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

The Quest For The Ruby Throne: Book Two

by karnag_gro_gornish 0 reviews

It has been several months since Lyanna was placed on the Ruby Throne, and Karnag has been away ensuring that everything is ready for the surprise they have in store for the Thalmor.

Category: Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion - Rating: R - Genres: Drama,Fantasy - Warnings: [!!] - Published: 2019-10-01 - Updated: 2019-10-01 - 3335 words

Act Two
By Empress Lyanna Septim, First of Her Name
After my coronation by the Elder Council, many things changed in my life very quickly. With Farkas and Karnag at my side, we were prepared to make real change in the Empire, to try and get out from under the heel of the Aldmeri Dominion. To openly invoke war would be suicide, and so as my newly appointed Generalissimus and head of the entirety of the Imperial military, I dispatched Karnag to gather support from the neutral provinces of Hammerfell, Black Marsh, and Morrowind. As time passed, we consolidated our hold on what territory we still had firm control over without arousing suspicion as best as we could, while maintaining a strong presence on the borders. We gradually, over many months, began reinforcing and digging in our defensive lines, under the guise of border security, but secretly stockpiling weapons and munitions for a grand offensive. From the moment I took the throne, our ultimate goal was to crush the Dominion as we had come so close to doing in the first war.
But this time we had a secret weapon that the Empire didn't have in the first conflict; we had Karnag, emboldened by years of strife. Where before he was but a youth, fighting a war he had no real stake in, now it was personal. Karnag changed the day I suggested we begin war preparations. He was always ready for a fight, but this was something else. This went deeper than duty, than honor; Karnag has borne witness to things I can only imagine, and they have made him stronger for it. A new era was dawning in Tamriel, and Karnag would be the person shepherding it.
Chapter Fifteen: Preparations
After the several months I’d spent away from the Imperial City, I returned one day in early Morning Star. Her Eminence, which I still have trouble rectifying in my mind at times, was overjoyed to see my return. I strode into the Throne room, gilded walls and ceiling glistening, and approached the Ruby Throne with a serious disposition. “My Lady, I return with good news. We have many matters to discuss.”
“I’m glad to hear it, General. What news do you bring?” Lyanna answered. “I’m afraid it is of a…sensitive nature,” I said, glancing around to the handful of Thalmor sentinels. “Alright, then we’ll adjourn to the war room.” She rose from her throne and followed me towards the staircase that led to the tactical planning office, which we nicknamed the war room. One of the Thalmor sentinels, more like spies in my opinion, followed on her coat tails. “Alone,” she said forcefully. “Madame Empress,” the Altmer snake hissed, “As per the terms of our arrangement, the Thalmor have the right to know any information pertinent to the enforcement of the White-Gold Concordat.”
“I am altering the terms of the arrangement,” Lyanna bellowed, her eyes as intense as mage fire, “Pray I do not alter it any further.” She turned to follow me again, and one of the throne room guards blocked the Thalmor sentinel’s path. “We’ll see about this!” He shouted after us.
We climbed the staircase and bolted the only door to the room behind us. The door was enchanted, as to muffle any sound that might come from inside the room, and make it completely soundproof. “Well, Karnag,” Lyanna said, dropping her regal demeanor, “What’s the situation?”
“I have excellent news. Between the Dunmer armies from Morrowind and the new recruits from Hammerfell and Skyrim, we now boast a total of eighteen Legions ready for the offensive.”
“Surely that isn’t all.”
“That’s just the beginning, dear sister. I spoke personally to the acting regent of the Kingdom of Orsinium. They’re interested in a deal with us.”
“Orsinium? Really? What made them come around?”
“A friendly face, I assume.” She chuckled at my obvious attempt at humor, and I continued, “Orsinium wants to be recognized as an independent client state of the Empire, free to self-govern, with the Empire’s backing for defense of the territory, and to keep the Bretons in check in High Rock.”
“What are they offering in return?”
“Men. Plain and simple. You know as well as I do that my people are some of the best warriors and smiths in all of Tamriel. I want to integrate the Orcs into the regular armies. Not their own little separate units, but side by side with humans and other elves.”
