I do not own the Elder Scrolls series.
Summary: Alduin the World Eater has returned to finish what began centuries ago. Only now there are no Dragonborn to stand in his way. Except one, the one they made a god; Talos himself. The god of men has returned to Skyrim to reclaim his glory, and stop Alduin.
It is known that the gods do not interfere with the lives of mortals. Though there have been times thoughout our world's long history that the direct intervention of the gods has been needed, not in two hundred years, not since the Great Oblivion Crisis, have the gods met to cast a fate unto the mortals. Yet now it seems that their hand must be dealt once again. And though the gods may not privy themselves to say it, they fear for the lives of the mortals. For, this time, the danger on their doorstep was of the god's own creation.
First-born of Akatosh,
The End Bringer, the World Eater.
He can only be slain by a Dragonborn. Ancient heroes of men who could wield the Voice of the dragons and could steal their power.
Though these heroes died with the dragons centuries ago; none remain.
Save for one.
THE DIVINE CHAMPION
The Pantheon of the Nine Divines
I played soldier,
You played king
And struck me down when I kissed that ring
You lost that right, to hold that crown
I built you up but you let me down
So when you fall, I'll take my turn
And fan the flames as your blazes burn.
Just outside the doors of the pantheon an old Nord sighed as he adjusted his armor. A piece of spectacular craftsmanship, the Imperial Dragon armor was iconic to the Septim line, the line of Emperors and leaders, and a living link to the gods themselves.
Or at least they had been.
The Septims were dead, their line destroyed and the Empire on its knees, its provinces rebelling, its people suffering. And yet here was the man who had started it all, the one who had built it from the pieces that had fallen, trapped as a spectator.
"You stall, Talos," said a voice from behind him. The old warrior turned, seeing a beautiful Nord woman behind him. Her long brown hair was braided down her back, revealing the soft golden glow of her skin.
"Kyne," he responded simply. He stepped aside to let the Divine pass.
Their eyes connected. "It still bothers you." Talos said nothing. "It does. I see it in you. Your worship banished from your own Empire, your worshippers persecuted and your name struck from every shrine. Yet here you are, still helping us, still coming when called."
"I do my duty."
She smiled. "And that is why you were chosen, Tiber."
She gave him one last look over her shoulder before stopping at the door. "Do you not wish to know why the Dragon has called us together?"
He only grunted as he adjusted his golden cloak, consciously hiding the long thin scar along his neck. He stepped beside her, his nose catching the familiar scent of pine trees and petrichor, as he pushed the great door open for the Divine. She took his offer and went ahead of him.
It had been a long time since Talos had seen the pantheon hall. Part of him chuckled at it resembled to the Elder Council Chambers in the Imperial Palace. White pillars surrounded a room made of white marble flecked with gold. In the center a white stone table was surrounded by stone chairs. Divines were already there, gossiping amongst each other with hushed voices. There were even some of a smaller, lesser known gods buzzing about, eager to catch a word or two. He was surprised to see even a few souls of the dead milling about; those who were deemed worthy enough to hear the will of the Nine. It was a room of mixed races; of man, mer, and beast. Talos made a silent headcount. Eight Divines. Instantly, he knew the main topic of the gossip.
Where is Akatosh?
The door closed heavily behind him and all conversation stopped. A dark furred Khajiit stepped forward. "Kynareth, Talos," he greeted.
Kynareth nodded as she walked past the Khajiit. His eyes followed her as she passed. Talos marched forward, his arm extended in greeting. "Zenithar," he greeted as the Divine took his hand.
"Shall we begin?"
"Yes," Talos agreed, but then he paused. "But where is Akatosh? Is he not the one that called us here?"
"We do not know," Zenithar admitted. "But, still, we were called."
Talos made his way across the silent hall to his throne, marked by his sigil of the crossed sword. He was about to sit when he noticed something in front of him. He recognized it instantly, but it was its reason for being there that concerned him. "An Elder Scroll," he said simply. The Elder Scrolls did not exist on this plane, he knew that much. He also knew they were strange things that seemed to have minds of their own. It wasn't as much a question of how it was there, Talos was more concerned with why. He looked up to see the others already in their chairs, watching him intently. "How?" he asked, staring at the artifact. He felt the power of the Scroll, a pulsating energy that filled his entire being. He had seen and Elder Scroll once before, but it was nothing compared to what he was feeling now.
The impulse to pick up the Scroll was strong. Giving in, Talos reached forth and took the Scroll in his hands. It was lighter than he'd thought it would be. The others watched him closely. With a deep breath he opened the Scroll.
Only to find it blank.
There were no words, no markings, no images, just a plain blank page. He scowled as he closed the Scroll, handing it over to the Breton beside him. As Talos leaned on the table the Breton opened the Scroll, shaking his head when he saw the inside. "There is nothing," Julianos decreed, closing the Scroll.
