The Adventures of Nival and K

By Dominus Princeps

A/N, I'm so embarrassed this took so long…don't worry about delays in the future, though!

Chapter Nine: Po Septim and Blundercliff Swatch pt.1!

"By the freaking Nine..." Nival gasped, refusing to believe what he saw. Greywyn stood at the top of the crooked stone stairs, lank grey hair drawing deep contrast to the black leather armor he wore. The armor fairly crackled with magickal power. A katana was hitched over his back.

"You look surprised," the vampire grinned.

"Well, the last time we saw you, you were a blubbering skooma-head," K chuckled.

"You're not...gonna kill us, are you?" Eyja's hand twitched to her axe.

"No. You've been very good to me, and I like you. You couldn't do anything about that anyway, assuming I wanted to kill you," Greywyn shrugged. He walked down the stairs and put a hand on K's shoulder.

"I suspect we should get back to Martin. He's probably got something for us," the vampire remarked.

"Master, how...?" the Dark Minion had prostrated himself.

"Oh, get up. It wasn't that hard to rejuvenate myself. All it took was that entire vial of Sithis's Ichor," Greywyn chuckled. They quickly exited through the trapdoor to the banks of the Topal Bay.

"If you don't mind, Nival, I'd like my Crimson Eviscerator," Greywyn nodded toward the dagger resting in Nival's belt.

"Sure thing," the Dunmer tossed the blade to the vampire, who buckled it to his own waist. In a flash, the four of them fast-traveled to Cloud Ruler Temple.

ooo

"Get me a blanket! I'm on fire! AHHHH!" Greywyn howled, flailing around on the ground.

"Dude. You just fed," Nival rolled his eyes. "You don't get Sun Damage 1 for another day, and even then you have to Wait or Sleep for it to come into effect."

"Err. Right. Terribly sorry," Greywyn ran a hand through his hair. The vampire and the Dunmer entered first.

"I don't trust Greywyn," Eyja glanced at K.

"Yeah, me either. I don't think Nival trusts him much, but he realizes we need Greywyn's power at our backs. As soon as this is done, we should dust him," the Dremora nodded.

"I've translated the next part of the Xarxes. It says we need the 'Blood of a Divine.' I had a devil of a time figuring that out until Jauffre reminded me of the Armor of Tiber Septim, who ascended to the ranks of the Divines after his mortal life," Martin remarked.

"Nerd!" K laughed.

"That's...hey!" the priest/Heir frowned, rubbing his head.

"It's at Sancre Tor," Jauffre remarked briefly before leaving.

"Tight-lipped guy," Nival shrugged.

"Fast-traveling, ho!" K cried, raising his fist.

"We haven't found it, so we'll have to hoof it," the Dunmer sighed. K grumbled and fell into step with the rest of them as they hiked down the side of the mountain which Cloud Ruler Temple was built on.

"So, Greywyn...you're like a ninja vampire, right?" K raised an eyebrow.

"Something like that," the vampire grinned. "More a vampire assassin."

"Since that's so reassuring," Eyja took Nival's hand nervously.

"Don't worry, friends. I won't harm you," Greywyn inclined his head. Ten minutes (and oddly two hours and a half hours according to Nival's Dunmeri map-clock) later, the intrepid group reached a ruined castle.

"This must be Sancre Tor..." Nival said softly.

"Looks like crap. What the hell happened here?" K crossed his arms.

"Have some respect! This was the site of a massive battle. Used to be the Blades' base, too," the Dunmer scolded.

"Three Skeleton Heroes, on our six!" Greywyn hissed, dropping into a ready stance, fists raised. K pulled out his chain mace and swung it to gain momentum. Eyja unclasped the Glass War Axe from her belt. Nival charged up a lightning bolt and fireball. Greywyn charged the leftmost Skeleton Hero, twisting away from a viciously forked Dwarven Arrow and slamming his fist into the Skeleton's face. It hissed and, along with its two allies, summoned a Skeleton Guardian.

"So now it's six on three," Nival muttered. He loosed his fire-lightning assault on the Hero that Eyja was engaging. "Let's even these odds."

