User:LordDagon/The Battle of Cylarne
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The story of Sheogorath's champion who chooses sides at Cylarne.
Pelagius entered the courtyard of Cylarne. On his right, there was a gate in the wall, guarded by a golden female, clad in golden armor. On the left he saw another gate, guarded this time by a dark female wearing black armor and a shield. In front of him was the main altar of the Flame of Agnon, which was currently unlit.
He rested at the stone stair for a moment, thinking of his journey here. Nothing special had happened, except for two Obelisks of Order he had encountered. Those damn things where the reason he was here.
Sheogorath, the Daedric Prince of Madness, had tasked him with relighting the Flame of Agnon. While, at His command, this matter would be solved in seconds, his champion did not have the authority to command the Golden Saints or Dark Seducers to sacrifice themselves upon the altars of Rapture or Despair. So, his only option would be to drive either of the sides out of Cylarne. That, or neglect his task, but this would result in his death at Sheogorath’s hands.
He gazed upon the old stone walls of Cylarne and thought who he would drive out. This choice wasn’t easy for him. Eventually, he let logic decide for him. Cylarne lies in Mania, so the Seducers would have to go.
He approached the gate to the right, expecting this gate to lead him to the leader of the Saints. Before he could extend his hand to open the gate, the golden female blocked his way.
“Halt. Mortals are not permitted within the walls of holy Cylarne.”
Her voice was arrogant. It was clear that she thought of him as nothing than worthless mortal dung. And a male no less. But he knew how to handle Aureal arrogance.
“Stand aside, Sheogorath sent me here!”
“My pardon, lord. Receive this key, and with it free passage throughout the Shrine of the Flame of Agnon.”
Her voice immediately changed. She gave him a key and opened the gate for him.
“My apologies, lord, that I did not recognize you before. May I ask why the Lord Sheogorath sent you here?”
“Our Lord Whishes for me to relight the Flame of Agnon.”
“Alas. This is not possible. The Aureals hold only one of the holy altars, the altar of Rapture. The altar of Despair is being held by the treacherous ones, the accursed Dark Seducers. Speak with the Aurmazl Kaneh, my Lord. She will be able to tell you more.”
“Aurmazl? I never heard such a word. What does it mean?”
“It means commander in our own language, emissary. The Aurmazl Kaneh leads us here. She has arrived several days ago from Brellach with reinforcements. Now, our force is stronger than ever. This time, the Mazken will not with stand us!”
She bowed, and returned to her post. Pelagius entered the right side of Cylarne. There was an open area here, guarded by at least a dozen Aureals. Up on a raised platform was the Altar of Rapture. It was beautiful, but Pelagius’ attention was drawn by two Aureal officers who where arguing.
“My scouts reported no signs of the Mazken in the Underdeep. It's our best chance to take them unawares.”
“Too risky. It's likely to be a trap. They could cut us to pieces down there if they knew we were coming.”
“With all due respect, Aurmazl, I ask that you reconsider. The main passage is strongly defended. Perhaps if you’d allow me to scout further…”
“Enough! I've made my decision. We will attack down the main passage, as planned. The Mazken will not withstand us!”
The male Saint left. He looked disappointed. Pelagius walked to him. This “Underdeep” he heard of needed investigating. If this underdeep indeed provided an easier way of attack, the Aureal commander was foolish not to use it.
“You there. Saint. I heard you talking about some underdeep?” What is it?”
“My soul for Sheogorath, stranger. Who are you, to walk the holy ground of Cylarne and ask me questions? Speak quickly!”
“I am Sheogorath’s personal emissary. Our lord wants me to relight the Flmae of Agnon.”
“Then, I am at your service, emissary. You asked about the Underdeep? My scouts recently discovered that way through the ruins to the Altar of Despair. The Aurmazl Kaneh wants to assault the altar down the main passage, but the Mazken are expecting us to come that way. They've strongly fortified the main passage against us. If we attacked through the Underdeep, we could take them by surprise. If only Kaneh would listen to me. An attack down the main passage will end the same as it always does -- a glorious defeat.”
