The Dragon Queens

style=”text-align: center;”>Chapter 22

The Normandy made its entrance into Citadel space with all the grace and majestic threat a Nirnian Warship was capable of. Cortana sat on her command chair and watched with cold eyes as the silver, flower like station came into view and her capable crew handled the communications to allow for docking. ‘tana, I have a request from ensign Zorah’ Ava informed her and Cortana lifted an eyebrow.

“Really? What is it?” she asked curiously, turning her attention to her friend. ‘she is asking to meet with you before we dock. She’s currently in the mess’ Ava informed her.

Cortana nodded and stood “tell her I’m on my way” she mumbled before turning to Pressilion. “Ships yours” she informed him and he saluted. The elevator opened and carried her down without her even having to touch the panels thanks to Edi.

“Any idea what she wants?” Cortana wondered to her friend, but received the impression of a shrug. The door opened and she stepped out into the crew deck. Ensign Zorah waited by the fire, nervously wringing her hands and shifting from foot to foot. “Ensign” Cortana greeted and the Quarian jumped a little.

“C..commander” she saluted crisply despite her stutter and Cortana swallowed a smile, returning it . “What’s on your mind ensign” she asked sitting in one of the chairs and gesturing for Tali to do the same. “Commander. I… what do you know of my record?” Tali asked uncertainly, gingerly sitting herself down across from Cortana.

“That you are one of the highest ranked engineers to come out of the Academy in the last seven years” Cortana answered curiously. Tali nodded, but continued to wring her hands. “That’s true.. but that wasn’t the field I was training for” she told Cortana nervously.

Cortana leaned forward, interested now. “What were you training for?” she asked and Tali tensed even more. “I was training for Battle Artificer” she replied and Cortana blinked in surprise. Battle Artificers were a rare breed, they rarely used magic and instead focused on the tech they made to aid them in battle. They were like combat engineers but on a higher level. Able to craft rune mines and devises on the fly in the thick of battle.

The truly great Battle Artificers could even assemble an automata in the field in order to give their team a leg up. However this was a stressful and demanding field. Most who studied it dropped out and became combat techs and engineers. “How far were you in your training?” Cortana asked and Tali straightened proudly.

“I am the first Quarian to pass the course. I have my full certification.” She replied and Cortana’s eyebrows rose. “Then why are you an engineer on my ship?” she asked baffled.

Tali looked down “they assigned me to your ship based on my scores, I was so excited to work with such advanced ship designs that I said yes without thinking” she answered unhappily. “Not that I don’t love working here” she hastily reassured.”it’s just…” she trailed off.

“It’s just you crave to show what you can do in battle” Cortana finished and Tali nodded, her eyes fixed on her hands in her lap. There was silence while Cortana observed the young woman before her. She was nervous, but Cortana had watched the Quarian as she struggled to save Ava. If that wasn’t a stressful situation then Cortana was unsure what was.

Ava brought up Tali’s records and test results, letting them scroll carefully over Cortana’s eyes as she read them. The test results were nothing short of amazing. How Tali had not been snapped up by the Eyes or the Blades or hell, even the Skalds was mind boggling. Anyone who looked at these test results would have known that she was capable of absolute genius level artificer capabilities.

Tali’Zorah nar Rannoch was a true prodigy, yet she was a minor engineer on a Skald ship. “Are you thinking what I’m think?” she mumbled to Ava and felt the Spirit nod. ‘She needs to be on your team. To waste such talent as a mere ship engineer would be a crime’ Ava answered vehemently.

Cortana looked the young woman over again and blinked in shock for a moment. A gold rune was emblazoned on the Quarian’s forehead.

‘This one is mine’ a voice told her imperiously. ‘We have chosen others to fight in our name. Find them’ it commanded Cortana who was busy staring at the golden sigil of Merida on the Quarian’s brow. The sigil faded and Tali looked at her curiously. “Commander? Are you alright?” She asked uncertainly and Cortana blinked, returning to mundus. “Yes, I’m fine.” She answered before looking the Quarian over again.

“Report to the armoury, pick up what they give you and be ready to disembark in twenty minutes” she told the ensign. Tali’s silver eyes lit up like a pair of magelights. “Yes, right away!” she replied, leaping to her feet and taking off towards the nearest ladder tube, completely forgetting protocoled in her excitement.

