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Touch - Epilogue - Finally Perfect- Mora - Even though Siv and I were done getting pregnant and extending our family, I was happy with what we had. I loved all my daughters and sons equally, no matter what their interests and disinterests were. They certainly had their own personalities, that was for sure. I didn't even know how to begin being a father that catered to each of their differences. It was all so overwhelming. But even through all this happiness, I couldn't help but feel that something was missing. Something that had been there all my life; something that I cared for more deeply than I could care to admit. Something that I hadn't encountered in a long time. Until now. It was a peaceful evening. Siv, our children and I had just finished dinner and were relaxing, telling each other stories of what happened during the day. Ellina was extremely invested in her books as always, Thoskr was bragging about how "amazing" of a swordsman he was becoming, and Izidia was trying her best to one-up her older brother since they both had such similar interests. Acius told me about the new spell he learned from Neloth, Opiah enthusiastically expressed that she made more Seeker friends, and Inavus raved about the cookies Olfyine made in the kitchen earlier. They all had huge grins on their faces, and that's what made me the happiest father in the world as I reached over to grasp the hand of my beautiful wife. I recalled one of many instances in which she was fantasizing about having all six chairs before us filled. Finally, they were. But something was still missing. Suddenly, the smallest breeze made a few strands of my hair move about. The kids stopped smiling and stared behind me. Siv turned her head to do the same, and I followed suit shortly after. There, standing before me, was the one person I'd been closest to for my entire life, even before I met Siv. "Mephala..." was all I could mutter. Her eyes seemed a bit red and puffy, showing evidence of her crying. "Broth- Hermaeus Mora..." I cleared my throat and stood up. "Why are you here?" I inquired. "I've come to ask for forgiveness. I've done my best to stay away all these years, but I just can't take it any longer. I want to be a part of your life... Brother." Something about seeing her in such a state made me feel something similar to what I felt for the rest of my family. But, I was still a bit skeptical. I had to make sure she wasn't bluffing. "No." That single word seemed to strike her entire being. Her body shook, and she covered her mouth with the back of her hand as she looked down. She's... Sad. As Mephala looked to the floor, she suddenly took a deep breath to compose herself, her gaze once again meeting mine. "So be it," she replied in as strong a voice she could, although it was clear that she was heartbroken. When she turned away, I called her name. She froze, only turning back halfway to look at me. "I don't want you to be a part of my life. I want you to be a part of my family," I told, showing her the slightest smile. Mephala gasped. "Do you really mean that?" "Yes. My family is your family. Come. I'd like you to meet my wife and my children." It seemed that all was content now. My sister seemed to be surprised at the boldness of Thoskr, Izidia, and Inavus, and the quietness of my other children, Ellina, Acius, and Opiah. They each introduced themselves, Ellina being first and Inavus last. As we made small talk and caught up on the past thousand years, including her swearing to never associate with Akatosh again, I noticed Neloth's eyes staring at us. It seemed that he was mesmerized by Mephala, and I thought that to be amusing. Although things were always changing in Apocrypha, there was one thing that stayed the same. The people I loved. The ones I could call my family and friends. Nothing could compare to the feeling I got when I looked into Siv's eyes. Everything was finally perfect.End of Touch.Next: Acius Part One
Touch - Chapter 169 - What Love Is- Siv - As the weeks passed, Quem didn't seem to be getting any better. Nythius' death had shook him down to the core, and he shut down. He was such a sentimental and sensitive person, that coping with a loss like this one was extremely hard. Every time Mora or myself offered our help, he turned us down and sent us away. All he ever wanted was to be alone in his room. Even when I went by at night to check on him, I would hear his muffled cries. One morning, I woke up to an unusual breeze in the room. Upon sitting up, I startled Mora, who did the same. He was concerned that I'd woken up because the baby was coming, but I insisted that this wasn't the case. When I noticed that the door to our little balcony was open