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Tyronus Venurori

Lightbreaker

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Author's note: Be warned that this story isn't as upbeat as the one I'm writing about my Khajiit. Aside from a darker setting, this story may contain more detailed gore and other things that might make some readers uneasy. I don't think it will get too bad, but I still figure it's polite to post a short warning. So just keep it in mind if you choose to read any further!

 

 

Prologue

 

White-and-gold banners glimmered in the sun. The beating of drums swept across the field, and brass trumpets rang clearly. The day was won, and both the Pact and Covenant forces had been driven back from Fort Rayles - at least for now. The Aldmeri propaganda machine would surely spread these good tidings, speaking of a heroic and glorious victory. But as Tyronus knew, reality was never as pretty as in the stories of bards and politicians.

 

The white-and-gold banners were torn and ripped, standing amongst the rubble that had once been the castle wall. The drums and trumpets sounded just as much to declare victory, as to muffle the screams and moans of the dying accross the still-burning battlefield. From his view atop a nearby hill Tyronus watched an Orc, throwing up bits of her own teeth after taking the blow of an Altmer mace straight to her mouth just moments before. A little bit away, a Breton was crying out delirious nonsense as he faced a slow death from the horrific burns he'd suffered as a batch of boiling oil had been poured over him, seeping into every little crevice of his plate armour.

 

The day was won, indeed... but the assault on Fort Rayles had not been why Tyronus was here. In fact, he had not even participated in the battle on the fields below. He shook his head one last time before he looked away from the pointless destruction, and fixed his gaze back on the true cause for his presence.

 

The snarling vampire writhed on the ground. It had known Tyronus was coming for it; a hunter learns to recognize more than it's prey, and will come to know when it is hunted in turn.  What the vampire had NOT known, however, was that Tyronus had come equipped with a silverbolt-loaded crossbow, cleverly hidden on the back of his shield. And now the creature lay wounded, immovable, with a silver bolt firmly lodged in each of its four limbs.

 

The thing kept swearing at him, but it was nothing Tyronus hadn't heard before. Empty threats about what would happen once the tables were turned, claims that vampire hunters never lasted long once the vampires themselves took notice. Promises that Molag Bal would not stand for this sort of treatment of his beloved children. At long last, the beast spat out what Tyronus was waiting for.

 

"You are one of those weakling Imperials that betrayed their homeland, aren't you?" the creature hissed, craning his head to get a look of the battlefield. "Perhaps you are with the Dominion? Hah! Then I suggest you let me go, or you will never be able to set foot in Valenwood again!"

 

"Good," said Tyronus. "That is all I wanted to hear."

 

Before the vampire had time to say anything else, a final Silver Bolt lodged itself into it's chest. The creature let out a shrill, angry scream, and then it was dead.

 

Tyronus swiftly reloaded his crossbow and locked in the safety on the trigger. As usual, he would try to salvage the bolts from the body, then burn it. But in that moment, he had only one thing on his mind:

'Looks like I'm headed south...'

Edited by Tyronus Venurori
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Chapter 1: A Meeting of Minds

 

The Trekker's Rest inn was brimming with activity, and despite it's spaciousness it was practically overcrowded. Pipe smoke lay thick in the air, and the blaring sound of bardic instruments only barely reached out over the loud chatter, laughing, cheering and shouting of the patrons. It was easy enough to disappear in such a place, for in the diverse crowd, no one person truly stood out. Not even the human in the corner, clad in full Imperial plate regalia, nor the Dunmer in leather armour seating herself by his table, along with a Khajiit in a bright red robe and an eccentric, pointed hat with a brim that extended far out from the owner's head. Misfit bands of adventurers were commonplace in these troubled times, but unbeknownst to the other patrons of the inn, these were no adventurers.

 

The Dunmer watched the human as she made herself comfortable in the chair, waving dismissively towards the Khajiit as he placed down a pint of ale before her, before sitting himself down as well. The would-be Imperial made no move to even recognize their presence, however. He simply stared down his own cup of liquor. His eyes were a dull tint of grey, his red-brown hair was neck-long and combed backwards. Overall he looked rugged, and as to emphasise his uninviting appearance, he had a hint of stubble, suggesting he hadn't shaved for at least a week.

