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The time had finally come. After months spent on the island of Solstheim, she had readied herself to the utmost point. He would die by her hand; he would die before he returned to Tamriel and destroyed it.

"And so the First Dragonborn meets the Last Dragonborn, at the summit of Apocrypha."

Miraak was across from her, standing beyond the pool of swirling black tar. "No doubt just as Hermaeus Mora intended. He is a fickle master, you know." She knew that she was playing right into the Daedric Prince's hands, but that would be a small price to pay for the removal of such a large threat. She could figure out some solution, some way to avoid swearing fealty to him. "But now I will be free of him. My time in Apocrypha is over. You are here in your full power, and thus subject to my full power."

As he was talking, the Last Dragonborn looked around at their surroundings, already finding ways to take advantage of the environment. There were a few pillars, towering masses of books all writhing and twisting together. Good to dodge behind and shield from magickal attacks. "You will die. And with the power of your soul, I will return to Solstheim and be master of my own fate once again." His hand moved to his hip, to the hilt of his sword.

Her jump into action was immediate. She readied her shield, Spellbreaker, the trusty artifact that stood by her side for the better part of her journey. It was just in time, for a wriggling mass of slimy tentacles bashed against the shield in full force. She unsheathed her sword and backed up, moving closer to one of the pillars next to her. It would be good to have him exhaust himself first before moving into close combat. The deafening roar of dragons was the backdrop to their fight, the beating of their wings whipping the air around them.

Miraak was far away, but he had no shortage of ranged spells with which to attack her. She was able to catch a glimpse of the staff that shot the tentacles at her. Some of them slid to the ground off of the ward of her shield, unable to get past her defense. They dug into the floor instead and attempted to grab at her ankles, trying to trip her. She was able to move behind the pillar, pressing her back into it and her shield to her chest. No matter how many battles she fought, no matter how many opponents she defeated, there would still be that rush of fear and adrenaline.

"I would think that the Dragonborn would be above this. Hiding and skulking about like a common thief," Miraak taunted from behind her, no doubt approaching rapidly. She took a steadying breath and pushed all thoughts of anger out of her head. He was trying to bait her, trying to make her lose focus. "No matter. For you will still die regardless, whether or not you seek to draw out the inevitable." His voice drew closer, and she knew that in mere moments he would appear in her line of sight. But she would be ready.

As soon as he slid around the side of the pillar, she lowered her shield and Shouted, aiming to push him off of the tower they fought upon.

FUS RO DAH

But while she wanted to blast him off of the edge, to force him away from her; he merely staggered a bit. His pursuit was paused for a moment as he regained balance, before lashing out with his sword. She raised her shield just in time to block it. "Your Thu'um is strong, Dragonborn. Stronger than I thought it would be. But still no match to my own power." The eye slits on his mask taunted her, the reflective surface of the metal shining gold. He drew in a deep breath and her eyes widened; she retreated backwards in order to get some distance between them.

FUS RO DAH

The force of his Voice sent her careening even further back, knocking her to her knees. Shockwaves pulsed against her body as she attempted to keep herself steady against his power. She had never faced another Dragonborn before, had never felt the full strength of a living and breathing master of the Voice. Her training with the Greybeards and Paarthurnax paled in comparison to this. To this raw strength. She would be hard-pressed to win against him, even with all of her resources at her disposal. The bottom rim of her shield hit the floor as she grounded herself, clanging against the metal filigree of the grating below.

Miraak bore down on her, the dark blade of his sword whistling through the air as he made to cleave off her head. The Last Dragonborn was able to lift her own sword up at the last second, parrying the blow and jumping to her feet. She bashed him in the chest with her shield once his guard was down. He grunted in pain, staggering backwards and away from her. A swift swing of his staff sent tendrils rushing towards her, wrapping around her blade and wrist. She brought down the rim of Spellbreaker on them, slicing through the slippery flesh with ease. They writhed and screamed, spraying a viscous fluid everywhere.

Another swing of the sword, another block and parry. They raced around the platform below them, exchanging blows that seemed to grow in force. The dragons still flew around them, occasionally landing upon one of the arches in order to blast a gout fire or frost. She was able to lift her shield to deflect the angry Shouts of the dragons, keeping her sword level with his to avoid being ran through. Miraak was a skilled fighter, probably one of the best she had ever faced. "You are valiant, Dragonborn. You could have been so much more, but fate has decreed otherwise."

