The Dragon Queens

Chapter 16

Nirnian Empire, Champion system, planet: Arena

“And now ladies and Gentlemen, people of Mundus! Here it is! The fight you’ve All Been waiting for! The Finals for the seven foot Automata class. I give you our resident champion for the past nine years: GORAM”S FIST!”

The voice echoed around the stone amphitheatre and the crowd bellowed in appreciation, many waving pennants of gold decorated with a black fist. On one side of the sand arena a gate slid open to let in the seven foot tall golden Nirnian automata shaped like an ancient Dwemer centurion except no steam spewed from its joints. It face was a solid mask like the centurions with two eyes that glowed with green light, it had two functioning hands that each wielded a greatsword as if they were dagger.

A tall amber horse hair crest decorated its head and a short amber cape fluttered from its golden shoulder plates as it stalked to the center of the arena and bellowed its challenge to the delight of the waiting crowd “GORAM! GORAM! GORAM!” they chanted. Stamping their feet and cheering.

“And our challenger, a rising star in the automata circuit, I give you RANNOCH’S LEGION!” a smaller percentage cheered waving their silver pennants marked with the single stripe of red as their champion stepped from his gate. Though matching its opponent in height, it was slimmer, the platform in the typical Geth style save for the red stripe that decorated it’s arm, It was made of gleaming silver metal and the plates on its head twitched and fluttered around a single glowing white eye.

A shield and curved Quarian saber rested in its hands and no cloth decorated its slender frame. “LEGION! LEGION! LEGION!” its supporters cried, some going wild as the Geth raised their saber in acknowledgement. “Now fighters, you both know the rules. No damaging of a platform beyond repair and no program deletion or destruction.”

Both Automata turned towards the commentator, a slim automata with six limbs and four eyes made of green metal and saluted, their left hands over where the heart would be, before turning to their opponent. Both bowed low and straightened, waiting for the order “Begin!”

The crowd roared as the two combatants ran at each other, the Geth ducking swiftly under the automata’s swings and driving their sword toward the golden chest. In response Goram twisted with unnatural speed and backhanded Legion away, sending the Geth flying across the arena and plowing a furrow in the deep sand before Goram ran forward and plunged one of its swords deep into the Geth’s chest.

The crowd gasped “Oh looks like Legions down, and after only thirty seconds” the commentator said disappointedly. Goram pulled its sword free in a shower of sparks and metal, leaving a massive hole in the Geth’s chest cavity.

Just as it lifted its blade to finish the Geth off, Legion rolled to the side, servos whining and sparks trailing the platform as the Geth threw themselves out of the way. “Gods look at that Geth! A hole in their chest and still kicking!” appearing almost completely unfazed Legion picked themselves up and began to circle the Dwemer construct with more caution, dancing agilely around their opponent’s strikes and darting in to hammer at weak points.

Gouts of steam hot enough to melt metal spewed from Goram’s mouth, causing the Geth platform to jump, dodge and roll to keep clear of the deadly clouds. The crowd oohed and awed and yelled, urging on their chosen champions. “watch out!” the commentator cried as Legion blocked a swing from Goram’s right sword whilst deflecting the other with his blade, leaning back to deliver a devastating kick to the chest, forcing Goram back.

“Goram’s on his heels!” screams echoed off the stone walls as supporters cried out in shock or triumph, Legion’s programs quickly analysed the situation and came to a consensus, driving their platform forward with their shield and sword knocking one blade to the ground and deflecting the other up and away.
The shield was then brought in and Legion shoulder checked their opponent, crushing the golden platform’s right shoulder joint into an immobile position but paying for it with the same damage to their own, freezing the shield in place.

A fraction of a second later their blade returned from its deflection driving forward with enough speed to pierce a shuttle hull between the gold platforms neck joints. Servos were sheered by the sharp metal and cables carrying the lubricant and coolant necessary to keep the platform moving were severed. They sprayed as the pumps did their job, and emptied, essentially causing Gorham to bleed out.