“Have you discussed this with the other Generals? Do they think that the men would accept them?”
“It would be difficult at first, but Tullius and Terasslius think it’s a good idea. We think that once the regulars see what the Orcs have to offer, they’ll accept them.”
“Sounds like a plan to me. Draw up the orders and I’ll sign them.”
“Orsinium wants a treaty in writing. As a show of good faith, they’ve already sent several heavy units, they should be arriving in Anvil soon with the rest of the garrison. We’re talking the strongest fighters in heavy armor forged from the strongest orichalcum, practically unstoppable on the battlefield. We put one in every Centuria, and they’ll be a force multiplier equal to a battlemage.”
“Well, I’m eager to hear how they perform. What else?”
“I spent some time in Hammerfell, working with the alchemists and blacksmiths there. We’ve come up with something…remarkable.”
“How remarkable?” She said, raising an eyebrow. “They’ve developed a material they call spark dust, it’s an alchemical compound that is very stable, but when ignited, burns explosively. The metal smiths designed iron tubes to launch small projectiles from. We did some testing, and we can scale the design up. Way up. I call it the Bombard. A full fathom across on the inside, packed with this spark dust, and with a massive stone ball rammed down it. They’ll take down the strongest of defenses.”
“Are you sure they won’t just explode when fired?”
“They’re still testing to get the mixtures and proportions right, but I believe that these Bombards could be our secret weapon. No fortification will stand in our way.”
“Are you sure?”
“I have a contingency plan in place, but with these weapons, we’ll be unstoppable.”
“How do you plan to transport these things?”
“I’m working on that. I’m headed back to Hammerfell in a few days to iron out the details. But I’m sure that we can get these Bombards ready on schedule.”
“What’s this contingency plan you mentioned?”
“I’m still working on that.”
“Karnag,” Lyanna said, her eyes meeting mine. The silent intensity of her emerald green eyes always pierces through me. “What is the plan?”
“I’m going to call Odahviing, have him bring a message to Paarthurnax.”
“Karnag, we talked about this. We don’t need to bring him into this. Paarthurnax is a pacifist.”
“I know, I know. But we need every advantage we can get if we’re going to pull this off, Lyanna.”
“I don’t know about this, Karnag.”
“Lyanna,” I said, walking towards her. I took her hand, and for a moment it caught my eye. Her hands didn’t look like they used to. I know it’s a strange thing to fixate on, but before all of this, when we were just sword-arms for hire, her hands were rough, weathered, and looked as if they knew the hardships of the world. But now, her hands were smooth, as if they had never seen an honest day’s work before. I knew what it meant. Lyanna wasn’t a soldier anymore, she was a regent, a leader. Her mindset had changed. Not that it’s bad, but I knew I had to try other methods of persuading her. “Do you trust me?” I asked. She turned away from me, and looked at the map on the table in front of us. Little red flags stuck out of it at major Imperial strong points, and little yellow ones at Dominion fortifications. She plucked the red flag out from the spot representing Falkreath, my home. “You know I trust you, Karnag. You’re my shield-brother. By the Nine, I owe my life to you. I wouldn’t be here without you. I just want to make sure your mind is clear before we rush into this.”
“My Lady,” I said, “I have never been more certain of anything. I’ve seen the men we have at our disposal. And I know what we’re up against. Believe me, the memories of my service in the last war still haunt me at times. But if we’re going to move forward with the offensive, we need to move now.”
“You’re right. What else do we need to do?”
“I’m having warships built in Anvil. As far as the Dominion is aware, they’re just transport ships. But I have my best men outfitting them with the best armor we can afford. We have six Legions drilling outside of the city currently, with another ten scattered across the Empire. Which reminds me,” I paused, to take a sip from the mug of water next to me. “I want to recall Legions Eight and Ten from Skyrim.”
“But they’re there to keep the peace in former Stormcloak territory. We can’t pull them out.”
“I’ve been in contact with Jarls Free-Winter and Black-Briar, they are confident that the local guards are up to the task of enforcing law and order in the region. Recruitment numbers are up, and our boys are ready to come home.”
“You mean your boys?” She smiled, and I let out a snort. “They’re good men, Lyanna. I would share the battlefield with them again any day.”