"A little help would be nice!" K howled as a Glass Warhammer hit him in the side. "You bony little bitch!"

"I choose you, Frost Atronach! Frost Atronach, Blizzard!" Nival cried, pointing at the Skeleton that swung its Glass hammer at K. The eight-foot ice sculpture trudged over to K and his opponent and promptly backhanded the Skeleton's head off.

"Hot damn! That thing just tooled the Skeleton Hero!" K blinked. Eyja Knockback-Counterattacked a Standing Power Attack from her foe and lined up for a finishing blow when a Silver Mace slammed into her back, flattening her. The Skeleton Guardian stood over her triumphantly, preparing to smash its mace into her head. It was promptly crushed between the Frost Atronach's palms as it slapped its hands together on the Guardian. Greywyn leapt over his foe to finish the now recovered Skeleton Hero with a somersault kick.

"Nice move, Greywyn," Nival flashed the vampire a thumbs-up.

"There are a lot of perks to vampirism," Greywyn chuckled before pulling out the Crimson Eviscerator and hurling it at the final Skeleton Hero, which had just pulled out another Dwarven Arrow and was about to fire it at Nival. The Skeleton hissed and collapsed.

"Good save," Eyja smiled.

"Now, let's get inside this decrapit building and get that bloody armor," K sighed.

"That word is 'decrepit,' K," Nival rolled his eyes.

"I know what I said," the Dremora grinned. Nival approached the door, wary for more Skeletons. He produced the key that Jauffre had given him and fitted it into the lock on the door. It fit perfectly, and the doors swung open. They were greeted with murky gloom. Nival lit a torch and handed it to K before lighting one for himself and Eyja. Greywyn's superior vampire eyesight meant he had no need of a torch.

"What a really freakin' creepy place...reminds me of something from Stephen King or Anne Rice," Eyja shivered.

"Who?" K raised an eyebrow.

"They're ancient Imperial authors. Don't ask," Nival shrugged.

"I always did like a good Anne Rice scroll," Greywyn remarked. At the bottom of the stairs, the vampire held up a hand to halt the party.

"What's up?" Nival whispered.

"I hear something moving...making a whistling noise..." the vampire unsheathed the katana across his back. It was a smoky grey and glowed green. Nival recognized the acrid scent of Daedric magicka instantly.

"Ebony Blade!" he hissed. "How in Akatosh's name did you get that?"

"You'll find I have many tricks up my sleeve," Greywyn smiled, revealing his savage canines. A screeching wail pierced the air.

"Gods damn it! I freaking hate Wraiths!" K roared, pulling out his Glass Warhammer and Glass Claymore and diving for the shadowy Wraith that advanced on the party. He soared right through it, tumbling down a long stone stair with shouted and muffled curses, depending on whether he was slamming onto his back or his face.

"You don't have magickal weaponry, do you?" Greywyn asked Nival.

"I'm not a melee character, as you know, but Eyja and K are. You and I will have to take this thing down by ourselves," Nival shrugged. He summoned a Frost Atronach for support and fell back, launching a pair of fireballs at the Wraith. It howled, causing K to roar with frustration and dive through it again, crashing into a wall.

"Chill, K. You can't hurt it," Eyja sighed, shaking her head. The Dremora grumbled a few curses and sat back with the Nord woman. Greywyn slashed at the Wraith, Silencing it with Ebony Blade, and then leapt over it, rappelling off a wall to rocket straight at the Wraith, sword outstretched for a souped-up Forward Power Attack. Ebony Blade crackled with energy as it slammed into the Wraith, which screeched again and attempted to Damage Willpower on Greywyn, who neatly avoided the spell with an Acrobatics Journeyman's backflip dodge.

"That screaming bitch is driving me up the wall!" K punched a stone column for effect, fracturing it in several places. Nival crept up on the Wraith and grabbed it with a two-handed fire attack that caused the Wraith to screech one last time before collapsing into a cloak and a glob of Ectoplasm.

"Good Scorching Blow there, Nival," Greywyn remarked. "You're quite the sorcerer."