The head fell from the body still intact and the machine spirit directing the platform and powered in the head spoke “I Yield” it said, dimming its glowing eye slits in defeat.

The crowd went wild, the Geth’s fans screaming in jubilation, and the losers groaning in defeat. “Ladies and gentlemen! People of the empire I present out new Champion RANNOCH’S LEGION!” the commentator cried.
The Geth raised their sword in acknowledgement as it was cheered “LEGION! LEGION! LEGION! LEGION!”


Citadel, C-sec

“I don’t care if you’re off duty! We need leads and we need them now!” the captain cried glaring at his subordinates.

“But sir” one Turian said fearfully “there are no leads, everything just vanishes into thin air! No fingerprints, no signs of forced entry, no signs of exit, nothing on the security feeds, Spirits There isn’t even a sign of how they remove the furniture! Just a red flower left behind it’s like magic!” he continued before cowering beneath the captain’s wrathful gaze.

“Magic?” he snarled leaning forward and grabbing the unfortunate male by his cowl “You’ve been listening to those Nirnian’s too much haven’t you!” he accused “they just call it magic to mess with us!” he snarled
throwing his captive across the room.

Glaring at the others who were watching with trepidation and a little fear. “Get back to work!” he snarled at them and they all scrambled back to their stations.

Overhead a lithe shadow giggled into their helmet before slithering away through the ducts, the captains Omni tool safe in her bag.

>hr>

Nirnian space, Cavos system, unnamed asteroid

“Hurry you have to move” the dark haired female Breton urged her companion. All she recived in answer from the Dunmer female was a pain filled moan. “Hurry they’ll know you’re gone any moment, if they find us they will put you back in that lab.”

Her panicked whisper seemed to make it through to the other woman’s head and she straightened slightly, the meager light showing her dark blue skin was covered in bruises and her head was shaved. It also highlighted every one of her ribs that stuck out from her emaciated frame that was barely given any modesty by the strip of white cloth adhered to her breasts and around her hips.

They ran, well shuffled really through the cramped corridors, ducking into alcoves and doors to hide from the other occupants. Just as they reached the shuttle the alarm blared. They ran the last few steps into the small Netch shuttle and blasted away, jumping planes almost before it was safe, the reaction of their jump causing small sections of the station’s outer hull to be peeled away. As they escaped into the swirling colours of Meridia’s realm the dark haired woman turned to her companion and seeing her
unconscious heaved her skinny frame up and into a bunk near the back of the cabin before collapsing into the other one herself in exhaustion.

A small alarm sounded, pulling her back to the waking world and through to the cockpit in time for re-entry. They fell back to mundus and were immediately hailed “Unidentified vessel this is NIV Lucky Shot. Please identify yourself” the voice commanded over the comms.

The Woman took a deep calming breath “NIV Lucky Shot our vessel has no name, we have just escaped from a cultist faction to Hermaus Mora. They were performing experiments that went against every law of decency and morality on live unwilling subjects. I managed to free their main test subject and we both ask for sanctuary of the temple of Kynareth” she closed her eyes and prayed.

“Your claim of sanctuary is accepted, please dock with our vessel and we will take you to Kynareth’s Embrace. Will you please state your names” they replied.

A shifting sound from the back made her turn to see the young Dunmer woman raise herself up on her elbows “they want our names” she told the other woman who closed her eyes weakly before murmuring “I don’t have one, you pick.”

The dark hair woman nodded turning back to the comm her brow furrowed in though, she was silent for a few moments, picking a name before answering.

“My name is Miranda Law and my companion is Jaqueline”


Soven Vahlok-Shepard

Cortana sat in the corner of the dimly lit common room in her dorm section after a mission. She wore her fatigues and her hair was still wet from her shower. A tumbler of warm mead rested in her hand as she watched the scene before her with amusement one of her floor mates was berating three others.

“Completely unnecessary!” The Dunmer woman half yelled at them, he red eyes blazing “you three made a complete mess out of what should have been a simple snatch and dash!”

The Argonian in the middle rolled his eyes “Calm down Melena we got the bastard in the end” Melena turned her gaze on him and glared.

