Rayne yanked Martin along, dodging past Daedra, and cutting down any she could not evade. He stopped her, as they both laid eyes on the Daedric Prince Mehrunes Dagon himself. They both backed up, and Martin tugged her shoulder, forcing her to face him.
"We're too late
Mehrunes Dagon is here. The barriers from the Dragonfires, protecting us from Oblivion, are gone!"
Rayne looked puzzled.
"Can we not cast him back to Oblivion?" she spoke, not realizing how insane that sounded. Martin shook his head.
"I don't see how. Mortal weapons may hurt him, but now that he is physically in Tamriel, they have no power to actually destroy- him."
Rayne's eyes fell to the Amulet of Kings. "What about the Amulet?"
Martin thought about it for a moment, his eyes widening with recognition.
"Wait. Yes, the Amulet was given to mortals by Akatosh
it contains His divine power
But how to use this power against Dagon? The Amulet was not intended as a weapon."
Rayne dispatched two more Daedra that came running for them, as he thought. Martin sighed, his eyes held grim resolve in them.
I have an idea. One last hope. I must reach the Dragonfires in the Temple of the One."
Rayne's eyebrows furrowed. "B-but you said there was no use
He put a hand on her shoulder, squeezing it slightly. "You'll just have to trust me. I now know what I was born to do. But I'll need your help; I'll have to get past Mehrunes Dagon somehow."
Rayne didn't' t like this idea at all, but what could she do? She frowned, fighting back the fear of losing him.
"I'll get you to the Temple." She spoke, already turning from him. He stared up at Dagon.
"Then I'll do the rest
Lead on my friend."
Rayne dashed in front of Martin, jumping towards a broken peace of the city wall, and leaped off of it, her body vaulting for Dagon's head. She whispered something in the language of the Divine, and embedded Liro'Neki completely into the Daedric Prince's eye. The Prince roared, reeling back, two of his six arms reaching for her. She fell from the air, landing in a crouched position and covering Martin while he entered the Temple. She dashed inside, throwing a fireball into the door. The flame would keep the remaining Daedra back for the time being
She heard Martin's footsteps behind her. She feared this moment more than she feared anything in her life. It was playing out just like the nightmare
She turned to face him, as he put a gentle hand on her shoulder.
"I do, what I must do. I cannot stay to rebuild Tamriel. That task falls to others." He smiled at her. "Farewell, You've been a good friend, in the short time that I've known you. But now I must go
the Dragon waits."
She couldn't help but feel a slight lump in her throat, as he turned from her, stepping into the middle of the Temple. She ducked for cover as Dagon came crashing through the roof, roaring. Several rods of light pierced through Martin's heart and lifted him off the ground, before divine flames erupted all around him. As the flames consumed his body, the shape of a dragon began to form, and before Rayne's very eyes, the Avatar of Akatosh appeared.
The two would be Gods roared at each other, and Akatosh dove into his enemy. His fiery form flew through the demon prince, charring both the outside and inside of his body. As the great dragon came around and landed, Dagon took his chance, burying his axe into the dragon's chest, and raking his claws across its face. Akatosh stepped back to keep from losing his balance, and Rayne had to forfeit her hiding place, for fear of getting crushed. Before Dagon could make another move, the Avatar took in a deep breath, letting out a righteous torrent of fire into the demon prince's face. The demon prince reeled back, clutching for his charred face, and Akatosh took his chance, biting into his throat, and ripping out a large chunk of it. The Demon Prince roared, his head drooping in exhaustion. Akatosh spread his wings to their full, magnificent span, letting out a stream of radiant light from his maw. The Light pierced through Dagon's body, and he roared, as his very essence was cleansed from the world.
As the last vestiges of the Demon Prince vanished, Akatosh drooped his mighty head, his wings falling, and hanging limply. He breathed heavily, his glowing amber eyes meeting Rayne's.
Her breath caught in her throat as she heard Martin's voice echo within her thoughts.
for everything Rayne. You are truly a valued friend to me. If there is one thing I can still promise to you
it is that I will return to you."