‘I think she is excited’ Ava remarked wryly as they watched Tali swing into the tube and slid down the ladder. They listened to the delighted whoop that echoed up the tube and Cortana smiled. “You think?” she answered sarcastically.

“Send a message to the armoury, tell them to outfit her in proper Artificer armour. I know we have a set on board” she added and felt Ava nod. The door to the Eye quarters opened and the Eyes walked out, already in their armour and strapping on their weapons. “Ava send them Tali’s files” Cortana ordered as she stood to greet them. Both eyes paused as the information began playing over their HUDs.

“Wait we had an ARTIFICER on board?” Jack demanded “and she was stuck in engineering?” Miranda added, matching her partner in surprise. “How did Resources mess that up?” she demanded. Cortana walked over to them shrugging. “I don’t know but she’s now on the ground team” she commanded.

The Eyes nodded enthusiastically. “Please, those guys are scary in a fight. Best kind to have at your back” Jack answered, rubbing her hands together with a touch of glee. Miranda had a little more reserve, but her stance indicated that she was pleased. “So who are we bringing with us? She asked and Cortana grinned. “you two, Tali, and the legionnaires” she answered. The elevator from the deck below opened and disgorged the two Legionnaires, already dressed in their recently repaired and upgraded armour.

“Commander” Williams saluted and Cortana returned the gesture. Both Ashley and Grunt were carrying their helmets under their arms and their expressions promised retribution for their fallen legion. Grunt had insisted that the slight nick in his brow blade be kept and Williams had been issued a helmet with a red plume in recognition of her advancement to being on Cortana’s personal team.

“Good, you’re both here. We have an extra joining us. Resources messed up and stuck a promising Battle Artificer in our engineering” she told them, Ashley let out a low whistle. “That’s quite the screw up” she remarked. “Wonder how they missed that?” Grunt rumbled.

Cortana shrugged. “Their screw up is our Luck” she replied simply. The others began to nod but time froze. Glyphs lit up their foreheads while the world turned a monochromatic grey. The Eyes both had the Mark of Mephala and they glowed as a pair with lines of silver light linking them like a frostbite spiders nest. Ashley’s brow now blazed with the mark of Jyggalag and Malakath’s sigil now sat on Grunt’s. She stared in shock before the light faded and Time resumed.

“Commander, are you all right?” Miranda asked talking a step forward. Cortana blinked at her and nodded, still slightly dazed. “Yes, just thinking” she told them, trying not to stare at the locations that had held the Sigils.

“I just need to go put on my armour” she told them. They nodded, though they still looked uncertain and Cortana strode quickly over to her quarters. Once the door closed behind her, she leaned against the wall, rubbing at the gold embedded on her face.

“Did you see that Ava?” she asked uncertainly but all she felt was confusion from her best friend. ‘See what ‘tana?’ the spirit asked curiously. Cortana felt her chest constrict painfully. So, she was the only one to see it. She knew that if she mentioned it to Ava the spirit would worry over it so she shrugged.

“Nothing, never mind” she answered, pushing off the wall. ‘Tana, if you’re seeing something you need to tell me’ Ava informed her worriedly. ‘Never in the history of Nirn has an individual been so singled out. Even Erenwyn was only a champion, and that was to individuals through their items of power. What’s happening to you is unprecedented and as such you shouldn’t keep anything that happens to you, to your self‘ The Spirit pleaded.

Cortana bowed her head a little from where she was putting on her armour. “I’m sorry Ava. I just don’t want to worry you” she mumbled and felt her implant heat a little with Ava’s rage.

‘Not worry me. NOT WORRY ME?!‘ the spirit practically screamed. “Ava” Cortana began but the spirit cut her off.

‘NO. You listen to me and listen well Cortana Elenora Shepard. You are NOT in this alone. If you try and shut me out of what is happening to you ever again my wrath will be felt by your descendants. They will whisper stories about me on Soven Vahlok about how the stupid Skald didn’t share her well being with her best friend and was destroyed as a YOU UNDERSTAND ME?’ Ava demanded and Cortana winced at both the volume and the realization of what she had tried to do.

“I’m sorry Ava” she whispered, looking down at the floor. The spirit sent her a small flash of forgiveness and Cortana sighed. “It seems that the Daedra are marking champions for this fight. Tali had the mark of Meridia, which makes sense seeing as how personally she took their welfare” she reported.

