Chap 10: Josea and Lucky, Part II
Mats continued his story of Lucky and Josea.
* * * * * * * *
The years passed, twenty of them. More children
came. Timmy took a bride. The land continued to prosper. Few
died, so there were many people now, and much of the forest
was cleared for farms. Others became soldiers or sailors.
Their voyages and battles all prospered, and they returned
home laden with booty. The gods were with them, people said,
for they were virtuous and deserving folk. Skyrim was united
now under King Vrage the Gifted, second and noblest son of
the legendary Harald of Ysgramoor, thus Josea's king was high
king of all Skyrim. The Nords under Vrage's leadership spread
into Morrowind and High Rock, conquering some of the sly and
thievish dark elves and the weak and superstitious Bretons.
Josea and Lucky had opened a store and built
a fine big house for their family. One night Josea awoke alone,
and heard voices in the hall. She left her bed and crept to
see. The voices sounded angry!
Lucky was standing there in his nightshirt;
the passing years had changed him little. He looked no older,
but he had grown leaner and paler, and somehow less substantial.
Standing with him were a tall matronly woman, dark haired,
and clad in a fine blue robe, a knight in black armor, carrying
a black sword and a handsome blond man, greenclad, with a
bow. Two elves were there as well, one fair and one with golden
skin; one had a harp, the other a lute. Elves had not been
seen in Skyrim in years! How did quiet simple Lucky come to
know such grand people?
"Is this how you keep your pact with
us? Did we not make the rules clear to you?"
The woman was shouting at Lucky, who only
muttered, "Lady Mara, I didn't realize it had been so
long. It was only for a few days, and then a few days more.
And then there were the children and Josea needed me. I thought
no harm. Things seemed to go well for everyone. It hasn't
been so long. Tamriel did well enough without me before."
Lucky spoke softly, yet his face was set and Josea knew how
stubborn he could be.
"Everyone! What of the Bretons? What
of the dark elves? And the wood elves. Of the ice elves I
say nothing. They are gone, gone altogether and forever."
"Such shy folk...I tried," Lucky
faltered. "I did try. The ice elves were very hard to
find, and not that friendly when I did find them."
"Are all the elves to follow them, and
the Bretons, and then the other races?"
"I'll go; I will go. But High Rock and
Morrowind are so far from here. And how can I leave my children?
Surely, I am entitled to children? And my woman..."
"You could have arranged matters as I
did," said the green clad ranger. "Now it's too
late for that. Matters have gone too far. We trusted you.
It was a simple assignment. Yet we should have watched him."
This last sentence was addressed to the black knight.
"I did watch him," the knight snapped,
waving his sword, which Josea now saw was actually a part
of his arm. "Yet alone I could do nothing! I'd few devotees
in either High Rock or Morrowind. Once I realized I knew I
had to find the rest of you; alone I could do little. What
I could, I did. They're halted for now, yet the damage must
be repaired, and he who caused it must do the fixing, Tinker!
It won't be easy. You'll have to avoid the Skyrim folk altogether
for a couple of hundred years, I think."
"No! My Lord Ebonarm, no!" The cry
was wrenched from Lucky's heart. "I cannot. I implore
you. Do not ask it of me...leave me something of my own! Why
must I always give it all to others? I'm tired of it! You
promised me a life, and what you gave me, that endless wandering,
was not a life!" The black knight Ebonarm scowled back
"We are a gentle folk," the wood
elf bard said in his musical voice, "yet Zenithar can
no longer be restrained. And if he wars against you, the other
elven gods stand with him! If the gods war, Tamriel itself
may be destroyed. You may find daedra to stand with you; they
love chaos. But I think you will find that not even Springseed,
Ebonarm and Mara will fight for you if you defy them further."
"Jephre speaks truth, as ever. Let us
not speak of war among ourselves, my friend. We wished your
folk no ill. We deeply regret what has happened and will labor
to repair our fault. I regret our long absence, yet it was
necessary. Raen and I were needed...elsewhere." Mara
said. "And not even a god, or a goddess, can be everywhere
"As for you, Sai," she said, turning
to Lucky, "One night a year with your woman and your
children I will grant you. But not in the flesh. The temptations
are too strong for you, I see. It was a mistake to let you
hold the flesh so long. I apologize to the rest of you. Now,
go and make your farewells. You are dismissed."
The knight and ranger vanished, but the elves
remained. The golden skinned one spoke to Mara, "Watch
these new folk of yours more carefully, Lady Mara. We are
a patient people, and kindly disposed to other sentient races,
yet there are limits to our patience. Take warning."
Then the elves too were gone.
Lucky fell to his knees, clutching at Mara's
robe, his face a mask of anguish, "Lady, wait! I implore
you. Am I never to feel again? Never? It is more than I can
bear. The rest of you can assume mortal form on occasion.
Better I should have died naturally, and gone to rest,"
he added bitterly.
