Skyrim Story - Of Dawn And Dark: Part 8: To Touch The Sky
Still high in the air, Derbana let loose her arrow and it pierced deep into the dragon's underbelly. It roared in pain as it looked down at the Dark Elf archer. She knew what was going to happen next. The dragon dived, baring its full mouth at her. Knowing she had very little time, she tried to correct herself and waited for the last possible second.
The dragon brought his head back to bite her and she turned away from him, hitting the side of his face as it snapped forward, rolling down his neck, and slamming her back hard against his wing. He leveled off and Derbana fell toward the ice. Instinctively, she curled into a ball, protecting her midsection from the crash. She felt the full impact as she slid and rolled across the ice. When she opened her eyes, she heard a clunking sound.
Looking up, the ceremonial ewer was skipping across the ice as she was. However, the lake soon ended and she fell over the edge. Thrusting an arm up, she caught herself on the ice in time as her body fully swung down in front of the cliff. Glad she had stopped herself, but she turned to see the ewer teetering on the lip. With both arms free, she let go with one to get the ewer, but it was just out of reach.
Then one of the dragons landed and the stomp caused the ewer to fall over.
“No!” She screamed as she watched it fall. It seemed it would crash against the rocky snow and shatter into a hundred pieces, but a hand reached out and grabbed the ewer by the handle. Sighing in relief as it was saved.
“Now if you would please...help me up!” Serana yelled, hanging onto the cliff further down.
“I think it would be better if you'd climb down and head back up the stairs.”
Serana looked down to see it wasn't that far of a fall, “All right, I'll be back.”
As she was heading down, Derbana climbed back up. On her feet, another arrow notched and fired, the dragon dodged it with his aerial supremacy and then an idea hit her. The second dragon came down and flew just above the ice as it bared his fangs with an earsplitting roar. Derbana kept her bow at the side as she had to time this perfectly. With another small roar, it was now.
“Joor Zah Frul!” One of the most evil shouts, the full force of Dragonrend hit its mark. The blue flame burned as the dragon was forced to crash down on the ice, the edge deeply cut into its underbelly. Falling fast and hard, he crashed into the opposing side of the river valley. A torrent of snow and rock fell free and the dragon fell with it, crushed underneath.
The first dragon, the one with an arrow in his stomach, roared at his partner's death and dived toward her. Derbana pulled out her bow and shot another arrow, glancing off the dragon's skull, just short of his eye, if it were any other dragon, it would have hit.
“Slight adjustment to the right.” She muttered to herself as she readied another arrow.
The dragon landed and there was no time to change weapons. He coiled back his neck and began to bite when a lightning bolt scarred the right side of his face, Serana throwing each in rapid succession until one contacted with the eye and it burnt out completely. The pain from such a blow caused him to unfurl his wings.
“No! Joor Zah Frul!” Dragonrend kept him on the ground as Derbana switched for her sword and shield.
The dragon's head was high in the air as it was still reeling from the pain. The first strike was a charging slice down where his leg met his waist. She turned around as the dragon fell forward from this new pain. With the turn, the second blow across the muscle under the wing, now he couldn't fly if he wanted to. The dragon lay flat down, the coup de grace came with a stab into the throat and with a heave, the sword slashed free.
With the dragon dead, it started to burn from the inside out, being reduced to a skeleton as the fires spread. Another dragon soul was claimed as Derbana felt the familiar energy enter her. Knowing the danger has passed for the moment, she looked at the lake. The several large holes left by the battle has made the lake too treacherous to pass, they climbed down the cliff and made their way to the low path they didn't take before.
“Wait!” Derbana noticed something she hadn't before.
Just off the right path from where they first entered this river valley, a skeleton was laying atop an ancient chest. Taking great care to remove the skeleton, Derbana took the items she needed from it before looking to the ground where a book laid on the fresh snow.
Taking it in hand, she opened to a random page, “Ah, Falmer...”
“How did you know?”
“Let's just say, I know it when I see it.” Not wanting to divulge her business with the Thieves' Guild, even if they maybe weren't around in Serana's time.
“Okay, fair enough.”
Putting the book away, they proceeded further to the right where the second dragon's soul was absorbed from under the cacophony of snow and rock. However, the fire had startled a nearby frost giant and it charged them, but they looked more like a troll than a man. This one came with a unique treasure after he was slain, an oval metal gem with the tips made of amethyst. She felt something was different from the other gems she's found in her adventures. Placing it in her pack to better hold up the ewer, they walked up the steps alongside the waterfall, marveling how the water flowed in the center of the large icicles bent down following the falls.