‘What does this mean? I thought you were the Princes’ champion?’ Ava wondered and Cortana shrugged. The final piece of her armour was strapped on and her Weapons rapidly found their home on various clips and holsters. Helmet tucked under her arm she exited and took an elevator up to the command deck.

The other four were waiting for her, the legionnaires now wearing their helmets. She joined them, slipping her own horned helmet over her neatly braided locks and waited. They didn’t need to wait long. This whole thing was looking less and less like a coincident when Tali came practically bouncing out of the elevator.

Her new, ebony alloy armour fitting her like a glove, it even had stripes of Quarian purple where another wearer would have had red or green. Hasty refits did not go that fast, nor did the re-colouration for a race look so seamless if the concern was elsewhere. So the fact that the armour was exactly her size and the Resources had overlooked the young Quarian so thoroughly was making it look like either monarch or Daedric intervention.

“Ready commander” the thrilled Quarian reported with a crisp salute. Her helmet was already on and the purple eye slits were glowing faintly from the light of her bioluminescent eyes. “Glad to see it” Cortana answered with a smile and a nod. Tali was sporting a shotgun in the small of her back, two pistols and a set of short, Quarian sabers sitting on her back.

She looked just as deadly as her fellows, despite her no doubt bubbly personality. The door opened and they all waited for the decontamination cycle to finish. Emerging from the airlock in a swirl of green light from the spell. “Right, we are here to put the fear of Nirn into the Council if the good Voice has not done so already.

If they refuse to hand over the party responsible, we are permitted to unleash oblivion on them and their minions. So I tell you all now. We are under Wrath protocols. Don’t pick the fight. Just end it” Cortana commanded. There was a round of nods and they strode into the silvery white corridors of the Citadel.

Garrus, Citadel

Garrus panted heavily as he dodged yet another burst of assault rifle fire. His day was not looking good. It had started this morning when a host of mercenaries had blow in his door and tried to smoke him out with tear gas grenades. He had luckily managed to get his sniper rifle and picked them off as he held the line near his bedroom.

During a brief lull in the fighting he had managed to get into his armour and download the video journals he had been investigating on to an OSD. Just before the next wave arrived he noticed the package on his counter. Curious, but wary he tore open the flimsy packaging and gaped at what was inside.

His Dad’s hand axes sat innocently among the packing foam, their holsters designed to be attached to Council armour. A pad had a message for him as well.


I had a dream that you would need these. They were meant to be used, not to sit on a shelf gathering dust. I give them to you with my blessing. Use them well son.

Love, Dad

He stared at the axes that had captivated him as a child in almost awe. A sound from the door alerted him that more company was incoming. He hastily snatched the weapons up and attached the sheaths, one on each hip and drew them. They sat perfectly in his hands, as if they had been made just for him.

The first through the door was a Turian with a heavily scared face. He died when said face was introduced to the razor sharp edge of Stolen vengeance. Now he was running through the dark hall of the wards, attempting to shake his pursuers enough to make it to the Bronze Quarter.

His comms were jammed and he doubted that the academy would listen to what he had found. The information he was holding was vital, pertaining to Saren and his attack on Primus. He ducked into a low alley and swore as a bullet ripped past his depleted shields, into his arm. Blood began to pour from the wound and fill his armour.

His time was now limited. He wove through the low lit maintenance tunnels, full out sprinting. He was near now. The golden doors of the quarter came into view as he skidded around a corner, bolting forward.

“Halt!” one of the guards ordered as he drew near. Garrus’ vision was beginning to grey around the edges.

“Sanctuary” he gasped as he stumbled towards them.

“Garrus?” the female on the left demanded.

“Yes. Spirits damn it. Sanctuary!” he begged. The male on the left grabbed his arm and hauled him up. “granted, lets get you in” he told the fading Turian. The doors were opened and they shoved him through. “Shit” the female swore as she ducked behind her shield as the rounds from a rifle impacted them. “Fall back, seal the quarter” she commanded.

The last thing Garrus saw was the doors swinging shut and the face of a healer with red hair looking over him with a worried expression. When he came too he was staring at the warm brown stone ceiling he recognized from one of their healing clinics. He sat up and winced, his arm was still tender.

“Careful there guardsman, you just got healed” a gruff voice told him. He looked over and saw the grim face of Captain Coppercroft looking down at him.

