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La’Rabi watched as Razum-Dar made himself comfortable against the wall, with Ayrenn seated across from her. She couldn’t stop her nervousness that telling them the truth would make them hate her, or see her as a threat, or even not believe her. Ayrenn sent her a calming smile. “Well, this is a bit harder to say than I imagined, so I suppose I should start… With something a bit more distant and work towards telling you my past.” She waited for them to nod, signalling an okay to go forward. “Have you ever wondered why, every time something major happens, a civil war, the murder of an emperor, anything that plunges the world into chaos, a hero, or a group of heros, arises?”
They looked at her in confusion, before thinking. “Raz must admit, he hadn't. It never occurred to him to wonder.” Ayrenn made a noise of confirmation before speaking.
“Agreed. I haven’t spared it a second thought. It’s just what happens. People feel the need to restore balance when it’s upset, and so those who are brave enough to act, do.” La’Rabi shrugged and gave a conceding nod. “Indeed, it is the nature of people to seek a balanced, happy life, but there is a reason a hero always rises, even when everyone else is resigned to living the way they do. We live in a plane of oblivion known as Nirn. There are others, Mundus, Moonshadow, Apocrypha. Dozens. Each plane is unique, but Nirn is particularly unique.
“This plane evolves in a way most don’t, constantly changing. The Divines have grown fond of this plane, the changes captured their interest. But occasionally, Nirn will achieve the same balance all planes do, so they… Stir the pot, to put it plainly. They enlist daedric princes, or they personally intervene, to start change, and set Nirn to moving forward again. Certain people show particular traits during these times, heroic traits, and the Divines nurture these traits, pulling the strings of fate to make them what they need to be. Those heroes are then sent on quests, to help people, or to help the Divines, or to sate the Daedric Princes, or anything really. And when they die, they are kept in reserve, waiting until a hero is needed again, when they will be reborn if the right person does not arise in time.”
Raz spoke up at this point, moving to stand behind Her Majesty. “Raz is sorry to interrupt, but he has questions. How do you know this? What does it have to do with you?”
La’rabi chuckled at that, knowing he already knew. “You seek confirmation of what is already in the open. I was one of those whose soul was ‘saved’ for later use. I will speak more of that in a moment. There is still much to say.
“When a hero is reborn, they keep their traits, but they typically don’t remember their past life. I was reborn, but circumstances unforeseen caused… Issues with the path I was meant to take. The Worm Cult made their way to the town I lived in. When this was discovered, no one was to go out alone, but my daughter became ill… Before you ask, she was adopted, and I looked into returning to her. She died of her illness. I was desperate, and sought out anyone who could help, not taking the time to put together a group to travel in. I was captured and held prisoner for almost a month.” She watched them, waiting for when they would stop listening, tell her she was lying. “I was sacrificed to Molag Bal, and my soul sent to his realm.”
Finally, they reacted, shocked as La’Rabi pulled the collar of her shirt down, revealing the symbol that had been carved into her chest, and the stab wound over her heart. Raz moved closer, looking apprehensive. “Then how are you here?” She took a steadying breath, looking at him as she pulled the cloth to cover herself once more
“I made no deals, if that is what you are thinking. There was a revolt of Bal’s prisoners, and I joined in. A man who calls himself Prophet for his ability to receive visions from the Divines, and a woman named Lyris Titanborn, came to me, claiming they could help me escape, and I would be necessary in stopping Molag Bal from taking more souls. They explained to me His plan, to create ‘anchors’ between his realm, Coldharbour, and Nirn, then drag Nirn into Coldharbour to enslave the peoples residing here. The Prophet and I were forced to leave Lyris, and my soul, in Coldharbour and escaped through an anchor portal. I ended up in the middle of that hurricane at Stormwatch.
“The Prophet told me he would contact me as soon as he was safe to. However, he has yet to follow through. I therefore have assumed he is either dead, or on the run for some reason. I had intended to tell you this much sooner… However, when I learned of you harsh stance on Daedra, I feared you would react… Negatively. I have been working to stop Molag Bal between my assignments though.”
Ayrenn nodded. “I will admit the fear was… Not baseless. Molag Bal has your soul. What does this mean for you?”
“Well, so far, nothing but regaining my memories of my past lives. I actually expected a much bigger effect on myself, but I seem to operate in much the same way as I did with a soul. I can’t permanently die though. Every time I fall in combat, I simply wake up at the nearest wayshrine, and make my way back to the battle, or to wherever I was headed before. I’ve managed to get used to it though.”
As the two realized what this meant, horror came over Ayrenn’s face. “How many times have you died? I don’t think I could ever…” She trailed off, and Razum-Dar moved over to La’Rabi’s side. He put a hand on her shoulder, and she used the pressure to anchor herself as she answered. “I don’t know, I stopped counting after fourteen.” The hand tightened. It was nice, grounding her to the present. Ayrenn’s expression turned to pity, and La’Rabi had to stand, walking around to distract herself from the look. She would never admit it to herself, but it was also to distract herself from the oncoming panic from the trauma she’d been ignoring for so long.
She was pulled to a stop by Raz, who turned her to him. “La’Rabi, you need to stop. You need to allow yourself to recover, or you will break, and possibly be damaged beyond repair. Raz knows it is hard. He understands. But he also understands that to remain okay, one needs to let it hurt. It is alright, just let go.” She felt it creeping up on her, the delayed realization that she had died, over and over. Her breathing sped up and she fought to keep control of herself, shaking her head. “I cannot break down, not now, not ever. I am needed. I have to hold it together.” She rubbed at her eyes desperately to keep the tears from falling. Raz pulled her into a hug, and she felt Ayrenn join behind her. They pressed in on her, and for the first time in a while, she felt safe. Sobs racked her body as she finally allowed herself to process everything that had happened to her. She was careful to cover her nose and mouth though. Didn’t want the queen or Raz covered in snot or spit.
She didn’t know how long she cried, but the afternoon had turned into evening. The two stayed with her, whether from some sense of responsibility or whether they actually cared, La’Rabi didn’t care to know. She was exhausted in the end, pressed between two warm people, and had to clamp down on the urge to purr, embarrassed. Raz moved them to sit once more. “Do you feel better?”
She nodded, throat sore. Ayrenn began to pet her hair in a comforting manner. She let loose a stuttering purr before forcing it down. Raz then joined in, scratching delicately around her ears, and she sighed as the rumbling once more emanated from her chest and throat. It had been too long since she’d relaxed. She shivered a bit, body tensing, as she settled. The two moved closer. Soon, she faded into sleep.