 

The black-furred Khajiit looked between the two, fidgeting a bit with one of the golden half-moons embroidered into his robe. His tail began to lash back and forth after the Dunmer cleared her throat to get the Imperial's attention, and he still ignored them. In response, the Khajiit let out a loud, hacking cough, aimed right at the human's face.

 

"Soot!" the Dunmer snapped. "That's not how we treat people!" Her voice was stern, but she failed to conceal a slight smirk at the Khajiit's antics.

 

The Imperial finally looked up, giving the Khajiit an annoyed glare. The cat grinned back at him, flashing a maw of discoloured teeth. Turning from the yellow fangs to the source of the voice, the Imperial felt an involuntary chill run down his spine. The Dunmer woman was smiling at him, and she looked presentable enough with her long brown hair well-groomed and partially braided. However, her red eyes burned with the fires of Oblivion. The Imperial had met members of the Dunmer race before, but he had never gotten used to their eyes.

 

"Oh, good," said the Dunmer. "For a moment there, I thought you were both blind AND deaf. Please forgive my friend's behaviour; he has a bit of a cold coming on, it seems."

 

"Yes," the Khajiit agreed, still grinning and nodding quickly. "Soot has the sniffles. Honest to Riddle'thar. Soot definitely did not mean to snap you out of your introverted mind-space so rudely."

 

The Imperial frowned. "Perhaps you two should find another table. Believe me, I am not someone you'd want to get involved with."

 

"Get involved with?" The Dunmer chuckled. "Hear that, Soot? He thinks you're flirting with him! No you silly human, believe me, if we were here to make idle conversation with strangers, I suspect we would sooner go find another inn than go talk to your grumpy face."

 

"Is there a point to any of this, then?" asked the human, testily.

 

The Dunmer allowed herself another smirk. "That depends on whether we have the right person or not... Are you the one they call 'Dragonfly'?"

 

The Imperial winced, and squirmed uncomfortably. To his annoyance, the woman caught on to this instantly. "Oh-ho!" she exclaimed. "You ARE Dragonfly!"

 

Hearing the name again, the Imperial felt even more uncomfortable, and the Dunmer seemed to notice this too, for she continued. "Dragonfly. Dragonfly..." she said, letting the name roll off her tongue each time. "Bit of a silly name if you ask me. But then again, I suppose you didn't get to pick it yourself."

 

The Imperial was glaring again. Things were made all the worse because the woman's smirk had now turned into almost as wide a grin as the Khajiit's. "I don't-"

 

"But where are my manners!" the woman interjected. "We know your name, but you don't know ours! Or... well..." She gestured to the Khajiit. "You've probably figured out that 'this one' is called Soot. I mean, unless you're absolutely dim-witted... Are you dim-witted, Dragonfly?"

 

"No..." the human muttered.

 

"Good! Then allow me to introduce myself, as well. My name is Llirilia Sevlin, but it's quite enough if you just call me Liri." She held her hand out over the table, offering a handshake, but the gesture was ignored. "Seriously, are you going to act like a boorish loner for the rest of the night? I thought that was alcohol in your cup, and if this is how you act when you're drunk, I don't even want to know what you're like when you're sober. Come on... loosen up already!"

 

The Imperial let out a resigned sigh, and then finally shook Liri's hand. "Fine... but don't call me that name again. My real name is Tyronus Venurori."

 

The Khajiit tilted his head. "Truly? Soot finds this to be a bit of a mouthful..."

 

"Perhaps I was wrong about the flirting after all," said Liri, "but for all his unintentional innuendo, Soot is right. Don't you have a nickname other than Dra-" Seeing Tyronus' expression, she quickly corrected herself: "Other than that... bad one. Because, no offence, but, 'Tyronus Venurori'? Really a bit of a bother to say..."

 

"This one knows!" Soot exclaimed. "What about... Tyros?"

