NIV Might of the Queens- Cortana Shepard
Cortana watched as the alien shuttle lifted off and left the loading bay of the Might. She shook her head as the doors closed behind it and turned to her Prolus “Drinks?” she asked them.
“Divines yes” one of them answered gratefully. The others all nodded and began walking back across the
hall as they pulled off their helmets, tucking them under their arms. Looking at them she felt the anger that had risen with the alien’s words fade a little.
This was her Prolus, her battle family. Garzog the Orsimer big as a bear with a sword that was bigger than she was. Terala the Dunmer lean as a whip and a devastating spell sword. Selena the Imperial, a quiet, brown haired woman who handled her bow and sniper rifle like they were an extension of herself and saw locks as a personal affront.
Dark, tabby furred Kashela the Khajit and one hell of a mage with a proclivity towards frost magic, and herself. A red haired, green eyed Breton spellsword who liked lighting a little more than was good for her.
The bar was one of three onboard and named The Staggering Star, it was designed to be a cross between an ancient Nord tavern and Altmer tea house. Walls paneled in pale wood and stone flags on the floor with enchanted windows showing Elsweyr at night set the ambience. Amber glass lanterns filled with magelight provided a soothing atmosphere that was completed by a fireplace filled with magic, smokeless flames. It was filled with long tables, benches, chairs, tables and lower comfortable chairs, sofas, ottomans and low tables set around the room for easy conversation.
A bar made of polished dark brown wood with a polished brass foot rail ran along the back of the room with a door that led to a kitchen. Tonight, it was filled with crew and legion in their fatigues eating,
drinking, and gossiping like old women about the new aliens.
“Hey there they are” one Nord spotted them and waved in their direction with his mead horn “You guys were in the meeting! What are they like?”he demanded jovially.
That opened the flood gates, soon everyone was pressing in close at them shouting questions grabbing them to get the Nightingales attention “SHUT IT!” Garzog bellowed as he slugged a Nord who had caused Selena to stumble in the jaw, knocking him to the floor.
“WE ARE NOT GOING TO TELL YOU HEFHAH ANYTHING UNTIL WE EACH HAVE A DRINK!” there was silence for a minute before a Bosmer leaning behind the bar raised an eyebrow “What’ll ya have?” he asked.
Cortana pressed her palms to her eyes “Something that can knock a dragon on its ass” she ordered and her
Prolus nodded in emphatic agreement, a dragon resting his head in the corner designed to hold his kind snorted around his massive tankard of mead.
“Hmmmm that bad huh? “ The bartender asked, then seeing her reach for some septims told her “These are on the house.”
He filled 5 glasses with an electric ice blue liquid that gave off bright green sparks and bubbled in a
frightening manner. The other patrons pulled five of the more comfortable seats near the fireplace and ushered the Nightingales to them before pressing the dangerous looking drinks into their hands.
Looking at the drink curiously Cortana had to ask “What is this?”
The bartender chuckled “Its new, I call it Shock Cloak, ‘cause it feels like you got punched by an angry Deadra wearing one when you drink it, and in the morning you feel like the Might ran over you at high impulse.”
Cortana grinned “do I want to know what’s in it?”
He shook his head grinning like a mad man “nope” he answered.
She shrugged and raised her glass “Thank the Divines for the Queens” she said, the room echoed the toast as she and her Prolus downed the toxic looking liquid. It burned, no, seared. No, cauterized its way down her throat and she gasped when she came up for air, eyes watering and coughing up sparks from her nose and mouth and her copper hair stood on end.
The rest of her Prolus fared about the same, though Kashela looked like a giant fluff ball now, with all her fur standing on end. “Gods” she gasped and she coughed several more sparks “your right, Angry Deadra with a shock cloak.”
She finally stopped coughing and sat up, only to sneeze a large likening bolt that left a scorch mark on the floor. There was some general laughter as this was repeated by the others of her group before a large glass of watered Alto wine was pressed into her hand and everyone gathered around for them to tell them about the blue aliens with the occasional sneezed lightning bolt.
