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By TwentyFists

Note: This story takes place in Hammerfell. I have never played an Elder Scrolls game that takes place in Hammerfell, and so I have had to use my imagination while creating this story. Please do not leave messages saying that a certain place or monster doesn't exist or isn't found in Hammerfell.

The sun beat down mercilessly on the Hammerfell desert below. Its blazing stare had long since turned the land below into an inhospitable country, fit only for hard, strong men and women who could bear its intense heat and rough ground. In the small village of Tsarek below, the Redguard villagers toiled away under the sun's gaze. They saw it as a beneficial parent that kept them alive and taught that its burning rays were its way of affirming its parentage over them. After all, the sun kept away the night, and the beasts came out at night.

Samekh stood in the village square, talking with the elders, the craftsmen, and the women of the village as he lunched. He was training as a spellsword under his aging master, Qoph, taking instruction as a warrior of the village rather than as one of the farmers working out in the irrigated fields. He bore a naturally solemn face, with the typical Redguard eyes, nose, and skin color, and with the same typical wiry Redguard hair. He smiled as he watched one of the village elders tell the story of Ababa to a group of boys. It was an old story about a winged monster that terrorized the people of the land by spreading disease and poison wherever it went, gobbling up people as it flew by. It was typically used by the elders as a warning that, "If you ever should choose not to obey your parents, Ababa will come and eat you!" Samekh grinned as he thought about his childhood days. He knew now that Ababa was not real, although tradition held that it lived in the swamps to the south, which were infamous for their virulence.

Samekh felt a sudden swelling of pride in his chest for his village. It was small, and by Imperial standards poor and weak. However, Samekh knew that his village's worth came from its faithfulness to Yokudan traditions, and for that he was thankful. Samekh took one last look at the villagers in the village center, the walked back into Qoph's hut to continue his training.

"Exceptional form and accuracy today, Samekh," Qoph said after their sparring match. "Your skill with the crescent blade is increasing continually, and it is the last thing you need to master to become a full-fledged spellsword. Therefore, I am pleased to finally present you with your own crescent blade, the one forged for you when you started your training."

Qoph stood up and took out a long object bundled in brown cloths. He cast them off to reveal a sword in its sheath.

"Thank you, master," Samekh said. He took the blade and examined it. Its sheath was a simple black hide sheath, and its handle was jet black as well, with a pommel and crossguard studded with emeralds. Samekh drew the blade out. It was made of a type of hardened steel and was engraved with metallic patterns that ran intricately up and down the length of the flat of the blade. The blade itself ran from the floor to reach Samekh's mid-thigh, and the handle of the blade made the sword reach from the ground to touch the top of his hipbones. Yet, when Samekh wielded it, the sword was light enough to be swung with one hand and still be kept under control.

"You've been able to strike consistantly and exercise control over your strikes," Qoph said. "Just remember to keep your guard up and your elbows in and you will be fine."

"Thank you, Master Qoph," Samekh replied.

"It's nothing really. The sword does not make the man; the man makes the sword. Make sure to make the sword into a tool of virtue and righteousness rather than a weapon of evil and destruction. Now come, let us study the wisdom of our Yokudan ancestors and learn to master more of their magical skill."

A few days later, Samekh was at work enchanting his sword. Due to the village's lack of proper materials, Samekh had to use a traditional method, which involved leaving the sword in a magical bath of magical-stimulating herbs and salts for a few hours while it was being enchanted.

While he waited for the enchanting to be finished, Samekh practiced using his training broadsword and practicing magic. At other times, Samekh sat and listened to the village outside. As the time for the evening meal approached, a humming sound filled the air. Samekh sat up and listened. The sound quickly grew in volume until suddenly a cry rent the air. "It's Ababa!" a voice screamed. Samekh stood up as though electrified. He snatched up his training broadsword, as his crescent blade could not be touched until the enchanting was finished. Samekh sprinted outside and looked up to glimpse a monstrous sight.

A massive creature that could only be the demon Ababa flew through the sky. It appeared to be a dragon, although it had six legs and two pairs of wings that flapped at different intervals. It had no neck and a lizard-like head, and, unlike a dragon, it had no scales. Instead, it was covered in a mass of black wiry hair, and where there was no hair, it had pale fleshy skin that looked as though it was the skin of a diseased human. It had a long tail that it used like a rudder to steer it in the air, which was topped with a barb that appeared to be made of iron.