“If this is all true, why des Kaneh not listen?”
“First, because I am a male. The Aurmazl Kaneh doesn’t trust males. And secondly, she thinks the Underdeep is a trap. It's true, if the Mazken knew we were coming that way, we wouldn't stand a chance. But I'm convinced the Mazken don't expect us to come that way. If we attacked in full force, we could take the Altar of Despair before they had a chance to react. If only I could make Kaneh see that.
“I’ll talk to Kaneh. Perhaps I will be able to convince her.”
The Golden Saint left. In the meantime, the Aurmazl was praying at the Altar of Rapture. Pelagius was walking up the stairs, wondering if she would be angry for interrupting her.
Before he had a chance to speak, she stood up and faced him.
“This is no place for a mortal. We are about to join battle against the Mazken. You'd best stand aside.”
“I am lord Sheogorath’s personal emissary!”
“My pardon, Emissary. I am at your service. We are preparing to sweep the Mazken scum from Cylarne. Perhaps Sheogorath sent you to help us?”
“I must relight the flame of Agnon.”
“Only the servants of Sheogorath can light the Flame, by kindling the Altars of Despair and Rapture which feed the Flame. Alas, we hold only the Altar of Rapture. The treacherous Mazken hold the Altar of Despair. We must control both to light the Flame. If you help us seize the Altar of Despair from the Mazken, I will be honored to kindle the Flame of Agnon for my Lord Sheogorath.”
“What are your battle plans?”
“The only way to assault the Altar of Despair is down the main passage between the two altars. It will be difficult. The Mazken have fortified their position. But I am confident that with your help, we can defeat them. Will you help us retake the Altar of Despair, and drive the Mazken out of Cylarne once and for all?”
“Is it truly necessary to use the Main Passage? What about the Underdeep?”
The Aurmazl looked at him, her face filled with disbelief.
“Surely, Lord Sheogorath’s champion will understand the danger of such an attack? The Mazken could cut us to pieces if they knew whe where coming.
“Mirel seemed to believe they do not expect us to come that way.”
“He is a fool. A perfect example of why males do not hold command positions. He has failed to consider the risk of such a plan. Beside, how do I know his scout report is correct? I would rather have sent a more capable soldier, but I can’t miss any of my troops now.”
Pelagius thought for a moment. Kaneh didn’t want to attack because she doesn’t trust Mirel. If he would scout the Underdeep, would he be able to convince her to take that way?
“I’ll scout the Dark Seducer position.”
“That's an excellent idea. They cannot refuse entry to an emissary of Lord Sheogorath. Return at once when you have their deployments. This could make all the difference.”
Kaneh left him. She returned to her prayers. Pelagius moved towards the main courtyard, but Mirel blocked his way.
“Be careful, emissary. The Mazken are without honor. Your status as Sheogorath’s emissary may protect you, but if you get too bold, they might kill you anyway. Good luck.”
The Neutral Scout
Across the courtyard was the gate to the Mazken camp. The Seducer guard looked at Pelagius as he approached her.
“Halt. No mortal may walk the halls of holy Cylarne, and certainly no allies of the Saint scum.”
“What makes you think I am their ally?”
“Do you think I did not see you enter their ground? What kind of guard would I be if I didn’t see that? Now stand back!”
“I am Sheogorath’s personal emissary. I’m only interested in relighting the flame of Agnon.”
“YOU are our lord’s emissary? I’m not… Then you have free passage throughout the Shrine of Despair. You should speak to the Grakedrig Ulfri. Soon, she will lead us to victory against the accursed Golden Saints.”
Our commander. The Grakedrig Ulfri has led us for decades. She has never been defeated by the Aureals.”
She opened the door to the Left side of Cylarne. There was only a large wooden door there, probably leading to the Altar of Despair.
Pelagius entered. In front of him was a large, empty room, with stairs leading further in the Fort. The tunnel took a turn right, where another Mazken awaited him.
