Chapter 2:

Decisions, Decisions

The Elder Scrolls Series is property of Bethesda. Familiar of Zero is (currently) property of Media Factory (I believe)



"Powerful (Dragon/Daedra/etc.) speech"


Line Break

Johan scowled as he pushed aside yet another map—this one far older than the rest—his worst fears finally confirmed. He and Odahviing were transported to another plane of existence, separate from Nirn. Not a realm of Oblivion, nor Aetherius, for two simple reasons: he would recognize the change in the air, and he would have been accosted by at least one Aedric or Daedric being.

Briefly, he entertained the idea that he'd landed in Lyg, a place he admittedly knew little about, but he did know that Men were not the dominant people.

Thus, he was left with a conundrum. How to get back home. He hummed in thought, an idea flitting into his head. Lifting his left hand, he concentrated on his Magicka, pooling it together. He searched within his soul for the permanent mark Oblivion had left on it and pulled harshly.

There was a small flash of purple flickering in-and-out within his hand. He frowned; there was resistance. He tried once more, holding both hands close together, pooling more energy into the spell. There was more give, a hint of a sphere of dark mist, but still, no spell took hold.

He cursed, dropping his hands onto his lap. Pointing his palm up, he called upon a different branch of magic, grunting as a flame burst to life in his hands. He narrowed his eyes, and the flame dissipated, green transparent cubes taking its place, and once again, replacing the cubes with a warm white glow, and replacing that with a cool blue mist.

"At least everything else works," he muttered grouchily.

He knew that Conjuration could work, he just needed to burst past that initial hurdle.

He grinned widely, perhaps the Thu'um would prove effective.

"U-Um, excuse me, Monsieur?" a timid young voice said behind him.

He looked over his shoulder, taking note of the young man—barely of age, given the fuzz on his chin—nervously staring at him. He recalled that the Professor, Colbert, called him 'Monsieur' as well, and idly wondered what the title meant.

He grunted, "What, boy?"

The boy flinched, "Y-You are the Mage Johan S-Stormcrown, yes?"

Johan furrowed his brows, "What of it?"

A gulp, "Headmaster Osmond request your presence."

Johan hummed, idly noting the servant's fear. He hadn't even done anything to warrant such a response. At least, not consciously.

Regardless, he stood, gripping his staff and waving at the young man, "Lead the way, then."

He bowed hastily, turning around to lead Johan forward.

He followed, but not before stuffing the most current map of the land into one of the many pockets hidden in his robes.

Silently, he followed the servant through the long corridors of the Academy; and he could not help but compare it to his own Magical Academy, the College of Winterhold (granted, he did study at Tamriel's other magical schools—for varied amounts of time—but the College would always hold a special place in his heart). For one thing, it was very, very fancy. Everything looked shiny and pristine, as if the fixtures and cabinets and vases and sculptures were dusted and shined every hour—which, given the maids brushing over the aforementioned items with feather dusters, may have been true.

The other thing he noticed, and a bit more unsettling, was how silent everything was. Aside from the occasional hum of a servant, the wind rushing through the trees, or birds singing their mating songs, it was utterly silent.

No students debating with each other on theories—sure, there were students roaming the halls, but they were all either silent or, if in a group, holding mundane discussions about 'love' and 'wealth'. No instructors yelling that their pupils are about to get themselves killed. No spells exploding—whether it was the intended result or not.

It was all a bit unnerving, if Johan was being honest.

But he had no further time to muse on life within the Academy; for he was in front of the Headmaster's office.

A secretary sat at a desk to the left of a pair of wide double doors. She was a fairly attractive woman, but the green head of hair atop her head made him pause. He recalled seeing a young girl with pink hair, and another with sky blue hair down in the field. It looked too good to be dyed, so that could only mean that these young women used magic to alter their hair color. A practice that had come up within Tamriel—he never understood it, but whatever.

The woman lifted her head up from her desk, "Thank you, Ciaran, you may leave."

The boy who guided him bowed, and quickly made his exit.

"You may enter, Monsieur Stormcrown."

Johan nodded at the young woman, pushing open the doors.


