Straag Rod: Book 1, Part 1, Chapter 10


Straag Rod, Book 1: Fate Goes Ever as it Must, Part 1

Chapter 10: The Eagle

Warning: This chapter contains graphic descriptions of violence. We are talking war time atrocity levels here, so just be aware. It's also weirdly metaphysical. But, what can I say? This is for mature audiences.


433 3E,  Great Anguish, Battle for Crystal-Like-Law


They peered over the chasm, deep into what lay below, into the ancient grotto, sheltered within mountains deep. The filtered brightness of Magnus scattering rays mixing with the light mist to create prisms of color...

Nothing can ever truly be destroyed, he thought, a smile of silent satisfaction finding his features while he watched her, smoke flowing lightly from his nostrils. 


From the blasphemy of destruction now bloomed dense fields of delicate yellow flowers, covering the rocks, filling the grotto with their fragrance. The pools, once blackened and congested with ash, were again like mirrors of ultimate clarity. And they rained. Aye, the ancient trees rained again, their showers of salmon-pink blossoms, shedding the tears of the Passion Dancer’s joys while her sacred moths flew upon the grotto’s winds, twirling, spinning, catching the cosmic light of the sun on their wings. 


A new voice. Distant. Not welcomed.

He heard her tiny gasp, like the lightest of breezes. 

“It’s…” she spoke in awe, her voice naught but a whisper. “It’s... your song…it’s real.” 

“Of course it is.” He heard himself utter softly, because he did not want to destroy the moment either. 

“You understand.” 

“All of it.” 

She looked up and smiled at him. “Then sing it again for me, my gentle Beron…” 

“Zahnirbildaar...I summon yo--” 

Hi krilon tinvaak dii faan ontzos, he snarled in his mind. You dare speak my name again? Bo, Elf Wizard! Leave me to the peace of my slumber-dreams! I am not whom you call and I am no slave to your whim. I am Beron and she is Ana. My Ana. 

Dii umriid… my treasure.

Zahnirberon…It is time...” 

No, it is NOT. 

He again ignored the voice and for the thousandth upon thousandth time, he sang for his beloved Ana, soft, clear, and low, the warmth of his breath against her ear, the hairs of his long beard making her shiver with promised delights of evening’s magic. He sang  his song... for her. She knew all the words by now, understood their deep symbols, and her hand clasped his, cool against the blood-fire of his own. 

She gazed and saw the beauty of it all. 

And sighed, leaning against him. 

But he, he only saw... her. 

Only her… the pale beauty of Jone shrouded in Ebony’s night.  Star-fire in her eyes. 

“Ebonnayne…” He murmured passionately into her hair as his arms wrapped tightly around her body from behind, his lips caressing her temple with a tender kiss--  


“Äelberon! Ronnie!”

He woke with a violent jerk, blinking several times to focus his vision in the darkness. 


“Huh?”  Äelberon shook his head, clearing his mind. He saw her face, but the image rapidly dissolved, replaced by the dim outlines of the closet and the Archmagister leaning over him, the old Mer’s hand on his shoulder, a small orb of candlelight hovering over his head, casting the lines of his face in an unusual harshness. “Master?” He blinked.

“Well, you are finally awake.” The Archmagister chuckled,  though Äelberon saw an odd glint in the Mer’s narrowed light orange eyes, saw that the old mage was pale, the pallor Äelberon sometimes got when trying a spell that was far too difficult still. “You did not want to wake up. In fact, you were quite rude about it.”

“My apologies.” Äelberon groaned and put a hand over his eyes to rub them and his forehead. His head didn’t hurt, but the fog of deep sleep had yet to leave him.

The older Mer’s features grew thoughtful. “A lovely melody though. I’ve not heard that one from you before. And the text…I know no place like what you described. You have an astounding imagination, Ronnie, astounding.” 

Äelberon furrowed his brow and partially rose to rest on his elbows. “What melody?” He asked.

The Archmagister’s brow furrowed. “The one you sang in your sleep, boy.”

He frowned. “I sang? I did not sing. I would remember that.” The brief flash of concern in Rynandor’s eyes was promptly ignored when Äelberon finally noticed the empty bedrolls next to him. His muscles tensed with worry. “Where are they? My family ?” His tone was more agitated in the presence of the Archmagister than he intended.