 

Tyronus shook his head. "I'd appreciate it if you didn't..."

 

"Tyros it is!" Liri agreed.

 

"Great..." Tyronus muttered. "Lady Sevlin... Mister... hmm... 'Soot'... Not that our conversation so far hasn't been torture enough, but what do you two actually want from me?"

 

"Hmm? Oh... we don't actually want ANYTHING from you," said Liri. "But our employer does!" she quickly added, as Tyronus was about ready to stand up and walk away. "It is true that you hunt the undead, correct?"

 

"Not the undead. Vampires," Tyronus corrected.

 

"That's good. That's great! You see... our employer is on a similar mission... She is a servant of Meridia."

 

"Another damned Daedra!" Tyronus snapped, but after taking a deep breath, he managed to calm his voice. "...though I suppose at least we have a common enemy in Molag Bal."

 

"Precisely!" Liri agreed. "Besides- stop biting your claws, Soot! Right... Besides, our boss is what I suppose you would call a 'convert of convenience.' She sought out a shrine of Meridia, asking for a blessing, or some sort aid against the undead menace... And Meridia answered!" Before she continued, Liri leaned in a little closer over the table. "But! Here's the thing. Meridia said she would only offer her aid if we recruited YOU into our merry little band."

 

Tyronus arched his brow. "She wanted me, specifically?" he asked, sceptically.

 

"Yup. The boss is committed enough, but I guess Meridia didn't really trust us mercenary types. And really now, your actions haven't gone unnoticed, Tyros. The Daedra do so love to play with mortals, so if I may say so myself, it might be a good idea to throw your lot in with the one that actually ISN'T a total psychopath. I mean... now that you're being offered, and all."

 

"Very sound advice," Tyronus agreed, matter-of-factly, "but one thing in all of this troubles me... If it is so important to Meridia that your group receives my aid, why did your leader not come seek me out in person?"

 

To Tyronus' surprise, both Liri and Soot laughed out loud in response. "I'd say you'd understand once you met her," Liri began, "but I'm starting to think you two are a little too alike for you to realize..."

 

"What Liri is trying to say," added Soot, "is that our beloved leader is not much of a people's person..."

 

"Why do you think she has to hire mercenaries, when there are plenty of goody-two-shoes out there just waiting for an inspiring leader to rally them?" asked Liri.

 

"So I am essentially being asked to join a band of social rejects..." Tyronus said.

 

"Yes, isn't that perfect?" Liri asked. "You'll fit right in!"

 

Tyronus would have glared again, but he had started to suspect that his displays of uneasiness actually just served to encourage Liri further. Instead, he pondered the situation for a moment.

 

"So," he finally said, "Meridia is offering some form of aid, or weapon... and we will then be free to use it as we see fit?"

 

"Presumably so," Liri agreed. "And I am sure you get to have some say in it, but to be clear, if you choose to join us, our boss will be your boss as well, and she gets the final say in every decision."

 

"That is reasonable," said Tyronus. But then perhaps it is better I negotiate the terms with her directly."

 

"Excellent!" Liri exclaimed, clapping her hands together.

 

"We can take you to her right away," Soot added.

 

Tyronus nodded, with a wry smile. "We could do that... OR, to celebrate our very probable partnership, we could drink a toast first."

 

Liri chuckled, and raised her mug. "Look who's coming out of his shell! I like it!"

 

Soot nodded and raised his mug of sugared water. "Agreed. Soot will drink to that!"

 

Cups and mugs clinked together, and were soon emptied. And not soon after, the small corner table stood empty as well. But not for long. The seats were quickly filled by new patrons, for such was the coursing flow and rhythm of the Trekker's Rest; where old adventures end, and new ones begin.

Edited by Tyronus Venurori
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Exciting :) and good with trigger warning, even though I'd always keep reading... take the nightmares that might come ;)

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Very nice :) Please be lenient on us , Molag Bal's enemy vamps :P

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Chapter 2: Death’s Gate

 

"Come, come! Down this passage! Soot knows. Soot remembers now!"

 

"You said that three times already!" Liri complained.