Johan paused, looking underfoot. At the sight of a white mouse scurrying along the floor, he grunted. Lifting his staff in the air, he tilted it forward, adjusting his grip.

"Wait!" a man cried out desperately, punctuated by hands slapping against wood.

Johan paused, lifting his gaze to see an old man in blue robes and a very long (almost ridiculously so) white beard. Obviously, this was Headmaster Osmond. He was standing behind a large—what looked like oak—desk, leaning forward, a fearful look on his face.

Carefully, Johan pulled his staff back, raising a brow as tension visibly left the Headmaster's body. He sat back into a tall, red-leather seat, sighing in relief. Soon, the mouse had clambered up onto the desk, leaping up the man's body and resting on his shoulder.

He sighed, relieved, "I thank you, for stopping when you did."

Johan shrugged, "I feel I should apologize; after all, I almost killed your pet."

Osmond chuckled, "Oh, Chuchu is much more than a pet." The tiny rodent stood, squeaking into his ear. "Hmm, black, floral pattern, with red highlights. Must be new," he muttered.

Johan, not knowing or caring what Osmond and Chuchu were discussing, cleared his throat, "May I sit."

Osmond nodded, gesturing to a chair opposite him. Johan quickly walked over, sitting down. He let out an involuntary sigh.

Osmund smirked, "Comfy, isn't' it?"

Johan nodded, leaning back, "Yes, what is this stuffed with?"

Osmund shrugged, "Feathers, I couldn't tell you what kind, however." He leaned forward, steelping his fingers, "But enough about that. I hear you appeared, alongside a dragon, in the courtyard."

"Yes," Johan rested his staff across his lap, "It was…quite the experience." He furrowed his brow, "Can you tell me what happened? I asked one of your instructors, Jean Colbert, but I believe he forgot in the rush to find his missing students."

"Yes, but he was not the only to be lost, was he?" Osmond said, cocking an amused brow.

Johan scoffed, "Well, I wasn't about to get in the way of the cooks. After all, the kitchen can be," he lips twitched, "quite dangerous."

Osmond hummed, "You ate in the kitchen?"

"I took some bread, cheese, and ale."

"Awful light."

Johan shrugged, "You learn to live with little, among the mountains."

Osmond straightened, "You live in the mountains? The range along the southern border of Gallia?"

Johan smiled, even if he hadn't studied that map, he'd have been fine. "No, actually, the northeast, in Germania."

Osmond rubbed his beard, a sad sigh escaping his lips. "Those robes of yours do look well-suited for the Germanian cold." He frowned, "Though I must admit, I've never seen or heard of a dragon quite like the one in the courtyard earlier today." He eyed Johan, an unidentifiable gleam in his eyes, "Though I heard you were awfully chummy with the beast, would you be kind enough to share anything about it?"

Johan chuckled, "The 'beast' is called OD—" he paused, clearing his throat to stop the instinctive rumble tearing through his throat, "Odahviing, and he is no simple beast."

Osmond's eyebrows rose fractionally, "You mean to tell me that—Odahviing, was it?" he spoke somewhat hesitantly, but Johan nodded all the same, "That he is your familiar?"

Johan could not help but chuckle at that, "No, nothing like that." He smiled a small, genuine smile, "Odahviing is an old friend."

Osmond hummed, "Any ideas where this old friend has gone?" At Johan's furrowed brow, he added, "Well, a dragon the likes of which I have never seen, summoned by one of my students, is loose upon Tristain. I need to report something back to the Palace."

Johan hummed, running his left and through his beard, "Odahviing is a free spirit, he roams where he pleases. But so long as he is left alone, he will not cause any harm." He refused to broach the fact that, if attacked, Odahviing would mercilessly slaughter all around him—and if in a really bad mood, might burn the surrounding area to the ground.

"I see," Osmond pouted slightly, "Well, at the very least, can you tell me if he will be heading east, back to Germania?"

Johan tilted his head, "It's…highly possible. If he can't find a suitable place to roost anywhere nearby, he will attempt to get back home."

"And where is that?"

Johann averted his gaze, recalling some particularly embarrassing memories in order to bring a blush to his face, "I'm…afraid to say that I didn't really look at any maps when I set out in my hermitage. But I'm sure I can figure it out once I hit the road in the morning."