“Do not worry, son. They are safe, deep within the Tower. I gave your Lenya the key.” Rynandor whispered, giving his shoulder a reassuring squeeze. 

“The key?” Äelberon understood as soon as he said the words and he nodded slowly, approving of the decision. “It is time, then.” Not a question. Even his voice seemed to change, lowering with the weight. The burden of thousands of years it felt like to him.

“Aye, boy, it is time.” 

Why did ‘Nandor sound so tired? 

“Did you always know?” Äelberon dared ask, looking up at the Archmagister. 


He had so many more questions for Rynandor, but now was not the time and perhaps it all would remain a mystery of Rynandor the Sapiarch, the Seer-Mage of Crystal-Like-Law. 

Now was the time to act. To fear and fight. Not to talk.

“Auri-El’s will be done.” Äelberon whispered back solemnly, rising from the bedroll. 


It was the Archmagister himself who led Äelberon upwards to the Ancestor tombs, where he noticed that his armor, freshly oiled and buffed to a great shine, had been placed upon one of the white marble tables normally reserved for the ritual cleansing, anointing, and rewrapping of their ancestor’s preserved bodies. The only ones never to be burned, because they were not dead, but transcended.  The hope that they would visit Nirn again and tell them the how of it, still burned into the heart of every Altmer. His weapons were close by, upon another table and he began to wonder what had happened while he slept.

“Why is my armor here? The tables are only for the transcended, Master. We break custom.”

Rynandor did not answer. Instead he reached for the cuirass and with the skill of an experienced squire, began to fit Äelberon into his silver-plated cuirass. 

“Bind your hair while I fit your armor. War braids in the tradition of your old Outsider.” 

“War braids?” 

The Archmagister nodded, a knowing smile finding his lips. “Aye, war braids. And only say the Greater Tenets, if you please, we do not need to hear about punishment today.” Äelberon cocked an eyebrow, abridge the Tenets? “Don’t give me that look boy, we are not exactly luxuriating in time. Here you go.” 

A comb was handed to him and he began to work on his hair. “Very well, Master.”

“Auri-El is the light of the world,” Äelberon intoned, while he formed a portion of his hair into the Order’s distinct top-knot. The rest would be plaited into what Rynandor requested. War braids, “the Soul of Anui-El, who is the soul of Anu, the Everything. The Dragon God of Time and these are the Tenets of His Holy Order. Commit them to your Body.  Commit them to your Heart. Commit them to your Mind.  Commit them to your Soul, so that you may ever serve in His name and achieve transcendence in accordance to His steps.” The top-knot finished upon reaching the cadential flourish at ‘steps’, he began to intertwine his priestly leathers within the thickest central plait, the plait that sprung from the left-over hair of the top-knot, plaited close to his scalp. “These are the Three Greater Tenets.” He continued. “On these three hang all others. 

Love and Honor the Lord Auri-El. Know that He is the King of the Gods and that none are above Him, save Anui-El and Anu, though many serve Him and many stand with Him.

Walk always in the light of Mercy and Compassion, so that all may bear witness to His true goodness.

Protect and Honor the weak, the innocent, the old, and the young from the evils of Nirn with your service.” 

“Now, sing for me...” the old Mage suddenly asked while he worked. “Sing me your Tam service.”

“Then sing again for me, my gentle Beron…”

Her image danced through his mind briefly, making him start. 

“I will sing for you.”

He answered, only it was not his voice.


She was again gone. 

I will sing

Without thinking, Äelberon’s voice erupted into a Tam service, the ancient florid melodies with their angular modes echoing within the faceted crystal dome roof of Crystal-Like-Law, creating delayed harmonics that would carry downwards well into the Tower depths. A phenomenon of acoustics that rivaled the tonal architecture of the Dwemer. An acoustics of faith rather than one of science. 

It was only then that he heard the screams. Terrible screams, from outside the Tower, under the burning skies, and he stopped, feeling the fear surge in his heart.  His People were screaming and among the screams were frightful yells, laughter, and shrieks. The Daedra. Did they hear him?