When she was done the room was completely silent save for the crackling of the fire, but it was not a comfortable silence. Brows were lowered, lips pursed, hackles and feathers raised, ears flattened, teeth bared with quite a few snarls, and all of them had a dangerously angry glint in their eyes.
Finally an Altmer at the back of the room snapped out “This is the Thalmor all over again. What else, do they have? Slaves? It wouldn’t surprise me.” There were dark mutterings all around as mugs, and glasses were stared into as if they were responsible for this.
An Argonian stood and walked to the far corner of the room and pulled out a drum, there was a rustling of understanding before a Maomer followed and pulled out a Sea harp. Before long a member of each race in the room went and picked up an instrument from their culture. They walked back to the epicenter and with the Argonian beginning with a steady drum beat, an Altmer began to sing as she plucked her lute. The other instruments began to weave around her melody, harmonizing while a deep drone began.
In two Kingdoms strong led each by one Queen
An Empire vast ruled by two was dreamed
Two Queens would lead us through War and through Peace
Two Queens to teach us, our hatreds to cease
Ayrenn, Ayrenn, unknown Queen foretold
Serana the Ancient, our new Queen of old
Our Queens in your names we set ourselves free
Through your wisdom of ages, we always shall be
One Queen was born on Summer’s isles
The other Queen north, among Winter’s wiles
Betrayed both by kindred, they fled from their homes
And with new family chosen, Together did roam
Ayrenn, Ayrenn our fierce Queen and bold
Serana the Just, wielding power untold
Our Queens in your name we raise our songs high
You rule us all justly, you never shall die
Through fire and darkness these two sisters went
Until all the prophesy’s powers were spent.
Then home they both went and both won their crowns
Defeating the anger and hatreds they found
Ayrenn, Ayrenn our bright Queen of Gold
Serana the Pale, our Queen of the Cold
Our Queens, Fair and wise, we stand strong and proud
Your wisdom has taught us, and now we sing loud.
The anthem of Nirn, the song of the Queens. They all knew it, and as the verses continued more joined in, by the last verse they were all singing. Cortana smiled, this was the soul of the Empire: their faith in the Queens and the lessons they had been taught.
Their knowledge that without the Queens they would still be a collection of warring savages, to busy trying to one up each other to realise that together they were stronger. That everything had a balance, light and dark, summer and winter, North and south, day and night.
The Queens had taught them that. Listening to her fellows bellow out their pride she realised, in that moment that no matter what this Council threw at the Empire, they would take it and come out proving that the way of the Queens was best.
FAR Dream of Peace –Benezia
She sat at her terminal in her quarters reading the codex that the Nirnians and sent her as she sipped her now cold tea. The information passing before her eyes was hard to take, and the delicate china rim of her cup clattered against her teeth as her hand shook. It had been two days since the first meeting and it had become apparent to her that the Turians had nearly destroyed the Citadel with their pride.
She was certain of that now, there was no way that they could have withstood the Empire if they truly brought their armies to bear. Their population outnumbered the Council races by nearly 35 times, their navy outnumbered even the Migrant fleet and their military put the Turians to shame. It was mind destroying.
She shook her head and placed it in her hands, breathing deeply. There was no way some of this was true, there was absolutely no chance that these aliens were telling the truth, it had to be a lie, to bluff the Council into thinking that they were more powerful than they actually were.