“Yes, Dragon’s-Blood after killing three hundred of his followers!” She shrieked. This caused the Redguard male next to the Argonian to giggle slightly, looking up from the black soul gem he was stroking
“yes!” he smiled “and I got seventy three new friends!” he grinned still petting the gem like it was a cat.

“Not now Sorian” the Bosmer sitting near them sighed, his glowing orange eyes tired as he sipped casually from a goblet of blood. “Melena I personally agree with you, but it was a trap so we were busted the moment we landed” he continued gently.

Melena sighed, her shoulders sagging “I know Omarus, I just hate it” she sighed moving off to sit near the fire, a cat wandered over to her and hopped into her lap, purring under her attentive fingers.

Dragon’s-Blood moved off toward the training hall and Sorian sat in another corner, playing with several black soul gems that he muttered too. Omarus for his part stood and moved over to where Cortana was sitting.

“Septim for your thoughts” he asked smiling at her .

Cortana raised an eyebrow “that’s pretty steep, there an inflation in the market?” she quipped,

“well I thought I could offer high and barter you down” he threw back, “but seriously” he said settling in the seat across the low table from her.

Cortana shrugged “missions go bad, you can’t stop them when they do” she said, a hint of bitterness, creeping into her voice.

Omarus nodded “very true” he agreed. They sat for a while in silence, Cortana nursing her mead as she fought off the memories of her Prolus. Omarus seemed to notice, looking at her pensively before standing and going over to a cabinet on the far wall, returning with a simple wooden box.

“Care for a game?” he asked her, gesturing at the eight by eight checkered board that was inlaid on the table between their chairs. Cortana looked at the chess board for a moment, then up at the kind Bosmeri vampire’s face.

A small smile appeared on her lips “yeah, that would be nice.”


Fringe of council space, Unnamed System- Saren

Saren stared down at the dead body of the ship that orbited the dying star of this system. The flares that were its dying gasps caused the ships black hull to glisten with dark promise. He had found it three years ago after finishing a mission for the council.

He snorted, those weak fools did not deserve their power. He had only accepted the position of specter as a way to take them down. Then the dreams had led him here. At first he had thought he was going crazy, they had started after he had found a small silver metallic sphere in a former Batarian slaver base, long since destroyed by the imperials.

But it had led him here, so he did not fear his dreams any longer. He recognized them for what they were: a gift from the spirits themselves, he was their instrument to cleanse the galaxy of the rot of the Nirnians.

He closed his eyes and drifted, tiny whispers of the spirits pressing gently against his mind, telling him of a plan. A plan that would take years to perfect but would begin the purge of the abominations against the cycle. He paused in his thoughts, the cycle?

The pure and glorious cycle, the cleansing of corruption from the universe the whispers said. He nodded and leaned back into his chair and a deeper voice joined the softer ones, it spoke with actual words rather than feelings.

“Go Mortal, destroy those in your path. The destroyer, harbinger of change commands it. Open the way to me and I shall give you power.” Saren smiled at the command, ignoring the blinding headache and sting in his eyes from the voice.

Moving to his ship’s console he programed his destination, the navigator screeched warnings at him before he overrode it with his specter codes. Almost reluctantly the ship jumped into FTL heading for the relay.
Saren stood, his joints painful with a deep ache, like something was expanding them slowly, only his cybernetic arm didn’t hurt. Slowly he moved through to the cabin, the auto pilot doing its job and hurling him through space. The destination still on his screen: Parnack.


Deep in Oblivion the lord of Destruction lounged on his throne, listening to the beautiful sound of tormented screams. Scamps ran underfoot and dremora slaughtered each other in the halls. Looking over his domain Dagon smirked, his time was soon coming, that puppet Saren was weak, and something was opening his mind to the Destroyer’s whispers, any other being would have wondered at why, but Dagon didn’t care, he was mere decades away from entering the newly expanded universe, opened to him through the explorations of the Nirnians.

