and shook her head, “No.”
They walked down the many steps from Dragonsreach into the Wind District of Whiterun.
“Um...” Jerthar said, “When you were explaining the last part to the Jarl, you said I teleported us out of the dungeon, but I was unconscious. What really did happen?”
She sighed and explained the truth behind their escape.
“The Psijic Order...wants to train me?”
“Yes, Quaranir was impressed by your magic skills especially your dimensional spells. Those they use are similar to what you have developed and so, they want to help you go the rest of the way.”
“Wow...” The face he made was like a child on Christmas, but as the amazement passed, a small frown appeared, “How long will I be gone?”
“They said a few months.”
“But...I don't want to go...”
She smiled, “I'm glad of who you are now and at first, I didn't want to believe that I had more family out in the world, I always thought I was the only one. But now...” She squeezed his shoulder and her smile couldn't get wider, “I'm happy you're here with me, Brother.”
Jerthar didn't know how to feel, all he felt like doing was embracing her in a hug. After a second of being caught unaware, she hugged him back. When they pulled away, they were standing in front of his new house.
“Home sweet home.”
They looked up to see the entire roof was gone with only the two short sides remaining and a lot of wooden debris blocking the door.
She patted his shoulder and looked on his house with proud, “Don't worry, I'll gather the Companions and they should have this done in a day or two.”
“But, tomorrow is...”
“Like I said, don't worry. You can stay with me until this all gets taken care of. Besides, there's something at my house that you've requested.”
“What? I don't remember.”
“Come on.” She grabbed his arm and dragged him toward Breezehome.
“What about your husband?”
“He's at his store right now and besides, I don't want him to know what I'm about to show you.”
Inside her home, she moved to the far side of the fire pit pushing the two chairs and the table aside and removing the small rug that was there, revealing a trap door.
“I had this installed before my husband moved in here with me.”
She opened the trap door to reveal a ladder leading down, “You stay here and wait for me.”
Derbana climbed down the ladder only a few feet and pulled out the chest that would have been only a foot or two beneath the fire pit in a small alcove. Taking both handles, she heaved it across the small private space. Groaning as she lifted it over her head, she poked it through the hatch.
“Here, take the handle.”
Jerthar grabbed hold of it and with a heave, the chest was now on the floor.
“What's in here?”
“Your conditions for giving me what I wanted were as follows: Paid your bail.”
“Got you a house in Whiterun.”
“Went with you on a dungeon adventure.”
“Lastly, the third condition was the study of any and all Daedric artifacts in my possession.”
“This is...” His hands trembled holding the chest, “That's a lot of energy in there.”
“It's from every Daedric Prince...um, except Nocturnal...” She chuckled, “I forgot I left my Nightingale Armor back at my house in Riften.”
“That's okay. This along with that Dynamo Core we found should keep my research fueled for the next decade easily.”
“Here, let's clear some of the debris and bring it inside your new house.”
“Sounds like a plan.”
The two siblings took a handle each and carried it halfway across Whiterun. When they dropped it inside his new house, they dusted off their hands and she looked on him with a smile.
“So, now that I fulfilled every thing that you required. Can you keep up your end of the bargain and give me the journal?”
He chuckled, “Yes, about that. Remember when you were interrogating me in the dungeon and I'd say I'd have been a fool to bring it with me.” He pulled on a sleeve of the two robes and she watched his arm work its way under his garments until he wormed it back through and in his hand was the journal, “It would seem I am the fool.” He offered it to her.
Taking it in hand, she smiled and hugged him once more.
That night, Derbana waited for her husband's return. She put away her armor and everything else from her adventuring life back in its chest in the alchemy room. She was in her simple green dress and she waited for him on the chair by the fire, contemplating what she was going to say.
Then, the door creaked as it opened. She raised her gaze from her hands to see that her husband had indeed returned home. When he closed the door behind him, he faced toward the room and there she was.
She stood up, presenting her hands, “Sondas, please let me explain and don't get angry. I went on an adventure and I know that the guards and the townspeople may have said something about me being a wanted criminal, but it's not true. I knew you didn't want me to visit that Elf dressed as a Thalmor in the dungeon, but I did and it got out of control. But I want you to know that I'm safely back home and now I can only hope that you can find it in your heart to forgive...” He embraced her and held her close, “me.”
“I know you'd never do such things, my sweet Derbana. I know you always have a reason and I trust you beyond all measure.” He started to cry, “There is never anything to forgive for I love you and I'm just happy that you are safe at home with me.”
She started to cry as well, hugging him hard in return. The world faded as they continued this sweet embrace and there were only stars surrounding them when they finally kissed the first time in these few days. When they pulled away, their breath was completely taken and they just stared lovingly into each other's eyes. Soon, they started getting dinner ready as he stirred the pot and she set the table.
