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Skyrim Story - Of Dawn And Dark: Part 1: Before The Storm
After Her Legend: Part 5
Life has been ordinary for Derbana over the past three months. She's been staying at home, preparing meals for her husband who was busy at his store. She knew life would be different when she got married, but she never thought it would be this different.
Sondas has grown overprotective since hearing the news of her pregnancy, so much so that she couldn't leave the city without so much as a third degree interrogation. They were bound in love now and forever, but it was starting to get to her. In fact, the only time she could do anything adventurous was when he was at his store.
Outside of Warmaiden's, Derbana wore a blacksmith apron as she worked on the forge. Beside her was Adrianne Avenicci, pounding out some dents on a breastplate laid on the workbench.
“So, how's everything been, Derbana?”
She groaned, “I don't understand Sondas sometimes. Ever since the New Life Festival, it's almost like he never lets me out of his sight.”
“Well, you did make quite a scene with everyone rushing to you.”
“Let's get one thing straight, I didn't want to make a scene. I whispered the news to him and he brought it to everyone's attention. I just wanted him to know, not the entire Hold.”
Adrianne snickered, “Yeah, men don't seem to understand subtlety.”
“The Divines don't I know that.”
The Imperial woman smiled, “Take my Ulfberth for example. Whenever he's with some of his friends, he can spend hours talking and there's still work to be done. There were times where I had to drag him away by his beard. I knew marrying a Nord would have its challenges, but there have been more good times than bad and to the Divines I'm thankful.”
“Yeah, I guess you're right. It's just I've always been used to doing what I want when I wanted to and now, I can't go outside Whiterun without getting a lecture and then we argue about it. Does he really think with all the years of training in stealth and archery that I'd let anything get close enough to harm the baby?”
“Men always get like this for the first child. I can only think of how Ulfberth would behave if we ever had a child.”
“Then, how do you know?”
“My mother. She told me how my father was when she gave him the news. Don't worry about it, Sondas will see in time.”
Derbana sighed, “I know, I know. I just wish we could go one week without getting into a fight.” She continued working on her project.
Adrianne stopped pounding the breastplate to look over at the forge, “What are you making there?”
“Some new Dragonbone weapons. Now that their bones and scales are more available to blacksmiths, new weapon plans were made available.”
“About time, too. Haven't you heard the rumors lately?”
“Which one? The one about the author of 'The Aetherium Wars' being a fraud?”
“No, the guard says vampire sightings have increased in all Holds. No one really knows why they're so many now or what they're up to, but it's enough to cause the Dawnguard to return.”
“The Dawnguard? I haven't heard of them before.” Derbana asked.
“They're an order of vampire hunters. Their ancient fortress is southeast of Riften. It would be a great thing if the Dragonborn were to join their ranks.”
Derbana sighed and continued finishing her bow, “I would, but Sondas...I don't want to break his heart. He worried enough when I was abducted, even though he was okay in the end. However this is different...we don't how long this would last, surely more than three days.”
“Then answer me one question, why are you making a new bow?”
“I got to do something and besides I had a lot of Dragon Bones left over from my adventures. I already made a new sword and so...”
“You really want to go out there, don't you?”
“No, I like living at home and being a good wife and...and...Yes, okay! Yes, I want to go out and do something about it. This is like my years in Cheydinhal all over again. I don't like feeling so...so...cooped up in the house all the time. I love going out and making a difference.”
“Well, I don't know about the Cheydinhal thing, but maybe if you talked to your husband about it, he might change his mind.”
Derbana shook her head, “No, I tried that already and he's absolutely insistent about me staying within the city walls. It also doesn't help when he sees that shadow.”
“Shadow? What shadow?”
“On the same night as the Festival, Sondas swears to see this shadow hovering outside the window of our bedroom.”
“You're talking about the wood slats?”
“Yes, but every time he sees it, it flies off. Sondas' guard is up and only adds to the problem. I keep telling him it's just his nerves about being a father, but I saw it once, so...I don't know.”