This sight didn't let long when a second frost giant rushed them from across the river, brandishing his large club. Derbana sighed as she went with sword and shield, thrusting upward into his gut as the shock took its toll, falling to his knees. Using her full body into her next swing, she made it merciful with the quick beheading, no more needless suffering. He too had a similar gem as the first, but with sapphire tips. She was more than convinced this was part of something larger, placing it in her pack, they continued following the path.
A left turn around a rocky corner and they saw their goal. A wayshrine was on the cliff overlooking the river. To their right was a natural bridge that spanned over the river, the road leading to it hugged the mountain wall. It wasn't long before Derbana was honoring the mantras to get at the water basin and filled the ewer for a fourth time.
Heading back across the natural bridge, they kept to the path leading into a canyon and it went down toward the ground in a gentle slope. At the end of this path was something Derbana couldn't believe.
“These huts...why are Falmer huts in the daylight.”
“What do you mean?”
“The Falmer are a subterranean species, they do not abide by sunlight.”
“Then, we were right all along...there's something about this place, magical indeed.”
Nodding in agreement, the next path winded up the mountain for a short while until they saw a female Falmer standing there. Another arrow expended and recovered, they saw the huts in this small enclosure and the natural bridge path when they turned around. Two Falmer scouts were taken out as they crossed three more bridges, each leading them deeper into the canyon.
Going around a large jutting boulder, they journeyed to the other side across another bridge. There was a hut waiting for them, abandoned for the moment. In the shade, the new path led them to the highest point of the canyon where the third frost giant was doing battle with the Falmer. None were friend or foe to them as they engaged each other and the two adventurers. Just like with the other two, this giant held a third gem of emerald.
Each bridge drew them closer to the other end as the Falmer defenders were no match for the arrows shot from her dragonbone bow. They explored every hut they came across and found another book written in Falmer.
Shortly after that, they reached the other side of the valley. The waters flowed down the canyon from a cave. Derbana saw the two fences made by the Falmer and knew there must be guards nearby. Readying her sword, she turned the corner and struck, cutting down one guard as the other shrieked in fury. But it didn't stop her from cutting him down.
“Well, the canyon has gone quiet.”
“It won't be that way for long, trust me. Let's head inside.”
Once in the shade of the cave, they dipped down into the water as they swam up to the first patch of land they could firmly stand on. This place was another canyon made of ice, it was so deep that the sunlight barely touched the floor.
Just ahead across the large ice chunks that acted as stepping stones was a battle between two Falmer and a Frost Troll, it wasn't a long match as an arrow hit the troll at point blank range and knocked his dead body on his back.
Though the Falmer had little time to celebrate their victory as two arrows, one after another, pierced through their armor, killing them. Taking this moment, Derbana dried off her armor with the flames spell while Serana rolled her eyes, tugging on her clothes, removing as much excess water as possible.
Hugging the wall to the left, they followed the ramp up the chamber where a few huts have been made. The path ended at a downed bridge where a heavy armored Falmer waited for them. Derbana was thankful they were blind else he would have seen the arrow coming.
With him dead, another Falmer emerged from his hut and stood on the edge outside his hut. It was all too easy for Derbana. The huts had some treasure before moving on. Down the ice cavern, they passed through a Falmer gate and Serana was held back as Derbana cut a tripwire, jumping back to avoid the two claws that flew forward and crashed against the walls.
“Stay close to the wall, Serana. That's a very long way down.”
Entering into another ice canyon, they were hugging the wall once more. Serana kept up with her friend, but she wasn't as sure-footed and kept her back against the wall. It was dangerous enough with how slim the path was without the snow.
Derbana drew her arm back, tightening the bowstring with a notched arrow. The first target was a chaurus that was a few dozen feet away, the second target was the Falmer next to it. This however, aroused the suspicions of a third Falmer across the other side of the canyon. He drew his bow as he stood still and listened.
Taking no chances, Derbana drew and fired an arrow, killing the last of the nearby enemies. As soon as the paths merged and went to a Falmer gate on the right and a bridge to the left where a hut and two Falmer kept a lookout next to each other.