and a familiar figure sat outside, I quickly got up, assuring Mora that I should talk to him alone. "Hey," I said quietly, sitting down next to Quem'ura on the couch. His expression was barren, and he didn't even care to look at me. "Are you okay?" I asked, placing my hand across one of his in an effort to comfort him. Finally, he moved, but he only closed his eyes. "I'm sorry." "For what? You have nothing to be-" "No, I do. I've been shutting you out. I thought that being alone to mourn was the best thing for me. But now I realize that it's only made things worse. I've made you worry about me and I've made you stressed. And I've only increased my own depression. So for this... I'm sorry," he said, looking to me with sad, pleading eyes. His words brought tears to my eyes, but they weren't exactly sad. They weren't really all that happy either. Maybe it was just my hormones acting up. "It's okay, Quem. I understand. I've mourned people before. You know that. I've shut others out before, thinking that it was the best thing for me. But in reality, it wasn't. I'm glad you've come to me. Would you like to talk?" He nodded silently, so I waited patiently for him to begin after encouraging him with the squeeze of his hand. He took a deep breath before starting, "It's hard. I'm trying to cope with the fact that Nyth is gone. It's like I can't believe it. I don't want to believe it but I'm trying. But it hurts... Siv... I'm trying to make myself happy by thinking about you, and the baby that's due any day now. But I can't... I actually... Hate the fact that everyone around me has something to be happy about... Is that wrong of me?" "No, dear. That feeling is natural. But you know what? You do have something to be happy about." "And what could that possibly be?" I held both of his hands now. "You were in love. You had such a beautiful relationship with so many good memories. Doesn't that mean anything to you?" I could see the way his eyes stung with tears again. "Gods... I'm so stupid..." he breathed as he covered his mouth with the back of his hand. "You're not stupid. Your mind was just clouded. Nythius would want you to be happy. That's what love is. Wanting the other to be as happy as they can be. And Nyth loved you so much that he sacrificed his life so he could make that happen for you." The liquid that was welled up in his eyes fell onto his cheeks again. "You're right... It was just his way of saying I love you for the last time, wasn't it?" he asked rhetorically. "I love you too, Nyth." "How do you feel?" I inquired after a few minutes of silence and sobbing. "Like a weight has been lifted. Thank you Siv. I feel a little better now that I've talked about it. I'm going to try coming around more often. And when I need to talk... Will you be there to listen?" "Of course I will. Even when the baby comes, I'll always be there to listen. We both will," I told, gesturing to the tall figure that had emerged through the door. He looked over at Mora and smiled. "Thank you guys. I don't know what I'd do without you," he expressed. I was ecstatic just to see a smile on his face again.- The baby came only a few days later. It was surprisingly easy compared to the last time I was in labor, and considering that I was pregnant with twins, that statement was very true. This time, it was a girl. Mora named her Opiah, after the purple, opalescent-like eyes she had. Like Acius', they were mesmerizing to look at. I had no doubt that like my other children, she would grow up to be so beautiful, just as Mora had said he saw. I found it fascinating that he was able to get a future vision of our children. We weren't sure if it meant anything, but nonetheless, it was something harmless that Mora enjoyed. Six months later, I was pregnant again. But rather than Ellina being the one to break the news, it was Acius. He was cutting out to be quite the magical little boy. It seemed too soon, but we were enraptured either way. Even Quem was finally showing happiness again, and gave us two gifts; one from himself and one from Nyth. It seemed that he finally came to terms with what happened and stopped blaming himself for what happened. That was the most important part. I remembered hearing Neloth talking to himself one day in the library. "Again? They just had a baby a few months ago! What the hell..." he had mumbled. The statement made me laugh when I'd heard it, but I wasn't going to let him know that. Now that I was pregnant with Mora and I's sixth and final child, I was almost reluctant to finally go into labor. I didn't want the pregnancies to be over yet. I didn't want the visits from Meridia and her three beautiful daughters to be cut short, although she ensured that she would continue to pay us a visit every so