The tears she was holding back spilled over, trailing down her cheeks, her eyes wide. Her mouth was agape at what he had said. The Avatar of Akatosh almost seemed to smile at her, before mustering the last of his strength, roaring his victory to the skies. The divine fire around his body faded, and slowly his body solidified, turning to stone. A remembrance to his sacrifice
She fell to her knees, shuddering.
?"she whispered, her tears falling onto the white stone floor. Icy rain began to fall, as she wept for him. The fires around the entrance to the temple died away with the rain, and High Chancellor Ocato came racing in. Rayne stood, wiping her tears away.
"What happened? Where's Martin? I must congratulate him! Mehrunes Dagon is defeated, cast back into the realm of Oblivion. We've won!" He nearly shouted, not seeming to fully grasp Rayne's broken appearance.
"Martin is gone." Rayne spoke, her voice weak, the lump in her throat jumping up and threatening to unleash more tears.
The Chancellor blinked at her, raising an eyebrow. "W-what do you mean..gone? We saw the temple dome explode. The Avatar of Akatosh appear
th-that was Martin?" he said, some disbelief in his voice.
She looked up at the statue of the Avatar.
he shattered the Amulet." She said, her voice nearly a whisper.
"The joined blood of kings and gods. The Amulet of Kings. The divine power of Akatosh."
Rayne could feel her eyes stinging as more tears threatened to escape.
a-and Martin's blood too
" she whimpered. The Chancellor frowned. "Then Martin is gone
With his sacrifice, the gates are sealed, forever. Mehrunes Dagon and his ilk can never threaten Tamriel again."
Rayne looked at the ground, taking in a deep breath to control her emotions. The Chancellor gave her a consoling look.
is dead. But he died an emperor, and a hero to rival Tiber Septim."
Rayne agreed whole heartedly. To her, Martin had been far more than just that.
She straightened, standing to her full height. "What of the Empire?" she questioned, trying to distract her distraught mind.
The Chancellor's eyes seemed calculating. "This victory was not without cost. We've lost Martin Septim. What an emperor he might have made. His sacrifice, was necessary, but it leaves the Empire without an emperor. I don't know what is in store for the empire now. There are surely troubled times ahead. But now is not the time to worry about the future. Let's just be glad we're alive!" he explained, ending his sentence with an exstatic smile.
Rayne couldn't agree with that statement, as she walked towards the statue of Akatosh, putting a hand against it. The stone still eminated with some warmth from the fire that danced within. The Chancellor followed her, stating in a loud, proclaiming voice.
"Let us not forget you. Without you, none of this could've been remotely possible! In my capacity, as Lord High Chancellor of the Elder Council, I hereby proclaim you Champion of Cyrodiil! And, as a small token of gratitude, for your service to the Empire, I have ordered a suit of Imperial Dragon Armor made for you!" he said, making a grand gesture with his arms.
She knew just how much that was supposed to mean, and she bowed her head to him.
"Thank you, High Chancellor. I am far from ungrateful, but I find it hard to rejoice at the moment
" she stated honestly, her hand still on the statue.
He nodded in understanding, and turned to leave. As soon as she knew he was out of earshot, she spoke to herself, look up at the statue.
"I'll hold you to your word, Martin. I will wait for you
" she stated, taking a small amount of comfort in the warmth she felt at her fingertips, before she pulled her hand away from the statue. She stared up at it, saluting it.
She made her exit, before anyone else could run into her. For many days, none could find her, until she reappeared in the Imperial City, donning her full suit of Imperial Dragon Armor. She rode on the back of her armored steed, Whisper, her sleek black fur and armor reflecting the bright sun of the midday sky.
The citizens of the city, from beggar to Imperial guard cheered for her, as she rode to the Temple District. When she reached her destination, she dismounted, stepping into the Temple Ruins.
