Categories > Games > Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion > The Quest For The Ruby Throne: Book One

Chapter 14: Truth

by karnag_gro_gornish 0 reviews

Answers lead to more questions, questions lead to more answers, and answers lead to destiny. Tamriel is about to change forever.

Category: Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion - Rating: R - Genres: Drama,Fantasy - Warnings: [!!!] - Published: 2019-09-29 - 4035 words - Complete

Chapter Fourteen: Truth
We rode west on the Gold Road headed for Kvatch, where we were told Falanu lived. With each moment we got closer, I grew more nervous. I kept looking over at Farkas, each time he smiled at me for reassurance. We rode our horses up the hill that Kvatch sat on and left our horses at the stables and made our way through the gates. “Good day, citizens,” a guard greeted the three of us. “Excuse me,” I said, “We're looking for a particular person. Can you help us?” I asked the guard. “Of course. Who are you looking for?”
“Falanu of House Hlaalu, I was told she was a resident here in Kvatch” The guard gave me an uneasy look, “Yes, she happens to live in the basement of the chapel… Feel free to try and visit her.” We started to head to the chapel in the middle of the town when the guard shouted something else, “Be warned, that elf is not friendly and will not welcome you warmly!” I took a deep sigh and continued onto the chapel anyway. “Lyanna, don’t worry, she’s a two-hundred-year-old elf, what could she possibly do to the three of us warriors?” Farkas said proudly.
Karnag seemed a bit skeptical, “I wouldn’t let your guard down either, Farkas, although old and fragile, elves usually that old tend to dabble in the dark arts… Let’s not get too overconfident here.” We entered the chapel, it was dark and quiet, I looked over to the center to see a statue at the Altar. The statue looked like the one from my dreams, I think it was supposed to be Akatosh. I felt a chill go down my spine. After making a silent prayer, we made our way down the steps to the basement, with Farkas and Karnag right behind me. I hesitated for a moment before knocking loudly on the door to the living quarters of the basement. There was silence and I kept knocking until I was interrupted with shouting,
“I said go away you damned racist Nords! I've lived here longer than you've been alive, and I will not go back to Morrowind!” I was shocked, unsure of what to say. “Falanu...? My name is Lyanna. I- “
“I said LEAVE ME ALONE.” The harsh voice rasped, cutting me off. I looked back to Karnag and Farkas, unsure of what to do next. She wouldn’t give me time to properly introduce myself. Karnag made his way to the door and spoke loudly through it, “Ma’am we are from Skyrim, we’re looking for you in hopes that you- “
There was a loud crash and a bolt of ice flew through the top of the door, just barely missing Karnag’s head. “By the Nine, I’ll show this hag!” Farkas said running towards the door. I put my hand out in front of him to stop him and quietly spoke through the door, “Myrenna White” My mother’s name… I hoped that’s all I would have to say for her to open the door and greet us. There was complete silence on her part, we stood there silently. “I’m the daughter of Myrenna White” I said louder.
There was a sound of a half dozen locks unlatching and then the door slowly opened. Falanu’s face lurked out, exhaustion etching her face, but she still looked incredibly young. Her expression changed once her eyes met with mine. “By Azura,” she whispered under her breath, “It is you…” She looked over at Farkas and Karnag, “Who are these men?” She said annoyed. “This is Farkas, my husband, and Karnag, my shield-brother.” She stared at them, almost judging before she decided to let us all in. “I’m sorry for being so ill-mannered, please Lyanna come in” I was shocked, she remembered my name. “Wipe that look from your face child, there’s no way I could just forget your name. You are too important.” We walked into her living quarters. It was small and dark, but just enough space for a single Dunmer woman to live comfortably. She gestured over to a small table for us to sit at. After we all settled, Falanu spoke first, “Child, what brings you here? Is your father alive?”
“Yes, my father is alive and well.”
“Then why are you here?” She said in an unmannerly way. Once again, I struggled to form my words. I’ve told this story countless of times, but each time seemed harder than the last.
“I have questions, Falanu. About who I am. I’ve been having dreams, dreams my mother had supposedly. I was approached by Sheogorath, the mad Prince himself.” A look of torment overcame Falanu’s face. There was an awkward silence between us all as Falanu’s facial expressions began to change from concern, to annoyance, to acceptance, “What do you want to know?” She whispered softly.
“I am Dragonborn. But so is Karnag, here. Sheogorath told me that I am a Septim. I have come here to ask if you know, am I?”
