551 Septimus the Fool
A lifetime ago, Nurina was married. Of course, that was long after her encounter with Jon in the realms of Chaos. Her husband was the Imperial Sorcerer, Septimus Signus.
As a man and wife, the two had a good life ll long ago and they moved around from Cyrodiil to High Rock to Skyrim back to Cyrodiil again. They were two sorcerers of the High Society of Mages, a World Expert on the Elder Scrolls and the last ever Third-in-Line Disciple of Divayth Fyr. It was a time for Nurina when she was looking to change her life and also get back on the Daedric Princes, Septimus also helped in her quest by researching the Elder Scroll she had and they bonded really well.
One of Nurina's goals was to have a child of her own, to have a true blood family once again but her body couldn't produce such a thing as life. The Chaos in her blood was a curse only she could handle. Long before all that, in order to handle the Chaos that would have killed her for sure if it stayed in her body, Nurina figured out a method to mutate her bloodline properties into that of a Chaotic nature giving her full access to the potential of such power… but the most cringe-worthy rule was applied to her, Power always has a Price.
Unable to make Children, immune to Undeath Spells, impossible to mind control, extremely harmful blood fluid; Nurina became a supernatural being that shouldn't exist in such a world, even the Daedra frowned upon her existence.
Only Sithis was the one obscure enough to bless her obscurity.
Imagine it, the only befitting deity you can have is no one but good old Sithis. It wasn't as if Nurina liked the Daedra or the Aedra either.
Either way, her life was bound to be abnormal and no matter how strong or genius her husband was, he was just a human.
Nurina remembers that night well, she remembers when she found out she cannot bear children and apologized to him but he was too consumed in his work to the point of obsession, he was no longer the person she once knew. Abandoning each other was for the best as Nurina thought back then. When she returned back and asked about him years later, he seemed to have vanished from the face of Nirn.
And after more than fifty years, here he is again. Old, crazed, delusional and over 100 years old yet still looked as if he was 70.
The answer is clear, Daedra.
"Which Daedric Prince is behind this?" The only one she could ask is Jon who clearly was aware of Septimus' situation.
Jon refused to verbally answer and telepathically transmitted the answer to her mind.
Jon's answer made all the sense in the world. Hermaeus Mora is a Daedric Prince that snares the souls and corrupts the minds like most Daedra but the minds he aims for are the priceless ones, the minds with potential to think, discover and research. The minds that hold the knowledge he seeks and envies.
Nurina wasn't pleased to hear that. She was infatuated and almost on the verge of going on a rampage of her own. It is true that She and Septimus are long since separated but what ruined this marriage was also the Daedra. It was as if they had no one to torment except her.
Nurina looked at Septimus and then looked away. The man is obsessed to madness and those whose minds are ensnared by Hermaeus Mora are far gone. She also harbors no feeling towards her ex-husband other than pity and guilt, she can't admit it but she can't run from it. Jon could tell what Nurina was feeling and almost wanted to bang his head against something hard for ruining her mode this much but that wouldn't fix anything. Instead, he stepped forward towards Septimus and sat on one knee beside the man.
"What's up, old man? Heard you are the one to speak to about if I want to find… an Elder Scroll." Jon said as he tried to shift Nurina's attention.
And he was successful, she tilted her head slowly and narrowed her eyes. Septimus was also triggered by the last two magic words. In his rummaging madness, he looked at Jon with almost a fraction of lasting sanity and widened eyes before his madness kicked in again and spoke in the most strange of words.
"The Empire. They absconded with them. Or so they think. The ones they saw. The ones they thought they saw. I know of one. Forgotten. Sequestered. But I cannot go to it, not poor Septimus, for I... I have arisen beyond its grasp."
Septimus looked as if he was trying to convey something but that pissed off Nurina even more.
"What is this old fool talking about? Septimus, what are you doing in this godforsaken icebox?" Nurina lashed out at Septimus.