Picking her head up, she opened the file that she had been avoiding, labelled Government. Inside that
were three files, marked Ayrenn II, Serana and Council of Monarchs. Taking a chance, she opened Ayrenn II and began to read:
Ayrenn II of the Fourth Aldmeri Dominion
Born: 115 2nd century 4th Era
Age: 2,072 years
Birth Name: Erenwyn of house Alkinus, daughter of Aicedaen and Mirkril of house Alkinus
Other titles: Dragonborn, Slayer of Alduin, Bane of Harkon, Defeater of Mirrak, Thane of Skyrim, the Unknown Queen, the Foreseen Queen, the Foretold Queen, the Chosen Queen, The Hidden Queen, The Weeping Queen, The Laughing Queen, The Lightning Queen, The Dragon Queen, The Shadow Queen, The Light Queen, The Immortal Queen, The Queen of Day, the Just, the Bright, The Golden, The Fierce, The Bold, Queen of Thieves, Queen of Blades, Daughter of Akatosh, Daughter of Auriel, Chosen of Auri-el, Former Justicar first class.
Benezia blinked, this couldn’t be correct. True, Asari lived for a thousand years, but two? That was impossible, perhaps it was a relay of Queens who all took the same name to keep the myth of the immortal Queen alive, and keeping that comforting and rational thought in mind she continued reading the file.
When she finished it she shook her head again, she had no idea what some of this Ayrenn’s achievements meant but the list was long and some of it must be fictional, how else could someone get away with claiming to be the daughter of a god. She reached again for her tea, realising that it was empty she stood and moved stiffly from her room to the small mess hall on board, she needed food as well.
Several of her followers looked up as she entered “Are you alright matriarch?” a young maiden asked her tentatively, Benezia thought over the comment before answering “no, I am not. The information they sent over is disturbing. Most of it is so preposterous that I don’t believe it and the other makes no sense, they go on and on about their Queens, claiming them to be immortal and one is supposedly the daughter of a god.”
There was a round of snickers from the assembled Asari at the naiveté of the Empire races. Benezia moved to the food dispenser and grabbed a purple fruit and a protein bar as well as a larger pot of tea before turning and heading back to her quarters leaving the maidens to whisper excitedly in her wake. Settling back in her quarters she opened the file marked Serana.
Serana Volkihar of the Skyrim Protectorate
Born: Unknown, sometime mid-1st Era
Age: Unknown, low estimate 6,000
Birth Name: Serana Volkihar daughter of Harkon and Valerica Volkihar
Race: Pure Vampire
Other Titles: High Queen of Skyrim, Former Jarl of Riften, Slayer of Ulfric Stormcloak, Slayer of Harkon, Bane of Mirrak Friend of the Skal, Dragon Queen, the Dark Queen, The Vampire Queen, Queen of Blood, Queen of Night, Queen of Ice, The Just, The Pale, The Fair, The Silver, The Stern, The Kind, The Ancient, The Wise, The Understanding, The Deathless.
Benezia groaned, this was just ridiculous, how could they even begin to think that they could get away with saying that their other Queen was also immortal. She quickly looked up vampire in the codex and felt the blood drain from her face, they let their equivalent of an Ardat-Yakshi rule over them? Not to mention the idea of an organism surviving solely off of blood was impossible.
No, she shook her head vehemently, it had to be myth perpetuated by rumor and happenstance. She rubbed
her eyes, these Queens had to be simply replacing themselves with doubles in order to ensure that the name stayed the same.
Closing the file on Serana she continued with the others. After she had finished reading the last file she rubbed her eyes and made a call.
Personal Apartment, the Citadel, Serpent Nebula- Tevos
An incoming call woke Tevos from her heavy, exhausted sleep. Dragging her tired body out of bed she answered the call with as much dignity as was possible in a dressing gown. Benezia’s anxious face looked out at her “Tevos! Oh thank the Goddess I was afraid you wouldn’t answer.”
Tevos picked up her communicator and carried it to the kitchen to make herself a cup of tea as she asked “Have you been successful? Is there peace?”
Benezia nodded carefully “as long as we don’t make an aggressive move against them they will not attack. Though they said that if we or anyone else does then their retaliation will be brutal.” Here her friend closed her eyes and sighed “Tevos, you have to keep the Turians from attacking. If they do there is no way we can win. Even if we all combined forces and they greatly overstated the size of their forces we would still be outnumbered 100-1.”