“Do not stop, boy. Sing .” Rynandor shook his head, and knelt, now fastening the buckles of his boots. His boots! “Sing, Äelberon of Dusk, Priest of Auri-El. Sing, so the Daedra hear you.” 

At first, his normally clear baritone voice trembled, faltering and cracking amid sounds so awful to bear that his blood ran cold, his hairs on the back of his neck standing on end. He was forgetting words, the chant’s mode, shaming his People with his terror.

“Go on.” Rynandor urged, seemingly unafraid. “The chants of righteous cleansing…you know it by heart.” 

Äelberon took a deep breath and closed his eyes tightly, barely able to control his trembling and the hammering of his heart, while he continued to plait his hair. Spars were one thing, guard duty another, the skirmishes, the attacks of the Beautiful. But this? This was so different. 

This was so final. 

He could hear the multitudes. There were thousands upon thousands of them. The groan of their spiked war machines, the thud of their footfalls upon the earth. Smell the decayed stench of their passing. 

The night had come last night, the moons appeared. There was celebration among the battlements. It was supposed to be over. His breath came out in a ragged gasp. And the security was a lie. A trick that even he had wanted to believe.  What were the chant words? He always remembered everything! 

I cannot remember. I cannot remember! His throat closed in panic and he could make no noise. The Daedric laughter grew louder, pounding in his ears. 

“Now, Priest.” Rynandor’s urging morphed into a command. “Sing.” 

Use your fear. 

A tiny voice sounded from deep within his soul. He thought of his lenya, his ata, Hedwige, Galmo in the battlements, Anwe and Elenwen in Cloudrest, Rynandor, Lilandtar, Lilandtar’s dear children, even the awful Lilisephona who would never let him show his face to the little ones ever again. And Khalailas. He thought of Khalailas, imagined him singing at The Point. Imagined all the people who mattered to him. 


Protect and Honor the weak, the innocent, the old, and the young from the evils of Nirn with your service.

Use your fear. 

When he opened his eyes again, he found his voice. Rynandor’s thin tenor intoned the congregational responses, their voices echoing through the tombs, filtering below, fighting to overcome the screams of terror and demonic bellows. And he hoped his People heard him, heard the hope in his chanting. His voice swelled as he started the chant of Auri-El’s Light, feeling his emotion build. 

We are not over yet. 

Rynandor continued to fit his armor, the job of a servant. He was a Tower Mage, a Sapiarch, their Archmagister, and yet he did this.

He was singing the melisma to the final “Adonai Ali” when Rynandor finished, the old Mer placing his  hands upon his shoulders, gazing intently into Äelberon’s eyes. 

“Master?” He asked after his last note ushered in a prolonged silence, searching for a reason behind the great respect he was just shown. It was an even bigger puzzlement when the old Tower Mage suddenly embraced him, holding him tightly. 

“You…and your family,” the old Mer began, his voice thick with emotion. “have given me back a bit of what I had once lost. And for that, I am eternally grateful.” Rynandor broke the embrace and cleared his throat, wiping the tears from his eyes with an indigo bell sleeve. All traces of apprehension and sadness then left the old Mer’s lined features, replaced with a look of resigned serenity that put Äelberon in a state of great admiration. He knew no one with such composure, save perhaps Khalailas, the survivor of the Planemeld, the Vestige. 

I will not disappoint you, my Masters, he swore.  

Äelberon reached for his green tower cloak, only for Rynandor to stop him. “No, boy. Not that one. Today you wield your weapons and magicks for more than just a Tower of marble, crystal, and glass. For more than our Mantia Miscurin.” Rynandor pointed to the shrine of Auri-El within the tombs. “Today you do battle for our people, for our survival, in His name.” He then pointed to Transparent Law, the large crystal pulsing luminously red under the Tower’s faceted crystal dome. “And you do battle for this. You will wear Auri-El’s colors today, Knight-Paladin.” 

Rynandor then retrieved Äelberon’s Order cloak from the ritual table where his armor had lain. Almost lovingly, the Archmagister traced the golden embroidery of Auri-El’s sun upon the light grey fabric. He then draped it over Äelberon’s shoulders, fastening it to his cuirass.  Äelberon made to grab his helmet and again Rynandor stopped him.

“You will not wear your helm today.”


