Vestige of Void – LV3Posted: September 6, 2015
LEVEL 3: The Ruby Song.
The Daggerfall Refuge was a large, underground sewer system, essentially, re-purposed for the sole purpose of promoting and allowing the ease of illegal activities. Had this been back home in Tristain, Louise would most likely have reported it to the Princess Henrietta, most certainly the Crowned Queen by now. But as this was not home, and Lousie had no idea about her future…
‘It’s actually kind of nice here,’ Louise thought as she looked up at the massive, sprawling, wooden structure in the center of the place. Karlieah shook her out of her thoughts, then, and dragged her over to a small stall set up in the side of the place.
“No, No, I Don’t BUY stolen Goods! Nooo…!” The grey haired, redguard woman behind the stall looked serious for a moment, and then laughed. “Oh Just kidding you! Of course I do!”
“Hey there, Ashiyana,” Karlieah smirked as she and the older woman bumped fists, and then did some sort of secret handshake motion that went by too fast for Louise to catch. “I got somethin’ for ya to launder, maybeh.”
“Anything for you, Karly,” Ashiyana, the red guard fence, smiled. “Isn’t it just amazing what falls off the backs of wagons?”
“In this case, not really,” And then Karlieah pulled out the giant ruby, and placed it firmly on the counter, causing Ashiyana to take in a sharp breath in surprise.
“Where did you get this?” The woman asked.
“I traded a guy for this,” Karlieah answered. “‘E stole it frum a guy who stole it frum a guy who prob’ly, most likely, stole it frum yet anotha’ guy.”
“That’s almost certainly the case,” Ashiyana said in a low whisper as she gently picked up the massive Ruby and turned it over in her hands. “Does… As far as you’re aware, does it have a name?”
“As far as Jakarn told me? Nope.” Karlieah shook her head.
“Jakarn… Hah!” Ashiyana laughed. “I should’ve known his luck would have uncovered something like this eventually.”
“Um,” Louise spoke up. “You look like you’ve seen it before.”
“Yeah, wot is it that’s got you so willyspooked?” Karlieah asked.
“I need to verify it first, but… if I’m right…” Ashiyana looked her Bosmeri friend in the eye and said, very seriously, “this rock is priceless.”
“Priceless?” Karlieah raised an eyebrow. “That’s impossible. No way a rock like that isn’t worth somethin’.”
“‘Priceless’ as in ‘worth more than you can imagine,’ right?” Louise asked.
“Exactly that,” Ashiyana nodded as she went into the back of her shop with the gem stone, and then planted it firmly in the center of some large magickal apparatus.
“Woah woah woah,” Karlieah’s eyes widened. “Wot are you doin’ with dat enchanters station, Ashy?!”
“Verifying it,” Ashiyana said as she calibrated the enchanting station, and then ran a simple pulse of magicka through the Ruby.
Even as far away from the encounter as Louise was- or maybe because of her unique, soul-less status- she could feel the raw magic resonace that occurred a moment later. Karlieah as well reacted, so it was more than likely the first one rather than the second.
“By Yi…!” Karlieah didn’t even finish her exclamation, for a moment later, the giant ruby began to glow a warm, welcoming red.
“Oh by Oblivion and the Divines…!” Ashiyana exhaled in awe. “Karlieah, I don’t know how you managed it. But damn if you didn’t pull off the impossible.”
“What is it?” Louise asked. “What’s the giant ruby supposed to be?”
“It’s not a Ruby,” Ashiyana corrected immediately. “Not exactly, anyways… It’s… It’s a Soul Gem.”
“What?” Karlieah was so surprised her exclamation came in the proper spelling. “Ye’re tellin’ me that thing’s a Soul Gem?”
“Not just any Soul Gem either,” Ashiyana beckoned the two to come behind the counder. “Come look at this.”
Louise and Karlieah went into the back of the stall, and looked over the still glowing Ruby colored Soul Gem. Up close and personal, they could see the things that had been removed long ago by normal polishing processes: Cut lines. Four of them, to be exact, each intersecting at four precise points to form the shape of a fist-sized diamond on the flat top of the surface of the giant ruby.
