Grazhir :: Crossover :: FeS2: Add-Ons :: 11

11 Yvara

21062015

Yvara

“Larger than life and twice as ugly. If we have to live there, you’ll have to drug me.” — ABC, How To Be a Millionaire


“Oh, wow,” Harry said. “Back to Skyrim?”

“To a Skyrim, yes,” Derek replied. “This one has already passed its major crisis point in the fourth era, but there are two people who are set to make the life of that hero—”

“Sucker, you mean,” Tom said.

Derek ignored him. “—a mess. If you’ll recall there was a war going on in the Skyrim you visited. This war is a waypoint in a prophecy.”

Harry groaned and hid his face against Tom’s shoulder.

“A number of conditions were mentioned as waypoints, the last of those being something that had not happened in the Skyrim you visited. In this one, however, the final parts of the prophecy came to light, the hero stepped up, and finished things off.”

“You sound evasive,” Harry pointed out. “What final parts?”

“The World Eater awoke, the first son of Akatosh, the dragon Alduin. One of Alduin’s charming qualities is that he feasts on the souls of the dead in Sovngarde, both because he can and because it strengthens him. The war made for a lot of choices when it came to a snack. The hero did defeat Alduin and prevent him from eating the world and forcing a new kalpa, a new iteration, of that dimension’s world in question.”

“Oh, oh. Right,” Tom said. “We know this, sort of.”

“Yeah. We saw the results of Alduin not being stopped. Well, one possible result. I wonder how they’re doing,” Harry mused. “Maybe we should stop by again at some point.”

Derek shrugged and produced his laser pointer. The screen finally lit up with an image, and on it was a petite young woman, with dark blue, almost black hair, and very strange, red eyes. She was biting her lip in the image, so the fang poking out sort of gave away that she was a vampire. The image split to show a second face, and it took a moment for Harry to realize it was the same woman. But the second version sported flaxen hair in a different style, green eyes, and no fangs.

“Eh?”

“She has an artifact which alters her appearance. She used it, along with a particular set of armor, to disguise her identity while in the role of Dragonborn.”

“Ah,” Tom said. “Wanted to be able to return to her life after the fact.”

“Precisely. So, this is Yvara. Breton mage, mid to late twenties, civilized vampire, and the Last Dragonborn. I think you’d like her, actually. She’s relatively kind, has some interesting morals, one hell of a fighter, and sarcastic as all get out. Some interesting friends, too. The problem comes in with relation to her and the role she has tucked away in a closet somewhere.

“There are two relevant organizations, the Greybeards and the Blades. The former are pacifists and devotees of the Way of the Voice, led by Paarthurnax, and the Blades are guards and guardians of any dragonborn, as well as dragon slayers.”

“I see where this is going,” Harry said. “This Yvara has already done her job and she’s gone back to her life, but the Blades want Paarthurnax dead, simply because he’s a dragon. We never met him or anything that time, but he’s obviously an upright guy if he’s been on the side of people for gods know how many thousands of years.”

Derek nodded. “That is the essential issue here. The Blades have plans, and those plans are in no way good for Yvara. Now, these two,” he said, switching the screen to display two new images, “are who we’re interested in.”

*

They popped into Skyrim outside Riften again, Cloaked. It seemed Yvara was extremely good friends with her Brynjolf and frequently stopped in to visit. She also had a serious case of wanderlust and never stayed anywhere for longer than a few days, a week at most.

“Right, let’s go poke around in some minds,” he said. “I’ll take her, you take him, and then we compare notes?”

“Certainly.”

Neither of their targets were visible in the market, or in the Bee and Barb, so they headed down to the lower level of the canal and into what was called the Ratway. They eventually got to the “tavern” down there, nominal headquarters of the Thieves Guild, only to realize the two weren’t there, either.”

‘Damn it.’ He felt a faint surge of magic coming from Tom.

‘They’re outside the city, roughly north-east.’