“Kneel, Äelberon of Dusk, Knight-Paladin of Auri-El.” Commanded Rynandor the Bold.

Äelberon knelt upon one knee without hesitation. 

“There is no Curate here to bestow blessing upon you today, so I will bless you in my own way. I have worked all night to do so. Do you feel it, my son?”  

To be honest, Äelberon did not know what to feel. It was strange, like energies of all different kinds penetrating his body. Magicks? He did not know. And yet, he could see no magicks emanating from his armor. His armor was not enchanted, nothing he possessed ever was.

“What have you done?” He managed.

“You are like the morning sunrise, bright and pure. You are... Alaxon.” 


He watched as Rynandor took a small, flat silver vial from his robe pocket and opened it. “This war paint has spent an evening under the Shrine at the Tombs of our Ancestors. It has been blessed, at least to me, it has been. You will wear upon your face His emblem as Knight-Paladin of His Order. Just as you did when you took His Holy Orders. Do you remember that grand day, Ronnie?” 

Äelberon nodded as Rynandor began to paint his face. “None could touch your glory that day, Äelberon of Dusk.” The Archmagister reminisced. “Not even Anwe could touch you, as golden as she was, like Summer’s brightest sunshine. But you are sunlight of a different kind. The kind that challenges the deepest darkness. The first dawn to her midday. And aye, your glory made people angry, but they do not understand what you are.” He said nothing, letting the old Mer continue his musings. “You are the real Sunbird, you know. Not the fake ones that tried and failed. But real. Dancing in the sky and fire-tongued, my son.” Rynandor shook his head and chortled. “Oh, they will never understand you, they will hunt you, but the three queens will understand, their colors black, gold, and indigo, they will understand. And…” Rynandor flashed a  grin, his eyes bright, “they will follow. From Summer to Winter, they will follow you, Umbr’-Aka, follow you, and watch you cast your ruby crystal upon the ice, to make touch the sky what had once fallen.” 

When Rynandor was like this, in the throes of his seering, it was best not to question, or even talk, only listen, but Äelberon understood none of it and frankly, the strange speech was nearly as disturbing as the ever growing din of Deadric utterances and Altmeri cries of agony.

Satisfied with his work, his eyes no longer glazed from his visions, Rynandor put the vial of war paint aside and wiped his hands carefully on a linen. A flash of purple light recalled a box of silver and while it still hovered suspended in the air, he opened it, removing a feathered circlet of silver metal and a central moonstone, its deep opalescence unlike any moonstone Äelberon had ever seen. It was like the very ge dwelled within the body of the stone. Trapped by it.

“The Ayleids wore feathers in their hair…” The old mage murmured absently, “Her champion wore them too, golden ones, and so shall you. Feathers of silver. The Daedra should see the face of their slayer. As the Whitestrake gazed upon Umaril.” Rynandor continued while he fit the circlet on Äelberon’s head. “I want them to know true fear, my Sunbird. I want them to see the Pale Elf from Dusk and know that he was chosen by Auri-El to defend the Tower. That he is His Tower of Strength. Silver and white, like the snow over Eton Nir. And from his throat shall come such a roar of defiance that even gods shall tremble.”

Rynandor then retrieved Äelberon’s bow, sword, and shield and placed them reverently upon the ritual table as Äelberon remained kneeling, keeping his head inclined downwards. No emotion would be shown, he was no longer ‘boy’, he was a Knight of the Crystal Tower and he would show the Mer who just gave him the utmost respect, respect in turn. Äelberon let his mind clear, focusing only on the task ahead, to become Auri-El’s instrument in the defense of the Tower, but more importantly, in defense of His People within. So long as that mission was accomplished, nothing else mattered. Those that loved him would understand.

“I want them to know the power of his wings.” Rynandor said as he took Äelberon’s shield and slung it upon the Knight’s back.

“His will be done.”  Äelberon intoned. 

“Receive your blade.” 

Without question, Äelberon bent his head lower and extended his gauntleted hands, palms up. His mother’s blade was placed upon his hands and the Archmagister stooped and kissed the blade. “I want them to know the sharpness of his beak.” Rynandor continued.

“His will be done.” 

Äelberon too, kissed the blade before sheathing the weapon. May her steel grant me victory , he offered within his thoughts. For Her. For Dusk. For his Order.

