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Skyrim Story - Of Dawn And Dark: Part 10: As The Dawn Rises
“Derbana! Derbana!” Jerthar snapped his fingers, but got no response. He stroked his chin as he thought about what had just happened, he charged magicka in his fingertip and made a very tiny light. Bringing it across her eyes, he grew even more curious and concerned.
“No pupil dilation, no auditory response...what's happening to you, Sister?”
Her eyes strained and blood slowly dripped from her nose. He brought his hands forward and cast a Restoration spell on her. The bleeding stopped, but he didn't know for how long.
“Don't worry, Sister. You've gotten this far, I will help you the rest of the way. First...” He removed his backpack and gathered his tools, “Just a little longer, that's all I need.”
As her brother prepared, Derbana was about to black out as Molag Bal grimaced at this most hated mortal, but with each second that brought her closer to death, he grinned a toothy smile.
Then, a blast of light met him in his chest. It seared him, but he maintained his grip on Derbana and refused to let go, but the light kept increasing and the pain became too great. Letting her go, Molag Bal was sent backward as the light ended. Derbana fell to her knees, landing on what would be considered a floor in this infinite darkness, she caught her breath.
“What...What are you doing here?” He bellowed, getting back to his feet.
“Because I will not allow you to take her soul. She's my champion too, after all.” It was a gentle and kind female voice.
Derbana struggled to sit up, but she looked behind her to see another unbelievable sight. Azura herself was standing behind her.
“Again, you dare to stand in my way!” He willed a black wavering energy that opened up and from it, he pulled out his mace. Getting a firm grip, he charged Azura while roaring, focusing all his hate on her. Azura readied herself for his strike, his mace went up. Then, tentacles shot out from the dark and wrapped around him and his mace.
“Now...Now...You need to relax, I know of some good books you can read.” A low echoing voice that paused after a few words as if breathing heavily. Hermaeus Mora descended into the light, the large mass of tentacles and eyes stood behind Molag Bal.
“What are you doing here? What are you all doing here?” He roared, fighting his restraints.
He pulled him back, “We have gathered here to settle an anomaly that haven't yet occurred before.”
Derbana looked around her and she felt like an ant among giants. All sixteen daedric princes were here surrounding her in a perfect circle.
“Yes. So, why don't I start the show?” Clavicus Vile spoke in his trademark cockney accent, “Me and Hermy over there have been looking into this matter for some time. The anom..ano...problem he's referring to is her.” He pointed to Derbana.
“Me? Why am I the anomaly?”
Clavicus elaborated, “Well according to some of the oldest texts found in Apocrypha, those who have worship a daedric prince enter a some of deal with him or her...” He smiled, “Ah, deal...I always love that word.”
Mehrunes Dagon cracked his knuckles, “Get on with it before I destroy you, little imp!”
“Any who, when the worshiper dies, they go to their lord's plane of oblivion. However, she has performed deeds for each of us without the knowledge of the others. These deeds were making her worthy of being our champions, even if some of us didn't make her so.”
“What does this mean?” Azura asked.
“These laws were established during the founding of the universe, they state that she is, what's the phrase...off limits to each of us. This is prevent disputes amongst us to determine which afterlife and to who's service she will be eternally bound.”
“What?” Molag Bal yelled, freeing himself from Hermaeus Mora's tentacles, “You're saying that I can't touch her? After all, that's she's done?”
“Losing one soul is not the end of the world, though I can't say I'm not happy that there's one less person free of your madness.” Azura said with an angry flair to it.
“A soul that now resides in your Star! I don't care what it takes, I will see her groveling before me in forgiveness and rape her for a thousand years! You hear me?”
“You will not! I have grown fond of her being my champion.” Meridia stepped forward, standing next to Azura, “She has done much to rid the world of the undead that corrupt it. Besides, I could never allow a brute such as you to rape a woman as strong as her.”
“Agreed.” Nocturnal stood beside the other two, speaking in her indifferent tone, “She has restored the Ebonmere, purified one of my greatest temples, and killed the one responsible for defiling it. Should you bring her any harm, we will stand against you.”
Molag Bal grimaced and shook his head, “It doesn't matter. If I can't have her, then my followers will kill her for me.”
Azura crossed her arms, “Your followers are getting fewer. You've lost Harkon, your Daughters of Coldharbour don't obey you, and the priestess that offered you Jerthos's soul was killed by the Vigilants of Stendarr days after he was sacrificed.”
Derbana looked up at Azura who nodded.