“What happened son” he asked seriously. “It’s not everyday one of the few Turians friendly with us comes sprinting in begging sanctuary pursued by mercs” he noted. Garrus winced and looked down. He was still in his armour, though the left arm had been dismantled to allow access to the wound.

“I found some disturbing information about Saren and the Attack on Edunus Primus. Next thing I know, mercs are at my door” He replied, feeling a little less light headed. “Where is this information?” Coppercroft asked sharply and Garrus reached into a pocket in his armour. Pulling out the innocent looking OSD.

Coppercroft looked from the Data to him before nodding. “Keep it son, you’ve protected it so far. We had a skald on the Citadel looking into this. I’m going to set up a meeting with them for you” he finally told Garrus.

“In the mean time, you will stay here, clean your blades and finish drinking those potions the good healer is preparing to ram down your throat” he commanded before standing and asking his way from the hall, pausing in the doorway he looked back.

“And Garrus” he called, catching Garrus’ attention “Good work lad” he acknowledged before he left. Garrus lay back with a sigh.

He pondered how Coppercroft’s gruff praise meant more to him than the commendations of his superiors. Maybe it was because the respect his father had ingrained into him from such a young age for the warrior people of Nirn, perhaps it was the easy comradery they extended to those who had earned their respect, either way it felt good.

Citadel- Cortana

They marched swiftly through the citadel, the local population moving quickly out of the way of the heavily armoured imperials. “Where to first Commander?” Miranda questioned over their secure comms as the passed a group of Turians who watched them closely.

“To the embassy, Voice Galeyal should be there with governor Udina. We have orders to report to them so as to have our presence announced and our goal presented to the council. We are to take Saren Arterius back to imperial space, either alive to question or dead to raise him and then question. Death will not keep him from our justice” Cortana declared glaring through the faceplate of her helmet, turning the chilling glare of the demonic looking helmet on a belligerent looking Turian who was openly glaring at her with his hand on his sidearm. A palpable shiver ran through her target and his hand dropped from the weapon without a fuss.

“I’ve had a warmer reception in Daedric cult headquarters” Jack muttered and Miranda made a faint snorting sound though there was no visible action outside of the comms. “I feel like I’m in the sights of every sniper on the citadel” Tali added, shifting a little uncomfortably in her black and purple armour, her purple eye slits panning as she rotated her head.

It was long and tense journey with eyes following them sharply, unsure what to make of the heavily armed sextet. It had been a very long time since a Krogan or a Quarian had walked through these halls and the unusualness of it drew eyes almost as much as Cortana’s demonic looking armour.

They managed to reach the embassy without a firefight though they were all firmly griping their weapons by the time they arrived. The guards at the gate took one look at Cortana’s armour waved them through, hastily baring the doors once they were through. The inside of the embassy was in full defense mode. Turrets had been set up to cover the entrances, large sand bag and stone berms had been raised to provide a defending force with cover. The fountain had been shut off and the pennants removed to clear sight lines.

A quick glance up showed that the balconies that overlooked the courtyard had been similarly fortified with the addition of perched snipers watching down the scopes of their bows and rifles . Armed and armoured employees waved them forward passed the berms, keeping guns moving as they watched for possible Daedra ripping their way into reality.

The inner guards guarding the Voices’ office were heavily armed with massive tower shields providing cover and Yol Strum X energy shotguns ready to mow down any foe that made it passed. “Identification” the left Orsimer grunted and Cortana held out her palm, letting her id flash on her palm comp.

The receptors in the guard’s visor absorbed the information and then chirped in confirmation. “Go in, they’re waiting for you” he commanded, already returning his gun to the hall. Cortana nodded and lead her team through to the wide office beyond. Voice Galeyal sat at a wide desk strewn with light slates and light sheets.

She wore stark white mage armour, robes under plate with her gauntleted fingers holding a stylus as she scribbled something on a slate. Her white helmet with a snow-white horsehair crest and typical purple eye slits, sat on her desk and a short sword sat near to hand. The windows behind her, that once looked out over the central courtyard were covered in a heavy metal shutter, depriving the room of natural light.

A few potted plants sat in corners in fancy urns and a thick red carpet covered the floor, a comfortable space, though now dimmed for war. Across from her, reading over a series of reports, sat a red headed Breton in black and bronze armour with the symbol for the bronze quarter hold on his blue surcoat. A round Hold shield rested against the desk at his feet and his blue crested helmet sat to his left glaring at the far wall.