"Oh, Nurina! Sweet Nurina! Innocent Nurina! Always impatient… this ice entombs the Heart. The bane of Kagrenac and Dagoth Ur. To harness it is to know. The fundaments. The Dwemer lockbox hides it from me. The Elder Scroll gives insight deeper than the deep ones, though. To bring about the opening." Septimus replied.
"Oblivion! What are you saying, old man?" Nurina was about to rage but Jon patted her shoulder.
"He's saying he needs an Elder Scroll to open this Dwemer Construct." Jon pointed at the large Dwemer Lockbox lying in the ice chamber, "He believes that inside is the Heart of Lorkhan."
"That's impossible!" Nurina retorted.
"Impossible? If so, how can Septimus hear its whispers? Its calls! Aetherius knows, Nirn knows, you know, I know that the [Heart of You and I] seeks to be Free. Heart of Freedom. Beyond their Magic, beyond their enchantment, there is the Heart… Waiting… Calling…"
Nurina looked at Jon who shook his head denying the existence of the Heart of Lorkhan in the Dwemer Lockbox.
Septimus was right about something, the Heart of Lorkhan was trapped since the Dawn itself. It was never freed, not even once… that until almost 207 years ago, exactly the same age as Nurina.
Back then when the Nerevarine walked Tamriel, he went inside the Red Mountain to defeat Dagoth Ur or as the Nords call him, the Demon of Ur. Dagoth Ur was a Powerful Entity that was once a Chimer who served Indoril Nerevar, after the demise of Nerevarine and the apotheosis of the Tribunal, Dagoth was cast away along with his house until they resurfaced two centuries ago to steal the power of the Tribunal and claim the Heart of Lorkhan and its powers. The Nerevarine's role was to stop that and in order to do so, he had to set the Heart of Lorkhan free.
The Heart was trapped in the Red Mountain by Auriel who fastened it to an arrow and shot it in the sea. It was then discovered by the Dwarves who put a sealing enchantment on it so it doesn't escape. After the seal was broken, the Heart simply faded from the perceptible and touchable existence but make no mistake, it is the Heart of the World as one was made to satisfy the other.
There is simply no one able enough to control the Heart and the only trace the Heart left exists in the Heart Stones which are specific ores that radiate with its Padomaic Energy. Also, Jon Dare is the only person in the world able to Harness this energy through the Tools of Kagrenac which only he possesses.
Back to the folly of Septimus. Nurina was in the mood to argue with a madman despite her usual chill attitude and tried to convince him that there is no Heart of Lorkhan in the lockbox. On the other hand, Jon left them and went to examine the lockbox on his own.
From the first glance, there was one word on Jon's mind and that was…
Not even the [Skeleton Key] would open this. To use the [Skeleton Key], one must know exactly what he is Locking or Unlocking. If Jon faced a material barrier he can't go through, he would use the [Skeleton Key] to break the bonds of the structure itself and cause it to disintegrate while paying a large amount of Magicka in the process… but that can't happen here.
The Dwemer Lockbox is not only covered by an unyielding piece of metal but there was an Aetherium Mechanism, a Magical Barrier, a Mind Barrier, a Time Barrier and even a Runic Randomization Array which even Jon can't fathom. Of course, these are the things Jon could recognize and there were all sorts of Spatial Barriers after that. Wulfur may fall in love and forget the world if he sees this.
If Jon gets the chance to study this Lockbox, he will be able to completely reform the Magical structure inside the tower and create more fascinating stuff.
"Alright, there is no more to see here." Jon said and turned away to face Nurina.
"I said, there is no Heart of Lorkhan here!" Nurina kept shouting.
"No! Foolish Nurina, it was hidden away. Not by the Dwarves, you see. They were already gone. Someone else. Unseen. Unknown. Found the heart, and with a flair of the ironical, used Dwarven trickery to lock it away. The scroll will give the deep vision needed to open it. For not even the strongest machinations of the Dwemer can hold off the all-sight given by an Elder Scroll." Septimus replied calmly.
"I am not giving you my Elder Scroll, you dumb fool."
Jon sighed from the tiring conversation and decided to intervene.
"Okay, there is one thing for certain here. This lockbox is tightly locked and won't open unless we use an Elder Scroll and a Dwemer passcode." He said.
