Part 11 - Restoration

For once, we didn't need to use the tonal inverter to shut the staff down. When it had completed its transfer, it did so of its own accord. Vivec semmed to be back to normal, or at least Canon Llevule assessed his condition as such. I wasn't at all sure what a normal Vivec was supposed to be, having arrived after he was already suffering his loss of energy.

"Remarkable! No ordinator or armiger could have done any better! You uncovered a Daedric spy in our midst, brought a Living God back from the brink of death, and saved all of Vvardenfell. Well done, my friend!"

"I did what I could," I responded.

"As my next sermon shall proclaim, 'Modesty is the false cloak off a flatterer or the sincere garment of the humble.' Again, you have my gratitude, and that of all my people. Indeed, even those who rail against the Tribunal owe you their lives."

He pondered for a moment or two and continued. "You have done much for me and for Vvardenfell. But as the warrior says, 'Do not think the battle is over when the enemy is dead. The hearts and minds of the people must also be won.' I must ask you for one more service."

"What do you need me to do?" I asked.

" 'Gratitude is its own reward,' I once told the crowds in Ebonheart. But I've found that some of my followers appreciate something more tangible. Help me reward those who aided in the saving of Vvardenfell so we can reassure my people."

I think I understood what he meant. If we proclaimed a great victory over an unseen foe, the people would be even more concerned.

We had to stage-manage a celebration of returning to normal, with only the events that everyone had seen being part of our story. The Baar Dau instability was probably the most obvious to everyone in Vivec City, but that could remain unspoken, and they'd all assume it was the reason.

Vivec sent me to retrieve the Archcanon's ring from his office. Then I met with him on the plaza in front of the temple, where he had already started the ceremonies. He handed me a bag, and told me that as each name was announced, I should take out the first thing I found in it and hand it to them.

Overseer Shiralas was first, and I handed her a blessing stone, humming with renewed power. Vivec promised her a new, stronger stone for each canton in the construction, implying that he'd ensure the work was not interrupted again.

Barilzar received some gems, charged with mystical power, for his experiments.

Canon Llevue received the Archcanon's ring. It took him a few moments to understand that he was being promoted to the office that went with it.

And finally, I, an outsider, was named hero of Morrowind, and given a modest piece of armour as my token. It wasn't something I'd use, being more suited to Seryn, and I understood what he was doing. He was rewarding us jointly, as if we were an item, which was pretty accurate, after all.

There was, of course, no mention of Barbas, Clavicus Vile, or even Azura. Invoking their names would have made this all a much more serious matter, and public order meant playing it all down.

I accepted my token, and with it the ttle of "Champion of Vivec". Which apparently meant that I wasn't "an outsider" any more. Seryn was still an Ashlander, but she'd stepped a little closer too. I made sure to keep my arm around her to reinforce the show of unity.

We went to rent a room for the night. There was a place in the St Delyn canton that had been recommended to me, on the Waistworks level.

The woman there made us an interesting offer. We could just rent, but we could actually buy a room, for a remarkably small sum, instead. It may have been part of becoming Champion of Vivec, or it could just be a way to get travellers to put down roots in the new metropolis. Either way, it was a deal that was hard to refuse.

It was unfurnished, but that meant we got to choose what went in there. Starting with a nice big bed, of course. I let Seryn choose most of the pieces, as I suspected Azura would be finding me work elsewhere before long. It was important tht Seryn felt at home here, if I wasn't around.

When all the furnishings were in place, it was time to check out the bed.

"Clark, when Azura was speaking to you through me, I got a good idea of what she was thinking, and it seems that ... that she knows you as well as I do."

"And ... ?"

"How can I compete with a Daedric Princess?"

I interpreted that as "I'm feeling insecure, tell me what's special about me." If only she'd asked it that way, I could just have answered "everything", and got back to work. But she didn't, and answers like "Just keep being you" would only make her ask me again.

So I decided to give her the straight answer she wasn't really wanting. "You can't even think of competeing! Azura will take that as a challenge, and probably cheat! You would be much better advised to share, or take turns. After all, she's immortal, and can afford to wait for hers."

"What kind of sharing did you have in mind?" she asked, but it wasn't her own voice, and she'd started to glow. "If i join with Seryn, then it's no better than she'd get on her own, and she might not like me taking control for that."

"The alternative," Azura's voice continued from beside the bed, "is probably preferable. And I know Clark likes it better that way."

"Did I summon you?" I asked.

"Of course you did. When Seryn mentioned my name, this possibility was one of the first things that crossed your mind. And I don't blame you. It was fun last time."

"And by the way," she continued, "You almost summoned Nocturnal, too. But she's busy already."

Because Azura had been listening to us, she knew how Seryn was feeling. So she was a little shorter than the Dunmer, and definitely cute rather than awesome. She's always a bubbly blonde, whatever size she decides to be, and smaller was a good choice for the circumstances.

I don't know what Seryn's expectations were. I imagine most peple expect her to be just like her statues, if not quite so large. But statues all have a solemn expression, and she had the most wicked grin you could imagine. With her chosen stature, she most resembled a Breton, with everything rounded - ears, chin, buttocks and breasts, with her nipples like small domes on the larger domes.

Seryn was all angles, pointed ears, pointed chin and almost conical breasts where the nipples were just a change of shade at the tip.

The one thing they had in common was the perfect balance of soft and firm.

"Did you remember to bring the Crescent?" I asked Azura. I suspected she hadn't, but when I looked on the bedside table, there it was. Of course, that was a cue to have Azura explain all about it, and maybe tell the tale of Lhasi and her theft. I could remember telling my side of the story to Azura, of course, but nothing of the Khajiit herself.

Of course, the two women put me to work, while they discussed the whole subject of involuntary spell-casting and the sensible precautions required. Seryn's ability to hold a conversation despite my best efforts reminded me of someone else, but I couldn't find her in my memory, no matter how hard I tried. It was a skill I admired; that much I knew.