Grazhir :: Crossover :: Diagonal :: 19

19: Journey’s End

Sora, Serana, Everyone Else —

Kind of in a bind here. Apparently being a responsible member of society means you get dragged off into bizarre quests and circumstances. I don’t know quite how to explain this. It has been explained to me that I am the reincarnation of a soul that originated on a different world. This world has magic, but not the same kind as what we’re used to.

That version of me was killed by some psycho—I’ll explain in more detail once I understand things better—and my soul ended up reborn into our Nirn. However, there’s some weird tournament thing going on here and they use some enchanted cup to determine who competes. The moron who killed that me decided I must still be alive, so he arranged for my name to be entered.

And wouldn’t you know, the enchantments had the power to drag me through the Void and into that world. What is it about people who were born or chosen to be, as Viper put it, “big damn heroes”?

I am at something of a loss here and would really like some back-up. Fawkes (a phoenix—some kind of fire-bird) says Bormahu will allow for one companion to join me for this. As much as I would like to have an illusionist with me, I know better than to take one of the family away from Sora for the better part of a year.

So, Serana? I think of you as my older, more experienced, and wiser sister. We’ve never talked about it, but that’s how I feel. Will you please join me here? I won’t be able to return until all three tasks are complete or I stand to lose my ability to do magic.

Fawkes assures me that Bormahu will bring us back once this is all over. I just have to get through this stupid tournament. Give your reply to Luggage. I’ll summon him back in half an hour.

— Yvara

*

Yvara —

I’m touched, actually. And yes, I will join you, sister. I don’t understand how, but I assume that Akatosh will handle that aspect.

— Serana

P.S. Sora here. You will be writing to us on a regular basis, correct?

*

Filigrana —

You would not believe just how idiotic these people are here! I swear, the concept of common sense is seriously lacking. It’s like having the ability to do magic has corrupted their heads and made them into sheep. Whoever is most persuasive or loud is the shepherd or something.

Beard is the leader here at this school. He told me his name at one point, but I honestly can’t be bothered to remember it. Red is my previous incarnation’s mother, but I avoid all of that whenever possible. As far as I’m concerned my parents died in the attack that saw me transformed into a creature of the night.

(She’s being dramatic again. There’s a half-vampire in this world—how that’s even possible I don’t know—who is a very popular singer, if you can believe it. All of his song titles are vampire-based puns.)

Will you please load Luggage up with some mead? And maybe some of that salad? I tried to explain it to the servants here (some weird little creatures called house-elves—oh, if only this was the fate of the Thalmor) but they cannot get it right. I’ll send Luggage to Valerica for a new supply of blood potions, so don’t worry about that part of things.

(Do you think if we sent over a book from here you could check to see if you could decipher it? For all we know the languages here are similar to the ones from your original world.)

There are three other competitors, all of them young, one from each of the schools involved. The rules stated that you had to be seventeen to put your name in for consideration, though I wouldn’t doubt some of the younger students tried to figure out how to bypass the restrictions.

I was actually expected to show up to something called the “Weighing of the Wands” so that some old guy I decided to call Wispy could check them. I showed him my Wabbajack and he turned Beard into a mudcrab with it. Temporarily, I’m sure. I got out of there before he turned back. Some crazy lady was there and wanted “pictures” of the four of us, and to write up a story, so…

(Not to worry, he turned back. We saw him later on and he seemed fine.)

The “First Task” is supposed to be soon. It’s supposed to test our daring. Somehow … I don’t think I’ll have any problems.

— Yvara (and Serana)

*

Yvara, Serana —

I packed up Luggage with several cases of mead and a good portion of that salad. Let me know if there’s something else you get a craving for. Definitely send a book along and we’ll check it out.

(Send many! We speak so many languages that odds are we may already know it or be able to translate it.)

Fine, send many. Lorenzo is chomping at the bit to mess around with potentially unfamiliar things and is already making plans to create another workshop. He has been badgering Shi for his help on that point. He is also interested in so-called magical plants. Since you’re at a school, perhaps they have greenhouses or something you could get samples from?

Perhaps this Fawkes will be able to say one way or the other if transporting them here would cause problems. I know from my original world that transplanted plants or creatures can sometimes have serious repercussions on the local ecology.

Horse showed up at Elysium and Valdimar has been caring for him. We have to assume you’ve also sent letters to the College and Brynjolf, so keep that in mind if you’re sending instructions to your underlings.

(We miss you!)

Val says, “Hi.” We’d love it if you’d tell us more about the world you find yourself in. Books would probably do a good job of covering many aspects there. If you can find one of those crazy people to take you into a shopping area… We can send gold if you don’t already have plenty stashed away in Luggage or that pouch of yours.

