User:Kalis Agea/The Ayleid Lord
- 1 Prologue
- 2 Chapter One: In the Golden Halls
- 3 Chapter Two: Preparations
- 4 Chapter Three: Lattia Loria
- 5 Chapter Four: Assault On Bruma
- 6 Chapter Five: The Necromancer
- 7 Chapter Six: Encounter at the Border
- 8 Chapter Seven: Infiltration
- 9 Chapter Eight: Darkness Incarnate
- 10 Chapter Nine: Attack on the Priory
- 11 Chapter Ten: The Sorcerer
- 12 Chapter Eleven: Escape
From the pen of Kalis Agea, 4E 1
To the Divine Crusader and Champion of Cyrodiil.
The Empire is leaderless; until there is an Emperor or at least a half-competent High Chancellor, there will be no aid for you in Tamriel save your fledging Order of Knights. When last invaded, you barely made it through. Only the Amulet of Kings saved you and your corrupt Empire from total destruction, and now it is gone. The Gates to Oblivion cannot be completely sealed; that is simply against Divine Mandate. And now the Amulet of Kings is gone, the Dragonfires dark, and the "Eight and One" have no conduit with which to aid you. And so, you are left with only you Knights and military. If you miraculously manage to bring Tamriel to your aid, it will do you now good. With no way to close every Gates to Oblivion, you and your forces shall be trampled underfoot by the countless Daedra which shall issue forth from the gates. You have one year to stop this, Champion. Should you actually manage to defeat me, I shall yeild to you and become your servant (or be killed, whatever the Divine Crusader's will may be). But if I win, I shall have no sway over your judgement or Mundus; I do this not for personal glory or power. Like Mankar Camoran, I serve a Higher Power, only many of them and on a much larger scale. May the Princes have mercy on your soul.
Chapter One: In the Golden Halls
It could be safely stated that Kalis Agea was more than proud of his home in the halls of Mallarisel. In the ancient Ayleid tongue, it translated to the "Golden-Hall" and though it was not physically made of gold, the walls shimmered with a gold-like glaze; and another factor had contributed to its naming in the First Era: it had always been a city with a plethora of treasures, much of it countless gold coins of various cultural origin. And it all belonged to Kalis; for he was not just an occupant of the city, but the Ayleid Lord of Mallarisel.
Kalis sat on his marble throne, pondering the next moves of the Thalmor in Cyrodiil. He had called a meeting of his advirsors and officers, and they were slowly piling in from various corridors and entrances from the some 60 chambers of Mallarisel. He waited some ten more minutes before his Steward addressed him. "Lord," he spoke. Kalis looked up quickly, and nodded his permission for the Steward to speak. "Your officers and advisors are ready for your words." Nodding, the Lord slowly got up from his throne and walked down the steps, down to the Table of the Council, which resembled the table in the White-Gold Tower.
"Lords and Ladies, servants and advisors, I have called you together today for one purpose: to discuss the next major moves of the Thalmor." He paused, looking around the room again. "The defeat of Mehrunes Dagon and his prophet Mankar has set our operations both forward and back. Without a Daedra Lord in the equation, we shall have no competition; however, this also means that the armies of the Empire shall be more cautious and more focused." No one knew of the Lord's involvement with the Daedra, save his closest advisors who were quite convinced to keep that a secret.
Anarion, an Altmer Commander, rose to speak. Kalis turned to him and nodded his head. The officer spoke, "My Lord. If the government is far more concerned now with locating spies within their Chains of Command, then it is only a matter of time before they start capturing our men; and as a result, only a matter of time before they start interrogating them. And eventually, one of the men will talk. Mortals are quite... fragile. If physical pain will not faze them, they can be easily mentally broken."
"And that would jeopardize our whole operation," Kalis said, concluding exactly what Anarion had. "So what do you propose we should do, Commander?"
"The obvious, milord: we pull them out of the government as quickly as possible."
At this point, Nerana, also an Altmer and Grand Inquisitor of the Thalmor (who had served for many years as the Head of the Department of Subterfuge in the Cyrodilic Thalmor) rose up to speak. As she was of equal rank to Kalis, she needed no permission to speak. "And how do you propose we should accomplish this, Commander?" She seemed quite annoyed. "The Department of Subterfuge is not without limits, Anarion. Nor are we willing to accept concepts of spending the lives of our agents like half-Septims. We have very little agents as it is, and pulling them out would only attract unwanted attention. I don't want to waste any lives in this. People get killed when they are discovered by the Imperial Governement. They would percieve as traitors, not spies. We would lose many lives. I am not willing to do that. But if you have an idea that you believe would work, please say so. I would just love to hear it." And with that, she finished again seating herself.
All this time, Commander Anarion had simply stared, shocked, an indignant look on his face; he dared not to interrupt the Grand Inquisitor. Finally he spoke. "There is an old Ayleid ruin below the city, recently used by the Gray Fox to steal an Elder Scroll. The Imperials have sealed it, but I believe that our Lord here," He pointed to Kalis. "Can solve that problem." He turned to the Lord. "The decision is yours, Lord. And yours, too Grand Inquisitor," he added quickly.
Sighing in exasperation, Kalis stared at the walls, lost in his thoughts. Only after a very long silence did he speak. "I leave the decision to you, Nerana. Confer with my Council, and decide on how to withdraw our troops." The Inquisitor nodded. "You, Anarion. Come with me. We have things to discuss."