‘Okay, let’s shift back to outside the gates and go from there.’ A relatively short time later they came upon a bizarre little house shrouded in a flowing bubble of warding. A quick check showed that it hid the place from anyone but Yvara and whoever she decided to let in. They found the two inside the mushroom part of the dwelling, sitting in some woodsy chairs and drinking mead or blood while conversing.

Once they had what they wanted they shifted to an abandoned house Harry had seen in Yvara’s memories, in Windhelm. A quick check showed the place was still abandoned, so they set up some warding to keep the curious out and away, and faded back into view.

“Okay. I have to say, Yvara has the deepest loathing possible for Delphine, and her opinion of Esbern isn’t much better. She’s not exactly fond of the Greybeards, but they only engender irritation or annoyance from her. Think of Delphine as a bit like Dumbledore, only more openly ruthless and uncaring, and more than willing to get her hands bloody.”

“Sounds charming,” Tom said with a grimace. “This Brynjolf is a personable fellow. Charming, witty, aware of his limitations, and with very few illusions. He greatly dislikes the Blades simply based on what she’s told him. Well, that and she’s given him no reason to believe she’d lie, about much of anything, really.”

“Well, I have the imagery we need, so breaking into the temple is no problem. Once we’ve poked around there we can hash out a game plan.”

The visit to Sky Haven Temple went well enough, if Harry becoming incensed was a good outcome.

“She was seen leaving Whiterun on the back of a dragon!” one of the recruits enthused. “It was pretty showy from what I’ve heard. My friend there couldn’t stop talking about how everyone says Alduin is dead now.”

“Yes, she did it,” Esbern said quietly, “just as the prophecy said. I knew she could, believed in her, but I never thought I’d live to see the day.”

“No one has seen her for some time,” a different recruit said. “That armor is pretty distinctive, after all.”

Delphine frowned and pointed out, “She might not be wearing it. We’d have heard if she’d gone back to High Hrothgar, and I just know she won’t be able to resist using her power for very long. There are too many dragons around for her not to get involved.”

Harry thought the look on her face was just too smug at that pronouncement.

“And once she does,” Delphine continued, “we can go after her, bring her back here, and . . . convince her of the rightness of our cause. It’s a damn shame none of us can get up that mountain ourselves.”

“Why not?” asked a recruit.

“Because,” Esbern said, “it is protected by arcane magics, a storm which disintegrates any and all who attempt that journey. Even if we could sneak past High Hrothgar to the start of the path, it would be a pointless and fatal endeavor. The only one who can go is the Dragonborn. She has let foolish sentimentality for an offhand deed cloud her thinking.”

“Right,” Delphine said briskly. “So we need to find her and explain the situation better. Then, after she’s handled the issue of Paarthurnax, we can get back to other things, such as accompanying her to put those dragons back in their graves permanently, and perhaps move on to seeing about finding ways to deal with the Thalmor.”

Back in Windhelm Harry amused himself with gouging some spectacular scars into the stone walls before settling down.

Tom nodded. “She’s a real piece of work.”

“At least my original Dumbledore didn’t actively want to torture me until I wholeheartedly believed in the Light’s ethos,” Harry said, kicking a wooden chair across the room. “But this Delphine does seem to think that Yvara is her personal property and weapon to do with as she pleases.”

“And she’ll keep it from the recruits so that none of them get squeamish, and all they’d end up seeing is an agreeable and docile Dragonborn.”

Harry started giggling. “Yeah, because vampires are such sweet and self-sacrificing people, and this one isn’t a one-woman apocalypse. Really now, Delphine and Esbern have been alone and on the run for far too long if they think these kinds of tactics will get them what they want. So, since I found a lot to like in Yvara’s mind, I vote we go ahead and take care of this little issue for her.”

“Agreed. We have two options, as I see it. The Forsworn, or the Thalmor. Unless you want to turn this into a comedy of errors like the last time.”