“Derbana, Love. Tell me all about it, your adventure, that is.”
“Well, there's no better way to put it rather than interesting. You see, we also will be having a guest staying with us for a while.”
“Jerthar, you can come out now.” She said toward the alchemy room.
In his ancient red robes, Jerthar stepped out into the living room and did his best to put on a smile, “Um...sorry about your ribs...and of course, the door...”
“Wait!...You!” Sondas raised the cooking spoon threateningly and walked over toward him.
Derbana got in between them, “No, Sondas. Please...he's...he's my brother.”
“What? Your brother?”
“Well, more of a half-brother so to speak, but we really did bond over the adventure we had.”
“And he's staying here?”
“Only for a day or two until his house can be fixed up and then he'll be living there.”
He raised the spoon again before lowering it, “Very well, Dear. But he's sleeping down here.”
“That's just fine, isn't it, Jerthar?”
“Like we've discussed, yes.”
“Now then, let's eat.”
Dinner was silent with Derbana sitting in between them. She knew it must be hard for her husband, considering the man sitting at the same table as him was responsible for not only causing him physical injury, but abducting his wife for three days. However seeing as no fights broke out, she was happy that all went well.
Shortly after, they readied themselves for bed. Derbana got into a night gown and took Rulindil's journal out of the end table and started reading.
“Tomorrow's your birthday, isn't it? As well as the New Life Festival.”
“Yes, it is. Why? Do you have something planned?”
“What, me? No, nothing, why'd you ask?”
She giggled, “Well, whatever it's not, I'd be happy with it.”
He smiled and gave her a small peck on the cheek before rolling over onto his side. Derbana opened the journal and followed the pages until she reached the first that involved the Great War and the Taking of the Imperial City.
“14th of Second Seed, 4E 174. Today, we captured more enemy soldiers that used hit-and-run guerilla tactics after the city fell due to conventional warfare. The greatest prize of all was a Dunmeri woman who was caught by staying behind while her comrades and some refugees escaped. She had been kept prisoner for over four hours until I arrived. She has refused to give us any information despite the mild lashing she received.”
“18th of Second Seed, 4E 174. Today is the fifth day of torture and she still has her lips tight. I've concluded that she's been trained to withstand conventional torture. Her attitude is starting to get to me. Maybe, it is time we started to use more 'inappropriate' methods.”
“27th of Second Seed, 4E 174 . There it is done. She's resting against her shackles, dangling like a piece of used meat. She just hangs there and sobs quietly muttering her name, 'Derbana'. She just repeats it over and over again like a never-ending loop. At last, we got something out of her at last.”
“2nd of Mid Year, 4E 174. Her resistance has returned despite this being our seventh session. Instead of her spirit breaking, it seems to be strengthening it. Maybe, she won't feel that way when I release her to the entire Thalmor garrison.”
“13th of Sun's Height, 4E 174. The prisoner known as Derbana has begun throwing up in the morning. Her cell has to be clean on a daily basis. I have suspicions behind her illness, but...it isn't possible. Though I suppose it's not outside the realm of possibility, The Altmer and the Dunmer share a common ancestry. However...it shouldn't have been a possibility.”
“24th of Last Seed, 4E 174. It's true. Her belly is starting to bulge. Though it matters little to the soldiers, they are still actively using her to sate their baser instincts. It should be around one hundred since I let the soldiers have at her. Though she's an enemy...It must never be known to Elenwen about the existence of this child. This will be the last time the soldiers will dine on her flesh.”
“29th of Last Seed, 4E 174. She has entered the second trimester of her pregnancy. It has been confirmed, the timing is perfect. I'm...I'm the father.”
“25th of Evening Star, 4E 174. Derbana has kept quiet over the past few months and the soldiers have moved on to more fresher meat. However today, she's been acting hysterical and cutting her wrists as she struggles against her shackles. She's required several healing sessions as she cuts herself each time she's healed. Her voice sobbed her own name over and over again. As the day ended and three hours passed after midnight, she returned to her quiet, sobbing state.”
“1st of Morning Star, 4E 175. She's well passed her second trimester. I expect her to give birth to the child sometime in the month of Rain's Hand.”
“2nd of First Seed, 4E 175. I don't know how, but Elenwen knows and she's going to be in the Imperial City next month. I don't know what she has planned, but needless to say, it won't be good.”
“27th of Rain's Hand, 4E 175. The child is born. He'd be the same as any Altmer babe except for the red eyes. Shortly after his birth, I handed him over to one of my female aides who fed him and I instructed her to return to the Summerset Isles immediately to wait for me there.”