“Very well, Karnag. If you’re confident that the Jarl’s can maintain order, bring them home. And, I’m going to have Falanu write up a commission. I’m placing you directly in command of the Eighth Legion. They respect you more than any other commander.”
“I appreciate your vote of confidence.”
“Get the men ready, Karnag. I’ll have the nullification of the White-Gold Concordat finalized soon. When you’re sure that we are ready, I trust you.”
Within days, we had the Bombards on production. Hammerfell steel being worked by Orsinium smiths in Cyrodiil, all under the noses of the Dominion. As time went on, Anvil became one of the most heavily militarized cities in Tamriel, with the biggest part of our military garrisoned and drilling there, preparing for the invasion. The shipyards labored day and night, producing our secret weapons. The Bombards were mounted to small, relatively inexpensive and somewhat expendable small boats, we called them siege boats. For days and weeks the men toiled, soldiers mixed in with regular laborers, all for the common goal of bringing the Empire to glory. It was a beautiful sight to behold.
But a day came when choices had to be made. Standing in the ruins of Cloud Ruler temple, I turned my head skyward, and called out the name of my good friend, Odahviing. Minutes passed, nearly an hour, before in the distance, I heard the faint sound of beating wings grow stronger. The bright crimson of his scales caught the mid-day sun, and almost gave him the appearance of being on fire.
The old Dovah touched down in what used to be a courtyard, and I addressed him there. “Good to see you, friend.”
“And you as well, Dovahkiin,” his deep, draconic voice bellowed. “We are a fair distance from Keizaal. For what reason have you summoned me here?”
“I wish to ask a favor of you, Odahviing. I ask you to carry a message only you can.”
“To whom do you wish this message to be sent to, Dovahkiin?”
“Paarthurnax. I haven’t the time, or else I would deliver it in person, but I need his help.”
“With what, I might ask, is this favor for?”
“The Septim dynasty has returned to the Ruby Throne in Cyrodiil. As mighty Talos before her, on behalf of her Eminence Lyanna Septim, I wish to strike an accord with the Dovah that remain in Tamriel. War is coming to the kingdoms of men and mer, and I sincerely wish that those Dovah who are willing to acknowledge the mastery of my Thu’um may come to our aid.”
“I see. Paarthurnax is not a Dovah of war, but of peace.”
“He served Alduin in the times before the recording of time, and as the successor to Alduin, I call upon him once more. Not to serve in battle, mind you, but to aid in the gathering of recruits.”
“Very well, Dovahkiin. I will take this message to Paarthurnax on his lofty peak. I make no promises that he will be amicable, however.”
“I don’t expect you to, friend. I will wait here for your return. May Kynareth watch over you.”
“You as well, Dovahkiin,” he said as he beat his wings and ascended into the air, “you as well.”
I waited there for two days before a response was heard. One I had heard before, but not in the same way. Thundering across the plains and valleys, one word echoed from the mountains to the north, “Dovahkiin.” I rose from where I sat in what remained of the temple library and went outside. In the distance, I saw, one by one coming into view, a total of fifteen dragons, including my closest ally Odahviing, heading south over the Jeralls from Skyrim. The score of them landed around the outer walls of the ruins, and I met them there. Odahviing was the first to speak among them. “Dovahkiin,” he began in that same low, thundering tone, “I have done as you asked. My zeymah, my brothers, and I have discussed your proposal. You are a worthy ally, and a righteous warrior. As the one who brought an end to our wuth-zeymah Alduin, we accept your lordship, Dovahkiin. Un Thu’um los hin wah uth, our Thu’um is yours to command.”
“Then we have an accord.”
“We do indeed.”
“Excellent! My deepest thanks, zeymah. For soon, together, we will storm the field of battle together, and glory shall be ours for the ages!” Better news could not come. With the secret weapons at our disposal, plus the aid of my new servants in the sky, no army can stand in our way. As a symbol of our compact, we all turned skyward and shouted columns of flame into the heavens, the cyclones intertwining and dancing in the currents of air, as the symbolic union between man and Dovah was once more.