Derbana notched two arrows and aimed. With the release of her bow, they flew through the air and impaled their targets at roughly the same time. Both Falmer caught off-guard fell lifeless to the river far below. Opening the gate, they walked into the ice hall and another tripwire was disabled.
The next chamber was a tall room and they were at the top, another scout was in position for another arrow as they looked down to see the spiraling path leading out of the water below.
“This is not the way.” Derbana remarked as they walked across to the hall on the another side.
Climbing up through the snow, they saw three tents abandoned with a treasure chest and a path spiraling up to the next hall that led to the final room. They looked over the edge and they were in the upper reaches of where they first arrived, noticing the dead troll and Falmer far beneath them. Derbana saw the ambush holes the Falmer used lining up the wall. Preparing an iron arrow and drawing her bow, she waited for the first enemy to descend and she got her wish when they were just short of the second hole. His death drew the attention of two Falmer, one an archer and the other a heavy armored warrior.
Taking another arrow, she took out the archer first who fell down on the snow. The third arrow was fired as the warrior was crossing the bridge. Even if it didn't kill him, it was enough to send him over the edge. Putting away her bow, they crossed the bridge themselves and tread up the path of built-up snow.
“Derbana...” Serana said as she started to slide, “Derbana!”
She shouted as she kept sliding down. Derbana threw herself down and slid after Serana who just fell over the edge. Her hand shot out and grabbed her friend. Serana looked to see Derbana had stopped with her arms holding Serana's.
Taking a deep sigh, Derbana heaved and Serana pulled herself back up, getting a good grip and slowly got her onto the snow. Rolling on her back, both her and Derbana looked at the sunlight pouring in from above. Nearly avoiding death, Serana chuckled and Derbana followed. Their chuckling turned into laughter as they laid there.
Once they were ready to try again, they stood up and looked at the sight before them. A crumbling pair of stone pillars. They were happy to see it, taking their time until they were at last on the stone ground and they turned another corner when they were saw daylight pouring in from the exit. At last, they could leave the Glacial Crevice behind and continued on their pilgrimage.
The first sight they were greeted with was the largest Falmer houses Derbana has seen. She and Serana kept quiet as they heard a noise followed quickly by another. The Dark Elf knew the sounds of battle when she heard it, coming from the path to their left. She spotted the Falmer drawing their bows passed a tripwire with bones dangling down. She ignored the wire and aimed her next arrows that flew true to their marks.
Cutting the wire carefully, they walked up the mountainous path and the sounds grew louder. Peering over the corral fence there, a battle was going on between a Frost Giant and some Falmer. They waited patiently as the Frost Giant threw off the Falmer on his back and made a sickening crash against the rock wall. The second Falmer was crushed beneath the weight of his wooden club. After few more seconds of fighting against the last enemy, the Frost Giant stood there angry and wounded.
Derbana kept crouched down as she chanced one last look and the black beady eyes of the giant met hers. Going out of hiding, Derbana drew an arrow at the charging giant and fired, landing perfectly in the giant's neck. That was the last straw kill him and he crashed down, falling flat on his chest.
The fourth gem tinged on the ground, rolling at Derbana's feet. Picking it up, the tips were diamond as she looked at it like an appraiser. Pocketing it away, they returned to search the Falmer houses they came across earlier. They were storehouses with sparse supplies of meat and hide, not much to be found here of value. Tripping another tripwire intentionally, Derbana dodged it and noticed the scout standing in a high position above them.
Once he was killed and another tripwire was disabled. Passing under the scout's residence, they were on the outskirts of the Falmer village built on the walls of the valley. A single Falmer waits there on the snowy ground just feet from then and a single arrow takes him out.
However, the village fires began to light as the Falmer started to chatter amongst each other. Derbana readied another arrow as several Falmer looked for the intruder. Taking out the closest first, the search party fell one after another as they readied for battle to only die.
With the last Falmer gone, they proceeded into the village. The front area they had already cleared as they walked inside each house, seeing the same as the first house. A thin break in the mountain big enough for one person, is what connected the two parts of the village together.
The back of the village had only three Falmer guarding it: a scout, a warrior, and a spellcaster. The scout fell first, drawing the other two in, the spellcaster was next, and lastly the warrior with a quick arrow to the neck.
More huts were built on the valley walls as they looked down to see they were several feet from the ground. Finding the third book in Falmer, Derbana took it into her backpack. The hut next to the main hut where they were now in was a small slow drop to the ground that made them land safely on a jutting stone.