“30th of Rain's Hand, 4E 175. Reports of two Imperial Legions skirmishing with our forces outside the Imperial City have been confirmed, despite this Elenwen demanded an audience with me.”
What Derbana read next, she could almost see like it was magical vision for she's had plenty of them in her adventures. It was in her mother's jail cell, she was wearing roughspan clothes as Rulindil was in the room observing her condition. The metal door creaked as it swung open, the guards outside had opened it for her...Elenwen. She walked in the room.
“So, this is the bitch you've been fucking. Tell me, was it worth it? To dishonor our race by mixing our blood with that of an impure Mer? And what did you get out of it? Her name! You might be the most incompetent torturer in the history of both Dominions.”
“It was the only way to...”
“Spare me your excuses. The only reason I am here is to clean up your mess.”
“Can't you see what is going on? The city is under siege and you'd indulge in this madness?”
“Madness? I'm not the one who stuck his prick in the womb of a Dunmeri whore!”
“You...” Derbana the Second spoke, “You...bitch.”
“Oh, so she understands Altmeri. Good, it's no fun killing a bitch who doesn't know how to bark.”
“I...can bite, too...if you'd come...a little closer...”
Elenwen laughed, “This is fun. After nine months of imprisonment and she still has such a will. It seems I was right, Rulindil, you are the most incompetent. But enough talk, though it goes without saying, I'm going to enjoy this.” She drew an elven dagger from her belt and approached Derbana, “Any last words?”
Derbana the Second spit in her face. After wiping it off with her gloved hand, Elenwen put on a small smile before slitting Derbana's throat.
“Jer...th...” was her last word.
In a matter of seconds, the Dunmeri woman had all life leave her and she hung there, swaying lightly with the air. Elenwen brushed her hair aside as she had a cold expression on her face. She turned to Rulindil with the same small smile.
“Now, produce the child.”
“What...What did you say?”
“No, you can't have him. He's far away from you.”
“Do you expect me to believe you care for this child?”
“He's something extraordinary. A Half-Altmeri Half-Dunmeri child...that's something that's not supposed to be possible.”
“So, you want to keep him...as a pet project?”
The coldness coming from Elenwen made him freeze where he was, he took a moment before saying, “Yes.”
“Hmph, very well. But if I see one affectionate gesture, hear about one good day you spent together, do anything fatherly...I will stab him in the heart and make you watch as I do it. Now come on, we have to get to a safer place.”
“Why? Our forces can repel this attack.”
“I didn't get to where I am today by taking chances. Come along.”
And like a faithful dog, Rulindil followed Elenwen out of the cell, only taking one last look at the body of Derbana the Second before leaving the Imperial City behind.
Derbana lifted her eyes from the page and stared forward as all of this went through her mind. In the end, she smiled for her mother didn't ever give up and yet she couldn't stop crying. However now that she knew, she felt a heavy weight lifted from her chest and was able to find restful sleep that night.
The next day was the 25th of Evening Star, 4E 203. Derbana awoke with the dawn and was surprised to see her husband standing there with a wrapped present in his hands. Noticing it, she smiled and got herself ready.
“Happy Birthday, Dear.” He gave her her present and she unwrapped it, “It's seems my hands are not only good for mining.”
He had knitted her a sweater made from the best wool he could buy. She smiled and lowered her present down, so she can look him in the eye.
“Ah, that's so sweet. Now...” She neatly folded the sweater and put it on the end table, “maybe you'd like a present as well.” Her devilish smile gave clear her intent.
Reacting as a newlywed husband would, he started stripping off his clothes as he went into bed.
While they were enjoying each other's company, Jerthar had finished brewing the tea and started pouring out into two cups: One for him and the other for Lydia.
“This tea is known as 'The Sunrise Tea'.”
She took it in in hand and took a small sip, “Yum...usually I've only had mead, but this is delicious.”
“It's just one of the recipes I learned to brew for my friends.”
They started hearing the sounds coming from upstairs. To which startled Jerthar whereas Lydia continued to enjoy her tea. When he realized what sounds they were, he simply stared blankly and sat back down in his seat.
“In the middle of the day?”
“Ah, you get used to it. At least, they have to stop today if they want to attend the festival.”
He just simply looked on as his genius mind suffered the rare occasion of being stumped.
That night, the townspeople gathered in the Plains District in front of the stores, vendor stands, and the Bannered Mare. Strands of lanterns were tied across the streets from roof corner-to-roof corner and a few banners bearing the symbol of the New Life Festival were displayed here-and-there hanging down from the awnings. Derbana was in her simple green dress that she considered her best clothes and her fine boots with not a single weapon or armor piece on her, Sondas was so proud. Speaking of whom, he wore a set of fine clothes and fine boots his wife had purchased for him when she last visited the Radiant Raiment two weeks ago. Around the well in the center of the square were gathered all the couples dancing to the Bards' Song and even some who weren't couples.