“Yes,” She answered quickly without thinking, “Yes you are.” I saw tears began to well up in her eyes. She let out a deep sigh before beginning again. “Your forebear, a woman by the name of Lyna. She was a good friend of mine… Alive during the Oblivion Crisis… The Champion of Cyrodiil… She fell in love with St. Martin Septim and managed to conceive a child with him before he sacrificed himself. She had settled here in Kvatch after his death, she helped rebuild this place from the ground up after it was practically leveled by Mehrunes Dagon. She became countess and appointed me as her personal steward. She did not want the world knowing the Septim bloodline did not perish and did not want the same fate Martin faced for her child. But she had administered a task to me…” Falanu took in a deep breath, “As you can plainly see, I am an Dunmer. Elves tend to live longer than most, hundreds of years even. She had tasked me with keeping very detailed written records of all her heirs. Her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and so on. I owed her a life-debt, after she saw me freed from slavery, and I heartily agreed. She said someday the world might need the Septim bloodline again. When your father left Bruma the night of your mother’s death, it sent me into a state of madness. I felt as if I had failed Lyna, that I would lose everything she had worked for. I begged your father not to take you to Skyrim, as I had no power there. I even tried to pay him all the gold I had, just so I could keep you.”
I was in shock, this was so much to take in. I felt scared, but a sense of happiness overcame me. Sheogorath was right, and the months I spent thinking madness had taken over me were validated. I reached out and grabbed Falanu’s hands and looked her in the eyes, “I’m going to reclaim the Throne that is rightfully mine.” Falanu sprung from her chair and wrapped her arms around me tightly, “May Azura’s star shine brightly on you, child. I will fight by your side every step of the way” I squeezed Falanu tighter and a whirlwind of emotions overcame me, and I began to sob. But Falanu released me, and began to rifle through a drawer. “I have something you're going to need.” She took a small leather pouch from the drawer. It was old and worn, as if from a age before time began. “Take this to the former site of the Temple of the One in the Imperial City. A statue of a dragon stands where Martin ascended to Aetherius. You know the story of the Amulet of Kings, don't you?”
“As much as anyone else does, I suppose,” I said. Falanu locked her eyes with mine and said, “Akatosh drew a drop of blood from his own heart and blessed St. Alessia with it, the same blood that flowed in Reman Cyrodiil, Tiber Septim, and now, you. Akatosh told Alessia that as long as one of that blood sat upon the Ruby Throne that he would hold fast the jaws of Oblivion. For 200 years now, the Dragonfires have been cold, but the spirit of St. Martin holds back Oblivion in place of Akatosh. Only the blood of kings can relight the Dragonfires and restore balance to the world. Do not forget that.” She placed the parcel into my hand and closed my fist around it. “Now all of you, get out of here. You have somewhere that you all need to be.” I thanked Falanu again for her help, and my mind swirled with information. What was I supposed to do with, whatever this leather pouch contained? Even if I do somehow relight the Dragonfires, how can I prove my heritage? Where do I go from here?
More questions but no answers filled my mind as we saddled our horses to ride east. Farkas and Karnag didn't ask, and I was in no mood to speak. The White-Gold tower loomed in the distance. It was calling me home to a place I'd never been before.
The three of us stabled our horses outside the city, and walked up the bridge to the main gate, in the immense shadow of the White-Gold tower. I felt the structure pulling me towards it, as if I had been here before. Perhaps in another life I had, and this was simply my body coming home to a place I had never been before.
I stopped to ask a guard for directions to the Temple District but Karnag stopped me and said he knew the way. “I remember it as if it was yesterday. You should have seen the place before the Dominion sacked it back in '74. As a boy, in the stronghold, I could always see the tower from where I slept. Told myself I would leave that place and come here, where everything glistened as if made of crystallized moonlight. Now the rings are half blown to Oblivion, and the tower has seen better days. But I still know my way around. Follow me, I'll take you where we're going.”
We entered the gate into the Septim Plaza District, and as we walked down the ancient brick road, Karnag grumbled under his breath how, “Back before those damn Thalmor, this was the Talos Plaza.” I could always feel that the war left Karnag with a certain bitterness. Not a prejudice, no, but certainly a bitterness. I never saw him be openly hostile to any Altmer we encountered in our travels, but never hospitable either. Even though it's illegal, Karnag still reveres Talos, and truth be told, I'm just as bitter at the Dominion, but I don't have the years Karnag has to grow truly disenfranchised. But I understand all the same.
When we reached the gate to the Temple District, Karnag and Farkas looked at me intently, silently asking if I was sure that I wanted to know what the next few minutes had in store for me. Looking back, if I knew then what I know now, I would have shouted it from the rooftops, but in that moment, I silently bowed my head and pushed my way through the heavy wooden doors.
Standing in the shadow of the stone colossus, I felt in my soul a connection that I can't describe. But I know now why Falanu gave me that shard of ruby in Bruma. There was no doubt in my mind, it was a piece of the original Amulet of Kings, sharp as glass. In another age, at the spot where I stood then, my ancestor, the last Septim Emperor, also stood here, and vanquished an ancient evil from this land.
