|Posted on June 20, 2014 at 9:35 PM|
Seconds later, Julan and I were outside of Dagoth Ur's citadel. The sky wasn't the dark red it had been hours before, but a very clear blue sky. The sun was shining, too. The blight truly was gone.
"At last! Fresh air!" Julan laughed and then held me close. "I feel like we've been underground in the dark forever. I never want to see another Dwemer ruin as long as I live! And you did it!"
Julan kissed my cheek before he pulled away, laughing again.
"Urgh, you taste like a Blight storm!"
"I kind of expected that," I said.
"So. You're no longer bound by destiny... if you ever really were. How does it feel to be free?"
Free. I had been waiting for so long to get this over with for months now, but now that it was…
"I don't know," I admitted. "I guess it's going to take some time getting used to it."
"Don't worry about it. I think you've earned the right to relax for a bit. You'll feel less confused about everything in time."
"What about you?" I asked. "I mean, don't you have a tribe to lead?"
"Sinnammu can lead them for a little while longer," Julan replied in an offhandish way. "I mean, I'm a bit young to be an Ashkhan. But by the time I go back, I'll have gotten older and I'll know the way things are run…but until then, I suppose I can travel with you in the meantime, if you don't mind."
"What makes you think I'd mind?" I asked. "I love having you around. Of course, I should given that you're my boyfriend. But for awhile, I think I need to relax…"
"I understand," Julan said. "Let's just enjoy life and see what happens. And what should happen right now is me taking you to bed for a week!"
Ald Daedroth was well populated when Julan and I arrived there. Women were stringing up Ashlander decorations and taking care of the children, while men talked about their hunts and families. In one of the nearby corners was Shani, talking with Mamea until she saw us and grinned.
"You're back!" She yelped, the jumped into Julan's arms. Julan let out a yelp of surprise, but the patted Shani awkwardly on the back. Shani then turned to me, and gave me a hug.
"It's good to see you too, Shani," I said.
"And the blight's gone, too!" she said, "and we have you to thank for it."
"Well," Julan chuckled. "I did help."
Shani came with us for the next journey out of the grazelands, the nearest city being Sadrith Mora. People crowded around me when I got there, asking me a great deal of questions In fact, the guards in Sadrith Mora joined in as well. They forgot to ask for my hospitality papers!
Several weeks I spent traveling across the island, having people give me gifts, token or just simple words of thanks. It was wonderful that people were finally able to be happy, even if some encounters were a bit awkward (Crassius Cosades wanted to novelize the great tale of the Nerevarine, but given what I had read of his most recent 'play', I politely declined), I felt as if I was able to do some good.
But now it was time for me to do something for myself
One night, after rummaging through my backpack and getting rid of several useless items I had built up over the time I had spent in Vvardenfell, I found an old piece of paper. I hadn't seen this one before, so I picked it up and unfolded it.
Her name is Ulina, and she's two years old. She was born on the fifth of Rain's Hand. Because of her age, she is uncertain of her parents. I hope for her sake it remains that way.
I had almost forgotten about my parents. The Therayn's and my real parents, wherever they were. And I still wanted to find them, as well as find out whether Dranen and Eriama were OK. Oh, Gods, I hope they're OK…
And who was 'B'? Was it one of my unknown parents, or some other relative? A family friend? That was the only clue I had as to finding out who I really was...and it wouldn't help at all. There were thousands - if not millions - of people across Tamriel with the letter B in their name. Not to mention it could have been part of an alias or something.
At some point, when the panic caused by the blight had calmed down a bit, I would see if I could travel to Mournhold.
I tucked the letter away, and then crawled into bed with Julan.
There was one more person I needed to see.
Julan and Shani decided that they needed to go shopping for some new weapons, so I had time to go about this task alone.
I climbed the long staircase to Vivec's palace, and opened the door. The living god sat where he was sitting the last time I saw him. He was smiling as if he was expecting me.
"The blight is gone," he began. "And we have survived. Now we must dedicate ourselves to rebuilding the Temple. And you must dedicate yourself to your responsibilities as Protector of Morrowind."
Trying to ignore what Vivec had said about me being 'Protector of Morrowind,' I realized that Vivec seemed to look a bit...tired since I last saw him.
"At what cost, though, Vivec?"
"We have lost our divine powers, but not altogether. Some token of the people's faith remains, and we shall dedicate it to rebuilding the Temple. Now that Dagoth Ur is gone, we can turn our energies to the more humble needs of the people. It is good, honest work, and I believe there is redemption in it.
"There are still issues to be resolved between the Temple and the Dissident Priests. And now that our greatest enemy is gone, we must reorganize the Temple to meet the needs of the people. We have less need of Ordinators, for example, and greater need of priests and healers and teachers. And we must find time to mourn and honor the dead.
