Usually, the dining room in the palace of New Sheoth would be populated with the residents of Shivering Isles, such as the Duke of Mania, the Duchess of Dementia, or various servants belonging to either of the aforementioned houses. Still, for this special occasion, Sheogorath had explicitly requested that the inhabitants stay in their area of the castle. After all, today, she was having guests.
She was busy bossing around Haskill and some Seducers and Saints; a thunderous knock came from the door. Sheogorath clapped her hands together in excitement and immediately told Haskill to 'go make himself useful and open the damn thing,' while she instructed her guards to stand up perfectly still on both sides of the door. She quickly sat at the head of the dining table, tapping lightly on a fork, humming some tune she'd learned three-hundred years ago when incomes-
"Jyggalag! My dear brother, who wants me dead!" Sheogorath said. She got up from her seat to give her predecessor a hug that wasn't returned but grudgingly accepted. She had to stand on her tippy toes to pat his shoulder. "I thought you'd throw my letter into the seas of Oblivion when you got my letter. How's the new realm of Oblivion? Is it all depression and orderly like you? Wouldn't make sense if it wasn't."
Of course, she'd sensed when he came into her realm, but still, it was quite surprising seeing him come first of all Daedra. They hadn't really interacted much since the whole split fiasco, and she'd only seen him a couple of weeks ago because Akatosh told him to tell her about the whole, 'weird green cut' and of course modifying her beloved staff.
Jyggalag juxtaposed the colorful and bizarre nature of the Shivering Isles, being all black and white and edges and orderly, and all that. He stood as straight as a spear, as he looked down upon her. She could see the contempt in his gaze.
He took her hand off his shoulder and made towards his seat. "Where are the rest?" He asked while sitting down.
Sheogorath sighed. "Never any fun, are you? No small talk about anything. Always 'do this,' 'do that,' 'you're a blubbering fool.'" She took her seat at the head of the table, head resting on her hand. "And you wonder why the other Daedra took you out so long ago." That seemed to hit a nerve as Jyggalag tensed. Sheogorath smiled a wide-toothed smile. "I mean no offense, of course."
"The only reason I arrived at such an early time is because of Auriel." He said. Sheogorath straightened up in her chair at the name. Had he gotten her letter? "He means to give you this." Jyggalag summoned a note and slid it across the table, Sheogorath eagerly receiving it.
The more she read the contents of the note, the more her face changed. First, it was hope, next confusion, and finally fury. Shooting up from her seat, she started to complain, "So he wants me to play nanny for his kid?" Thunder boomed outside, causing the residents of the Shivering Isles to shiver. No one liked an angry, mad god. "I've done things for him time and time again, becoming practically his errand dog. Now I give up one of my most valued artifacts, and it still isn't enough for him." Another boom of thunder from outside, this one louder than the previous. "He wants me- no, no, no, he demands me to devote my time to this. A scheme that's crazier than anything I could come up with, all over some stupid new world. I ought to-"
"You will do what Sheogorath ?" He spat the name out. That seemed to reel the mad god back into reality. The thunderstorm outside abruptly stopped, replaced by a gentle rain. Sheogorath seemed to deflate on the spot and dragged herself back into her chair at the table's head.
She held her head in her hands, mumbling incoherent things. "So stupid. She was so stupid, too stupid. Why did she believe him? Damned gates. Stupid fucking-"
"Will you quit your blubbering, fool?" Jyggalag asked, spite in his voice. The mumbling stopped, as did the rain. Sheogorath quickly pulled her head back up, taking a deep, trembling breath. Her brief bout of self-loathing was quickly replaced by a smile.
"I'm sorry Jyggalag, I hosted a tea party with no tea! Haskill!" She shouted, and immediately the Breton chamberlain appeared.
"Yes, my lord?" He said in his usual dreary tone.
"What's taking the chefs so long? All you've gotta do is put a leaf in some water and bam tea! Should I go back there and do it myself?" She moved to get up from her seat until the chamberlain gestured for her to sit down.