She snarled at his words, twisting her blade around in order to catch the hand that held his staff. A sharp turn ripped the shaft of it from his grasp, sending it flying across the platform. It slid to the edge, head of the staff balancing precariously over the long drop. It didn't take him long to recover from the loss, throwing up a ward and swinging his sword at her once again from behind the shimmering barrier. She blocked it with her shield and swung it out to the side, knocking his arm away.

MUL QAH DIIV

This was the first time she used this particular Shout, but she knew that any kind of advantage would be sorely needed. Her senses heightened, teeth sharpened, muscles tightened. She noted these differences with slight surprise; she didn't know that the Shout would physically change her as well. Swirls of energy surrounded her arms and chest, forming scales and plates of spiritual power. Her inner soul given form. Horns spiraled up from her head and she felt a roar bubbling up in her chest. The sensation was too much, almost too strong. Miraak chuckled at her struggle.

"So you seek to use my own Shout against me?" He stepped back as she twitched and spasmed, attempting to gain control over the influence now fighting to break free. "You learn quickly. But your restraint is waning. You cannot even control your own soul properly." A low growl escaped her throat, much deeper and rumbling than something a mortal could ever make. Miraak countered with a Shout of his own, matching her Aspect with his. But he had complete control, movements smooth and steady against her jerking attempts to control herself. She didn't know that the Shout would hinder her rather than help. It felt like her entire body was fighting, bursting at the seams to jump towards him and tear the flesh from his bones.

Kill him. Rend him to pieces. Dominate and conquer.

These thoughts clouded her mind, bringing down her defense and rushing her forwards. The fingers wrapped around the handle of her shield slackened before letting it clatter to the ground, forgotten. She gripped her sword with two hands and brought it down on Miraak with an angry snarl. He blocked it easily and flung his arm to the side, using her momentum against her. She stumbled and fell to her knees. She whirled around just as he attempted to strike a killing blow, shooting her sword upwards and tearing through his robes. The blade cut deep, ran him through to the hilt like an arrow to the skull. A shuddering gasp escaped his hidden lips as he stepped back, sliding off of the sword and holding a hand to his stomach. Blood seeped through the fabric of his robes and dripped down the edge of her blade.

Red. He bled like a man, like a mortal.

He moved away from her as she stood, movements less jerky and more controlled. She twirled the sword in her hand, drops of his blood flinging from it and spattering on the ground. Bared teeth and slitted pupils, her Draconic heritage shining through. She was fierce and beautiful. Like a Goddess of War. Miraak stared at her as she stalked towards him, words catching in his throat.

FEIM

Her next blow swung right through him as his form turned ethereal, passing through without harm. He sprinted to the center of the tower upon which they fought, calling upon one of his dragons. "Kruziikrel, ziil los dii du!" The dragon landed on the ground across from him and subsequently perished from the power of his command. Kruziikrel fell to the floor dead, and his soul rushed into Miraak with a rush of wind and an angry roar. Miraak shuddered from the rush of strength and vitality, letting the soul bolster his strength and heal his wound. He would not die this day, not to her. Not to anyone. "I am done being Hermaeus Mora's pawn! You may be powerful, but you have nothing, are nothing! I will be free!"

The Last Dragonborn could feel her control coming back to her, could feel her mind clearing. Her Draconic soul was receding back into the depths of her inner self. The energy around her limbs dimmed and faded along with the loss of her physical changes. But she could feel it simmering below the surface, outraged by the brazen display of Miraak's power. As their fight continued he did the same thing two more times, absorbing the souls of the dragons who served him. Each time he did so, he grew in power as hers waned.

She would have to kill him, and soon. Her gaze flicked to Spellbreaker on the ground, too far away to reach without turning her back to him. And that was most definitely not an option. Miraak drew closer, approached her with the smooth grace of a sabre cat. She held her sword tighter and swallowed, knowing that these next few moments could end the battle easily.

Miraak was at his full power once more, and she had expended a lot of her energy to get here. He had the upper hand. Even without his staff he was still more than a capable warrior, his skill with a sword possibly unmatched.

