Part 6 - Not the Nerevarine

I took the wayshrine back to Ald'ruhn, and Seryn was there waiting for me. She looked a little uneasy, which was exactly how I was feeling too. I'd figured out on the way back, that if I presented the case against Chodala, as an outsider, it might not carry much weight. What I really needed was someone who was a member of the tribe doing it. And the only candidate I knew was her. Could I ask her to oppose her own brother?

"Could you help me with a rather difficult problem?" I asked her.

"I will if you'll help me. You see, I know that I'm going to have to present the case against my brother, and I'll need your help. Hopefully, you've got evidence I can use from your trip with the Wise Woman, but it won't be easy for us. Chodala has the Red Exiles backing hime up, and they've intimidated most of the others into supporting him. We'll have to be very convincing."

Of course I agreed.

"Now what did you need?" she continued.

"Can you help me buy a guar? I don't know one end of those from the other."

We went to Vivec City to buy my guar and I showed her the scrolls I'd obtained from the Failed Incarnates. Her eyes lit up when she saw those.

"Perfect! It won't be me speaking against my brother, but them. They can't be intimidated, and they have the respect of the tribe already. But I'll still need your help selecting which one to use when. I suppose you talked to them, when you got these?"

Seryn persuaded me to ride the guar back to Ald'Ruhn, rather than take the wayshrine. She pointed out that I'd better learn where nobody was watching me, except her, or my reputation would suffer. I suspected that she didn't want to share the inevitable amusement with anyone else, but her point was valid enough.

I did fall off a couple of times, and she helped me back up, and explained what I was doing wrong. With a straight face, most of the time. Fortunately for me, it wasn't a long trip, just enough to get the hang of the basics.

Arrival at Ald'ruhn

Apparently my riding a guar up to Skaar scored us a few more points with the tribal elders. Adopting the Ashlander ways was a good sign that I was sympathetic to their cause. Perhaps that was why Dovrosi had suggested it.

We went inside, and Chodola was already at the dais, ready to make his claim. He turned as we entered, surprised to see his sister taking the opposing position. He said as much, too.

Then he turned back to the Wise Woman, seated in judgement at the high bench. "Even the Outlander can see that I am the most powerful Ashkhan. My strength alone proves that I am the Nerevarine."

I handed Seryn the scroll of Incarnate Ranso, and she nodded. She used the scroll to summon the Incarnate, and he did all the talking for her.

"As a warrior and as an ashkhan, I was the most powerful of my age. But for all my strength, I failed my people. Don't follow my example."

He faded back to his rest in the Cavern, and Chodala spoke again.

"The faithless Houses dare to threaten our land, but we shall meet them in battle and I will lead us to victory."

Again I handed Seryn a scroll, which she used. Incarnate Aduri gave our response.

"I thought the path to the Nerevarine was a path of blood and battle, but my love of war was my undoing. War is not the way."

I could see that Chodala was getting rattled.

"These Failed Incarnates prove nothing! I need no counsel but my own, as befits my status as the Nerevarine!"

I smiled at that, as it led perfectly to our next move. I handed Seryn the final scroll, that of Incarnate Danasi.

"I refused to accept the counsel of the Wise Women and the Ashkhans. I thought I knew best, but I knew nothing. That is not the way of the Nerevarine."

Dovrosi kept a stern, contemplative expresion, although I was sure she wanted to cheer. She could now pronounce the judgement she wanted, with the backing of the ancestor spirits.

"Seryn and the Outlander...their arguments have merit. Chodala, we deny your claim. You are not the Nerevarine."

I thought we'd made a strong enough case to convince everyone, but Chodala didn't think so.

"This proves nothing! Look how the staff protects me. I am the Nerevarine!" and with that, he ran from the chamber. Seryn started to follow, but some of his Red Exile followers came in through the same door and blocked her way.

They also attacked us. I sent Seryn out another way and faced them myself. I suspect I had some help from Azura in the fight, as they went down more easily than I thought I could manage alone. Also, they didn't send everyone into the room at once. I had two groups of three weaker "troops" and then their Gulakhan, Yus-Zahten came in alone. I even had time to heal myself between fights.

I found Seryn outside, but Chodala had vanished. As I walked over to her, she rose up off the groound, started to glow, and a moon and star appeared over her hands. Azura's voice spoke to me, through Seryn.

"Mortal, I would have words with you"

You could do that without involving her, I thought. Azura must want Seryn to know what she's telling me.

"Chodala has been revealed as a failed Nerevarine, but that hasn't dissuaded him from his reckless course of action. As long as he wields the staff, he shall be unstoppable."

So what should we do?" I asked.

"Time is against you, mortal. Even now Vivec, that pompous usurper, grows increasingly weaker. As much as I deplore him, Vivec cannot fall to Chodala's vile magic. There's another power at work here, one I can't quite put my finger on."

"There must be something we can do."

"Return to Vivec City. Do what you can to aid Vivec. And pay heed to my faithful vessel, Seryn. I name her Champion of the Moon and Star. She will play a pivotal role in ending her brother's march toward godhood - if she survives."

I agreed to return to Vivec City, and Azura released Seryn. I understood now what she wanted to achieve. Not only had she told Seryn of her new status, but the little scene had attracted quite a few of the tribe to come over and witness it. They'd have the news all over Ald'ruhn in no time. And she'd told Seryn to be careful. She wasn't immortal, like me, and perhaps I needed to be reminded of that, too.

Seryn was still recovering from the experience of being "possessed" by Azura.

"That was amazing! As a mage, I'm used to assessing my magicka reserves, so I know how many spells I can cast. That just felt like I had unlimited power! Azura's, of course, and she was in control, so it wasn't mine to use, but still ..."

"If it's any consolation," I told her, "Azura can't use it here, either. She can only act through someone who belongs in this realm. In Moonshadow, though, unlimited pretty well describes it. And she can use some of that power to help us, but we have to wield it for her. I think I had her help back inside with the Red Exiles. And since Azura just reminded me that you are in danger from those people, so we'd better stick together from here on."

"So we go to Vivec next?" she asked.

"Yes, Azura wants me to check on Vivec, and do what I can to help. That's probably going to mean finding a way to stop that staff from draining his energy. Chodola is just aware of its ability to protect him, and doesn't know what else it's doing when he uses it. So we avoid him until we're ready to move, and that way he shouldn't have any need to use the staff."