"Not happening." Nurina refused.
"I am with you but what's inside is the knowledge we need. Someone sealed it inside from Hermaeus Mora and he wants it back, that's why he sent this guy here to figure it out." Jon added.
"Oh! You know of my Lord? You know of my quest? But you can't. He doesn't send, he doesn't call, he doesn't message, he doesn't…" Septimus rambled.
"Nope, he's pretty good with FaceTime." Jon shut Septimus up, "All we need is to take this Lexicon and that Attunement Device to Blackreach."
"How knowledgeable! Indeed! Indeed!" Septimus nodded.
"Black Reach? Isn't that a project you still haven't started?" Nurina asked.
"Yes, it is about time actually." Jon made himself at home and picked up the Attunement Device and the empty Lexicon from Septimus' workplace.
"And where is Blackreach?" Nurina asked.
Jon turned to Septimus and repeated the question while winking to Nurina who rolled up her eyes as Septimus started singing.
"Under deep. Below the dark. The hidden keep. Tower Mzark. Alftand. The point of puncture, of first entry, of the tapping. Delve to its limits, and Blackreach lies just beyond. But not all can enter there. Only Septimus knows the hidden key to loose the lock to jump beneath the deathly rock."
"I love this one."
Jon and Nurina exited the cave after she failed to take Septimus away from his obsession. She asked Jon if he would be alright and he told her the truth. When the time comes… if the time comes and she wants to protect Septimus, she will have to be accurate with her timing.
After a long day, Nurina decided to brood a little over the sea. Jon took his excuse and returned to his home, the Dare Tower. He read a report on the things that the construction team managed to recover from his burnt house and thankfully the basement was intact. It would be understandable since he put a lot of time protecting this place from inside rather than from outside but it paid off well.
There were other reports sent by Jullanar one of them is about the situation in the College of Winterhold. It seems that Alina and the other Masters have been into a deep debate regarding the discovery of the Eye of Magnus and as the discoverer, Alina made sure that the discovery would be attributed to her name and Master Tolfdir. She also insisted on calling it the [Eye of Magnar] rather than "Magnus" which is the Nordic interpretation for the same deity. The Elves were unhappy but Alina was doing it on purpose.
However, that was not all.
A silhouette appeared from a secret corner as it knelt in front of Jon. There is no one who calls Jon by that title except for Jax and Beth but there were also those guys.
Dare Mercenary Corps - Team Zero. The ones known in the underworld as the Black Pigeons.
"The Unit is ready to move, Master. Also, Master Jonrad and Master Tyr are joining the expedition." The agent spoke.
"Father is holding a grudge, of course." Jon nodded, "Anything else?"
"… There was a report that arrived from Whiterun just an hour ago. We intercepted an Imperial Secret letter." The agent said.
"We are not fully sure but the letter is commanding the Legion to search for a certain Object. According to what we know, it is an Imperial National Treasure that was stolen while transported."
"A National Treasure?" Jon tilted his head.
"Yes. The secret command also made it very important to not let any Thalmor agent find the item in question and temporarily pause their movements in Whiterun hold. From what we heard going around between the Legion upper brass, they can tolerate anyone, even a Stormcloak, to find this item but not an Elf."
Jon furrowed his brows.
He never heard of anything like that before.
A Lost Treasure, no Elf can have it, the Legion is making an uproar. It must be a matter of great pride to the Empire, what the hell is General Tullius thinking to be sloppy with a National Treasure.
But if that's the case, then a new item to the collection is something Jon can't resist. His greed is boundless after all.
"Alright, look into that but for now, let's focus on our party, shall we?" Jon said and the agent retreated.
No one was around now. Jon smiled and turned to a bookshelf. He moved two books and with the third, a click was heard and a part of the wall moved.
Beyond the hidden door was a stairway leading down beyond the service stairs all the way to the middle section of the tower where there was a concealed room. There, Jon could see Jonrad and The waiting for him.
The three nodded to each other.
"Gentlemen, we have located the Dragon Cult.
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