The tunnel ahead of them was the only way forward. Derbana notched another arrow and proceeded with Serana and her spells closely behind.
The blue mist that permeated the tunnel made Derbana leery, but it seemed okay to breathe, and her concerns were soon gone. The tunnel was a steady uphill slope filled with Falmer ambush holes. Like each one they've passed before, Derbana aimed her bow until they were well passed it.
After a few minutes, the tunnel ended as daylight could clearly be seen dancing with the blue mist. Also waiting for them in the sun was their goal, the fifth wayshrine stood in the heart of this small Falmer village that looked abandoned. After finding a few supplies, Derbana jumped back down to the ground and turned to the Prelate.
After honoring the mantras and drawing the water into the ewer, they looked at their final destination, the hours of traveling have finally brought them to the doorsteps of the Inner Sanctum. The dirt road stretched on for several more steps before ending at a large archway like the others they've seen on the Initiate's Path, but it was intact with a golden sun pedestal on both side of the arch. They passed through these up the stairs and onto the bridge.
Taking a moment to enjoy the view, Derbana leaned herself on the chest-high railing that curved with the bridge. Looking down, she saw several bird's nests placed on various levels of the cliff and the valley below astonished her as the Falmer village they passed an hour ago was beneath them.
“This is amazing, I've seen many things in Skyrim, but this has to be one of the most beautiful.” She dipped her head slightly.
“Just thinking...you know, about...” She tried to speak the name, but sighed, “everyone.”
Serana smiled and placed a hand on her friend's shoulder, “We'll get him back, Derbana...you are the one who made me believe that.”
“I can't help it...I worry about him. I worry about...many things...”
“It will be all right, Derbana. I will be with you to the very end.”
“Thanks...Serana. When this is all over, do you want to get a drink or something?”
She chuckled, “That sounds great, actually. I wonder how the drinks of this world has changed over the centuries I've been away.”
Derbana pushed off the railing gently, “Trust me, I'll show you as much as you can handle.”
“I'd like that.”
They shared a smile for that brief second.
“Serana, down!” Derbana tackled her and her friend to the ground.
A pair of claws swept down, just catching a few strands of her hair before flying on. Scrambling to her feet, Derbana drew her blade and readied her shield as their enemy landed on the opposing archway leading to the temple.
“No...Not you...” Derbana said as the Vampire Lord perched on the archway like a gargoyle before he threw his arms to the side and his head forward in a bestial roar unlike anything she has heard of the all the creatures in Cyrodiil, Valenwood, and Skyrim combined.
Jumping down to the bridge, leaving the stone cracked beneath his feet as the dust rose up. He stomped toward her as Derbana kept her shield high.
He snarled as he continued his march. A part of her knew he was no longer her father as she would have known him...but another larger part knew he wasn't in control.
“Father...” A tear fell from each eye as he was nearly face-to-face.
Serana coughed as she started to recover from the tackle. Getting on her back, she readied an ice spell in one hand and the vampiric drain in the other.
The Vampire Lord stopped in front of Derbana, the malicious aura did not fade this time and there was no sign of softness in his eyes. He grabbed her shoulders and she looked up into his eyes as they did soften. Thinking he was in control, she relaxed as his eyes grew angry and threw her down the bridge. Serana raised her spells and fired, he jumped on to the railing with an agility not seen before. Jumping up to the archway behind her, then back down to the ground.
She turned to have her arm stopped as the lightning bolt shot passed his shoulder, in between two Falmer houses and against the rock wall, causing the hit area to burst open with loose rocks falling to the ground.
Serana clenched her teeth in pain as he started to squeeze her forearm. The hateful glare from his eyes intensified with his strength, her arm was on the verge of breaking.
“Jerthos!” Derbana screamed.
Snapping his head to her, he saw his daughter get back to his feet. Letting go of Serana's arm who held it against her as it throbbed in pain. The voices inside his head were once again at war within him as he gripped and squeezed his head, trying to block them out.
Derbana ran to her friend and got her back on her feet. They hurried across the bridge as Jerthos battled within himself. Up the stairs and passing the temple's outer wall, they stood in the front courtyard where a statue of Auri-El holding the sun in his hands stood in front of a twin set of stairs going up to the main doors.
Not knowing how long they had, they rushed up the left set of stairs and reached the top platform. A water basin like the wayshrines was right behind the statue's head. Taking the ewer in hand, she poured out the contents into the basin and watched the water steadily flow down the grooves etched into the stone floor.
