AN/ forgot to mention that i don't anything but Aleria Liar and the other dragons and the original dialouge i create. Also a huge thanks to my Beta Crisium!
He woke rather late the next morning.
Liann had pointed out Aleria's room to him last night. He went by and found it empty, frowning and wondering where she was. He had so many questions- many of them still unanswered- from last night, and he wanted the answers he sought. She had mentioned that her ancestor had failed both Akatosh and Tiber Septim, and thus her family line was cursed. But cursed how and why? How had her ancestor failed Tiber? He had yet to fully accept he was the son of the emperor. He searched the large manor. Her brother was sitting in the kitchen when he came searching for Aleria. He nodded to the man and asked, "Have you by chance seen Aleria?"
"She's taken Jaucen's death very hard. She always goes to the lake after one of our numbers die."
"Could you show me where this lake is?"
He smiled. Hopefully she'd give him the answers he sought this morning. He followed Liann to the lake asking, "So why is this village so hidden?"
"People are afraid of us. There are many false rumors and wild tales about us- we have to be careful. We've been attacked for no reason other than the rumors and the unfounded fears people have of us."
"Why are they afraid?"
"Part of it is our devotion to Akatosh- we are called fanatics and mindless cultists. They say we slander the teachings and bring shame to Akatosh."
"I find that hard to believe…if anything you strive to live your lives by the teachings of Akatosh and the other Divines. We could all learn from your dedication."
"Thank you, Martin. There is more to the fear than just that and Aleria can explain everything to you. It's not my place, I'm afraid."
"My father has asked I extend to you kinship. This is custom when one of our own dies to protect someone outside. We offer them kinship into our family. Jaucen's family has expressed they would be honored to have you take his medallion. He would have reclaimed it upon his return to Lair."
Liann nodded, motioning to the medallion around his neck. "We all wear one. It shows which family of Lair we belong to. When they leave they must leave behind their medallion, which grants them access to the village. They must learn to live in the world outside the Lair. When they return, their medallion is returned to them at the end of their journey. Jaucen died to protect you, and we believe that if someone dies to protect another it will carry a blessing of protection to have them carry that child's medallion."
"I would be honored to take it. I will wear it as a reminder of his sacrifice and to honor him."
It appeared to be the correct thing to say. The medallion was slid over his head he studied it- an hourglass lie in the center with the sand colored red. He noticed the color of the sand on Liann's was green. Liann led him deeper and pointed to where two trees formed an arch. "The lake's on the other side of the trees. Aleria should be around it somewhere. It is fairly large, so you might have to walk around it."
"Thank you, Liann."
With that he turned and headed back for the house. He went on towards the trees that led to the lake, peeking through and trying to see where Aleria was. He watched as suddenly a figure surfaced in the middle of the lake swimming to this side, and as the figure got closer he saw it was Aleria. The silver band was still present on her arm, flashing in the morning sunlight. He watched as she stopped swimming, using only her legs to propel herself to the edge before wading out. He turned, hiding himself behind a tree- his face three shades away from a tomato. Aleria…she…oh gods forgive him he couldn't shake the image of her walking out of the water wearing nothing but the morning sun. He gripped the tree him, trying to control himself and get the image of how…enticing she was still soaked from her morning swim out of his thoughts. He could hear her humming on the other side of the trees; a faintly familiar tune. He couldn't stay here- she'd catch him. He would go back to the house and try to forget what he had seen just now. He let go of the tree, beginning to sneak away when a twig snapped under his feet. Stifling a groan at his ill luck he heard her ask, "Hello? Alron? Liann?"
He decided to be silent, hoping she would just ignore him, but he heard her ask, "Martin, is that you?"
"…You can come out."
He chanced it, entering the large clearing. She was dressed in a black robe with gold embroidery, belted firmly, but unfortunately he knew what lay under that robe she wore. She rested her hand on a tree that she stood by and sighed. "I suppose if you've got many questions… last night I was not in the right mindset to deal with them."
"I can understand. You were very close to him, and he died. I shouldn't have bothered you with questions."
"Why don't we sit down? I'll answer your questions now."
He joined her on the soft grass by the lake. He had to admit it was very beautiful with the light reflecting off its smooth surface. She had a smile on her lips when she said, "Kynereth has blessed us with the beauty of a good morning. I love coming here at day break. It's so peaceful. I feel close to them here."
"The Divines? I'm having trouble understanding them now…if everything that happened was a part of some divine plan…I don't want any part of it."
She turned at that, a compassionate look on her face. She actually laid her hand over his. "There is a plan Martin, we are all part of it. We must have faith the Father will reveal his plans in time. Our faith in the gods is what will save us."