— Everyone

*

Filigrana —

You would not believe what the first task was. It was dragons! The kids all looked sick when they pulled miniature ones out of the pouch we selected from, poor things. When it was my turn I just strolled out and introduced myself. As you can imagine, the dragon just about wet itself in fear. Even on an entirely different world, Dovahkiin are not unknown.

We did the usual greetings of fire—for some reason the crowd was screaming in fear the entire time—and then I got the golden egg I was supposed to acquire. The dragon—Briisuah, such a pretty name, and female—looked relieved to have escaped the situation. The egg contains a clue or something, but it’s not like I care. I’m just killing time, right?

(You’d think none of these people had ever seen resistances in action before.)

We stuck by the lake afterward to allow the crowds to all filter off, and one of the champions came to visit with us. His name is Viktor, supposedly famous here for some game he plays (as if anyone on Nirn has that kind of luxury) and is expected to make a living at. We compared cultures a bit, he was bright enough to spot that we’re vampires, and he eventually left because his leader would get antsy if he didn’t get back.

(He was surprisingly calm, and rather relieved when we had no idea what this Quidditch game was he’s supposedly famous for.)

Serana and I talked our way into visiting the magical village near the school and bought one of everything in terms of books. Just ask Luggage and it’ll spit them all out for you guys to go over. If possible, we’ll try to sneak out and investigate father afield, but something tells me this world is very different from Nirn, perhaps a lot closer to where you came from.

We’re out in the middle of nowhere, though, because the “normal” people might do evil things to the magic users.

(Worse than Nords when it comes to this sort of thing.)

If you want more books, we’ll have to see about finagling a trip into the main shopping area. As for the plants, I was my persuasive best and the lady in charge of the greenhouses here was willing to pack some up that I’ll send when those are ready. There’s an apothecary in the village, too, but check out those books first.

— Yvara (and Serana)

*

Yvara, Serana —

The books you sent are in English, so they’re perfectly readable. Wherever you are it shares something with our original world. It is called Earth, by any chance? Countries like England, Italy, France, and Japan?

I included more salad, some cannoli, and a cheesecake. More mead, too. Any books you want to send this way would be great. Any and all topics regarding magic would be fine. We likely can’t use any of the spells, but some interesting ideas might come to light. Lorenzo, Shi, and Viper are going over the ones you sent with fine attention to detail.

Admittedly, the samples might not amount to anything. Their magic and Nirn’s are potentially too different for any of it to survive here. If any of it requires their magic to survive, well…

(But we still want to analyze samples!)

Lorenzo says, “Hi.” He’s very good at extracting things from … things. Have you made any other—well, not friends, exactly. I don’t see the point in making friends when you’ll be coming home in a few months. Any amusing people, at least?

(Pass on any good jokes!)

Rio says, “Hi.” And I don’t feel like explaining what he means. You’ve been around him enough to know for yourself.

— Everyone

*

Filigrana —

Yes, actually. I checked and this is Earth, and those places you mentioned are all here. Viktor is from some place called Bulgaria.

We’ve met a few interesting people. Most people just get nicknames because why bother to make an effort, but there’s two that are special enough to stand out. I already mentioned Viktor, the poor kid. Were any of us that painfully young at some point in our lives?

Anyway, the poor boy is inundated with screaming girls, presumably all wanting to marry him and have his babies, all because he’s good at a game. Go figure. The other one is this blonde waif of a girl who showed up at the Yule Ball the school hosted.

Tartan told me I had to go, so I asked Viktor for advice (Serana refused to come along and “play dress up” as she put it). We ended up escorting each other and getting through the meal, requisite opening dance, plus one more before we casually fled the scene. These people have complicated dances made up and you know there’s nothing like that in Skyrim (or, I assume, Cyrodiil).

The waif—however she got in, since she’s technically a year too young to be there without an escort—danced on over to us and smiled like she had only a passing acquaintance with sanity. I think you guys would like her.

(After speaking with her, I wonder if she can see things other people cannot. It’s not such a stretch. Magical people can see ghosts, while non-magicals cannot. Not everyone can see flames. Either way, it’s left her ostracized and ridiculed by her peers.)

Yeah. She’s real sweet, though, so we told her, as we told Viktor, that she can stop by any time to visit, get away from it all. It kind of reminds me in a way of those poor girls in Rorikstead. They’re grown up now, but at the time… If I wasn’t such a nice person…

(I don’t think the leadership here would appreciate if I acted on my impulses. The waif’s name is Luna, by the way.)

Right. Luna. I expect we’ll be seeing plenty of her in the months to come. Viktor was curious about our magic so I sent Luggage to Valdimar to track down that ring Serana and I found over on Solstheim. We all went up to this place called the “Room of Requirement” and did some testing after reading a spell book didn’t quite produce the hoped for results.