Osmond frowned, "'The morning'? But you've just arrived, through very unorthodox mean as well. Why, I'd spend at least a week in bed myself."

Johan smiled, "That may be so, but I've devoted myself to a particular lifestyle, and I'd like to, if not keep my vows, then return to them as soon as possible."

Osmond nodded, "A respectable endeavor." He spread his hands, "At the very least, let me offer you a place to stay for the night before you begin your journey, and some assistance in finding out what mountain you claimed as home."

Johan grunted, "It would be rude to reject a place to stay, but years ago I set out on my path alone, and I shall do so once again." He pursed his lips, "Although…might we be able to send me directly back by reversing the spell performed at the courtyard."

Osmond shook his head, "My apologies, but reversing the Summoning Spell, why," he chuckled lightly, "that would take a Void mage."

Johan chuckled along with Osmond, internally cursing the new term—that meant there was an entire branch of magic here that he knew nothing about. Of course, the fact every student he'd seen had a staff or a wand on their person was a tad odd, but he'd just assumed they were blanks for a staff-enchanting course.

Outwardly, however, he stood, a jovial smile on his face, "If you will permit me, Headmaster, I will take my leave. It is getting dark, after all."

Osmond turned his head, squinting at the setting sun, "Yes…I suppose it is." He stood, "Mademoiselle Longueville can direct you to a guest quarters you can stay in for the night." He bowed his head slightly, "I wish you a pleasant night, and journey come the morning."

Johan inclined his head, "And may your school and students prosper in the years to come."

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Johann soundlessly moved through the corridors, easily flitting from shadow to shadow.

Despite the ease with which he moved, he could not help but be disappointed. By Magnus, this was an academy! Forget whatever secrets the held within, there were students here! And yet, not a guard—either hired hand or faculty, or atronach—in sight. He shook his head as he stepped outside; if he was years younger he would have stripped this entire place down to the bone on principle alone.

But, gone was the impulsiveness of youth; in its place, calm focus.

That focus faltered, however, when sobbing reached his ears. But these were not the sobs of a homesick, or lovesick if the case may be, child. No, this was true grief, as if the sobbing party had just witnessed all their hopes and dreams die a horrible, agonizing death.

Unable to cur b his curiosity, he followed the sound, ending up just below second-story window. But he was not the only one there, for just below the window was a young, black-haired maid. She held a basket of clothes in her arms, gazing sadly up at the window.

Stepping forward from the shadows, he cleared his throat. This caused the woman to yelp, spinning around and dropping the basket. It would have hit the ground, were it not for a timely spell from Johan.

The young woman stared at the floating basket, incredulous. Once more, Johan cleared his throat, "I believe this is the part where you pick up the basket."

That shook her out of her stupor, though now she just eyed him incredulously. Gesturing with his free hand, she took the cue, hesitantly reaching for the basket, as if it would disappear before her very eyes. Finally, she grabbed the basket, and Johan closed his hand, cancelling the spell.

The woman sighed, "My apologies, Monsieur. Students have done a similar thing, only they ended the spell, and everything fell to the ground."

Johan frowned, "Well, I hope those cretins were suitably punished."

She smiled mirthlessly, "Oh, it's not worth the trouble."

Johan's frown deepened, but instead of focusing on that, he turned his head back to the window. "…Do you know who's up there?"

The woman turned back to the window, her expression once more turning sad. "Oh, that's Mademoiselle Louise. She's had such a hard time here and is finally being expelled."

Johan cocked a brow, "Well, she obviously disagrees with the decision," he dryly commented.

The woman shook her head, "It's not just that. Being expelled confirms her worst fears."

"What do you mean?"

The woman gazed up at the window, turned left and right, then quickly strode forward. She stopped just a few feet in front of Johan, who leaned in closer, indulging her 'sneaky' behavior. "It means that she has no talent as a Mage and is a disgrace amongst Nobles, a true Zero."

"No talent," Johan muttered, "that can't be right. Did she not summon a dragon this afternoon?"

The woman shrugged, "Maybe so, but that's one success out of at least a year's worth of failures."