“And lastly, your other cults are being systemically eliminated through either the Vigilants or ritual sacrifice. Your bloodlust is why not many have joined your cause to refill your ranks.”
Molag Bal growled, “Fine, but know now that you are no longer my champion and you are my eternal enemy. The protections of these lesser princes can't save you forever.”
The two ravens on Nocturnal's forearms squawked as she cracked a very small smile, “This is the same sort of tantrum that Mehrunes Dagon threw two hundred years ago when his plans were foiled and his Mythic Dawn were slaughtered. He made the same promise to this woman's grandmother and yet she survived to create progeny and trained them well it seems.”
Dagon grimaced, but held back his tongue, which was no easy feat. Molag Bal glared with a seething hate he never felt before even to the Aedra.
Then he uncharacteristically smiled, “Very well, you can have your way! I have other things that are worthy of my attention. Besides, she is going to die anyway.”
Derbana turned to him, wondering what he means.
“It is hard for a mortal's mind to handle the presence of one of us. Imagine how it must be for all sixteen of us to be in her mind? I believe she should be laying dead in the cathedral by now. Goodbye, you wretched bitch! I will see you very soon.”
Molag Bal faded into the darkness and disappeared, his evil laughter filling the air. Derbana didn't feel any different, but it may be that she wasn't with her body at the moment. The other princes began to vanish one after another, the only four remaining were: Azura, Meridia, Nocturnal, and Hermaeus Mora.
Nocturnal looked down to Derbana, “Despite the fact you are now free of guarding the Sepulcher when dead, I expect you to defend it while you are still living.”
“Yes, you have my word.”
Another very small smile appeared before she vanished. Meridia approached Derbana next.
“Continue bringing my light into this world and end those who are or use the undead in their vain hopes of corrupting it.”
“Yes, I will.”
She vanished and Azura turned to her, remaining silent.
“Azura...I want to thank you...for saving my father.”
“You're welcome, though it wasn't exactly following the rules. But for the love of your father and to see Molag Bal throw one of his fits, it was my pleasure.”
“Also if I may ask...”
“Relax, my child. Very soon, you and I will talk again, then I will answer all your questions.”
“Thank you...my lady.” Derbana bowed.
Azura bowed her head in respect before disappearing. Derbana breathed a sigh of relief as she turned around to see Hermaeus Mora floating there, one giant eye staring at her amidst the mass of wavering tentacles.
“Hermaeus...I thought you left.”
“I want to see what would happen should you die here...but that is no longer possible.”
“Glad to see my usefulness hasn't ended unlike Septimus.”
“He was a worthy servant, but he was no longer needed on Mundus and so I made him into one of my own seekers. Trust me when I tell you that he enjoys reading the infinite knowledge of Apocrypha, he couldn't be happier.”
“Somehow, that doesn't bring me much comfort.” She crossed her arms, “There's something more to why you're still here.”
“No, not really.” He started to float back into the darkness, “I just wanted to say that we will be seeing each other again...” One giant eye opened to look at her, “and much sooner than you think.”
He blinked his eye and she awoke from her trance. Looking around to see that it was Volkihar Cathedral, but it all was tinted in a white light. After examining her surroundings, it was her inside an oval capsule made of golden light, making her float a few inches off the ground.
Jerthar looked up at his sister, he was on all fours, his hands wrapped in the same light as he pressed them on a strange glowing circle. He ended his spell as he stood up, the light fading and she being lowered gently back to her feet.
“Sister, you're alive.”
“Of course, why wouldn't I be?”
“You started bleeding and I managed to get this circle drawn and activated in time.”
“What spell was that? I never saw that in any spellbook.”
“It's a more powerful healing spell I learned while studying with the Psijic Order. A circle that heals and keeps the subject out of time, so they can't die during. However, it takes a lot of magicka and concentration to maintain. I don't think I could have kept it going for much longer. What happened?”
“Oh, nothing major. All the daedric princes wanted to talk to me about something.”
“Really? I sensed the energy, but I didn't think it was all of them...did they say anything about me?”
“Sorry, we didn't get to that part. More importantly, how is everyone?”
“Don't worry, the battle is over. The vampires are dead....well, dead again and the Dawnguard are all right. See for yourself.”
“First, I want you to do something for me.” She pointed to Sondas, “Please, heal him.”
“It's already been done.” She looked at him quizzically, “Hey, if you were going to come back, you'd hate me if I didn't save him first.”
“Then, help me carry him.”
Jerthar nodded and together, they draped his arms around their shoulders and made their way out of the cathedral, Derbana glancing one last look before leaving the ashes of Harkon and the still body of her father behind.