often. Sanguine and Celia never failed to come around more often than not, and we even started visiting them every so often as well, especially when Mora figured out that I could travel to the other planes of Oblivion without getting hurt. Their new son was named Caeh'hala, and surprisingly resembled his mother a little more than Aevus did. My mother and Malacath promised to keep coming around as well, especially with their new son Orzol, who looked like a spitting image of his father. They decided to give him a more traditional Orsimer name as opposed to what I and Brielle were named. It almost felt unusual- having a brother. Regardless, family was all I'd ever wanted, and I certainly got that in the end. When I went into labor, I tried to deny it to Mora. I could tell he wanted to believe it at first, but he eventually told me that it was time. We spent hours in the nursery, mainly because I didn't exactly want it all to end yet. But, I was finally able to hold my new son in my hands. I named him Inavus, and Mora just stared at him for a while, even after his vision dissipated. "What is it?" I asked. "Forget what I said about Acius, and that it was like looking in a mirror. That was like looking in a mirror. His eyes are almost identical to mine, and the damn kid is going to be almost as tall as me, if not exactly!" he exclaimed, amazed. I had to admit, he was a pretty large baby. In fact, it seemed like he was the largest. I fully believed that he would be as tall as Mora said he would. With our final child in existence, that meant the end of Mora and I's little family. Although he wasn't very open about our children extending our family through meeting others and having their own children, I sincerely hoped that this wouldn't be the end. They deserved as much happiness as we had, no matter the circumstances. And I knew that Mora wanted the same for them. That's what love is.
Touch - Chapter 168 - Goodbye FriendSiv, Neloth, and myself spent the next hour or so preparing Nythius' body for the ceremony we had planned for him. We only had so much time before his body disappeared back into the Void where it belonged, so we had to move quickly. Carefully, we removed his armor and dressed him in fine black robes, something he truly deserved. After all, he did sacrifice his life for Quem so he could live. The wound on his back was clearly fatal. It was the deepest gash I'd ever seen on anyone; so deep that it penetrated his lungs and snapped his spine. It was hard, preparing a Dremora for a funeral when that Dremora was one of the closest I was to. He had been by my side on the day of Siv and I's wedding, pestering me about getting dressed quicker. He was there at the altar, holding Siv's ring in his pocket until I needed it, and he made my own wedding ring. He was waiting outside the door while Siv was in labor with Ellina, and was the first, besides us, to hold her. Nythius was there for the rest of Siv's pregnancies, as both physical and emotional support when it was needed. He held all of our children when they were born. Then, guests from the outside started to arrive to mourn with us. I'd sent another Dremora to give word to Malacath and Sanguine to attend the ceremony with us. In the distance, I could hear gathered sniffles and choked words. When Nythius was finally ready, Siv went to retrieve Quem. When he emerged, I noticed that he'd stopped crying, although his eyes were red and his face cold and hardened with the expression of sorrow. I felt so hard for my friend, knowing that he'd worked so hard all those years ago to win Nyth over, only for him to get ripped away much too soon. The thought was even more saddening. We all stood on the balcony where the incident happened, and for a moment, it was completely silent. Then, when Quem gazed upon the body of his lover, he covered his mouth and gasped. It took a while for him to approach Nythius, but when he did, he bent over to place one last kiss on his forehead. "I love you, Nyth... You damned idiot..." he cried. A few minutes after this quiet exchange, he disappeared in a purple haze. Nyth was returned back into the Void where he belonged. In this moment, Siv buried her head into my chest, beginning to cry again. She held the hand of Thoskr, who was also crying, into the folds of her dress. I held Izidia up on my right hip, although she didn't seem to understand why we were all so sad. Neloth stood to my right, holding Acius, who also seemed to be confused as to why we were all gathered and silent. I doubted that they even knew Nyth's name, let alone recognized who he was. In a way, I was glad, because it was one last thing for them to worry about and be sad for. To my left was Sanguine and Celia, who were holding each other