There was a figure waiting there, and when Rayne got a good look at her, she noticed it was Tar-Meena, from the Mages Guild. The Argonian peered up at the statue of the Dragon God, before striding towards Rayne.
"Greetings, Champion of Cyrodiil. It is good to see you. Many of the citizens hear were unnerved by your sudden disappearance." She said, smiling.
Rayne smiled apologetically. "After the battle
I..was not in the right state of mind to properly acknowledge the public. I needed time on my own."
Tar-Meena watched as the woman's eyes met the Dragon statue's, nodding her understanding.
"Yes. I'm sure. He meant a lot to you."
Rayne blinked at that statement, staring boggled at the woman.
"What? I'm nearly fifty years old, the signs of affection are all too obvious to me." She said, barking with laughter. She pulled a decent sized, pearl colored egg from the satchel at her hip.
"Speaking of which. I was asked by a mysterious figure to give this to you. It seems to be a dragon egg. I envy you."
Rayne peered at it, taking the egg. The moment she touched its surface, an image of Martin shot across her mind. She looked at Tar-Meena questioningly. "Did you see the man's face?"
The Argonian shook her head. "No. But he had a prominent Khajiit accent. And his tail gave him away as one of their race." Rayne stared at the delicate pattern on the egg's surface. From far away it was unnoticeable, but from just inches away there was a breath taking pattern on it.
"Anyway. That was all I came here for. I do wish you luck in your future travels. Perhaps you would be interested in joining the Arcane University someday soon."
The Argonian exited the Temple, followed by Rayne. She set the egg deep into a saddlebag, making sure it was secure, before mounting and galloping out of the city. She rode to Bruma, ascending the peaks of the Jerall Mountains, and riding into Cloud Ruler Temple. Thankfully, Jauffre had left her quarters undisturbed, and she headed straight for them. She laid the egg on her desk, perusing over its meaning for a several minutes, before turning and lying down.
She stayed within the walls of the Temple for three months, training and assisting the Blades in political matters.
On a freezing night, during a raging blizzard, Rayne found herself quite excited.
The egg she had been given shook, and rolled with activity, and she watched it like a cat would watch a feather toy.
The brilliant pearl surface cracked, and the egg exploded, a small, milky white dragon whelp bursting out.
" she breathed. The little creature fumbled with getting its feet underneath it, pushing itself up with its wings. It caught sight of her, and let out a quiet chirping noise. It caught onto the concept of legs quickly, hopping off the table and lunging for her. She caught the little beast, chuckling as the whelping screeched, using the claws on its wings and feet to climb up her torso and perch on her shoulder. She peered at it, petting its kitten sized head with her finger.
"Who might you be?" she said, her voice sounding truly happy for the first time in months. It cocked its head at her, sniffing her hair. She chuckled, thinking of Martin.
"I think I shall call you Nitram. After a dear friend of mine
" she cooed, pulling a bit of dried meat out of her pocket and tossing it into the little whelp's mouth. It caught it, gobbling it up quickly,and chirping at her expectantly for more. She spent the night playing with the little creature, and feeding it.
Months passed within the Temple as she raised her new whelpling. The other Blades within found it astonishing that there was a frost dragon in their temple, and would often assist her in training the beast to scout out targets, and how to fight without harming its allies on the field of battle. Oddly enough, Nitram only tolerated Rayne to handle him, often biting, or freezing any other Blades who attempted to teach him anything. After a year and a half, she left, Nitram and Whisper in tow. She did not know what the world had in store for her, now that it was so free of strife. The trio traveled across the land through the years, and Nitram slowly grew. Four years after they had left, and joined up with the Fighters Guild, Rayne was called back to Cloud Ruler Temple. Jauffre had passed on, and she was there to attend the funeral, and help the Blades through a grim time. Soon after, Baurus was named successor, and became the new Grand Master of the Blades. She spent a very small amount of time with the Blades, before leaving once more, to resume her duties within the Fighter's Guild. It was two more years after that, until she retired from the Fighter's Guild, seeking to hone her knowledge of Destruction and Alteration magic.