Derbana gestured to look behind her and Sondas looked over to see Farkas dancing with Ysolda.
“Oh, sorry. I don't mean to, it's just I got big feet.”
His simple explanation made Ysolda giggle and brought a smile to the Dunmeri couple.
“It's very nice, Dear. Look, even the Battle-Borns and the Gray-Manes aren't quibbling over something.”
The song ended and the Bard announced in full voice, “Now to sing you a song about the late Ulfric Stormcloak.”
Derbana gave the bard a death glare, which sent shivers down his spine.
“I mean...A song about Emperor Uriel Septim VII?”
She nodded and the song began to play. Derbana sunk her head into Sondas' shoulder and closed her eyes as they slow danced together.
“This evening couldn't get any better.” He remarked, making her smile.
“Well, I don't know if it would make it better. But I do have some news I have to share.”
She brought herself in as close as she could and whispered the news. After hearing it, he backed away to look into his wife's eyes, he was surprised to say the least.
“I'm...going to be...a father?”
She nodded and smiled.
“When did you find out?”
“After our five day honeymoon and I left on guild business. I made my way to Winterhold and decided to stop by to see an old friend.”
Fifteen days ago, the 10th of Evening Star, 4E 203. Derbana walked up the snow-covered stone stairs as the light wintry air blew about her. There were many steps, but it was worth the travel. At the top of these stairs and stone platforms was the Shrine of Azura. Before the large statue of Azura and the altar, a Dunmeri woman cloaked in simple wizard robes stood with open arms as she praised Azura. She stopped in her prayers as she felt Derbana getting close.
“Guardian of the Star, I'm glad that the Champion of Azura has returned to her Shrine.” Said Aranea Ienith who turned toward Derbana.
“Greetings, Aranea. I've come for your...”
“I know why you've come.”
“How? You said Azura no longer sends you visions.”
“The Lady no longer sends me visions, but she can still send whispers to my ears. She told me of your coming and the reason to why you're here.”
“If you indeed know, then let us proceed.” She started unfastening the strips of her armor.
“You need not do that.” She reached out a hand and placed it on her midsection.
Aranea's body shuddered in a wave of epiphany and a satisfied smile appeared on her face, “Azura be praised for the Dragonborn is with child.”
“I had a feeling and I'm glad I came to you. Could you just answer me one question?”
“No, I can't. The child is still too early for me to see if it is a boy or a girl. Return to me in a few months and I shall tell you the child's gender.”
“Thank you, Aranea. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.”
“Should you ever need anything, I will always be here.”
Derbana smiled at Aranea before making her way back down the mountain and toward Winterhold.
As Derbana finished her story, Sondas just looked down at his wife both hands on her shoulders. His silence caused her slight worry as almost a minute had passed. Then, he slid his hands around her waist and lifted her in the air, spinning around.
“I'm going to be a father!” He yelled in excitement and in full voice.
Those who were in the square gathered around and cheered for Derbana as Sondas turned her to sit on his shoulder. She wasn't used to so much attention, she blushed while trying to hide her face. This was not the norm for a stealth warrior such as her. The only one who was applauding, but not part of the crowd was Jerthar who was leaning against the far side of Anoriath's meat stand, keeping to the shadows.
Though she wasn't used to it, she welcomed it for she was surrounded by friends she's helped in the past and neighbors she's known for years. Lowered down to the ground by her husband, she hugged him as the cheering crowd kept cheering for her happiness.
“Come on, once more for the crowd. But this time...” He massaged his right shoulder, “On the other shoulder.”
Lifted onto her husband's shoulder, she waved at the cheering crowd. She was happy this was her life: Having friends, a good husband, a safe home, a new brother, and her child. As she gleamed in the torchlight, the days of adventures were finally over...
Across the square on the roof of the destroyed house of the late Severio Pelagia, a pair of tipped bones shot over the top of the exposed roof. With a pull from his wings, a pair of clawed hands gripped the top of the still intact ceiling. With another heave, the Vampire Lord lifted himself over the top and used the ceiling as a floor to sneak across and stayed to the shadows. Scanning with his monstrous eyes, he easily recognized the woman as she was raised higher than the crowd.
“Der...Derbana? Could that...really be you?”
Though Derbana didn't know it, there would be many more days of adventure in store for her as another chapter of her destiny begins.
Derbana's journey continues in Of Dawn And Dark
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