“Come on! Come on!” She said to the water slowly moving to the end where the golden sun symbol on the floor was etched in front of the doors with a golden sun lock.
Derbana's heart raced faster than it ever had before as the water finally reached the sun on the floor.
“Yes!” Her victory shout was premature as the Vampire Lord roared and his stomping feet could easily be heard.
“Der...bana...” Serana said weakly as the lock split in two, turning sideways as it unlocked the door. With her free arm, Derbana opened the door and pushed Serana inside. Turning back to her father who was now flying toward her, a tear fell from her eye.
“Sorry, Father." She took a deep breath, “Fus Ro Dah!”
The full power of her Unrelenting Force Shout pushed him back, sending him hurtling up into the air. As Derbana assessed what she could do, her father gained the wind back under his wings and dove toward her once again.
Balling up the magicka into her hand, she focused all she had on a fireball spell. She aimed it, not at her father, but at the pooling water.
Unleashing the fireball, it exploded and evaporated much of the water as Derbana closed the door behind her and the lock came together, turning into place. Not even the full force of the Vampire Lord crashing into the door made it move.
Derbana hobbled over to a nearby bench as she caught her breath, Serana rolled onto her back, getting her own wind back as well. They heard the constant pounding of the Vampire Lord's fists and claws banging into the door and it wasn't even scratched, the power of Auriel must be protecting it.
As the minutes passed, the attacks stopped and an unsettling silence gripped the chamber. Serana's arm was healed by Derbana after she regained enough of her strength to make it to her friend. However much the silence made them feel, it was nothing when their sights fell upon the main hall itself.
Nearby was a frozen Falmer facing them, standing as if reaching outward. The room had large piles of debris from destroyed pillars and pieces of the ceiling fallen down. Surrounding the center base like four corners of a square was a set of four pillars and inside them was a circle of frozen Falmer and chaurus facing toward the shrine of Auriel in the middle.
Around the walls were tables and benches spaced evenly every several feet. The front two pillars were a corner for a smaller set of four pillars with a raised base in the middle, each with a frozen Falmer on the floor and a simple bronze chandelier on the ceiling.
One curious part was a golden sun symbol on the left back wall with a pedestal in front and two small braziers on either side.
“This looks like...one of the shrine pedestals without the shrine.” Serana observed.
“Hmm...I wonder...” Derbana approached it and placed the ewer on top.
A rumbling could be heard as this small section of the wall opened up, revealing a hallway that was left practically untouched until they arrived in a room with the sunlight pouring down, plantlife grew around the columns as a Frost Giant stood there, readying his club.
Derbana took no chances and let the arrow fly, her near perfect aim landed it in the back of the giant's head, a quick death.
“Where did you learn to do that?”
“My mother taught me and you have to learn quickly when your life depends on it.”
The fifth gem was taken with tips of ruby and found a secret room of treasure with the ewer a moment later. Returning back to the main chamber, they entered through one of the two large doors on the back of the chamber. Leading into a hallway just like the main hall with debris, frozen statues, tables and benches.
They went through the center archway, the hall going around starting from the left, dead ending at a treasure chest and a basin full of potions. Taking them in hand, they backtracked a few steps to enter a small room with one table and benches destroyed under the weight of ceiling debris and the other set with a few skeletons laid atop and around it. Taking no time, they moved into the next room, which was a little smaller than the first room, but had a large ice tunnel freezing an entire side of the room as the snow led down the path further into the temple.
This tunnel made them feel like they were back inside the Glacial Crevice as thick ice encased the temple walls to the point where they could no longer be seen. The cold wind of the vale hit them hard as they continued until their path reached an end at a several foot drop. Seeing no other way through, Derbana jumped down first and caught Serana in her arms, getting her back down to her feet.
Squeezing through a collapsed hallway, they had arrived at their destination albeit unknowingly, the Chapel of Auriel. Giant icicles jutted out toward the center of the room as two dozen frozen statues faced toward the way to a throne atop several steps. On this throne sitting as though arrogant and superior to all life was Arch-Curate Vyrthur, he looked identical to his brother in most regards except the hair flowed down, not standing up.
Drawing her blade and shield, Derbana charged him, trying to bring this to an end. Running up the stairs, she struck...into a thin unseen wall of ice.