She had to get that sword out of his hands.

There was a Shout. One that she could use. But in order to succeed, she would first have to catch him off guard. Distract him, draw his mind to other things. Weaken his will to break his concentration. But how? Her gaze drifted down to her own weapon, then back to Miraak. He was far enough away; it might just work. If it didn't... Well. Nothing to be done about that.

She drew her arm back, blade pointed straight at Miraak. He paused in his approach, if only to see what she was doing. The Last Dragonborn made eye contact through the slits of his mask and smirked. He realized what she was doing only too late, as she flung the sword forwards out of her hand. It sung through the air and Miraak ducked in order to dodge it. He couldn't help but look back for a moment to see it flying off of the edge of the tower, into the dark waters below. "What--?"

ZUN HAAL VIIK

Her Voice washed over him and tore his weapon from his grasp, his distracted mind unable to defend itself from the raw power of her Shout. When he turned his head to look at her, he had only a moment of recuperation before she charged. Her arms wrapped around his midsection and they fell to the floor in a tangle of limbs and blows, her knees and elbows knocking against his ribcage. It didn't take him long to recover from the surprise of her strange tactic, hands fisting into her hair and pulling harshly. She didn't let up in her attacks, though, not even a whimper of pain escaped her as he drew a leg up between them and kicked at her stomach.

She only redoubled her efforts to subdue him, fingers wrapping around his gloved wrists and tearing them from her head. A booted foot pinned his chest to the ground and nearly knocked the wind out of him as she attempted to stand. He thrashed and writhed below her, twisting his torso to the side in order to trip her up and send her to the ground again. They rolled to the side and Miraak bore his weight down upon her, mounting her waist and bringing his hands to her throat. "This is the only way, Dragonborn. The only way I can be free." He tightened his grip as she scrabbled for purchase against his gloves.

Heaving breaths escaped her open mouth, before being choked into silence. Her head lolled back and hit the floor below them as her legs kicked out from below him, pounding the ground with her heels. She fought valiantly against him, but Miraak only pushed her down further. The many eyes of Apocrypha were upon them now, Hermaeus Mora no doubt amused by their fight. She could see them watching in the sickly green sky above as her vision began to fade. The last thing she would see. Miraak's mask framed by thousands of eyes, all making note of her failure.

No.

No.

She brought up her leg to press against the back of his thigh, bracing her foot on the floor beside his. With the last of her waning strength she thrust her hips up against him, tilting to the side and knocking him to the ground. She sucked in a few deep breaths to fill her lungs with a cough. The Last Dragonborn sought the power within her, letting the words spill forth in the newest Shout she learned.

GOL HAH DOV

Miraak shuddered at the influence, her Voice wriggling into his mind and screaming to let her go. He obeyed, but only for a moment. She scrambled to get steady, jumping up to chase after his sword left upon the ground. But he gave chase and forced her to the ground once more. "So Hermaeus Mora favors you now, Dragonborn?" He asked, with the hand on the back of her head pressing her cheek to the cold metal filigree of the grating below. "He is laughing at us, overjoyed at our struggle. He would have betrayed you the moment you defeated me." She dug her fingers into the grooves of the floor in an attempt to push herself up. Miraak held strong though, keeping her to the ground. He straddled her upper thighs and brought his other hand to her shoulder to further exert dominion.

She kicked her legs out and tried to get them under herself, to get up off of the ground. She succeeded to a point, pushing Miraak back off of her lower body. But her head was still planted firmly onto the floor, with no sign of his hands budging. In fact, he only pressed himself further into her, locking his legs around hers and restraining her more securely. She grabbed at his hands with her own, trying to pry him off. Nothing worked. She was well and truly stuck. At least he no longer had his sword, else he would have no doubt ran her through by now. "You are in my power here, Dragonborn. There is no escape from your fate."

A harsh breath escaped her nose, her eyes flicking back to look at him. The damned mask was impervious, showing no emotion. But his voice was different, absolutely seeping with pride at his victory over her. She moved again, in one last attempt to free herself from his grasp. It was at this moment that she realized the degrading position that she was in. Face down, backside pressed into the cradle of his hips. Presenting. Her throat tightened and her face burned with embarrassment, closing her eyes to avoid looking at him. Her inner self was shouting with rage, indignant at the subservient pose. Another part of her grew slack, submitted to defeat. That part of her knew she had been beaten.