The two quickly left the room, leaving earshot of the Council Chambers as Nerana began to speak. The Ayleid turned to the Commander. "Anarion. You and I are going to take a new approach, one that my people have not taken for years. We are going to open a Gate to the Realm of Mehrunes Dagon." Unlike most of the Officers, Anarion knew of his Lord's ties to the Deadra.
And he did not doubt that he was fully capable of such a feat.
Chapter Two: Preparations
Part One: A Piece of Oblivion
It was late in the evening when Kalis Agea arrived at the old site of the Battle for Bruma. Miles from home, Kalis was uneasy away from the vale he had spent the last 200 years in; it wasn't the farthest he'd ever been, but nonetheless it bothered him. He looked around the deep bowl in the land, taking into consideration how this location would serve as a foothold. Good enough, he decided. He would have preferred it be up near the city walls, but seeing as that would be nearly impossible to pull off without detection, he set that thought aside and focused on the ritual.
Focusing intently on the now inactive Siege Crawler, he searched for the Daedric energies within it. This was the only loophole in Martin's "solution": A gate could still be opened using energies from Oblivion left in this world. Though not the most potent source available, it was the most convenient which was all that Kalis wanted for his ritual. He spoke to his Royal Guard in rapid-fire Ayleidoon, and they spread out to scout for any nearby travelers or soldiers.
They returned in a matter of minutes, letting their Lord know that the area was clear. Nodding and dismissing them, Kalis turned his mind to the matter at hand. He shut his eyes, and solidified his magicka around him. This was a feat almost unheard of the magical world. But Kalis had lived for well over a thousand years, and had spent that time perfecting his magical skills. Spreading out his magical essence towards the Siege Crawler, he secured a grip on the object. Slowly, his aura began to search through the construct. He was careful not to extend himself to quickly; that would be dangerous even for him. He spoke to his guards briefly, telling them to watch for any passerby and to kill said passerby. Once he heard them depart, he turned his mind back to his delicate matters.
After about 30 minutes, he at last found the chamber where the Sigil Stone lie. It was still there, untouched by the ignorant mortals who knew not of its presence there. Taking it in the grasp of his aura, it became a part of it. Pulling it from the Siege Crawler and seizing it in his hands, he withdrew his aura. The stone subsequently solidified. "At long last," he said. "A Great Sigil Stone!" He had been wrong. This was the most potent form of Daedric power besides the Lords and Princes themselves. And he finally had one! What things he could accomplish with this! He made the preparations for the ritual.
Part Two: The Ritual
It was well past dawn when Kalis Agea returned to the site of the Siege Crawler. Surveying the area one last time, he closed his eyes. Reaching into the folds of his robes, his hand emerged with a glowing amulet. Cut and fashioned similar to the Amulet of Kings (which was in all actuallity crafted after this gem) and radiated with a multi-coloured light; ever shifting, the colour was nearly indiscernable to the naked eye. Placing it atop a makeshift altar, he withdrew a large vial of what turned out to be Human Blood. Dousing the altar (which also had the Great Sigil Stone placed atop it) he began to speak in an ancient, ritualistic tongue known by few and spoken by less. "Gharnetok alkaed-xiftalis re liandarc un hsarae re grendoraakh..." This chant he continued for about five minutes. As he lapsed into silence, a black aura began to appear around the altar. Returning to reciting the ancient chant, two others -- both of them Ayleid Sages -- joined him. This went on for quite a while before the earth began to rumble.
The explosion was catastrophic. Lava spurted violently from a crag in the ground, burning several soldiers. Slowly, a tower emerged from the ground. It took little more than a minute for the spire to emerge fully from the ground. Slowly, the gates opened and a Dremora Markynaz emerged. "Come, Immortal Elf," he said. "The Council awaits you within." Looking around, he spoke to his men in Ayleidoon, ordering them to guard the location with their lives. After their intentions to obey had been vocalized, Kalis Agea moved to enter the tower.
"Tell me, have you seen an amulet of any sort. I was supposed to get it back--"
"The Masters have it for you. You will get it back at the end of our meeting."
Grunting, Kalis turned to follow the Dremora, who had already entered the tower.
Part Three: The Tower of Grenarrakh
Kalis climbed the stairs to the peak of the tower, and was led into a dark corridor. The halls seemed to go on forever, distant footfalls echoing eerily. The Princes sure do love paradoxes, he thought. The Dremora stopped after roughly five minutes of walking the halls and led the Ayleid through an ornate -- or as near as the Daedra can come to ornate -- door. Leading him through the arching doorway, Kalis was brought to an enormous room that was lit by fires of countless colours, some known to Kalis and others completely alien. But that certainly was not the most noticeable part of the chamber.
No, the most noticeable part was the assembly that had been awaiting Kalis. Dremora sprawled throughout, going through various portals to various realms. The gates were innumerable, spiraling upwards for nearly a mile; a few hundred gates at least. "Welcome, immortal, to the Realm of Grenarrakh, the Ancient of Time. You are the first of Lorkhan's Realm to ever set foot in here. Enjoy your stay." The Dremora Messenger (who had spoken) strode over to the nearest gate of fire, disappearing to the Realm of Mehrunes Dagon. Kalis continued to survey this spectacle until at last his eyes rested on four figures in the center of the room. The most notable was Sheogorath, or rather his replacement, who was fantastically and yet madly dressed; he was on the far left. going clockwise, the others were Malacath, Mehrunes Dagon, and Molag Bal.
"This is not Lord Dagon's realm," Kalis said dumbly. Sheogorath let out a manic laughter, which quickly ceased.
