Dragonborn Chapter 365: The Unfortunate Dremora
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*7 Days until the Battle of Winterhold*
For a full day after his return, Jon was locked up in the room he picked by the orders of Harkon. It seems an old father wanted a reunion with his daughter alone away from distractions, especially a Jon-level distraction.
Jon couldn’t hide his worry alone in the room, he may have some agents among the vampires but he needed to go forward with the plan fast. Getting delayed for a full day was not in his calculations.
Still, he started working on his own projects in the time being. As he can log into the system now and can freely access the [Cube], he started seeing what he needed to escape. Other than [Molag’s Mace] which had no big effect on undead, there was the [Wabbajack] which Jon wasn’t going to rely on against the vampires and there was the [Skull of Corruption] which was also useless because vampires rarely sleep in their coffins.
He sat on the floor of the empty room and started massaging the place where his left foot should have been as well as the couple of fingers he lost and then applied the ointment on his face which wasn’t going to heal more than that. Jon sighed as he was sure that the damage has long since got Imprinted on his Astral Body, he can just try to reconstruct it later… or maybe add a pair of wings to his Astral Body so they grow on his Real Body… no, bad idea! Maybe morph into a cat? Nope, he is still an unworthy Hooman.
He could only pass boredom by going through his research on the Eldergleam Branch and what he should use it for. Nefertiti would come out every now and then to distract him and he keeps stroking her until he suddenly had a good idea.
“Xikil.” Jon called for the Dremora.
The call should have been enough to summon Xikil but the Daedra seemed not responsive. Jon had left a [Blood Tag] on Xikil so he used [Conjure Dremora] on the tag directly.
Space distorted and Xikil appeared. He was wearing a cheap armor and holding a spear.
“Mortal? What do you want? Unsummon me now.”
“Have you lost your brain, shithead? How dare you talk to me that way?” Jon gave Xikil the [Tyrant Aura] to finally get a taste for the first time.
Xikil started trembling in his place.
“Mo- Mortal! No one… told me you are this powerful.”
“Hm? Of course, wasn’t my power sealed, you shit for brain?” Jon cussed at the Dremora like his usual and then turned serious. “Hey, got some questions for you.”
“What do you want? I am really busy.”
“Busy? Doing what?”
“I am supposed to be on guard duty around the Tower of Lies! If Markynaz Marx showed up and found that I am absent, I won’t hear the end of it.” Xikil looked terrified.
“Marx? That buff guy that looks like a blue Darth Maul?” Jon asked.
“Huh?”[A/n: I was mistaken a few chapters ago when I described the Dremora of Coldharbour as red and black while they are actually bluish cyan.]
“… Now that I think about it, all of you Dremora look exactly like Darth Maul! Forgot about it. I wanted to ask you about that [Soul Sigil Stone], do you still have it?” Jon said.
“What? Why are you asking?”
“Of course not. How can someone with my rank be allowed to keep a Sigil Stone, you dimwitted Mortal?”
Jon and Nefertiti gave Xikil the same expressionless stare.
“Wrong answer.” With a wave of her paw, a [Shadow Boomerang] was shot be Nefertiti and beheaded Xikil.
The dreadful Oblivion plane of Coldharbour is a place of death, despair, and infinite cruelty. It is ruled by Molag Bal, the Lord of Brutality and Domination, a Daedric Prince dedicated to enslaving all the mortals of Nirn.
The realm is nothing but a gloomy wasteland of dead forests, dark skies, endless ruins, massive fortresses, Azure Plasm pools as well as hordes of evil Daedric creatures and Soul Shriven slaves.
The Azure Plasm is a substance that forms rivers and lakes around Coldharbour, this plasm was, in fact, the [Chaotic Creatia] of Coldharbour where the Daedra that died reform from.
Just like the realm, the azure colored substance reflected the theme color of the gloomy Coldharbour, a place of torture and suffer where the Soul Shriven and any Mortal who dares to steps in are mercilessly butchered by the Daedric Creatures around.
In a certain Azure Plasm pool around the Tower of Lies, a certain popping sound was heard and a figure crawled out of it which seemed to be a Dremora Kynval.
“Damn! Damn you, Mortal! And that black animal! They are on my list, dammit.”
Kynval is the third rank from below only superior to Churl and Caitiff in the Dremora community. Churls, Caitiffs and Kynvals are basically Foot Soldiers, Elites and Knights.
The higher ranks are the Officer-like ranks, the Kynreeve and Kynmarcher. These can be viewed as Captains and Marshalls.
The highest ranks are the Lord ranks, the Markynaz and the Valkynaz which are the Nobles and the Royal Guards.
