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Miracle of Daerir

Ride the storms, lest they ride thee.

Consume the red sands, lest they consume thee

By the one from the dark waters

By the one who was first in the deep waters

By my will I cleanse myself of the red sands.


Blessing of Daerir

Ride the storms, lest they ride thee.

Consume the red sands, lest they consume thee

By the one from the dark waters

By the one who was first in the deep waters

By my will I cleanse thee of the red sands.










CRUSH YOUR ENEMIES
BE WISE INVOKING YOUR WILL
BEHOLD!
BEHOLD!
BY THE GODS, I INVOKE THIS POWER
DEATH AND DESTRUCTION TO YOUR ENEMIES
DEATH STALKS US ALL
DESTRUCTION TO ALL FOES
DOWN WITH DUNMER OPPRESSION
ENDLESS PAIN AND SUFFERING
FOR THE GODS!
FOR THE GODS!
FROM THE EARTH TO THE AETHER...AND BACK.
GREED EVENTUALLY TRAPS US ALL
I AM THAT IS AND ALWAYS WAS
I INVOKE FOR THE GODS, FOR MY ANCESTORS, AND FOR REVENGE
IN THE NAME OF THE GODS!
IN THE NAME OF THE GODS!
INVOKE IN THE NAME OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
INVOKE SWIFTLY AND WISELY
INVOKE SWIFTLY AND WISELY
LONG LIVE THE PROPHECY
MAY YOUR FEET BE SWIFT AND SURE
MY GODS, MAY THIS INVOCATION PROVE MY DEDICATION AND WORTH
MY SOUL IS PAINED. INVOKE AND RELEASE ME FROM ANGUISH AND SUFFERING
NINE-FOLD WOES AND WEAKNESSES UPON YOU, HEATHEN SERVENTS OF DARKNESS
SANCTIFY WITH BLOOD AND FIRE
SHADOWS AND FOG
SHE WAS A LOVELY CHILD, FULL OF LIFE AND BEAUTY. MY ACTIONS PAINED ME, BUT I DID WHAT HAD TO BE DONE...TO SAVE HER.
STRENGTH AND HONOR
STRENGTH AND HONOR
STRENGTH AND HONOR. DEATH TO OUR ENEMIES.
THAT WHICH DEFINES YOU WILL PROVE TO BE YOUR UNDOING
THE DUST SHALL SERVE ME!
THE DUST SHALL SERVE ME!
THE DUST SHALL SERVE ME!
THE NINTH BARRIER CANNOT EXIST!
WHERE'S THE MONEY IN THAT?
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
WOE UPON YOU
YOUR LIFE OR YOUR HONOR



A is for Atronach.



B is for Bungler's Bane.



C is for Comberry.


















* ARRILLE'S TRADEHOUSE *

Port of Seyda Neen



Hereas at the general Sessions of the Peace held for the District of House Hlaalu at the Town of Balmora on the 16th day of First Seed in the year of the Reign of our Sovereign King Hlaalu Athyn Llethan, by the Grace of All Gods, King of Morrowind, Duke of Mournhold and Hlaalu Province; Defender of the People and the Law; Loyal Servant of the Empire; etc.

Arrille of the Port of Seyda Neen aforesaid, hath entered into Recognizance with Sureties, before us his Majesty's Magistrates of Peace, within the said District, whose Names are hereunder written:

We therefore his Majesty's said Magistrates, have hereby Licensed, and allowed the said Arrille to keep a Common Tradehouse, or Cornerclub, in the House wherein he now dwelleth, in the Port of Seyda Neen aforesaid, for three full years, from henceforth next ensuing, or till such other time as shall be by us, or some of our fellow Magistrates thereunto appointed; Provided that if the said Arrille do not from time to time during that time, well and truly observe the Articles hereafter mentioned, then this License shall presently cease, and be utterly void.

1st Item, That the said Arrille shall not suffer any Stranger, or unknown Traveler, to Lodge, or Stay, in or about his House, above one Day and one Night, without making the same known forthwith to the next Bailiff, or other Officer of this Town, to the end that the said Stranger, or unknown Traveler may be examined, by some Magistrate of Peace near adjoining.

2nd Item, That he shall not suffer any playing at Cards, Tables, Dice, Bowls, Nine-holes, or any other unlawful Game, or any Disorder, or Outrage in his House, Orchard, Garden, or Back-side, but shall keep good Order and Rule in his House.

3rd Item, That he shall not suffer any neighbor's Children, Servants, or Slaves to Tipple in his House at all, nor any other to Tipple in his house, otherwise than by the Statutes are allowed.

4th Item, That he doe not suffer any to Tipple in hours of Prayer, or Lesson, on any Emperor's or Festival days, nor at any time after the eighth hour of Night.

5th Item, That he shall not harbor any Rogues, Vagabonds, Tradeless men, nor other suspicious Persons, in or about his House.

6th Item, That he shall not Buy or take to Pawn, or suffer to be Bought or taken to Pawn in his House (to his knowledge) any goods of any unknown Traveler, or of any Neighbor's children, or Servants, or Slaves, or of any man's Wife, without the consent of their Parents, Masters, or Husbands respectively, and if any such Goods be offered to Sale, or Pawn, by any Stranger, he shall make the same known forthwith to the next Bailiff, or other Officer of the Town.

7th Item, That he doe not sell his best Drink above Four Drakes the Gallon, nor the second sort above Two Drakes the Gallon, nor suffer any Ash-Fowl to be Dressed or Eaten in his House, or on any other Victuals prohibited by the Laws of this Realm.

8th Item, That he shall not suffer any Bawdry, or Criminal Conversation, in or about his house, nor shall procure or cause to be Enticed any man to drink in his house, until he shall be Drunk, or distempered with Drink.

9th Item, That he shall not suffer any Luting, Drumming, or Dancing, in or about his house, on any Lesson Day, nor in time of Divine Service, on any Sacred Festival, or Holy-day.

10th Item, That he shall cause this License to be openly fixed up in the Hall-Room of his dwelling House, to the end that every one may see what Articles he is bound to observe.

Dated the day and year first above written.

Undersigned,

Master Velanda Omani
Master Nevena Ules
Master Dram Bero
Master Crassius Curio
Master Yngling Half-Troll

A Brief History of the Empire
Part Four
by Stronach k'Thojj III
Imperial Historian



The first book of this series described, in brief, the first eight Emperors of the Septim Dynasty beginning with Tiber I. The second volume described the War of the Red Diamond and the six Emperors who followed. The third volume described the troubles of the next three Emperors-the frustrated Uriel IV, the ineffectual Cephorus II, and the heroic Uriel V.

On Uriel V's death across the sea in distant, hostile Akavir, Uriel VI was but five years old. In fact, Uriel VI was born only shortly before his father left for Akavir. Uriel V's only other progeny, by a morganatic alliance, were the twins Morihatha and Eloisa, who had been born a month after Uriel V left. Uriel VI was crowned in the 290th year of the Third Era. The Imperial Consort Thonica, as the boy's mother, was given a restricted Regency until Uriel VI reached his majority. The Elder Council retained the real power, as they had ever since the days of Katariah I.

The Council so enjoyed its unlimited and unrestricted freedom to promulgate laws (and generate profits) that Uriel VI was not given full license to rule until 307, when he was already 22 years old. He had been slowly assuming positions of responsibility for years, but both the Council and his mother, who enjoyed even her limited Regency, were loath to hand over the reins. By the time he came to the throne, the mechanisms of government gave him little power except for that of the imperial veto.

This power, however, he regularly and vigorously exercised. By 313, Uriel VI could boast with conviction that he truly did rule Tamriel. He utilized defunct spy networks and guard units to bully and coerce the difficult members of the Elder Council. His half-sister Morihatha was (not surprisingly) his staunchest ally, especially after her marriage to Baron Ulfe Gersen of Winterhold brought her considerable wealth and influence. As the Sage Ugaridge said, �Uriel V conquered Esroniet, but Uriel VI conquered the Elder Council.�

When Uriel VI fell off a horse and could not be resuscitated by the finest Imperial healers, his beloved sister Morihatha took up the imperial tiara. At 25 years of age, she had been described by (admittedly self-serving) diplomats as the most beautiful creature in all of Tamriel. She was certainly well-learned, vivacious, athletic, and a well-practised politician. She brought the Archmagister of Skyrim to the Imperial City and created the second Imperial Battlemage since the days of Tiber Septim.

Morihatha finished the job her brother had begun, and made the Imperial Province a true government under the Empress (and later, the Emperor). Outside the Imperial Province, however, the Empire had been slowly disintegrating. Open revolutions and civil wars had raged unchallenged since the days of her grandfather Cephorus II. Carefully coordinating her counterattacks, Morihatha slowly claimed back her rebellious vassals, always avoiding overextending herself.

Though Morihatha's military campaigns were remarkably successful, her deliberate pace often frustrated the Council. One Councilman, an Argonian who took the Colovian name of Thoricles Romus, furious at her refusal to send troops to his troubled Black Marsh, is commonly believed to have hired the assassins who claimed her life in 3E 339. Romus was summarily tried and executed, though he protested his innocence to the last.

Morihatha had no surviving children, and Eloisa had died of a fever four years before. Eloisa's 25-year-old son Pelagius was thus crowned Pelagius IV. Pelagius IV continued his aunt's work, slowly bringing back under his wing the radical and refractory kingdoms, duchies, and baronies of the Empire. He exercised Morihatha's poise and circumspect pace in his endeavours-but alas, he did not attain her success. The kingdoms had been free of constraint for so long that even a benign Imperial presence was considered odious. Nevertheless, when Pelagius died after an astonishing forty-nine-year reign, Tamriel was closer to unity than it had been since the days of Uriel I.

Our current Emperor, His Awesome and Terrible Majesty, Uriel Septim VII, son of Pelagius IV, has the diligence of his great-aunt Morihatha, the political skill of his great-uncle Uriel VI, and the military prowess of his great grand-uncle Uriel V. For twenty-one years he reigned and brought justice and order to Tamriel. In the year 3E389, however, his Imperial Battlemage, Jagar Tharn, betrayed him.

Uriel VII was imprisoned in a dimension of Tharn's creation, and Tharn used his sorcery of illusion to assume the Emperor's aspect. For the next ten years, Tharn abused imperial privilege but did not continue Uriel VII's schedule of reconquest. It is not yet entirely known what Tharn's goals and personal accomplishments were during the ten years he masqueraded as his liege lord. In 3E399, an enigmatic Champion defeated the Battlemage in the dungeons of the Imperial Palace and freed Uriel VII from his other-dimensional jail.

Since his emancipation, Uriel Septim VII has worked diligently to renew the battles that would reunite Tamriel. Tharn's interference broke the momentum, it is true -- but the years since then have proven that there is hope of the Golden Age of Tiber Septim's rule glorifying Tamriel once again.


A Brief History of the Empire
Part Four
by Stronach k'Thojj III
Imperial Historian



The first book of this series described, in brief, the first eight Emperors of the Septim Dynasty beginning with Tiber I. The second volume described the War of the Red Diamond and the six Emperors who followed. The third volume described the troubles of the next three Emperors-the frustrated Uriel IV, the ineffectual Cephorus II, and the heroic Uriel V.

On Uriel V's death across the sea in distant, hostile Akavir, Uriel VI was but five years old. In fact, Uriel VI was born only shortly before his father left for Akavir. Uriel V's only other progeny, by a morganatic alliance, were the twins Morihatha and Eloisa, who had been born a month after Uriel V left. Uriel VI was crowned in the 290th year of the Third Era. The Imperial Consort Thonica, as the boy's mother, was given a restricted Regency until Uriel VI reached his majority. The Elder Council retained the real power, as they had ever since the days of Katariah I.

The Council so enjoyed its unlimited and unrestricted freedom to promulgate laws (and generate profits) that Uriel VI was not given full license to rule until 307, when he was already 22 years old. He had been slowly assuming positions of responsibility for years, but both the Council and his mother, who enjoyed even her limited Regency, were loath to hand over the reins. By the time he came to the throne, the mechanisms of government gave him little power except for that of the imperial veto.

This power, however, he regularly and vigorously exercised. By 313, Uriel VI could boast with conviction that he truly did rule Tamriel. He utilized defunct spy networks and guard units to bully and coerce the difficult members of the Elder Council. His half-sister Morihatha was (not surprisingly) his staunchest ally, especially after her marriage to Baron Ulfe Gersen of Winterhold brought her considerable wealth and influence. As the Sage Ugaridge said, "Uriel V conquered Esroniet, but Uriel VI conquered the Elder Council."

When Uriel VI fell off a horse and could not be resuscitated by the finest Imperial healers, his beloved sister Morihatha took up the imperial tiara. At 25 years of age, she had been described by (admittedly self-serving) diplomats as the most beautiful creature in all of Tamriel. She was certainly well-learned, vivacious, athletic, and a well-practised politician. She brought the Archmagister of Skyrim to the Imperial City and created the second Imperial Battlemage since the days of Tiber Septim.

Morihatha finished the job her brother had begun, and made the Imperial Province a true government under the Empress (and later, the Emperor). Outside the Imperial Province, however, the Empire had been slowly disintegrating. Open revolutions and civil wars had raged unchallenged since the days of her grandfather Cephorus II. Carefully coordinating her counterattacks, Morihatha slowly claimed back her rebellious vassals, always avoiding overextending herself.