"Of course not. This," He paused, raising his hands grandly, now standing. "Is Varnesil, as it was named by the Aldmer. No one's really sure what it's supposed to mean, before you ask, and no one much cares. We all call it the Crossroads Realm -- although between you and me, Varnesil sounds better. It's the least known -- and yet perhaps the most important -- realm. It's the territory of..." His brows creased in thought.
"Grenarrakh," Kalis offered. He was surprised that he had even been able to pronounce it.
"Ah yes, very good. The Realm of Grenarrakh. He'e called the... well now, my memory seems to be..." He trailed off.
"The Ancient of Time." This time it was not Kalis who had spoken; it was a savage, ancient, and gravelly voice. It echoed throughout the Tower, and probably beyond. Kalis looked around to see who had spoken, but the Daedric Princes were kneeling like nights, heads down. Even Lord Dagon, though he didn't seem to happy about it. "BOW YOUR HEAD, NGRTHXND!" The last word was almost unspeakable to the human articulators. Though he had no idea what the word meant, Kalis guessed it was at the very least condescending. He obeyed, ever reluctant to do so even for something that inspired so much fear. "Very good," The voice was much softer and quieter now, and a figure appeared in the center of the room. Those Daedra who had stopped their business (which was almost all of them) returned to it. "You may rise."
They all did. The voice was no longer that of a savage monster. It was soft and femainine. When Kalis' eyes found Grenarrakh, he was stunned by what he say. The outline of a female's body was quite visible, but everything else was indiscernable, save some basic facial features. The rest of her was simply light, ever-shifting in colour. "Welcome, Mer, to my Realm. I am Grenarrakh, the Ancient of Change and Time. But you may know me better as Padomay, the Force of Change."
"My Lady!" Kalis bowed deeper than he ever had. The woman laughed quietly.
"Rise, now. I have no need of another subject," she said. "What I have need for is a Champion. And, getting straight to the point, I want that Champion to be you." Kalis stared in shock.
"Yes, who else? You know more of Nirn than any of us. Even my most loyal and powerful Champion, Lorkhan, knowns not what you do. That Amulet," She pointed to his robes. "Has gifted you with the knowledge of all beings before you. All you have to do is search for it. And with that kind of knowledge and power, you are my best option for a champion. The only question is... will you accept?"
Kalis considered his options. On one hand, training with Padomay hereself would give him unimaginable power and knowledge. On the other hand, however, it could also get him killed. After giving long thought to his predicament, he looked into the woman's Bloodred eyes. He said simply. "I accept." Padomay smiled in triumph
"Very good. Now, I believe you have an assault to get to?" As Kalis was about to turn away, she spoke to him one last time. "Wait. Take this with you." She strode towards him, took a piece of light from her body, and pressed her hand against his chest. New memories and powers flowed through him, but one in particular alarmed him. It was an image of a suit of beautiful and yet terrible armour, and a finely crafted sword bearing arcaic runes. "The Armour and Sword of Padomay. Cast the spell to wear it for as long as you desire. Simply cast it again when you wish to dissolve the armour. Go now, and should you succeed, even greater gifts await you."
Her hand clenched into a fist, and she threw her hands open in a blur. A pillar of light enveloped Kalis, and he soon founded himself back at the site of the ritual, the tower gone. His soldiers rushed to him, asking if their Lord was alright. "I'm fine," he said. "Prepare the troops. We open a Gate to Dagon's realm tongight.
Chapter Three: Lattia Loria
"Praise be to the Lord of Darkness." The High Herald of the Shrines spoke authoritatively to the Acolytes.
"Praise be." They were nothing more than slaves; thralls to the King of Darkness.
"Indeed. For in the beginning, there was Darkness. And the Darkness was total. And in that Darkness, the World was happy to remain. For Darkness knows not corruption. It is pure and perfect. It is the Light of the Lesser Lords which has corrupted the beautiful world of Nirn. But soon, Acolytes, soon our Lord shall return from the World Beyond, where the so-called gods sent him so long ago. And his vengeance shall be terrible and swift. All of Tamriel shall feel His Wrath. And again shall the world be covered in a darkness; and this beauty shall far surpass that of the World of Before. The time of the works of Anu and Padomay is passing, and a new World is arising. So sayeth the King of Darkness."
"So sayeth He-Who-Is-Wiser."
The High Herald was an old Dunmer, hair graying and thin, cropped neatly to his skull. His eyes had faint wrinkles around them, the sockets sinking deep into his skull. He was clad in black robes with a white skull, red flowing down it face like tears, and gold beams issuing forth to the wearer's neck. It was a purely ceremonial robe; the true robes of the Order of Darkness were simply black with a blood-red tint and a hood to match.
The Order had been brought exactly 2,503 years ago by the Sixth Lord of Mallarisel, Balaran Agea (1E 1611-2756) in 1E 1618. At first it had been the dominant religion of the citystate. But after the fall of Balaran near the end of the First Era, the Order had fallen our of favour. In fact, the Eighth King of Mallarisel, Kynadaran II, had banned the religion entirely, exiling the Order and ensuring that they could not pass the ancient Wards of Mallarisel for as long as Kyndaran lived.
But now, Kyndaran II was dead, and in his stead was his son, Kalis. The boy was young by the standards of his family, being just nearly 500 years old. He had ruled Mallarisel for the whole of the Third Era, but that was still a short amount of time compared to his father's 794 years and the legendary 1145-year reign of Balaran. Only his grandmother, Rielle Agea, had ruled for a shorter time, only 367 years (1E 2756-2E 103). The time was right; the present ruler was inexperienced, and had put the Order out of his mind two centuries ago. Now, the Darkness would have its chance to retake its Holy City, where the Essence of Darkness was placed by Balaran all those years ago.