The ring opened a connection to Aetherius, though, and after that they were able to cast Candlelight.

(Yes, they agreed to keep it a secret. Neither of them wanted additional attention anyway. It was an interesting experiment, though. I wonder if it’d work for you guys.)

It might, but I can’t imagine you’re in any hurry to test the idea. Send the usual supplies, if you will. They are greatly appreciated.

— Yvara (and Serana)

*

Yvara, Serana —

Lorenzo is having a field day playing with that stuff you sent. Quite a bit of it wilted the second it was out of Luggage, but that’s all right. It’s something new for him to play with. He was muttering something about mandragora and Hist, but I don’t think there’s a real connection there considering Hist trees are sentient and mandrakes are just deadly screamy brats.

I think we can empathize to a degree with Viktor. But unless he has some way to reliably disguise himself, he’s in for a rough time, never knowing if people want to know him, or get close to someone famous. As for the waif, maybe she can. We don’t know what’s really over there or what gods watch over that world, right?

Things have been more or less the usual here. We get the occasional other customer. We had to alter one fellow’s memory because he showed up for ridiculously self-serving reasons. I would ask our network to do a little more digging before subtly pointing people in our direction, but the less they know overall the less can be tricked out of them.

It’s entirely possible that ring would work for us, but we’ve gone centuries without needing magic as you wield it, so it’s not something we’re particularly eager to try. We did obtain certain benefits when we transited, so… Wouldn’t want our patron to think we wanted more, you know?

— Everyone

*

Filigrana —

The “Second Task” was something of a joke, though these wizards (and witches) know some interesting spells. They have a variant on waterbreathing that looks strange, but it seems to be effective. I would still classify it as Alteration, but I think they call it Charms. Their classification system is a bit muddled, in my opinion.

Basically, they took a “hostage” for each “champion” and stuck them under the lake in some enchanted sleep and we had to rescue whoever they picked for us.

(You can imagine how well that went. The enchantment they tried using to put me to sleep was useless, and we can breathe underwater naturally. It would have been boring down there if not for the “merpeople” swimming around trying to look threatening. For all I know they’re vaguely like the Maormer, but far more bestial.)

Yeah. I just water-walked out while listening for sounds under the surface, skated on over, and canceled the spell so I could sink down. On a side note, it is not possible to properly laugh underwater. Serana waved when she saw me.

Back on the surface we just summoned our Soul Cairn horses and used an on-touch water-walking spell. We were the first back, of course, and spent the remainder of the time relaxing. The blonde part-human girl failed, but the other two managed to get their hostages back safely.

We visited again with Viktor and Luna afterward, up to that Room of Requirement, and I “required” Elysium and the surrounds, just to give them an idea of where we’re from. Also briefly showed them the house in Solitude.

Basically, it was a break for those two from their school mates or screaming fans. I’m so glad we don’t normally see that sort of behavior at home. Sure, there are powerful figures who’ve earned the respect of people, but screaming and jumping and fainting because someone is good at catching a ball?

(I guess when you have magic of the type they’re accustomed to, there’s too much free time to be had. I can’t see how this kind of behavior would manifest otherwise. I expect wealthy people are likely the same all over, however.)

Only one more task, but… Get this. It’s not for four months. Why they didn’t spread these out better I have no idea. Please, send another salad, Sora. I need to drown my sorrows with your cooking.

— Yvara (and Serana)

*

Yvara, Serana —

Not normally, but there was that one Nord guy we ran into who wandered the breadth of Skyrim in his search for the Gourmet so he could impress him with his skills. I imagine people like him is why this Gourmet’s name and face have remained unknown.

Luggage has the usual gifts. Lorenzo messed around with—

(It’s not messing around! It’s science!)

—the second shipment of plants, but I don’t think we’re going to get anywhere with any of it. Either they really do need that version of magic to survive, the transition is affecting them badly, or the gods don’t like the idea of any of it being here.

I imagine the people there went a little batshit over your horse summons, but then again, you may not have bothered to pay attention. On the other hand, it’s magic, right? Why should they get fussed? It’s wearisome that there’s another four months of this waiting.

On a side note, you missed Frothar being instated as the new jarl of Whiterun. Balgruuf finally stepped down. There’s been talk of Frothar getting married to that girl from Riverwood, Dorthe. She’s the daughter of the smith there, so you may remember her.

Aside from that it’s been business as usual, except that now we’re making deliveries of mead to Dragonsreach in addition to Jorrvaskr. Their cooks come here occasionally (they think we don’t know it’s them) and try to figure out what magic we’re working here, and they always leave dissapointed with their lack of insight. It’s tragic, and it reminds me of that cook we had for a while at Battlehorn Castle.