“I want them to know the sting of his talons.” Rynandor then said, finally handing Äelberon his bow, while the mage slung the quiver. The bow. A golden weapon, long and strong of limb, made in the image of his God-King’s. The present he gifted himself when he joined the Order, made by his own hands, five years advance on his Temple salary to purchase the needed materials. 

Because, you are no true archer until you make your own weapon.  

In a fluid motion he strung the great weapon, showing Rynandor that he was ready, that the fear would now be controlled and used.  

“His will be done,” he repeated.

The Old Mage then took a deep breath and put his old, bony hand on Äelberon’s shoulder. “Now rise, Eagle of our People. Rise, Eagle of Auri-El. Rise, and show these Daedric dogs what Aedric might truly is.”

Äelberon stood slowly, gazing deep into the Archmagister’s eyes.

“His will be done, Auri-El Adonai Ali.”  


In the night, they had come, while the People slept, bellies full of wine and fresh meat, many other limbs intertwined after sexual release, their banners lowered in victory. The moons and stars had come, the breeze blew cool, and they had perceived it all over.

The Daedra would not come.

But an Altmer should know better than to trust in seeing the two moons grace the sky, for they only bode ill omen to the Sundered Children of Anu. They are the corpse shells of Lorkhan, after all, the constant reminder of his great treachery and evil. 

So… never trust a night when both Jone and Jode shine bright. 

The Daedra had gathered an innumerable force just outside the battlements. Daedra as far as the eye could see. Legions of them. Thousands, like a sea of black metal against the freshly burning sky. All types. Hulking Dremora, slender flame atronachs, towering frost atronachs, quick-footed scamps delivering supplies to the Dremora captains, reptilian clanfears; their talons menacing, the intelligent robed Xivilai, and the worst, the winged Deadroths of Molag Bal and Mehrunes Dagon. And in the center of the vast force, was Bet.

The Demon of Coldharbour, a sick purple glow amidst the black. The grey-purple of death.

He was tall, towering well above the Dremora lords. His armor glowed like black, burning coals, only the flame within was lilac, not red. There was no warmth from his Daedric fire. His helmet had great black horns that curved like a ram, a reflection of his father. The skin that showed beneath the helm was the color of spent ash, and his eyes glowed with an undead vampiric fire. His mouth was open slightly, exposing his great fangs, poisoned spittle already oozing. On his right hand, he bore a great Daedric war axe that glowed grey like the realm of Molag Bal, and it  was already stained with Altmer blood. His left hand glowed with a menacing red light.

And the Daedra were not alone. With them, naked, bruised, and bleeding, were thousands of Altmer prisoners. Groaning, filthy, writhing masses of sorrow. The soldiers, after hastily donning their armor, reacted almost immediately to seeing their suffering brethren and began to conjure weapons. It was time to do battle. 

Only their spells failed.

The soldiers tried again, frantically recasting their spells, again and again, but to no avail. There was great commotion in the soldier’s ranks. Cries of confusion and outrage. The Tower Mages looked concerned from their position in the back of the battlements and began to move forward. One Tower Mage quickened his pace, Lilandtar, the Lord of House Larethian, the Silver-Tongued. A mighty mage among them, a summoner, capable of harnessing even the most stubborn of Daedra into bound slavery. His face was haughty, and he immediately cast a summons. A dremora warrior, who was, at first, quite shocked to find himself surrounded by a sea of gold and moonstone armor. The grand tower mage smiled and nodded towards the Daedric hordes in arrogance, his apple-green eyes narrowed with disdain. . 

“You have no hold over a Tower Mag--”

Satisfaction turned to horror when the Dremora realized his freedom and stabbed the closest Mer to him, plunging his crooked blade deep within the golden cuirass, roaring as blood poured from the wound. First blood split. And he drank of the warmth of passing life. Hasty, uncontrolled blasts of fire magicks sent him back to his realm, but the damage was already done. 

It was then that the army heard the sound, filtering from the Tower heights, the ancient rites of their People. A beauty in the ugliness, a light in the shadow, like a single star of hope in the black abyss that was their predicament. The Daedra hissed and chattered, spit and roared in response, gnashing their teeth to prepare for the slaughter. And, just as the Altmer people understood what their pride had brought them, the singing faltered. The hope seemed to die.