for comfort, with Malacath and Katlah just beyond them following suit. At the farthest end were Ellina and Aevus. She had her head buried into his shoulder while he had his arms wrapped around her and forehead resting on the top of her head. Aevus silently whispered, "It's okay," as he rubbed her back. For the first time, I didn't mind seeing them in such close proximity, not that it was something that occurred often. After a long while and many whispered "I'm sorry's," we were left alone on the balcony. Ellina had brought the kids to their rooms for the night, and Neloth had also retired. It was just Siv and I, watching Quem as he held his elbows, still staring at the empty altar his deceased lover was placed on. Finally, Siv broke away to place a hand on his shoulder, startling him. "You should get some rest. Take as much time as you need," she whispered. He nodded, insisting that he wanted to be alone for a while... Again. I feared that his pushing away of friends was going to become unhealthy. After Quem left and Siv took my hand in her's, I whispered, "Goodbye, friend. You were a good one."- In the darkness, two Dremora watched the scene. They could not be heard, nor were they able to be seen by anyone else. The shorter one placed his hand on the other's shoulder. "You did the right thing." "Did I? Was it really worth causing him so much pain?" "It will be in the end. I'm proud of you. You were so strong. And brave." The taller Dremora reached up to grab the hand that was placed on him, squeezing hard. "Will he forgive me?" "Yes. He will forgive you." A few tears began to fall from his face as he continued, "Why is it so hard?" "Because you love him." "But I love you, too. I hate feeling so torn..." the taller Dremora trailed off. This time, the shorter one stepped in front and made the vision dissipate. "You shouldn't be. It's natural. Come. I must tell you why you're here." "What do you mean?" The two sat down in the darkness of their new, humble abode. Although it was new to the taller Dremora, he felt oddly at ease there. "Just listen. It all started... At the beginning of time."...
Touch - Chapter 167 - Sacrifice- Mora - When Siv told Neloth about the baby, I was utterly surprised that he didn't lash out at us. He took it better than expected, and that was a good thing. The Dunmer knew better than to protest our love and child-making now, and that was the way I liked it. Him knowing the extent my my power and control here, not to mention over him, was the key to keeping balance and order in Apocrypha. At least, it was easy with Neloth. It was not easy, however, keeping order with the Seekers and Lurkers that continuously kept trying to get closer to Siv and our unborn child. The whole thing puzzled me, simply because there must be something about the child that was causing them to become so drawn to it. The fact that I didn't know what it was urked me to the point where I started spending countless nights on end searching my library and wracking my brain for answers. Nothing. There was nothing that told me the answer to my question; why were my lesser servants so addicted to the presence of Siv and the baby? The problem was only getting worse and worse by the day. The Seekers were easier to keep away because they were slow-moving and weak. My Lurkers on the other hand, were long-legged, fast, and dangerous. They were what I was more worried about. The disgusting creatures started terrorizing the kids, and that's what kept everyone on edge. I even had to put in a mandatory order that no one was to go walking about the balcony or the outskirts of the realm without either my supervision or the company of another Dremora or two. I was too worried about someone getting hurt. I just didn't expect this to happen. It was a normal day. Siv was just over eight months along in her pregnancy now, so the added stress of the baby winded me day after day. I was so eager for her to go into labor, just because it would finally render me able to find some answers. We were dressed and ready for the day, and walked down the stairs to find Nythius speaking with Ellina. It was too early in the morning for the younger kids to have the desire to be up yet, so all was peaceful and quiet. "Ah, there you two are!" he exclaimed, speed-walking over to us. His unusually happy manner was... Unsettling. It wasn't like him to be so cheery. Before I could reply, I was embraced tightly. "You know Mora, you're a really good friend. I never would've thought that one of my best friends would be a Daedric Prince!" he expressed, sharing a huge, toothy grin with me. I said nothing as he moved on to Siv, in awe of his sudden initiative. "And you! You look so pretty today!" "Oh, thank you, dear! But what is all this