He shook his head. “I’ll try to be more serious this time. Though,” he said, tapping the side of his face thoughtfully with an index finger, “which would be more interesting? They wiped out the Forsworn at Karthspire to get in originally, but they’ve not really bothered to do much in the way of protections. They brought in some people, yes, but the Forsworn keep encroaching and they use them as training exercises for the recruits.”

“Sending in the Thalmor directly would be much more obvious, but perhaps we could maneuver it so that they are the ones who prompt the Forsworn? After all, Delphine and Esbern so very foolishly showed up at the peace council and revealed not only their names but where they were hiding. Did they honestly expect the Thalmor to be selectively deaf?”

“So. . . . Maybe we should poke around in Elenwen’s head first, see if she’s already planning something,” he suggested.

Elenwen was planning something, which was hardly surprising. But her plans were very nebulous at that stage and subject to approval from Alinor. Harry and Tom decided to both help her out and get her in trouble at the same time.

Elenwen, in an uncharacteristic fit of recklessness, had her agents stir up the Forsworn in the Reach like a nest of angry bees by sending in Thalmor disguised as Blades to selectively kill a fair number of the hagraven leaders and their briarhearts. This would eventually result in Elenwen being recalled to Alinor for “re-education” when a jealous underling reported her activities to the higher ups.

The Forsworn reacted predictably to the incursions and their hagravens began to hold meetings to discuss how best to respond. They were still smarting over the massacre at Karthspire and the continuing death sentence for any Forsworn who dared to try to reclaim their encampment. But this—this drove them incandescent with fury—that the Blades were not content to lord over their temple, but instead seemed ready to exterminate the natives.

Harry’s most basic contribution was writing up deaths for Delphine and Esbern, if only to ensure they did actually die during the upcoming attack. The last thing anyone needed was a broken and psychotic Dragonborn running around in the world, so those two had to go.

When the big battle came the Forsworn came at Sky Haven Temple from all sides, having worked hard to scale the cliff at the back and sides. They coordinated by using sounds pitched too high for the normal ear to hear, but briarhearts and hagravens could hear just fine. It was night, and all within the temple were sleeping aside from Esbern, and he was lost in his research.

Once all of them were in place, the bulk of the forces eased through the doors at the back from the courtyard. A lone Forsworn was sent on down the far left stairs to sneak to the front entrance in order to alert the ones there that the action was about to begin, so that they were not caught off guard by anyone trying to escape.

One third of the main force moved into hiding places overlooking the main room. Esbern was seated at the conference “table”, books, rolls of paper, charcoal, ink, and quills scattered around, and he was deep in a some tome or other, barely aware of his surroundings.

The remaining two thirds of the force headed down the far right staircase, to get to the room set aside for sleeping and cooking. Then all hell broke loose as the Forsworn lost their restraint and erupted into war cries. Esbern was startled into awareness, his book flying off a distance away, and he barely managed to get spells readied as a horde of Forsworn boiled over the top of Alduin’s Wall with his death in mind.

It was glorious. Harry could not say he particularly liked the Forsworn, though perhaps his perception of them was biased due to Yvara sharing common ancestry with them and still being a damn target, but watching them in action was wonderful.

Esbern had his head smashed open against the central part of Alduin’s Wall, blood and brain matter splattering all over the dragon carved at that spot. They left his body to crumble to the ground. Delphine ended up killed by several opportunistic Forsworn who used the armory’s supply of Blades katanas to skewer her. And then some of their mages used flames to heat up the metal so it would travel along the weapons and cook her from the inside.

The recruits, well, they were just cut down as quickly as possible.

Harry giggled madly and clapped at the show, then he and Tom “encouraged” the Forsworn to vacate the premises, taking only their own dead with them, and to never return to the temple itself or the courtyard out back.

“That went well, I think,” Tom said into the eventual silence.

“I think so, too,” Harry agreed. “Hey, while we’re here, what do you say to us setting up some pranks at the Thalmor Embassy?”

“Sure.”