She sought out Tar-Meena, who, after having the proper recommendations from other Mages Guilds throughout Cyrodiil, was happy to induct Rayne, and her young dragon Nitram into the Arcane University. There, she studied under the tutelage of the Argonian woman for two years. She became a powerful battlemage, and her dragon learned new ways to harness and control his own ancient magic. She helped the Mages Guild through a daunting crisis with Necromancers, and at the end of it was approached with becoming the new Guild Master to the Mages guild. She politely refused, and Tar-Meena took up the staff of the previous Guild Master. After all, if there was any mage Rayne knew that deserved the right of Guild Master, it was Tar-Meena. Soon after Tar-Meena's ascension to Guild Master, Rayne departed, and decided it was time to see if the people of Cyrodiil really remembered her. She entered herself into the Arena, and for six months she flew above the ranks, and in the end, utterly destroyed the Arena Grand Champion with her extra knowledge of fighting techniques from the Fighter's Guild, and her new found talents in Destruction magic from her training in the Mages Guild. It was a fun break, and after some time off, taking a break to relax in Leyawiin, she decided to assist the Thieves Guild in helping the Lower Class of the world. She threw down her sword and shield, taking up her Master's bow and old leathers, in place of the Imperial Dragon Armor she was so used to wearing. Together, her and the Thieves Guild brought justice to those who deserved it, and in the end The Gray Fox himself gave her his mask, and returned to a life of normalcy. She found wearing a Daedric artifact risky, and rode to Cloud Ruler Temple. Baurus had been doing very well as the Grand Master of the Order, and he welcomed her. There were a surprising number of recruits to the Order, and she decided it was time to help her old comrades. She and Nitram helped to train the new Blades from both humanoid, and immortal threats, Nitram often acting as a Daedra attacker in their sparring matches. Though there was no threat of the Daedra ever coming back in large force, there were still the stragglers that wandered in from their plane from time to time. Some of them, very big stragglers.
Soon, a crisis arose, and there were rumors of a new Mythic Dawn cult that had formed. Baurus released Rayne to act on it, and single handedly, with her blade, and her mighty dragon, she hunted every last member down, until once again the Mythic Dawn was nothing but a ghostly rumor. The bloodbath had lasted for six months. Sadly, Rayne's honorable steed Whisper passed away from old age. It was a painful loss for her, but Nitram was quick to try and ease her sorrows. The dragon knew he could not replace the grand war steed, but the privleage to fly above the clouds of the great Cyrodiil was definatley a good way to help her through the loss. For half a year, Rayne worked to train him to get used to flying, and before she knew it, the two flew as one. A specialty trader had a saddle fit for him, and soon, Rayne was acting as a Watcher for all those who needed her.
On a warm, sunny day, they chose to fly for the Imperial City. Nitram patrolled the city outskirts, while Rayne visited the Statue of Akatosh. The temple ruins had been cleaned up years before, but they never built a roof over the new temple, choosing to let all who could see the grand monument, see it.
Rayne pushed the heavy wooden doors open, stepping up to the dragon statue.
"Thirteen years it's been
and still you haven't returned." She spoke, some sorrow to her voice. She put her hand to the dragon statue's leg, as she did so long ago, but felt only the cold, solid surface of stone.
She sighed, frowning. "I suppose, after all this time, there's really no point in hoping anymore, is there?" she asked to herself. She thought she could feel eyes on her, and turned around, glancing around the Temple. It was empty, and after a moment, she said a prayer to the Dragon God, and exited the building. She let forth a sharp whistle, and soon, Nitram was landed softly at her feet. She smiled up at him, and he lowered his head, rustling her hair with his long snout. She chuckled, placing a hand under his scaly chin, and patting his head with the other. She swung herself up into the saddle, and braced herself as Nitram slammed his pinions, lifting off into the air. They were miles away from the city in minutes. She patted the dragon's neck.