The Divines mumbled amongst themselves. Talos sank into his throne, the whispers itching at his ears. It was Julianos beside him that stood, quieting the others. "Is it not obvious?" he said, speaking loudly so that all could hear. "The appearance of this Elder Scroll and the fact of Akatosh's disappearance are linked."
Talos glanced at the Breton over his folded hands. "You think that Akatosh left it for us to find?"
The Divine of Wisdom nodded. "Yes."
Across the table Zenithar shook his head. "Why would Akatosh leave us a blank Elder Scroll?"
Beside him Stendaar nodded in agreement. "I have never even heard of one of the Scrolls being blank. Is such a thing even known to happen?"
"I have never heard of such a thing, no," Julianos conceded.
"Then why are we here?" Arkay said, beside Mara.
The pantheon grew silent as the gods fumed. Their thoughts were easily read on their faces. Had they been called for nothing? It was Talos that stood. "We are here," he declared, "because we were called here." He paused. "Akatosh would not have us gather for no reason. I-"
Talos was interrupted by the heavy sound of the doors closing. He turned around, seeing a stranger making his way toward the Divines. He was dressed in black, his equally dark hair slicked back, and his pointed features lit in mockery. The minor gods rushed from the room, most disappearing from the spot. The stranger paused for a moment, taking in the room before making it to the table, his bright red eyes making contact with each of them. Only Talos and the stranger stood, and as the stranger passed the God of War he paused, a smirk lighting his face.
The stranger stopped at the only empty throne, his fingers brushing the head rest before pale hands gripped the sides. "Sorry I'm late," the stranger said white smile. "It seems there was some difficulty in arranging the meeting times, I-"
He stopped, seeing Talos' hand on gripped tightly on his sword. "Who are you, stranger? What gives you the right to be here?" Talos bellowed.
The stranger put up his hands. "My, my, you are quick to bark orders, aren't you?"
"I will not ask again," Talos threatened before feeling a hand on his arm.
He turned to see Julianos shaking his head. The Divine looked genuinely scared. "That is no stranger, brother," he said.
The stranger brushed off his hands. "You know, it is strange to have this form. It feels so weak, so simple, so vulnerable. It's absolutely disgusting. Honestly, I don't know why you choose to meet like this."
'This form'? Talos stared at the newcomer. Something did feel familiar, but it was faint. "Who are you?" He turned to his fellow Divines. "Who is he?!"
The stranger raised a brow, looking at the others. "He really doesn't know, does he?" When no answer came, he sighed. "Well, let me answer for you." Talos watched in confusion as the stranger walked in front of the throne.
And Talos watched in rage as the stranger sat in Akatosh's throne.
Talos drew his sword with a roar, the polished blade singing from its sheath. The gods watched in awe as he marched toward the throne. "What is the meaning of this?! Remove yourself! That is not your place!"
"Oh, but it is," the stranger said with a sneer. "How else would I be able to seat myself here? The thrones are enchanted, are they not? So that only the owner of the throne may sit there?"
Talos paused. That much, he knew, was truth. He looked back at his silent brethren behind him. Talos looked at the stranger. "You called us here."
The man opened his mouth as if to speak, but paused. "Actually," he said, "I didn't; I was called here just as you were."
The stranger shook his head. "It seems your fellows are not very talkative at the moment. Very well." He grinned. "I am Alduin, first-born of Akatosh."
The old warrior searched his mind. He felt his sword lower as he remembered the old legend; Alduin, the Black Dragon, the World Eater, the Destroyer, the Harbinger of the End. He remembered the legends of the great Dragonborn warriors who defeated him, the ones who had stopped the end of the world.
He shook his head and raised his sword once more. "How are you here?"
Alduin shrugged. "I am here for the same reason you are, I was told to be. Nothing more, nothing less." He stood, making his way to the others. "Though may I say, I am happy to be back-" he stopped short, his eyes focused on the table in a scowl.
"An Elder Scroll," he growled. Talos followed him with his sword. "You dare keep one of those in my presence?!"
The Destroyer started toward the Scroll, only to have Talos block him. Talos felt Alduin's red eyes glaring at him, and Talos returned the glare. "Step aside, man-god," Alduin hissed.
Talos straightened. "I am Talos Stormcrown, also known as Tiber Septim, the Ninth Divine and Dragon of the North."
Alduin turned. "'Dragon of the North', so you say? You claim yourself Dragonborn; then let us taste of your Voice, then, Dovahkiin!" Talos felt the world beneath him rumble at the sound of the language of the dragons.
Talos frowned, which only made Alduin's smile widen. "What is this? Has the Voice failed you, Dovahkiin?" Alduin turned away, ignoring Talos. He began to pace in front of the throne of Akatosh.