complimentary behavior about?" she inquired, making me relieved that I wasn't going crazy. He shrugged. "Oh, it's nothing. I just wanted to tell you both how much I appreciate you!" he continued, hugging Siv as tight as he did me. "I love you, Siv. You know that, right?" he mumbled, burying his face in her hair and rubbing his un-gauntleted hand over her stomach. "Of course I do, Nyth. Are you okay? Are you and Quem fighting or something?" The thought wasn't unrealistic, considering how much the two fought before they were in a relationship, but that didn't seem like the case. Usually, when they were mad at each other for something, they'd both be walking around and commenting angrily at people they passed. Nyth shook his head. "No, we're alright. Perfect, actually. We haven't had a fight in quite a while. I'm just... In an inspiring mood today. Are the kids up yet?" "No, not yet," I answered, seeing that there wasn't anything imminently wrong here. "The one joy about my children getting older is that they like to sleep in later. Except for Ellina, at least..." I trailed off, thinking of the days when she was just a little girl. It was hard to believe that she was all grown up now. I just hoped that someone wouldn't come along to take her away from me. My mind briefly thought of Aevus, but I shrugged it off as Siv and Nythius finished their conversation. "Well, I'm going to go find Quem. He was still in bed when I left, so I'd better make sure that idiot is getting ready for work," he said before dashing off. I looked to Siv, and then my daughter. They didn't seem the least bit bothered by his behavior, so I once again let it be.- As the hours passed with Quem by my side, I kept thinking about Siv. Today, she was happily busying herself in the plant room with Neloth and Acius, probably talking about every which thing she could think of, as well as observing our son's progress. I was still concerned for her safety, considering that I for some reason did not have the ability to heal her wounds when she was pregnant. It was an odd thing to me- seeing that as soon as every baby was born, I could once more use my powers on her. We had panicked at first, when I discovered that I couldn't heal Quem when he and Nyth came back from that death mission. But when she'd cut herself on the page of a book some time after Ellina was born, she insisted that I try- and it worked. While I was thinking hard, I suddenly saw movement out of the corner of my eye. I flinched, but when I looked, it was only Siv herself. "It's time for lunch. Why don't you two take a break from work for a while?" "Of course, love," I answered immediately. Although I still tried to get in at least a few hours of work every day, my main priority was being with my family. I'd finally made the decision to put aside my work completely when Siv becomes pregnant with our sixth-born, so we could cherish our last pregnancy to the fullest. I planned on it staying that way until our last was all grown up- which meant that the others would be fully grown as well. Just the thought of it made me feel old. Sure, I was concerned about being too busy later in our children's lives, but I'd much prefer to be there in their early lives more than anything. Nothing could beat watching them grow up. Siv and I walked to the edge of the balcony, just beside the grand stairwell to quietly have a private moment together. A few very distant footsteps echoed throughout the palace, signaling that one or more of the younger kids was running around upstairs. After exchanging a few words, Siv pointed out how cute Nythius and Quem were, talking happily with big grins on their faces. Quem's back faced the edge of the balcony while they shared a few kisses and a hug, making me smile contently. I was happy to see that my friends were just as happy as Siv and I were. If only I'd known the extent of the chaos that was about to unfold sooner. Out of nowhere, one of my Lurkers climbed up onto the balcony, causing me to shout, "Watch out!" to them and a few other Dremora that were passing by. I wished my legs were longer as I ran as fast as I could to their aid, cursing myself for making the platform so damned wide. The beast started off in a run toward Siv and I, with Quem'ura and Nythius directly in their paths. It was like slow motion as I watched Quem turn around at the last second, only to be shielded by the blow of the monster by his lover. Blood spattered everywhere as Nythius' armor had been penetrated on the first swing, time stopping as I watched the scene unfold. The two of them froze in the moment before Nyth's eyes widened and he coughed up blood before collapsing onto Quem, who was already crying and shouting his name. The sudden weight of Nythius