The Kynval that walked out of the Azure Plasm pool was the head of the guard on the outskirts of the Tower of Lies where the mortal slaves come to mine until they become defective. The Kynval walked in a gloomy mood trying to figure his way back to his post. The thing with the Dremora was their terrible sense of direction and how it is hard for them to navigate easily.
While walking quietly to not attract attention, a voice called for the Kynval.
The Kynval froze in his place and looked backward slowly to the mighty Dremora that approached him.
“So, Xikil.” The Kynreeve snorted, “Straying from your post when on duty, again? It’s the scathe pits for you, my lad.”
Kynval Xikil jumped from his place, “But, Kynreeve, I couldn’t help it! I was summoned to Nirn by a mortal!”
The Kynreeve’s face twisted in a mean smile and smacked the Kynval on the back.
“And that’ll be an extra shift scathing for telling such a hornless lie. Also, Markynaz Marx was looking for you so the scathing will be after that. Now march, Xikil, March! Left! Left! Left, right, left!”
Xikil couldn’t help but follow Kynreeve Vurkurl that usually bullied him.
The thing with Xikil was that he was not the brightest Dremore even among the low ranks which made him quite the popular target for bullying. More than a month ago when Lord Molag Bal issued an assignment for Markynaz Marx to send someone to babysit a Mortal in Nirn, most of the Dremora managed to pin the task on the unfortunate Kynval, that’s how Xikil was thrown into the clutches of Jon Dare, the Keeper of the Lord’s Mace.
Being unfortunate enough to follow a mortal, Xikil was tormented day and night. It was normal for those Dremora who fall into a conjuration accident and get bound by a mortal mage, they become a laughing stock for days.
Xikil was one of the popular Dremora in the conjuration accident. When he was created for the first time about 200 years ago, he was conjured not long after he became a proper Churl. He still remembers the scene of the Dark Elf child that conjured him and how he was broken in a flick of a finger.
That shorty Dark Elf child stood so proud of herself and pointed at the Dremora with her staff shouting, “Submit foul Daedra. You are in the presence of the great Nurina Aren.”
The shame and bitterness which that day brought to him were unspeakable, another Dark Elf woman appeared and started teaching the child how to torture the Dremora if they did not submit. In front of the child, the Dremora may have managed to put some resisitance but the woman broke him to pieces.
It was one of the saddest moments of his life. Xikil couldn’t help but growl inside.
‘The Dark Elf woman and child, Kynreeve Vurkurl, the Mortal Jon Dare and his cat. All of you sorry people are on my list. Hah! Even that bastard Marx. Markynaz or not, he is also on the list.’
As Xikil was marching in bitterness, he started to feel a certain tingling in his horns and toes.
Xikil knew what was happening, he could hear that voice in his head calling him back to Nirn saying something like ‘Round two’.
Before Xikil could react, the void enveloped him and he disappeared in his place. Kynreeve Vurkurl looked behind him to not find a single trace of Xikil.
“Haha! Sneaking away, ha? I think we will need more than just a scathing pit, Xikil.”
*Nirn, Castle Volkihar*
“My daughter, I trust that you had a tough time waking up yesterday. Do you feel well now?”
In a certain chamber in Castle Volkihar, Lord Harkon had a one-sided conversation with a certain girl who sat on a chair holding to a goblet filled with high quality blood. She sipped on it slowly and enjoyed the taste.
“Yes, father. I feel well.”
“Fine. For the Scroll’s safe return and yours, I wished that your treacherous mother would be here to see this reunion.” Harkon said as he patted on the Elder Scroll of the Sun.
Ever since the return of his daughter Serana, Lord Harkon was more lively than ever (if the word ‘lively’ was fitting to describe a Vampire). He took hold of the Elder Scroll and kept looking to its mystic patterns. Something about the Elder Scrolls was mind soothing and calming when looking at its exterior, one of the mysteries that a few could understand.
Lord Harkon was surely drawn with all his senses to the Elder Scroll as he sat to the opposite chair to his daughter. She looked at him meaningfully before looking away again.
“So… quite the time, huh?.” She said.
“Eh? Yes… quite the time.” Harkon replied with no focus.
Serana’s eyes looked scanned around her room with a nostalgic look, something was annoyingly familiar as if no time has passed in this place. It should be reassuring that not much has changed in the span of the centuries she spent under seal but knowing that nothing has changed just got to her head right away.
‘Nothing changed in the end.’
The same castle, the same blood, the same system of her father and his underlings.
It was as if she went to sleep in her coffin at day and woke up the next night.
Her mind kept searching for any changes… from the same obsessions of her father about the Prophecy that ruined her family to the stubbornness of her mother who stood against the prophecy to her own situation between the pulling and pushing between her mother and father.