"You are not welcome here, Wyrm," Talos warned. "Begone."
Alduin stopped. "You know what, man-god? You're absolutely right. There is much work to do, and little time to be had." He paused. "Skyrim will fall first, rightfully so."
Talos glared at Alduin. He now knew what was happening. Inviting Alduin here was a warning. The time had come, but hadn't the End been prevented before? He stared at his sword, his own reflection staring back at him in the steel. He was an old man, he had lived his time. His blue eyes had faded, his golden hair turned white.
No. He was still a warrior. He was still a Nord.
He nodded slowly, and turned as if to return to his throne, only to spin on his heels, throwing his sword toward the unsuspecting Alduin. Time seemed to slow as Alduin let out a roar of rage, forcing Talos to take a step back to regain his balance, as the sword passed through him and buried itself in the throne behind him. Alduin disappeared as the sword passed him, the sound of the weapon hitting the throne echoing in the chamber.
The Eight gasped at the sight. Talos ignored them as he retrieved his sword. He laid his weapon on the table. "Will we, the Divines, stand silent witnesses to this monster?!"
"Brother," Julianos said, "there is nothing to speak of. He is the harbinger of the end times. If he has returned then the time has come."
Talos shook his head. "Then why did Akatosh call us together?"
"That was Akatosh; you know that they are one in the same, correct? Alduin is an aspect of Akatosh, the other side of the coin. Creation and Destruction. To have both in the same room together would… he is here to do his duty. The end is nigh."
Arkay broke his silence. "They are doomed to death, as all mortals are, and Alduin's appearance-"
"But that's not what happened!" Stendarr argued. "Alduin abandoned his duty the last time he was called. He tried to rule, not consume. He became shortsighted and greedy. He will raise his fellows and attempt to rule once more."
Mara stood. "The mortals deserve a chance. Have you not heard their prayers?"
"They are sent to their ancestors, either by the hand of other mortals or by the maw of Alduin. Have you seen them fight amongst themselves? They know nothing of peace. Some of them even think themselves mighty enough to manipulate the pantheon! Talos, they abandoned you!"
"Not all of them," Talos grumbled. "There are those that fight in my name, in the name of the Nine, against would-be imposters."
"And what sort of fate is that?" piped in Dibella; her voice was a squeak. "Killed and sent to Sovngarde, only to be consumed by Alduin?"
"Only a Dragonborn would be able to destroy Alduin," Julianos pointed out.
"Their fates are sealed!" Zenithar said as he rose from his chair. "They destroyed the last of the Dragonborn!" He pointed at Talos. "Your own kin! They did this to themselves! The Septims were murdered by the hands of mortals! Their fates were sealed two hundred years ago, and they are lucky to have had this long at all! If we hadn't saved them from Mehrunes Dagon they'd all be servants to the Daedra, or dead!"
Arkay stood as well. "Zenithar speaks sense. The Dragonborn are dead. Both their line and their kind are gone."
Are they? thought Talos as the others continued debating over whether or not they could do anything. The other Dragonborn were killed long after Talos had ascended. They were in Sovngarde now, and even Talos wouldn't step foot there. Not now, not with Alduin lurking in the mists surrounding Shor's Hall.
But there was one Dragonborn left.
One who had never died.
One who had never been defeated.
One who was so renowned and powerful he became a living god.
If he were to return to Mundus, he could defeat Alduin and even show those Altmer the reason that he'd become a god.
Talos moved quickly to the Elder Scroll, the only clue left by Akatosh. Julianos stared at him. "What are you-"
"Akatosh left this here for a reason," he said quickly. "Did you not see how the Wyrm reacted when he saw it?" He paused, looking at the Scroll in his hands. "I believe Akatosh meant for us to defend Creation, not watch it fall."
Talos turned, standing beside Akatosh's ruined throne. "I am not one of the original Eight," he began. The Divines watched him, hanging on his words. "I was a man, a warrior, a Nord. I never asked for anything. I never asked to become a god. I never sought power. I did what needed to be done for the sake of my people, my home, for the sake of peace.
"In my heart, I am still just a man, just an old soldier. I am still the Dragonborn."
The others watched him with wild eyes as the god of men continued. "As you all know, the Empire has banned my worship. It was my creation, my blood and tears and life into that Empire, and they throw me away like I was nothing. The Altmer, the High Elves, these Thalmor believe that they can become gods, that they can control the gods. It is an insult made directly in our faces; an insult we have ignored for far too long!"
Talos' eyes grew fierce. "They banned my people from worshipping me. Now the Nords have rebelled against my Empire, doing so in my name. I will prove to you that I still deserve to serve among you as a Divine…
"By returning to the mortal world." Talos held the Scroll in front of him. "And save my people from the hands of false gods."