 

"Trrrue," Soot purred, "but the only way we can get to the shrine is to leave diagonally out of the third crossing, then pretend we're going left, even though we end up going right, then return to the crossing and go right once again."

 

"That's insanity," Tyronus sneered. He was tired of the Khajiit's antics; they had descended deeper and deeper into the dungeon for well over an hour now, with the promise of reaching Meridia's shrine. The air was damp and unpleasant, and the loud echoes of the group's footsteps against the stone floor had been repeated for so long that Tyronus was starting to feel as if the echoes came from within his own mind. And more to the point, it was giving him a headache.

 

"Lady Sevlin," he continued, "I don't understand why you let this Khajiit lead our way in the first place."

 

Liri sighed. "Because the rest of us have tried to do the same, and failed. We seemingly follow the same path that Soot would have taken if he didn't bother with all the detours, but for some reason, we always end up in the wrong place, or get lost entirely. This maze of corridors is more difficult to navigate than it seems, but for some reason, Soot has gotten this path fixed in that bent little head of his, and we've found it best just to humour him."

 

"By the eight..." Tyronus muttered, with a bemused expression on his face. "Are you people too dumb to sketch a map, or is that somehow against the 'rules' of this addled Khajiit?"

 

"Halt!" Soot demanded, as if on cue. He spun around dramatically and jabbed his index finger towards the other two. "We are almost there. But before we step into the next room, Liri should punch the ragged Imperial in his whiny mouth."

 

Tyronus, who was too annoyed to pay the Khajiit's rant any attention, was rather surprised as he suddenly found himself on the floor, with an acute pain along his lower lip, and the taste of blood in his mouth. The blow had come seemingly out of nowhere, but as he began to realize what had just happened, all Tyronus could do was stare up at Liri and wonder in awestruck silence over how someone could be that incredibly stupid.

 

"That..." Tyronus hissed, "...is all you'll get." He reached for the grip of his blade as he rose, but Liri didn't seem intimidated at all.

 

"Oh grow a pair!" she sneered. "Someone throws a punch at you, and your first thought is to go cutty-cutty stab-stab? I told you, we need to follow Soot's little rituals... or would you rather get lost and die down here because our guide refuses to lead us?"

 

In some warped kind of way, Tyronus found her words to make sense. He let his arm fall back to his side, but instantly regretted it as the Khajiit let out a bluster of mocking laughter.

 

"Silly Liri!" Soot cackled. "Punching the Imperial was not part of this one's rituals; it was just a request!" His laughter settled, and he gave Tyronus a knowing look. "Soot has ears you know. And who says he must abide all these hurtful things that the Imperial says? Soot is helping, because Soot is clever, and now the Imperial knows just how clever Soot can be."

 

 Tyronus felt a slight heat rise to his cheeks, as his face flushed. Perhaps it was from the anger, or perhaps it was from the embarrassment of being called out on his behaviour in such a harsh way; he couldn't quite tell, himself. Part of him still wanted to just tell them both to go crawl down in a hole and die - a purpose for which this dungeon was surprisingly well-suited - and then to oblivion with their stupid shrine. But deep down he knew that this opportunity was too good to pass up, and a pair of undisciplined mercenaries weren't going to stop him from finding a new weapon with which to combat the scourge of Molag Bal's minions.

 

"Very well..." he began, looking at the Khajiit. "Perhaps I should learn to hold my tongue sometimes. However..." He turned to Liri. "That was quite a punch. I am not very happy about it, so I suggest you don't try that again." Finally, Tyronus forced a smile, and tried not to glare too much. "See? I can be civil when I want to..."

 

Liri blinked, and let out a short whistle. "Boy, I was just waiting for you to blow up there. Tyros, I must say, thank you for not being an idiot about this. Your gesture is very... monogamous? That's a word, right?"

 

"It is, but I think you meant magnanimous..." Tyronus muttered. "Still, thank you all the same."

 

Liri smiled. "Just so. Also... In hindsight, I admit I wasn't really thinking... I guess maybe I shouldn't have been so quick to sock you in the mouth." She patted Tyronus on the shoulder, then added playfully, with a sly wink: "And as far as apologies go, that's all YOU'LL get..."