Though Morihatha's military campaigns were remarkably successful, her deliberate pace often frustrated the Council. One Councilman, an Argonian who took the Colovian name of Thoricles Romus, furious at her refusal to send troops to his troubled Black Marsh, is commonly believed to have hired the assassins who claimed her life in 3E 339. Romus was summarily tried and executed, though he protested his innocence to the last.

Morihatha had no surviving children, and Eloisa had died of a fever four years before. Eloisa's 25-year-old son Pelagius was thus crowned Pelagius IV. Pelagius IV continued his aunt's work, slowly bringing back under his wing the radical and refractory kingdoms, duchies, and baronies of the Empire. He exercised Morihatha's poise and circumspect pace in his endeavours-but alas, he did not attain her success. The kingdoms had been free of constraint for so long that even a benign Imperial presence was considered odious. Nevertheless, when Pelagius died after an astonishing forty-nine-year reign, Tamriel was closer to unity than it had been since the days of Uriel I.

Our current Emperor, His Awesome and Terrible Majesty, Uriel Septim VII, son of Pelagius IV, has the diligence of his great-aunt Morihatha, the political skill of his great-uncle Uriel VI, and the military prowess of his great grand-uncle Uriel V. For twenty-one years he reigned and brought justice and order to Tamriel. In the year 3E389, however, his Imperial Battlemage, Jagar Tharn, betrayed him.

Uriel VII was imprisoned in a dimension of Tharn's creation, and Tharn used his sorcery of illusion to assume the Emperor's aspect. For the next ten years, Tharn abused imperial privilege but did not continue Uriel VII's schedule of reconquest. It is not yet entirely known what Tharn's goals and personal accomplishments were during the ten years he masqueraded as his liege lord. In 3E399, an enigmatic Champion defeated the Battlemage in the dungeons of the Imperial Palace and freed Uriel VII from his other-dimensional jail.

Since his emancipation, Uriel Septim VII has worked diligently to renew the battles that would reunite Tamriel. Tharn's interference broke the momentum, it is true -- but the years since then have proven that there is hope of the Golden Age of Tiber Septim's rule glorifying Tamriel once again.


A Brief History of the Empire
Part One
by Stronach k'Thojj III
Imperial Historian



Before the rule of Tiber Septim, all Tamriel was in chaos. The poet Tracizis called that period of continuous unrest �days and nights of blood and venom.� The kings were a petty lot of grasping tyrants, who fought Tiber's attempts to bring order to the land. But they were as disorganized as they were dissolute, and the strong hand of Septim brought peace forcibly to Tamriel. The year was 2E 896. The following year, the Emperor declared the beginning of a new Era-thus began the Third Era, Year Aught.

For thirty-eight years, the Emperor Tiber reigned supreme. It was a lawful, pious, and glorious age, when justice was known to one and all, from serf to sovereign. On Tiber's death, it rained for an entire fortnight as if the land of Tamriel itself was weeping.

The Emperor's grandson, Pelagius, came to the throne. Though his reign was short, he was as strong and resolute as his father had been, and Tamriel could have enjoyed a continuation of the Golden Age. Alas, an unknown enemy of the Septim Family hired that accursed organization of cutthroats, the Dark Brotherhood, to kill the Emperor Pelagius I as he knelt at prayer at the Temple of the One in the Imperial City. Pelagius I's reign lasted less than three years.

Pelagius had no living children, so the Crown Imperial passed to his first cousin, the daughter of Tiber's brother Agnorith. Kintyra, former Queen of Silvenar, assumed the throne as Kintyra I. Her reign was blessed with prosperity and good harvests, and she herself was an avid patroness of art, music, and dance.

Kintyra's son was crowned after her death, the first Emperor of Tamriel to use the imperial name Uriel. Uriel I was the great lawmaker of the Septim Dynasty, and a promoter of independent organizations and guilds. Under his kind but firm hand, the Fighters Guild and the Mages Guild increased in prominence throughout Tamriel. His son and successor Uriel II reigned for eighteen years, from the death of Uriel I in 3E64 to Pelagius II's accession in 3E82. Tragically, the rule of Uriel II was cursed with blights, plagues, and insurrections. The tenderness he inherited from his father did not serve Tamriel well, and little justice was done.

Pelagius II inherited not only the throne from his father, but the debt from the latter's poor financial and judicial management. Pelagius dismissed all of the Elder Council, and allowed only those willing to pay great sums to resume their seats. He encouraged similar acts among his vassals, the kings of Tamriel, and by the end of his seventeen year reign, Tamriel had returned to prosperity. His critics, however, have suggested that any advisor possessed of wisdom but not of gold had been summarily ousted by Pelagius. This may have led to some of the troubles his son Antiochus faced when he in turn became Emperor.

Antiochus was certainly one of the more flamboyant members of the usually austere Septim Family. He had numerous mistresses and nearly as many wives, and was renowned for the grandeur of his dress and his high good humor. Unfortunately, his reign was rife with civil war, surpassing even that of his grandfather Uriel II. The War of the Isle in 3E110, twelve years after Antiochus assumed the throne, nearly took the province of Summurset Isle away from Tamriel. The united alliance of the kings of Summurset and Antiochus only managed to defeat King Orghum of the island-kingdom of Pyandonea due to a freak storm. Legend credits the Psijic Order of the Isle of Artaeum with the sorcery behind the tempest.

The story of Kintyra II, heiress to her father Antiochus' throne, is certainly one of the saddest tales in imperial history. Her first cousin Uriel, son of Queen Potema of Solitude, accused Kintyra of being a bastard, alluding to the infamous decadence of the Imperial City during her father's reign. When this accusation failed to stop her coronation, Uriel bought the support of several disgruntled kings of High Rock, Skyrim, and Morrowind, and with Queen Potema's assistance, he coordinated three attacks on the Septim Empire.

The first attack occurred in the Iliac Bay region, which separates High Rock and Hammerfell. Kintyra's entourage was massacred and the Empress taken captive. For two years, Kintyra II languished in an Imperial prison believed to be somewhere in Glenpoint or Glenmoril before she was slain in her cell under mysterious circumstances. The second attack was on a series of Imperial garrisons along the coastal Morrowind islands. The Empress' consort Kontin Arynx fell defending the forts. The third and final attack was a siege of the Imperial City itself, occurring after the Elder Council had split up the army to attack western High Rock and eastern Morrowind. The weakened government had little defence against Uriel's determined aggression, and capitulated after only a fortnight of resistance. Uriel took the throne that same evening and proclaimed himself Uriel III, Emperor of Tamriel. The year was 3E 121. Thus began the War of the Red Diamond, described in Volume II of this series.


A Brief History of the Empire
Part One
by Stronach k'Thojj III
Imperial Historian



Before the rule of Tiber Septim, all Tamriel was in chaos. The poet Tracizis called that period of continuous unrest "days and nights of blood and venom." The kings were a petty lot of grasping tyrants, who fought Tiber's attempts to bring order to the land. But they were as disorganized as they were dissolute, and the strong hand of Septim brought peace forcibly to Tamriel. The year was 2E 896. The following year, the Emperor declared the beginning of a new Era-thus began the Third Era, Year Aught.

For thirty-eight years, the Emperor Tiber reigned supreme. It was a lawful, pious, and glorious age, when justice was known to one and all, from serf to sovereign. On Tiber's death, it rained for an entire fortnight as if the land of Tamriel itself was weeping.

The Emperor's grandson, Pelagius, came to the throne. Though his reign was short, he was as strong and resolute as his father had been, and Tamriel could have enjoyed a continuation of the Golden Age. Alas, an unknown enemy of the Septim Family hired that accursed organization of cutthroats, the Dark Brotherhood, to kill the Emperor Pelagius I as he knelt at prayer at the Temple of the One in the Imperial City. Pelagius I's reign lasted less than three years.

Pelagius had no living children, so the Crown Imperial passed to his first cousin, the daughter of Tiber's brother Agnorith. Kintyra, former Queen of Silvenar, assumed the throne as Kintyra I. Her reign was blessed with prosperity and good harvests, and she herself was an avid patroness of art, music, and dance.

Kintyra's son was crowned after her death, the first Emperor of Tamriel to use the imperial name Uriel. Uriel I was the great lawmaker of the Septim Dynasty, and a promoter of independent organizations and guilds. Under his kind but firm hand, the Fighters Guild and the Mages Guild increased in prominence throughout Tamriel. His son and successor Uriel II reigned for eighteen years, from the death of Uriel I in 3E64 to Pelagius II's accession in 3E82. Tragically, the rule of Uriel II was cursed with blights, plagues, and insurrections. The tenderness he inherited from his father did not serve Tamriel well, and little justice was done.

Pelagius II inherited not only the throne from his father, but the debt from the latter's poor financial and judicial management. Pelagius dismissed all of the Elder Council, and allowed only those willing to pay great sums to resume their seats. He encouraged similar acts among his vassals, the kings of Tamriel, and by the end of his seventeen year reign, Tamriel had returned to prosperity. His critics, however, have suggested that any advisor possessed of wisdom but not of gold had been summarily ousted by Pelagius. This may have led to some of the troubles his son Antiochus faced when he in turn became Emperor.

Antiochus was certainly one of the more flamboyant members of the usually austere Septim Family. He had numerous mistresses and nearly as many wives, and was renowned for the grandeur of his dress and his high good humor. Unfortunately, his reign was rife with civil war, surpassing even that of his grandfather Uriel II. The War of the Isle in 3E110, twelve years after Antiochus assumed the throne, nearly took the province of Summurset Isle away from Tamriel. The united alliance of the kings of Summurset and Antiochus only managed to defeat King Orghum of the island-kingdom of Pyandonea due to a freak storm. Legend credits the Psijic Order of the Isle of Artaeum with the sorcery behind the tempest.

The story of Kintyra II, heiress to her father Antiochus' throne, is certainly one of the saddest tales in imperial history. Her first cousin Uriel, son of Queen Potema of Solitude, accused Kintyra of being a bastard, alluding to the infamous decadence of the Imperial City during her father's reign. When this accusation failed to stop her coronation, Uriel bought the support of several disgruntled kings of High Rock, Skyrim, and Morrowind, and with Queen Potema's assistance, he coordinated three attacks on the Septim Empire.

The first attack occurred in the Iliac Bay region, which separates High Rock and Hammerfell. Kintyra's entourage was massacred and the Empress taken captive. For two years, Kintyra II languished in an Imperial prison believed to be somewhere in Glenpoint or Glenmoril before she was slain in her cell under mysterious circumstances. The second attack was on a series of Imperial garrisons along the coastal Morrowind islands. The Empress' consort Kontin Arynx fell defending the forts. The third and final attack was a siege of the Imperial City itself, occurring after the Elder Council had split up the army to attack western High Rock and eastern Morrowind. The weakened government had little defence against Uriel's determined aggression, and capitulated after only a fortnight of resistance. Uriel took the throne that same evening and proclaimed himself Uriel III, Emperor of Tamriel. The year was 3E 121. Thus began the War of the Red Diamond, described in Volume II of this series.


A Brief History of the Empire
Part Three
by Stronach k'Thojj III
Imperial Historian



The first volume of this series told in brief the story of the succession of the first eight Emperors of the Septim Dynasty, from Tiber I to Kintyra II. The second volume described the War of the Red Diamond and the six Emperors that followed its aftermath, from Uriel III to Cassynder I. At the end of that volume, it was described how the Emperor Cassynder's half-brother Uriel IV assumed the throne of the Empire of Tamriel.
It will be recalled that Uriel IV was not a Septim by birth. His mother, though she reigned as Empress for many years, was a Dark Elf married to a true Septim Emperor, Pelagius III. Uriel's father was actually Katariah I's consort after Pelagius' death, a Breton nobleman named Gallivere Lariat. Before taking the throne of Empire, Cassynder I had ruled the kingdom of Wayrest, but poor health had forced him to retire. Cassynder had no children, so he legally adopted his half-brother Uriel and abdicated the kingdom. Seven years later, Cassynder inherited the Empire at the death of his mother. Three years after that, Uriel once again found himself the recipient of Cassynder's inheritance.
Uriel IV's reign was a long and difficult one. Despite being a legally adopted member of the Septim Family, and despite the Lariat Family's high position -- indeed, they were distant cousins of the Septims -- few of the Elder Council could be persuaded to accept him fully as a blood descendant of Tiber. The Council had assumed much responsibility during Katariah I's long reign and Cassynder I's short one, and a strong-willed �alien� monarch like Uriel IV found it impossible to command their unswerving fealty. Time and again the Council and Emperor were at odds, and time and again the Council won the battles. Since the days of Pelagius II, the Elder Council had consisted of the wealthiest men and women in the Empire, and the power they wielded was conclusive.
The Council's last victory over Uriel IV was posthumous. Andorak, Uriel IV's son, was disinherited by vote of Council, and a cousin more closely related to the original Septim line was proclaimed Cephorus II in 3E268. For the first nine years of Cephorus II's reign, those loyal to Andorak battled the Imperial forces. In an act that the Sage Eraintine called �Tiber Septim's heart beating no more,� the Council granted Andorak the High Rock kingdom of Shornhelm to end the war, and Andorak's descendants still rule there.
By and large, Cephorus II had foes that demanded more of his attention than Andorak. �From out of a cimmerian nightmare,� in the words of Eraintine, a man who called himself the Camoran Usurper led an army of Daedra and undead warriors on a rampage through Valenwood, conquering kingdom after kingdom. Few could resist his onslaughts, and as month turned to bloody month in the year 3E249, even fewer tried. Cephorus II sent more and more mercenaries into Hammerfell to stop the Usurper's northward march, but they were bribed or slaughtered and raised as undead.
The story of the Camoran Usurper deserves a book of its own. (It is recommended that the reader find Palaux Illthre's The Fall of the Usurper for more detail.) In short, however, the destruction of the forces of the Usurper had little do with the efforts of the Emperor. The result was a great regional victory and an increase in hostility toward the seemingly inefficacious Empire.
Uriel V, Cephorus II's son and successor, swivelled opinion back toward the latent power of the Empire. Turning the attention of Tamriel away from internal strife, Uriel V embarked on a series of invasions beginning almost from the moment he took the throne in 3E268. Uriel V conquered Roscrea in 271, Cathnoquey in 276, Yneslea in 279, and Esroniet in 284. In 3E288, he embarked on his most ambitious enterprise, the invasion of the continent kingdom of Akavir. This ultimately proved a failure, for two years later Uriel V was killed in Akavir on the battlefield of Ionith. Nevertheless, Uriel V holds a reputation second only to Tiber as one of the two great Warrior Emperors of Tamriel.
The last four Emperors, beginning with Uriel V's infant son, are described in the fourth and final volume of this series.