True even the smallest touch of his magic was causing the eezo in the Turian’s body to expand minutely, he was sure that the alien wouldn’t disintegrate until he had killed those two bitches on the throne that was rightfully his.

He smirked at the thought of how much fun it would be to play with entire worlds, his eyes glinting with avarice, knowing this would be a nice middle finger at Malog Bal on the scoreboard of invasions.
Yes, he chuckled malevolently, causing the denizens of his realm to hide, the time was almost here.


Imperial space, Magnus system, planet: Nirn, Imperial University, Imperial city- Mordin Solus

Professor Mordin Solus stared around the atrium of the Imperial University with almost childlike wonder. The circular room was three stories high, made of white marble and held up by columns in the traditional Cyrodillic style. The floor was of creamy marble with a center fountain and filled with the bustle of students, teachers and the many other pursuers of knowledge.

The throng of species dressed in tunics and dresses, armour and robes, everywhere one looked there was something new to see. In one corner a Krogan male in a deep red tunic with the emblem of clan Urdnot debated with a Maomer in pale green robes who was holding up a slate holding several light sheets covered in diagrams as if to emphasize something, a group of suit less Quarians sprinted past, no doubt late for class.

A Geth platform decorated with purple runic designs sat near the central fountain holding a slate as it read, doing its best to blend in with the crowd. Next to the Geth sat a golden automata shaped like a female Altmer who was playing some kind of game on its palm comp.

Eagerly Mordin brought up his own palm comp that he had been issued, apparently Omni-tools tended to explode on Nirn, so one of the newer ones that was designed to work for a magicless being from the merge of the three newer species of the empire.

Hastily he glanced at the chronometer, he had arrived half an hour early in the hopes of observing Imperial citizens in their natural environment before his colleges joined him for the tour and lectures on magic theory later today.

“Professor Solus!” a voice intruded on his spinning thoughts, pulling him back to earth.
“Maelon, good to see you, been observing locals, fascinating to see how similar yet different Imperials are from citadel races.” He said rapidly, fiddling with his palm comp, trying to get it to take readings
like his Omni-tool would. Maelon sighed, looking at his superior with resignation.

Only just noticing that Mordin was approaching a Krogan student. “Pardon me, sorry to interrupt you, have a few questions, won’t take too much time, hoping for data” he machine gunned at the male.

The green Krogan turned his head a little to fix the Salarian with his dark eyes. “What do you want?” he asked gruffly.

“Fascinating, speaks local common language, must ask! How old are you?” he muttered to himself, then to the Krogan. The male straightened “I’m thirty” he said proudly, shifting so his bag hung a little more comfortably on his hump. “So born before Krogan absorption into empire” Mordin muttered to himself, furiously typing.

“Watch it Pyjak” the Krogan growled “The Krogan weren’t absorbed, we chose to join of our own free will, and the Queens have kept their end of the bargain, they’ve done more for the Krogan then the council ever did” he snarled at the Salarian, who to his credit never even flinched.

“Apologies, did not mean to offend, merely attempting to accumulate data. So little known about Nirnian politics, very tight lipped to use an Asari phrase. Assumed to use antiquated monarchy system. Wonder how such a system could work, No matter, thank you for your time!” he said before striding swiftly away and towards the slowly growing group of Salarian and Asari exchanges.

It was slightly odd to see an Asari having to wear a suit constantly, the looked rather like Quarians, though without the double jointed legs and with crests on the back of their heads. The suits had been made by the Quarians using a similar templet to their own and was comprised of three layers, the inner one was a buffer of dispelling magic that kept the Asari in essentially a magical vacuum, then a layer of insulation followed by a layer of thin wards.

The outer layer prevented the suit from being breached, the middle layer kept the magic and the dispeller runes from interacting and the last one filtered the magica away from the eezo saturated Asari. After experimenting with a few test animals from Asari labs it was revealed that biotics in general and Asari in particular would degenerate slowly and painfully due to the magic in the air interacting with the Eezo in their blood causing the microscopic particles to detonate.