The last High Herald (or Altamaraldane, as they were called in the Ayleid tongue) had passed 1,000 years ago in 2E 217. The Order had remained leaderless until 200 years ago when Selerion Kaldor, the current High Herald, had left the Thalmor after nearly 500 years of leading the organization. Selerion had taken these 200 years to meticulously plan his coup of Mallarisel. Once he had the Dark Essence, he could make himself, and anyone else he chose, immortal. Now he was running out of time. At nearly 700 years of age, disease was threatening to end his long life. And the end was quite near for him.
In fact, Selerion had only one week left to live.
Chapter Four: Assault On Bruma
Part One: The Great Gate
It was naught but twenty minutes past sunrise when Kalis Agea gathered his force of roughly 65 Mer to the site of the Siege Crawler. "Haldon," he addressed his Personal Assassin. "Take this message to the Countess of Bruma's steward, Tolgan. Do not utter a single word save that the message is an urgent one." The Dunmer Assassin bowed, and took his leave of his Lord. Kalis turned to the force amassed before him. So, he thought. This is where it shall begin. The end of my disguises and the beginning of my conquest. And nothing will stand in my way. A broad smile stretched across his face at this thought. Five hundred years in the making, and my plan is finally coming full circle. With these last thoughts in mind, Kalis collected himself and prepared to deliver his speech to the regiment.
"Four and twenty years have passed since I first began to orchestrate our ultimate reconquest of Tamriel," he began. "And now, as we stand before the great Siege Crawler that once threatened to ravage this land, we near our goals of conquest. Though we are only fifty strong, they are even less in number. And by the time the Empire realizes what has happened, it will be too late." He paused a moment. "Usually, I would have a long inspiring speech to give, but I am as anxious as all of you to enter into battle. Let us fight now, and talk later!" A huge wave of shouts filled the area. Kalis, seeing that his men were already marching on the city, strode over to his second-in-command. "Anarion," he spoke quickly. "Open the gates, just as I showed you before. I have business to take care of. Oh. And expect a resistance when the Western Gate opens. The men know nothing of it; make sure that it stays that way." He clapped him on the shoulder. "Good luck, and may your struggles here not be in vain."
And with that, Kalis cast a recall spell and disappeared.
Part Two: A Letter
Sir Carodus was reading Gods and Worship when a tower of brilliant light appeared before him. For a moment he was too dazed to even figure out what it was, but even when he at last focused on the light he hadn't the slightest clue what it was. As quickly as it had come, the pillar of light subsided, revealing a figure of roughly six feet in height, clad in robes so black that they seemed to make a black hole in the world. The mysterious person was a Mer of some sort, though certainly not of any kind known to Carodus.
The elf promptly retrieved from the folds of his robes what appeared to be a sealed document of sorts. The envelope which held the parchment, strangely yellowed with age, was the roughest paper Carodus had ever felt. The Mer spoke solemnly, "This is not to enter the possession of any other, save its recipient, the Divine Crusader. Keep it sealed and keep it safe. It is a... most urgent message."
As Carodus was about to inquire on the nature, the strange Mer disappered into a pillar of light. Just as before the light vanished quickly, but the stranger was gone.
Chapter Five: The Necromancer
Never before had Narasuro been this in touch with the True Thought, this far being the core. 5,000,000 years he had been confined to this Realm; time on this plane passed roughly 1,000 times slower than the time of Nirn, just as it did in Aetherius. It wasn't slow motion, just a manipulation of the Fabrics. Or, rather, the lack of said manipulation. It had also taken Narasuro 5,000,000 years to figure this out.
Most beings have have Three Spheres of Thouht: Observation, Interpretation, and Understanding. And all creatures have acquired control over the First Sphere. Some gained sway over the Second Sphere; Narasuro liked to call it the Sentient Sphere. Beasts have no second sphere, the Sphere of Thought. Those that mastered it were few; Mages, Philosophers, Scientists, and sometimes Scholars were amongst these lucky few. Narasuro had given Carano the Second Sphere, whereas his previous creations had been limited to the First. But the Third Sphere, the Sphere of True Thought, was near impossible to access. It was in this sphere that True Understanding occured; this was the realm of Absolutes, of Clarity. When thoughts were formed here, there were no Theories, there was no guesswork. It was all true, uncorrupted, clear.
For 5,000,000 years Narasuro had been prisoner of the Aedra, his creators. And for all these years, he had thought that there was no way out. But he had thought wrong; there was one way out. Now, as he looked down to the Mortal Plane, he watched Kalis Agea closely. Scanning his mind using the True Thought, Narasuro saw the Ayleid's plan layed before him like a map; and he thought it flawless. And that was an Absolute. With the gods on high too arrogant and sure of their hold over the world, nothing could stop the Primordial Brothers from taking back what was theirs. True Thought was magnificient and nearly perfect.
There was one catch: it was the Primordial Beings who created the Spheres; and True Thought remains their realm. And so at any time they could sense -- and infilitrate -- the minds that entered the Third Sphere. Already he felt the Brothers perusing his thoughts and feelings. But they were gentle, careful not to go too far too quickly, lest they shatter Narasuro's mind. The Necromancer could feel the words of the Brothers in his mind. They spoke encouragingly of his Realizations, and thought it flawless. So at last one has entered Our Sphere. At last, Narasuro, you see as we do. Clearly. Un-- All at once, as though an explosion, the Brothers vanished.