A Brief History of the Empire
Part Three
by Stronach k'Thojj III
Imperial Historian



The first volume of this series told in brief the story of the succession of the first eight Emperors of the Septim Dynasty, from Tiber I to Kintyra II. The second volume described the War of the Red Diamond and the six Emperors that followed its aftermath, from Uriel III to Cassynder I. At the end of that volume, it was described how the Emperor Cassynder's half-brother Uriel IV assumed the throne of the Empire of Tamriel.
It will be recalled that Uriel IV was not a Septim by birth. His mother, though she reigned as Empress for many years, was a Dark Elf married to a true Septim Emperor, Pelagius III. Uriel's father was actually Katariah I's consort after Pelagius' death, a Breton nobleman named Gallivere Lariat. Before taking the throne of Empire, Cassynder I had ruled the kingdom of Wayrest, but poor health had forced him to retire. Cassynder had no children, so he legally adopted his half-brother Uriel and abdicated the kingdom. Seven years later, Cassynder inherited the Empire at the death of his mother. Three years after that, Uriel once again found himself the recipient of Cassynder's inheritance.
Uriel IV's reign was a long and difficult one. Despite being a legally adopted member of the Septim Family, and despite the Lariat Family's high position -- indeed, they were distant cousins of the Septims -- few of the Elder Council could be persuaded to accept him fully as a blood descendant of Tiber. The Council had assumed much responsibility during Katariah I's long reign and Cassynder I's short one, and a strong-willed "alien" monarch like Uriel IV found it impossible to command their unswerving fealty. Time and again the Council and Emperor were at odds, and time and again the Council won the battles. Since the days of Pelagius II, the Elder Council had consisted of the wealthiest men and women in the Empire, and the power they wielded was conclusive.
The Council's last victory over Uriel IV was posthumous. Andorak, Uriel IV's son, was disinherited by vote of Council, and a cousin more closely related to the original Septim line was proclaimed Cephorus II in 3E268. For the first nine years of Cephorus II's reign, those loyal to Andorak battled the Imperial forces. In an act that the Sage Eraintine called "Tiber Septim's heart beating no more," the Council granted Andorak the High Rock kingdom of Shornhelm to end the war, and Andorak's descendants still rule there.
By and large, Cephorus II had foes that demanded more of his attention than Andorak. "From out of a cimmerian nightmare," in the words of Eraintine, a man who called himself the Camoran Usurper led an army of Daedra and undead warriors on a rampage through Valenwood, conquering kingdom after kingdom. Few could resist his onslaughts, and as month turned to bloody month in the year 3E249, even fewer tried. Cephorus II sent more and more mercenaries into Hammerfell to stop the Usurper's northward march, but they were bribed or slaughtered and raised as undead.
The story of the Camoran Usurper deserves a book of its own. (It is recommended that the reader find Palaux Illthre's The Fall of the Usurper for more detail.) In short, however, the destruction of the forces of the Usurper had little do with the efforts of the Emperor. The result was a great regional victory and an increase in hostility toward the seemingly inefficacious Empire.
Uriel V, Cephorus II's son and successor, swivelled opinion back toward the latent power of the Empire. Turning the attention of Tamriel away from internal strife, Uriel V embarked on a series of invasions beginning almost from the moment he took the throne in 3E268. Uriel V conquered Roscrea in 271, Cathnoquey in 276, Yneslea in 279, and Esroniet in 284. In 3E288, he embarked on his most ambitious enterprise, the invasion of the continent kingdom of Akavir. This ultimately proved a failure, for two years later Uriel V was killed in Akavir on the battlefield of Ionith. Nevertheless, Uriel V holds a reputation second only to Tiber as one of the two great Warrior Emperors of Tamriel.
The last four Emperors, beginning with Uriel V's infant son, are described in the fourth and final volume of this series.


A Brief History of the Empire
Part Two
by Stronach k'Thojj III
Imperial Historian



Volume I of this series described in brief the lives of the first eight Emperors of the Septim Dynasty, beginning with the glorious Tiber Septim and ending with his great, great, great, great, grandniece Kintyra II. Kintyra's murder in Glenpoint while in captivity is considered by some to be the end of the pure strain of Septim blood in the imperial family. Certainly it marks the end of something significant.

Uriel III not only proclaimed himself Emperor of Tamriel, but also Uriel Septim III, taking the eminent surname as a title. In truth, his surname was Mantiarco from his father's line. In time, Uriel III was deposed and his crimes reviled, but the tradition of taking the name Septim as a title for the Emperor of Tamriel did not die with him.

For six years, the War of the Red Diamond (which takes its name from the Septim Family's famous badge) tore the Empire apart. The combatants were the three surviving children of Pelagius II-Potema, Cephorus, and Magnus-and their various offspring. Potema, of course, supported her son Uriel III, and had the combined support of all of Skyrim and northern Morrowind. With the efforts of Cephorus and Magnus, however, the province of High Rock turned coat. The provinces of Hammerfell, Summurset Isle, Valenwood, Elsweyr, and Black Marsh were divided in their loyalty, but most kings supported Cephorus and Magnus.

In 3E127, Uriel III was captured at the Battle of Ichidag in Hammerfell. En route to his trial in the Imperial City, a mob overtook his prisoner's carriage and burned him alive within it. His captor and uncle continued on to the Imperial City, and by common acclaim was proclaimed Cephorus I, Emperor of Tamriel.

Cephorus' reign was marked by nothing but war. By all accounts, he was a kind and intelligent man, but what Tamriel needed was a great warrior -- and he, fortunately, was that. It took an additional ten years of constant warfare for him to defeat his sister Potema. The so-called Wolf Queen of Solitude who died in the siege of her city-state in the year 137. Cephorus survived his sister by only three years. He never had time during the war years to marry, so it was his brother, the fourth child of Pelagius II, who assumed the throne.

The Emperor Magnus was already elderly when he took up the imperial diadem, and the business of punishing the traitorous kings of the War of the Red Diamond drained much of his remaining strength. Legend accuses Magnus' son and heir Pelagius III of patricide, but that seems highly unlikely-for no other reason than that Pelagius was King of Solitude following the death of Potema, and seldom visited the Imperial City.

Pelagius III, sometimes called Pelagius the Mad, was proclaimed Emperor in the 145th year of the Third Era. Almost from the start, his eccentricities of behaviour were noted at court. He embarrassed dignitaries, offended his vassal kings, and on one occasion marked the end of an imperial grand ball by attempting to hang himself. His long-suffering wife was finally awarded the Regency of Tamriel, and Pelagius III was sent to a series of healing institutions and asylums until his death in 3E153 at the age of thirty-four.

The Empress Regent of Tamriel was proclaimed Empress Katariah I upon the death of her husband. Some who do not mark the end of the Septim bloodline with the death of Kintyra II consider the ascendancy of this Dark Elf woman the true mark of its decline. Her defenders, on the other hand, assert that though Katariah was not descended from Tiber, the son she had with Pelagius was, so the imperial chain did continue. Despite racist assertions to the contrary, Katariah's forty-six-year reign was one of the most celebrated in Tamriel's history. Uncomfortable in the Imperial City, Katariah travelled extensively throughout the Empire such as no Emperor ever had since Tiber's day. She repaired much of the damage that previous emperor's broken alliances and bungled diplomacy created. The people of Tamriel came to love their Empress far more than the nobility did. Katariah's death in a minor skirmish in Black Marsh is a favorite subject of conspiracy minded historians. The Sage Montalius' discovery, for instance, of a disenfranchised branch of the Septim Family and their involvement with the skirmish was a revelation indeed.

When Cassynder assumed the throne upon the death of his mother, he was already middle-aged. Only half Elven, he aged like a Breton. In fact, he had left the rule of Wayrest to his half-brother Uriel due to poor health. Nevertheless, as the only true blood relation of Pelagius and thus Tiber, he was pressed into accepting the throne. To no one's surprise, the Emperor Cassynder's reign did not last long. In two years he joined his predecessors in eternal slumber.

Uriel Lariat, Cassynder's half-brother, and the child of Katariah I and her Imperial consort Gallivere Lariat (after the death of Pelagius III), left the kingdom of Wayrest to reign as Uriel IV. Legally, Uriel IV was a Septim: Cassynder had adopted him into the royal family when he had become King of Wayrest. Nevertheless, to the Council and the people of Tamriel, he was a bastard child of Katariah. Uriel did not possess the dynamism of his mother, and his long forty-three-year reign was a hotbed of sedition.

Uriel IV's story is told in the third volume of this series.


A Brief History of the Empire
Part Two
by Stronach k'Thojj III
Imperial Historian



Volume I of this series described in brief the lives of the first eight Emperors of the Septim Dynasty, beginning with the glorious Tiber Septim and ending with his great, great, great, great, grandniece Kintyra II. Kintyra's murder in Glenpoint while in captivity is considered by some to be the end of the pure strain of Septim blood in the imperial family. Certainly it marks the end of something significant.

Uriel III not only proclaimed himself Emperor of Tamriel, but also Uriel Septim III, taking the eminent surname as a title. In truth, his surname was Mantiarco from his father's line. In time, Uriel III was deposed and his crimes reviled, but the tradition of taking the name Septim as a title for the Emperor of Tamriel did not die with him.

For six years, the War of the Red Diamond (which takes its name from the Septim Family's famous badge) tore the Empire apart. The combatants were the three surviving children of Pelagius II-Potema, Cephorus, and Magnus-and their various offspring. Potema, of course, supported her son Uriel III, and had the combined support of all of Skyrim and northern Morrowind. With the efforts of Cephorus and Magnus, however, the province of High Rock turned coat. The provinces of Hammerfell, Summurset Isle, Valenwood, Elsweyr, and Black Marsh were divided in their loyalty, but most kings supported Cephorus and Magnus.

In 3E127, Uriel III was captured at the Battle of Ichidag in Hammerfell. En route to his trial in the Imperial City, a mob overtook his prisoner's carriage and burned him alive within it. His captor and uncle continued on to the Imperial City, and by common acclaim was proclaimed Cephorus I, Emperor of Tamriel.

Cephorus' reign was marked by nothing but war. By all accounts, he was a kind and intelligent man, but what Tamriel needed was a great warrior -- and he, fortunately, was that. It took an additional ten years of constant warfare for him to defeat his sister Potema. The so-called Wolf Queen of Solitude who died in the siege of her city-state in the year 137. Cephorus survived his sister by only three years. He never had time during the war years to marry, so it was his brother, the fourth child of Pelagius II, who assumed the throne.

The Emperor Magnus was already elderly when he took up the imperial diadem, and the business of punishing the traitorous kings of the War of the Red Diamond drained much of his remaining strength. Legend accuses Magnus' son and heir Pelagius III of patricide, but that seems highly unlikely-for no other reason than that Pelagius was King of Solitude following the death of Potema, and seldom visited the Imperial City.

Pelagius III, sometimes called Pelagius the Mad, was proclaimed Emperor in the 145th year of the Third Era. Almost from the start, his eccentricities of behaviour were noted at court. He embarrassed dignitaries, offended his vassal kings, and on one occasion marked the end of an imperial grand ball by attempting to hang himself. His long-suffering wife was finally awarded the Regency of Tamriel, and Pelagius III was sent to a series of healing institutions and asylums until his death in 3E153 at the age of thirty-four.

The Empress Regent of Tamriel was proclaimed Empress Katariah I upon the death of her husband. Some who do not mark the end of the Septim bloodline with the death of Kintyra II consider the ascendancy of this Dark Elf woman the true mark of its decline. Her defenders, on the other hand, assert that though Katariah was not descended from Tiber, the son she had with Pelagius was, so the imperial chain did continue. Despite racist assertions to the contrary, Katariah's forty-six-year reign was one of the most celebrated in Tamriel's history. Uncomfortable in the Imperial City, Katariah travelled extensively throughout the Empire such as no Emperor ever had since Tiber's day. She repaired much of the damage that previous emperor's broken alliances and bungled diplomacy created. The people of Tamriel came to love their Empress far more than the nobility did. Katariah's death in a minor skirmish in Black Marsh is a favorite subject of conspiracy minded historians. The Sage Montalius' discovery, for instance, of a disenfranchised branch of the Septim Family and their involvement with the skirmish was a revelation indeed.