The silver and sapphire circlet on his head told her that this was Imperial Governor Udina, ruler of the bronze quarter. Both the Voice and Governor looked up as Cortana and her party entered, the Governor hand resting on the hilt of his sword as he turned, half rising.

“Voice, Governor” Cortana greeted, saluting them as the others behind her did the same.

“Skald Commander, it’s an honour to meet you. Though I wish it were under different circumstances” Voice Galeyal greeted, inclining her head while Udina stood and returned her salute.

“Indeed” Udina agreed and gestured to a second chair “we must discuss out next move” he advised, retaking his seat again, his focus returning to the mountain of reports that waited there. Galeyal smiled at her before looking down and making a notation on the report at hand. Cortana gingerly eased herself down onto the chair, mindful of her armour’s weight. It groaned a little under the burden of her armour but remained unbroken.

“What is the situation here?” Cortana asked bluntly, removing her helmet and resting it on the desk and resting her hands on her knees. Galeyal’s face turned grim and her eyes traced the gold on Cortana’s face, reading the inscription before meeting Cortana’s eyes with a look that could almost be pity, after all no one wished to be marked as she was.

The lines in Undina’s deepened as he frowned at her marks before he turned his attention to the Voice. “Not good” Galeyal told her before she put down the stylus and rubbed the bridge of her nose. “The whole reason for the exchange was to reduce tensions between the Empire and Citadel. However this disaster has ensured that tensions are running even higher. I’ve had to issue an order that no one move through the Citadel alone, a lone Imperial gets picked off by the more “proactive” of their population, meanwhile those Citadelers who genuinely wish us no harm are being harassed by the more aggressive Nirnians” the Voice sighed and closed her eyes in frustration, leaning back in her chair.

“It’s a mess” Udina summed up grimly “I get hundreds of complaints a day about fights, my cells are constantly occupied by those who can’t accept that they are our allies and their guards harass us except for a handful who are good people. Corruption is everywhere, the guilds and the Eyes have to work overtime to keep the Salarians out of our systems and then they turn around and do…this” he told her with a weary sigh waving at the paperwork.

“It used to be manageable, a few fights here, a bit of vandalism there. A hacking and espionage attempt a week” Voice Galeyal told her with a sigh, still leaning back in her chair, rubbing her temples.

“Sometimes I feel it would be easier if we hadn’t set up here. More and more of our people are packing up and heading for Omega. But I fear for that station, open on all sides as it is.” Udina told them and Cortana frowned looking at the two exhausted administrators.

“What about the merchants?” she asked drawing a snort from Udina “Some refuse to sell to Impirials, others don’t care, it’s a crap shoot, though I can honestly say that we are having similar issues among our own people” he told her shaking his head and glaring down at his helmet.

“Would it be safe to move our people?” Ashley asked from behind Cortana but Galeyal shook her head. “No, the risk is everywhere now, even on our oldest planets or even upon Nirn Itself the threat of invasion rises” she sighed again and straightened, her hand reaching out to grip her sword hilt in comfort.

“We’re swamped here, but we’re managing, if only just to keep out noses above water” she remarked wearily before shaking her head and returning to her no-nonsense attitude. “But enough of that, we must decide how we will approach their council about handing us the Traitor. I have already threatened them and I gave them twenty-four hours before we call for war. My advice is we schedule for a meeting in an hour and see what they say, perhaps they will have him in custody and we shall mount his head upon a spike within the Imperial city as we once did in days of old” Galeyal declared firmly and Udina snorted.

“You don’t believe that do you?” he demanded and Galeyal sighed, shoulders slumping a little.

“No, but it is nice to hope” she admitted, picking up her stylus again. Udina grunted in agreement before he turned to Cortana.

“I have a young Turian male who has ever been a friend to us in the healing wing of the temple. He’s apart of C-sec, but has been assigned to patrol the ward the Quarter rests in. He’s a good man, stable, dependable, and unafraid to speak the truth. My Capitan says that he came to us with information about the Traitor that nearly saw the end of his life. My advice is you speak with him, this information may be vital to either finding or defeating this menace” he told her, the lines around his mouth deepening as he frowned.