“A mortal wandering the holy halls of Cylarne? And a male no less. You are lucky Vika warned us you where coming, emissary. Normally, any mortal wandering these halls is executed immediately.”
“I am here at Lord Sheogorath’s command.”
“Then I am at your service. The Grakedrig Ulfri commands here. You will wish to speak with her, no doubt.
She left. Pelagius continued further in the fort. Soon, he realized the Aurmazl was doomed. The Mazken had at least a dozen Archers ready to shoot the Aureals to pieces. Soon, he was in a large room. In the middle, another stairway led down to another giant wooden door. Again, this place was heavily guarded. Suddenly, another Mazken stooped him.
“Begone mortal, or you will soon find yourself between the Mazken and their prey. A most dangerous place to be.”
“I am the emissary of Lord Sheogorath.”
“I know this, emissary. Vika warned us you were coming. You wish to relight the flame of Agnon for our Lord Sheogorath? Then, perhaps you will aid us to destroy the treacherous Aureals here in Cylarne?”
Suddenly, Pelagius had an idea. If he told the Mazken the Aureals were about to attack the Underdeep, the Grakedrig would redeploy her troops there, leaving the Main Passasge open for attack…
“I will aid you. I will lead Kaneh into a trap. Position your forces in the Underdeep!”
“Great idea, emissary. But why should I trust you? How do I know you will not lead US into a trap?
“I have nothing to say here. Lord Sheogorath wants the Mazken to hold Cylarne, not the Aureals.”
He knew it had worked. The Grakedrig could not know if he was lying, and could not risk neglecting an order from Sheogorath himself. Even if he was lying, she had to do as he said. But Ulfri didn’t say it that way.
“I thank you, emissary. It is a great honor for my kin that Lord Sheogorath finally sees we are his only truly loyal soldiers. Go, and lead Kaneh into the trap.”
She left him, shouting “The Aureals think to take us by surprise! We will teach them what happens to those who trifle with the Mazken! To the Underdeep!”
Most Mazken left, all going down the stairs to the Underdeep. Pelagius returned to the Aurmazl.
Once outside, he saw Vika was dead. Killed by the Aureals. The entire Aureals force was in the courtyard, sword or bows drawn, ready to do battle. The Aurmazl approached him. Her sword was stained with Mazken blood.
“Greetings, emissary. We are preparing to sweep the Mazken from Cylarne. What news do you bring?”
“I have told the Mazken you are going to attack the Underdeep. The Main Passage is nearly undefended.”
“You are truly the champion of Lord Sheogorath. You have it nearly too easy. Thank you. Come with us if you want, or stay here until the Mazken are destroyed. Either way, you have my thanks.”
“Aureals! The path to victory is open! Follow me! For the glory of Sheogorath!”
The Aureals stormed into Cylarne. Pelagius soon followed, but he couldn’t keep up. By the time he got to the large room where he had met Ulfri, three dead Mazken lay dead on the floor.
“Getting here was easy. Now we have to take the Altar. By now, they know we are coming. But they will not stop us now. Aureals, to victory!”
Again, they stormed off, into the Underdeep. Pelagius followed. When he entered, the battle was in full swing, but he didn’t interfere. He was armored and armed, but this was none of his business.
Soon, the Grakedrig and her forces where defeated. The Aurmazl approached him again.
“Victory is ours at last! In no small part to you, emissary. It will be my honor to sacrifice myself on the altar of Despair. Thank you, and goodbye.”
She stepped onto the altar. She pulled out her sword and plunged it into her chest. The flame kindled, lighting the Flame of Agnon at last. Mirel came to Pelagius and said;
Thanks to you, emissary, we at last hold Cylarne. Thank you. Go now, and do Lord Sheogorath’s bidding. Do not be afraid of the Flame. It will not burn your skin like ordinary fire.”
He kneeled, and prayed at the altar. Pelagius left. Once outside, he stepped into the holy fire. It wasn’t even hot. All he had to do now was to make the long trek back to New Sheoth...