Merpeople, huh? They have fishy tails and gills and—wait, Shi just reminded me there was an illustration in one of those books you sent. I’ll check that in a bit.

— Everyone

*

Filigrana —

The “Third Task” is going to be a maze. Mind you, these people have only passing acquaintance with common sense, so I’m sure you can imagine my strategy already. I was going to deliberately fail the damn thing, but I remembered I got hauled over here for a reason, and I should account for that.

Letting one of the others win this task might end up all right, but it might mean an innocent gets teleported away using one of their forms of transportation magic to face what I’m supposed to. So, yeah. I’ll have to take this seriously.

What a pain. Hopefully if something insane happens (and you know it will) it won’t take long to resolve. And then, finally, we can come home!

— Yvara (and Serana)

*

Yvara, Serana —

The odds are running that you’ll simply climb atop the maze and bypass the entire thing. That’s what any sensible person would do. Why be a sheep and follow clearly laid out plans when you can come up with something better?

(We approve, obviously.)

Kiri says, “Hi.” So does Viper. Well, his mouth quirked. I know those two have been sneaking their own letters to you guys via Luggage.

(So cruel.)

Kiri’s just annoyed that he didn’t get to have an end off one of the latest loaves of bread.

I mean, if you had some way to swim through the earth that’d be another tactic to use. I wonder if any of them will be smart enough to do the same as you, or if they feel it’d be against the spirit of the task. They chose to take part, so maybe they would play by the ostensible rules.

Just as well you’ll be back soon. Horse is getting fat and lazy without you dragging him all over creation to carry your loot.

One last shipment included in Luggage.

— Everyone

*

Filigrana —

Third task is complete, and wasn’t that a load of fun. We’ll be transiting tomorrow, but I confess I’m not entirely certain where we’ll end up.

We’ll be with you as soon as we can. As for food, whatever you have handy will be more than welcome. Well… I wouldn’t say no that lemon-blueberry cake for dessert.

— Yvara (and Serana)

*

A smile developed when he felt some very familiar people approaching Filigrana, along with two unknowns. He sent out a pulse of Sky Flames to alert his family and people started slipping in from the door to the kitchen. A couple of minutes later the door opened and Yvara strolled in, a grin on her face.

Viper glided over as Serana came in next, which saw Kiri quickly greeting her. Behind them came in two strangers, and he could only imagine they had to be Viktor and Luna. Sora produced mead for everyone and nodded at Val, who ducked back into the kitchen to bring out the cake. No one ever said a person had to have dessert last, after all.

“Welcome back, ladies,” he said.

Yvara left off whispering with Viper to duck back behind the bar and give him a hug. “You are a saint for supplying us with all that food and drink. I tell you, people kept raving about how good house-elves were as cooks, but they’ve got nothing on you. And, as you’ve no doubt figured out, Viktor and Luna came along for the ride.”

He glanced over and saw that the blonde waif had gotten right up in front of Shi and was playing with the end of his braid. Viktor, in comparison, looked a bit awkward.

Yvara pecked him on the cheek and ducked back around to the other side. “Okay, you two. Introductions time.”

Once that was out of the way—Viktor looked no less awkward and Luna was still fascinated by Shi’s braid—Sora was able to slice and serve the cake Val had brought out. “So,” he said, “what exactly do you plan to do with these two?”

“Teach them how to survive, and thrive. Their culture isn’t too terribly different from ours, except for the part where there are bandits around every corner. They even have spiders as big as ours, except theirs can learn how to speak a human language.” Yvara paused to shove a forkful of cake into her mouth and hum happily. “I have dreamed of this—well, you know what I mean.”

“With the magic here?” Val asked.

Yvara nodded as Serana said, “If those sticks of theirs ever get broken, it’s not like we could make new ones. They’re a liability, just like getting attached to a particular sword is.”

“Admittedly, it helps when you can just forge and enchant a replacement if some shouty draugr knocks it into Oblivion,” Yvara commented.

Serana rolled her eyes. “Yes. We’re going to get them to learning spells, and then take them on training rounds. Elysium will be home base. In the course of all that these two can figure out what they want to also learn.”

Sora suddenly stiffened and looked around.

“Hello, old boy! Lovely to see you again.”

He exhaled and prayed at the same time. “Welcome.”

“I sponsored the little blonde girl, so treat her right.” Sheogorath produced a somewhat frightening smile and twirled his cane, then disappeared through a portal.

“He was interesting,” Luna said serenely. “Who was that?”

Yvara face-palmed and dragged her plate a little closer.

fin