But she would not give up. Not yet. Not until her last breath. She pushed back once more against him, in an attempt to knock him off. He didn't move; strong as a stone pillar. There was no escaping his grasp. It only seemed to result in a low chuckle from behind the mask. "Did you think to escape me?" Yet he made no move to begin strangling her again. He made no move at all, in fact. He was still, quiet. The cold press of her ebony armor against her form warmed at his touch. She could feel it against her, the heat of his body. "You fought valiantly, but there is no escape from your inevitable fate." His words were but a whisper at this point, husky and low behind the barrier of his mask. Like he was delaying killing her.

The part of her that had surrendered grew louder, the side of her Draconic soul that submitted to his power and strength. And the part that still fought only grew smaller. Her fingers tightened on the metal filigree so much that her knuckles bled white under her gauntlets. But he would not know it. She refused to show that she had submitted, refused to truly accept defeat. Her inner dragon may have bowed its head, but her stubborn mortal side refused to give in. She could feel it, his own dragon. It bore down on her from behind, urging her to completely stop fighting. Never before had she known the feeling of another Dragonborn, another being who lusted for power and domination as she did.

She was only able to quiet her own urges through long periods of meditation and study upon the highest peak of the Throat of the World, under the watchful eye of Paarthurnax. And now all of that self control was unraveling, just from being in the presence of another who shared her soul. Dragons were different, on another wavelength. It was easy to assert superiority over them. But Miraak... He was mortal, of flesh and blood like her. The same stock, the same needs and wants.

She could feel it. With each movement of her hips she could feel him responding in kind, arrogant voice silenced for just a moment. "Is this how the mighty Dragonborn treats a defeat?" He asked, accent thick and heavy. "With complete submission? Do not think I am not aware of what you're doing, Dragonborn," he murmured lowly, leaning over her further to bring his mask close to her turned head. Her eyes were still shut, unwilling to look upon him in such a state. It was then that he pressed his hips forwards softly, much too gentle for what his original goal was. The Last Dragonborn sucked in a breath at that, legs shaking below her. She bit her lower lip and slowly, ever so slowly, arched her back down. Tilted her hips up, further into him. A silent acceptance of superiority.

A shaky laugh escaped his lips. His hand on her shoulder loosened its tight grip and drifted down to her waist, feeling the cool surface of the cuirass through his gloves. Where the fastenings of her armor were located. He deftly undid them on one side and then the other, letting the chestpiece fall to the ground below her with a clatter. He pushed the back of it off of her as well, leaving her torso bare. She wore a thin black undershirt that clung to her form to prevent chafing from the mail. Miraak's other hand, the one buried in her hair and pressing her head to the ground, let go and instead ran the strands through his fingers. The expanse of her neck was revealed, bruises beginning to form from his previous attempt on her life.

But now those things weren't important. Their rational minds had taken leave of them, all thoughts gone except what was happening right now. Right in this moment. Miraak trailed his hand from her head down her back, feeling the grooves of her spine before dropping to her hips and undoing the fastenings to her greaves. The metal was smooth and almost otherworldly; no mortal hands could have forged this. No, her armor was the work of a Daedric Prince. "I doubt your Patron would be happy with you right now, Dragonborn. In another Prince's plane of Oblivion."

She didn't respond. She only sighed and turned her head further away from him as he made quick work of the plate and mail that kept her shielded from his touch. When it fell away from her hips and legs he pressed forwards again. She could feel him flush against her, hot and heavy and hard. Even through their layers she could feel the effect she had on him. A soft sound escaped her throat as she tightened her grip on the metal grating below her. His gloved hands kept a steady hold on her waist, pulling her back against him in steady strokes. Her heat pressed into him through the fabric of his robes, drawing a shuddering breath from his lips. It had been so long. He could feel his careful restraint wavering, his urge to kill her and take her soul lessening with each soft movement against her.

When his hands released her waist they slid across her hips and the dark pants that still kept her from him. But he moved back a breath and reached for his belt buckle. The clinking of it behind her drew a short rational thought from the Last Dragonborn. He had let go of her.