They returned to the feasting hall where every member of the Dawnguard was exhausted and bandaged from their many wounds. Sorine was bandaging Celann's arm, both sitting at the right banquet table near the main entrance. Durak was laying down on the left banquet table with a large slash down his chest as Florentius was healing him.
“Are you all right?”
The Orc shook his head as he awoke, “I saw my two wives just now. They are waiting for me on the other side.”
“Let's get you back on your feet, friend.” Florentius offered him his hand.
Gunmar cried as his troll was laying dead on the ground. He had trained this troll from when he was a small cub, but he had saved his life from an unseen attack at the cost of its own. Just finished bandaging Celann, Sorine patted her friend's shoulder, knowing how much he cared for each of his trolls.
“Don't worry, Gunmar. I know you'll find a new friend soon.”
He was too broken to reply, which was a rare occurrence.
Isran and Serana were still talking until Derbana and Jerthar came down the stairs. The Dawnguard stood at attention to the two, knowing Harkon was dead. They saluted them and the pair saluted back, they all lowered their arms at the same time.
Isran spoke, “Good work, everyone. Tonight, we've dealt a large blow to the vampires, but our work is far from over. As long as a single bloodsucker walks the earth...”
Serana fake-coughed into her hand.
“Well, every bloodsucker but her, our work is still not done. With this victory, they are going to be some changes that need to be made, orders that need to be followed. I expect nothing less from each of you. Before we left for this battle, I received letters from many who wish to join our ranks and now they can. With the taking of this castle, this will be our northern base and I need a good man to lead the forces we'll station here.” He turned to Celann, “Celann, I can think of no one else but you to lead.”
“Yes, Isran. You can count on me.”
“I know I can. Durak, Florentius, you will stay here under Celann's command. Serana, since this is your ancestral home, I need you to stay with them to act as a guide until they get settled. You four will guard Castle Volkihar until I can get some of the new recruits up here to keep you all company.”
“Isran...” Sorine spoke up, “If you wouldn't mind, I'd like to be positioned here.”
“This is because of the Dwemer ruins are only a day's ride from here, isn't it?”
“Not to beat around the bush, yes. That's the main reason. Besides, I'm sure Agmaer is ready to step up in handling crossbow design and maintenance, I taught him everything I know.”
He stroked his chin and gave this a second's thought before replying, “Okay, you can stay. But don't get too wrapped up in your research, I need you here first and foremost.”
She held back her excitement, “Yes, thank you, Isran.”
He smirked as he turned to Derbana who just lowered Sondas sitting on a bench of the banquet table. She noticed him and asked.
“What are your orders for me?”
“I've got nothing for you or your brother as you claim him to be. You best serve the Dawnguard out there in the world doing what you do best. But if you see a vampire on your travels, kill him for me and the Dawnguard.”
“You have my word.” She said.
“Good...” He turned back to the rest of his soldiers, “All right, everyone you have your orders. Gunmar, we're heading back to Fort Dawnguard.”
“And how do you suppose we do that, Isran? Walk?”
Derbana said, “No, I've got a better idea.”
“Are you sure about this, Slayer of Alduin?” Odahviing asked when they went outside a few minutes later.
“Yes, I want you to take Isran and Gunmar back to Fort Dawnguard without me. I've also told them to allow you to stay there. You're free to come and go, you will have the entire roof to yourself.”
“Still, this concerns me. I've never trusted to stay in places where the joore have known to be including the last time I was at Dragonsreach, it was just as uncomfortable as the first time I was there.”
“Hey, they have no machines to restrain dragons. You saw that for yourself. Besides, it's better than trying to hide in murky caves or freezing mountaintops, right?”
“Hmm...what you say is true, Dovahkiin. Very well. While you don't have need of me, I will stay on top of this Fort Dawnguard as long as it remains safe for me to be there.”
Isran nodded, “I'm not too thrilled about having a dragon sleeping atop my fortress, but he's proven himself useful, though don't expect me to take care of him, he'll have to do that on his own.”
“Like he has since always.” Derbana remarked, “Take care of yourself, Odahviing.”
“I will, Slayer of Alduin. Come, joore, we should be there as the sun rises.”
Isran and Gunmar climbed atop his back. Derbana took a few steps back to stand alongside her brother as the wings unfurled and with several mighty flaps, Odahviing took flight and quickly disappeared over the horizon with his two passengers in tow.
She turned to her brother, “So, now that we are alone and no daedric princes to take me away. When did you get better?”
“If you promise not to get angry, I will tell you.”
