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Lord Vivec's

Sword-Meeting with
Cyrus the Restless

Volume 3

The route back to the beach was quicker, as they jumped what they had had to climb before, and the discretion of their movements they put aside as fast as the sun could rise. Some of them thought foolishly that daylight might keep their pursuer away, as he was undoubtedly a dark thing perhaps not given to new mornings, but Cyrus yelled at them to run. Better than Gar, he could feel when strange things were moving against him. [pagebreak] They ran across the sand towards the boats and their shipmates knew enough to start the casting off. "Pull her up," Coyle yelled, "They've caused trouble!"

The wind fell around them, and then a shadow, and then a bright half-star behind. Cyrus turned to see, and maybe he was smiling because he liked this kind of thing, and from the rock edges Vivec appeared, making the men gasp. No one had expected a dunmer on these shores, nor one so oddly arraigned.

"I'll deal with him," Cyrus said, and Borden waited a second to receive the Opal, but his captain wouldn't toss it. "No hard feelings, but I don't really trust you, Borden. Go!"

Vivec was half-golden and half-blue and all of him glowing, and he was armored lightly, and carried a small shield and a curved sword at his side. His head was bald except for flame, and he smiled with evil.

"Stay back, dunmer," Cyrus said, eyeing his head. "I can't have you burning my boat."

Vivec walked closer. Afterward, men aboard the Carrick said they could smell a fortune in bug-musk.

"You don't know me," Cyrus said, "so I'll tell you once-"

And then Vivec spoke, and the winds of the beach died down when he did for he was the Lord of the Middle Air and they were indentured to him. He said to Cyrus, "Oh, I know you, raga. I know that you forced an armistice with the Cyrodiil, which I have done, though by other designs. I know also that even after speaking well and rendering your people free again, you remained a thief at heart in the days after; these days, in fact, which I have also done and still do, again in my own way."

And here the god of the East smiled a bit too lovingly. "And let it be said here that you have no idea how much I absolutely adore thieves."

Cyrus for his part was circling around Vivec, making a trough in the sand, some place in which to move easier when the fight came. His men watched from the deck of his ship. Some had brought bows and arrows, but Coyle moved them away with a hand.

Vivec lifted his legs to float in the lotus position, his head to the side with the smile vanished and replaced by a dole of remorse without mocking. "I know how you die," he said, "and the trouble your soul will have reaching the far shores of your taken stars because of things you did to the discredit of the Hist, and how their long roots run even into the void tendril-feeling for your final entrance. I know how you think now, at this moment, that there are no paths except for the drowned lamp, or the wrongheaded romance of saberplay in a landscape of long regret, taking whosoever will ride with you through the still-sought salvation spread across each water lash, wandering your heart to find some purchase beyond the admonishment of the moons; flagellant without end."

Vivec's eyes went to the Glass Opal cradled in the pirate's arm and frowned. He looked at Cyrus, dourly, saying, "I know all of this about you, Sura, and more, and it grants us a kinship despite your crime against me, and so it pains me yet that I think you really know nothing of me and my mastery. Or do you? I am the city that walks, the wise and benevolent eye of the ALMSIVI, and it has been such for uncounted red generations, each adding its mark then and forevermore, the worship of the construction-everlasting, Architect Amen. What could you possibly know of me?"

Cyrus had never changed his expression. "I know you're talking," he said, "because I see your mouth moving and I hear words." And with that he dropped the stolen jewel and drew his saber.

Vivec then drew his own sword, slow yet perfectly, whipping around to angle it to his left. "Hmm," he said. "Yes, fine, I think."

The two moved in closer, Vivec gently floating so that the bonemold of his right armor faced Cyrus. "Death despite kinship has ever been our way," he said, "I know too how it feels to murder the husband of my sister."

At this last, Cyrus was finally angered, understanding now that this champion of Morrowind was truly able to read his mind, which he had vouchsafed from even the closest to him, and this is why he hated all spirits of aether. It read on his face, which thereafter hardened. "Tell me, demon," he asked, "since you know how I die: is it this fight?"


"Good to hear," Cyrus said, and attacked.

Vivec spun in midair cross-legged, never moving his swordarm from its initial position. He spoke, "Fa-Nuit-Hen," the name of an old master, and Cyrus fell from eight wounds that appeared without mortal notice. Coyle could not stop the men from firing then.

Bleeding into the sand, Cyrus could see Vivec above him with no sword in his hand at all but instead the stolen jewel of the Nogru, and an array of seventeen arrows fanned around his firehead aspect peacock-style, caught by demon magic. Cyrus could not get up and Vivec spoke, "And I know of your late father, the playwright, and though some of its local color is lost on me, I am fond of his work. That is why I have let you live. I adore poetry, too."

The Lord of the Middle Air vanished, and Coyle sent boats to the shore with medicines and their sugarcat surgeon, who had taken passage sometime after Herne.

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