At a molecular level this led to bubbles of air in the joints and cells, and actual mini explosions around eezo nodules. As a result the beauties of Citadel space were forced to be the suit wearers in the empire. Mordin appreciated the irony.

“Professor, glad you didn’t get lost” said their guide, a deep maroon Argonian in a simple kilt and open vest, he wore the usual dagger that everyone seemed to carry and had golden feathers covering his head as well as a small ring of horns that circled his crown.

“My apologies Wishes-to-swim-Always, I was observing the locals.” The Argonian sighed, shrugged long used to the slightly ADHD mentality of the Salarians. “If you will follow me I will show your around” he said, leading them up the grand set of stairs at the far end of the Atrium, through the winding hallways, stopping before marvelous statues of figures both historical and mythological (though to the Nirnians there was very little difference).

Eventually the stood before a pair of massive bronze doors, inscribed with small pictographs of figures in battle and in peace. The doors smoothly opened to revel a twelve story tall tower room ringed with columns made from dark green stone capped with golden hued metal that traced up the pillars like vines. The walls and floor were made of cream coloured stone and lit by amber lamps and large windows that let in the light from the outside.

Filling the room save for the central area were shelves filled with books, scrolls, light sheets, slates, terminals. Table, cubicles, deep sofas, ottomans and more filled the left over space, with floor upon floor around the centre hub, standing in the center one could look up to the top floor.

Figures in green robes moved through the shelves, caring for the massive collection and aiding the students who searched through the stacks. “Behold one of the great libraries of Nirn, One of seven collections of the knowledge of our empire, an ever expanding archive that is meant to safeguard the wisdom of the ages.” The Citadelers gaped, minds overloaded.

A Khajiiti female with grizzled golden fur dressed in a green robe and with deep blond braided hair with both ears filled with silver rings though her eyes were white with cataracts stalked towards them, her nose twitching and her tail sweeping from side to side to aide her balance.

“What is this Always? Who are these strange smells? Cousins perhaps” she asked in a raspy voice laden with amusement.

“Aahin-Dra these are the exchanges from the Citadel.” He bowed to the elderly female, before turning to his charges “everyone may I present Aahin-Dra Sibiri, head Archivist of the University Library.”

Aahin bowed her head to them “greetings, how can this one help you today?” she rasped “I can feel one of you quivering with you questions, ask, cousin of the Argonians” she said turning her sightless eye to Mordin.

“How are you able to move without some form of aid?” he asked excitedly.

Aahin chuckled “We Khajit have whiskers ears, nose and tail. With these I make up for my long gone eyes.
“But how do you act as head archivist?” an Asari asked intrigued.

Tthis one played in these archives when this one was a kitten, this one grew up among these shelves, this one knows where everything is, that and this one has excellent staff that this one delegate too” she purred with amusement, her tail twitching and a slightly sheepish look on her face as she admitted the
last part.

“I was hoping you could help us find a text of beginner’s magical theory” Always asked her.

She smiled “of course, follow this one” she commanded, weaving her way through the chairs, students sitting or standing in her way quickly moved back to allow her uninterrupted passage, they knew better than to mess with Aahin-Dra.

Once a group of third years had thought it funny to rearrange all the furniture, she had hunted them down despite her blindness by scent and showed them just why she was known as the most terrifying archivist since Urag gro-Shub of Winterhold college.

“Here is the shelf of early magic theory, these texts are copies of ancient Aldmeri writing, dating back to the time of the Mer migration from Aldmeris, here is ancient snow elf theory, and the beyond that is the ancient lore from each of the races, for a beginners guide to music theory go to the end of the row and look up on the third shelf on the right, section MT 46673 f882, the green book” she informed them before slinking off toward the massive central desk that was manned by novices in green robes with a white stripe on their left sleeve who worked at magelight terminals and signed out books.

Always led the way down the row, finding the section and pulling out several identical green leather bound tomes embossed with the title and the symbol of a bearded man in robes holding a staff.

Passing out the books he told the group “We have four hours before the lecture, if you get lost, ping me and I’ll find you” he informed them. Mordin took the book ad scurried to one of the tables, giddy with the prospect of this knowledge.


