Miraak’s voice echoed across Apocrypha, bouncing off the nonsensical walls and pillars of that horrible, green sphere. Sahrotaar looked up from what he was doing and sighed.
“SAHROTAAR, I SUMMON YOU!”
Why did that stupid mortal have to shout? Why wasn’t he dead in the first place?
With a growl and a flap of his wings, Sahrotaar took off, narrowly avoiding spiked, tentacle-laced pillars. Miraak’s main base was at one of Apocrypha’s peaks, it would take a few minutes for him to get there.
Gliding past a variety of local wildlife, all Sahrotaar could do was shudder at it all. He had been trapped here in Apocrypha for a long time. Not bound to its twisted owner, but to Miraak, who was hiding there. He’d been dragged in against his will, very early on in Miraak’s life, as he started betraying dragons. The first dov Miraak had turned had all been absorbed. For Sahrotaar, it was a simple choice – death or servitude. Servitude didn’t seem so bad… if it didn’t mean being stuck in this horrible place.
The worst part of it all was how Apocrypha had begun to affect Sahrotaar. Physically and mentally. His scales were all but gone. His jaw was tattered and ugly. His whole body felt… slimy. Sahrotaar was no longer a fire-breathing spark of divinity, he was just as much a part of Apocrypha as every other monster there.
The serpentine dragon finally arrived at Miraak’s peak, where the first Dragonborn was standing triumphantly. There was both pride and anger in his voice though. That horrible, grating, concealed voice.
“You have finally arrived.”
“Apocrypha is a large place, thu’ri.”
Miraak spun around, not really caring about his pet’s excuses. “My plan is nearly complete. The stupid little freak calling itself the Last Dragonborn may have cleansed those silly stones, but I don’t need them any more. I’ve tricked Mora into luring them here, and that is when I’ll make my move. A thousand shards of Akatosh will merge and become one, giving me the power to leave this place, taking with me a plague of the mind that will bend all to my will.”
“And what if Mora discovers our treachery?” Sahrotaar asked. “He will have a Dragonborn by his side, ready to take your place.”
Miraak laughed, an almost fake laugh. “That little wretch cannot touch me.”
“Not when I have my thousand souls. Mora cannot touch me once I have truly left Apocrypha!”
Sahrotaar wanted to leave, but a tugging sensation in the back of his mind stopped him from doing so. Miraak wanted to continue his monologue, and he hated not having an audience around. But right now, Miraak was in need of more hidden knowledge, a few little preparations for his upcoming battle against a being he had only described as a ‘pathetic little weakling’. If this Dragonborn was so weak, why did Miraak need so much preparation?
The dov had no time to ponder that question. The first Dragonborn pulled his mind away and into submission, as Miraak climbed onto his back.
“You know where I want to go.”
Kruziikrel and Relonikiv were waiting for them as Sahrotaar flew his master to a large, elevated platform. They had always been more faithful than Sahrotaar, but they had not been servants for as long as he had. They too seemed nervous though.
Miraak jumped off Sahrotaar’s back, smiling underneath his mask. He then dismissively waved his pets away, suddenly bored of their presence.
“What if you need us?” Kruziikrel asked.
“Then I will call you. Begone, all of you.”
Sahrotaar waited for a moment, watching as his fellow dov flew away, before taking off himself, returning back to his little alcove. There was little waiting for Sahrotaar in that personal yet cramped space of his, yet it was the one place he could call his own. Complete with his own little pet. The Seeker chained here, punished for a crime long forgotten, was useful for nothing more than writing things down.
“Little Seeker, I fear I must depart soon. Permanently.”
The Seeker squeaked, then went back to its own scribbling and doodles. Sahrotaar sighed.
“Miraak will get us all killed. It is about to happen. Little Seeker, would you mind writing one more letter for me?”
With a grunt and a purr, the Seeker ripped a sheet of paper from a nearby wall and readied its quill. This amused Sahrotaar, but only for a moment.
“Please, write the following down. To be sent to our friend atop the Throat of the World, as always. Tell him that this is my last time writing to him. I know he’s never replied to any of my messages. It does not matter. I will… leave a small part of me with him…”
Sahrotaar glanced around. There was one thing he had learned since he was trapped in there. The ability to bind parts of himself to other things.
The Seeker finished scribbling, and Sahrotaar gently took the piece of paper in his jaws. He concentrated for a moment. He suddenly felt weaker. Like a piece of him was gone. Just like Sahrotaar wanted. The letter glowed with a fragment of his soul. He handed the letter back to the Seeker.
“Deliver this for me, would you?”
Again, the Seeker squeaked. It began to squeak even louder though as Sahrotaar smashed the chain keeping it bound to the horrible, soggy walls. It squealed with delight, took Sahrotaar’s letter, then disappeared.
Suddenly, in the distance, a voice called him. Miraak, once again. But this time was different. There was a second presence too. A second Dragonborn.
Sahrotaar stared at where the Seeker once stood. A well of determination bubbled up inside of him. He was done being Miraak’s servant. If he was to die today, he wanted to die in his own way.
With a flap of his tattered wings, Sahrotaar took off and headed towards the forbidden word wall, where the Last Dragonborn patiently waited.