Johan frowned, it seems that he had ruined this young girl's life. Well, in all honesty, he'd probably saved the young girl's life; had he not been there, Odahviing would have most likely killed the poor girl before she could attempt her binding spell.

He frowned, "Wait, what do you mean by 'a year's worth of failures'? What happened to all her other spells?"

The woman nodded, "They all blows up in her face, literally," she added as an afterthought.

Johan zeroed in on that last word, "She…causes explosions?"

"Yes," the maid's expression soured, "Leaves a terrible mess for us to clean up." She then gasped, covering her mouth with a hand, "Oh! Forgive me, I spoke out of turn!"

Johan idly waved her off, "It's fine, my dear. You can have an opinion." He returned his gaze to the window, noting that the sobs had quieted immensely, though he could still hear light weeping if he strained his ears.

A girl with no talent with spells but could also cause explosions whenever she attempted a spell. Orin brit ro if he'd ever heard one. But why did she cause explosions? Was her mind just hardwired for destructive spells? Did she overload her spells with too much energy? Did she—

He stopped himself; he could not afford to entertain such thoughts right now.

Instead, he returned his attention back to the young woman, who was staring at the window as well. His heart welled with pity—something he hadn't truly felt in years—for the young girl hidden away up there, the so-called talentless mage. He let out a breath, "Well, this has been a lovely conversation Miss…" he trailed off.

"Siesta," the woman readily supplied with a bow.

Johan nodded in turn, "Siesta," he gestured to himself, "My name is Johan." He smiled softly at her, "Until we meet again."

"Yes. Have a good night, Monsieur," she replied with a smile. She turned around, walking away, humming a wordless tune.

Johan took one last look at Louise's room. He snorted derisively, no talent, what a load of tripe.

Line Break

Johan hummed, eyeing the clearing he'd found. Yes, this would do.

He sucked in a deep breath, and shouted into the night sky, "ODAHVIING!" After a quick pause, he added, "DEIN NAHLON!"

He lifted his head up, clicking his tongue at the two moons—one blue, one pink—hanging in the night sky. Another piece of evidence towards the land being Lyg, but not enough to definitively say so.

He waited for another moment, taking in the cool night air, when a winged silhouette soared through the air, blocking the stars.

Silently, Odahviing landed in the clearing. Johan scowled as he was illuminated by moonlight, dried blood staining his maw. "What did you kill?"

Odahviing smirked, "A mockery of Bormah's vision."

Johan's scowl lessened to a frown, "There are dov here?"

"Bah!" Odahviing spat, "They are not fit to be called Dovah! They are naught more than HEFAHUS SIVAAS. They lack the Thu'um, a Dovahsil, and they allow joor freely to ride upon their backs, saddled like a common horse!" He sniffed, "And they taste terrible."

Johan balked at the idea of a saddled dragon, agreeing with Odahviing; no true Dovah would allow themselves to be subjugated as such. A flash of light then erupted within his mind, "Wait, what about their riders?"

Odahviinh's vicious grin told him all he needed to know. He sighed, "You didn't do this in public, at least?"

The dragon shook his head, "Nid, it was just them, and myself."

Johan crossed his arms, "Did you leave any evidence?"

He shook his head, "I limited myself to my teeth and claws. The forest we fought above was too dense; no sense in needlessly burning the entire place down."

Johan smiled, "Caring about collateral damage? Has Paarthurnax finally gotten through those thick scales of yours?"

Odahviing grimaced, "…I will not deny that he lives up to his name." He then levelled a glare at Johan, "And do not dare inform him of this conversation!"

Johan chuckled, "No, it'll just be another SOVEN I can hold over you," he said teasingly.

Odahviing growled good-naturedly. He then adopted a serious look, "I assume you are aware that we are no longer on Nirn."

"Yes," Johan sighed, "Do you have any idea where we are? I've already ruled out Oblivion and Aetherius. Could this by Lyg?"

Odahviing hummed, "No…I've devoured Dov that visited Lyg, and this is definitely not it."

"Dovah have been to Lyg?"

Odahviing shrugged, "Not many. From what I have been able to ascertain, it is too far to justify a visit too, to say nothing of the fact that it is mostly wasteland now."