Narasuro felt emptiness, abandonment; it was in this sphere that the psyche was most fragile. But he did not feel this way for long. Just as quickly as the Brothers had vanished, a new Mind entered his. But this was a Darker Mind. It had no care what happened to this Mind, so long as he knew its contents before it shattered. He felt -- yes, felt, not heard -- a malevolent chuckle, one of triumph. You shall be my Champion, Necromancer! You shall become Garadron. Darkness Incarnate! And yet again his mind went vacant.
And Narasuro was trapped in the Third Sphere.
Chapter Six: Encounter at the Border
For five days Kalis had lie in wait for the Crusader and his party to arrive at the Cyrodiil-Morrowind border. Five long, monotonous, tiring days which only now yielded positive results. Now, as the group tentatively approached the border, Kalis became more and more excited at the thought that after over 100 years, he would at last be able to truly make use of his extensive powers. The adventurers stopped quickly at the borderline, and prepared to cross.
Now, Kalis thought. As he began to step out from the brush he had concealed himself in, the adventurers nearly jumped in surprise.
"What was that?" One of them said, a burly Nord who appeared to be a mountain man (due to his rather unkempt and rugged looks).
"Maybe it's more bandits." This time a female spoke, seemingly a monk of sorts.
Kalis scoffed at this suggestion. Bandits? Certainly not while I'm Lord. But I may as well reveal the truth to these adventurers. At last he stepped out behind the group.
The first to react was a young red-haired Imperial woman whom Kalis deduced to be a scholarly sort; he was not, however, certain. "By the gods, it's an Ayleid!" she exclaimed.
The Crusader drew his sword. "What business do you have with us, Ayleid?" he asked. Hmmm... he acts as if he's the one in control. Kalis thought. How wrong he is. Almost as soon as Kalis had finished this thought, the monk began muttering words in a mostly forgotten language -- Kalis doubted she spoke it fluently as he himself did -- and an armor of glass covered her body. She subsequently summoned an angel-like creature to aid in combat. Hmmm more than a simple monk, it would seem. Kalis noted.
Kalis, not wanting to start the fight just yet, attempted to calm things. "I seek only to speak with you, Divine Crusader," he began. "It has come to my attention that you are seeking to find Mallarisel. I come to warn you that you cannot do that." The party was taken aback by this statement.
"Why should we trust the words of this foreigner?" The monk said, her face a near snarl.
"Because, my lady," Kalis responded. "I am the great Kalis Agea, Ayleid Lord of Mallarisel. All Ayleids bow to me, if they wish to keep their heads, that is. Most prefer the bowing." He added in good humour.
"Sounds like a good plan, if you ask me," the Nord said. Kalis' lips twitched slightly. At least one of them has a sense of humour.
"How do I know you are not one of Umaril's remaining soldiers?" The Divine Crusader asked.
"Umaril? That moron?" Kalis was near-outraged. "I could smite him with the raise of my hand. He is much lesser than me."
"How about you show us the way to Mallarisel willingly or we're going to make you show us." The Monk ordered. Kalis' humour instantly vanished. Hmph. A mere mage, trying to order me around? It's time to show her the true power of the Ayleids. Kalis raised his hand, and quietly murmured a single word. "Karalantae." Instantly the woman was trapped in a blazing inferno; painful images blurred manically before her mind, most of which she had never seen. This Ayleid spell was an old one which manipulated the very mind and body of the victim, causing the nerves to feel pain that wasn't there, and the mind to see images that were -- for the most part -- completely conjured up. It had always been a popular form of torture and punishment in the Ayleid culture. After a good twenty seconds or so Kalis lowered his hand, releasing the spell. She crumpled to the ground almost instantaneously.
"Attack!" The Divine Crusader yelled. The monk's summoned creature moved forward to obey when Kalis used another Ayleid spell to turn it to stone. As he prepared to use a potent Fire spell on the Nord, the Crusader stopped him.
Kalis, releasing the maniacal smile that had been consuming, spoke again. "Cease your feeble efforts to defeat me, mortal." And all at once, 12 Ayleid warriors entered the area, disarming and capturing the four adventurers. That had been his signal. "Next stop, my friends, is the dungeon of Mallarisel."
Chapter Seven: Infiltration
Two hours after the Crusader had been brought to the dungeons, Kalis ordered his soldiers to bring him to the throne room. When he finally did arrive, Kalis scrutinized his demeanour carefully. This one, he thought. Will be difficult to break. After a short moment, he spoke: "Did you enjoy your little adventure while it lasted? Because, you shall be in those dungeons for the rest of your life."
"I assure you that will not happen, my lord," the Crusader replied.
Kalis decided to cut to the chase. "What business do you have in my lands, Champion?"
"I recieved a letter with Ayleid handwriting," the Crusader said. "I wish for you to explain the origin of that letter."
"I was merely warning you not to bother to fight me, as you will fail," Kalis said simply.
"I think not." The Crusader cast a fireball at Kalis, which was brushed away by the Ayleid with ease.
"Take him to the torture chamber," Kalis ordered his soldiers. "It should teach him some manners."
It had been several hours after Kalis had sent the Divine Crusader to the dreated torture chamber of Mallarisel when, out of nowhere, a figure clad in black robes appeared before his throne. "What is it, Koron?" Kalis said in an annoyed tone. Koron was a young, bold Dunmer, and a powerful mage; he was also the head of the Ayleid garrisen of Moraseli, the only remaining colony of Mallarisel.