He rose angrily- how could she be so trusting and so faithful?! He saw the hell Oblivion brought forth. He had to endure the screams of the dying and watch as people he knew and cared for were slaughtered by Daedra and those red robed figures. How could the Divines let that Oblivion gate open and let those people die? He felt a pair of arms around his shoulders halting his pacing. He hadn't expected this from her; he hadn't expected to feel comforted either. She said, "Martin, what happened at Kvatch is very tragic indeed. But you shouldn't let your anger rule you, as you are letting it do now. This is what our enemies want for you to become- hateful and fearful and if you let them then their victory is half won."
"I just…don't understand them."
"Trust that they have a plan and that in the end everything will turn for the best. And if you cannot trust in that…trust me."
"You closed the Oblivion gate. You gave everyone…gave me hope again. I know I can trust in you."
"Then I shall do my best to make sure your trust in me is well placed. But let us forget of plans and war for a moment. We will have enough time for the darker subject of war later. I'm sure you have questions about us and Liar and our ancestors' shared history."
"Then come and sit down. I'll answer them."
She drew back. He half wished she wouldn't- he couldn't remember the last time he been the one receiving comfort instead of giving it. She led him back to the lake side, and he sat down looking out over the water. Something she had said last night in the funeral rites for the warrior that had saved his life… It came back to him now. "Last night you said something that caught my attention. Dragon's blood."
"Him…to explain that I must tell you a tale of my ancestor. This has been passed down in my family from parent to child for ages- it is the oral history of my family line."
She adjusted herself and said, "Once upon a time, a woman grieving prayed to Akatosh. Her husband had died in a battle and she wanted a child. She asked him for a child- one of her own blood to raise to teach it the evils of war and hope they would bring peace to the lands so no one else would have to die. That night she dreamed a dragon came to her granting her prayers…nine months later my ancestor Senna was born. The priests gave her the surname of Dragoon in honor of Akatosh. She was raised by the woman until she was fifteen- then the Chapel took her in began to teach her of the Divines. She soon began to take swordplay lessons from soldiers, however. They wanted her to be a priestess but she told them her father had other plans for her that through her he would bring peace to the lands of Tamriel. No more war and bloodshed for any of the people. They began to call her Dragonblood. She actually spoke with Akatosh- whom she said was her father. When a small army attacked the village she picked up a sword and fought alongside the defenders.
She continued, "She happened to catch the eye of someone. Tiber Septim had been resting in the village. Her skill and bravery in the face of danger was something he hadn't seen before, and he asked if she would be willing to fight at his side. Smiling she said she had been waiting for him her father had told her she would be able to bring peace to the lands at his side."
"Do you know if she truly spoke with Akatosh?"
She shrugged instead of answering, continuing her tale. "They left together. He had armor made in the style of the Akaviri dragons. The metal used was unlike anything else and when heated in the forges turned golden. It was made to look like a dragon to honor Akatosh and to bring fear to her enemies on the battlefield. It is said she could change into a great dragon the same color as her armor. Her fierceness and courage on the battle field were matched only by Tiber Septim. She earned the name of the Golden Dragon, and Tiber adopted her personal crest- what is now known as the Imperial Dragon- as his own, for he had fallen in love with the warrior maiden. In a battle their foes said they seemed as two dragons, golden and red, devouring the men that opposed them in battle."
She paused before continuing. "Tiber was soon called the Red Dragon; it was then Senna in a dream was granted a dagger. It was not meant for fighting- the blade was too long, the hilt too ornate- it was meant to be ceremonial. Akatosh wanted the two dragons to forever be tied together by blood. It was then Senna made a pact with Tiber and Akatosh, swearing one day she would come to him in his most dire hour of need. They cut their hands, sealing the pact with their blood. Then Senna left- against the will of Akatosh she left Tiber on the eve of battle to go north. Angered by her disobedience he cursed her with weakness, taking her strength. Her jet black hair turned pure white. The Akaviri dragon king had heard of the woman who was claimed to be a dragon. He had sent his men to find her and bring her to him. They found her while she was cursed by Akatosh and took her to the lands of Akavir."
"They kidnapped her?"
"Yes. When the news reached Tiber he set out at once. The tides had turned against him; he knew he could not accomplish his goals of creating an empire without her to aid him. He went to Akavir himself seeking her. It took him months to find her. When at last he did, she had been made the wife of the dragon king and had given birth to two children. He slew the king, freeing her from the enchantments that had enslaved her, and took her and with her two children back to Tamriel- to Cyrodiil. Tiber built a home for her and her children and promised he would make sure she was provided for then left to return to the battlefield…and eventually built his empire. He did care for Senna. He loved her in his own way. He offered her his hand but she said she couldn't accept- her time in the lands of Akavir had changed her. Tiber did not press her but he did provide for her every need and want, and those of her children."
"But what of her pact with Tiber?"
She gave a smile but it was not one of joy or amusement- it was full of bitterness. "She was not able to fulfill it- still cursed by Akatosh she could no longer fight. When Tiber needed her most she was not able to come to his aid as she had promised with her blood before Akatosh. She died shortly after that. Tiber had a shrine built in the nearby caves for her- it is said he carved it himself and placed her to rest in the tomb. It was also a shrine to Akatosh in hopes it would ease the anger he had for Senna's disobedience."