“Ladies,” Ashiyana breathed out, “what you’re looking at here is the largest surviving chunk of the Chim-el Adabal.”
“No way… yer kiddin’ me…!” Karlieah stared at the rock.
“Um… what is the Chimal Adbal?” Louise flinched at her mis-pronounciation.
“Sorry, I forget some people don’t know the legends,” Ashiyana replied. “Chim-el Adabal… according to legend, a drop of blood fell from the Heart of Lorkhan, and landed in an Aylied well. The magicka within fused into that blood and formed a crystal. The Aylieds then carved out a small piece of that rock. And though that small piece was large on its own, it was small compared to what remained unused.” Ashiyana traced her fingers along that diamond shape. “Whether they intended to make more, and never had the time; or they simply only wanted to make a wearable sized piece… Regardless, it was fastened into an Amulet when Akatosh, or Shezarr in some stories, made a covenant with Alessia and her descendants. That Amulet became known as…”
“The Amulet of Kings,” Karlieah finished with a gulp. “The key to the Ruby Throne.”
“And you’re… sure this rock is where the amulet came from?” Louise asked, not quite understanding the importance of the giant ruby other than it was the key to the empire.
“I worked in Cyrodil for a time,” Ashiyana informed the girl. “Back before all this war nonsense started up and Emperor Varen Aquilarios disappeared. ” She took a still breath. “They recovered what was thought to be the Amulet, but they wanted to make sure it was the real thing. I knew some verrification rituals, and so they came to me for help with confirming it. I just used the same spells I did then on this thing…” She nodded at the Giant Ruby. “The glow’s lasted just as long, if not longer due to it’s size. Trust me when I tell you, this is the real thing.”
“Y’know, you never told me why you left Cyrodil,” Karlieah frowned. “This why?”
“After Emperor Varen disappeared, the Tharns came after me in an attempt to silence me from telling anyone what had happened.” Ashiyana shook her head and muttered, “I faked my death, went underground. I thought I’d escaped this Gemstone’s curse.”
“‘Parently not,” Karlieah frowned as she observed the large gemstone. “So wot do we do with it?”
“That, I’m afraid,” Ashiyana said as she began to remove the Giant Ruby from the enchanting station, “is something you’ll have to decide on your own. But I can tell you your options.” The stone began to stop glowing once it was removed, and handed back to Karlieah. “There’s the obvious option: Ditch it. Let fate carry it on the winds. Don’t let anyone know what the hell it is.”
“Jakarn’d be pissed off if I did that,” Karlieah replied.
“Less obvious option,” Ashiyana continued, crossing her arms. “Keep it. Since it seems fate went to all the trouble to get this thing to you, there might be a reason for it. I’m not a Moth Priest, so I wouldn’t know what the Elder Scrolls say on it. If you want to risk heading to Cyrodil and stealing one of the Alliance Scrolls to get it read? Be my guest. I wouldn’t recommend it, though.”
“Any other options?” Louise asked.
“Well, there’s the really dumb and stupid option,” Ashiyana gave a slight smirk. “You could prarade the thing around and tell people what it really is. Say you recovered it from an ancient ruin. Although, I’d recommend starting that sort of thing further north, like Camlorn. You’re bound to draw the Tharn’s eye on you if you do something like that.”
Karlieah laughed. “Oh, but if we did that, I could giv’ tha Tharns’ somefin for yer troubles, Ashy.”
“I was considering that,” Ashiyana nodded slightly. “And I’ll admit the prospects of seeing the Tharns chase after the thing the Amulet of Kings was carved from is amusing.” She grew serious. “But there’s no telling what would happen if they got their hands on it.”
“Tell y’u wot, Ashy,” Karlieah smiled as she put the stone into her carrying bag. “Whatever we decide, I’ll write ya, or come for a visit.”
“If you go with the stupid option, don’t do either,” Ashiyana shook her head. “I’ll hear about it soon enough and I’ll be going to ground… er, even further to ground than I already am.”
While they were down in the Fugitive Refuge, Karlieah bought Louise a new set of armor and a new magi-staff. “Because the old ones were startin’ to smell, and dat staff really doesn’t look like it’s gonna cut it much longer,” Karlieah insisted.