Her reaction was immediate. She twisted around to face him and pounced, knocking him to the ground once more and straddling his chest. Her knees came down upon his shoulders, pinning his arms to the ground. A hand wrapped around his throat and squeezed. "You aren't really going to do that, are you? Dragonborn?" He didn't sound surprised, didn't sound angered. Only amused. "You may be playing at superiority now, but I know the truth. You've already given up." She bared her teeth and tightened her grip as his arms came up to grasp at her thighs. "There is not much left for you to do, besides submit." She bared her teeth and nearly snarled at him, wild hair framing her face.

She really was beautiful. It would be a shame to kill her. She was just too much of a threat to his plans.

He let her have her moment for a while longer, before bringing his hips up and rolling them once again. He pressed her into the hard ground with the weight of his body, keeping her legs from getting between them both. She flailed uselessly for a moment, attempting to grab his shoulders and push him off. But he only gripped her wrists tightly and pinned them to the floor beside her head. A strong roll of his hips forced another gasp from her parted lips, her own body responding positively. They stayed like that for a few moments, bucking and writhing against each other, still fighting for dominance over the other.

But he had won. He released one of her hands from his grasp in order to bring it down between them, to the fastenings of her trousers. With one hand free, she scrabbled for purchase against his robes. A quick tug and it opened, with her gloved fingers trailing across his chest. Miraak's eyes fluttered behind his mask and he redoubled his efforts to get her out of those damned garments. His next Shout was but a whisper.

VIIK AL

The seams ripped at the command of his Voice, breaking under the sheer power behind his meaning. The remains of her trousers hung limply from her boots, lower body finally exposed to his hungry eyes. She was gorgeous. He couldn't help himself any longer. He had to know her. His gloved fingers moved against her in small circles, dipping down between her folds. A soft whimper escaped her at that, and her knees bent to stomp her feet against the ground. Her free hand was still tearing at his robes in attempts to open them fully. His belt and buckle clattered to the floor, the fabric of his clothes opening and falling to either side of his form.

She was wet, absolutely dripping at his touch. A smirk graced his lips behind the mask. "You wanted this, Dragonborn. To submit to me, to lay beneath me." His fingers moved faster, pressing in and curling within her. Her head flung back, baring her throat in another show of submission. She would not run, now. She would not fight, now.

The Last Dragonborn was humiliated at the effect he had on her, as how much she craved his presence and touch. But she couldn't bring herself to fight back now, not anymore. Not when he was so close and warm and eager. She whined as he drew his hand away from her, opening her eyes to see that very hand move to the drawstring of his own trousers. Her breathing quickened at the sight and she shifted her hips up in response. Miraak only chuckled lowly, the laughter rumbling deep in his chest. But the laughter died quickly, replaced by a swift desperation, a burning need.

He needed to claim her. Now. Before whatever would happen afterwards.

He was quick to push his trousers down to mid-thigh, preening at her wide-eyed attention. Then his full weight bore down on her, shielding her body quickly from any watchful eyes. He knew they were not alone, and was loath to allow any visuals to what was about to take place. A few steady strokes, then... A long groan escaped him as he finally slid home into her welcoming heat. She drew in a sharp gasp as well, exhaling a soft whimper. It did not take long for him to start moving, denied of pleasure for so long before now.

And she was moving too. Her hips swayed below him with every thrust, legs locking firmly around his waist. She was strong; he could feel the muscles of her thighs clenching and squeezing him, pulling him in further each time. It was intoxicating. She was intoxicating. Never before had he felt so strongly for another being, like his very soul was calling out to hers. Perhaps it was. There would be no way to tell; perhaps this was just superficial lust borne of mutual hatred. Perhaps it was the mere urge to dominate and subdue, the very nature of a dragon, given form in simple mortal bodies.

All Miraak knew was that he never wanted to end this moment. Never wanted to stop. His hands were on the floor near her head, elbows pressed to the ground in order to support his body above her. And her own hands, they had changed. No longer did they claw and rip in attempts to kill him. Now they only ran reverently over his shoulders and back, the silken feeling of the gloves under her gauntlets driving him wild. A low growl purred in his chest with the satisfaction of his desire. To have her here, now, so completely at his mercy. He was nearly spent at the simple thought of that.