When Cassynder assumed the throne upon the death of his mother, he was already middle-aged. Only half Elven, he aged like a Breton. In fact, he had left the rule of Wayrest to his half-brother Uriel due to poor health. Nevertheless, as the only true blood relation of Pelagius and thus Tiber, he was pressed into accepting the throne. To no one's surprise, the Emperor Cassynder's reign did not last long. In two years he joined his predecessors in eternal slumber.

Uriel Lariat, Cassynder's half-brother, and the child of Katariah I and her Imperial consort Gallivere Lariat (after the death of Pelagius III), left the kingdom of Wayrest to reign as Uriel IV. Legally, Uriel IV was a Septim: Cassynder had adopted him into the royal family when he had become King of Wayrest. Nevertheless, to the Council and the people of Tamriel, he was a bastard child of Katariah. Uriel did not possess the dynamism of his mother, and his long forty-three-year reign was a hotbed of sedition.

Uriel IV's story is told in the third volume of this series.


A Dance in Fire, Chapter 2
by Waughin Jarth



It was a complete loss. The Cathay-Raht had stolen or destroyed almost every item of value in the caravan in just a few minutes' time. Decumus Scotti's wagonload of wood he had hoped to trade with the Bosmer had been set on fire and then toppled off the bluff. His clothing and contracts were tattered and ground into the mud of dirt mixed with spilt wine. All the pilgrims, merchants, and adventurers in the group moaned and wept as they gathered the remnants of their belongings by the rising sun of the dawn.

�I best not tell anyone that I managed to hold onto my notes for my translation of the Mnoriad Pley Bar,� whispered the poet Gryf Mallon. �They'd probably turn on me.�

Scotti politely declined the opportunity of telling Mallon just how little value he himself placed on the man's property. Instead, he counted the coins in his purse. Thirty-four gold pieces. Very little indeed for an entrepreneur beginning a new business.

�Hoy!� came a cry from the wood. A small party of Bosmer emerged from the thicket, clad in leather mail and bearing arms. �Friend or foe?�

�Neither,� growled the convoy head.

�You must be the Cyrodiils,� laughed the leader of the group, a tall skeleton-thin youth with a sharp vulpine face. �We heard you were en route. Evidently, so did our enemies.�

�I thought the war was over,� muttered one of the caravan's now ruined merchants.

The Bosmer laughed again: �No act of war. Just a little border enterprise. You are going on to Falinesti?�

�I'm not,� the convoy head shook his head. �As far as I'm concerned, my duty is done. No more horses, no more caravan. Just a fat profit loss to me.�

The men and women crowded around the man, protesting, threatening, begging, but he refused to step foot in Valenwood. If these were the new times of peace, he said, he'd rather come back for the next war.

Scotti tried a different route and approached the Bosmer. He spoke with an authoritative but friendly voice, the kind he used in negotiations with peevish carpenters: �I don't suppose you'd consider escorting me to Falinesti. I'm a representative for an important Imperial agency, the Atrius Building Commission, here to help repair and alleviate some of the problems the war with the Khajiit brought to your province. Patriotism --�

�Twenty gold pieces, and you must carry your own gear if you have any left,� replied the Bosmer.

Scotti reflected that negotiations with peevish carpenters rarely went his way either.

Six eager people had enough gold on them for payment. Among those without funds was the poet, who appealed to Scotti for assistance.

�I'm sorry, Gryf, I only have fourteen gold left over. Not even enough for a decent room when I get to Falinesti. I really would help you if I could,� said Scotti, persuading himself that it was true.

The band of six and their Bosmer escorts began the descent down a rocky path along the bluff. Within an hour's time, they were deep in the jungles of Valenwood. A never-ending canopy of hues of browns and greens obscured the sky. A millennia's worth of fallen leaves formed a deep, wormy sea of putrefaction beneath their feet. Several miles were crossed wading through the slime. For several more, they took a labyrinthian path across fallen branches and the low-hanging boughs of giant trees.

All the while, hour after hour, the inexhaustible Bosmer host moved so fast, the Cyrodiils struggled to keep from being left behind. A red-faced little merchant with short legs took a bad step on a rotten branch and nearly fell. His fellow provincials had to help him up. The Bosmer paused only a moment, their eyes continually darting to the shadows in the trees above before moving on at their usual expeditious pace.

�What are they so nervous about?� wheezed the merchant irritably. �More Cathay-Raht?�

�Don't be ridiculous,� laughed the Bosmer unconvincingly. �Khajiiti this far into Valenwood? In times of peace? They'd never dare.�

When the group passed high enough above the swamp that the smell was somewhat dissipated, Scotti felt a sudden pang of hunger. He was used to four meals a day in the Cyrodilic custom. Hours of nonstop exertion without food was not part of his regimen as a comfortably paid clerk. He pondered, feeling somewhat delirious, how long they had been trotting through the jungle. Twelve hours? Twenty? A week? Time was meaningless. Sunlight was only sporadic through the vegetative ceiling. Phosphorescent molds on the trees and in the muck below provided the only regular illumination.

�Is it at all possible for us to rest and eat?� he hollered to his host up ahead.

�We're near to Falinesti,� came the echoing reply. �Lots of food there.�

The path continued upward for several hours more across a clot of fallen logs, rising up to the first and then the second boughs of the tree line. As they rounded a long corner, the travelers found themselves midway up a waterfall that fell a hundred feet or more. No one had the energy to complain as they began pulling up the stacks of rock, agonizing foot by foot. The Bosmer escorts disappeared into the mist, but Scotti kept climbing until there was no more rock left. He wiped the sweat and river water from his eyes.

Falinesti spread across the horizon before him. Sprawling across both banks of the river stood the mighty graht-oak city, with groves and orchards of lesser trees crowding it like supplicants before their king. At a lesser scale, the tree that formed the moving city would have been extraordinary: gnarled and twisted with a gorgeous crown of gold and green, dripping with vines and shining with sap. At a mile tall and half as wide, it was the most magnificent thing Scotti had ever seen. If he had not been a starving man with the soul of a clerk, he would have sung.

�There you are,� said the leader of the escorts. �Not too far a walk. You should be glad it's wintertide. In summertide, the city's on the far south end of the province.�

Scotti was lost as to how to proceed. The sight of the vertical metropolis where people moved about like ants disoriented all his sensibilities.

�You wouldn't know of an inn called,� he paused for a moment, and then pulled Jurus's letter from his pocket. �Something like 'Mother Paskos Tavern'?�

�Mother Pascost?� the lead Bosmer laughed his familiar contemptuous laugh. �You won't want to stay there? Visitors always prefer the Aysia Hall in the top boughs. It's expensive, but very nice.�

�I'm meeting someone at Mother Pascost's Tavern.�

�If you've made up your mind to go, take a lift to Havel Slump and ask for directions there. Just don't get lost and fall asleep in the western cross.�

This apparently struck the youth's friends as a very witty jest, and so it was with their laughter echoing behind him that Scotti crossed the writhing root system to the base of Falinesti. The ground was littered with leaves and refuse, and from moment to moment a glass or a bone would plummet from far above, so he walked with his neck crooked to have warning. An intricate network of platforms anchored to thick vines slipped up and down the slick trunk of the city with perfect grace, manned by operators with arms as thick as an ox's belly. Scotti approaches the nearest fellow at one of the platforms, who was idly smoking from a glass pipe.

�I was wondering if you might take me to Havel Slump.�

The mer nodded and within a few minutes time, Scotti was two hundred feet in the air at a crook between two mighty branches. Curled webs of moss stretched unevenly across the fork, forming a sharing roof for several dozen small buildings. There were only a few souls in the alley, but around the bend ahead, he could hear the sound of music and people. Scotti tipped the Falinesti Platform Ferryman a gold piece and asked for the location of Mother Pascost's Tavern.

�Straight ahead of you, sir, but you won't find anyone there,� the Ferryman explained, pointing in the direction of the noise. �Morndas everyone in Havel Slump has revelry.�

Scotti walked carefully along the narrow street. Though the ground felt as solid as the marble avenues of the Imperial City, there were slick cracks in the bark that exposed fatal drops into the river. He took a moment to sit down, to rest and get used to the view from the heights. It was a beautiful day for certain, but it took Scotti only a few minutes of contemplation to rise up in alarm. A jolly little raft anchored down stream below him had distinctly moved several inches while he watched it. But it hadn't moved at all. He had. Together with everything around him. It was no metaphor: the city of Falinesti walked. And, considering its size, it moved quickly.

Scotti rose to his feet and into a cloud of smoke that drifted out from around the bend. It was the most delicious roast he had ever smelled. The clerk forgot his fear and ran.

The �revelry� as the Ferryman had termed it took place on an enormous platform tied to the tree, wide enough to be a plaza in any other city. A fantastic assortment of the most amazing people Scotti had ever seen were jammed shoulder-to-shoulder together, many eating, many more drinking, and some dancing to a lutist and singer perched on an offshoot above the crowd. They were largely Bosmer, true natives clad in colorful leather and bones, with a close minority of orcs. Whirling through the throng, dancing and bellowing at one another were a hideous ape people. A few heads bobbing over the tops of the crowd belonged not, as Scotti first assumed, to very tall people, but to a family of centaurs.

�Care for some mutton?� queried a wizened old mer who roasted an enormous beast on some red-hot rocks.

Scotti quickly paid him a gold piece and devoured the leg he was given. And then another gold piece and another leg. The fellow chuckled when Scotti began choking on a piece of gristle, and handed him a mug of a frothing white drink. He drank it and felt a quiver run through his body as if he were being tickled.

�What is that?� Scotti asked.

�Jagga. Fermented pig's milk. I can let you have a flagon of it and a bit more mutton for another gold.�

Scotti agreed, paid, gobbled down the meat, and took the flagon with him as he slipped into the crowd. His co-worker Liodes Jurus, the man who had told him to come to Valenwood, was nowhere to be seen. When the flagon was a quarter empty, Scotti stopped looking for Jurus. When it was half empty, he was dancing with the group, oblivious to the broken planks and gaps in the fencework. At three quarters empty, he was trading jokes with a group of creatures whose language was completely alien to him. By the time the flagon was completely drained, he was asleep, snoring, while the revelry continued on all around his supine body.

The next morning, still asleep, Scotti had the sensation of someone kissing him. He made a face to return the favor, but a pain like fire spread through his chest and forced him to open his eyes. There was an insect the size of a large calf sitting on him, crushing him, its spiky legs holding him down while a central spiral-bladed vortex of a mouth tore through his shirt. He screamed and thrashed but the beast was too strong. It had found its meal and it was going to finish it.

It's over, thought Scotti wildly, I should have never left home. I could have stayed in the City, and perhaps found work with Lord Vanech. I could have begun again as a junior clerk and worked my way back up.

Suddenly the mouth released itself. The creature shivered once, expelled a burst of yellow bile, and died.

�Got one!� cried a voice, not too distantly.

For a moment, Scotti lay still. His head throbbed and his chest burned. Out of the corner of his eye he saw movement. Another of the horrible monsters was scurried towards him. He scrambled, trying to push himself free, but before he could come out, there was a sound of a bow cracking and an arrow pierced the second insect.

�Good shot!� cried another voice. �Get the first one again! I just saw it move a little!�

This time, Scotti felt the impact of the bolt hit the carcass. He cried out, but he could hear how muffled his voice was by the beetle's body. Cautiously, he tried sliding a foot out and rolling under, but the movement apparently had the effect of convincing the archers that the creature still lived. A volley of arrows was launched forth. Now the beast was sufficiently perforated so pools of its blood, and likely the blood of its victims, began to seep out onto Scotti's body.

When Scotti was a lad, before he grew too sophisticated for such sports, he had often gone to the Imperial Arena for the competitions of war. He recalled a great veteran of the fights, when asked, telling him his secret, �Whenever I'm in doubt of what to do, and I have a shield, I stay behind it.�

Scotti followed that advice. After an hour, when he no longer heard arrows being fired, he threw aside the remains of the bug and leapt as quickly as he could to a stand. It was not a moment too soon. A gang of eight archers had their bows pointing his direction, ready to fire. When they saw him, they laughed.

�Didn't anyone ever tell you not to sleep in the western cross? How're we going to exterminate all the hoarvors if you drunks keep feeding 'em?�

Scotti shook his head and walked back along the platform, round the bend, to Havel Slump. He was bloodied and torn and tired and he had far too much fermented pig's milk. All he wanted was a proper place to lie down. He stepped into Mother Pascost's Tavern, a dank place, wet with sap, smelling of mildew.

�My name is Decumus Scotti,� he said. �I was hoping you have someone named Jurus staying here.�

�Decumus Scotti?� pondered the fleshy proprietress, Mother Pascost herself. �I've heard that name. Oh, you must be the fellow he left the note for. Let me go see if I can find it.�

A Dance in Fire, Chapter 3
by Waughin Jarth



Mother Pascost disappeared into the sordid hole that was her tavern, and emerged a moment later with a scrap of paper with Liodes Jurus's familiar scrawl. Decumus Scotti held it up before a patch of sunlight that had found its way through the massive boughs of the tree city, and read.