Cortana nodded and stood “You have my thanks, long live the queens, long live the empire” she saluted and slotted her helmet back over her head. “Long live the queens, long live the empire” the pair agreed, bowing their heads before returning to their Sisyphean task. Cortana left their office and hurried through the Embassy halls, aiming for the gate.

“So we have an hour to talk to the Turian in the Bronze Quarter” Jack grumbled and Cortana nodded, returning the salute of the guards as the exited the embassy.

“We need all we can get” she admitted and Miranda heaved a sigh. “There is so little that we know, and if the situation is as delicate as the Voice and Governor say, then we are sitting on a powder keg just waiting to blow” she told them all which lead to a round of nods.

“Then let’s hurry” Cortana instructed them, breaking into a light jog. The others followed her in neat formation. Locals pressed themselves against walls to avoid them as they passed, barely stopping except when they had to stand in an elevator, waiting for it to take them down to the correct level.

Barely a minute in Tali raised her palm comp and fiddled with the controls, shutting of the madness inducing elevator music that had all of them grinding their teeth in annoyance. “Thanks Ensign” Ashley sighed, her posture relaxing a little when the assault stopped.

“No problem Centurion” The Quarian replied with a smile. Though she could change the music, the speed remained the same, so they were left to twiddle their thumbs as the lift moved.

“Is it really that bad with the Salarians?” Tali piped up, cocking her head in curiosity.

“Yeah pretty much” Jack informed her, bouncing on the balls of her feet. “The Eyes are almost constantly having to repel probes and espionage attempts” Miranda informed her, pausing in thought before adding “its sometimes used as punishment duty, its boring and tedious.”

The doors opened and they filed out, all questions halted as they took off again. The halls were darker than those in the upper levels, the lights fewer and weaker. It was a clear mark of the power dynamics, the darker lighting and dirtier metal a clear sign that those with less power dwelled here.

The doors of the Bronze Quarter were like a blazing sun in contrast to the darker surroundings, blue and silver roughly interrupted by the more familiar metal. It was also heavily guarded, with small slots in the wall around it showing the barrels of rifles that followed them in place of the traditional pair of guards that usually stood there. “Halt, state your name and business” a guard challenged as the party drew to a halt in front of the large bronze doors.

“Skald Commander Shepard and her companions, we are here by command of the Queens to collect information that will halt the Traitor and his lord” she answered, standing proud under their scrutiny. “My Lady!” the guard yelped and the door was hurriedly unbarred.

“Word was sent out about you and your quest my Lady, I’m honoured” the guard all but gushed. Shepard closed her eyes to briefly pray for patience before she nodded and lead her party into the Quarter.

“I thank you guardsman. Now I must speak with a Turian who came here, he was injured” she requested and the guard nodded “Yes my lady, His name is Garrus Vakarian, son of Icarus, one of the Two Hundred. He is well liked here my lady, he is in the temple” the guard informed her, pointing to a building that rose just off the main square. It had the typical build of a temple, and across from it was a Daedric shrine.

The streets were filled as per usual, but now everyone wore protective gear and no child was unattended, watched over by the hawk eyed adults who tried to go about their days normally. “Thank you, as you were” she told the gathered guards and gave a salute which was returned before she made her way through the now fortified streets towards the temple. Behind her the gate closed and the guards returned on duty though she could hear their excited gossip.

“A hero! In this age!” the guard who had welcomed her gushed.

“That means that this crisis is far worse than any since Alduin!” another hissed and there was a collective shudder.

“But still, she does look the part” a third voice admitted and Cortana fought back a sigh. Ava was to busy laughing to offer any support.

“You have a fanclub” Miranda noted, sounding amused. “shut up” Cortana growled, tuning out the sound of Ava’s mirth. “They are right though Commander, you do look the part” Ashely noted and Cortana groaned a little. “You will not mention this to anyone” she snapped only to be answered with laughter over the comms.

“Bunch of fucking Ciceros the lot of you” she huffed before pushing on the doors to the temple.

Garrus- Temple healing ward

Garrus sat on a chair in one of the waiting rooms, turning the OSD over in his talons. The information on it was troubling, and it had led to him being shot. He was wearing a tunic and pants that had been supplied to him by the temple. His armour needed to be repaired so he had reluctantly turned it over to an armourer to see what could be done. He was pretty sure that they were using it as a way to learn more about Council armour but at this point he didn’t really care.