 

The two of them turned back to the path before them. But, as Tyronus turned his gaze to the archway ahead, he noticed that a massive figure was now blocking it. The figure was female, yet stood well over a head taller than Tyronus. Her muscles made the chainmail she wore bulge at her arms, and her charcoal-black hair hung in a single, thick braid down her shoulder.

 

"Is that an Orc?" Tyronus asked.

 

"So it would seem," Liri agreed. As she noticed Tyronus' stare, she quickly added: "Don't worry! She's with us. She's not gonna rip your face off or anything."

 

Tyronus blinked. "I guess that makes all three Alliances represented in this little venture. Interesting."

 

"A Khajiit, a Dunmer and an Orc walks into a bar..." Soot said out of nowhere, "This one is sure there's a joke in there somewhere. Except, we are not in a bar... and we also have an Imperial with us..."

 

"Soot, please shut up for a moment?" Liri helpfully suggested. "Read the room. Introductions are in order."

 

"Indeed..." Tyronus agreed, frowning as he realized that this must be the group's leader, and that, in other words, his social skills had been compared to those of an Orc earlier, back at the inn. Still, it would not hurt to be chivalrous, so Tyronus approached the Orc and took a deep bow. "Milady. I am Tyronus Venurori, the one you sent for. Might I ask your name in turn?"

 

The Orc studied him for a long moment, almost curiously. "Narg," she finally said.

 

"N-Narg?" Tyronus asked, flustered.

 

"Narg."

 

"I- I don't speak- is that an Orcish greeting?"

 

"No," said the Orc. "Narg." She pointed to herself. "Me."

 

Tyronus rubbed the back of his neck, awkwardly. "Errr... I see. Well met, Lady... hmm... Narg. I-"

 

"Me not boss," Narg interrupted. "Me squire. Boss. Boss in room. Behind." She pointed into the room behind her.

 

"She's from the wilds," Liri whispered. "A bit of an 'original', as you can tell... Just try to ignore it; the girl can be quite self-conscious if you fuss about it." After a moment, she added: "THEN she'll rip off your face!"

 

"Grrrr! Narg is blocking doorway!" Soot hissed, loudly. "Shoo! Shoo! This one brings Imperial inside! Soot's job, Soot's responsibility! Hurry!"

 

"Calm down, Soot. You have done well." The female voice echoed loudly out of the room that Narg had been blocking off. Instantly, the orc stepped aside, standing at attention by the archway.

 

Had Tyronus not already met the other companions present in the room, he might have expected the honey-smooth voice to belong to a noble woman from the Imperial city. Perhaps a fair shieldmaiden. However, at this point he was prepared for almost anything, and so didn't act very surprised when a tiny, bald woman stepped out in the open, wearing full plate armour and leaning on a staff.

 

"Yep, that seems about right..." Tyronus mumbled to himself as he gave the new stranger a polite nod.

 

"Catia Miderius," said the woman, smiling as she returned the nod. "I would be the leader that you thought-"

 

"Cat!" Liri interrupted, and to Tyronus' delight she actually sounded shocked. "Your hair... what's with the new look? I mean- even your eyebrows... What in Oblivion did you DO!"

 

Catia's smile faded. "You know it as well as I do, Sevlin. It's this damned maze..." She shrugged. "I'd rather not talk about it."

 

For a moment, Tyronus thought Liri looked frightened. Narg appeared uncomfortable too, shuffling her foot over the stone floor. It was only Soot who grinned: "This one thinks it is a marked improvement," said the Khajiit. "Now if you find hair in your soup, you can blame the cook!"

 

"Soot..." Liri warned.

 

"What? Some inns let you have the soup for free for that... Soot likes soup, but with all his fur, he always gets unjustly blamed by racist elves when he tries to sneak hair into it!"

 

"Yeah... could we perhaps steer this conversation back on topic?" Tyronus began. "What was that about the maze? I don't mean to be difficult, but that sounded rather... ominous."