Samekh watched in dread as a group of the village warriors attacked it, shooting arrows at it and throwing spears. Ababa turned almost lazily in the air towards it. A thick viscous liquid issued from its jaws and descended on the warriors below. As it touched them, the warriors screamed while the demon's deathly saliva ate away through their body tissues, reducing their organs to a paste and bleaching their bones. Ababa descended onto the paste, lowered its head, and began to drink.

Suddenly, Samekh saw Qoph charge out of one of the huts and race towards the demon. His master's courage inspired Samekh to action. He lifted his sword and charged. As he sprinted towards Ababa, several smaller creatures that followed Ababa to feed off of what it didn't eat rushed at him and Qoph, and they was forced to turn and fight. An orm, a massive snake, hurtled towards Samekh, virulence streaming from its maw. Samekh lifted his hand and hurled a blast of lightning at it. He lept to the side, lightning streaming from his fingers. As it rushed past, he slashed outward, catching it in the side. His broadsword tore an enormous gash in the orm. Samekh sprinted towards it and stabbed through the roof of its mouth, slaying it. A lindorm slithered towards him, flailing its claws around and trying to poison him with its breath. He sidestepped its claws and head and slahsed downwards, severing open its neck.

Samekh turned and saw the frozen bodies of the creatures that attacked Qoph, slain through his freezing spells. Samekh caught a glimpse of Qoph's flapping robes and began to run after him.

Qoph reached Ababa first. He stabbed out with his crescent blade and drove its razor point into Ababa's side. The demon lashed out with its tail, catching him with its side and flinging him to the ground. Ababa reared up, intent on driving four of its massive claws through Qoph's stomach, but the old spellsword summoned a wall of ice to slow the creature. He rolled to the side and stood up, but Ababa quickly lashed at him with the barbed tip of its tail, tearing a massive gash in his stomach, which inflamed almost instantly because of the pestilent evils of the demon's body. Samekh reached Ababa then and slashed at its legs, trying to cut them off and take it down, but the demon bashed him with its heavy head. It shook its massive body to shake off the damage done to it, then, after snatching up the mortally wounded Qoph, it hurtled off into the night.

A few days later, Samekh hiked south through the plains that lay between him and Ababa's lair. The demon had not attacked again, but Samekh now sought the monster as a matter of personal vengeance. He wished to recover Qoph's body, for he knew that Qoph must have been dead. He had placed a Mark, one of the last spells he learned, on the center of the village, then, after putting on his armor and grabbing his crescent sword and a spear, he left Tsarek for the southern swamps.

Samekh heard a leathery flapping above his head, and he saw a lone wyvern circling above. When the creature saw that he had seen it, it hurtled downwards like a thunderbolt, intending to gore him with its long cruel talons. When it was nearing him, Samekh drew his sword and hurtled a bolt of lightning to stun the creature. When it was within striking distance, Samekh stabbed up into its unprotected belly, delivering a mortal wound. The vile creature howled in pain, and, before it could fly, Samekh discharged a massive blast of electricity into the gap in its stomach, channeling the electricity through its blood until its innards fried and it collapsed.

A wyvern, one of the minions of the Demon of Pestilence, Samekh thought. I am close.

Samekh's heart began to race as he thought of the battle that was in store for him, with a giant monster that spread plague with its very breath. Taking a deep breath to slow his racing heart, Samekh headed off towards the southern horizon

Samekh stood at the mouth of a vast cavern, which he believed was the lair of Ababa. He had encountered little resistance as he neared the cavern, which worried him. The legends said that only the most capable warriors could reach Ababa's lair, but Samekh had only fought the wyvern, two giant scorpions that burrowed out of the ground to attack him, and an Imperial patrol. He had seen plenty of corpses, not all of them human, but still... Samekh unsheathed his sword, which glowed from the lightning running through the length of the blade, then entered the cavern. As soon as the day's light disappeared and he was forced to cast a light spell, a curious singing noise reached his ears. The legends called a cavern in the swamps the Bard's Crater because of a singing noise, and Ababa was sometimes called the Plague Siren due to musical-sounding noises it made, so Samekh inferred that this Bard's Crater was the lair of Ababa.