"Curious isn't it? Do you think the dead can keep their promises, Nitram?" she called, over the noise of the wind. The dragon let out a noise that was akin to a growl, and a purr, folding his wings to his body and diving. She wrapped her arms around his neck, hanging on for dear life at the unexpected drop. If not for the saddle, her legs would be dangling in the air helplessly.
Mere feet before crashing into the ground, Nitram unfurled his wings, gliding about twelve feet off the ground at insane speeds. He slammed his wings hard to slow himself, and dug his talons into the ground. He had to bounce a couple times, before his claws could get a good enough grip to actually stop his momentum. Once he had come to a complete stop, he craned his head back to look at her. Rayne was gripping tightly to his sinewy neck, her eyes wide.
"Warn me next time you're going to do that, please." She murmured quietly, sliding out of the saddle. The dragon seemed to ignore her comment, biting at the leather bindings of his saddle. He looked at her, letting out a short series of growls. Rayne raised her eyebrow.
"What, you want me to take your saddle off?" she asked, very puzzled at how her dragon was suddenly acting. The dragon nodded his huge head to her, and she got to the task of unbuckling, and unfastening all the different parts to the saddle. She got all of it off, dragging it to the side of the road. She took the time to look around, and judging by the trees, she assumed she was somewhere in the Cheydinnal County. The dragon breathed out a deep ,resonating sigh as he was freed from his bindings. He stretched his wings, his blue tinged, crystalline scales glimmering in the midday sun. Rayne peered at Nitram searchingly. The frost dragon stared into her eyes for a moment, before spreading his wings, and ducking his head underneath them. A blinding white light enveloped the dragon, and Rayne was forced to shield her eyes. When she reopened them, she couldn't believe her eyes. Martin stood inches from her, wearing the smile she had missed so much. Her eyes widened, and she was frozen. He wore the same armor as he did when they fought together for Bruma, but instead of gold and silver, it seemed to be made of some kind of gleaming white metal, that gave off a celestial glow of its own. He reached a hand up to her face, placing it under her chin so she'd look him in the eyes.
"If you truly consider me dead, I suppose they can keep their promises." He said, and Rayne felt weak in the knees at hearing his voice after so long. He chuckled at her. "And, if we ever fly again together, I suppose I'll warn you before I decide to dive for the ground."
Rayne's mind boggled at the idea that Martin had been with her this whole time, ever since the white dragon had hatched.
really meant it when you said
" she said, trying to work her mouth for the right words. He brushed some bangs from her face, placing a hand on her shoulder. "Of course. I did say I'd come back didn't I?" he said, mimicking what she had told him years before. Her chest felt warm, as she felt her heart racing, recalling the conversation they had the day she returned from Sancre Tor.
"Yes. You did." She touched his cheek, her fingers tingling at the sensation. "I can't believe I had started to doubt
" His hand came up to take hers, and he squeezed it gently. Her eyes were wide, and she could barely concentrate on the world around her with her racing heart beating in her ears.
Before the man had much chance to move, Rayne wrapped her arms about his waist and tugged him close, bringing her lips to his in one swift motion. His eyes were wide for a moment, before he straightened, tilting her chin up as to not break the kiss, closing his eyes and pulling her close. The two broke from each other after several moments, Rayne brushing some of Martin's hair from his face, her hand lingering on his cheek.
"I love you." She said. He smiled at her, knowing she had been waiting to tell him that for over a decade. He pulled her into a gentle embrace, nuzzling his nose into her hair.
"And I you, Dearest Rayne." He whispered. Rayne's cheeks turned pink, and she wrapped her arms around him, burying her head into the crook of his neck, letting the tears fall. He rubbed her back gently, kissing her forehead. He knew they were tears of joy, and he himself felt tears pooling at the rims of his eyes. He had never been so happy in his life. Rayne took his hand, and they both strode down the long road, unsure of where their new path together would lead.
It is said the two passed into Legend, ascending to the celestial halls of Tiber Septim, among all of the Dragonborn.