The Altmeri army was without weapons, save magicks, and magicks can fail. 

Where was Archmagister Rynandor?  


Bet’s booming laughter could be heard from deep within the hordes of Daedra, and he knew it sent chills through the Altmeri ranks. The chanting of their priests would be for nothing. He cried out to the army of Crystal-Like-Law. His voice, a clamor echoing throughout the battlements, drowning out the pitiful Altmeri rite that carried on.

“Watch and know true fear!”

Bet grabbed one of the Altmer prisoners nearest to him and made his way to the edge of the Tower battlements while the soldiers, mages, and trolls looked on, their faces pale.  He dragged the Mer across the dusty ground like the grub that it was, the brittle grass cutting into the Altmer's skin. He then hoisted the Altmer into the air like a child's doll and threw him roughly to the ground, holding him firmly with one great armored hand. When he started to flay their brother alive with his war axe, starting at the chest, he could feel the grub’s high-pitched screams resonate throughout the Tower’s interior and he could feel them tremble inside. 

I will eat all of you thus, rape you, and give your soulless husks to my father , he projected into their weak minds, flicking his tongue in delight. His satisfaction grew when several within the sea of gold collapsed, utterly overwhelmed by his mental images of rape and domination.

The music stopped. Even it was afraid.

Bet looked up from his work and watched. The Altmer below him tried to crawl away, his blood staining the dry grass red as he attempted to hold his peeled skin to his chest. Hmm, not all were affected by his images, it seemed. And the silence radiated with a great calm. Fear, still, yes, but a different fear. The fear that leads to action not flight. Two Altmer appeared in the battlements within the purple flash of Recall. He smiled and studied this new thing, this was different. He sensed the Old Ways within them. Old Magicks.

The first was a final Tower Mage.  Much older than the others, with a long, light blond beard and dark, plain robes. His great lined face serene. Bet snarled and spat upon the ground, this one was no summoner. It was the Sapiarch, their Archmagister. The Stone, connected to Transparent Law. His ultimate target for their destruction.

And the second. Bet narrowed his eyes to focus his vision.

A lone soldier, clad in silver-plated armor, a feathered circlet of silver upon his head. He glowed with dawn magicks and then Bet noticed the hair. Long, silver-white hair, plaited. The face painted starkly white, the pattern of a star, Bet squinted, no… it was Magnus. 

The eyes, eyes unlike any Mer’s Bet had ever seen, like two points of jeweled fire under an Eagle’s hooded brow. 

Bet’s lips curled in an angry snarl. An Aurielian was among them. And he was wrong, he had seen these eyes before. 

They were Boziikkodstrun’s eyes. No, not the same color, but the same, nevertheless. The angry snarl became a sneer filled with opportunity and Bet tightened his grip on his axe in anticipation. Father would have a second great prize, to torture the jeweled fire from those eyes as well, and break the soul to make another great creation to reign over the despair of Dagon’s new world. 

But first things first. I must feed and so must the army, a final meal before battle. 

Bet released a roar that shook the earth and dragged the crawling Altmer back to continue his gruesome work, signaling his brethren to do the same. They then mercilessly grabbed prisoners by the hundreds while the Tower battlements watched, dumbfounded. The prisoners’ screams were deafening, and the dry ground finally knew moisture after so many days of drought and heat. But moisture of a most perverse kind, for it was not water that quenched its thirst, but blood.  The ground below the Tower battlements became a vast, shallow sea of blood under a burning sky.

Red upon red. 

As Dagon would wish it to be , Bet grinned. 

Those that had finished flaying began to consume their victims or feed them to their beasts or impale them onto their dreaded black machines in supplication to Molag Bal and Mehrunes Dagon. Sacrifices for a worthy campaign, for the destruction of the Sundered Children of Anu. But, as they mutilated and assaulted the bodies of countless Altmer, as they feasted openly, Bet began to retreat slowly back into his horde, the flesh of his meal still dripping from his chin. He crunched at the leg bone, sucking away its nourishing marrow.

The Aurielian did not stop walking. 