Samekh took the tribal warrior shield off his back and held it in his free hand. He heard a scraping noise up ahead and, as he turned the corner, an orm lashed at him, attempting to catch him in its serpentine jaws. Samekh leapt to the side and bashed the orm in the head with his shield, then beheaded it before it could attack again.

After wiping the blood from his sword, Samekh continued onward, deeper into the gloom and dark. He passed pools of water that had not seen the sun for hundreds of years, and that were full of huge writhing serpents. All the while, the musical noise grew louder and louder. Samekh grit his teeth and continued on. Over the noise, Samekh heard a shuffling sound. He rounded a corner and was face to face with new foe.

It might have been human once. However, it was no human now. It was like some grotesque mockery of any human race. It was humanoid in shape, with human skin. However, its skin glistened as though covered in slime. It had no nose or eyes, only dark hollows where those features would have been. Its mouth was a gaping, black, lip-less maw from which emanated a foul odor, like that of a corpse that had died from plague. Its body was covered in mold and plague boils, and its limbs and torso bulged at spots where noxious gas gathered within its body, which stretched its skin taut against it body. Samekh guessed that it was a victim of Ababa's plague poison that had been reborn by the foul bacteria in the pestilence demon's breath.

The plague zombie swung a huge knobbly arm at Samekh. He nimbly dodged to the side, and the monster's arm crashed uselessly to the ground. Smakh swung his crescent blade and sliced off the zombie's arm. Vile black blood oozed out of the maimed creature's limb, but it continued on as though it were not wounded. Samekh discharged a bolt of lightning into the creature and sent it hurtling back, smoking. Samekh walked towards it, intent on delivering the killing blow. Suddenly, a blast of foul gas shot out of the creature's mouth like a fireball. It exploded near Samekh, and suddenly he began to feel ill. Samekh bent over and began coughing violently. He retched, and a foul dark-green liquid issued from his mouth. Through bloodshot eyes, he watched the plague zombie struggle to stand up. It did and began to walk towards him. Samekh desperately reached through his knowledge of magic and pulled out the spell he wanted. He raised a shaky arm and opened his hand. A blue light issued from his hand, and immediately, Samekh began to feel better. The restoring spell was fast acting, and the plague and poison left Samekh while his body quickly healed from the damage. Samekh stood up and opened his hand. A freezing bolt blasted out from his hand and struck the zombie, sending it flying backward, dead.

After a brief rest, Samekh continued on. He walked through the dark recesses of the cave until he encountered a group of the plague zombies blocking his way. Samekh quickly covered his nose and mouth with the sash that protected its wearers from the desert sand. The zombies shot out the poisonous gas, but Samekh was unaffected due to the sash he wore. He began blasting frost from his hands. The zombies fell before him until all died, and he was alone. He walked on.

The musical sounds were almost unbearable by now, when Samekh suddenly entered a vast chamber that was dimly lit by crystals in the walls. In the center lay Ababa, asleep atop a vast hill of bones. The music issued from its open mouth, and next to it lay the body of Qoph, dead, just as Samekh suspected.

Samekh sheathed his sword and pulled the spear that he had been carrying off his back. He crept up, close to Ababa, although the demon's snoring was very close to driving Samekh insane. Samekh was right next to the demon. He waited a heartbeat, then stabbed Ababa quickly and forcibly.

The demon's snoring abruptly changed to a wail of pain and anger. Samekh unsheathed his sword and slashed at Ababa's legs. The lightning blade tore through the demon's limb and sent it flying off. Samekh slashed again, driving a deep gash through Ababa. He grabbed Qoph's sword, still embedded in the demon's body, twisted it, and wrenched it free. Lightning and frost traveled across Ababa's body as the Demon howled. With a sword in each hand, Samekh slashed and stabbed, a whirlwind of destruction, mortally wounding Ababa many times over. He hacked off its legs and tail, tore rents into its wings until they were in tatters, and brutally severed its tail. He withdrew his spear from the demon's body, and drove it again through its open mouth. He did not stop until the bloodlust cleared from his vision and Ababa's body had become hunks and strips of meat across the cavern floor.

Samekh picked up Qoph's body and left through a massive tunnel that he did not enter through, emerging into the Hammerfell sunlight a new man.

The End