She smiled, “I promise not to get angry, so tell me. When did you get better?”
“About fifteen days after I teleported us from here, why? Is there some sort of reason you'd...” His sentence was cut short from a soft punch to the head, “Ow, you promised not to get angry.”
“This isn't anger. This is frustration. I was worried sick about you...for these past few weeks, I thought you were never going to wake up. And you've been awake for all this time? Why didn't you say anything? Why did you pretend to be in a coma for that long?”
“If you'd listen for a moment, I'll tell you.” He straightened his hair from her punch before explaining, “When I woke up, I noticed the pile of spellbooks next to me. After reading a few chapters from each book, the idea for Sun's Glory came to me. So, I researched and mastered the basic spells they had to offer. It was amazing, using Restoration magic as a weapon against the undead, it was simply brilliant.”
Derbana crossed her arms, “Continue...”
“Oh yes, well...I practiced my magic in secret as everyone was too busy with their own duties to notice that I wasn't asleep. I was eventually caught after your second visit with Isran, he had noticed the books he piled were out of order. I made him promise me not to tell you for if you knew I was perfecting a new spell so soon after recovering, you wouldn't allow it and get upset with me.” Rubbing his head, “Though that mattered little since your reaction would have been the same.”
“Great, now I owe him a punch, too.”
“Regardless of how you feel, he knew that my spell may have been the best chance of killing Harkon once and for all. However, it was a very well calculated risk since I had no guinea pigs to test my spell on, so there was the chance that it wouldn't have worked at all.”
“So when I said that I missed you, you were my first family, and I loved you...you were awake the whole time?”
“Didn't you notice I stroked your hair when you fell asleep?”
“So, that was you, after all.”
“Yes, I wanted to let you know how much I cared without words. Can you ever forgive me?”
She sighed and opened her arms for a hug, “What is family for?”
They hugged each other and Derbana gripped tightly.
“If you ever pull this kind of stunt again, I will kill you...you got it?”
He nodded his head, “I wouldn't have it any other way.”
Once their hug ended, Derbana pulled away to get something from her pack, "Speaking of showing how much I cared without words. I had Sorine make me a gift to give to you if you would like."
Jerthar started to shake his hand, "That's all right, sister. With me pretending to be unconscious, I deserve no gift."
"Are you sure?" She smiled, removing it from it's cloth bindings, "I think you'd really love it!" She said, waving the Legendary crafted Enhanced Dwarven Crossbow.
He turned to see how it's dwarven metal shined in even this dim sunlight, "Oh give me!"
"I don't know...you did say you don't deserve a gift."
"Must you play the part of the teasing older sister? Please, may I have it?"
"Well, since you loved the first crossbow so much. Here..." She passed him the crossbow. He turned toward the empty ocean and lining up his sight as he aimed it, "This is just...perfect!" He said, marveling it before bringing it close to his red eye, "The craftsmanship is very well done!"
"I'm sure Sorine would love to hear that. And what is a crossbow without bolts?" She pulled out and handed him a four modest-sized quivers, "That's around 200 dwarven bolts right there, that should get you started."
Jerthar silently smiled at his sister as tears of joy started to lightly grace his cheek. Then his expression turned into concern, looking passed his sister's shoulder. She raised a curious eyebrow until she heard the voice from behind her.
“Derbana...” She turned to see Sondas hobbling over to her with Serana holding him up. She left Jerthar to see to her husband. He rested in her arms and she smiled having him back.
“Sondas, I'm so sorry. I should have listened to you about everything. I promise from now on, that I will be a better wife for you and the sake of our child.”
He shook his head, “No, it is I who am sorry. I shouldn't have been overprotective and kept you restrained as I did. I married you and you are the Dragonborn, you will always be destined for great adventure and I trust you to keep yourself and our child safe.”
“Let's never fight again, my love.”
He leaned himself up for a kiss that they shared together. The world faded away until it was the two of them together surrounded by the infinite sea of stars. When they parted, everything came back into focus.
“It's not going to be overnight, you know?” She said.
“I wouldn't have it any other way.”
“Hey...” Jerthar said, “That's my line!”
They all shared a laugh together as she and her husband got back to their feet. Serana smiled, extending her hand out.
“It looks like we'll have to wait for that drink together.”
“Yes, it does. But know this, Serana...” She shook her hand, “you'll always be my best friend.”
“And I...” She smiled, glancing at Jerthar, “wouldn't have it any other way.”
“Not you, too.” He said.
“Why not come with us now? Jerthar can teleport the four of us to Solitude and we can share a drink right now.”
