Elara's Song, Chapter Twelve

  • “[and Pelinal] came to Perrif’s camp of rebels holding a sword and mace, both encrusted with the smashed viscera of elven faces, feathers and magic beads, which were the markings of the Ayleidoon, stuck to the redness that hung from his weapons, and he lifted them, saying: “These were their eastern chieftains, no longer full of their talking.”

    The Song of Pelinal, Volume 2

    Elara picked her way amongst the rocks in Falkreath Hold, the sun bearing down on the robes she found unbearably ugly, but wore to fulfill the duties of her office and mortified her small amount of vanity.   Her mind wandered back to her friends, and their struggle to return Riverwood back to some state of normalcy.  She wished she could be there to help, to comfort, to offer hands and words of healing.  Yet she had promises to keep as Archmage and now Dragonborn, so in some ways, her will was not her own.

    Even though she was not thane of Falkreath, Jarl Siddgeir received her proposal favorably, no doubt due in part to the petitions of Jarl Korir of Winterhold and the favorable reports from alchemists and their patrons in each hold.  She was not naïve in believing that the Nords would suddenly trust magic users, which is why she insisted on making this solitary tour of Skyrim, meeting with each Jarl personally.  But today the business was personal.  She planned on visiting Onmund at his family’s farm.

    The Breton bent briefly to harvest a couple of pink mountain flowers off the path.  Elara looked up and caught sight of another cluster at the top of the rise and trudged towards them.  A neat and tidy farm lay peacefully before her, orderly green crops gently waving in the breeze.  She glanced at the empty paddocks, and assumed the livestock was out grazing.  Just like they would have been at home in High Rock.   The only noise came from the squawking, pecking chickens.  Smoke curled lazily from the chimney and Elara hoped to catch the family inside for a midday meal.  She scrambled down the hill and made her way to the cottage.  She knocked on the open door frame, her eyes trying to adjust to the darkened interior.

    “Who are you?” a sharp voice greeted her from the gloom.  A tall woman with dark glittering eyes challenged Elara at the door.

    “I am so sorry to disturb you,” Elara slipped into her public persona, “and I am deeply sorry for your recent loss.  I am Arch Mage Elara Rammligr from the College of Winterhold and I wanted to check with Onmund to see if we could be of any service to him.”

    Alfsa’s midnight blue eyes studied the mage at her door, and instantly resented the offer of kindness written so plainly on the Breton’s pale face.   Her forbidding stature did nothing to diminish the warm presence at the door, so Onmund’s mother decided to use her strongest and sharpest weapon.  “Has my son written you?  Did he ask you to come here?”

    “N…no,” Elara stammered, taken aback by the fierce questions.  She felt a pang of guilt that Onmund had made it fairly clear how he felt about her before he left Winterhold and wondered again why she thought this visit would have made a difference.

    Alfsa took the offensive.  “And you thought you would take pity on us poor farmers while you mages live comfortably in your towers with your books and research?  We live the real life out here, eking out a living while you live in the clouds.  I am glad Onmund had sense enough to leave you and seek his fortune elsewhere.”  Chest heaving, Alfsa glared at Elara, who represented everything she had lost.

    “I am sorry again to have disturbed you.  I will take my leave, but I wanted to let you know that Jarl Siddgeir will be calling on you.  The Holds will be starting schools, and, based on Onmund’s descriptions of his childhood, I suggested you may be interested as a teacher.”  Alfsa jerked involuntarily and looked more keenly at this tiny woman.

    “I also brought Onmund’s books,” and here Elara dropped a bulging satchel on the threshold.  “Please let Onmund know I stopped by if you see him.”  Elara bowed awkwardly and left quickly, feeling foolish for her actions, but not knowing how else she could have taken leave of such a formidable woman.

    Alfsa watched the Breton leave, and stared at the treasure encased in leather, calling from her feet.  She felt cold, though a fire roared behind her.  Berg burnt all the books she had secreted around the house, burnt every one he found until finally Alfsa gave up.

    Berg is dead.