"Lord," the Dunmer spoke. "I come with two purposes. The first," From the folds of his robe he pulled out a folder with papers, letters, and other various documents contained within. "My reports." Kalis took the folder, briefly skimming through its contents. He nodded, and waved his hand for Koron to continue. "And second. Well. I wish to say, first of all, that this is only an assumption, and is therefore a questionable piece of news. We... we have recieved reports that the Cult is... reorganizing." Kalis new what he meant by the "Cult"; the Cult of Darkness, a bitter memory of Mallarisel, and now one of its greatest enemies.
"This..." Kalis spoke carefully, trying to contain his anger and shock. "This is unfortunate news."
"And questionable news, my lord!" Koron said quickly, careful not to get his Lord so angered that he would lose his life.
"Bah, to hell with your 'questionabilities'. No one wants to even hear those words, much less make guesswork with them. You know as well as I that these reports are completely true."
Suddenly, an Ayleid soldier ran into the throne room. "My Lord!" he said frantically. "My Lord, the dungeons have been infiltrated! The new Sheogorath has rescued the prisoners. Kalis considered his options for a moment. Sheogorath had once held a bitter grudge when Kalis refused to aknowledge him as a worshipped deity in Mallarisel; now that he had been replaced, Kalis had thought the conflict over. Apparently, he was wrong.
"Ugh, I tire of that narcisistic moron." Just then the escape party entered the room. Kalis smiled. Its time I finished this, mortal. "Oh dear." He said, raising his hand to cast a recall spell on them, which would send them back to their cell. But suddenly Sheogorath and the group were gone. Kalis scowled fiercly. "Goddamned Daedra."
Turning to the Saints and Seducers that Sheogorath had brought with him, Kalis considered what to do with them. "Hmmm... torture wouldn't be worth it, I don't think. I'll tell you what. If you can run faster than my men can kill you, you may return to your master. If not.. well, I thik you get the idea, eh? Balt, Haldon," he said to his two Personal Assassins. "Take care of this little problem for me, would you?" Bowing, the men drew their swords. The Saints and Seducers promptly fled. "Very good. Now then, Koron. Let us talk about the Cult..."
Chapter Eight: Darkness Incarnate
Selerion Kaldor had waited too long; his life was nearly running out. Only five days left; five days until his soul completely faded from this world. There was no hope for his struggles now. Much more time would be needed to complete such a difficult feat. No mortal had infiltrated Mallarisel successfully in 1,000 years. And even when Urandir the Traitorous had infiltrated the city, it had taken him three years of planning.
No, not enough time. But he would have to make use of it. “Gyran,” he turned to the Breton Healer. “Bring the Followers together. I must… go through with our plan.”
“My lord, are you sure about that? We agreed to that as last resort.” Gyran was very confused.
“Yes. And this is our last resort, Gyran,” Selerion said. “I am dying. I can feel it in my soul. Now make haste!”
Gyran returned with the first of the Followers three minutes later. “The rest,” he said. “Are making their way here, my lord.”
“Very good, Gyran,” Selerion responded. “Now then, let us talk about the plan. Are you ready for this, Gyran? I mean, are you truly ready?”
“F-for what, milord?” Gyran said, confused.
“Why, to succeed me,” Selerion said. “I thought I had made that clear when we first formed this plan.”
“Lord, I…” Gyran trailed off. Working up enough courage, he spoke again. “Lord, I cannot do this. I am not ready. Can’t you pick someone else? What about Ilarius? Or Morvallis?”
“They could never handle the duties associated with this position. But you, Gyran; not only are you the only Breton to ever hold a position as the High Herald’s chief advisor, but you’re probably one of the best ones the Followers of Darkness have ever had!” Selerion paused. “Gyran, in truth you are the only one of my Followers whom I trust enough to allot this position to. Please; for my sake, and the sake of the Followers.”
Gyran thought long and hard on this. As he did so, more and more Followers piled into the room. When the room was at last full, Gyran looked at Selerion. “I will do it.” He whispered quickly, and strode over to the High Herald’s stone podium. On the podium was placed the Charter of the Followers, a near-ancient book, written in the 17th century of the First Era. Gyran, opening the book to its last page and wrote in small, flowing letters:
Gyran Solaris: High Herald of the Followers of Darkness, effective as of the first year of the Fourth Era.
Selerion promptly signed below the short passage, officially resigning his position as the High Herald of the Followers of Darkness.
“Brothers and sisters,” The aging Dunmer man spoke. “It is with a heavy hart that I now come before you. Today, I officially resign my position as your High Herald, and pass this title to my late pupil and chief advisor, Gyran Solaris. I make this short for one reason: I am dying. And I want to rest before I die. Though I am not physically ill, my spirit wanes. I have but five days left before I pass to be judged by He-Who-Is-Wiser, the Holy Darkness. For surely Gyran shall serve him as…” Selerion trailed off as a cloud of darkness appeared behind him, consuming the Shrine of Darkness.
Though the cloud did not vanish, it waned a bit, and two fiery eyes appeared within. “Greetings, my children,” A voice spoke, a low growl. “Know now that Gyran shall not succeed you Selerion. I shall.”
“Says who?” Selerion was outraged.
A condescending chuckle filled the chamber. “You cannot stop me. Do you know what I am, Selerion?”
Suddenly, Selerion felt his mind being invaded. His knees buckled, and he began to tremble. Unimaginable visions and images were entering into his mind – the world, as it was in the beginning; the Brothers’ Betrayal – and Selerion knew instantly what this was.
When the visions finally subsided, the voice spoke again. “Do you know who I am?”