"Your mom gave me a good Scorching Blow," K chuckled.

"Yeah, that's mature," Eyja muttered. Nival stifled laughter and waved them on. Greywyn sniffed at the air.

"Decay and corruption run rampant here," the vampire observed, keeping Ebony Blade at the ready. Nival nodded his agreement and turned to glance back at K, who was guarding the group's back.

"How are things back there?" he asked. The Dremora shrugged.

"This place is weighing on me. It's like it's got life of its own," K muttered.

"It most likely does, considering its history," Greywyn added, able to hear the conversation due to his superior hearing. The four of them entered a narrow hallway and froze at a hissing noise.

"There's a Skeleton ahead...smells very, very old," Greywyn whispered. The four of them dropped into Sneak and crept forward, weapons unsheathed for Sneak Attacks for 6x damage!!

"I can see it," K murmured. Greywyn shot forward and slashed the skeleton down the front, Silencing it and knocking it off balance. Eyja followed up with a vicious War Axe blow, and K finished it with his warhammer.

"'Sneak attack for 1x damage!'? What kind of bullcrap is that? If I nail a dude in the back with a warhammer when he's not prepared, he'd definitely get his shit wrecked, not take normal damage..." the Dremora scowled. A ghost appeared, causing the four of them to jump in fright.

"It's the Headless Horseman! Run!" K yelped, sprinting into a stone column and staggering backwards, dazed.

"Ectoplasmic beast! Your existence is over!" Greywyn snarled, slashing at the ghost and passing right through it. Eyja jumped into Nival's arms and caused him to be rooted to the spot, as he became Over-Encumbered.

"I am a Blade who fought at the Battle of Sancre Tor. My name is Douglas MacArthur. I died, but did not fade away..." the ghostly Blade sighed, his voice echoing with ethereal tones. "Free my three brothers."

"Okay..." Nival said slowly. The Blade walked into the darkness and vanished. The Dunmer set Eyja down and shivered involuntarily. K rubbed at the bruise on his forehead and sheathed his weapons. Greywyn appeared out of the gloom holding a small amulet.

"There's a path that apparently leads to a central chamber. We should head that way," the vampire waved them on. "And, Nival—the skeleton had this around its neck. It looks very old; perhaps you can find some use for it."

"This is the Amulet of the Ansei. It has magickal properties that fortify blocking ability," Nival explained, pocketing the amulet. The three followed Greywyn as he walked at the very edge of their torchlight.

"Right here," Greywyn pushed a door open. They came face to face with a Gloom Wraith.

"What the heck! Why are there so Gods damn many of these little bitches?" K snarled, shunting the Gloom Wraith's Elven Longsword off his pauldron. Greywyn slashed it across its back with Ebony Blade. It attempted to hurl a nasty spell at the vampire, but it was Silenced. Nival pounded it with a barrage of fireballs. It screeched at him before collapsing into Ectoplasm.

"I guess we should explore and see if we can find that Blade's 'brothers,'" Nival suggested. The others nodded in agreement. They headed right first, dispatching yet another Wraith.

"How many of those damn things are there?" K muttered angrily. "They're popping out of freakin' everywhere."

"I can smell another ancient skeleton...we must be close to another of those Blades," Greywyn warned. The group of four crept up a flight of stairs and saw a skeleton with a mace wandering in the murky gloom.

"I'll take this one! For Sparta!" K roared, pulling out his chain mace and whirling it around his head.

"Sparta?" Eyja turned to Nival.

"You think I know what he means?" the Dark Elf snorted. The Dremora knocked the skeleton's head off with a chain-mace swing. The skeleton collapsed, but quickly reformed, at which point K knocked its head off again. He coiled his chain mace and pulled out his warhammer. The daedra brought the hammer back over his head and slammed it into the skeleton's prone ribs, crushing them to dust. The Dremora put his warhammer away and picked up a shiny object from the skeleton's remains.

"'Warden Kastav's Key," K read off his inventory screen.