Sckotti,

So you made it to Falinnesti, Vallinwood! Congradulatens! Im sure you had quit a adventure getting here. Unfortonitly, Im not here anymore as you probaby guess. Theres a town down rivver called Athie Im at. Git a bote and join me! Its ideal! I hope you brot a lot of contracks, cause these peple need a lot of building done. They wer close to the war, you see, but not so close they dont have any mony left to pay. Ha ha. Meat me down here as son as you can.

-- Jurus


So, Scotti pondered, Jurus had left Falinesti and gone to some place called Athie. Given his poor penmanship and ghastly spelling, it could equally well be Athy, Aphy, Othry, Imthri, Urtha, or Krakamaka. The sensible thing to do, Scotti knew, was to call this adventure over and try to find some way to get back home to the Imperial City. He was no mercenary devoted to a life of thrills: he was, or at least had been, a senior clerk at a successful private building commission. Over the last few weeks, he had been robbed by the Cathay-Raht, taken on a death march through the jungle by a gang of giggling Bosmeri, half-starved to death, drugged with fermented pig's milk, nearly slain by some kind of giant tick, and attacked by archers. He was filthy, exhausted, and had, he counted, ten gold pieces to his name. Now the man whose proposal brought him to the depths of misery was not even there. It was both judicious and seemly to abandon the enterprise entirely.

And yet, a small but distinct voice in his head told him: You have been chosen. You have no other choice but to see this through.

Scotti turned to the stout old woman, Mother Pascost, who had been watching him curiously: �I was wondering if you knew of a village that was at the edge of the recent conflict with Elsweyr. It's called something like Ath-ie?�

�You must mean Athay,� she grinned. �My middle lad, Viglil, he manages a dairy down there. Beautiful country, right on the river. Is that where your friend went?�

�Yes,� said Scotti. �Do you know the fastest way to get there?�

After a short conversation, an even shorter ride to Falinesti's roots by way of the platforms, and a jog to the river bank, Scotti was negotiating transport with a huge fair-haired Bosmer with a face like a pickled carp. He called himself Captain Balfix, but even Scotti with his sheltered life could recognize him for what he was. A retired pirate for hire, a smuggler for certain, and probably much worse. His ship, which had clearly been stolen in the distant past, was a bent old Imperial sloop.

�Fifty gold and we'll be in Athay in two days time,� boomed Captain Balfix expansively.

�I have ten, no, sorry, nine gold pieces,� replied Scotti, and feeling the need for explanation, added, �I had ten, but I gave one to the Platform Ferryman to get me down here.�

�Nine is just as fine,� said the captain agreeably. �Truth be told, I was going to Athay whether you paid me or not. Make yourself comfortable on the boat, we'll be leaving in just a few minutes.�

Decumus Scotti boarded the vessel, which sat low in the water of the river, stacked high with crates and sacks that spilled out of the hold and galley and onto the deck. Each was marked with stamps advertising the most innocuous substances: copper scraps, lard, ink, High Rock meal (marked �For Cattle�), tar, fish jelly. Scotti's imagination reeled picturing what sorts of illicit imports were truly aboard.

It took more than those few minutes for Captain Balfix to haul in the rest of his cargo, but in an hour, the anchor was up and they were sailing downriver towards Athay. The green gray water barely rippled, only touched by the fingers of the breeze. Lush plant life crowded the banks, obscuring from sight all the animals that sang and roared at one another. Lulled by the serene surroundings, Scotti drifted to sleep.

At night, he awoke and gratefully accepted some clean clothes and food from Captain Balfix.

�Why are you going to Athay, if I may ask?� queried the Bosmer.

�I'm meeting a former colleague there. He asked me to come down from the Imperial City where I worked for the Atrius Building Commission to negotiate some contracts,� Scotti took another bite of the dried sausages they were sharing for dinner. �We're going to try to repair and refurbish whatever bridges, roads, and other structures that got damaged in the recent war with the Khajiiti.�

�It's been a hard two years,� the captain nodded his head. �Though I suppose good for me and the likes of you and your friend. Trade routes cut off. Now they think there's going to be war with the Summurset Isles, you heard that?�

Scotti shook his head.

�I've done my share of smuggling skooma down the coast, even helping some revolutionary types escape the Mane's wrath, but now the wars've made me a legitimate trader, a business-man. The first casualties of war is always the corrupted.�

Scotti said he was sorry to hear that, and they lapsed into silence, watching the stars and moons' reflection on the still water. The next day, Scotti awoke to find the captain wrapped up in his sail, torpid from alcohol, singing in a low, slurred voice. When he saw Scotti rise, he offered his flagon of jagga.

�I learned my lesson during revelry at western cross.�

The captain laughed, and then burst into tears, �I don't want to be legitimate. Other pirates I used to know are still raping and stealing and smuggling and selling nice folk like you into slavery. I swear to you, I never thought the first time that I ran a real shipment of legal goods that my life would turn out like this. Oh, I know, I could go back to it, but Baan Dar knows not after all I've seen. I'm a ruined man.�

Scotti helped the weeping mer out of the sail, murmuring words of reassurance. Then he added, �Forgive me for changing the subject, but where are we?�

�Oh,� moaned Captain Balfix miserably. �We made good time. Athay's right around the bend in the river.�

�Then it looks like Athay's on fire,� said Scotti, pointing.

A great plume of smoke black as pitch was rising above the trees. As they drifted around the bend, they next saw the flames, and then the blackened skeletal remains of the village. Dying, blazing villagers leapt from rocks into the river. A cacophony of wailing met their ears, and they could see, roaming along the edges of the town, the figures of Khajiiti soldiers bearing torches.

�Baan Dar bless me!� slurred the captain. �The war's back on!�

�Oh, no,� whimpered Scotti.

The sloop drifted with the current toward the opposite shore away from the fiery town. Scotti turned his attention there, and the sanctuary it offered. Just a peaceful arbor, away from the horror. There was a shudder of leaves in two of the trees and a dozen lithe Khajiit dropped to the ground, armed with bows.

�They see us,� hissed Scotti. �And they've got bows!�

�Well, of course they have bows,� snarled Captain Balfix. �We Bosmer may have invented the bloody things, but we didn't think to keep them secret, you bloody bureaucrat.�

�Now, they're setting their arrows on fire!�

�Yes, they do that sometimes.�

�Captain, they're shooting at us! They're shooting at us with flaming arrows!�

�Ah, so they are,� the captain agreed. �The aim here is to avoid being hit.�

But hit they were, and very shortly thereafter. Even worse, the second volley of arrows hit the supply of pitch, which ignited in a tremendous blue blaze. Scotti grabbed Captain Balfix and they leapt overboard just before the ship and all its cargo disintegrated. The shock of the cold water brought the Bosmer into temporary sobriety. He called to Scotti, who was already swimming as fast as he could toward the bend.

�Master Decumus, where do you think you're swimming to?�

�Back to Falinesti!� cried Scotti.

�It will take you days, and by the time you get there, everyone will know about the attack on Athay! They'll never let anyone they don't know in! The closest village downriver is Grenos, maybe they'll give us shelter!�

Scotti swam back to the captain and side-by-side they began paddling in the middle of the river, past the burning residuum of the village. He thanked Mara that he had learned to swim. Many a Cyrodiil did not, as largely land-locked as the Imperial Province was. Had he been raised in Mir Corrup or Artemon, he might have been doomed, but the Imperial City itself was encircled by water, and every lad and lass there knew how to cross without a boat. Even those who grew up to be clerks and not adventurers.

Captain Balfix's sobriety faded as he grew used to the water's temperature. Even in wintertide, the Xylo River was fairly temperate and after a fashion, even comfortable. The Bosmer's strokes were uneven, and he'd stray closer to Scotti and then further away, pushing ahead and then falling behind.

Scotti looked to the shore to his right: the flames had caught the trees like tinder. Behind them was an inferno, with which they were barely keeping pace. To the shore on their left, all looked fair, until he saw a tremble in the river-reeds, and then what caused it. A pride of the largest cats he had ever seen. They were auburn-haired, green-eyed beasts with jaws and teeth to match his wildest nightmares. And they were watching the two swimmers, and keeping pace.

�Captain Balfix, we can't go to either that shore or the other one, or we'll be parboiled or eaten,� Scotti whispered. �Try to even your kicking and your strokes. Breath like you would normally. If you're feeling tired, tell me, and we'll float on our backs for a while.�

Anyone who has had the experience of giving rational advice to a drunkard would understand the hopelessness. Scotti kept pace with the captain, slowing himself, quickening, drifting left and right, while the Bosmer moaned old ditties from his pirate days. When he wasn't watching his companion, he watched the cats on the shore. After a stretch, he turned to his right. Another village had caught fire. Undoubtedly, it was Grenos. Scotti stared at the blazing fury, awed by the sight of the destruction, and did not hear that the captain had ceased to sing.

When he turned back, Captain Balfix was gone.

Scotti dove into the murky depths of the river over and over again. There was nothing to be done. When he surfaced after his final search, he saw that the giant cats had moved on, perhaps assuming that he too had drowned. He continued his lonely swim downriver. A tributary, he noted, had formed a final barrier, keeping the flames from spreading further. But there were no more towns. After several hours, he began to ponder the wisdom of going ashore. Which shore was the question.

He was spared the decision. Ahead of him was a rocky island with a bonfire. He did not know if he were intruding on a party of Bosmeri or Khajiiti, only that he could swim no more. With straining, aching muscles, he pulled himself onto the rocks.

They were Bosmer refugees he gathered, even before they told him. Roasting over the fire was the remains of one of the giant cats that had been stalking him through the jungle on the opposite shore.

�Senche-Tiger,� said one of the young warriors ravenously. �It's no animal -- it's as smart as any Cathay-Raht or Ohmes or any other bleeding Khajiiti. Pity this one drowned. I would have gladly killed it. You'll like the meat, though. Sweet, from all the sugar these asses eat.�

Scotti did not know if he was capable of eating a creature as intelligent as a man or mer, but he surprised himself, as he had done several times over the last days. It was rich, succulent, and sweet, like sugared pork, but no seasonings had been added. He surveyed the crowd as he ate. A sad lot, some still weeping for lost family members. They were the survivors of both the villages of Grenos and Athay, and war was on every person's lips. Why had the Khajiiti attacked again? Why -- specifically directed at Scotti, as a Cyrodiil -- why was the Emperor not enforcing peace in his provinces?

�I was to meet another Cyrodiil,� he said to a Bosmer maiden who he understood to be from Athay. �His name was Liodes Jurus. I don't suppose you know what might have happened to him.�

�I don't know your friend, but there were many Cyrodiils in Athay when the fire came,� said the girl. �Some of them, I think, left quickly. They were going to Vindisi, inland, in the jungle. I am going there tomorrow, so are many of us. If you wish, you may come as well.�

Decumus Scotti nodded solemnly. He made himself as comfortable as he could in the stony ground of the river island, and somehow, after much effort, he fell asleep. But he did not sleep well.


A Dance in Fire, Chapter 4
by Waughin Jarth



Eighteen Bosmeri and one Cyrodilic former senior clerk for an Imperial building commission trudged through the jungle westward from the Xylo River to the ancient village of Vindisi. For Decumus Scotti, the jungle was hostile, unfamiliar ground. The enormous vermiculated trees filled the bright morning with darkness, and resembled nothing so much as grasping claws, bent on impeding their progress. Even the fronds of the low plants quivered with malevolent energy. What was worse, he was not alone in his anxiety. His fellow travelers, the natives who had survived the Khajiit attacks on the villages of Grenos and Athay, wore faces of undisguised fear.

There was something sentient in the jungle, and not merely the mad but benevolent indigenous spirits. In his peripheral vision, Scotti could see the shadows of the Khajiiti following the refugees, leaping from tree to tree. When he turned to face them, the lithe forms vanished into the gloom as if they had never been there. But he knew he had seen them. And the Bosmeri saw them too, and quickened their pace.

After eighteen hours, bitten raw by insects, scratched by a thousand thorns, they emerged into a valley clearing. It was night, but a row of blazing torches greeted them, illuminating the leather-wrought tents and jumbled stones of the hamlet of Vindisi. At the end of the valley, the torches marked a sacred site, a gnarled bower of trees pressed closed together to form a temple. Wordlessly, the Bosmeri walked the torch arcade toward the trees. Scotti followed them. When they reached the solid mass of living wood with only one gaping portal, Scotti could see a dim blue light glowing within. A low sonorous moan from a hundred voices echoed within. The Bosmeri maiden he had been following held out her hand, stopping him.

�You do not understand, but no outsider, not even a friend may enter,� she said. �This is a holy place.�

Scotti nodded, and watched the refugees march into the temple, heads bowed. Their voices joined with the ones within. When the last wood elf had gone inside, Scotti turned his attention back to the village. There must be food to be had somewhere. A tendril of smoke and a faint whiff of roasting venison beyond the torchlight led him.

They were five Cyrodiils, two Bretons, and a Nord, the group gathered around a campfire of glowing white stones, pulling steaming strips of meat from the cadaver of a great stag. At Scotti's approach, they rose up, all but the Nord who was distracted by his hunk of animal flesh.

�Good evening, sorry to interrupt, but I was wondering if I might have a little something to eat. I'm afraid I'm rather hungry, after walking all day with some refugees from Grenos and Athay.�

They bade him to sit down and eat, and introduced themselves.

�So the war's back on, it seems,� said Scotti amiably.