 

Catia looked hesitant, pursing her lips and glancing to Liri. The latter sighed softly as she noticed.

 

"You have seen it already, Tyros," Liri finally said. "This place... a curse of some sort seems to hang over it, or at least that's our guess. But whatever it is, it seems to make people behave... strangely." She gestured to Soot. "I think you may see it in all of us, but more so in Soot. He has spent the most time down here since we can't navigate the place without him."

 

"The reason I sent him with Sevlin was so he could get out of here," Catia said, quietly. "If only for a little while."

 

"Yes," Narg agreed. "We guard camp. Much... pest?" After a moment's pondering she added: "Rats. Good eat, but, many. Big."

 

"I... thought the rats had laid eggs in my hair," Catia continued. "Then I remembered rats don't lay eggs..." She blushed and pointed to her pale scalp. "The realization came a little too late, though..."

 

Tyronus wondered if he was starting to get afflicted by the curse, too. The musing made his headache seem far more acute. "Is the change... permanent?" he asked.

 

"We don't think so," Liri said. "Our minds seem to clear up when we're out of here, but Meridia has asked us to keep a permanent presence."

 

Tyronus nodded. "I presume Meridia expects us to lift this curse then, in exchange for her aid?"

 

"That would be my guess as well," Catia said. "And I am sorry for the deception, Sir Venurori, but I wasn't sure you'd come if you knew about the curse on beforehand."

 

Tyronus wrinkled his nose. "I am not a coward, milady, if that is what you thought of me."

 

"Then how did you come to be known as 'Dragonfly'?" Catia asked, with more than a hint of doubt in her voice. "I am sorry, but you are known throughout the empire as a bit of a-"

 

"Alright!" Liri interrupted. She cleared her throat and added, with an awkward smile: "How about we go check out that shrine, hmm? I'm sure Tyros would love to see it!"

 

Catia blinked. "I- Yes... Yes, that is a good idea." She beckoned for the others to follow, then stepped past Narg and through the archway once more, followed by the others.

 

On the other side was a long hallway that looked almost like a cathedral. Large pillars decorated the passage although they didn't stand very orderly, but more as an alley of trees where some were bent, and some thicker than others. The torches along the walls also made the shadows from the pillars dance much like they were a dark forest.

 

The group continued down the hallway, Tyronus following a little bit behind the others, walking with Narg next to him. He glanced to the Orc. "So, you are Lady Catia's squire?" Tyronus asked. "I don't mean to pry, but there HAS to be a story there, right?"

 

Narg gave Tyronus a confused look at first, but then her mouth split into a wide grin. "Story?" Narg asked. "Narg loves story! Tell later. Busy now."

 

Tyronus nodded slowly, unsure whether Narg had misunderstood his question, or if he had misunderstood her reply. But there was no time to say anything further, for Catia and the others had stopped up ahead, and it took only a few steps for Tyronus and Narg to catch up.

 

At the end of the hallway stood a rectangular slab of stone. The top of the slab extended out from the bottom almost like a table, so Tyronus guessed it was an altar of some sort.

 

"Here," said Catia. "This is where she appeared to us."

 

No sooner had Catia spoken, before a bright orb rose out of the altar, illuminating the entire hallway in a sea of light. Tyronus had to squint, and raise a hand in front of his eyes to even keep them open at all. Yet he could see little; only blurred shapes and figures, but he could also hear Soot hiss; the Khajiit clearly being as uncomfortable as himself, if not moreso.

 

"I sense the presence of the Dragonfly," a booming voice called out; Tyronus couldn't quite make out if it was the voice of a woman or a man, but he realized it came from the orb. "I am Meridia," the voice continued, "Daedric Prince of Life, and Lady of Infinite Energies!"

 

The powerful light had faded just enough for everyone to see properly as Catia fell to her knees before the Altar. Tyronus noted that Liri simply rolled her eyes as she saw this.

 

"Lady Meridia," Catia began. "It is as you say. We have brought you the one known as Tyronus Venurori."

