For a time, I was sure that they were both still here. At one point I’d see Silica. Others, I’d see Argo. Sometimes both on the same spot.
Eventually, I came to the conclusion that I was seeing things and was ignoring the fact that they’d both disappeared from thin air.
In the weeks following that strange, almost paradoxical disappearance of both Argo and Silica, I was left alone with Faraniel more often than not. When I wasn’t off researching ways of finding out how to reopen that mystical portal, she and I would share our sorrows downing drinks in some of Tamriel’s finest bars and taverns. Through the Mages Guild, we traveled freely between the alliances, despite the ongoing war.
And then Faraniel heard rumor of a fragment of the Amulet of Kings surfacing in the Daggerfall Covenant.
A “Fragment”? I’d asked many times as we traveled by boat to the town of Wayrest. I knew that Aburn Tharn had absconded with the thing after we’d killed Molag Bal, but surely… Surely the idiot hadn’t Broken the damned Amulet after escaping!
Despite my insistence upon a neutral stance, Queen Ayrenn had come to speak to me privately about the rumors on the day we’d set out.
“If the Covenant really has a fragment of the Amulet of Kings, it could lend a legitimacy to their reign that the Dominion and the Pact do not have.” Ayrenn expressed her concerns simply, not as a Queen, but as a person. “If that is how destiny decides to play this hand, then it is fine… I’m willing to deal with that kind of ploy on the field of politics. However, if Molag Bal’s spies hear of this, neigh, if the remnants of the Heritance decide to use this against us…”
If this was true- if the Covenant actually had a fragment of the Amulet of Kings- then enemies from all walks of life would seek to use this fact against pretty much everyone. Aldmeri Dominion, Ebonhart Pact, Cyrodillic Empire, and even the Daggerfall Covenant alike would face fire from all sides to get control of that fragment of the Amulet of Kings.
“I trust you to do the right thing in the end,” Ayrenn said. “With your companions gone… you’re the only one I can trust to do the right thing when it comes to dealing with this Amulet fragment. Steal it if you must- destroy it if absolutely necessary. Give it to me or keep it for yourself. But whatever you decide, I know it will be the right choice.”
And so Faraniel and I had departed to Wayrest, knowing that Queen Ayrenn was concerned for the safety of Tamriel as a whole.
If this rumor was true, we would be facing a challenge that could be impossible to overcome.
The Fragment of the Amulet of Kings was being held on display in the Wayrest Palace, and would be officially unveiled today. It truly was the most prominent of displays, being held in a cloaked box at the center of the throne room’s large plaza.
Curiously, Faraniel pointed out to me, was the Bosmer Girl standing guard around that cloaked box that so many were staring at, awaiting for the cloth to be removed. “When would it be removed?” So many children asked impatiently. “When? When? When?” The Bosmer girl standing guard just answered their questions with a “When tha Lady G’utier makes ‘er grand entr’nce.”
She had a curiously thick accent, which even Faraniel and I were caught off guard by. It wasn’t the standard bosmeri accent I was used to, either. She definitely didn’t have the peculiar twang of the Coldharbour dialect either. It was… different. Yet familiar.
I’d heard it somewhere before, but I just couldn’t place it then.
And then music began playing from the band, and magical spotlights shone upon High King Emeric, who spoke aloud, surprising everyone by being a simple, humble announcer as he listed a long string of achievements and titles, the top most of which being that he had been personally saved from Septima Tharn’s clutches by this person’s hands.
“Geeze, you’d think she’s as well traveled as you and the Rat were,” Faraniel whispered to me as the High King concluded.
“Finally! I present to you the Lady of the Hour, Daggerfall’s greatest hero… Lady Louise Gautier!”
And then, the Bosmeri Guard threw a small smokescreen orb at the ground- one I’d seen many people use to great effect before- and while the smoke dispersed through the air, there was a burst of lightning- not too dissimilar to the effect that happened when I summoned a Storm Atronach- that made the smoke billow out in thickness before fading away, revealing…
“Huh,” I said aloud, very much surprised.
“Welcome!” A nordic girl- she couldn’t have been but a few years older than Silica had been- threw her arms out wide as she greeted her guests. Her slightly pink-hued golden hair rippled out as a small blast of wind cleared the smoke from the room. “Welcome Everyone!” She had a dwemer constructed staff strapped to her back, and her clothing was of the same quality as any Noble’s fancy clothing. “Thank you all for coming.”
The thing was, I’d seen this girl before. Twice, to be exact. Once when escaping Coldharbour in the first place- just another face in the crowd, then. And once a second time during that final run against Molag Bal’s Planar Vortex, she’d been hanging around some guy from the Fighter’s Guild… Darien, wasn’t it? Yeah, Darien Gautier. Was this his… wife? Sister?
“My name is Lady Gautier,” the girl introduced herself. “A long time ago, while exploring an Ayleid ruin with the late Lady Laurent-” there were sniffles from a man who looked familiar. Had I met him somewhere in Coldharbour? “-I discovered a chamber, hidden away from normal foot trafick. It appeared to be a vault. But a vault unlike any that has been discovered thus far in any other ruins! Even the way I found inside remains a mystery!” She then drew her staff from her back, and began moving it through the air, drawing visual imagery to match her story, “To this day, we have all heard the stories of the fabled Amulet of Kings. How it was made from a drop of crystallized blood, and carved into the Red Diamond that the song we all know so well sings of.” She wiped those images away and smiled at the gathered crowd. “Today, I am proud to present to you a long lost relic of history. The Amulet of Kings as we all know is that- an Amulet. Something that you wear around your neck, but still, very large for an amulet.”
I’d admit, having seen it for myself, it was quite large for a necklace.
“But have you not wondered?” The Lady Gautier began to tell her story, crouching low to look a young child in the eyes. “What happened to the pieces it was cut from? Where the parts that gave it that distinctive diamond shape went?”
Next to me, a Breton man who looked like he hadn’t even bothered to trim his beard for this event gulped.
I paid him no further attention but a sideways glance.
The child the Lady Gautier was talking to nodded. “Yeah! Where did it all go?!”
“I’m glad you’ve asked,” And so the Lady Gautier stood tall, and strolled over to the cloaked box which, as I really truly looked at it for the first time, appeared quite larger than I’d been expecting for something related to the Amulet of Kings. And that was…. fitting, if she was going with this where I thought she was. “Because as you all know. The Divines are massive beings… a single drop of blood is larger by sheer comparison to our own blood droplets.” And then she gripped the top of the cloth. “I give you… the base stone that the Amulet of Kings was cleaved from. I give you….” She pulled the cloth away, revealing a massive ruby gemstone about the size of a man’s head. “The Ruby Diamond, Chim-el Adabal!”
“You’ve gotta be KIDDING ME!!!” The unshaven man from before let out a cry of surprise, anguish, and… was that a hint of approval in his voice?
“Ah, Jakarn,” The Lady Gautier smiled at the Breton man. “It’s nice to see you again. I’m glad you could make it on such short notice.”
The man, Jakarn, just looked at the girl with a gabsmocked expression as he futilely raised and lowered his right hand in an attempt to find the right words to say.
Honestly? I was more transfixed by the sheer size of the giant stone in the glass case. That… how exactly does a rock the size of someone’s head count as a “Fragment” of the Amulet of Kings??