Mara considered, frowning. "Others have
paid dearly for the life you have stolen. Their spirits are
not at rest; they too will exact payment. And yet...very well.
If you will labor to repair the damage you have done, then
you may on occasion assume bodily form, but not as human.
Wolf shape shall be yours, in return for the kindness you
And she was gone, leaving Lucky standing alone,
barefoot. Josea ran to him and clasped him...oh, how thin
and cold he was!
"What is it, dearest? Who were they?
What does it mean? Oh, don't leave us!"
"I must," he said, shivering. "I
have stayed far too long. My dearest, I am Luck itself. I
was born with the talent, though mortal as yourself. My lord
took me for a soldier. I was killed in my first battle, even
as the battle was won. I ever brought luck to others, never
to myself, never. Ebonarm appeared to me, said I had an interesting
talent and offered me immortality if I would agree to spread
my luck about."
"He said the gods were overworked, seeing
to events, and constantly quarreling over what should happen.
He thought that I could balance things out naturally with
my inborn talent. I was young. I'd barely lived. I didn't
want to die, so I agreed, and Ebonarm said that I could keep
my body for a time. I wouldn't age or die, but I would fade
slowly, as you have seen. I am nearly eighty now. I did as
he bade for many years. Then I met you, and found myself trapped
by your need, I think. I was your Luck, you see, what you
needed. And truth is, I needed you, too, my dear love.
"Yet while I've stayed here, my luck
has spread like ripples, strongest in the center, weak along
the edges until there's none at all in Morrowind and High
Rock and the Wilderness to the south, and the folk are dead
or chained in slavery. Also I've brought luck only to the
Nords among whom I've lived, so that the wood elves have fled
and the ice elves have died. Now I must go, and bring Luck
back to them and redress the balance, as it should have been."
He went to the children's rooms and kissed
them as they slept, while his tears fell on them. Then he
said, "I'll be with you one night each year, though you
will not see me. Yet you will
feel my presence, dearest. Oh, and I could
never speak of love or marriage...but know I love you, as
no man or god loved woman." Then he kissed her one last
time, and was gone.
* * * * * * * *
Mats stopped talking at last. The fire had
burned down to ashes. Edward drew a long breath.
"That's some story," Edward said.
"Is it true?"
"Are you calling my grandmother a liar?
I know she used to leave a bit of food and a bowl of milk
out on winter nights. 'For the Wolf,' she said. And we Nords
hold it very unlucky to attack a wolf unless it attacks you.
It just might be Sai!
"My grandmother said she got the tale
from her great-grandmother, and her great was Josea herself.
So she said. Or maybe it was her great-great-grandmother.
I get lost there. Anyway it happened during the reign of King
Vrage the Gifted, like I said, when the Nords invaded Morrowind
and High Rock. It took Sai a hundred and fifty years to get
things set right again, and he needed a lot of help. From
Moraelyn's brothers and father, among others. The dark elves
and Bretons have been lucky to get their lands back, you see,
and it's been hard times for Skyrim folk, although once your
luck builds up the way theirs did, it takes a long time to
really run out altogether. And Sai didn't make the same mistake
again. He's been spreading luck around ever since. Otherwise
folk get arrogant and start thinking they're entitled to more
than others. Yet he's kept his promise. You see, I'm his descendant
and once a year I feel his presence. That was tonight."
"I thought being a god means you can
do just as you please," Edward said.
"Well, they can, you see. Sai did, for
awhile, but he and his fellow gods weren't pleased with the
results. There's rules to being a god, it seems, just as there
are rules to being a man or a boy."
"Who makes the rules then?" Edward
Mats laughed. "Best save that question
up for the Archmagister. It's much too deep for me! Well,
I don't know about you, but I'm going to have a drink. I'm
parched after so much talking and then rouse Mith, so I can
"Mats, I was taught that Moraelyn's father
and brothers were just raiders and that the Nords were the
real owners of the lands they took. That the dark elves come
up out of the ground and raid for meanness and profit."
"Moraelyn's father, Kronin, and his brothers,
Cruethys and Ephen, took to raiding after the Nords drove
them out of Ebonheart. Guerilla warfare isn't pretty, but
neither is losing your homeland. Human memories of that time
are faded hand-me-downs, but there's a fair number of dark
elves who lived through it still around. Moraelyn's aunt Yoriss
for one, she who rules in Kragenmoor. Oh, there's some dark
elves still, along the borderland in Blacklight, who are just
thieves and kidnappers, no question. They have holds up in
the mountain caverns and raid farms and villages in east Skyrim.
But Moraelyn's folk have naught to do with them, leastways
not since they regained their own lands in Morrowind. Moraelyn
hates the raiding. He'd stop it if he could." Mats sighed.
"Why can't he?"
Mats yawned widely. "That's a matter
of politics and power, boy. You ask him about it, and you'll
likely get more answer than you want, for once. Me, I'm off
to bed. Good night."
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