"Bet it unlocks that door right there," Nival pointed. K fitted the key into the door and turned it. The door unlocked with a click, but the door still wouldn't budge.

"Great. It must've glitched or something. Stand back," the Dremora grumbled. He took three steps back and, with a roar, slammed into the door, tearing it brutally off its hinges.

"We didn't even need the key," Eyja chuckled. They wound their way down the claustrophobic dungeon tunnels.

"I can hear the Wraiths all around us...did I ever mention how much I hate those cloaky ectoplasmic bitch-bags?" K snarled. Greywyn and Nival dispatched numerous Wraiths that swarmed in from all sides before they continued.

"It's like there's some kind of factory just crankin' 'em out somewhere around here," the Dremora shivered. He stepped in a slimy puddle and slipped and fell down a long flight of stairs.

"Damn it!" the daedra roared.

"Holy shit! It's a skeleton, and man, is he pissed!" the Dremora yelped. Nival, Eyja, and Greywyn ran down the stairs to find K locked in combat with an ancient skeleton wielding an Akaviri Dai-Katana.

"Yikes!" Nival barely sidestepped a torso-cleaving vertical slash. Greywyn roundhouse-kicked the skeleton, aggravating it and causing it to stab him through the gut.

"...Damn!" the vampire gasped, pushing the sword out of his stomach by the handguard and staggering backwards. Nival quickly Convalesced the vampire and turned his attention back to the combat. Eyja smacked the skeleton Blade in the face with her shield, distracting it long enough for K to leap onto it and crush it beneath his weight.

"You okay, Greywyn?" the Dunmer asked the vampire.

"I've had much worse. Thank you for the heal, though," Greywyn inclined his head. A ghostly figure materialized.

"I knew...pot was bad for you..." the Blade said. "Just...say no."

"I could've told you that," K snorted. The Blade walked off.

"That's a mean katana. Ah, Mishaxhi's Cleaver...no wonder..." Nival inspected the weapon before pocketing it.

"Er...Nival...how exactly did you just put that in your pocket?" K frowned. "You don't have like a pack or anything..."

"I have no idea," the Dark Elf shrugged airily. "And I really don't care."

"Right..." Eyja tilted her head. The four of them continued down a long corridor and found a wide set of double-doors. K shouldered the heavy doors open and froze...quite literally. A skeleton struck him with its katana and caused a layer of ice to quickly form over the Dremora.

"Holy damn it!" the daedra shook the ice off of his armor and punched the skeleton Blade in the face, causing it to take a stumble-step backwards. Greywyn slammed a knee into the skeleton and sent it reeling backwards again. Nival charged up a massive lightning bolt and let it loose, blasting the skeleton into pieces. Another Blade ghost materialized.

"One if...by land. Three if they levitate. Four if you add two and two," the Blade's ghost whispered.

"No need to worry about levitation; they took that out of—" K began.

"Shh…don't bother him," Nival whispered. The four of them retraced their steps and, as there were no more Wraiths, quickly made their way back to the entrance hall.

"So, now we go left?" Eyja turned to Nival. He nodded, and they pushed open the door on the left. The hallways were remarkably Wraith-free, only yielding one or two of the screaming ghosts. At the bottom of a long stairwell there was a skeleton armed with a sword and shield.

"Mind if I take this solo?" Eyja asked. "I've got a new technique I'd like to try out."

"We'll be right here if you need backup," K shrugged. Eyja pulled out her Glass War Axe and walked warily down the stairs. The skeleton noticed her and hissed at her presence, advancing on the Nord warrior. It slashed at her, prompting Eyja to whirl away and swing her axe hard into the skeleton. The undead Blade reeled from the blow, hissing its distaste. Eyja spun around, hitting the skeleton first with her shield, then with her axe. She knocked the skeleton Blade down and proceeded to slash it again and again with her axe until it was finished.

"Toga! Toga! Toga!" the Blade ghost whispered before departing. Eyja picked up its shield.

"Hey, it has Reflect Damage 10 percent! That beats my shield any day," she cheered, dropping her Mithril Shield and replacing it with Valdemar's Shield.