That done, and changed into new clothes, they found a small shop selling food, and they settled down to eat a moderately on-time breakfast.
“So, it’s yer stone, wot do you want to do wit’ it?” Karlieah asked.
Louise frowned. “You really don’t have to pay me with it for the armor,” She said. “The new clothes were enough.”
“Yeah, but, wit’ a rock like that, you could buy your way into the nobility!” Karlieah said. “Chim-el Adabal or not, this thing’s worth a fortune!”
Louise mused on that thought. While it was tempting to regain her noble status in a new world… ‘Since magic is a much more common thing in this world, it just doesn’t feel the same,’ Louise frowned at that thought. ‘Feel the Same? Since when did I care about that?’ Back home when at the Academy, she would have done anything to keep her Noble status, lack of magic be damned!
… So why did she feel so ‘meh’ on the idea?
It wasn’t like she couldn’t be a noble again? Wasn’t one of the oldest tricks in the book to marry a rich person? …But what if you were *already* a rich person…?
“Hey, Karlieah?” Louise asked.
“Are there any famous adventurers who go out and collect rare and valuable artifacts?” Louise asked.
“Quite a few, yah,” Karlieah nodded. “Why?”
“Any of them close to us- relatively speaking?” Louise asked.
“You mean geomaphic’ly?” Karlieah mused for a few moments. “Yeah, I can think o’ one. Ol’ Lady Clarisse Laurent. She’s quite famous among the Covenant for treasur’ huntin’ and digging up lost relics. Last I heard she was working up north near tha’ boarder, lookin’ for som’ jewled crown.” She frowned, “Why, you got somfin’ planned?”
“Well, if we show up out of nowhere with a giant magic rock that’s part of the Amulet of Kings,” Louise rationed. “Surely there’s going to be Major shockwaves, right?”
“Well, that’s a given, ya.” Karlieah nodded.
“People might question our authenticity…” Louise thought on it for a moment. “Why don’t we become adventurers like her first? Maybe build up our reputation a bit more quickly by tagging along with this ‘Laureant’ person.”
“Only problem wit’ that is that Lady Laurent is notorious in tha’ underground for stealin’ other people’s work out from under their noses,” Karlieah replied, then, her eyes widened. “Ohhh! I see wot ye’re plannin.”
Louise nodded. “We just need to tag on her coat tails long enough to get her to trust us. To… “Train” us, as it were. Then… we go off on some unknown adventure, find an Alyied ruin- since that’s where this stone came from, right?” Karlieah nodded in confirmation. “And then we claim that we found the stone there IN the Ruin! Bring it back! Parade it around! Make it the biggest discovery of the century!”
“I like this plan, Cheffy,” Karlieah smiled. “I like it alot!” She leaned forwards, “So, How do we begin?”
“Well, obviously, we need to start making a name for ourselves,” Louise nodded. “Simple adventuring and the like!” That was what her Mother had done, hadn’t it? Gone out and made a name for the Heavy Wind, and rose the ranks to become one of the most powerful Square ranked Wind Mage in all of modern history! “We’re going to need to go up north to meet This Lady Lauren anyways, right? So, we go north, do some odd jobs, and get build a name up.”
“We cozy on up to the nobility proper like, right?” Karlieah added on, “Maybe get them interested in potentially knightin’ us to begin with for some greater deed… and then BAM! Sudden fame and fortune with the discovery of the Stone, and then we’re totally legitimately royals!”
“Shall we start here, or Camlorn?” Louise asked.
“Here, definitely,” Karlieah glanced around conspiratorial like, and then stage-whispered, “I heard through the grapevine that there’s been a few murders of the homeless. Town Guards are sayin it’s wolves.”
“Wolves?” Louise’s disbelief was clearly evident in her voice. Wolves? “In the city?”
“Hey, i’s just wot I’ve heard,” Karlieah rolled her eyes. “True or not, what better place to start cozyin’ up to the royals than by solvin’ a murder or six?”
Louise thought it over, and conceded that it was a decent enough point. After all, how hard could it be to find one little lost wolf in the city streets?
Your name is just “Louise” at the moment, and you are seriously reconsidering the descriptor “Little.”