�Best thing for these effete do-nothings,� replied the Nord in between bites. �I've never seen such a lazy culture. Now they've got the Khajiiti striking them on land, and the high elves at sea. If there's any province that deserves a little distress, it's damnable Valenwood.�

�I don't see how they're so offensive to you,� laughed one of the Bretons.

�They're congenital thieves, even worse than the Khajiiti because they are so blessed meek in their aggression,� the Nord spat out a gob of fat which sizzled on the hot stones of the fire. �They spread their forests into territory that doesn't belong to them, slowly infiltrating their neighbors, and they're puzzled when Elsweyr shoves back at them. They're all villains of the worst order.�

�What are you doing here?� asked Scotti.

�I'm a diplomat from the court of Jehenna,� muttered the Nord, returning to his food.

�What about you, what are you doing here?� asked one of the Cyrodiils.

�I work for Lord Atrius's building commission in the Imperial City,� said Scotti. �One of my former colleagues suggested that I come down to Valenwood. He said the war was over, and I could contract a great deal of business for my firm rebuilding what was lost. One disaster after another, and I've lost all my money, I'm in the middle of a rekindling of war, and I cannot find my former colleague.�

�Your former colleague,� murmured another of the Cyrodiils, who had introduced himself as Reglius. �He wasn't by any chance named Liodes Jurus, was he?�

�You know him?�

�He lured me down to Valenwood in nearly the exact same circumstances,� smiled Reglius, grimly. �I worked for your employer's competitor, Lord Vanech's men, where Liodes Jurus also formerly worked. He wrote to me, asking that I represent an Imperial building commission and contract some post-war construction. I had just been released from my employment, and I thought that if I brought some new business, I could have my job back. Jurus and I met in Athay, and he said he was going to arrange a very lucrative meeting with the Silvenar.�

Scotti was stunned: �Where is he now?�

�I'm no theologian, so I couldn't say,� Reglius shrugged. �He's dead. When the Khajiiti attacked Athay, they began by torching the harbor where Jurus was readying his boat. Or, I should say, my boat since it was purchased with the gold I brought. By the time we were even aware of what was happening enough to flee, everything by the water was ash. The Khajiiti may be animals, but they know how to arrange an attack.�

�I think they followed us through the jungle to Vindisi,� said Scotti nervously. �There was definitely a group of something jumping along the treetops.�

�Probably one of the monkey folk,� snorted the Nord. �Nothing to be concerned about.�

�When we first came to Vindisi and the Bosmeri all entered that tree, they were furious, whispering something about unleashing an ancient terror on their enemies,� the Breton shivered, remembering. �They've been there ever since, for over a day and a half now. If you want something to be afraid of, that's the direction to look.�

The other Breton, who was a representative of the Daggerfall Mages Guild, was staring off into the darkness while his fellow provincial spoke. �Maybe. But there's something in the jungle too, right on the edge of the village, looking in.�

�More refugees maybe?� asked Scotti, trying to keep the alarm out his voice.

�Not unless they're traveling through the trees now,� whispered the wizard. The Nord and one of the Cyrodiils grabbed a long tarp of wet leather and pulled it across the fire, instantly extinguishing it without so much as a sizzle. Now Scotti could see the intruders, their elliptical yellow eyes and long cruel blades catching the torchlight. He froze with fear, praying that he too was not so visible to them.

He felt something bump against his back, and gasped.

Reglius's voice hissed from up above: �Be quiet for Mara's sake and climb up here.�

Scotti grabbed hold of the knotted double-vine that hung down from a tall tree at the edge of the dead campfire. He scrambled up it as quickly as he could, holding his breath lest any grunt of exertion escape him. At the top of the vine, high above the village, was an abandoned nest from some great bird in a trident-shaped branch. As soon as Scotti had pulled himself into the soft, fragrant straw, Reglius pulled up the vine. No one else was there, and when Scotti looked down, he could see no one below. No one, that is except the Khajiiti, slowly moving toward the glow of the temple tree.

�Thank you,� whispered Scotti, deeply touched that a competitor had helped him. He turned away from the village, and saw that the tree's upper branches brushed against the mossy rock walls that surrounded the valley below. �How are you at climbing?�

�You're mad,� said Reglius under his breath. �We should stay here until they leave.�

�If they burn Vindisi like they did Athay and Grenos, we'll be dead sure as if we were on the ground,� Scotti began the slow careful climb up the tree, testing each branch. �Can you see what they're doing?�

�I can't really tell,� Reglius stared down into the gloom. �They're at the front of the temple. I think they also have ... it looks like long ropes, trailing off behind them, off into the pass.�

Scotti crawled onto the strongest branch that pointed toward the wet, rocky face of the cliff. It was not a far jump at all. So close, in fact, that he could smell the moisture and feel the coolness of the stone. But it was a jump nevertheless, and in his history as a clerk, he had never before leapt from a tree a hundred feet off the ground to a sheer rock. He pictured in his mind's eye the shadows that had pursued him through the jungle from the heights above. How their legs coiled to spring, how their arms snapped forward in an elegant fluid motion to grasp. He leapt.

His hands grappled for rock, but long thick cords of moss were more accessible. He held hard, but when he tried to plant his feet forward, they slipped up skyward. For a few seconds, he found himself upside down before he managed to pull himself into a more conventional position. There was a narrow outcropping jutting out of the cliff where he could stand and finally exhale.

�Reglius. Reglius. Reglius,� Scotti did not dare to call out. In a minute, there was a shaking of branches, and Lord Vanech's man emerged. First his satchel, then his head, then the rest of him. Scotti started to whisper something, but Reglius shook his head violently and pointed downward. One of the Khajiiti was at the base of the tree, peering at the remains of the campfire.

Reglius awkwardly tried to balance himself on the branch, but as strong as it was it was exceedingly difficult with only one free hand. Scotti cupped his palms and then pointed at the satchel. It seemed to pain Reglius to let it out of his grasp, but he relented and tossed it to Scotti.

There was a small, almost invisible hole in the bag, and when Scotti caught it, a single gold coin dropped out. It rang as it bounced against the rock wall on the descent, a high soft sound that seemed like the loudest alarm Scotti had ever heard.

Then many things happened very quickly.

The Cathay-Raht at the base of the tree looked up and gave a loud wail. The other Khajiiti followed in chorus, as the cat below crouched down and then sprung up into the lower branches. Reglius saw it below him, climbing up with impossible dexterity, and panicked. Even before he jumped, Scotti could tell that he was going to fall. With a cry, Reglius the Clerk plunged to the ground, breaking his neck on impact.

A flash of white fire erupted from every crevice of the temple, and the moan of the Bosmeri prayer changed into something terrible and otherworldly. The climbing Cathay-Raht stopped and stared.

�Keirgo,� it gasped. �The Wild Hunt.�

It was as if a crack in reality had opened wide. A flood of horrific beasts, tentacled toads, insects of armor and spine, gelatinous serpents, vaporous beings with the face of gods, all poured forth from the great hollow tree, blind with fury. They tore the Khajiiti in front of the temple to pieces. All the other cats fled for the jungle, but as they did so, they began pulling on the ropes they carried. In a few seconds time, the entire village of Vindisi was boiling with the lunatic apparitions of the Wild Hunt.

Over the babbling, barking, howling horde, Scotti heard the Cyrodiils in hiding cry out as they were devoured. The Nord too was found and eaten, and both Bretons. The wizard had turned himself invisible, but the swarm did not rely on their sight. The tree the Cathay-Raht was in began to sway and rock from the impossible violence beneath it. Scotti looked at the Khajiiti's fear-struck eyes, and held out one of the cords of moss.

The cat's face showed its pitiful gratitude as it leapt for the vine. It didn't have time to entirely replace that expression when Scotti pulled back the cord, and watched it fall. The Hunt consumed it to the bone before it struck the ground.

Scotti's own jump up to the next outcropping of rock was immeasurably more successful. From there, he pulled himself to the top of the cliff and was able to look down into the chaos that had been the village of Vindisi. The Hunt's mass had grown and began to spill out through the pass out of the valley, pursuing the fleeing Khajiiti. It was then that the madness truly began.

In the moons' light, from Scotti's vantage, he could see where the Khajiiti had attached their ropes. With a thunderous boom, an avalanche of boulders poured over the pass. When the dust cleared, he saw that the valley had been sealed. The Wild Hunt had nowhere to turn but on itself.

Scotti turned his head, unable to bear to look at the cannibalistic orgy. The night jungle stood before him, a web of wood. He slung Reglius's satchel over his shoulder, and entered.


A Dance in Fire, Chapter 5
by Waughin Jarth



�Soap! The forest will eat love! Straight ahead! Stupid and a stupid cow!�

The voice boomed out so suddenly that Decumus Scotti jumped. He stared off into the dim jungle glade from which he only heard animal and insect calls, and the low whistling of wind moments before. It was a queer, oddly accented voice of indiscriminate gender, tremulous in its modulations, but unmistakably human. Or, at very least, elven. An isolated Bosmer perhaps with a poor grasp of the Cyrodilic language. After countless hours of plodding through the dense knot of Valenwood jungle, any voice of slight familiarity sounded wondrous.

�Hello?� he cried.

�Beetles on any names? Certainly yesterday yes!� the voice called back. �Who, what, and when, and mice!�

�I'm afraid I don't understand,� replied Scotti, turning toward the brambled tree, thick as a wagon, where the voice had issued. �But you needn't be afraid of me. My name is Decumus Scotti. I'm a Cyrodiil from the Imperial City. I came here to help rebuild Valenwood after the war, you see, and now I'm rather lost.�

�Gemstones and grilled slaves ... The war,� moaned the voice and broke down into sobs.

�You know about the war? I wasn't sure, I wasn't even sure how far away from the border I am now,� Scotti began slowly walking toward the tree. He dropped Reglius's satchel to the ground, and held out his empty hands. �I'm unarmed. I only want to know the way to the closest town. I'm trying to meet my friend, Liodes Jurus, in Silvenar.�

�Silvenar!� the voice laughed. It laughed even louder as Scotti circled the tree. �Worms and wine! Worms and wine! Silvenar sings for worms and wine!�

There was nothing to be found anywhere around the tree. �I don't see you. Why are you hiding?�

In frustration born of hunger and exhaustion, he struck the tree trunk. A sudden shiver of gold and red erupted from a hollow nook above, and Scotti was surrounded by six winged creatures scarcely more than a few inches long. Bright crimson eyes were set on either side of tunnel-like protuberances, the animals' always open mouths. They were legless, and their thin, rapidly beating, aureate wings seemed poorly constructed to transport their fat, swollen bellies. And yet, they darted through the air like sparks from a fire. Whirling about the poor clerk, they began chattering what he now understood to be perfect nonsense.

�Wines and worms, how far from the border am I! Academic garnishments, and alas, Liodes Jurus!�

�Hello, I'm afraid I'm unarmed? Smoken flames and the closest town is dear Oblivion.�

�Swollen on bad meat, an indigo nimbus, but you needn't be afraid of me!�

�Why are you hiding? Why are you hiding? Before I begin to friend, love me, Lady Zuleika!�

Furious with the mimics, Scotti swung his arms, driving them up into the treetops. He stomped back to the clearing and opened up the satchel again, as he had done some hours before. There was still, unsurprisingly, nothing useful in the bag, and nothing to eat in any corner or pocket. A goodly amount of gold (he smiled grimly, as he had done before, at the irony of being financially solvent in the jungle), a stack of neat blank contracts from Lord Vanech's building commission, some thin cord, and an oiled leather cloak for bad weather. At least, Scotti considered, he had not suffered rain.

A rolling moan of thunder reminded Scotti of what he had suspected for some weeks now. He was cursed.

Within an hour's time, he was wearing the cloak and clawing his way through mud. The trees, which had earlier allowed no sunlight in, provided no shelter against the pounding storm and wind. The only sounds that pierced the pelting of the rain were the mocking calls of the flying creatures, flitting just above, babbling their nonsense. Scotti bellowed at them, threw rocks, but they seemed enamored of his company.

While he was reaching to grab a promising looking stone to hurl at his tormentors, Scotti felt something shift beneath his feet. Wet but solid ground suddenly liquefied and became a rolling tide, rushing him forward. Light as a leaf, he flew head over feet over head, until the mudflow dropped and he continued forward, plunging down into a river twenty-five feet below.

The storm passed quite as instantly as it had arrived. The sun melted the dark clouds and warmed Scotti as he swam for the shore. There, another sign of the Khajiiti incursion into Valenwood greeted him. A small fishing village had stood there once, so recently extinct that it smoldered like a still-warm corpse. Dirt cairns that had once housed fish by the smell of them had been ravaged, their bounty turned to ash. Rafts and skiffs lay broken, scuttled, half-submerged. All the villagers were no more, either dead or refugees far away. Or so he presumed. Something banged against the wall of one of the ruins. Scotti ran to investigate.

�My name is Decumus Scotti?� sang the first winged beast. �I'm a Cyrodiil from? The Imperial City? I came here to help rebuild Valenwood after the war, you see, and now I'm rather lost?�

�I swell to maculate, apeneck!� agreed one of its companions. �I don't see you. Why are you hiding?�

As they fell into chattering, Scotti began to search the rest of the village. Surely the cats had left something behind, a scrap of dried meat, a morsel of fish sausage, anything. But they had been immaculate in their complete annihilation. There was nothing to eat anywhere. Scotti did find one item of possible use under the tumbled remains of a stone hut. A bow and two arrows made of bone. The string had been lost, likely burned away in the heat of the fire, but he pulled the cord from Reglius's satchel and restrung it.