"That's the last of them. Let's return to the entrance hall," Nival said. The four of them quickly returned to the entrance hall and walked down a short flight of stairs to a circular platform. They entered a burial chamber through a large set of doors and found the four Blades taking up positions around a large entrance that had some kind of spell rocketing out of it.

"What the hell is that? Somebody leave the AC on?" K snorted.

"That reeks of necromancy," Greywyn wrinkled his nose. All of a sudden, it stopped. The Blades faded away. Nival walked cautiously through the threshold and picked up a set of golden armor.

"The armor of Tiber Septim...I never thought I'd lay eyes on this..." the Dunmer breathed.

"Yeah, yeah, so it's some fancy armor. Let's hit it back to Martin and deliver this shizz," K shrugged.

ooo

"I may be the Heir, but you have the soul of a hero...I can't believe you really got it, but then again, you said you would, didn't you?" Martin shook his head, amazed.

"We promised we'd deliver," K crossed his arms proudly. "And, of course you meant me when you said, 'soul of a hero.'

"Give it a rest, K. He meant we all do," Nival sighed.

"You're just jealous cause he meant me," the Dremora stuck out his tongue.

"It'll take me some time to decipher the next passage of the Mysterium...I suppose you four have about a one or two day break," Martin turned back to his books.

"Right. See you around," Nival nodded. The four of them walked outside.

"What to go to Sundercliff Watch and find out what they've got there?" Nival suggested.

"Fine by me," Eyja shrugged.

"I think I'm going to go home and...research something," Greywyn stated.

"I'm in," K remarked.

"We'll meet you back here in two days, Greywyn," Nival extended his hand. The vampire shook it.

"Deal," Greywyn grinned. In a flash, he had fast-traveled to Deepscorn Hollow. Nival clicked on Sundercliff Watch.

ooo

"Shh...I can hear one around the corner..." K whispered, holding his warhammer high over his head. Nival and Eyja nodded and slowed their steps down. A torch bobbed forward, illuminating the face of a middle-aged Dunmer.

"Slash and burn!" K roared, smashing his hammer into the Dark Elf and sending him sailing into the cave wall, where he landed with a fleshy crunch.

"You didn't slash or burn, K," Nival chuckled.

"I don't need your commentary, buddy," the Dremora grumbled. The three of them continued down the dimly lit tunnel and reached a desk next to a locked door.

"Look! Money!" K shouted gleefully, tossing coins and jewels at Nival, who somehow managed to catch them all and put them in his pocket. After raiding the table, they turned toward the door. Nival activated it, but the door wouldn't budge.

"My turn." K grinned. He backed up and rammed the door.

"Ow! That door's…tougher than I expected," the Dremora muttered. Nival knocked on the door.

"Cryptic riddle!" was shouted through a crack in the door.

"What?" Eyja tilted her head. Nival looked around and spotted a book lying on a stool.

"'Steward's Diary'? Let's see here…hm, this guy can't spell to save his life…Ah, the password is 'Chimer'. Well, that's convenient," the Dunmer said, putting the book back.

"Cryptic riddle?" the door said again.

"Chimer," Nival replied. The door swung open and K tackled the rather surprised Dark Elf on the other side. He promptly pummeled the poor elf's face in literally.

"Do you ever think before you dive onto vaguely inimical figures?" Nival chuckled.

"Assuming thought processes can actually occur when there are things to be beaten into submission in the area," Eyja remarked.

"What the Nord said. Onward!" K signaled with his hand held straight out.

"Yeah, Heil Mankar to you, too." Nival sighed. Arrows whizzed past the trio.

"Take cover! We're under fire! Alright, form up left and we'll knock these Aedra back to…" K's enthusiasm trailed off at the weirded-out expressions of his teammates.

"Sorry. I was remembering an old battle. Um." K blushed, an action which is remarkably hard for Dremoras, given their naturally red complexion. K's blush made him look like he was being strangled. An arrow punched into his shoulder.

"Okay, that's it! It's Smash Your Ribs Through Your Back Time!" K screamed, charging through a column and slamming his warhammer into one Dark Elf archer's chest, sending the foe rocketing backward, trailing blood and bone fragments.