The men were ready. The dragons stood like sentinels, high on the walls of the Imperial City, awaiting our command. The massive siege Bombards were nearing completion. And all the while, as a gift to me, Lyanna commissioned a mighty war vessel as the flagship of the new Imperial navy, and my personal command ship, The Righteous Hammer. Unlike the smaller siege boats, this vessel towered amongst the others in the fleet. Strong wooden superstructure, fortified with iron plates strong enough to resist even dragon fire. It was also outfitted with smaller, more tactical versions of the Bombards, which we called mortars. These smaller weapons were designed to lob smaller stones up and over walls instead of through them, and could cause massive damage while leaving fortifications intact.
The time for action drew nearer by the day, and it was a warm morning on the 15th of Sun’s Dawn when the time came to bring our plans to fruition. With Lyanna’s blessing, I departed the Imperial City for what would be the last time for a long time. With Farkas at my side, we rode for Anvil, with orders to mobilize the Legions straight from the Empress herself. We arrived in the port city by mid-morning, and the sight was impressive. Dozens of ships were moored in the harbor. The glistening iron of the Bombards strapped to their decks reflecting the morning sun like fire sparkled on the water’s surface. And my ship stood resolute amongst the rest, like a sleeping leviathan.
When I reached the city gates, the guard in charge saluted me. “At ease, soldier. Pass this along to your superiors,” I said, “The time has come to execute the Empress’ will.” I handed him an envelope bearing the seal of the Empress, which contained hers and my orders for the invasion of Alinor. “Make sure they arrive swiftly.”
“By your command, Generalissimus.” The soldier hurried off to the command tent set up near the parade grounds. Farkas and I dismounted and prepared our gear. “Once more into the fray, dear friend,” I said to him. “Hopefully for the last time.”
“Our destiny lies across the waters, Karnag,” Farkas replied. “Kodlak would be proud.”
“I hope so, brother,” I said mournfully, “I hope so.”
Farkas left to make some final preparations as I decided it was time to address the men. As per my orders, the five legions we had assembled in the city formed up into tight columns near the dockside. All total, nearly thirty thousand men stood before us, ready to embark on this monumental gambit. I took my place on the raised stage, and the horns blew to signal attention. The lines of men snapped-to, and the air became instantly silent. I cleared my throat and began, “My fellow soldiers, today, the Empire has it’s day of reckoning. Up until now, you have been in the dark as to why you have been assembled here. It’s only fair that before we disembark, you are all made aware of the undertaking for which we have been planning these last few months. Her Eminence, Empress Lyanna Septim, has made a declaration. No longer will we live under the yoke of Aldmeri oppression. No longer will se suffer the indignity of Thalmor occupation. Today, we leave from this city, with the massive weapons which you have built, to send a powerful message to the Thalmor, that we will be ordered around no longer! As of today, the White-Gold Concordat is no more! And, Talos willing, we will reunite Tamriel under the banner of the Empire! Should we win the day, history will remember this as the last day of the Aldmeri Dominion! Legionnaires, you are the best trained soldiers Tamriel has to offer. I have no doubts about your capabilities in battle. Remember your training, and above all else, give no quarter to the enemy!” The men shouted a rousing hurrah, and raised their swords into the air. It was a glorious sight. My blood felt like it was boiling, my heart raced. The call of battle was strong.
The men loaded on to the transport ships and the final preparations were made. The Bombards were loaded, the mages in place. I stood on the deck of the Righteous Hammer, and I gave the order to Captain Tythus. “Captain, are the men ready?”
“As ready as they’ll ever be, General.”
“Good enough. Weigh anchor, free the moorings and loose main sails.” Captain Tythus shouted the order and it was carried down the line. The men pulled their lines, and the sails unfurled. The pristine white glistened against the mid-morning sun. The anchor chain was dragged aboard until the massive iron anchor thudded against the hull. As it was drawn up, the sails caught wind, and the hull creaked against the force of the air rushing in. We were off. “What is our course, General?”
“Alinor,” I said with pride, “We set sail for the Dominion capital.”
“Alinor? Are you sure?”
“Captain, I’ve been on this plane for forty-four winters. And I have never been so sure.”
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