The creatures flew over and hovered nearby as he worked: �The convent of the sacred Liodes Jurus?�

�You know about the war! Worms and wine, circumscribe a golden host, apeneck!�

The moment the cord was taut, Scotti nocked an arrow and swung around, pulling the string tight against his chest. The winged beasts, having had experience with archers before, shot off in all directions in a blur. They needn't have bothered. Scotti's first arrow dove into the ground three feet in front of him. He swore and retrieved it. The mimics, having likewise had experience with poor archers before, returned at once to hovering nearby and mocking Scotti.

On his second shot, Scotti did much better, in purely technical terms. He remembered how the archers in Falinesti looked when he pulled himself out from under the hoarvor tick, and they were all taking aim at him. He extended his left hand, right hand, and right elbow in a symmetrical line, drawing the bow so his hand touched his jawline, and he could see the creature in his sight like the arrow was a finger he was pointing with. The bolt missed the target by only two feet, but it continued on its trajectory, snapping when it struck a rock wall.

Scotti walked to the river's edge. He had only one arrow left, and perhaps, he considered, it would be most practical to find a slow-moving fish and fire it on that. If he missed, at least there was less of a chance of breaking the shaft, and he could always retrieve it from the water. A rather torpid, whiskered fish rolled by, and he took aim at it.

�My name is Decumus Scotti!� one of the creatures howled, frightening the fish away. �Stupid and a stupid cow! Will you dance a dance in fire!�

Scotti turned and aimed the arrow as he had done before. This time, however, he remembered to plant his feet as the archers had done, seven inches apart, knees straight, left leg slightly forward to meet the angle of his right shoulder. He released the last arrow.

The arrow also proved a serviceable prong for roasting the creature against the smoking hot stones of one of the ruins. Its other companions had disappeared instantly after the beast was slain, and Scotti was able to dine in peace. The meat proved to be delicious, if scarcely more than a first course. He was picking the last of it from the bones, when a boat sailed into view from around the bend of the river. At the helm were Bosmer sailors. Scotti ran to the bank and waved his arms. They averted their eyes and continued past.

�You bloody, callous bastards!� Scotti howled. �Knaves! Hooligans! Apenecks! Scoundrels!�

A gray-whiskered form came out from a hatch, and Scotti immediately recognized him as Gryf Mallon, the poet translator he had met in the caravan from Cyrodiil.

He peered Scotti's direction, and his eyes lit up with delight, �Decumus Scotti! Precisely the man I hoped to see! I want to get your thoughts on a rather puzzling passage in the Mnoriad Pley Bar! It begins 'I went weeping into the world, searching for wonders,' perhaps you're familiar with it?�

�I'd like nothing better than to discuss the Mnoriad Pley Bar with you, Gryf!� Scotti called back. �Would you let me come aboard though first?�

Overjoyed at being on a ship bound for any port at all, Scotti was true to his word. For over an hour as the boat rolled down the river past the blackened remnants of Bosmeri villages, he asked no questions and spoke nothing of his life over the past weeks: he merely listened to Mallon's theories of merethic Aldmeri esoterica. The translator was undemanding of his guest's scholarship, accepting nods and shrugs as civilized conversation. He even produced some wine and fish jelly, which he shared with Scotti absent-mindedly, as he expounded on his various theses.

Finally, while Mallon was searching for a reference to some minor point in his notes, Scotti asked, �Rather off subject, but I was wondering where we're bound.�

�The very heart of the province, Silvenar,� Mallon said, not looking up from the passage he was reading. �It's somewhat bothersome, actually, as I wanted to go to Woodhearth first to talk to a Bosmer there who claims to have an original copy of Dirith Yalmillhiad, if you can believe it. But for the time being, that has to wait. Summurset Isle has surrounded the city, and is in the process of starving the citizenry until they surrender. It's a tiresome prospect, since the Bosmeri are happy to eat one another, so there's a risk that at the end, only one fat wood elf will remain to wave the flag.�

�That is vexing,� agreed Scotti, sympathetically. �To the east, the Khajiiti are burning everything, and to the west, the High Elves are waging war. I don't suppose the borders to the north are clear?�

�They're even worse,� replied Mallon, finger on the page, still distracted. �The Cyrodiils and Redguards don't want Bosmer refugees streaming into their provinces. It only stands to reason. Imagine how much more criminally inclined they'd be now that they're homeless and hungry.�

�So,� murmured Scotti, feeling a shiver. �We're trapped in Valenwood.�

�Not at all. I need to leave fairly shortly myself, as my publisher has set a very definite deadline for my new book of translations. From what I understand, one merely petitions to the Silvenar for special border protection and one can cross into Cyrodiil with impunity.�

�Petition the Silvenar, or petition at Silvenar?�

�Petition the Silvenar at Silvenar. It's an odd nomenclature that is typical of this place, the sort of thing that makes my job as a translator that much more challenging. The Silvenar, he, or rather they are the closest the Bosmeri have to a great leader. The essential thing to remember about the Silvenar --� Mallon smiled, finding the passage he was looking for, �Here! 'A fortnight, inexplicable, the world burns into a dance.' There's that metaphor again.�

�What were you saying about the Silvenar?� asked Scotti. �The essential thing to remember?�

�I don't remember what I was saying,� replied Mallon, turning back to his oration.

In a week's time, the little boat bumped along the shallow, calmer waters of the foaming current the Xylo had become, and Decumus Scotti first saw the city of Silvenar. If Falinesti was a tree, then Silvenar was a flower. A magnificent pile of faded shades of green, red, blue, and white, shining with crystalline residue. Mallon had mentioned off-hand, when not otherwise explaining Aldmeri prosody, that Silvenar had once been a blossoming glade in the forest, but owing to some spell or natural cause, the trees' sap began flowing with translucent liqueur. The process of the sap flowing and hardening over the colorful trees had formed the web of the city. Mallon's description was intriguing, but it hardly prepared him for the city's beauty.

�What is the finest, most luxurious tavern here?� Scotti asked one of the Bosmer boatmen.

�Prithala Hall,� Mallon answered. �But why don't you stay with me? I'm visiting an acquaintance of mine, a scholar I think you'll find fascinating. His hovel isn't much, but he has the most extraordinary ideas about the principles of a Merethic Aldmeri tribe the Sarmathi --�

�Under any other circumstances, I would happily accept,� said Scotti graciously. �But after weeks of sleeping on the ground or on a raft, and eating whatever I could scrounge, I feel the need for some indulgent creature comforts. And then, after a day or two, I'll petition the Silvenar for safe passage to Cyrodiil.�

The men bade each other goodbye. Gryf Mallon gave him the address of his publisher in the Imperial City, which Scotti accepted and quickly forgot. The clerk wandered the streets of Silvenar, crossing bridges of amber, admiring the petrified forest architecture. In front of a particularly estimable palace of silvery reflective crystal, he found Prithala Hall.

He took the finest room, and ordered a gluttonous meal of the finest quality. At a nearby table, he saw two very fat fellows, a man and a Bosmer, remarking how much finer the food was there than at the Silvenar's palace. They began to discuss the war and some issues of finances and rebuilding provincial bridges. The man noticed Scotti looking at them, and his eyes flashed recognition.

�Scotti, is that you? Kynareth, where have you been? I've had to make all the contacts here on my own!�

At the sound of his voice, Scotti recognized him. The fat man was Liodes Jurus, vastly engorged.


A Dance in Fire, Chapter 6
by Waughin Jarth



Decumus Scotti sat down, listening to Liodes Jurus. The clerk could hardly believe how fat his former colleague at Lord Atrius's Building Commission had become. The piquant aroma of the roasted meat dish before Scotti melted away. All the other sounds and textures of Prithala Hall vanished all around him, as if nothing else existed but the vast form of Jurus. Scotti did not consider himself an emotional man, but he felt a tide flow over him at the sight and sound of the man whose badly written letters had been the guideposts that carried him from the Imperial City back in early Frost Fall.

�Where have you been?� Jurus demanded again. �I told you to meet me in Falinesti weeks ago.�

�I was there weeks ago,� Scotti stammered, too surprised to be indignant. �I got your note to meet you in Athay, and so I went there, but the Khajiiti had burned it to the ground. Somehow, I found my way with the refugees in another village, and someone there told me that you had been killed.�

�And you believed that right away?� Jurus sneered.

�The fellow seemed very well-informed about you. He was a clerk from Lord Vanech's Building Commission named Reglius, and he said that you had also suggested that he come down to Valenwood to profit from the war.�

�Oh, yes,� said Jurus, after thinking a moment. �I recall the name now. Well, it's good for business to have two representatives from Imperial building commissions here. We just need to all coordinate our bids, and all should be well.�

�Reglius is dead,� said Scotti. �But I have his contracts from Lord Vanech's Commission.�

�Even better,� gasped Jurus, impressed. �I never knew you were such a ruthless competitor, Decumus Scotti. Yes, this could certainly improve our position with the Silvenar. Have I introduced you to Basth here?�

Scotti had only been dimly aware of the Bosmer's presence at the table with Jurus, which was surprising given that the mer's girth nearly equaled his dining companion. The clerk nodded to Basth coldly, still numb and confused. It had not left his mind that only any hour earlier, Scotti had intended to petition the Silvenar for safe passage through the border back to Cyrodiil. The thought of doing business with Jurus after all, of profiting from Valenwood war with Elsweyr, and now the second one with the Summurset Isle, seemed like something happening to another person.

�Your colleague and I were talking about the Silvenar,� said Basth, putting down the leg of mutton he had been gnawing on. �I don't suppose you've heard about his nature?�

�A little, but nothing very specific. I got the impression that he's very important and very peculiar.�

�He's the representative of the People, legally, physically, and emotionally,� explained Jurus, a little annoyed at his new partner's lack of common knowledge. �When they're healthy, so is he. When they're mostly female, so is he. When they cry for food or trade or an absence of foreign interference, he feels it too, and makes laws accordingly. In a way, he's a despot, but he's the people's despot.�

�That sounds,� said Scotti, searching for the appropriate word. �Like ... bunk.�

�Perhaps it is,� shrugged Basth. �But he has many rights as the Voice of the People, including the granting of foreign building and trade contracts. It's not important whether you believe us. Just think of the Silvenar as being like one of your mad Emperors, like Pelagius. The problem facing us now is that since Valenwood is being attacked on all sides, the Silvenar's aspect is now one of distrust and fear of foreigners. The one hope of his people, and thus of the Silvenar himself, is that the Emperor will intervene and stop the war.�

�Will he?� asked Scotti.

�You know as well as we do that the Emperor has not been himself lately,� Jurus helped himself to Reglius's satchel and pulled out the blank contracts. �Who knows what he'll choose to do or not do? That reality is not our concern, but these blessings from the late good sir Reglius make our job much simpler.�

They discussed how they would represent themselves to the Silvenar into the evening. Scotti ate continuously, but not nearly so much as Jurus and Basth. When the sun had begun to rise in the hills, its light reddening through the crystal walls of the tavern, Jurus and Basth left to their rooms at the palace, granted to them diplomatically in lieu of an actual immediate audience with the Silvenar. Scotti went to his room. He thought about staying up a little longer to ruminate over Jurus's plans and see what might be the flaw in them, but upon touching the cool, soft bed, he immediately fell asleep.

The next afternoon, Scotti awoke, feeling himself again. In other words, timid. For several weeks now, he had been a creature bent on mere survival. He had been driven to exhaustion, attacked by several jungle beasts, starved, nearly drowned, and forced into discussions of ancient Aldmeri poetical works. The discussion he had with Jurus and Basth about how to dupe the Silvenar into signing their contracts seemed perfectly reasonable then. Scotti dressed himself in his old battered clothes and went downstairs in search of food and a peaceful place to think.

�You're up,� cried Basth upon seeing him. �We should go to the palace now.�

�Now?� whined Scotti. �Look at me. I need new clothes. This isn't the way one should dress to pay a call on a prostitute, let alone the Voice of the People of Valenwood. I haven't even bathed.�

�You must cease from this moment forward being a clerk, and become a student of mercantile trade,� said Liodes Jurus grandly, taking Scotti by the arm and leading him into the sunlit boulevard outside. �The first rule is to recognize what you represent to the prospective client, and what angle best suits you. You cannot dazzle him with opulent fashion and professional bearing, my dear boy, and it would be fatal if you attempted to. Trust me on this. Several others besides Basth and I are guests at the palace, and they have made the error of appearing too eager, too formal, too ready for business. They will never be granted audience with the Silvenar, but we have remained aloof ever since the initial rejection. I've dallied about the court, spread my knowledge of life in the Imperial City, had my ears pierced, attended promenades, eaten and drunk of all that was given to me. I dare say I've put on a pound or two. The message we've sent is clear: it is in his, not our, best interest to meet.�

�Our plan worked,� added Basth. �When I told his minister that our Imperial representative had arrived, and that we were at last willing to meet with the Silvenar this morning, we were told to bring you there straightaway.�

�Aren't we late then?� asked Scotti.