“Y-yes…” Selerion spoke shakily. He bowed, “It is an honor to finally be in the presence of Garadron, Darknesss Incarnate.”
The voice laughed again. “The pleasure is mine. I wish assure you two things, Selerion; first: Mallarisel will fall to our power, as will all realms and places, in due time. And second: For your years of service, I grant you well-earned immortality and youth. Congratulations.” From the cloud, a hand formed and began to reach for Selerion. “Welcome, child, to the Third Sphere of Thought.”
Chapter Nine: Attack on the Priory
Kalis Agea had sat long in thought upon his throne. He and Koron had long talked on the return of the Cult of Darkness, pondering many things; whether they were a true threat; their personal goals; and, chiefly, what -- if any -- action should be taken to prevent their rising. When he had finally dismissed the Commander, he had not risen from his throne for the midday meal. Instead, he remained there for three whole hours; three silent, long, and fruitful hours. Silent, because the chambers were empty; long, because he thought in strange and twisting patters. And fruitful...
Fruitful, because he had at last decided his next move. At last he rose, and made for his quarters. It was time to truly end this. The Crusader would either have to surrender or die after this; he would, after all, have nowhere to go once Kalis burned his precious Priory of the Nine to the ground. "Anarion," Kalis called the Commander of the Army of Mallarisel.
"Yes, milord?" He appeared promptly, as if from nowhere.
"Ready a group of 25 soldiers for me," Kalis paused. "Select them yourself, for I have no pereference." Kalis quickly turned away toward his quarters.
When the group finally arrived in southern Cyrodiil, they found a few Knights patrolling the outside of the Priory. Kalis turned to Anarion. "Wait here," he said. "I will deal with these Knights. Once I have done so, assault the Priory. If you can help it, Anarion, be sure that none make it out alive.
Kalis threw his hood far over his head, covering his eyes and concealing most of his face. The first Knight to address him was a female Imperial who seemed to be older than the others. "Greetings, traveller," she said. "If you have come to see the Cr--" Her voice was promptly cut off.
Cut off because she had been instantaneously enveloped by a pillar of flame. Kalis drew the flame into his hands and began to purify it -- into pure, blinding light. The ball of light flashed before the eyes of a Bosmer and Redguard. When the light was gone, so was Kalis. But from the nearby road, Kalis' company charged the Priory. That was the last thing those two Knights ever saw.
Kalis stepped quietly through the main floor of the priory, proceding downstairs quickly. He snuck up on the blacksmith and, nearly without a sound, snapped his neck; his burly body crumpled to the floor like folding parchment. Finding that the door to the tomb of the former Knights of the Nine would not budge, he cast a frost spell with his right hand, followed by a bolt of lightning from his left. The door shattered easily.
Within the Tomb, the Nine ghosts of the former Knights of the Nine stood with their weapons drawn. "Pass no further, you accursed Ayleid," spoke one of the Knights.
Kalis smiled, throwing his hood back. "Be silent, Amiel," he said. "There are worse things than death, you know."
"YOU be silent, cur," This time it was Sir Henrik who spoke. "Come on, Knights. Let's purge the world of one more filthy Ayleid." The nine ghosts promptly charged Kalis. With a wave of his hand, all of them fell to the floor, trapped in a deep sleep.
"Where are you, Crusder?" Kalis wondered. "Well, certainly not here. And certainly not in the Priory. So where?" He continued to muse alound as he went back upstairs to the main floor.
"Anarion," he summoned his Commander as soon as he had set fire to the basement. The Altmer came, and stood before him without speaking. "We must depart now. Set fire to the Priory, and let us be off."
"But Lord," He said, "What of the the Knights? We have not killed them all yet."
"It matters not," Kalis responded. "They do not know our names nor our identities, and I have little doubt that they have already anticipated that we would burn the place. They are long gone, most likely." Anarion nodded in agreement. "Come then. Oh, and burn the Chapel, too," Kalis added as they departed.
Chapter Ten: The Sorcerer
Part One: Moribala
The Sorcerer had been trapped here for exactly 233 years and 12 days. Where he was, he did not know; it was a pocket dimension, no doubt, but where exactly it was, he could not be sure. But he was sure of one thing: today, he was getting out of here. Just how exactly the Sorcerer had gotten here was unclear; he had no recollection of the events. Only of learned skills and abilities, and hazy memories of his early youth; the Ayleid Lord could never take that away from him.
Nearly 400 years ago he had been known as Nenaga, the Deathless. He had been a Necromancer, and had taken up the name after an old Ayleid folktale of a master Necromancer named Nenaga; it was a common enough thing for upstart necromcancers to do. It was In his young pride, Nenaga had led a group of insurgents to burn down the palace of Mallarisel during the reign of Kyndaran II; he had killed every noble, every loyalist, and nearly every royal. All save one: Kalis Agea. He fled after the Lord was crowned, fearing his wrath. But exactly 160 years later, he returned to launch a coup.
With nearly 1,000 insurgents and malcontents behind him, he attacked the newly-built palace. They fought long and hard against the loyalists, and won; but luck at last turned against them when they reached the throne room. For the first time in 2000 years, a Lord of Mallarisel fought by himself. And Kalis knew more ancient Magicka than any Lord before him, save the ancient kings; the rebels didn't stand a chance. Kalis, knowing Nenaga for who he was, admired his skill and wondered at what he could have been, naming him Moribala: darkened power.