Why would anything change?
No! There was that anomaly that made Serana wonder, why is there a Mortal living in the quarters and not in the cattle pen.
“Since when do we allow Mortals to stay in the quarters?” She asked.
Harkon seemed annoyed by her questions and looked towards her for a second to gather his thoughts.
“Oh! The Mortal, right! He is a helper… someone with the ability to find my Elder Scrolls. He was the one who located you. A bit irritating but he will be taught his place after he is of no use… of course, after he laid his dirty hands on you.”
‘So, that’s how it was.’ Serana thought, ‘A mortal that can find Elder Scrolls? Mother said that the scrolls can’t be tracked by normal means and no magic can affect them.’
“How is that possible? Tracking an Elder Scroll?” She asked.
“… Some sort of a prophecy…” Harkon said with annoyance.
A frown appeared on Serana’s face as she looked to her father.
“Another Child of Prophecy?”
“Another?” Harkon averted his eyes from the scroll to check his daughters change of mood, he understood right away.
“Yes, another one like you… actually, not like you. He is a mortal and you are my child. You are destined for greatness, daughter.”
Harkon was a lousy liar only because he doesn’t even bother putting any effort when lying. His age and status made him disregard any worry about telling or not telling the truth. A level of self-importance that can be irritating like none other.
The deal with Serana and the ‘Child of Prophecy’ thing is that she was always that told those words by her father. He relied on her solely to complete the prophecy of the Sun’s Tyranny as only the blood of a Daughter of Coldharbour will blind the Eye of the Dragon.
Hearing that another ‘Child of Prophecy’ is around made her quite irritated for a reason. The father of hers who would see anything for the sake of power have found another pawn for his play.
“So, you are not changing him into a Vampire?” She asked.
“I will… eventually. His kind needs to learn some manners first or we will have another troublemaker in the court. He is also wielding the Mace of Lord Molag Bal… something about him that just… never mind. I should leave you to rest.”
Harkon seemed to not be able to find any peace beside Serana to examine the scroll. He simply took it and walked away.
“Father.” Serana called. “I found the way to mather’s lab blocked with rubble. Is there any…”
“And I rather if it stays that way.” Harkon cut her words.
He looked annoyed as he looked back at his daughter.
“Your mother took what I value the most and abandoned this place. I don’t even care about her as long as I can get back what is dear to me.”
He then left and closed the door behind him.
She was left alone with the sweet taste of blood in her mouth getting spoiled by the bitterness of her mood. He said ‘what he values the most’ was taken from him but then he said that ‘what is dear to him’ is still not back.
How could she think of it any other way?
Aren’t everyone are just means to an end in the grand scheme of things?
Serana was urged up on her feet by nothing other than the mere force of annoyance. She just stood up with ragged breath and an agonizing storm of negative emotions.
She, who was kept behind closed doors all her life as the princess of Clan Volkihar, could do nothing but be what her elders wanted her to be.
A protected child? Okay.
A Child of Prophecy? Okay.
A mean to topple the world’s order upside down? Okay.
Get sealed for hundreds of years? Okay.
And now what?
She had nothing to do but to wait for another ordeal to be put in the center off.
Cooling of her head with a sigh and a sip of blood, Serana decided to at least have a walk in the castle and see if there is anything to do now that the laboratory was sealed.
Her room was close to the main hall as she could see it through the balcony after her room, the walked slowly begging for something interesting to appear and it was not her sight by her ears that picked something.
A strange undefined fast-paced incomprehensible music. She walked to the direction of the sound and arrived at a room at the end of the quarters’ hallway.
There was not just music but also the sound of bashing and screaming yet it was blocked by that music. Serana opened the door and looked in.
Three pairs of eyes turned to her. A Human, a large Cat and a Dremora.
A rather unusual group were in a rather comical situation. The Dremora was hanged by its arms by some black chains held by the large cat while the human was punching him as some sort of interrogation or torture.
“Oh! Sorry for the mess.” The human stopped the music and turned to the girl while cleaning his hands with a towel.
She looked at the aura around him and something was rather curious… or tasty.
“You must be Serana. I am Jon.” He smiled to the girl brightly and offered a handshake.
As she awkwardly shook his hand, he spoke once again.
“Now you must be thinking, this is that situation when an easygoing confidant adventurous red-haired boy stumbled upon a castle of an ancient vampire lord whose daughter is a gentle smart curious black-haired girl then you are right… except for the part about this being a hotel. I don’t think Uncle Dracula out there is open for guests, I mean… Hotel Volkihar? … Hmmm, now that I say it out loud, it doesn’t sound that bad, doncha think?”