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   Chapter 22 No.22

An Enchanting Tale By AaronDennis Characters: 18393

Updated: 2018-01-10 12:02

There sat a void, simple, black, all-encompassing. A path of blue light appeared. From a distance, a robed figure approached. The scent of cinnamon was in the air. He suddenly realized he was dreaming. The Mistress of Dusk and Dawn stood before him. Stars glittered behind the moving void. Azura's voice was a soft melody.

"My champion, you must rally yourself or be lost in eternity."

"I…I'm fine. My lady?" S'maash stammered.

"Hold fast to my visage. Yes. Look upon me. It is safe here, " Azura instructed.

S'maash gazed upon her. Azura was the essence of beauty in her billowing gown, a gown of all colors. Radiance shone from behind her, from beyond her.

"Is it true, what the Augar said?"

"It is, but I know my champion will not forsake me, not after the daunting task you undertook to reunite me with your plane of existence."

A red light grew between them. It undulated then shuddered before speaking.

"Do not listen. We choose our paths even if it displeases those for whom we care, " a voice announced.

It was a strange, breathy voice, like the Augar of Dunlain's. The light spoke in the same halted fashion, but the voice was familiar.

"Farengar, " S'maash asked.

The elf was nearly brought to tears, but the voice continued. "Ages ago, I was the one called Farengar Secret-Fire. Now, I am simply the Emissary of Fate. The Daedric prince of Knowledge has bestowed much. Among his knowledge, is the fate of all. Your fate is your own. No one and nothing can change that."

S'maash had difficulty looking at both Azura and the Emissary. Though they were both present in the same space, it was like seeing each image with a different eye.

"He's right, of course, S'maash, but you are my champion. Do not relegate me to Oblivion. I have only recently been able to interact with Tamriel, and it was all due to your actions, " Azura said with love.

S'maash was torn. He loved Azura, but knowledge was his drive, his quest.

"What will happen if I choose one over the other?"

"Simple, really, one choice will keep you grounded, but you will always regret missing the opportunity. The other choice will show you everything you desire to know, but you will know more than man and mer are capable of knowing. Hermaeus Mora's knowledge is too often more than one can handle, " the Emissary of Fate replied.

"Do not bother yourself with concepts beyond your grasp. Stay in my light and my shadow. Be satisfied with everything you can accomplish, " Azura added.

"It is time for us both to leave you. Farewell, S'maash, " the Emissary said.

"Glory be upon you, dark elf, " Azura said.


S'maash snapped his eyes open. Brelyna's face was close to his.

"What, " he asked.

"Easy. We found you collapsed outside the Augar of Dunlain's door."

"Yes, " Tolfdir added. "I figured it was best to look for you in the case that…well, this happened."

S'maash was in bed in his room. Tolfdir and Brelyna were both looking after him.

"How long have I been out?" he looked around, woozily.

"Just a few hours, " Tolfdir replied.

"Did you see it? The Augar, I mean, " Brelyna asked.

S'maash made eye contact with both of them. "I did, and Azura, and Farengar, too." The others exchanged a look of worry. "In a dream, that is, " S'maash clarified.

"Ah, " Tolfdir said.

"You should rest for a bit, " Brelyna advised.

"No, I've had enough rest. I need to use the Oblivion Forge to make the Heart of Lorkhan, " S'maash said.

Again, the others exchanged a look. He tried to stand out of bed, but Brelyna pulled her chair closer, making it difficult.

"I'm not sure that's best for you right now, " she said.

S'maash sighed in aggravation as he rubbed his face. "Listen to me, just because you helped me up here while I was unconscious doesn't mean I do not know what I'm saying. I gathered all the answers I needed. Now it's time to act, " S'maash checked his aggression.

"Very well. Tell me one thing first, what is this Oblivion Forge of which you speak, " Tolfdir asked.

"The Augar said it's mistakenly referred to as the Atronach Forge. I can forge the Heart of Lorkhan using it, " S'maash answered.

It was obvious they were feeling him out to see if he was of sound mind. He eyed them, not with disdain, simply annoyed.

"I see, " Tolfdir said, nodding to Brelyna.

"What will you do with the Heart of Lorkhan, " Brelyna asked.