Now he was here, in a pocket dimension prison, endlessly suspended in burning agony; 233 years and 12 days of unendurable, eternal torture. But the Sorcerer had endured, and he had thought of a plan through the pain. Today was the day; the Sorcerer would at last be free. He had called upon the only ones who could save him now; his former allies, the Followers of Darkness. In only 30 minutes, this agony would end, and Moribala would have his revenge.
Part Two: The Child
Kalis and his party had set up camp near Malada that night; this ruined temple was a bitter reminder of the weakness of the old Ayleid Empire. Even though Kalis was not alive when the temple had been sacked by the Alessian Order, all Ayleids remembered what their ancestors remembered. Kalis' ancestor, Falrocar Agea II, had witnessed the merciless slaughter. And years later, at Glenumbria Moors, he had made sure that the Order payed for their crimes. Kalis shivered slightly as the screams of agony rang in his ears; he could see the same effect in some of his soldiers.
But that mattered not; only the child mattered. The mysterious child had followed Kalis all of the way here; he seemed drawn to the Ayleid somehow. Most would find it unnerving, but Kalis had been immune to such emotions for centuries. There was something strange about this child, something... familiar. The Ayleid had taken him to his tent, and the two sat on opposite sides of Kalis' magically-conjured fire. "So," Kalis said. "Do you like bread?" The child nodded eagerly. Showing no emotion, Kalis conjured a loaf of bread, cut a large slice, and gave it to the boy with a cup water. The child thanked him happily, and began eating away at the chunk, forgetting the world for a while. All the while, Kalis sat there, watching him, trying to guess at where he could be from.
At last he spoke again when the child was finished. "So, little one, what is your name?"
The child looked bleakly into the distance, his eyes suddenly vacant. After a minute or so he returned. He spoke, in fumbling words: "I am called Molag Nagaia by your people."
And in that instant, one name came back to Kalis' mind, and he realized that he was looking at the living descendant of the ultimate enemy of his family: the Necromancer, the Sorcerer. A man now called Nenaga Moribala, who was now trapped in a deathly fire.
Chapter Eleven: Escape
Selerion Kaldor had at last triumphed over his illnesses, over nature itself. He was one of the only mortals to have ever tasted the power of the Third Sphere of Thought. And he was the first to ever enter the Realm of Darkness unscathed. He now proceeded with haste towards the portal to Moribala's Prison, a pocket dimension named after its only inhabitant, his followers struggling to keep up with his pace. Gyran may have been written as observed as the High Herald of the Cult, but all owed ultimate allegiance to Garadron, and therefore his chosen prophet, Selerion, as well.
The swamp they were passing through was terribly humid. Though the weather was hardly intense, neither hot nor cold, all of them were sweating from the heavy humidity. Why the Ayleids had chosen such a place for the pocket dimension crossroads was beyond him. But it mattered not. Soon, this place would be overrun with the very prisoners it had once kept in check.
"Halt!" Selerion ordered his regiment. After taking a brief look around, he turned to Captain Zareth. "I shall raise the portal here. Send some scouts to ensure that no one interrupts us, and form your Guard around me. This could take a while." Immediately he turned away from the Captain, and, taking his pack off his shoulders, began to arrange for the ceremony that would raise the portal. Similarly to the raising of Oblivion Gates, bringing up a gate to an Astral realm required a ritual. This, however, required a lot more magic than an Oblivion Gate.
Once all of his supplies layed before him, he began the preparation of the ritual. Placing four candles (red, green, white, and blue) before him in the form of a cardinal compass, and a fifth (black) in the middle, he brought his silver chalice and dagger before him. Raising his hands, he conjured fourth a bubble of magic around him and the candles. Then, bring his hand before the chalice, he gave himself a shallow cut across his palm, letting the blood trickle into the chalice. "As oiobala, av relle, kynd, mora, latta, av oiobala anyammis, magicka dellavoy angu bala." His body was surrounded by a burning aura of magic, which he directed into the blood of the chalice. "Magicka della bala. Bala della agea. Agea della latta av laloria. Latta della anyammis." The blood began to hiss and churn, steam rising though its temperature was unchanged. "Av anyammis bala na della." Then, switching to a far more ancient language, he continued, "Rax koriin sel torilbar Gavadan tirjax vorsum il quwar ildan zakkar kan mael Vorashin. Amrax emin Astral xhuril tanamh." With these final words, his conciousness was elevated into a higher dimension.
Finding himself within a huge spire, with crimson walls covered in black and orange runes, Selerion rose to cross to the center, where a huge orb of electric blue energy levitated above a well of identical energy. This was his Astral Temple, which he had created as a teenager. The energy represented his inner store of energy, access to which could only be granted to a person via the Astral Realm, and more specifically, his or her's Astral Temple. This Realm was an elevated state of conciousness and being, where the power of any person was concentrated tenfold that of the standard (the Elves had particularly powerful natural store of energy) and where the individual could safely tap in to some of that power (too much would cause a corruption of the spirit and/or death). And that was exactly what Selerion intended to do.
"So," said the Third. "Do you think he will go through with it?"
"Perhaps," aid the Fourth. "But, then, he has always been full of surprises. Many of them never good." They all nodded in agreement with that.
"Yes, but," said the Second. "He has always been given his orders directly. He plays a game of which he remains totally oblivious."
"Whatever happens," said the Fifth. "We cannot trust the Traitor of Traitors to be our last resort." He turned from the images of the Chosen Prophet. "What say you, Araeldrun?"
The First walked, slowly and deliberately, over to the Kr'Alzkar'zha-ar and instantly the image shifted. "We must always keep my personal choice in mind." He said. "We must keep an eye for for the Ayleid Lord."