"And what of her children? Where they cursed as well?"
"The son was not, but the daughter was. She inherited the mantle of the golden Dragon but Tiber died before she could fulfill her mother's promise to him. On the day she made the pact she was also doomed to grow weak, her hair turning from black to white. She did not marry- she refused to pass on the curse to spare any child her fate. Her brother did marry, and his wife had five children- all boys. They formed the five main bloodlines of this village, I come from the oldest- it's called the ebony dragon for their hair is always black. There have been only two other daughters before myself born into this line…"
"So…is the curse still upon you?"
She nodded. "Yes, until this pact is fulfilled it shall lie upon my family. If I have a daughter she will suffer the same fate as I do."
"How can it be broken?"
"By aiding Tiber in his hour of need…it will have to be fulfilled by proxy to one of his blood. And you are the last Septim if I fail…"
"There won't be any way to break the curse. But it's not your fault- why should you be cursed for the failings of your ancestor?"
"It is a reminder that obedience to the will of the Father is demanded at all times- of myself most of all. Akatosh wanted the empire to be strong; to last and endure. He wanted his bloodlines joined in a single child but Senna choose to disobey and thus we now suffer until the pact fulfilled and the Heir of Tiber aided in his hour of need by the Heir of Senna."
She looked at him, amused. "What for?"
"I don't know exactly."
"It is my duty, Martin. I have known this for a long time- since the day I learned of my fate and the curse I have known I would be called upon by the father to aid the Septim line. I dare say you have dire need now of a good strong warrior to serve as your champion."
"I suppose I do. But still, I won't ask this of you."
"You don't have to. Father knows I'd only fight for the Septim line if it was in dire straits."
"And so he has caused the death of the emperor and his heirs- save a bastard heir. The empire being thrown into chaos just so the descendant of the warrior he cursed to begin with can end the curse?"
She actually laughed. "It sounds so bad when you say it like that. The Father merely creates the circumstances it is up to us to choose what we do, Martin. Plans were made the day Senna disobeyed. Akatosh has prepared for the day the empire will be made strong by his children as he wanted many centuries ago."
"I find that hard to believe."
She sighed, shaking her head. "The whole problem with Nirn is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts."*
She rose at that. "I don't know about you, but I am ready to eat and get dressed. I have things I must do before we leave- hopefully Alron's returned. I have some tasks for him to see to while I'm away again."
"Do you leave here often?"
"Yes. I do most of the trade and tend to my father's duties. He's not able to perform most of them due to his age and is mostly leader of the village in title. I am kept fairly busy with travel and the duties the leader must see to- such as performing the funeral rites over the dead to dealing with problems that arise in the village between the families here."
"So Lair is not as perfect as it seems?"
"Anyone can tell you every family has their troubles. We are no different. We strive to be true to the teachings, but we are only mortal and thus we have our faults."
"So does the Golden Dragon have any faults?"
She glanced at him. "I bite my nails."
"Is that all?"
She looked amused again and said, "We confess our little faults to persuade people that we have no large ones."*
He stopped trying to decipher her words. Is she saying she's got worse habits than just biting her nails? He didn't understand her at times. It was like she was cryptic on purpose to confuse him. He sighed shaking his head- gods help him he needed a manual to deal with her, she acted so strangely. Even for a woman.
She entered the manor before Martin, making her way up the stairs. She dressed in a simple gown of white linens with gold patterns upon it, loosely braiding the hair down her back and glancing out the window.
Life pretty much carried on as it always did here in Lair- not even the death of one of their own would stop life here. As it should be. The dead should be mourned, yes, but not overly. She sighed, leaning against the window frame. At the sound of the door opening she smiled slightly at her father- she was glad to see him up. His recent illness had had her worried for him. He joined her at her window, asking, "So how long do you believe you will be gone?"
"It is hard to say, he needs a great deal of training. But I worry for him."
"How so?" he queried.
She sighed, watching Martin being dragged into a game with the youngest children. She smiled slightly. "He's so gentle…his heart is too kind and too visible. Will he be able to learn to harden himself and hide his emotions? His success at getting the other Providences to rally behind him will rely on those two things. Also I worry he will change too much and that is something I do not want to see."
"Like him, do you?"
She shrugged slightly and sighed. "I…can't explain exactly this feeling I have. Desire to protect him yes, but there are others…and I am confused as to what they mean."
"The golden dragon and the red dragon made a blood pact. You know as well as I do- there is great magic in blood. Perhaps it is stronger in you and seeks to draw you close to the descendant of Tiber."
She stood watching Martin and sighed. "Perhaps…"
"Make sure the small monastery is revived for our young journeying dragons."
She nodded slightly before turning to leave, and she missed the way Martin glanced up at her window, searching for her.