"Without the power of the Heart, our divine powers diminish. Our days as Gods are numbered. I have told my priests that I shall withdraw from the world, and that the Temple should be prepared for a change. We may be honoured no longer as Gods, but as saints and heroes, and the Temple will return to the faith of our forefathers - the worship of our ancestors and the three good Daedra, Azura, Mephala, and Boethiah. The missions and traditions of the Temple must continue... but without its Living Gods."
If what Vivec was saying was true, the Tribunal were no longer gods. They were mortal again. Even if the way the Tribunal had gotten their power in the first place was unfair and ended up killing Nerevar, I didn't want to imagine what the other two gods thought of it. Their immortality was taken away without their consent.
"So...you three are mortal now?"
"Perhaps not completely yet," Vivec was no longer floating, but instead stood on his own two feet. He started walking around the room. "But Almalexia, Sotha Sil, and I gained our divine powers from the Heart of Lorkhan. And now we no longer have access to the Heart, so we must lose our divinity. I have always worn my divinity lightly - fundamentally, I am not at all a serious person - and I will not miss it. I have tried to do what was necessary. I am afraid I have done some harm. I assure you - I will be quite content to be a mere mortal again, dedicated to my own amusements."
"But what about Almalexia and Sotha Sil? Won't they be upset? Did you let them know?"
"We don't communicate," Vivec admitted. "Without the Heart, our divine powers must diminish. Almalexia takes her divinity very seriously, and the loss will weigh heavily on her. She tends to brood, and I fear she will do herself and others harm."
I hoped for everyone's sake that Almalexia wouldn't do anyone any serious harm.
"But as for Sotha Sil... I doubt he will even notice the loss. He is completely self-absorbed, and fascinated by the hidden world and its mysteries, and I do not think he even notices us most of the time," Vivec finished sadly. He seemed to me remembering something from his past as he said those words, before he looked up at me and smiled again. "I see you still have Wraithguard and Keening, but you no longer have Sunder."
"It...fell into the lava after I used it to destroy the heart," I confessed.
"Ah," Vivec nodded. "Be careful, Ulina Therayn. I fear there will be a shadow cast over the people of Morrowind in the coming days, and I may not be here to help you stop it."
Vivec's chilling words made me shiver with slight fear as I left his Temple, but the fear diminished the moment I saw Shani and Julan. Julan was wearing a Colovian fur helm, and he looked absolutely ridiculous.
"Shani made me wear it!" He declared. "She practically forced it onto my head."
"I think it looks quite good on you, personally," I snarked.
"I officially hate you both!" He said, even though I saw the corners of his mouth twitch as he said so.
New Life was only a week away, and when I heard that Ebonheart was having a huge celebration there, I talked Julan and Shani into going with me. The Inn was packed, and there no completely unoccupied table. There was a small table with only one middle-aged Dunmer man, though.
"This table free?" I asked.
He nodded, and then began to speak. His accent was odd. He wasn't from Vvardenfell. "Go ahead. The other chairs unoccupied, besides, you're the Nerevarine, so I'm not going to refuse you anyway."
"I'm Sedas Omayn," the Dunmer continued. "I'm from Mournhold, but tonight I'm here on business."
Sedas retreated from the table after he finished his drink, and disappeared from sight, leaving Julan, Shani and I to celebrate with everyone else.
"I used to hate this place," Julan said, "but now I think it's growing on me."
"You're only saying that because they have Mazte," Shani giggled.
The evening finished with everyone going outside and watching the fireworks, and then everyone went to bed.
For some reason, I awoke in the middle of the night to hear the sound of footsteps from outside our bedroom door. It was an inn, but the fact that there was someone up and about at this hour was very confusing and unsettling.
"Ulina, go back to sleep," Julan said to me, even though had given him no indication that I had woken up at all.
So I tried to sleep, and sleep I did. For about five minutes. Then, I heard the sound of the doorknob turning, and someone walking around in the bedroom.
"Sha?" Julan whispered.
I was pretty certain that Shani didn't make a habit of carrying around daggers, and she most certainly didn't try to hit me with them either.
It was another one of those thugs that tried to kill me in Vivec months ago, I recognized the armor. I grabbed my sword, which I kept beside my bed, and whacked the thug over the head. He collapsed onto the floor. I knelt down, and felt the body, trying to see if there was any pulse. There wasn't. Julan pulled the black mask off his head, I recognized the man immediately.
It was Sedas Omayn, the man who we sat with at the table much earlier in the evening.
"He said he was here from Mournhold on business," Julan whispered. "Maybe that business was trying to kill you! Does he have a writ?"
I searched the mer's pockets. There was no paper in his pockets at all.
"No," I said.
The front door to our bedroom suddenly burst open, and surprised looking Shani stood in our doorway, wearing a long white robe I had lent her.
"What did you do?" She whispered.
I gulped. "He tried to kill me."
"Ulina, I don't think they're with the Morag Tong," Julan said, "the past two times this has happened, there's been no -"
"This has happened before?!" Shani squeaked.
" - writ. Who do you think they are?"
There was an awkward silence.
"I don't know," I finally admitted, "but I think I need to find out."