There was nothing that could be said. The soft exhalations of their breaths were the only sounds in this cursed place. The Last Dragonborn was well aware of where she was, who she was doing this with. She just couldn't bring herself to care in that moment. Miraak was the only other person who understood what it was like, an immortal soul trapped in such a frail body. The need to crush those weaker than them ran in their blood, dominated their senses. Paarthurnax had taught her control over her urges, but he had thousands of years of experience compared to her trifle few. There was no way that she'd be able to resist the lure of the First Dragonborn's power.

She could feel it rising and building within her, sparks of pleasure shooting throughout her body. Miraak was there too, climbing ever higher with her. His chest pressed against hers through the thin undershirt she wore, the sides of his robe trailing on the ground on either side of them. She moved her arms to fit around his waist, dragging them up his back and digging her fingers into his shoulder blades. He braced his knees against the ground and pushed upwards, getting a better angle and a boost to speed. The quick change jostled a stuttering moan from her lips, something that may have resembled his name.

Miraak was breathing heavily, harsh breaths sounding out from behind the unfeeling metal of his mask. With every slap of their hips he could feel himself drawing closer and closer to that which he sought. A hand clawed at his chest, drifting down to where their bodies met. She rubbed at herself, letting out short and gasping moans. What a sight. He never knew it would come to this. He closed his eyes and buried his head into her shoulder, cold metal kissing her collarbones. She felt so real, so fresh and so alive.

It had been countless ages since he last felt like this.

But everything must come to an end, sooner or later. His hips stuttered; a few more deep and steady thrusts before he fell. Spiraling down, pulling her after him in what must have been the best feeling in his seemingly unending life. He knew she found her end as well, for her cries increased in volume and she gripped him like a vice. Unwilling to let go. A long, low moan escaped him; it was unlike any other sound she heard him make. It was too human. Too satisfied. Too similar to her own.

Then her eyes opened. Her senses came back. The sickening green of the sky above them taunted her, a never-ending abyss of eyes and slick tendrils. A deep, rumbling laugh reverberated throughout her head. Swift and immediate disgust swept through her in waves. Shame. Embarrassment. Her hands tightened into fists and she pushed against Miraak's chest, throwing him off with ease. A low growl sounded from her chest as she curled up, every muscle tense and ready to spring. Miraak rolled to his knees and his head shot up to look at her.

She was crying. Tears running down her cheeks, teeth bared in an angry snarl. Her legs were crossed and she had wrapped her arms around them, fingers curling and uncurling around nothing. She looked like a wild animal, ready to snap at the slightest movement. Something that was lodged deep in his chest throbbed at the sight. Something foreign to him for countless years. He brought his head to look up at the writhing mass of tentacles above them, the laughter now echoing throughout his mind as well.

But Miraak was used to this laughter. He had heard it for the better part of thousands of years. Heard it too many times for far too long. A roar bubbled up in his throat as he jumped to his feet, adjusting his trousers and springing for his discarded sword. The Last Dragonborn stood as well, shakily covering herself in whatever way she could. Miraak stalked over to where she was, slumped and shivering. Pitiful. He had his sword; it was thrumming in his hand, ready to run her through. He towered over her, emotionless mask staring down unfeelingly. It would be so easy.

She didn't fight. She couldn't fight. Not after what she had done. Not after she enjoyed it. Tamriel would just have to deal with her failure; Hermaeus Mora would undoubtedly relish her degrading actions for all eternity. She couldn't even look Miraak in the eye through his mask, instead fixating on the breathing of his bared chest. Dusted with hair, the chest of a mortal man. At least she could claim not being slain by an unfeeling machine. His actions from moments before proved as much.

So when Miraak spun around and cleanly sliced through the tentacle that had been inching towards them, her breath caught in her throat. The laughter abruptly shifted to a cry of rage as the very heavens quivered and shook. Miraak answered it with a howl of his own as he twirled the sword in his hand and drew himself closer to her. They were scant inches apart now, with him reaching back to grasp at her arm. "Take off your gauntlet," he commanded, voice booming over the agonized screams of Hermaeus Mora. At her hesitation he turned to face her, "Now!"