A pale Elf and Bet saw him coming. While the Aurielian’s comrades were stunned and unable to move, while they vomited, fainted, while they cowered before his display of Daedric might, still affected by his thoughts, their fear feeding his power, the Aurielian approached from the Tower, crossing the battlements, steadfast.


Bet continued to retreat back slowly, this one, it seemed, could manage his fear, but it would soon be over. Like all the others, he would be unable to conjure a weapon and the real massacre would begin. He belched loudly and threw the remains of the Altmer to the ground, his craving for blood and flesh barely sated. He readied his axe. The Pale Elf still approached. Unrelenting. Bet then watched as the impossible happened, a great golden bow, hidden behind his cloak, was readied by the Pale Elf as he continued his approach, his face a chiseled statue of white marble. 

And they were Boziikkodstrun’s eyes… 

Who is this? Boziikkodstrun was dead. They were all dead, or only the very weak remained. Their black god banished through time.  

Who is this?  

His forces stared at each other in surprise and he growled a warning for them to stand their ground.

The Sapiarch then raised his glowing hands, and suddenly revealed were great stores of weapons scattered about the battlements. The Old Mage’s hands then began to glow with a pale greenish light and he was joined by other Tower Mages at the front of the line, their hands also glowing.  Strong magicks were cast by the Tower Mages of Crystal-Like-Law, releasing it upon all the Elven soldiers in surge of green light. As if awakened from a nightmare, the soldiers began to quickly gather the weapons, taking up arms, their spirits and courage renewed.  Their companion trolls formed ranks close behind. Their war machines also stood ready. Then together, the Altmer cried out, their voices as deafening as the screams of their brethren had been earlier, their golden weapons raised in ultimate resistance.


It was then that the Pale Elf stopped walking, just beyond the line of Tower Mages. Alone and still in control of his fear. Immune to both his Daedric Illusion and to the Illusion of the Tower Mages. His own stance defiant, bow equipped with a golden arrow, his eyes burning with fury while his grey cloak blew in the hot breeze. Bet watched as the Pale Elf drew his great, golden bow, and cried fiercely as he let his arrow fly, his voice like a billowing thundercap.

BET! I, Äelberon of Dusk, Eagle of Auri-El, challenge YOU!”

The Daedric army followed the arrow's path as it flew far past their ranks. Its mark was true, landing right at Bet’s feet. And the Daedra, for the first time, felt fear. Bet let out a bellowing roar, angry that his forces were so easily swayed. He was not, his eyes wild with rage at the insult to his pride. He readied his great axe, beating it against his chestplate in warning.

Who are you? You are no eagle , Bet sneered. 

A great prize. 

I will vanquish you, Aurielian. Defile you. Clip your wings. Taste  of your flesh. 

And my Father will own your soul.  

The challenge was accepted.


End Notes: I don't think I need to say much about the Dovahzul, except that I use a Legacy translator from thu' because I want my dragon language to sound like it comes from beings older than five. Again, my Altmeris is also a composite of Aldmeris and Altmeris from Hafnir's languages.


Bo - Go


Ebonnayne - dark-haired
Alaxon - Perfection
Umbr'-Aka - Grey dragon


Chapter 9 * ToC * Chapter 11

You need to be a member of THE SKY FORGE to add comments!


Email me when people reply –


  • Awesome work Lis, loved the usage of the languages, and the introspection

  • What a horrible fate for a culture as aesthetic as the Altmer. Their art, their cities, even their bodies rendered to ruin.

    The moment when Rynandor girds Aelberon in his armor is a powerful one. You can tell there's no going back, and that the Altmer's last hope may well lie in this oft-marginalized warrior. 

    Some great cultural elements in the build-up. The references to Mer symbolism were strong. I found Rynandor's comment about Pelinal pretty fascinating--maybe an example of how the Empire influenced Summerset? That he would use Pelinal as an example at all struck me as pretty remarkable.

    And there was satisfaction in learning that Aelberon at least taught fear to the fearless.

    • Thanks. Sorry, I have a lot to say, but I love discussion. 

      Rynandor is an unusual guy and I hope the dichotomy of how he treats Aelberon is as clear as mud. :D There's a familial pull, sure, he's definitely sincere about that, but there's something else too. It starts as the prideful interest in Chapter 1 and goes from there. Dunno what you garnered from the first two PoV, I'm curious, because I know it's weird.