“I would, but...” Serana yawned, “I need to get some sleep...my, I haven't seen my room for centuries, I wonder if anything has changed. And there's the matter of the Dawnguard here needing my help, I'm going to be really busy for a while, making sure they know the place. Plus there's one more errand I need to run before I can go to sleep, but I will need Jerthar's help.”
“Really? You need my help, line stealer?” Serana glared at him, “Only joking, what do you need?”
She looked up at the North Tower Balcony and smiled. Moments later, she was entering her mother's study and took the long walk through the Soul Cairn to where her mother was.
“Serana, you've returned...could it be?”
“Yes, mother. Father is dead. I would like you to come with me, I've got someone I'd like you to meet.”
“All right, just give me a moment to pack my things.”
“Let me help, it'll get done faster.”
Once she had all her supplies packed, Valerica and her daughter stepped through the portal. After climbing the steps to the study's second floor, Jerthar was standing there, reading her journal.
“Mother, this is Jerthar. He's the brother of my friend you met last time.”
“Really? He doesn't look like a Dark Elf.”
“It's...complicated. All you need to know is he always has a love of research.”
“Yes, I do.” He said, “In fact, I find your notes on the subject fascinating. Can we meet some time and talk about it?”
“Normally, I don't trust strangers. But since my daughter is vouching for you, I'll give you a chance.”
He closed the book and handed it to her, “Great, how about every Loredas(Saturday) I'll stop on by to talk for a few hours and maybe aid in your research?”
“All right, but be warned. I am very strict when it comes to research, I hope you can keep up.”
“You'll find I am more than adequate for the task. I'd like to stay and get acquainted more, but we have to be going.” Jerthar bowed, “Good day, ma'am. Serana...”
“I'll be right there, Jerthar.” Serana turned to Valerica, “I'll see you soon, Mother...I...love you...”
She headed out with her friend and right before the day closed, she heard.
“I love you, too.”
After returning Serana to the ground and saying their goodbyes; Derbana, Sondas, and Jerthar were teleported to Proudspire Manor, her home in Solitude, where they startled Derbana's Housecarl, Jordis the Sword Maiden from a sound sleep.
However after seeing the intruder was Derbana and a quick explanation, she returned to sleep as the three prepared for sleep as well. Derbana getting into her nightgown as Sondas slipped into a pair of pajamas. Their first night should have been magical, but they were exhausted and besides, they were happy enough to be sleeping in the same bed after their time apart, it made them both feel at peace.
The next morning, Jerthar awoke from the bedroll in the downstairs enchanting room. He stretching and yawning as he got off the stone floor, massaging his stiff shoulders. Walking up the stairs to the living room, he went straight to the kitchen to brew some Sunrise Tea. He got the pot hot enough to boil the tea leaves. While they were boiling, he got to the cabinet to add some honey when he heard a familiar noise. He shrugged his head as he kept focusing on his task.
Jordis looked above her as she walked into the kitchen, “What's that sound?”
“Derbana and her husband are busy...reuniting after her adventure.”
“Yes, like rabbits in spring.”
“When do they usually finish?”
“It takes them a few hours. They should be done before nightfall at the very most.”
“What should we do?”
“Based on experience, the best thing is to enjoy my freshly brewed tea and wait it out. But given the events from yesterday, they shouldn't be long. Here...” He passed her a tea cup freshly poured, “you'll like it.”
She took it in hand and sipped it, “Uhmm...delicious. By the way, what events from yesterday?”
“Just killing a Vampire Lord and taking down an entire vampire clan.”
“What? How did that happen?”
Jerthar spent the next hour telling the story and as he was finishing up, Derbana staggered down the stairs, using her hand as a support on the wall to make the turns.
“So, Sister...” His smug expression, “did his waist finally give out?”
“No, he's still tired and his blood hasn't fully returned. He's taking the rest of the day to rest in bed.”
“Good because we need to talk about some things seeing as we are here in Solitude.”
“What do you mean?” Her question made her brother smile.
It was around noon when Derbana emerged from Castle Dour with General Tullius, still talking. They stopped when they saw Jerthar who straightened himself up from his long wait.
“So, this is the brother you've been talking about. Good, the Legion could always use more battlemages. Normally we'd have you do some sort of initiation in the form of a quest, but from what your sister has told me, you're more than fit to join without question. When you're ready, repeat after me.”
Derbana stood off to the side as a crowd started to form. With one last look at Derbana, Jerthar nodded, “I'm ready.”
“Then, repeat after me. Upon my honor I do swear undying loyalty to the Emperor Titus Mede The Second.”