Vyrthur scoffed and said, “Did you really come here expecting to claim Auriel's Bow? You've done exactly as I predicted and brought your fetching companion to me.” He gave Serana a look that sent shivers down her spine.
“Wait, is he talking about me?” She hated to ask.
Turning back to Derbana, Vyrthur continued, “Which, I'm sorry to say, means your usefulness is at an end!”
A symphony of exploding ice was heard as she turned around to see all the frozen chaurus were now walking about as normal. But just unlike their flesh-and-blood counterparts, they shattered into thousands of pieces with one swing from her sword. Once all of them were nothing more than tiny chunks of ice, a few of the Falmer broke free. Each had required two strikes to shatter and with Serana's spells made it all the easier.
Once the room was quiet again, Vyrthur bellowed arrogantly.
“An impressive display, but a wasted effort! You delay nothing but your own deaths!” He raised his hand upward and pulled a bright light as he did so.
“Watch out! He's pulling down the ceiling!” Serana said, sensing the flow of magic.
A large slab of ice came down as Derbana dodge-rolled away and while still crouched, held her shield up to cover herself from the flying ice. More Falmers were freed and began to attack Serana.
Moving quickly, Derbana turned one of them to powder with her shield charge. Following up with a one-two diagonal slash caused another to crumble. The third received a shield bash to the face with a sword stab not a second later. Twisting the blade, the ice cracked as it made its way up the Falmer who shrieked at his death as his head and the rest of his body split in two.
Then, a sharp pain entered Derbana's side more toward the back. Gripping it, an ice shard impaled itself as another large slab had crashed to the ground, more sunlight bathing the room.
Angry and heated, Vyrthur shot up from his throne, “This has gone on long enough!”
He threw a spell forward, summoning an Ancient Frost Atronach. The ground shook with each step from this hulking block of sentient ice. Though as angry as he was, it didn't match Derbana's anger as she looked on Serana who was hobbling on the ground.
“Your life ends here, Vyrthur!” Derbana shouted as she got back to her feet, looking straight at the Atronach, she breathed deeply, “Yol Toor Shul!”
The full fury of her Fire Breath shout was sent forth on the ice creature. Unlike the wild flames that spread everywhere, this was more akin to a dragon's breath, a highly concentrated spray of flame that burned over the Atronach who didn't stop moving. It drew its arm back, readying to stab the Dragonborn. Pouring more of her vital essence into her shout, the red flames turned blue as their heat intensified. When the Atronach stabbed forward, the sword arm was nothing more than a melted stub. Looking at it curiously, the Frost Atronach looked on Derbana as it melted into a large pool of water, never to move again.
Derbana fell to her knees exhausted. Looking up to her enemy, she saw Vyrthur wasn't feeling any better. A hand clenched his side as he leaned on his ice wall.
“Silly girl...my life...ended long before...you were...” he slid down the wall to his knees, “born.”
The last few statues broke free, Serana still needed time to recover as did she, but her warrior spirit drew her back to her feet and she swung her blade across, down, around, and through until all the statues shattered into harmless pieces of ice.
Just as Derbana had regained her strength, Vyrthur watching all his plans being undone, curled his hand into a fist and punched the ice. The two looked as he got back to his feet.
“No!...” He pulled all his energies together in a light that would be considered divine if they didn't know better, “I won't let you ruin centuries of preparations...” the large icicles in front of his throne lifted into the air and pointed toward the two heroes.
“Surrender and give us the bow!” Serana yelled.
Bringing his arms forward, he shouted, “Death first!”
His spell erupted, shattering and pushing back everything that was close by. Derbana didn't know what happened next, all she felt was her entire body hurting as she laid there on her front. Her eyes opened and she saw all the ice was destroyed and the sunset pouring down on them. Serana knelt down and started lifting her up.
“Are you alright? Come on, we can do this. I know we can.”
Derbana nodded weakly as she got to her feet.
“He's up there, on the balcony. Come on!”
She looked to see Vyrthur hobbling away, still gripping his side painfully. They gave chase, passed his throne was a submerged wayshrine surrounded by two sets of stairs on the sides and the balcony behind it. Vyrthur got to the railing at the balcony's edge where he collapsed, holding on to it to remain on his feet.
Serana approached, “Enough, Vyrthur. Give us the bow!”
He laughed. Though defeated, not a single shred of his arrogance had faded.
“How dare you. I was the Arch-Curate of Auri-El, girl. I had the ears of a god!”