      If you read Rising Threat, you'll learn Rynandor's fate. In Straag, he was born after the Planemeld and was already in the end of his third cerntury when Septim came. So he grew up and lived his formative years during a time of great instability in Tamriel. It seems he's also more aware of other cultures. Aelberon alludes to this when he mentions that Rynandor would argue for artifacts from other cultures to be allowed into the Tower. His magic is also awesome as heck. A while back Karver (a writer I collaborated with) had a discussion on magic. 

      In our discussions, we came up with some ideas and I hope I'm remembering them correctly. Magic is rare, though all people and things have magicka, but to be a mage is difficult and he chronicles a particular Orc's struggle with magic in his wondeful series Practice of Magic and then later Practice of Telvanni Magic, where Aelberon makes some interesting cameos. We also determined that there are three basic kinds of mages. Your average mage, competent in several schools, but not amazing. Most mages fall in this category, and people who haven't been studying long. Then you have powerful mages who are very dominant and extremely powerful, but only in a school or two, and usually they are only okay in other schools, or like Aelberon really crappy in the other schools. Aelberon, Straag's Vestige fall into this category and most of your Master wizards (college teachers of note). Now, I cheat a bit, because I done made Aelberon's dominant schools Restoration and Mysticism and we all know Mysticism is a crazy as shit school that has a lot of interesting implications. And then, finally, you have mages like Shalidor, Rynandor the Bold, Mannimarco, Galerion and I will venture to say Neloth and other select members of House Telvanni. Powerful Dragons, dragon priests, and powerful Tongues, of course, fall into this category too, because lets not discount other forms of magic delivery (Look ma! NO hands!). These guys are your world-breakers, and they are really incredible to behold.  

      Now picture a battle where most of the Altmer soldiers are at least mages of the first type, in addition to their martial training, the Tower mages are mostly mages of the second type and then you have Rynandor. And on the other side, you've got powerful Daedric mages as well. I mean Bet just basically slapped a sort of Fear spell on a WHOLE army. A WHOLE FREAKING ARMY. And Rynandor and the other Tower Mages countered with a giant Call to Arms. Thousands of people were effected. It's nuts.

      But at the same time, is it so hard to believe? In Straag, a hundred years later one race gets nearly all of Tamriel to believe that the Moons have disappeared. Nearly everyone. Hard to be the one voice that says there are moons when everyone else sees a Void. 

      So, the Battle for Crystal Like Law is gonna be a shit storm. 


      • It's clear that Rynandor cares about Aelberon (at least, it seems that way to me), but also that he has his own motivations that are a bit more opaque. He comes off as something of an outlier, at least in regards to what I'd expect from an Altmer Tower Mage.

        And the point about power is well-taken. It's one thing to cast spells here and there, but the greatest mages come as close as you can get to rewriting reality short of achieving CHIM (and I suppose a few of them do that). For all the Daedra's power, they haven't really gone up against the full might of othe Tower.

        • I may have written myself into a problem with how to depict all of this, but I'm up for the challenge. Keep the PoV focused and the action tight. *sobs a bit at the prospect of writing both a physical and magical battle*

          • Battles are tough to right. Just keep the sentences short and do what you said! It's in your grasp!

  • Guess who finally got around to reading this!

    First off, the transition from Albee/Zahni's dream sequence into the present (or the 'present' flashback, timey wimey wobbly stuffs) was great, and had a lot of implications like we discussed earlier. I like that the extent of Rynandor's knowledge is kept from the reader, so he comes off as an even wiser figure, to say nothing of later plot points you could develop. And haha, Altmer being leery of the twin moons makes perfect sense in the context of the lore. I'm following all the metaphysical stuff pretty well in this chapter. Albee learning to use his fear was great too, and I really think his character has been polished up from the previous version.

    You're really putting setup work into the fight with Bet now too, with the torture and the mass displays of power on both ends. When is the next chappa coming?

    • Thanks so much. 

      A next chapter may not come until after my recital at least, which is March 13th. And it may not come until my final defense. Aftewards, I can Straag as miuch as I want. 

This reply was deleted.