"You take left and I'll go for the one on the right," Eyja said. Nival nodded and leaned out from the column he was crouching behind and hurled a pair of fireballs. The Dunmer archer shrugged the fire off and shot Nival in the chest with an arrow.

"Nival!" Eyja screamed, leaving her war axe stuck in her foe's neck and running to Nival. The archer set up another shot, ready to hit Eyja, but then a half ton of daedric plate and enraged Dremora hit him at twenty miles an hour, followed by a whirling chain mace. The Dunmer choked and died. K wiped the flecks of blood off of his face.

"Dunmer…more like Dummer. Heh," the Dremora giggled. He ran over to Nival's side.

"You're not supposed to get hit by these, man." K smiled weakly. Eyja held Nival's hand tightly.

"Well, I know some basic first aid," K said. He grabbed the arrow and yanked it out.

"Okay, that's the extent of my first aid knowledge. Can't you heal yourself?" the daedra frowned.

"Poison of Silence," Nival said weakly. Eyja shut her eyes and clenched her fists. It was now or never. A burst of white light surged from her fingers and blasted into Nival. The wound on his chest closed instantly.

"That was a nice Convalescence," Nival grinned. Eyja smiled slightly before squeezing him in a powerful hug.

"Dodge the arrow next time," she murmured.

"Huh? Hello?" a Dark Elf said, walking into the room with a torch held high. The three intrepid adventurers sank into Sneak.

"Better cut down on the ale," the sentry remarked, turning his back.

"Time to die," Nival whispered, streaking through the air with his hands electrified.

"Hyugagurgurk!" said the Dunmer sentry. He twitched violently before falling over.

"Not bad, Nival," Eyja said, giving him a thumbs-up. The three of them headed through a doorway and entered a huge, cylindrical chamber illuminated by a bonfire at the bottom.

"This 'ere bar-bee-kyoo rat shore is gurate, eh, Jimmy-joe-oth?" one thickly hillbilly Dark Elf chuckled.

"Shore is, Bobby-john-inal!" the other answered, taking a huge bite out of a roasted Rat leg.

"This place smells awful…" Eyja winced, frowning heavily.

"Rat meat almost always stinks. I can't believe these idiots thought barbecue would make it better," Nival groaned.

"Bar-bee-kyoo makes ur-thang better! Hey! Yore not on ar sad!" one of the Dark Elves said through a mouthful of barbecued Rat.

"Oops! You got us!" K slapped a hand on either side of his face. He proceeded to pull his chain mace from his back and dive off of the side of the platform, whirling the mace around and screaming "die" at the top of his lungs. Nival and Eyja hurried down the several flights of stairs to help K out. When they got to the bottom, they froze. K was running around the campfire in circles, chasing one of the Dunmer around. The other was on K's back, beating him with a roasted Rat head.

"Now, that really is ridiculous," Nival shook his head, biting his lip.

"Gotcha, bitch!" K roared, slamming his chain mace into the redneck-mer ahead of him. The Dunmer cried out in pain, a cry that was stifled when K jumped onto his spine. The Dremora then grabbed the Elf on his back and hurled him into a wall. Rocks crumbled from the weak foundations and crushed the mer.

"Good show, K," Eyja clapped.

"Thank you, thank you," the daedra bowed. The three of them walked through the threshold into a low-ceilinged cave that opened into a massive cavern full of houses.

"This village is so big we're lagging!" Nival stuttered, moving forward jerkily.

"It's so big we should download a software update!" Eyja gasped.

"But then we'll lose the copy glitch…" K frowned.

"It's so big I think we should restart the console for the update, K," Nival sighed.

"But we just got here…" the Dremora crossed his arms and pouted.

"Relax, K. We might even level while we wait," Eyja shrugged.

"Well…okay. But as soon as the update is finished, we need to get right back in the action. 'Back in the saddle,' as an ancient daedric poet once said," the Dremora sighed.

"Alright…update requires the console to update…okay!"