She rushed to follow his order, noticing that he did the same. "Don't look up, Dragonborn. You might just lose your mind." He said, drawing his blade and slashing his palm. The Last Dragonborn didn't dare to disobey, despite the overwhelming urge to do exactly that. It was like a clawed hand was scraping at the back of her head trying to pull her face to the sky. A swift pain across the palm of her hand brought her back, though, and she shook her head to see Miraak link their bloody hands together. "Bormahu! Hi saan Zu'u! Nid lingrah! Zu'u bologa hi voth sossedovahkiinu. Fen liivrah hi draalu? Bormahu, Zu'u bolog hi! Govey mu nol daar Suleyksejun!" The power of the Dragon tongue rattled her bones. She recognized it as a prayer to Akatosh; a plea to save them from the Daedric Prince.

But there was nothing. Mere silence. Miraak snarled and swiped his sword at the masses of tentacles surrounding them, closing in. "Bormahu! Zu'u bolog hi! Fen saan hi sleniil sosiil? Mindin pah mu drey fah hi! Govey mu nol daar Suleyksejun, daal wah Taazokaan!" The Last Dragonborn wanted to shout at him, wanted to scream and cry that Akatosh had forsaken them. He had merely cursed her birth, never blessed her. But Miraak's voice only grew in volume, roaring deep in the ancient tongue. Shaking the world with the force of his power. Her palm felt hot and aching, itching and burning like he had slathered a thick ointment onto it.

The ringing in her ears increased in pitch until she was nearly deafened by it. Power poured into her through the joining of her and Miraak's hands, setting her soul aflame. "Dovahkiin! Wah Zu'u!" With him? What with him?

NAHL DAAL VUS

Oh.

Oh.

She could feel the pull. The longing and yearning. With only one, it would not be enough. But with the strength of two, they might just possibly sever themselves from Apocrypha. It would take everything; Hermaeus Mora was loath to relinquish their souls once he had them in his grasp. But it just might work. She might escape pledging her soul to the Prince this way. Miraak was sharing his knowledge, his power, his understanding of the words, with her. Calling to Akatosh, Bormahu, pleading with him to assist in their escape. Perhaps he would listen. And so the Last Dragonborn combined her Voice with the First Dragonborn's, Shouting to the heavens above.

NAHL DAAL VUS

The effect was noticeably different. The pull was stronger now, originating somewhere within her throat and tugging insistently. Miraak wrapped his free arm around her and spun them around just as another tentacle aimed to spear them through. But it was to no avail. For with another combined Shout they felt the grip of Hermaeus Mora lessening, slipping away. Falling to the ground like shackles that had been on for far too long.

It was like waking up from a nightmare. A deep breath through lungs that hadn't breathed air in so long. Eyes opened to a cloudy sky; snow was falling. Miraak turned over to his side, coughing and sputtering as he tried to adjust. The Last Dragonborn sat up wearily, pulling her bloodied palm from his to grasp at her aching head. She was at the foot of the Tree Stone, where she had read Waking Dreams to confront Miraak. A cursory glance downwards revealed that her armor was still protectively covering her; a sigh of relief passed her lips. No telling what her Prince would have done if she lost it.

But Miraak was there. Right next to her. On the ground, wheezing and on all fours. He was alive. In the flesh. Bad. Very, very bad. Regardless of what he did, regardless of him ripping them from Mora's grasp. He was dangerous and power-hungry. He had to be stopped, had to be killed now before he could cause any more destruction. She had her dagger, still had all of her weapons. It would be so easy to slit his throat right now... End his life and absorb his soul. She had a taste of his strength when he shared in it with her through blood. Now it could be hers. Her dragon soul was growling and encouraging, craving the power. She thumbed over the hilt of her dagger and unsheathed it, staring down at him as he attempted to breathe this new air.

And then he tore off his mask, throwing it with such vitriol that it clattered against one of the pillars of his temple and cracked it. It fell to the ground with three clattering bangs and Miraak tilted his head back to finally draw in his first successful breath. He looked... Relieved. Peaceful, eyes closed and snow falling upon his hair in soft flurries. The Last Dragonborn's hand paused for a moment, dagger drawn back about to be thrust forwards. His eyes opened at that moment, turning to look at her. For the first time; no barriers.

He looked painfully human. Her dragon quieted; her mortal rejoiced.

The dagger fell to the ground, forgotten.