S'maash shook his head. He had not thought that far ahead.

"I don't know. Farengar's journal didn't say what was to happen next, " S'maash looked to Tolfdir as he spoke. "You gave me Keening. Where is Sunder?"

Tolfdir nodded slowly as he pondered. Brelyna looked him over as he did so.

"I do not know. Perhaps, you should've asked the Augar of Dunlain, " Tolfdir commented.

S'maash cocked his head a bit and narrowed his eyes as he looked at Tolfdir. A hint of sarcasm? He didn't understand why the old nord held back veiled animosity. Perhaps, I'm imagining.

"I asked everything I could. There were no more questions left. I feel as though I might have died had I stayed a second longer, " S'maash admitted.

"Died? No. Being around the Augar of Dunlain cannot kill you, but it can drive you mad. I simply wonder why you did not have the forethought of asking the Augar about Sunder's location, " Tolfdir clarified.

"I suppose the entirety of this ordeal eluded me while in the Augar's presence, " S'maash answered.

"I still don't understand what all is being accomp

s defeat at the hands of the Nerevarine, there was no way to continue for us, the dunmer, or even the dwemer, the creation of a new God…until now, " Aicantar stopped speaking as he observed S'maash.

"But I have no intentions of creating a God, " he replied.

"Irrelevant. What you have before you is an opportunity."

"To what end?"

"Any. You could do as Dagoth Ur and draw upon the power of immortality. You could create a God. You could do as the Tribunal and increase your powers tremendously and become a living God as Vivec, Almalexia, and Sotha Sil, or…. Or you may restore the Heart of Lorkhan for the intended use Kagrenac seems to have had in mind, " Aicantar said.

"To travel between planes of existence, " S'maash asked. Aicantar nodded slowly. "Can we not already traverse the planes of Oblivion?"

"Certainly, but these are lesser planes of capricious demons. The whole of Oblivion, that is to say, all the planes intertwined are but one plane, the plane of Oblivion. Mankar Camoran believed Tamriel was a portion of that plane, and he might have been correct, but what you have before you is the opportunity to open doors to all planes, the planes of the Gods themselves, " Aicantar explained.

Silence prevailed throughout the dwemer stonework beneath Markarth. The two mer sat looking at each other without so much as uttering a sound. S'maash was first to stir.

"What do you think?"

Aicantar exhaled with a subtle shrug. "Ultimately, the choice is yours. No one can force you to restore the Heart of Lorkhan, and I do not know the locations of Sunder nor Wraith Guard. Nor do I know if they still function as they should after all these long years. Nor do I know how to use them….

"For all my knowledge, there is still much to learn. So far as I understand, if you restore the Heart of Lorkhan, you will have appeased Hermaeus Mora. Should any force at our fingertips know the answers to my questions, it will be him."

Minutes passed by during which neither mer spoke. The gravity of the scenario playing out before their eyes brought upon them an unbearable weight. S'maash rapped his fingers upon the alchemy table.

"My final peace…should you choose to continue on this path, and you do bring it to its end, you will bestow upon the whole of Tamriel a chance of meeting the Gods, a chance to traverse planes beyond our current comprehension. You will, however, also be inviting those outside forces upon our plane. As the ancient nords did with their reading of the Elder Scroll at the Throat of the World, you, you might be the cause of terrible disasters, or perhaps…you have already created such a disaster, which has affected the past, " Aicantar finished and left.

S'maash remained sitting upon the bench for moments. A ride back to Winterhold should provide me with plenty of time to think all this through. Finally, with a deep inhalation, he stood. Somehow, he felt as though his soul had been drained from the exchange. He dragged his feet out of Understone Keep. The morning sun was blinding. He shielded his eyes with his hand while he stood before steps leading down into Markarth.

"Excuse me. I think this is for you, " a young imperial spoke.

The young man wore the clothes of a courier, red and grays with a fine hat on his head. He handed S'maash a piece of parchment. He looked it over.

Blasted court wizard, you're supposed to be in Whiterun when I need you. We have an issue here, and I need to speak with you. Get to Whiterun. I don't care what you're doing- Thorald, Jarl of Whiterun.

S'maash heaved a sigh, nodded to the courier, tipped him with one Septim, and hired a cart to Whiterun.

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