“Upon my honor...” Jerthar started taking the oath.
Derbana sighed as she smiled, “My brother is now a part of the Legion as well.”
“It's a good day, isn't it?” Said the person now walking alongside Derbana.
She was Taarie, a local Altmeri woman who owns the Radiant Raiment, the only clothing store in all of Skyrim, with her sister. Though she was talking to Derbana, she kept looking straight forward.
“Yes, it is.” She replied, looking back to her brother.
“By the way, I like what you're wearing...it really suits you.”
Derbana's eyebrow raised, “Yes, like a compliment that's actually an insult, right?”
“No, no, I mean you really look nice.”
“Okay...” Derbana crossed her arms, “Who are you and what have you done with the real Taarie? Why are you being so nice?”
“Well...” She eyed Jerthar, “I saw you walking with that handsome piece of Altmer and I was wondering if you could put in a good word for me?”
“You're interested...in my brother?”
“He's your brother? Oh my, I didn't think you had family?”
“It's...a really long story. So, may I ask what your intentions are for my brother?”
“It's just...I want to...know more about him...and then maybe...” She blushed as she looked at him.
Derbana smiled, wanting to see that look for she knew it well, “All right, I'll introduce you.”
“Really?” She said excited before regaining her composure, “I mean thank you.”
“Welcome to the Legion, soldier!” General Tullius saluted Jerthar who saluted back, “After being told of all your achievements and under the recommendation by your sister, I hereby grant you the rank of Legate. Now, you and your sister are of equal rank.” He brought his hand out, “Use it well.”
After Jerthar shook his hand, the ceremony was over, General Tullius walked back into Castle Dour and the crowd soon dispersed. The only ones who remained were Derbana and Taarie.
“Derbana, who's your...” He blushed, “friend?”
“Jerthar, this is Taarie and she wants to know if you would like to court her?”
“I...” He was caught off-guard, “I mean...I um, this is...” He kept stuttering over his own words.
“What my brother means to say is he would love to. In fact...” She handed him a hundred septims, “Take her out to someplace nice for lunch, may I recommend the Winking Skeever. For dinner, you will dine at the Blue Palace. I will need some time to make the arrangements and be a good gentleman and do what the lady requires. Have fun, you two.”
“Thanks...Sister.” Was all he said before she left them alone.
She glanced back at them. Jerthar was rubbing the back of his head as Taarie leaned in on his shoulder. Heading to the Blue Palace, Derbana easily noticed a courier running toward her.
“Hey, I've been looking for you. Let's see here, a few letters from various Stewards. It looks like you're heading up in the world. Well, get to go.” He said and ran passed her to his next delivery.
Derbana opened the letters and smiled, knowing what opportunities awaited her. After fulling the promise to her brother, she returned to Proudspire Manor and was excited to talk to her husband about what she just read. But he was still asleep, so she smiled, undressed, went under the sheets, and snuggled up to him, enjoying his warmth and his scent.
Later that evening, Jerthar returned from his date to see Derbana and Sondas talking and laughing. When they noticed him, she waved to her brother.
“So, how was your evening?”
He had a peaceful look on his face, “It went wonderfully. Did you know that she considered being a wizard until she realized she loves the clothes more so than the magic. That's how she started as a tailor. Do you mind?” He pointed to the bottle of ale on the table, Derbana passed it to him, “And she loves that I am a wizard...” He took a quick swig, “we've already got another date tomorrow, Taarie's going to take me to her place and get my robe adjusted. I'm also going to brew some tea, she was very interested in all the Altmeri and Bosmeri styles of tea I know.”
“Bosmeri? How did you know how to brew their styles?”
“There was a Bosmeri servant boy at the magic academy. I was sent to kitchen duty as punishment when I exploded the target dummies...for each of the seven times. We got to know each other and long story short, he taught me what his father taught him to brew.”
“Did you know his name?”
“He...refused to tell me. We stayed silent on that issue and focused on the kitchen duties. Anyway, it looks like I'll be staying in Solitude.”
Derbana sighed, “I had a feeling this would happen. I just didn't think it would be after one date.”
“Well, I'm not sure yet. I wasn't planning to, but I really like Taarie. Sure, she's not perfect with her having very high standards, but she likes me and she doesn't mind my red eyes. And I think...” He looked to the door, “I could make a life here...you know, like what you and Sondas have.”
Derbana blushed at the comment, “It's great to have someone sharing your life. I hope you can find happiness here.”
“I have a pretty good feeling about this. She's even agreed to let me stay with her and her sister if I can't find somewhere to live.”