“Did you tell the guard?”
“They haven't report anything on their night patrols and besides, I don't want them to think Sondas is crazy. All he sees is a shadow and nothing else, so you can understand our apprehension.”
“Yes, I do.” Adrianne wanted to change the subject, “So, how are you feeling...with the baby?”
“I'm happy I'm no longer throwing up in the cauldron each morning. For the last six weeks, Sondas had to put up with that. This was the first week we didn't have to.” Derbana pulled her bow from the forge and drew it all the way back.
“That's looks really nice.”
“Yeah, but you never know if a bow's good or not unless you fire it.”
“Within the city walls? Are you nuts?”
“Relax, I'm going to just shoot it into the dirt behind the store. I'm not going to hit anyone and the guard won't know.” She drew an arrow from one of her new quivers.
“What are those?”
“Dragonbone arrows, I had to do something with the rest of them”
“There must be two thousand of them there, where...where did you have all these?”
“I kept them in a cupboard inside the house.”
“A cupboard? How is that possible? How did you get all those to fit in there?”
Derbana thought about it for a second before shrugging, “I don't know, really. I've never question it before. I'll tell you how it all turned out in a moment, Adrianne.”
“Derbana...” She said as the Dark Elf went around the store and out of sight, “I hope she doesn't put someone's eye out with those.”
With her new bow in hand, Derbana notched the maiden arrow and aimed toward the ground behind Olava The Feeble's house. Letting it go, the arrow flew faster than if it were fired from her last bow. Amazed at the speed, she ran up to retrieve her arrow before going back to get more.
As she threw the quivers on her back, Adrianne looked at her frenzied pace.
“Derbana, did everything go well?”
“This bow is the best! I'm going to fire a few more.”
“A few? Why are you bringing all your quivers?”
“Sorry, I've got to run!”
“Derbana! Don't get into trouble!”
“I never do!” She said before running around the store once again.
She didn't know how many hours she spent firing arrows into the dirt, but it wasn't enough for her. She took the walk to Jorravskar and fired away at the target dummies until they looked like porcupines. This reminded her of the Cheydinhal years again, but in a good way. As she lost the time, Vilkas walked over to her.
“Excuse me, Derbana. But isn't your husband going to be home any moment now?”
“Yes, you're right!” She remembered and hastily gathered her things before making her way down to the Plains District and to her house, Breezehome.
Opening the door, she looked inside to see no one on the first floor. Breathing a sigh of relief, Derbana ran to the back of the dining room, entering the alchemy room. She kept all her adventuring items in a chest atop the bookshelf when she wasn't adventuring. Opening the chest, she threw all her quivers inside and somehow got the bow in there, too.
Once they were hidden from view, she heard the front door open.
“Derbana, Love. I'm home.”
Knowing that she got away with making her new weapons, she walked out of the room.
“I'm coming, dear. Would you like some mammoth tonight? I got a good deal from Ysolda.”
“That would be nice...” He looked at her, “Have you been blacksmithing again?”
“No, what would make you think that?”
He pointed at her and she looked down at her clothes, she was still wearing the blacksmith clothes with the apron. Cursing herself silently, she put both her hands over her eyes while shaking her head.
“Okay, Sondas. Yes, I did some blacksmithing this afternoon. No, I didn't go outside the city walls to practice. Yes, the baby is fine. Don't worry so much.”
“What if something had happened? How could I live with myself?”
“You? I'm the one carrying the baby! All you had to do was put it in and enjoy the ride! It's my body, it's my time, and I'll be the one who decides what to do with it.”
“But it's not about you, it's about the three of us!”
“You're right, but that's no reason to act like a warden!”
“I'm not being overprotected, it's you that's not taking the situation seriously!”
“I'm handling everything just fine, thank you very much! The baby is going to be fine and nothing is going to happen to him or her as long as I'm aware of what I'm doing and what's going on around me. I promise you that.”
“Like you promised with the shadow?”
“Not this again!” She paced away from him.