"No, my lord. I will go check up on it now." Haskill said, and just as quickly as he arrived, he trotted off down the palace hallways.
Sheogorath huffed. "So hard to find good help these days, isn't it?" Jyggalag ignored the question, and asked one of his own, or rather Akatosh's.
"Will you accept, Sheogorath?" He made sure to say her name.
"Not like I have much choice in the matter, my dearest brother." She replied. "Go tell Akatosh I'll happily babysit his kid. Now," She took a sweet roll off of a nearby plate. "Have you tried my new chef's cooking, it's almost as good as the last! Let's hope this one doesn't try to grow a beard!"
It took approximately seven hours for all fifteen other Daedric Princes to show up, mainly arriving in their own groups. Azura, Boethiah, Mephala, Meridia, and Nocturnal came soon after Jyggalag. Sanguine, Vaemira and Malacath showed up not long after them, with Sanguine bringing his own drink as a gift, which Sheogorath respectfully declined to the other Prince's sorrow. Clavicus arrived with his damned dog Barbas, who seemed to stick to his master's heels under the eye of the mad god. Hircine showed up with Bal, and finally, Dagon, Peryite, Mora, and Namira all showed up singly at their own times.
It was lively in the dining hall. For once, Nirn wasn't the main topic, but instead, this new land. Mora especially pried information out of every living thing he could, with various questions that either made absolutely no sense or couldn't be answered yet. Boethiah, Bal, and Meridia decided to avoid each other during this tea party, or else the whole thing would go into the waters of Oblivion. Hircine attempted to debate with Clavicus but was stopped by Barbas, who insisted his master wasn't 'feeling well right now. Talk to him again next century." The house of good in the Dunmeri pantheon were having a civil discussion in the corner, with the inclusion of Meridia and Nocturnal. Dagon made sure to steer clear of Sheogorath, as did Malacath, so the two were discussing their own things. And Jyggalag was stone-faced as Sanguine was pestering into trying his drink.
A tap on a teacup signaled for the Princes to quiet down. Sheogorath stood at the head of the table with a warm smile on her face.
"My dear friends!" Then under her breath, "Except some others, Welcome to my seventh-hundred-and-twentieth annual tea party! Though for some of you it might be the first, or the second, or the third, or the fourth, or the-"
“Sheogorath.” Jyggalag said.
"Oh quiet you, I'm trying to do introductions. Anyway, no matter how many times you've been here, you know we're here to discuss the issues of the mortal realm, but today" She paused. "It seems that there's someplace other than Nirn to talk about."
"Does it have a name yet?" Mora was the first to pipe up.
"Other than 'green cut,' and whatever Akatosh named it, we don't know." She replied. "Or whatever's on the other side of the portal could've already named it."
Mora's tentacles swayed a bit faster. "You're suggesting that there could be other life forms beyond that portal?" He spoke quicker this time around, in his excitement.
"It is unlikely, but a possibility," Jyggalag said. "We are investigating right now."
"You are doing more things for the Divines without telling us," Azura said. There was a slight sneer on her delicate features. "It does not quite suit the Daedric Prince of order."
"In Jyggy's defense, it was me who went behind your backs." Sheogorath said. Azura's gaze turned towards her.
"And what are the Divines hiding from us now?"
"I'm getting to that! Sheesh, you're all so impatient." She mumbled. "You know his kid, right? Bosmer, short hair, big eyes, is everyone's champion in some way, shape, or form?" There were mutters in reply. "Well, her dad, your favorite Akatosh, decided to use her as a test subject. She should be contacting us in- whenever in Oblivion, she does."
There was a brief silence. Azura was again the one to speak. "And you're only telling us this now?" It was more of a statement than a question. Sheogorath could practically see the steam coming out of the Mother of Roses.
"Well, yes, when was I supposed to tell you? In a week, a month, next era? Honestly, Azura, what more do you want?"