Imperial city, Nirn, Mundus system- Tali

Tali was in awe, their class field trip had been in the imperial city for three days and she was loving every minute of it. The streets radiated age, the buildings were ancient and beautiful, the temple to the divines, the stone form of Martin Septim, everything was so amazing. Now her group stood on a hill south of the city, about to walk the route taken by the armies during the final battle.

“As you can see the city has not expanded beyond its ancient walls” the guide told them all “can anyone tell me why?” he asked, his glowing vampire eyes running over the assembled students.

Tali raised her hand “yes miss?”

“Zorah, Tali’Zorah nar Rannoch” she supplied “and they city has not been expanded so as to not cut down on the amount of farmland that surrounded the city at first, the mega cities are built on Akavir, in later years it was maintained in its small size as a historical monument, a time capsule to show that the empire sprang from small origins.” She finished, getting a little nervous by all the stares directed at her.

“That is correct Miss Zorah. We are currently standing on the outcropping from where Ayrenn II made the call that began the siege of the White-gold tower.” Tali felt a small thrill run down her spine, looking around she could see the whole city laid out before her, and beyond the city, the slopes that had held the northern forces.

“If you will follow me now, try not to get lost” the guide instructed, leading them down the outcropping and down the path that lead straight to the walls of the city. “after the siege the Queens had the walls rebuilt, as such the area where the breaches once stood is marked with white stone” the guide told them “now to follow the path we will teleport to the inside of the wall where the breach would have been” they did so, Tali fighting off the slight feeling of nausea that accompanied the action.

Soon they were walking up the streets, the path was marked by green and gold pennants that hung from the street lamps, just as the northern way was marked with silver and red.

After an hour of walking the historic streets they reached the center. The courtyard before the tower was massive in scale, circular and in the center, stood a fountain, thirty feet in diameter the center was dominated by three tiers.

On the bottom, stone Spriggans and flame Atronachs, horse, wolves, bears and Sabercats were frozen in lifelike freezes, water pouring from their hands, jaws and claws.

On the second tier stood the representation of the races, vampires and Nords, Altmer and Weres, Redguard, Dunmer, Dragons reared over the assembles statues as if roaring, water gushing from its mouth in place of flame and all the others each with fountains of water pouring from their hands, swords, staffs arrows and daggers.

The top tier held life-sized statues of the queens standing back to back, holding each other’s hand whilst their other hands were help up and out, a permanent magelight held out as water bubble around their feet. All in all the fountain was over twenty feet tall and filled the air with the sound of the water. “Behold, Triumphal fountain, one of the wonders of the empire, built to commemorate the founding.” The guide had to yell over the sound of the water and the crowds surrounding them. Tali was gobsmacked, she stared at the fountain in awe, the detail in the craftsmanship, the amount of effort required to build this fountain without modern technology was amazing, and even a little humbling.

Excited voices caught her attention and she turned to see who it was, what she saw shocked her, standing near her school group was a collection of Citadelers, all staring around them in awe, a maroon Argonian stood near them, as they all listened to her groups guide explain the materials and methods used to create the fountain.

“Pardon me” one of the Salarians asked raising a hand “must ask, why are the Quarians, Geth and Krogan not on the statue?” he asked rapidly, his reedy voice sounding weird to Tali’s ears.

“That is because this statue is to commemorate the final battle that took place in this city to form the empire, it was here in this spot that the meeting of queens and dragons took place and the Cyrodillic Empire swore fealty to Ayrenn II. There is a statue to celebrate their joining on Tuchanka and Rannoch, as well as on the avenue of Statues, this work was the first one built by the united people of Nirn as we know them today. Thus it has great historical significance.” The guide informed them.

“Now follow me children we will be entering the tower now” the guide told the leading Tali’s group away.
Looking behind her she caught a quick glance of the Citadelers turning to discuss something, but she caught the eye of the question asking Salarian, who smiled widely at her and waved, shyly she waved back before turning to pay attention to the guide once more.

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