“You promised me that the shadow was just my nerves until you saw it as well and you promised to get to the bottom of it.”
“I did. I used my privileges as Thane to get the answers you wanted and there's been nothing suspicious spotted inside the city at night. It's just a freak coincidence.”
“A coincidence that's happened every night since you told me about the baby!”
She was offended, “What? So it's the baby's fault the shadow's here?”
“Derbana, you know that's not what I meant.”
“But it's still true, isn't it? You don't want to have the child.”
“I want the baby. Don't forget I was the one who killed both his shoulders to raise you for the crowd. I was the one who was excited about the news.”
“Maybe, but excitement does pass and gives you time to have second thoughts.”
“It's not the only thing I've had second thoughts about.”
Derbana froze, “What...What?”
“Derbana, I'm sorry. It just slipped, you know I love you, right?”
“You don't really...”
“Get out!” She pointed to the door.
Sondas realized he crossed a big line and there was nothing he could do about it right now. Without saying another word, Sondas walked outside, slamming the door behind him. As the moment and the anger passed, Derbana realized what happened with a clearer head. She fell to her knees crying, Lydia ran down the stairs to see her Thane in shambles. The biggest argument they ever had and now she threw her husband out of their house. Lydia wrapped her arms around Derbana as she did her best to calm her down. After an hour, Derbana wasn't sobbing hysterically anymore, but nothing could rid her of this sadness. With heavy tear-filled eyes, Derbana tucked herself under the sheets and cried herself to asleep, just like the Cheydinhal years all over again.
However the surprises that night didn't end there. Outside her home, three people walked through the streets of Whiterun: One was a male Nord bandit, the other a female High Elf wizard, and the third man wore strange white armor. The first two looked to the last of their trio, he nodded and the two burst through the door.
Lydia sprung to her feet and rushed out of her room. The instant she was in the hall, she was hit by a strange spell and fell to the floor. The wizard ascended the stairs and walked over the still body before making her way to the master bedroom. The bandit stood in the living room as their unseen master chose to remain hidden nearby.
The wizard approached the sleeping Derbana, drawing an iron dagger from her belt as she crept closer and yet the Dragonborn remained asleep, unaware of the danger that was soon to befall her. The woman's evil smile grew as she slowly raised the dagger overhead.
“To kill the Dragonborn threat.” She whispered before stabbing it down.
Derbana rolled off from her bed and onto the floor, causing the wizard to fall as she did so. Leaping on top of her assailant, Derbana wrestled for control of the dagger. Still staggered and surprised, it was easy to get the dagger and with a quick action, stabbed her in the heart. As the wizard died, Derbana saw a glamor vanishing from her eyes.
Just as she stepped over her body, she saw Lydia face-first on the floor. Running over to her, she saw she was still breathing. Whatever spell they've used on her, it just put her to sleep. As she assisted her housecarl, Derbana heard the sound of a bow being drawn. Looking down to the living room, the bandit stood there aiming his arrow straight at her. Making no sudden moves, she thought of what she needed to do.
With a final draw, Derbana's only option was to dodge the arrow. The bandit smiled and then froze...literally. A new person was standing behind the bandit, freezing his entire body, even the bow and the drawstring, keeping the arrow in place. In a few seconds, the bandit was little more than an ice sculpture and with an elbow forward, shattered him into a million pieces.
As the small mist dissipated, Derbana saw her savior in this moment of need. Jerthar stood there in his ancient red robes, he looked up to his sister.
“Derbana, we have to go now.”
“Jerthar, how did you? Who are they? I've got a lot of questions.”
“I'll answer them, but later. For the moment, we've got to leave. Come down here and I'll help you don your armor.”
She simply nodded, unaware of the situation. As Derbana got out of her night gown, her brother acted as a guard to the alchemy room. Once she was in normal clothes, Jerthar turned to assist her. With Jerthar helping, she was able to don it in half the time. Grabbing her weapons, armor, backpack, and arsenal of quivers; she was escorted outside to see a small crowd forming.