Johan shook his head, "Okay, there goes that slight hope. Regardless, I seek to summon Durnehviir."

Odahviing scoffed in mild distaste, "Why do you seek my permission for this?"

Johan rolled his eyes, "Something is blocking my connection to Oblivion; I may need help in pulling him through."

Odahviing grumbled beneath his breath, but didn't object to his plan, so Johan decided to act.

He took a deep breath, "DUR NEH VIIR!" he shouted into the clearing.

Suddenly, a cold chill entered the air; Johan shivered and Odahviing growled lowly. A tiny vortex made of purple mist started to form in the middle of the clearing, growing taller and wider, to Johan's quiet joy.

Then something went wrong.

The vortex lost its shape, expanding wildly. Johan stepped back, setting up a large ward to cover both him and Odahviing. Just in time too, as the moment after the ward set in, the spell exploded, pushing against the protective barrier.

Johan waited a moment, dropping the ward as the mist dissipated.

There was a pregnant pause, which Odahviing broke, saying, "At least you tried."

Johan scoffed, reaching up to smack the dragon's neck, "Help me."

Odahviing huffed at both the action and command, but nonetheless took a steadying breath.

"DUR NEH VIIR!" They both shouted.

Once again, a vortex of purple mist formed before them. Only this time, instead of growing larger and losing its form, it shrank down, rising up to a familiar, draconic shape. But then, things started to devolve into shapeless vapor once more.

"Once more!" Johan roared.


The mist shook violently, and the earth rumbled beneath their feet. Thunder sounded overhead; but when the pair looked up, they only saw the twin moons quaking violently in the sky.

Then, finally, a metallic whine—the tell-tale sound of something crossing over from Oblivion—assaulted their ears. Followed by a loud, grateful roar. "Thuri!" Durnehviir cried, "I knew you yet lived!" He then turned his gaze to Odahviing, good mood immediately dying, "Ah…I should have known you'd survive."

Odahviing growled, "Watch yourself, LIIVOR PRAKEM, or you'll be sent back to your prison in pieces!"

Johan, silently amused at the latest edition to their feud, clapped his hands before the two could come to blows. "That's enough you two; we have more important things at hand."

The two dragons sobered, and Durnehviir turned his gaze to Johan, "How long have you been here?"

"About 8 hours," Johan replied.

Durnehviir nodded, "That is good. Two hours ago, Paarthurnax summoned me back to Nirn after a six hour wait."

"So, time in this realm runs REID NAAL REID with Nirn," Odahviing surmised.

Johan sighed, "At least we won't have to worry about any damn 'You've been gone for fifty years!' inanity."

"Unfortunately, that is the only good news." Odahviing and Johan both inhaled sharply. Durnehviir continued, "Neither I, nor Paarthurnax, nor any of his Greybeards have any idea how to reopen the portal that stole you two away. They are already drafting a letter for Serana to come and provide assistance." He hummed, "At least I now have an idea of what energies to look for when she arrives."

"Well, unfortunately I don't think you can expect any help from our end."

Odahviing narrowed his eyes, "What do you mean?"

Johan waved a hand, "They have a different system of magic here. I'm sure I can twist it to my use, but the type of magic that could take us home—Void—is either exceedingly rare or fallen into myth," he clicked his tongue, "I need to do research it more before I can definitively say it can be of use.

Odahviing hummed, "So, we are reliant on our allies on Nirn unless you find a way to use this 'Void' magic." He grunted, "Either way, I suspect we will be here for a while."

"Hmm," Johan frowned, "Well, at least I've found something to keep me occupied."

Odahviing and Durnehviir blinked, "What do you mean?" the latter asked.

Johan smiled, taking a deep breath before explaining his plans.

A/N: Splitting this up into two, got too long. Next chapter is when things really get pear-shaped. Also, unless spoken by a dragon, or used in a shout, new words will only be bold and italicized when first used. Otherwise, be sure to leave a review. Later.


-DEIN NAHLON: Keep Silent

-HEFAHUS SIVAAS: Mindless Beasts

-SOVEN: Secret


-REID NAAL REID: Side by Side