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The Bloodlust

Nerevarine Swords

Of all the killers in this world—the violent men whose lives have been paved with blood and corpses—I hate the Nerevarine the most.

It is not envy of his skill at arms or magic. Although both are powerful and threatening. There are only a handful of people in this world capable of ending my life, and he is one of them. One hand always resting idle on the grip of that infernal blade.

Nor is it his philandering with my daughter, Beyte. Although their shudders of their passion did disturb my preparations for this journey. Nearly broke an entire case of alchemy reagents.

No, I hate the Nerevarine because I gave him immortality—the gift of endless life that so many mortals dream of—and all he’s done with it is assassinated two gods and then exiled himself on the Eastern Continent.

I expected greater things from such a powerful creature.

Still, he is dangerous. I exploded ten Thalmor’s heads and he hardly blinked an eye. But of course, it was foolish of me to expect he would shudder at my power. The man has watched the blood of Almalexia run down the same blade he carries on his hip.

What are a few scraps of brain and bone, compared to that?

He feels the pull of Akavarin’s power, though. That, at least, is enough to sway his emotions. As we drew nearer to Mzinchaleft he became more agitated, tapping at his sword and grinding his teeth. The pulse of that dark artifact filling his head with noise.

I should know, it does the same thing to me.

I never told the Nerevarine what I did to him, exactly. The true price of his immortality. Beyte knows, I suspect. But Willow remains ignorant of both his abilities and my plans: I will use the artifact that Akavarin has discovered to locate the hidden plains of the Netherworld. Beyte will unlock the door for me. And the Nerevarine will open it.

Simple and clean.

But I wonder—now that it is too late—if it was wise to withhold so much from him until the end. Once we reach the lowest depths of that ruin and confront Akavarin, there will be no turning back.

Before the Nerevarine returned, I had considered all of this just a grand experiment. An idle curiosity. But when we reached the gates of Mzinchaleft I began to see this thing in a new light.

For there, I saw the Nerevarine unleash his barbarism on the Falmer.

They boiled up from the surface by the thousands to meet us—hissing and clawing at the ground as we strode through the freshly fallen snow. A great mass of pallid skin and rotting teeth. I cannot imagine what kind of irritation the Nerevarine caused inside of their twisted minds—they recognize the power I buried deep within him.

Kill them. Tear them to pieces. I felt Akavarin order them. They must not be allowed to reach the Orb.

They surrounded us in seconds—a tide of murder.

“Think you can explode all of their heads, too?” the Nerevarine asked casually, as if we were surrounded by nothing more than a few disgruntled bees.

I could only muster a small groan. I had not thought Akavarin would raise so many. An entire army, just like the old days.

The Nerevarine smiled and drew his sword. “Duck,” he whispered.

Then he whipped around in a vicious circle, his blade slicing out from his body in a silver arc. A howl passed above my head as I crumpled into an undignified crouch, and then watched in amazement as the blade detached from the grip of his sword and spun through the air in an erratic blur of death.

It screamed with a human’s voice as it tore through armor and flesh and bone. In seconds—moments, even—a legion of Falmer were reduced to steaming piles of bleeding meat. The Nerevarine’s sword mowing them down like crops. Wave after wave of blood and gore flying up into the air.

But it wasn’t the awesome carnage that has sown the seeds of doubt in my mind. It was the Nerevarine’s face as it happened. He was consumed by the bloodlust. Smiling as the creatures died all around him. The purple mists of the Netherworld leaking from his eyes.

When they were dead, the blade came careening back to him. He held up the grip and it reattached, losing its brilliant silver glow within a few seconds. The metal steamed in the cold air. He looked down at me.

“You should not have brought me back, Dunmer.” The purple glow faded slowly from his eyes. “Tamriel was a better place without me.”

He sheathed his sword and strode into the ruin.

This is not an experiment that I can simply abandon and jot down a few notes on. Move to the next phase. The next lesson. Somewhere along the way I have lost control. Perhaps I never had control, and my power has been an illusion for all these hundreds of years. A flickering shadow cast by an unpredictable flame.

I fear that I have doomed us all.

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3 comments on “The Bloodlust

  1. Pingback: Ten Thalmor in the Woods | Bus Ride Fantasy

  2. Pingback: A Soul Apart | Bus Ride Fantasy

  3. Elspeth Aurilie
    June 15, 2013

    Damn. A lot of times when I read your story the references back to the Nerevarine make me want to play it again. Of course, I still do. But then I remember that no one in the game was quite this poetic. Though I suppose there was always that potential–which becomes realized in writing such as this. Excellent.

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This entry was posted on April 2, 2013 by in Skyrim Fiction.
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