The vampire seeing his puppets have failed, started to leave. Once he was out of his hiding place, he heard a bestial roar and looked above to see a Vampire Lord descending on him. As he screamed, he was pushed to the ground and felt the Lord's fangs digging into his throat. His blood spurted everywhere as Derbana and Jerthar looked on, watching the Vampire Lord feast on his victim.
When he was done, the Lord stood up, tearing the last chunk of meat from his victim's neck. Even lost in this moment of bloodlust, when the Vampire Lord's eyes met with Derbana's, his eyes softened and his expression turned to horror. Derbana didn't know why he made that face.
An arrow pierced into the Lord's shoulder and he shrieked, dropping what was in his mouth. They saw the guards were assembling.
“Everyone, we've got a Vampire Lord! Call in support from the Wind District and Dragonsreach. We need everyone to fight him.”
Jerthar threw a bolt of lightning and hit the Lord in the chest who barely flinched. More guards began to assemble and draw their bows. The Lord looked at Derbana and stood there, taking every blow he was being hit with. She wondered why he didn't fly away.
Just as that thought occurred, the Vampire Lord threw his wings up as high as they could go and brought them back down to the ground, soaring through the air and high above the city.
Jerthar grabbed Derbana's shoulder, “Sister, he's coming back around. We need to go now.”
She nodded, “Okay.”
As they ran toward the gate, she heard a voice over all the others.
“Please let me through!”
Turning toward the Bannered Mare, she saw Sondas being held back by a guard.
“Please, that's my wife!”
“Sorry, citizen. The Vampire Lord is still in the area. We need you to return to the Bannered Mare until further notice.”
They heard another roar and the Vampire Lord came back toward the earth, it was clear he was after the siblings.
“Derbana! We're going now.”
“Sondas!” She screamed toward her husband.
“Derbana!” He pushed passed the guard and ran at her.
“Sorry, Sister.” Jerthar gripped her shoulder and they disappeared seconds before being in the Lord's grasp.
The mystic tunnel once again played havoc with her body and her senses. When it ended, she landed on her feet this time and founded herself in the middle of a town, a place that was also familiar.
“Wait a moment, isn't this...Ivarstead?”
“Der...bana...” Jerthar fell to his knees.
“Jerthar...” She knelt down to look him in the eye, “are you all right?”
“Get...us...in...” He fainted in her arms.
Bringing an arm over her shoulder, Derbana carried her brother into the Vilemyr Inn. When she opened the door, Wilhelm was cleaning a stein.
“Hello, travelers. What you like...Oh my...”
“Wilhelm, I need a room.”
He ran from behind his bar and grabbed the other side of Jerthar. In a matter of seconds, he was resting face-up on the bed.
“Wilhelm, even I'm not entirely sure. Here...” She handed him twenty Septims, “this is for the room, some mead, and some meat. Whatever you have on hand is fine.”
“Got it.” He rushed behind his bar and got her the items she paid for.
Derbana brought her ear to his chest and heard his heartbeat, it was weak and getting weaker. She sat up straight and breathed calmly, gathering the energies she needed. She brought her hands over each other and placed them over his heart. Then with a single burst, the white healing light went from her into him. As if he was hit by a defibrillator, he started to breathe steadily once more.
However, she collapsed on her side as the spell left her in a weakened state. Hearing the footsteps on the creaky wood floor, she lifted her head to see Wilhelm standing over her.
“Good, I'll be needing that mead right now.”
Carefully balancing the tray, he knelt down as Derbana pushed herself on the floor. She sighed in relief as she got back to sitting. Raising her trembling hand up, she lunged out and with all her strength and held the stein in hand. Bringing it to her lips, she enjoyed drinking the much needed mead.
When she rested the stein on the floor, she nodded. Wilhelm placed the tray, which had venison on a plate, next to her. In a short second, she moved the stein onto the tray and slid it closer to her.
“Thank you, Wilhelm. We'll be all right now.”
“I can't just...”