I held the shard in my hand, and I stood on the depression in the ground where the Dragonfires of Akatosh burned for centuries past. The stone dragon stood resplendent before it, and I could feel a warmth emanating from it, as if the stone itself was living. I pressed the shard of the gem into my palm, and felt a pang as it's sharp edges broke through my skin, and a bright crimson streak of blood soaked over the surface of the ruby. I said the words that Falanu told me to say, the same words that Akatosh himself spoke to Saint Alessia; “'This shall also be a token to you of our joined blood and pledged faith. So long as you and your descendants shall wear the Amulet of Kings, then shall this Dragonfire burn, an eternal flame, as a sign to all men and gods of our faithfulness. So long as the Dragonfires shall burn, to you, and to all generations, I swear that my Heart's blood shall hold fast the Gates of Oblivion.'”
As the words left my lips, the gem instantly felt as if it was a hot as the fires of the Deadlands, and out of reaction, I dropped the gem into the depression of the brazier. A wisp of smoke came from the gem, and it smoldered and caught fire, an arcane blue flame spitting out from it's surface.
As I marveled at the small burning gem, a crack resounded through the air. The sound drew the attention of everyone in the Temple District, who all turned to stare at what was unfolding in front of me. Another crack came, as the statue of Martin Septim's avatar of Akatosh crumbled to pieces, and toppled down around me. The air was thick with dust, so thick that I could hardly see the bright blue flame at my feet. It hung in the air, but the flame grew brighter, and as the dust settled slightly, the fire in the brazier took the shape of a man. It coalesced and lost the properties of flame, and instead defined itself into an unmistakable form, one I had seen in countless paintings before. Martin Septim himself stood before me. I had no words, or rather any that I had got caught in my throat as I stood, mouth agape, before the specter.
Martin held out his hand, and beckoned to me, “I've been waiting for you, Lyna. It's been so long.” I took the icy hand of the ethereal form, but I was confused, why did he call me by my ancestor's name? I was so enthralled by his form that I didn't even notice that the wound in my palm was already healed by his touch. "I'm sorry that things ended how they did,” he spoke again, “I never wanted this to happen. I hope you can forgive me, Lyna.” Again, he mentioned Lyna and not me, but still words escaped me as my eyes welled up with emotion.
"Please," Martin said again, "take this." He held out his hand, and from the aether, produced a spectral facsimile of the Amulet of Kings. "Akatosh bestows his blood upon you, Lyna, as I am not able to rule Tamriel like my father and his forefathers. The Septim blood line is yours to carry on. Please, wear it with pride, Lyna, and know that I am always with you, always." The spirit slipped the spectral amulet over my head and it rested around my neck, cradled between my breasts. When I looked down at it, I was mesmerized to see that it has solidified into a physical form, a perfect, flawless duplicate of the Amulet that Martin smashed to become one with Akatosh all those years ago. The tears streamed down my face as I couldn't contain myself anymore. Everything was so beautiful, I couldn't believe that it was actually happening.
"Farewell, Lyna, my love," the spirit of Martin said, releasing my hand, "Until again we meet in Aetherius." The spirit faded from the physical world to join the cosmic realm. No longer confused, I realized that my suspicions were just confirmed. Sheogorath, for once, spoke truthfully and righteously. I am a Septim, the blood of Tiber Septim runs through my veins. With the throne empty, it is my divine right to take my place there.
The crowd gathered around the ruins of the Temple stared at me in awe, and I returned their gazes with one of equal astonishment. The silence was broken when one of the Imperial guards dropped his shield and took a knee, bowing his head to me. One by one, every single person in the crowd did the same, and I could barely contain the emotion welling inside of me. For the first time in the commotion, I turned to Karnag and my husband, both of whom have also bowed to me. In a loud and thundering voice, Karnag proclaimed, "All hail Empress Lyanna Septim!" and the crowd echoed his words. They repeated them over and over again, and once more the tears spilled out from my eyes.
Empress Lyanna Septim. I repeated the words over and over in my mind. I was having a hard time adjusting to the sound of it. The title sounded like it belonged to someone other than me, that I was merely holding the place for someone else. But I can't deny my destiny, I'm here. I am no longer Lyanna Stone of Markarth, I am Lyanna Septim, daughter of Akatosh.