Tevos email beeped, showing new messages “I just sent you the codex they gave me. They are a collection of races called the Nirnian Empire and they’ve been space faring for a thousand years. Not only that but they don’t use eezo but something that they call Magica, though I think that may be a translation error. But some of the info in there feels really unbelievable, read what they wrote about their leaders and you’ll see. Also some of the stories the Turian survivors tell mention creatures made of fire, ice and stone. According to the codex those are called Atronachs. I think they may be some form of mutant Biotics, but I’m not sure” Benezia informed her, rubbing her eyes with exhaustion.
Tevos blew on her tea as she opened the email “how did the talks go?” Tevos asked as she began to scroll through the files looking for the one on government.
Benezia looked down “not well, I said something that offended them and they escorted me off the ship saying to not leave and send them a codex. That was two days ago.”
Tevos had jerked her head up to stare at Benezia intently “what did you say?” she demanded fearfully, Benezia sighed “I was telling them about the Citadel Council when they asked about how many Citadel races there were vs how many were on the Council. I told them three with the others being client races, they all stiffened up and I was escorted politely off the ship. But from what I can guess they are angry, though I don’t know why, and I’m using Asari facial expressions so I’m not sure if I understood correctly.”
There was a beeping sound on Benezia’s end and a voice saying “Matriarch Voice Galeyal has just invited you back onboard the Might of the Queens” Benezia jumped up “Accept it immediately, when do they want us?” “As soon as you are ready Matriarch” came the reply.
Benezia turned back to the screen “I have to go Tevos. Please you really don’t want to fight these aliens.” Tevos nodded “Invite them to the Citadel, so we can speak in person.” Benezia nodded “will do. Bye Tevos” the screen went blank.
NIV Might of the Queens- Anatia
Anatia was fairly quivering with rage, before her on her screen sat the file labelled Batarians, and she was ready to put her fist through her magelight viewer. Of all the gods dammed barbaric. She halted herself, she needed to ask for advice; this was going beyond her.
Standing her quickly smoothed her hair and dress to make herself look presentable before glancing at the Nirnian timepiece, it was 7 am in Alinor right now so she shouldn’t be interrupting any sleep. She grasped her amulet and murmured “My Queen, your Voice seeks your guidance.”
The world faded to black around her before she found herself standing in the study of Queen Ayrenn in the Crystal tower. “Anatia” the voice made her turn to see her Queen lounging on a bench near the large open windows that led to the balcony with the spectral form of Serana sitting next to her. Ayrenn was dressed in a pair of black linen trousers, high black boots, high collared deep green tunic and her crown.
Serana was in a similar outfit though the colours were hidden by the blue transparency of her apparition. “What does my Voice wish to say?” Ayrenn asked the ritual phrase with Serana nodding; that was the limitation of the communication devises, Anatia couldn’t hear Serana, only Ayrenn could, but Serana could hear Anatia.
Ayrenn gesturing to a seat near her. Anatia bowed and sat opposite “My Queens I find that I am having a great deal of trouble with the Alien Voice.” Ayrenn’s pale brow arched inquiringly and Serana’s furrowed.
“How so?” Anatia breathed deeply “The way that they manage their government is distressing to me, I’m afraid that I lost my temper and kicked her off the ship. The talks are still ongoing but from a distance. It was whilst I was going through the codex they sent us and that I forwarded to you that I found out that they allow slavery to be practiced in their territory. They have Laws forbidding it but they do not enforce it enough to actually end it. So, in truth the race called the Batarians merely pay lip service to this law.”
Anatia halted and looked down drawing a deep breath “I find that I am at a loss as to how to treat these aliens. Half of me wants to order this ship straight into Batarian space and unleash the legions on them. Whilst the other half of me wants to park the Might outside their Citadel and force them to behave in a more civilised manner.”