left him no choice but to let him fall to the ground face-up as he hunched over him, trying to protect him as best he could. Just before the Lurker could land another blow, I lashed out with utter anger and disintegrated the thing, rushing over to the two Dremora. Even at my first glance, I already knew that the worst had happened. Nyth's red eyes were glazed over, staring straight into the Void as his motionless body laid there before us. As I placed my hands on Quem, I saw Siv rushing over as well. "Take him," she said through thought as tears streamed down her face. As I pulled him away, I fought with all my might to keep from from slipping through my grasp, as he was fighting too. "No!" he screamed, "Nythius!" The sound of his cries broke my heart, but with his body was the last place he needed to be right now. When we finally turned the corner, the body and the balcony finally out of sight, I shoved him against the wall to look at him. His face was covered in tears and blood- Nyth's blood. There wasn't a single scratch on Quem, making me sigh in somewhat relief as I realized he was physically okay. Then, the reality set in. Nythius was dead. He was dead and there was nothing I could do about it. We lost a friend and it was my fault. I pulled Quem into a close embrace as I let tears escape my eyes, feeling the pain of what it felt like to lose someone close to me. It was something I'd never felt personally before, not even when I lost Siv, so this feeling was a rude awakening. What if it had been Siv? What if it was Ellina or one of the kids in their place? Even so, losing Nyth was just as painful. Quem'ura broke down, his knees buckling, prompting me to keep him standing with all my mustered-up my strength. He sobbed and sobbed until I forced us to pull away from each other so we could look into each others' eyes. "Nythius!" he cried, gripping onto my shoulders, the sharp claws of his gauntlets digging into my skin and drawing blood. It didn't matter. "Is he okay? Is Nyth alive?" I took a deep breath and tried my best to steady my voice as I started to say, "Quem, I don't-" before I was stopped. When I realized what was happening, I took notice of his lips on mine. What the hell- Before I could pull away, he did his best to shove his tongue in my mouth, the metal of his tongue ring clanking against his teeth. Then, I'd had enough. "Stop!" I yelled, pushing him away. "Do not distract yourself! I've been there, Quem, and it's not a good feeling! How do you think he would feel if he saw you doing what you just did to me?" This made him stop and break down again. I wasn't mad at what he'd done, for it was a natural reaction of many to want to forget the feeling of pain and indulge in pleasure instead. But I didn't want him to forget Nyth and move on so quickly- I wanted him to take it slowly and grieve for Nyth until there were only happy memories left. Out of the corner of my eye stood Siv, who had probably just seen everything that happened. But just like me, she didn't care. Tears adorned her cheeks and as I saw Quem look to her as well, she shook her hanging head in sorrow. Quem'ura fell to his knees and this time, I let him. There was no use in keeping him up any longer. He screamed his sadness into my chest for what felt like hours until he gagged from crying so hard. Siv called his name and took his face in her hands when he looked at her, wiping the tears away. "You should lay down for a while. Rest. We will have a ceremony for him, okay?" she told him, choking up at the end. He said nothing as we helped him up, leading him back into his room. Just before we entered, he glanced back over to the balcony. "Will you be okay here for a bit?" Siv asked. "Yeah..." he replied, turning his back to us. "Do you want me to stay with you?" "No. I want to be alone." Siv placed a kiss on his head before we left him to prepare for the funeral.
The Bards College First Contest
This Contest will be a Collaborative effort between artists and writers.
Theme: Holding on to something dear or losing something dear. The something can be a person, place or thing.
Must be a Member to participate.As this is a collaboration project there has to be two or more people participating in a group. So find a partner; if you are unable to find a partner, please send me a message and I will do all that I can to find someone you can work with.
Teams can create artwork with a story caption underneath, or a comic, or some other kind of mixed media.Artwork can be digital, traditional, screenshot, comics, or cosplay. I really am not particular about what it is, as long as it includes a written element to it.
Word limit 5000.Any game/TV show/Movie Content accepted.
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