“Garrus, the skald is on her way here” the red headed priestess was back, her forest green robes swishing as she walked forward. “Thank you, Healer Michel,” he replied sitting a little straighter and closing his talons around his prize.

“I should tell you though, she has been declared this era’s Hero, so address her as my lady” the healer warned and he frowned. “Hero?” he asked uncertainly.

Healer Michel nodded “yes, this crisis has warrented the rise of a Hero. That means that whatever is coming is bad. She is the one who will lead the charge against the threat, so you should tell her everything you know” she informed him, handing him a glass of water.

“Good luck Garrus” she wished before she left him alone with his thoughts. He was not alone for long, the door opened and he stood, looking toward the entrance. The figure walking through the doors was female, in black spiky armour underlit with icy blue lights.

A horned helmet was tucked under one arm and her various weapons clinked slightly as she walked. He looked at her face and was confronted by razor sharp emerald green eyes that tracked him like dragon tracked it’s prey. Flame red hair was braided and pined around her head in a typical crown style favoured by female warriors who insisted on keeping long hair.

The most startling was the multitude of fine gold lines that clung to her pale skin like a Nord’s war paint. “Garrus Vakarian?” she asked him and he nodded, motion by the door the woman had vacated caught his eye and he saw a Dunmer female and a dark haired Breton female in stealth armour watching him, they too had helmets under their arms and behind them he saw another Breton female, male Krogan and young female Quarian in legionnaire armour all watching him, curiosity clear on their faces.

“Please sit my lady” he offered, gesturing to the second chair across from him. Annoyance flashed in her eyes at the title but she accepted the seat with grace.

“Governor Udina said that you had information to share about Saren?” she asked and he nodded, holding out the OSD. “I found this while I was investigating Saren. One of my contacts found this and delived it to me. I was attacked barely an hour later” he told her. She took the technology gingerly, her razor sharp gauntlets holding the delicate information gently.

A light sprang from her gantlet and she turned her hand, letting the chip drop into her palm. Her palm comp sprang forth and began to read the chip.

“Edenus Primus was a Victory. Now we just need Benezia’s brat. The Lord says she has found a fragment of the breaching runes. With those we will be another step forward to finding the conduit, and then, but a small step from the return of our Lord. The Queens and their precious empire will burn, as will the traitors who have forgotten what they are” Saren’s voice snarled over her armour’s speakers.

The Nirnian’s all looked at each other in alarm. “I thank you for what you have done, we must go to the council immediately” the Skald told him, inclining her head in thanks, turning to go as her hand closed over the OSD and transposed it swiftly to a safe pocket in her spiky armour. “Wait!” Garrus called standing up. She paused and turned to look at him.

“I want to help” he blurted, he didn’t know why he had said that, but the moment the words left his mouth he knew them to be true. The Skald looked at him, her emerald eyes piercing his very soul as she stared. Something happened in her eyes, a flash of light flickered deep in her pupils.

Then she blinked and cut off the interrogation and relaxed. “Very well Garrus Vakarian, Son of Icarus Vakarian. I Cortana Shepard, call you to follow me. Will you answer?” she intoned and he felt a flicker of Surprise that she knew his name and parentage.

“You lead, I’ll follow” he replied, instinctively snapping a crisp Turian salute. The smallest hints of a smile tugged at the corners of her mouth.

“At ease, Welcome aboard” she told him. There was a stirring from her comrades. “Commander?” the white uniformed Breton questioned and the Skald turned back to them “Sheogorath” she told them quietly.

There was shock on their faces and the female legionnaire looked at him warily. Then the female Dunmer shrugged. “explain on the ship and I’m cool” she informed her superior in a bored tone, crossing her arms.

The Skald nodded “acceptable” she declared before looking back at Garrus “You have armour?” she wondered and Garrus nodded. “They took it to try and repair it so its not here right now” he told her, before bending down and picking up the two axes. “I do have these though” he added, holding them up. The skald looked them over and nodded.

“Right, we’ll pick up your armour from the smith as we go. We can get the smith onboard to fix and upgrade as needed and I’m certain the quartermaster has some underarmour for a Turian” she decided and marched out, leaving a stunned Garrus in her wake. “hurry up!” she called and he scrambled to follow, something in his gut told him that he was in for a crazy ride.

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