Azura's other quest

Clark was vaguely aware of a pink glow in the corner of his bedroom as he woke from a good night's rest. It faded and he paid it no attention, until a voice came from the same general direction.

"Excuse me, are you Clark?"

Clark rubbed the sleep from his eyes, which began to focus on a dark-skinned female figure where the pink glow had been. The wings and tail told him it was one of Azura's Winged Twilight messengers.

"Azura wants you to come back to Moonshadow. She said that if you didn't want to, I should persuade you any way I could. Would you like to be persuaded?"

"As long as she's not in any hurry."

"What kept you?" asked Azura.

Clark thought the Twilight was blushing, but it's hard to tell with their dark complexion. He answered Azura for her.

"You told her it was important, not urgent. She did her utmost to make sure I'd come."

Azura raised an eyebrow.

"Now I'm here, what do you need me to do?" Clark continued.

"I need you to help me find my guard captain. She's a Daedra Seducer, of course, like the others; just one with a bit more initiative than usual. Normally, that's a good thing, but it seems that it's given us a problem to deal with."

"When you brought my Crescent back, I may have monopolised the males of the court a little, making up for lost opportunities. And she's the sort that doesn't complain, she just does something about it. In this case, we think she went off looking for alternatives around the island. There are a few caves and tunnels that harbour imps, and possibly she's found a male one."

Clark had only encountered the small neuter imps, and he wasn't familiar with any others. Azura explained that imps were like ants, bees and termites. Most of them were sexless workers, but there were a small number of males, larger than the usual ones, that served the queen. Azura wasn't sure what a queen imp looked like. It could be just a larger version of the regular ones, or something gross and bloated like a queen termite. Anyway, she wasn't the issue here. The drone imps were about human-sized and male enough for the Seducer's purposes.

"The Daedra Seducers have magical capabilities that make them almost irresistable when they use them. I'd expect they'd work as well on an imp as a man or mer. That's how they hunt, when they need to, but keep them well-fed and they'll just do it for pleasure."

"The unknown in all this is what the male imps can do. You know that the workers use elemental damage spells, so we'd expect some use of magical powers, we just don't know what that would be."

Clark recalled an encounter with one of Nocturnal's Seducer guards. She'd used her spell on him, thinking he was an intruder in the palace. His outfit had reflected it, and she'd found herself helplessly attracted to Clark. Nocturnal had "rescued" him by dispelling the magical compulsion, but it had been fun while it lasted.

He told Azura about that incident, and the Daedric Princess looked alarmed. "What if the imps can reflect spells? Who knows what would happen. You'd better find her quickly!"

Clark suggested that he ask Nocturnal to use her crystal ball to help them search, but Azura didn't want to bother her sister with this. "She's too busy with her hunt for Artifacts, and we can do it for ourselves. You know how to use a scrying ball, don't you?"

Clark had to admit that was not one of his capabilities. He'd never learned the spell, as he'd not had any use for it before. "Then I'll teach you," Azura declared.

Azura had one of the Twilights fetch a crystal ball, and she placed it in Clark's hand. "Now put your other hand here. Feel the difference - hard, cold and resistant; soft and warm and compliant. You need to make the crystal ball more like the other. Bend it to your will. Now concentrate!"

"But what if I..."

"Got it all backwards? Do you really think I'd let you even start to make that mistake? This will help you concentrate on getting it right, and it lets me know how you're doing. Of course, with your slight telepathy, and my being a Daedric Princess I'd know anyway. ... Good, now look into the ball and see what's showing for you."

"I think your plan has backfired after all," Clark told her. "All I can see is a pair of rather large, firm and uncovered breasts. Not yours, but they do look rather inviting."

Azura slipped back into his mind and helped him adjust his field of view. "I have to see this through your eyes, as the crystal ball is yours now, and only you can see through it. That's her, but I don't recognise where she is. It looks like a cave, but that could be anywhere on the island."

Azura pondered a moment and continued. "Your describing them as merely inviting, rather than compelling, or anything irresistable, suggests to me that she's not using her power. Still, it might not work through the ball, and you do have your spell reflection to protect you. Who knows? Regardless, if she's showing her wings, and all that, then she's aroused, or hungry. There's not a lot of difference."

"I can't see anyone else. Is that a limitation of the scrying, or does it mean there's really nobody with her?" Clark wanted to know.

"Partly. The scrying spell keeps her at the center of your attention, but it doesn't prevent anything else from showing, if it's in the right direction. See if you can change your viewpoint. She looks just as good from the rear."

Clark wasn't certain if Azura was helping him with that, but he did manage to do what she asked. It was as if he was there in the cave with the Seducer, invisible, and walking around peering through the distorting optics of the ball. He could only look in her direction, but he could do it from any angle, close up or more distant. What he really wanted was to look into the tunnel she was facing, but her wings were in the way. He thought he could see another pair of wings in the shadows of the tunnel, but he wasn't sure.

"If there are other wings, it's probably an imp, like we thought. What's she doing?"

"Just staring into the darkness. She doesn't look angry, or frightened, or anything that gives me a clue how she feels."

"So we don't know if she's being kept under a compulsion spell, or if she really wants to be there. You'll have to go and find out."