“That shouldn't be a problem.” Derbana smiled, “Here, I had Beirand make this for me.”
She tossed it to Jerthar who caught it, “This...This is...”
“The key to Proudspire Manor. In case, you wanted to stay, I had this made. Now, I do have one rule you need to follow.”
“Okay, name it.”
“This house is still mine on paper, so I have the right to still come and go from here as I please. I will try to send a letter ahead, but I will knock on the door to let you know I've arrived. Other than that, enjoy the house.”
He looked around to see it, “Thank you, Sister.”
“You're welcome, Brother. But could we have your help with something tomorrow?”
“I've got my date with Taarie in the afternoon, but I'm available in the morning. What do you need?”
“Oh, nothing big. Just a couple of errands...” She smiled wide.
“I hate it when you smile like that.” He said.
With a few teleports from Jerthar, she had traveled all across the province paying and leaving materials to fulfill the next step of her life plans. The last stop was at the College of Winterhold where Derbana had the entire faculty assemble for an important announcement.
They were a bit confused when they arrived at the Hall of the Elements to see the man standing next to her.
“Arch-Mage, why did you call us here?” Tolfdir was the only one to speak.
“After talking with my brother, I have come to this decision. I have decided to step down at the Arch-Mage for the College and my last command before I step down is appoint my brother, Jerthar, as my successor. Congratulations, Arch-Mage.” She shook her brother's hand.
“Let me guess, you still want access to the Arch-Mage's Quarters?” He whispered. “Naturally.” She turned to the crowd, “I hope you give him the same amount of dedication and respect that you have given me.”
“But, Arch-Mage...Derbana, what brought this on?” Tolfdir asked.
“I think it would be more appropriate for an actual mage to be presiding over the College. Because...did not one of you thought it was strange that I killed Ancano with a sword and not a spell? That the only magic you've seen me cast was that ward spell when I attended class?”
The other wizards mumbled amongst themselves in agreement.
“Tolfdir will still reside as Master Mage in dealing with the day-to-day operations. That is all I have to say about this matter. You can return to your normal duties.”
Jerthar turned to his sister, “You do know that this will be hard with me dating Taarie, right?”
“I concluded you'd figured out a way with your magic.” Derbana started to leave.
“Wait, don't you want to go back to Whiterun?” He asked.
“In an hour or two, why don't you rest for a bit. There's a friend I have to meet...and something I have to do.”
He nodded, knowing what she meant as she left Winterhold on her horse. Around the mountain, she climbed the many stone steps leading to the Shrine of Azura. As she's ever done, Aranea Ienith was standing before the altar, praying and praising Azura.
“You've arrived just as Lady Azura has predicted. And she would like to speak to you.”
Derbana approached the altar and placed her hands upon it.
“I know why you're here. The request you wanted to ask before, I shall grant it.”
“Yes, my Lady.” She placed Azura's Star on the altar.
Aranea said, “You know that once you've given up Azura's Star, it will not appear on Tamriel for a hundred years.”
“I give both her Star and the soul within to Azura. Please...” A tear left her eye, “take care of him.”
“You need not worry, my champion.” A pillar of light pierced through the gray clouds, falling perfectly on Azura's Star, it rose slowly up into the heavens, “He will walk into my realm of Moonshadow and will know an afterlife of peace from this day forward. And his love will meet him in the everglowing forest where every color blurs together.”
“What? You mean...my mother's there, too?”
“You did not know it as she kept it a secret from everyone. Derbana the Second was one of my worshipers, she prayed to me when she needed to the most. Only Antala knew of her devotion to me.”
“Which is why Antala prayed to you when I disappeared.”
“Exactly, it is finally time for both husband and wife to be reunited.”
“Yes...” Derbana nodded, “Yes, it is.”
She took one last glimpse at the Star disappearing into the the clouds and the pillar of light slowly grew smaller until it was gone. Derbana arose from the altar.
“Aranea, could you please tell me...my child's gender?”
She nodded and placed her hand on Derbana's midsection as a wave of epiphany washed over her as it did the first time.
“Yes...I see it...your child...will be your...”
Derbana sighed and thought, “Welcome to the world, Derbana the...”
“What? My child...is a boy?”
“Yes, I see him. He will grow to be a healthy boy. Under your care, he will become another hero of this world. Would you like to see?”