    Onmund’s mother slowly bent to pick up the satchel and clutched it to her chest.  She looked out the doorway and gazed at the spot she had last glimpsed the bobbing red head.  I wish I had been kinder to her, Alfsa thought with regret, biting her lip again.  She cradled the satchel and sat down on the floor, weeping for the loss of a life at which she never had a chance, a desire for a life that bubbled up no matter how much she denied herself.   After all the years of discipline and bitterness, she was surprised that the strange Breton had brought her solace and hope in a satchel. 


    Elara stumbled about the bracken and brush, blind to her direction, only wanting to escape the memory of that verbal flaying and her disappointment at not finding Onmund.  The full import of what he had spoken to her came crashing down, which she had kept locked inside, believing all the time that his grief at losing his father had been speaking for him.  He did not want to come back to the College or come back to her.

    She felt no release, no hope, only confirmation of what she feared most.  Yet she plodded on, stubbornly searching for something to give her a clue to Onmund’s whereabouts, anything to distract her from the reality of who she was.

    Elara stopped suddenly at a sheer wall of rock, shimmering with magicka.  The Breton placed both palms on the flat surface.  Residual energy tingled through her entire body and she laid her forehead against the rock face, tears dropping onto the singed grass below, grieving for the anguish Onmund unleashed, the pains of his life, and the loss of all she would have given him if he would have stayed.



    Sky Haven Temple, The Reach

    “An entire camp of Forsworn destroyed, Dragonborn,” Delphine exclaimed, following Esbern’s torch up the glistening black stone staircase of Sky Haven Temple.  It was a magnificent battle, and the Dragonborn performed admirably, she thought.  She glanced at Elara quickly, watching her press a bandage on her left palm to stem the bleeding—the blood price required for entering the hallowed temple of the Blades.  Elara was pale and tiny droplets of sweat beaded her brow.  Something was wrong, Delphine noted.  She no longer insists that I call her Elara.

    “Why don’t you heal yourself?” the blond Breton questioned, but Elara’s response was a shake of her head and averted eyes.  “Oh, right, you are probably too tired from taking care of personal business,” Delphine added, unable to resist the dig.  The Blade believed Elara should abandon all her duties to embrace her destiny as Dragonborn and was irritated that she did not behave the way she thought a hero of prophecy should act.  Delphine was rewarded with a slight stiffening of the shoulders out of the corner of her eye.  She would make a hero out of her yet.

    The trio entered an enormous room, dirty and unused, but still magnificent and imposing.  Elara gratefully found a stone chair and slowly sank down to rummage through her satchel.  Delphine furrowed her brows and turned towards Esbern, whose excitement at the discovery of Akaviri bas-reliefs caught her attention.

    “Marvelous, simply marvelous,” he muttered, gingerly touching the carved stone, his eyes moving rapidly over the surface.

    Delphine walked quickly around the room, still filled with adrenaline from their battle and energized further by Esbern’s deep and attentive absorption in the wall.  She lit torches where she could to further illuminate the darkness and allowed her imagination to wander.  What if we rebuilt the Blades?  Here?  With a Dragonborn again…Delphine shot a look at a wobbling Elara, tentatively taking steps around the long stone table.  She is so weak…the Blade shook her head.  It was going to be a long road.

    Elara felt Delphine’s disapproving gaze follow her every move, frustrated that the Blade was another person she somehow let down.  She wanted to shout, “I was not raised for this!  I came here to find my father, not fight the world!”  Yet she felt childish for her thoughts and kept them to herself.   She knew she cut a poor Dragonborn figure, especially in comparison to the heroes of old her father would sing about.  She had thought her father had the power of the Voice because he sang so beautifully, but he would just laugh and kiss her on the nose when she said things like that.  Now she knew the gravity of the Thu’um.  I can weave words now, too, though they are more destructive, she thought sadly.