“Until the 'Betrayed' corrupted you. Yes, yes. We've heard this sad story.”
Pushing up with his hand, he rose back to his standing height.
“Gelebor and his kind are easily manipulated fools. Look into my eyes, Serana. You tell me what I am.”
She couldn't believe it, “You...You're a vampire? But, Auriel should have protected you...”
He seethed, “The moment I was infected by one of my Initiates, Auri-El turned his back on me. I swore I'd have my revenge, no matter what the cost.”
“You want to take revenge...on a god?” Serana's tone hinted with sarcasm.
“Auri-El himself may have been beyond my reach, but his influence on our world wasn't. All I needed was the blood of a vampire and his own weapon, Auriel's Bow.”
“The blood of a vampire...Auriel's Bow...” Serana figuring it out, “It...It was you? You created that prophecy?”
He started to stagger painfully toward Serana, “A prophecy that lacked a single, final ingredient...the blood of a pure vampire, the blood of a Daughter of Coldharbour.”
Just as he spouted that last word, he was face-to-face with Serana, which was a big mistake. She lunged at him, picking him off the ground with both hands.
“You were waiting...all this time for someone with my blood to come along?” Her arms shook with rage as she decided what to do next, then she shook him softly, “Well, too bad for you...I intend on keeping it. Let's see if your blood has any power to it!”
Raising both legs against her midsection, Vyrthur kicked off and with a burst of light, he floated in the air for a second before floating to the ground. Before he could attack, Derbana ran in with her blade perfectly level.
“Oh, bugger...” were his last words as his head was parted from his shoulders. It rolled along, bouncing off the stone floor until it came to a stop just short of the railing. As Serana got her wind back from that kick, Derbana turned from warrior to thief as she looted his body of everything valuable, even his armor.
Seconds after Vyrthur's death, the wayshrine rumbled and slid up until it locked in place. Knight-Paladin Gelebor emerged from the wayshrine as his two companions walked down to greet him. He got straight to the point.
“So, the deed has been done. The restoration of this wayshrine means that Vyrthur must be dead and the Betrayed no longer have any control over him.”
“No...the Betrayed weren't to blame.” Derbana explained.
“What? What are you talking about?”
“He was a vampire. He controlled them.”
“A Vampire? I see. That would explain much. Deep inside, it brings me joy that the Betrayed weren't to blame for what happened here. There's still hope that they might one day shed their hatred and learn to believe in Auri-El once again. It's been a long time since I felt this way and it's been long overdue. My thanks, to both of you.”
“You're welcome, Gelebor.”
“You risked everything to get Auri-El's Bow, and in turn, you've restored the Chantry. I can't think of a more deserving champion to carry it than you. If you wish to learn more about the bow or the sunhallowed arrows for it, I'd be more than happy to help. You've but to ask.”
“Divines, my brother talking with you is going to be an utter delight.”
Instead of a water basin, there was a pedestal in the center of the wayshrine. In a flash of golden light, Auriel's Bow hovered just above it. Walking slowly as she felt the power radiating off it, Derbana stretched out her hand and grabbed it. A sun-like aura enveloped her as her backpack glowed and then faded. Looking inside, all her elven arrows were now glowing with a faint golden aura.
Notching a sunhallowed arrow and pulling the drawstring back, she knew what needed to be done. When she read all three Elder Scrolls, all that was needed to unleash the power of the Bow was to aim at the sun and fire.
When she did, the setting sun blazed the sky as if it were noon once again, even for just a few moments. All of Skyrim gazed up at this phenomenon and only two beings knew what this meant.
“Well, I'll be...they've found it...” Isran actually smiled as he crossed his arms.
The other looked on in frustration as he couldn't believe the sight, Harkon roared in anger as he now knew the heroes had the one thing that could stop him. However, his anger was short-lived as he remembered...he had the one thing that could stop her. He walked down into the dungeons and grabbed his prisoner by the neck.
“You are coming with me.”
“Why...should I?” Sondas asked, between breaths, weakened by the consistent draining of his blood.
“Because very soon, it will be time to end this...very soon, the sun will no longer exist! And your wife...she will be dying at my feet and I will make you watch as I drain her dry of every last drop of blood in her body. Is that not right...Jerthos?”
He turned to the Vampire Lord behind him and all he could do was begrudgingly snarl as Harkon's mad laughter shook the very foundation of his castle. The final battle between those of Dawn and Dark was about to begin.
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