Karnag took my arm, and led me towards the White-Gold tower, with Farkas by my side as well. The crowd of people made way, and our path was clear. We pushed through the heavy gate to the innermost ring of the city, a sign read “Green Emperor Way,” on the wall above it. As Karnag made to open the doors to the palace itself, a guard attempted to stop him, but froze in his boots when he caught a glimpse of my amulet out of the corner of his eye. “By the Eight... Is that-”
“Yes, it is,” I said, “I believe the Elder Council will want to speak with us immediately.” The guard bowed his head to us and stood aside as we entered. A colossal wooden door separated us from the chamber of the Elder Council. For the first time since leaving the Temple District, I paused for a moment. This was a major moment, and I felt the same jitters in my stomach that I had the day that Farkas and I were married. But at least I had Karnag and Farkas to support me. I don't know what I would do without them, some times.
With a mighty shove, Karnag heaved the doors open, and he and Farkas strode into the chamber before me. A ring of chairs encircled a large stone table in the center of the circular hall, and in each char sat a man. Each of them had the air of wealth and prestige about them, and here were three adventurers barging in on what I could only assume was a meeting of relative importance. One of the men at the head of the table stood up and demanded, “What is the meaning of this? Who are you three? Guards, remove these interlopers!” But before the guards could clear leather, Karnag's voice bellowed out, “Esteemed members of the Elder Council, I present to you, your new Empress, Lyanna Septim!” The guards stopped in their tracks, just as the one outside had. The room went from annoyance to confusion to amazement, until the same man from before said, “Septim? But that's outrageous, there are no more Septims!”
“That's where you're wrong, Chancellor. Lyanna is the last of the Septim bloodline, and rightful heir to the Ruby Throne. The gods themselves have chosen her to be. Behold,” he said, gesturing to my amulet. Instantly, eyes widened all around, and people began muttering in hushed tones. The man who spoke, who I assumed to be the leader of the body, looked utterly flabbergasted, and stuttered out, “B-but how do we know you are not deceiving us? Who stands witness to this holy appointment?”
“I do,” said Karnag, “As did several score of people in the Temple District. If you go there yourselves, you'll see the statue of the dragon gone, and the Dragonfires burning in their place.”
“And who are you, what are your qualifications to address this body, Orc?” the Chancellor shot back. “My name is Karnag gro-Gornish, your excellency. I served proudly in the war against the Aldmeri Dominion, and was appointed to the rank of Legatus by the late Emperor Titus Mede II during the Stormcloak uprising in Skyrim. I think you'll find my testimony more than adequate.”
The Chancellor looked somewhat troubled and took his seat, while the men of the Council discussed quiet words between themselves for a few minutes. Karnag, Farkas, and I all looked at each other, trying to understand what was going on. Finally, the Chancellor stood back up and said, “Very well then. When and if this Council determines the validity of these claims, we shall make our decision. Until then, guards,” the Chancellor said, motioning to the palace guards ringed around the room, “Escort these three from the palace immediately. You shall be summoned by courier, again, if and when the need arises.”
That evening, while Karnag slept off several well-deserved rounds of stiff drink in the Tiber Septim Hotel, Farkas and I took a walk around the ring of the city. The statues that lined the Arboretum were stunningly beautiful in the moonlight, and the ancient Ayleid marble of the columns and walls of the buildings seemed to shimmer with a supernatural luminescence. The torch bugs and luna moths danced in amongst the flowers and vines that twisted along the ground and up the walls, like tiny stars that hovered around us. Farkas held my hand tightly as we strolled, and eventually we decided to sit beneath the statue of Tiber Septim that stood in the center of the Arboretum.
Karnag had mentioned earlier that day that before the Empire was shamed in the war, the statue was venerated as the holy visage of Talos. I knew that Karnag was very devoted to Talos, but because of the White-Gold Concordat, there was little that could be done. I desperately wanted to make a change, because I too felt that Talos deserved better than the relegation thrust upon him by the Dominion.
But to try and openly flaunt the White-Gold Concordat was to invoke war with the Dominion, and even though I was still just Lyanna the adventurer and not yet, Lyanna the Empress, I knew it would be suicide to try and defy the elves. We didn't have the resources, and it didn't take a master tactician like Karnag to understand that.
But with Farkas at my side, it felt as if the worries of the word melted away like the last snow of winter yielding to spring. Even now, knowing that I am in fact a Septim, I didn't feel any different inside. I'm still Lyanna, the rowdy girl from the bloody streets of Markarth. To be honest, I have no taste for politics. I only started this journey looking for answers, and here I am, sitting in the Imperial City next to the man I love, waiting to hopefully be crowned Empress of Tamriel.
I guess it hadn't really hit me yet, as they say. The realization that, quite literally, everything was going to change, felt alien. And I didn't really want things to change. Part of me wanted to just go back to our home in Skyrim and pretend that today was just another day. But that wasn't going to happen. Deep down, I knew that. Tomorrow was going to be a new day. And the beginning of an entirely new life. I felt the warm surface of the ruby that hung around my neck, and as it almost glowed in the dim light of the moon and stars, I was sure.
Nothing was going to be the same.
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