Ayrenn was silent for a long time listening to Serana whose hands gestured as she spoke and occasionally nodding. Before looking back at Anatia and speaking “When I first took over the Dominion I remember looking at the smaller kingdoms and thinking, it would be so easy just to send my armies there and conquer. But then Serana made me realise that sometimes the best way to show that your way is better, is to show by example. These Citadel races think that they are the center of art and culture right?”
Anatia nodded, the Council Voice Benezia had been very proud of this fact. Ayrenn and Serana both had matching wicked smiles on their faces “then all we have to do is beat them at their own game, Show them our cultures, and show them our art, our ability and poise. Show them that an Imperial is the epitome of civilisation. It may take time, Oblivion, it may take centuries. But the Empire was not formed in a day.”
Anatia smiled and stood bowing “would you like me to extend an invitation for their voice to see you?” Ayrenn cocked her head to the side as she and Serana conferred quietly before they seemed to reach an agreement.
“Not just yet, let them make the offer, then take the Might out to their Citadel, some of my Eyes are watching it now, and then offer to take several diplomats back to Nirn. That should give the artificers enough time to fashion a container that they can make the jump in.”
Anatia smiled “to hear is to obey my Queens” before she let the amulet bring her consciousness back to her body. Opening her eyes to her chambers, she smiled before signalling her aide to invite the Council’s Voice back on board.
Turning to the mirror she quickly washed the soot off her hands, drew a brush through her golden hair, changed into one of her formal dresses, touched up her scant eye makeup, cleaned and sharpened her dagger and walked to the docking bay, along with her Prolus of Nightingale 2s behind her and five cohorts to greet the returning Diplomat.
As the shuttle wound through the fleet on the tail of yet another slim golden fighter Benezia reviewed her PADD that contained her questions and would soon contain a recording of the upcoming meeting. There were soldiers waiting for her again, only fewer than before, only five thousand.
She mentally snorted, only five thousand. Voice Galeyal and her aide Relena Gildleaf were waiting for her again. If she had expected for them to be as angry as when she had left, then she was disappointed. Both aliens had matching, perfectly polite, blank faces as they greeted her in the name of their Queens again and led her back through to the conference room where they say in the same places as before and the talks began again.
They lasted hours this time, and Benezia had the sinking feeling that she was woefully unprepared for this battle. The Altmer Voice danced verbal circles around her, never asking a direct question but somehow getting Benezia to divulge information anyway. Sometime Relena, a Bosmer she had learned, would speak, and though not as skilled as Anatia, Benezia still found herself out gunned.
Finally, exhausted, she played her trump card “the Council wishes to invite representatives of your Empire to the Citadel so we might decide on the terms of the cease fire more easily.” Anatia paused and thought for a moment before bestowing Benezia with another of those maddeningly polite smiles that Benezia now wanted to blast off with a singularity, before saying.
“On behalf of the Queens I accept. A time of departure should be set, if you would be so kind as to give us the coordinates then we could be there with all haste.”
Benezia blinked then smiled back and rose, inclining her head graciously. “Wonderful, I believe as soon
as possible would be best. Shall I return to my Ship?”
Galeyal stood as well from her seat on the throne “yes that would be best as we do not know if you would survive a plane jump. Once you are ready, send us the coordinates and we shall wait for you to arrive there before we join you as it would not do if we arrived before you. As your Turians may take it as a hostile act.”
Slightly shaken by the statement that she would not survive their method of FTL Benezia allowed herself to be lead back through the gleaming corridors to her ship. As she sank down in her seat in the shuttle, the
pilot looked back at her.
“So how’d it go?” she asked in a gratingly cheerful voice. “Goddess” Shiala groaned as she sank down next to Benezia “If I hear someone mention Queens one more time, I’m going to shoot someone.”
The pilot looked at them curiously as the other commandos nodded wearily “the way she talked about them you’d think that they were goddesses or something” her aide agreed before she took a long pull from a water bottle as the others muttered their assent.
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