"Don't act so stupid, you blubbering fool!" Boethiah bellowed.
"Isn't that the point of being a fool? And I'd like to say I'm not one. I'm not a fool to the point where I generously donated my staff."
"Exactly what a fool would do," Azura commented.
"Sheogortah was simply following the orders of Auriel," Jyggalag said.
"The god of crazy follows orders now? That's a new one." Sanguine said. "I feel betrayed Sheo. I thought you would tell me first."
"And here I am telling all of you at once, now shut up and let me continue." She huffed. The chattering slowly quieted down.
"Jyggalag is right. I was simply under the orders of everyone's favorite dragon god, Akatosh. And I know, I'm the last person you expect, but when a green cut is in Aetherius, it's no longer the time for jokes." The lie was blatant, but no one touched on it. At least not yet. "As I said before, we sent the dragon-elf through the portal, and we're waiting for her to respond. She'll probably be talking to me. That's it. Now argue and ask away." Mora started to speak but was cut off. "We don't know anything yet, Mora." The mass of tentacles quieted.
Azura spoke first. "Why did you not tell us sooner, Sheogorath?" People really loved spitting out her name today, more so than usual.
"As Jyggy said before, everything comes from Akatosh. The portal is even in his realm. If the time-dragon god didn't want it said, I wasn't going to say it."
"You all act as if this is something new," Dagon said. Everyone tensed. Ever since the events of the Oblivion Crisis, the Dagon and Sheogorath mixed as well as oil and water.
" Reeeaaallly? " Sheogorath said a smile etched on her face. "Enlighten me Dagon, what are you talking about?"
The Prince laughed. "For someone who claims not to be a fool, you play one perfectly." Her smile twitched a bit. "You act as if you weren't being pulled around by Akatosh's plan once. You still are, it seems."
"Oh, Dagon, I was willing to and now."
"I don't remember you having that mindset when Martin- how do you say it? 'Turned into a dragon god.' The smile fell from Sheogorath's face and gave way to an emotionless expression. Thunder once again rolled outside, more intense than before.
"Dagon!" Shegorath said. She moved from her seat to be closer to her 'friend.' "My dear, stupid, Dagon. You do remember where you are, right?"
Sanguine hurried in between them. As much fun as a fight between the Prince of madness and Destruction would be, they were here for a civil discussion. "Now, now, how about we all calm down-"
"I'm fully aware of where I am." He was standing now, walking forward to meet the mad god. The Saints and Seducers had their weapons drawn.
"Then you must be more of a fool than I am."
"Sheogorath!" Sanguine shouted to no avail.
"What did he promise you, I wonder," Dagon said. "You were pestering Sanguine for a decade. Over what?"
"When did that ever become your concern Dagon?"
"Ever since you became Auriel's dog."
They were face to face now and only inches apart. The Saints and Seducers seemed to form a formation around their lord, with one of each on either side of Sheogorath. No one moved for what seemed like an eternity.
Finally, with an awkward cough, Sanguine caught their attention. "Why don't we put the grudges aside and drink for a moment? Let the anger go and lose ourselves." He held up the bottle he had bought.
No one responded until Sheogorath spoke, never letting her eyes off Dagon. "Yes, that'd be nice. Wouldn't it, Dagon?"
"It would Sheogorath." He walked away to go back to his seat, leaving the mad god to stand alone in thought. Sanguine walked over, patted her shoulder, and steered her back to her chair. Popping open a bottle, they began to pass the bottle around and take swigs, though some preferred to simply pour it into their teacups, once of which was Sheogorath.
She stared at the dark liquid in the cup. Her reflection stared back at her, or whatever this thing was in the cup did so. White hair, blind eyes, sharp teeth, mismatched colors, and a crazy look in its eyes. Just where had she gone to?
She shook her head and took a sip of the cup, savoring the warm feeling that bloomed her stomach. Closing her eyes, only one thought came to mind.
It shouldn't be long now.