    Delphine tried not to shudder at Elara’s shuffling steps and labored breathing.  What am I going to do with her?  She crossed her arms in irritation.  Delphine was a Blade through and through.  Even incognito at the Sleeping Giant, a day did not pass when she did not dream about the restoration of the Empire, the re-instatement of the Blades, and the avenging of her fallen comrades.  She greatly desired the destruction of the Thalmor and the Dominion.

    The Empire had survived weak emperors before…Mede was arguably weak.  Mede…Delphine’s mind twisted around the problem of two claimants to the throne.  A Dragonborn Emperor would bring new life to the Empire, as restoration of their old glory.   If Elara could defeat Alduin, who would stand in their way?  She resolved to be nicer to Elara, and help her see that the petty problems of one province were not just at stake—her presence could affect all of Tamriel’s history.  And Delphine wanted to be around to protect and guide her.

    Elara placed her hands on the carved stone table in front of her to steady her trembling arms.  She could feel Delphine shoot ice spikes with her eyes.  The Arch-Mage stifled a laugh.  And Delphine said she had no magic ability. But Elara worried about her progressive weakness, this loss in stamina.  It could cost lives.  She focused on the rhythm of her breath.  Odd she should always feel out of breath when she could control so much with it.

    “It says here that when brother spilt the blood of brother, then Alduin would return, signaling the end of an age,” Esbern deciphered slowly, moving his torch to peer at the carvings more closely.

    “You mean, you are saying that Alduin’s return was foretold in a scroll.  It is not my presence in Skyrim that brought the dragons back?”  Elara choked, her knees threatening to give out underneath her.

    “Oh, my dear girl,” Esbern turned around quickly; words sticking in his throat at the sound of Elara’s pained voice.  “It is our good fortune to have you, as you will be our only way to defeat them.  You are the positive balance in all of this, perhaps even a gift of the gods.  All along, is that what you have been thinking?”

    Elara fixed her eyes on the ground, her silence answer enough.  She clenched and unclenched her hands, trying to absorb this new information, reordering her thoughts and misconceptions.   It gave her a little hope, and to her astonishment, a delicate face with hazel eyes and chestnut hair accompanied the word “hope.”

    The elderly Blade turned back to the wall.  “It seems you need a shout called “Dragonrend” to take down Alduin.  I do not suppose you know that shout already?”  A sharp shake of Elara’s head gave him his answer.  “Then my dear, I think you need to speak to the Greybeards.  Perhaps you can leave in the morning after some rest?  Delphine and I will stay here to see what else we can discover.”

    Elara immediately turned around and headed back down the stairs on the way out of the Temple.  “I have engagements in Markarth and Solitude,” she said softly, “but I will report to you within a week on my meeting with the Greybeards.”

     And inexplicably happy that she could return to Riverwood on the way, Elara moved quickly out of the Temple, downing a couple of stamina potions on the way.

    “Now do you still wish that you were Dragonborn?”

    Delphine looked up at the Blades archivist, her eyes burning brighter than the torch in his hands.  “She is stronger than I thought,” she murmured, her mind racing with elaborate training regimens for her protégé.  Esbern shook his head in dismay and shuffled back to the wall.  He looked back at the Breton and then to the carved figure of Alduin, wondering how many souls it would take to satisfy her hunger for power and revenge.


  • Guy Corbett
    Guy Corbett   ·  October 28, 2013
    I loved the part were she found Onmund magical touch. When will these two get together! lol Great story so far, Will Elara ever shake this weakness she finds or is it going to be her downfall????? I must read more lol
  • Kyrielle Atrinati
    Kyrielle Atrinati   ·  August 27, 2013
    Yay. :)  Finally you're going to finish it.
  • Kynareth
    Kynareth   ·  August 27, 2013
    Thanks for reading and commenting, Vazgen!  Yes, I am making the push and finishing it.  I have other stories in my head that want out, but these characters deserve a finish I think.  
  • Vazgen
    Vazgen   ·  August 27, 2013
    O.O a continuation! And just when I'm out of town :P Great chapter Kyn, the meeting with Onmund's mother was very emotional and the touch of the wall that Onmund destroyed was awesome! Its great to see a character who has some trouble with being Dragonbor...  more