“There's nothing more you can do for us. All we need now is rest.”
“Very well, but I'll be nearby if you need something.”
“Of course, friend.”
Wilhelm left the room and locked the inn for the night, knowing when the Dragonborn arrived, it meant something big was going on. Derbana ate the venison slowly, trying not to eat too fast and choke. Once it was done, she leaned back against the wall, catching her breath.
She heard Jerthar shuffling on the bed, his eyes cracked open only a little as he smiled at the sight of his sister.
“Don't speak, Jerthar. You're too weak and I can barely keep myself awake. Let's hold off everything until tomorrow when we're rested.”
She closed her eyes and was instantly asleep. Jerthar tried to wake her, but his quivering hand lost all strength and so, he could do nothing more, but find sleep as well.
The next morning, Derbana opened her eyes, stretching out while yawning. Even with getting a full night's rest, she was still tired. She smacked her lips as she awoke to see Jerthar was still asleep.
“Brother, it's time to get up.” She shook him gently.
“Just...five more minutes, Professor...” He rolled his head to the other side.
She shoved him with a little more force and his eyes opened.
“What...what's going on?”
“Good morning, glad you can get up with the rest of us.”
“I don't remember anything after...after...” He rose his head, feeling more alert, “The Vampire Lord...did he?”
She shook her head, “No, you teleported us in time. Were you aiming for Ivarstead?”
“Yes...” He looked at the room, “we made it?”
Derbana nodded, “Yes, we did. Though you nearly died doing so. I poured all the magicka I could into the Grand Healing Spell, taxed myself too much though and was exhausted.”
“What time is it?”
She shrugged, leaning her head against the wall, “I don't know. Never been that good at keeping time.”
He stood up and rushed out of the room. She struggled getting to her feet. Jerthar approached Wilhelm who was still yawning.
“Excuse me, innkeeper. Would you happen to know the time?”
“Well, Klimmek hasn't arrived with the supplies yet. So it's before nine, I can tell you that much.”
“Perfect. Derbana, let's get going.”
“What? Why the hurry?”
“The ones who attacked you last night, did you know who they were?”
“All I know is the woman saying something about 'ending the Dragonborn threat' and she...had a glamor in her eye. Jerthar, what do you know?”
“I'll explain on the way. Hopefully we can make it to the Fort before nightfall.” He walked out the door and into the sunlight.
She smiled at Wilhelm, “Forgive my brother, he has his reasons.”
“Don't we all?”
Derbana walked out the door and followed her brother into town.
Heading down the south road, they headed east for a while before heading south again. Jerthar kept a hurried pace that forced Derbana awake. He remained silent the entire time, choosing instead to keep them running as far as they could.
“Jerthar, talk to me. Where are we going?”
He continued his silent act and kept running as fast as he could.
“Please talk to me...”
Again, not a word, not even a single gesture of acknowledgment.
“Do I have to disappear and talk while hiding to get an answer from you...because I will do it again.”
“Fine...” He slowed down, so he could talk, “We are heading to Fort Dawnguard. I hope we can get there before nightfall for we don't know how many assassins they've sent.”
“The Dawnguard? So, it was vampires who attacked me last night?”
“No, they were his thralls. Like you said, the glamor in the eye meant they were being controlled. The vampire who was doing so was killed by the Vampire Lord that attacked Whiterun last night, it wasn't clear at first, but his target was you.”
“It makes sense, the Dragonborn would become a problem if she stood with the Dawnguard. The vampires wanted to kill me before I could be a threat to them.”
“Which would have happened if I didn't arrive in time.”
“So, you knew? You knew I was going to be attacked last night.”
“Yes...listen, it's kind of hard to talk...and run at the same time...mind if we stop for a minute?”
They rested underneath some trees for shade and he sat on a large stone to rest. He looked at his sister who wasn't winded.
“How come...you're not...out of breath...like me?”
“I've got more stamina than you and my light armor doesn't slow me down or tire me out like it used to, having trained in it for years.”