Talos opened the Elder Scroll, but it was no longer blank. Strange symbols spun upon the page, and then a bright white light consumed his vision.
Then all he saw was darkness.
He felt a cold stone beneath him. Talos tried to rise, but his body fought against him. His head was pounding, his ears ringing, his stomach lurching, and his very breath felt stolen away. But this was both new and familiar to him. Pain, he thought. He hadn't experienced pain in so long; so very long. He lay there on his back in the darkness that surrounded him. He was unsure of where he was, knowing only that it was dark and cold.
He was also aware that he was naked. He sat cross-legged partially to organize his thoughts, but mostly to stop the world from spinning. Eventually it did, allowing him to stand, albeit shakily.
He turned left, arms outstretched until his hands found rock. He followed it until he found a door leading into a central chamber. Grasping the door frame he entered. There was a long ramp ahead of him, lit by barely rows of dying torches. On either side, the shapes of tombs could be seen. It was so familiar, yet so strange. He padded to the nearest tomb, brushing off the stone where the name had once been written. Sure enough, there, in the stone, the words could barely be read.
Here lies Reman III, last Emperor of the Cyrodiils, the scourge of the Dark Elves, who was cruelly slain by treachery, in the year 2920. He reigned forty-three years.
He stood, his hand slipping from the stone of Reman III's tomb. He now knew exactly where he was. He was at Sancre Tor. He had returned to where it all began. It was the siege that had made him a god in the eyes of his people. This was where he found the Amulet of Kings a milennia ago.
It had worked. He had returned to Tamriel.
Talos turned, making his way down the ramp, making his way to the last place he had set foot in Tamriel. And as he saw the altar where his Imperial Dragon Armor once lay, he fell to his knees on the hard stone. A beam of sunlight lit the bare altar, but he could see the remains of offerings that had been left here by loyal subjects, believers.
He saw a metal plate. Curious, he brushed it off, rubbing it until it reflected. Talos made his way toward the beam of light, using the plate to see his reflection.
And he nearly fell to his knees again.
Looking back at him was a young man, in his early twenties at least. The man's golden hair was cropped short and his midnight blue eyes were bright and unclouded. The clan paint over his left eye was strong, not faded with time. Still curious, he angled the plate so he could see his throat.
The scar was gone.
He was a young man again.
Talos reveled over his new body...or was it his old body? But soon he knew he needed to leave Sancre Tor. He would need to find civilization.
As he traveled through the temple, he discovered it had long turned to ruin. By the look of it, there had not been a visitor here for centuries. There were no obstacles to hinder his path. With a quiet prayer to Arkay for the souls of those buried here, Talos began to search the graves and tombs of the dead in search of any sort of armor or clothing, and a weapon if he should be so lucky. These graves were those of Bretons and Nords, dead from the battle of Sancre Tor. Yet there were a few here who were once Blades, and others who were once of royalty. Though they were now long forgotten.
He found the ruins of Sancre Tor had been looted long ago. He found nothing but rags, yet rags were better than nothing when it came to going bare into the world. If he was remembering right Sancre Tor was in the Frostback Mountains bordering Skyrim. He would need protection from the cold. He managed to find some ancient fur armor, and a rusted blade. Deciding that there was nothing more of use there, he left, his mind deciding on Falkreath to be his first destination.
As he left the ruins he was blinded by the light of the sun and pure white of the snow. For a moment he was at a loss for direction. Then he remembered, like an old memory from a lifetime ago.
The mountain pass was treacherous. It slowed his pace and forced him to rest. He found a small outcropping in lee of the wind and he stopped, thinking of starting a fire and camping for the night. That was when he heard it; the sound of fighting, swords clashing, and shouts. He started running in the direction of the fighting. He found the battle; a small skirmish, really. Talos recognized the Imperial banner, unchanged even in this new era. The blue banner must be the Stormcloaks and their rebellion.
"Die, rebel bastard!" he heard behind him. Talos turned, his hand on his blade. But he was too slow and the Imperial had the jump on him. Next thing Talos knew, the Legionaire's shield made contact with his head. His world went black.
A/N: It's been a long time coming, but here it is, the edited version of the first chapter.
I will be going through every chapter and editing it. The support I've gotten from readers has been amazing, and I want to give you something that's truly worth everything the readers have done for me.
For those new to TDC, there will be multiple OC's. This is an AU.
From this point onward there will be character switches, usually at least three per chapter. Though not regularly for about two chapters. Note that in between perspectives there may be large time differences. Things might be happening at the same time, an hour later, or a week later. I'll tell you either in text or in notifications. There will even be flashbacks.
Thank you for reading and thank you for your support!
Special thanks to users: ShadowBlade911, Solovah, J. APPLEGATE, and ShoutFinder. They're my betas/ have been betas for this fic, and they are all awesome.
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