She nodded and Aranea brought her hand up, the vision appeared before them. A Dark Elf stood in midst of battle before them. He had a thin bread and a face more like hers than Sondas. He wielded a dragonbone sword as he dodged his opponents' attacks. Surrounded by Redguards with scimitars, he moved with the same grace and finesse as she herself. An attack came from behind, he swung his sword and...he blinked. He now stood behind the attacking Redguard as his strike completed, going through his opponent's back.
“Amazing, he just sidestepped like Jerthar. How?”
“Jerthar is also a part of his upbringing, your son grows to be a powerful spellsword. Though he is also proficient with the shield and bow just like his mother is.”
“But, that place...why is he in Hammerfell?”
“I...can't say...some things have to remain a mystery for the future to become present. This is as much as I can show you without altering the timestream. Or more accurately, this is all that the Lady chooses to show me. I will stop now.”
“No, wait...” Derbana raised her hand as the vision froze, showing a perfect image of her son, “Just a minute longer...” A small smile grew as she looked on her child, on her son.
Aranea nodded, “I understand.”
Standing there in the snowing cold of the mountain, she continued to gaze on her child until the vision ended.
An hour later, Derbana found herself back in her home at Whiterun. She walked into the alchemy room and started removing her armor and getting into her simple green dress.
When she was in her dress, Sondas walked down the stairs. The instant he saw her, he ran to his wife and held her in his arms. As she hugged him back, the warm feeling spread throughout her and she never wanted to leave his embrace ever again.
And everything was right in the world again. Harkon and his clan was no more as vampire sightings across Skyrim were lessened and each one was investigated and taken care of by the Dawnguard. Jerthar returned to Solitude to get his rest before meeting Taarie to enjoy another wonderful day together. Serana became a valuable asset as every secret of Castle Volkihar was soon uncovered...except for the secret passage that led to Valerica's Study. Her mother's existence was kept secret from the Dawnguard and she was determined to keep it that way.
That night, Derbana slid under the sheets with her husband. She snuggled up next to him as he brought his arm around her. Smiling as she closed her eyes to enjoy sleeping, knowing that he would be the first sight she'd see when she awoke. Her smiling widened as the fact in three months, she'd get to see her son.
Her dream that night was a great one. By a small pond with a waterfall where a light purple water flowed, surrounded by trees with leaves that swirled and changed colors every moment. She saw a woman on her knees, crossing her fingers through the water, watching it ripple. Even in this place of wonder, she had a sad face.
As the rippling water cleared, a person stood over her. Derbana the Second looked up to see it was Jerthos, his body whole without any sign of him having been in Coldharbour. She didn't hold back her tears of joy as she stood up to hug him. He cried too for at long last, he was in the arms of the one woman he loves more than the worlds themselves. Underneath the eternal moonlight of Moonshadow, they shared a kiss that made the perfumed air smell sweeter and the shifting colors of trees grow brighter.
In her sleep, a single tear fell from her eye as both her mother and father were free to love each other in peace for all eternity. When she would awake the next morning, Derbana knew that in her heart, her days of journeying were behind her as the long war between those of Dawn and Dark had finally came to an end.
Elsewhere in another world, a man sits down on the gray stone floor littered with thin piles of parchments. He grimaced as he looks through the next set of books laying down on the ground. Taking them in hand, He flipped through the pages.
“Useless...” He threw the books, they skidded across the floor until they flew over the edge and into the murky, slimy water below.
“My servant...” The heavily breathing voice echoed as the man turned to the green dark-clouded sky to see the floating mass of eyes and tentacles looking down at him, “those books took me millennia to collect. Treat them with more care...”
He grunted and turned back to the ground, he begrudgingly said, “Forgive me, Lord Herma-Mora. I will...try not to do so again.”
“Very well, my servant.”
“How did the summit go?”
“It went surprisingly well, only one fight tried to break out and it was quickly quelled by my intervention alone. But, this...Derbana is a curiosity. If I could, I would have added her to my collection as well.”
“Derbana...is that her name?”
“Yes, you two are akin to each other. After all, it is not every day that a Dragonborn walks on the world of Nirn.”
He nodded, “Yes, they do not.”
Hermaeus Mora said, “I will go now and leave you to your...research. I expect it to be most...promising...”
He disappeared from the skies of Apocrypha as his servant chuckled at his good fortune. For the key to his puzzle has at last revealed itself.
Miraak smiled, “It is time and very soon, I, the first Dragonborn, shall walk on the world once again. The preparations are almost complete and my followers are amassing under my Lord's notice. Hahaha! I'll be coming for you shortly...Derbana!”
His laughter echoed off the walls and pillars made from aged books as his plans over these many years were about to bare fruit.
Derbana's journey continues in Those Born Of Dragons