“Yes, I'll give you a moment.”
When Jerthar caught his breath, he sat up and sighed in relief. Derbana who was leaning against a tree, kicked off lightly and stood up straight.
“Now that you are no longer winded, answer my question. How did you know I would attacked last night?”
“ Two days ago, I was with the Psijic monks on their island. During my daily morning meditation, I was given a disturbing vision. It told me that yesterday night, your life would be in danger. The next scene was that of your grave being overshadowed as the sun disappeared from the sky, leading to eternal night. Vampires swarmed all over Skyrim, feasting on the throats and hearts of those unfortunate enough to cross their path. Then despite the efforts of valiant heroes, Tamriel would fall. That is why I came back early, I had to stop it from becoming true.”
“Thank you for saving me. It must mean you've mastered your spells?”
“No, I haven't. I spent the last two days teleporting to get to you in time. I tried getting the others to help, the only one who listened was Quaranir, but even he was outvoted by the monks. So, I took it on myself to help you. But all a few teleports, I needed to rest and recover for a short time before continuing. The teleport to Ivarstead was the last straw. If not for your spell...I don't want to think about it.”
“But do you really expect us to cross the Rift in a day? I could barely do that and it was only until I got to Riften. Fort Dawnguard is further than that.”
He stood up and looked at her with determination, “We will because we have to. Come on, we've still got a long ways to go and only six hours before nightfall.”
Derbana nodded and the two ran as fast as they could. However with Jerthar's weaker stamina and slower speed, they couldn't make it in time. Then it hit her, the solution to their problem.
“Hold on, Jerthar. Why run? I've got a better idea.”
“Oh and what's that?”
“Oh indeed.” She drew a deep breath before shouting, “Od Ah Viing!”
He felt such power in that voice, but nothing happened. He wanted to move on, but she stayed where she was and they waited for several minutes before she heard it, the flapping of a dragon's wings.
Jerthar saw the enormous shadow coming up from behind him, the dragon's silhouette as the sun was at its back. Jerthar lost his balance and fell to the cobblestone road, this was in fact, his first time seeing a dragon since he arrived in Skyrim.
Charging a single lightning bolt in both hands, but Derbana stood in the way.
“Stop, Jerthar! Please...he's a friend.”
“Friend? With a dragon?”
Odahviing turned to Derbana, “Ah, Dovahkiin. Slayer of Alduin. I see you still possess your poor taste in company.”
“He's a hilarious dragon.” She turned to him, “we need a ride to Fort Dawnguard. Normally I won't impose, but we are in a hurry.”
“This...Fort Dawnguard...I know it. Mortals have been going there steadily. I will bring you there as I promised in my vow to serve you for slaying Alduin.”
“Thank you. Come on, Jerthar. We don't have a second to lose.”
As they settled on the back of the dragon, Jerthar couldn't stop himself.
“Don't mind me asking, but why didn't you summon him in the first place?”
“I never did before. Though he is bound to my service, I allow him to roam freely as a thank you for getting me to Skuldafn. Besides I like running on the ground, I'm more comfortable there.”
Jerthar saw no reason in taking this any further and became quiet. With a nod showing they were ready, the dragon unfurled his wings and brought them to the ground, he kept doing so until he achieved flight.
With Odahviing flying them through the sky, it only took them two hours before they arrived at the entrance of Dayspring Canyon, home of Fort Dawnguard. They both got off and onto solid ground.
“This is as far as I will take you, Dovahkiin.”
“Yes, I understand...I don't know what's going to happen, but stay close by. We may need you again.”
With a nod, the dragon got the wind under his wings again and flew north into the mountains.
“Are you ready, Derbana? To join the Dawnguard.”
She knew this isn't what Sondas would have wanted, but she was here now and no matter what the argument would be, this evil had to be stopped.
She looked into his eyes and nodded, “I'm ready.”
With a replying nod, the two siblings walked into the dark entrance of Dayspring Canyon. And every step they took was one more step toward their destiny.