 

Tyronus, who didn't feel as eager to bow to a Daedraic Prince, added: "Indeed... And I am here expecting a weapon; aid, against the forces of Molag Bal."

 

"And my aid you shall have," the voice agreed. "But first, you must perform one final task for me."

 

"We already guessed that," Liri said. "You want us to rid this place of it's curse."

 

"Curse?" the voice asked. "...yes. Curse! Perform this task, and I shall grant you my boon."

 

"Gladly," said Catia, clearly far more reverent than either Tyronus or Liri. "We shall do your bidding, My Prince. How, exactly, can we lift this vile curse?"

 

"The curse was placed by a vampire," the voice said, "and only a vampire can lift it. But we cannot trust one of Molag Bal's children. Therefore, one of YOU must martyr yourself... and receive the dark gift."

 

"Hold on, that makes no sense!" Tyronus snapped. Catia looked over her back, giving him a murderous glare, but he didn't care. "Meridia? Calling vampirism a GIFT? Asking one of us to turn? I don't buy this nonsense. Either you are just as bad as Molag Bal, or, you are not actually who you claim to be."

 

There was a short pause where everyone just stared at Tyronus. Catia swallowed hard, looking pale. "M-my lady..." she began, "I apologize for the Dragonfly's foolishness." She said his name with a derisive sneer. "He does not understand-"

 

"No. YOU don't understand!" Liri objected. "Cat, think this through. It's a pretty little orb we're looking at here, I'll grant you that, but we are clearly being deceived."

 

Another silence, as Catia appeared to be at a loss for words. It was finally the voice from the orb that spoke again: "It would seem that you've seen right through the lies," it said, and this time, Tyronus was certain that it was a male voice, not female. "Yet, my offer of aid was sincere."

 

"Then no more lies!" Tyronus called out. "Who are you, really?"

 

"It is true that I am a Daedric Prince," said the voice. "But I am actually... Clavicus Vile! Prince of trickery and wishes! Awoogaboogabooga! BOO!"

 

Catia blinked. "M-my lady?" she whispered, as if too herself. Narg kneeled down beside her, looking lost; unsure how to comfort her.

 

"This is getting more and more ridiculous..." Liri snarled. "Tyros asked you a question. Lie to us one more time and we walk away from here!"

 

The voice from the orb suddenly became lighter, almost shrill. "You lot are no fun at all! Completely, irredeemably, BORING! I should bleed you out and boil you in your own blood, and see how you like THAT!" The voice then calmed as fast as it had turned agitated. "But, then again, I don't have any cheese. And you can't eat boiled mortals without cheese. Very well! I guess I'll humour ye for a little longer!"

 

The orb disappeared under the altar again. Moments later, the top of the stone altar slid aside as if by itself, and Tyronus realized that it had actually been a stone lid. The slab was no altar at all: It had been a chest- no, a sarcophagus! And as it opened, it revealed a set of dusty old bones, covered in spider web.

 

"Ye'll have to excuse me. Or not." The voice now seemed to come directly from the bones themselves. "I just wrote a play, and it was quite spectacular you know! I suppose I still felt a bit in the zone... I do so love theatre, and did you know, the other mortal I played theatre with... HAD NO SOUL! Hahaha! Imagine that!"

 

"W-what's happening?" Liri asked, and Tyronus realized that the sarcophagus hadn't just stopped emanating light. It was drawing light in! A dark void began to form around the bones, and it was expanding rapidly.

 

"We have to get out of here!" Tyronus called. Liri was trying to pull Catia away from the altar, but she remained fallen to her knees, staring at the approaching void as if she had given up. Narg sat by Catia's side and rocked back and forth. Tyronus looked for soot; the Khajiit was dancing around the growing void, laughing manically.

 

"Now! As promised!" the mysterious voice called out. "I'll tell ye everything, but let's have a face-to-face meeting first!"

 

Tyronus tried to run, but the void was drawing in more than just light now. He felt himself pulled into the darkness, flying haplessly, and the last thing he heard, was his own scream as the darkness took him.

Edited by Tyronus Venurori
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