�Very,� laughed Jurus. �But that's again part of the angle we're representing. Benevolent disinterest. Remember not to confuse the Silvenar with conventional nobility. His is the mind of the common people. When you grasp that, you'll understand how to manipulate him.�

Jurus spent the last several minutes of the walk through the city expounding on his theories about what Valenwood needed, how much, and at what price. They were staggering figures, far more construction and far higher costs than anything Scotti had been used to dealing with. He listened carefully. All around them, the city of Silvenar revealed itself, glass and flower, roaring winds and beautiful inertia. When they reached the palace of the Silvenar, Decumus Scotti stopped, stunned. Jurus looked at him for a moment and then laughed.

�It's quite bizarre, isn't it?�

That it was. A frozen scarlet burst of twisted, uneven spires as if a rival sun rising. A blossom the size of a village, where courtiers and servants resembled nothing so much as insects walked about it sucking its ichor. Entering over a bent petal-like bridge, the three walked through the palace of unbalanced walls. Where the partitions bent close together and touched, there was a shaded hall or a small chamber. Where they warped away from one another, there was a courtyard. There were no doors anywhere, no any way to get to the Silvenar but by crossing through the entire spiral of the palace, through meetings and bedrooms and dining halls, past dignitaries, consorts, musicians, and many guards.

�It's an interesting place,� said Basth. �But not very much privacy. Of course, that suits the Silvenar well.�

When they reached the inner corridors, two hours after they first entered the palace, guards, brandishing blades and bows, stopped them.

�We have an audience with the Silvenar,� said Jurus, patiently. �This is Lord Decumus Scotti, the Imperial representative.�

One of the guards disappeared down the winding corridor, and returned moments later with a tall, proud Bosmer clad in a loose robe of patchwork leather. He was the Minister of Trade: �The Silvenar wishes to speak with Lord Decumus Scotti alone.�

It was not the place to argue or show fear, so Scotti stepped forward, not even looking toward Jurus and Basth. He was certain they were showing their masks of benevolent indifference. Following the Minister into the audience chamber, Scotti recited to himself all the facts and figures Jurus had presented to him. He willed himself to remember the Angle and the Image he must project.

The audience chamber of the Silvenar was an enormous dome where the walls bent from bowl-shaped at the base inward to almost meet at the top. A thin ray of sunlight streamed through the fissure hundreds of feet above, and directly upon the Silvenar, who stood upon a puff of shimmering gray powder. For all the wonder of the city and the palace, the Silvenar himself looked perfectly ordinary. An average, blandly handsome, slightly tired-looking, extra-ordinary Wood Elf of the type one might see in any capitol in the Empire. It was only when he stepped from the dais that Scotti noticed an eccentricity in his appearance. He was very short.

�I had to speak with you alone,� said the Silvenar in a voice common and unrefined. �May I see your papers?�

Scotti handed him the blank contracts from Lord Vanech's Building Commission. The Silvenar studied them, running his finger over the embossed seal of the Emperor, before handing them back. He suddenly seemed shy, looking to the floor. �There are many charlatans at my court who wish to benefit from the wars. I thought you and your colleagues were among them, but those contracts are genuine.�

�Yes, they are,� said Scotti calmly. The Silvenar's conventional aspect made it easy for Scotti to speak, with no formal greetings, no deference, exactly as Jurus had instructed: �It seems most sensible to begin straightaway talking about the roads which need to be rebuilt, and then the harbors that the Altmeri have destroyed, and then I can give you my estimates on the cost of resupplying and renovating the trade routes.�

�Why hasn't the Emperor seen fit to send a representative when the war with Elsweyr began, two years ago?� asked the Silvenar glumly.

Scotti thought a moment before replying of all the common Bosmeri he had met in Valenwood. The greedy, frightened mercenaries who had escorted him from the border. The hard-drinking revelers and expert pest exterminating archers in the Western Cross of Falinesti. Nosy old Mother Pascost in Havel Slump. Captain Balfix, the poor sadly reformed pirate. The terrified but hopeful refugees of Athay and Grenos. The mad, murderous, self-devouring Wild Hunt of Vindisi. The silent, dour boatmen hired by Gryf Mallon. The degenerate, grasping Basth. If one creature represented their total disposition, and that of many more throughout the province, what would be his personality? Scotti was a clerk by occupation and nature, instinctively comfortable cataloging and filing, making things fit in a system. If the soul of Valenwood were to be filed, where would it be put?

The answer came upon him almost before he posed himself the question. Denial.

�I'm afraid that question doesn't interest me,� said Scotti. �Now, can we get back to the business at hand?�

All afternoon, Scotti and the Silvenar discussed the pressing needs of Valenwood. Every contract was filled and signed. So much was required and there were so many costs associated that addendums and codicils had to be scribbled into the margins of the papers, and those had to be resigned. Scotti maintained his benevolent indifference, but he found that dealing with the Silvenar was not quite the same as dealing with a simple, sullen child. The Voice of the People knew certain practical, everyday things very well: the yields of fish, the benefits of trade, the condition of every township and forest in his province.

�We will have a banquet tomorrow night to celebrate this commission,� said the Silvenar at last.

�Best make it tonight,� replied Scotti. �We should leave for Cyrodiil with the contracts tomorrow, so I'll need a safe passage to the border. We best not waste any more time.�

�Agreed,� said the Silvenar, and called for his Minister of Trade to put his seal on the contracts and arrange for the feast.

Scotti left the chamber, and was greeted by Basth and Jurus. Their faces showed the strain of maintaining the illusion of unconcern for too many hours. As soon as they were out of sight of the guards, they begged Scotti to tell them all. When he showed them the contract, Basth began weeping with delight.

�Anything about the Silvenar that surprised you?� asked Jurus.

�I hadn't expected him to be half my height.�

�Was he?� Jurus looked mildly surprised. �He must have shrunk since I tried to have an audience with him earlier. Maybe there is something to all that nonsense about him being affected by the plight of his people.�


A Dance in Fire, Chapter 7
by Waughin Jarth



Scene: Silvenar, Valenwood
Date: 13 Sun's Dusk, 3E 397

The banquet at the palace of the Silvenar was well attended by every jealous bureaucrat and trader who had attempted to contract the rebuilding of Valenwood. They looked on Decumus Scotti, Liodes Jurus, and Basth with undisguised hatred. It made Scotti very uncomfortable, but Jurus delighted in it. As the servants brought in platter after platter of roasted meats, Jurus poured himself a cup of Jagga and toasted the clerk.

�I can confess it now,� said Jurus. �I had grave doubts about inviting you to join me on this adventure. All the other clerks and agents of building commissions I contacted were more outwardly aggressive, but none of them made it through, let alone to the audience chamber of the Silvenar, let alone brokered the deals on their own like you did. Come, have a cup of Jagga with me.�

�No thank you,� said Scotti. �I had too much of that drug in Falinesti, and nearly got sucked dry by a giant tick because of it. I'll find something else to drink.�

Scotti wandered about the hall until he saw some diplomats drinking mugs of a steaming brown liquid, poured from a large silver urn. He asked them if it was tea.

�Tea made from leaves?� scoffed the first diplomat. �Not in Valenwood. This is Rotmeth.�

Scotti poured himself a mug and took a tentative sip. It was gamy, bitter and sugared, and very salty. At first it seemed very disagreeable to his palate, but a moment later he found he had drained the mug and was pouring another. His body tingled. All the sounds in the chamber seemed oddly disjointed, but not frighteningly so.

�So you're the fellow who got the Silvenar to sign all those contracts,� said the second diplomat. �That must have required some deep negotiation.�

�Not at all, not at all, just a little basic understand of mercantile trading,� grinned Scotti, pouring himself a third mug of Rotmeth. �The Silvenar was very eager to involve the Imperial state with the affairs of Valenwood. I was very eager to take a percentage of the commission. With all that blessed eagerness, it was merely a matter of putting quill to contract, bless you.�

�You have been in the employ of his Imperial Majesty very long?� asked the first diplomat.

�It's a bite, or rather, a bit more complicated than that in the Imperial City. Between you and me, I don't really have a job. I used to work for Lord Atrius and his Building Commission, but I got sacked. And then, the contracts are from Lord Vanech and his Building Commission, 'cause I got em from this fellow Reglius who is a competitor but still a very fine fellow until he was made dead by those Khajiiti,� Scotti drained his fifth mug. �When I go back to the Imperial City, then the real negotiations can begin, bless you. I can go to my old employer and to Lord Vanech, and say, look here you, which one of you wants these commissions? And they'll fall over each other to take them from me. It will be bidding war for my percentage the likes of which no one nowhere has never seen.�

�So you're not a representative of his Imperial Majesty, the Emperor?� asked the first diplomat.

�Didn't you hear what I'm said? You stupid?� Scotti felt a surge of rage, which quickly subsided. He chuckled, and poured himself a seventh mug. �The Building Commissions are privately owned, but they're still representatives of the Emperor. So I'm a representative of the Emperor. Or I will be. When I get these contracts in. It's very complicated. I can understand why you're not following me. Bless you, it's all like the poet said, a dance in fire, if you follow the illusion, that is to say, allusion.�

�And your colleagues? Are they representatives of the Emperor?� asked the second diplomat.

Scotti burst into laughter, shaking his head. The diplomats bade him their respects and went to talk to the Minister. Scotti stumbled out of the palace, and reeled through the strange, organic avenues and boulevards of the city. It took him several hours to find his way to Prithala Hall and his room. Once there, he slept, very nearly on his bed.

The next morning, he woke to Jurus and Basth in his room, shaking him. He felt half-asleep and unable to open his eyes fully, but otherwise fine. The conversation with the diplomats floated in his mind in a haze, like an obscure childhood memory.

�What in Mara's name is Rotmeth?� he asked quickly.

�Rancid, strongly fermented meat juices with lots of spices to kill the poisons,� smiled Basth. �I should have warned you to stay with Jagga.�

�You must understand the Meat Mandate by now,� laughed Jurus. �These Bosmeri would rather eat each other than touch the fruit of the vine or the field.�

�What did I say to those diplomats?� cried Scotti, panicking.

�Nothing bad apparently,� said Jurus, pulling out some papers. �Your escorts are downstairs to bring you to the Imperial Province. Here are your papers of safe passage. The Silvenar seems very impatient about business proceeding forward rapidly. He promises to send you some sort of rare treasure when the contracts are fulfilled. See, he's already given me something.�

Jurus showed off his new, bejeweled earring, a beautiful large faceted ruby. Basth showed that he had a similar one. The two fat fellows left the room so Scotti could dress and pack.

A full regiment of the Silvenar's guards was on the street in front of the tavern. They surrounded a carriage crested with the official arms of Valenwood. Still dazed, Scotti climbed in, and the captain of the guard gave the signal. They began a quick gallop. Scotti shook himself, and then peered behind. Basth and Jurus were waving him goodbye.

�Wait!� Scotti cried. �Aren't you coming back to the Imperial Province too?�

�The Silvenar asked that we stay behind as Imperial representatives!� yelled Liodes Jurus. �In case there's a need for more contracts and negotiations! He's appointed us Undrape, some sort of special honor for foreigners at court! Don't worry! Lots of banquets to attend! You can handle the negotiations with Vanech and Atrius yourself and we'll keep things settled here!�

Jurus continued to yell advice about business, but his voice became indistinct with distance. Soon it disappeared altogether as the convoy rounded the streets of Silvenar. The jungle loomed suddenly and then they were in it. Scotti had only gone through it by foot or along the rivers by slow-moving boats. Now it flashed all around him in profusions of greens. The horses seemed even faster moving through underbrush than on the smooth paths of the city. None of the weird sounds or dank smells of the jungle penetrated the escort. It felt to Scotti as if he were watching a play about the jungle with a background of a quickly moving scrim, which offered only the merest suggestion of the place.

So it went for two weeks. There was lots of food and water in the carriage with the clerk, so he merely ate and slept as the caravan pressed endlessly on. From time to time, he'd hear the sound of blades clashing, but when he looked around whatever had attacked the caravan had long since been left behind. At last, they reached the border, where an Imperial garrison was stationed.

Scotti presented the soldiers who met the carriage with the papers. They asked him a barrage of questions that he answered monosyllabically, and then let him pass. It took several more days to arrive at the gates of the Imperial City. The horses that had flown so fast through the jungle now slowed down in the unfamiliar territory of the wooded Colovian Estates. By contrast, the cries of his province's birds and smells of his province's plant life brought Decumus Scotti alive. It was if he had been dreaming all the past months.

At the gates of the City, Scotti's carriage door was opened for him and he stepped out on uncertain legs. Before he had a moment to say something to the escort, they had vanished, galloping back south through the forest. The first thing he did now that he was home was go to the closest tavern and have tea and fruit and bread. If he never ate meat again, he told himself, that would suit him very nicely.

Negotiations with Lord Atrius and Lord Vanech proceeded immediately thereafter. It was most agreeable. Both commissions recognized how lucrative the rebuilding of Valenwood would be for their agency. Lord Vanech claimed, quite justifiably, that as the contracts had been written on forms notarized by his commission, he had the legal right to them. Lord Atrius claimed that Decumus Scotti was his agent and representative, and that he had never been released from employment. The Emperor was called to arbitrate, but he claimed to be unavailable. His advisor, the Imperial Battlemage Jagar Tharn, had disappeared long ago and could not be called on for his wisdom and impartial mediation.

Scotti lived very comfortably off the bribes from Lord Atrius and Lord Vanech. Every week, a letter would arrive from Jurus or Basth asking about the status of negotiations. Gradually, these letters ceased coming, and more urgent ones came from the Minister of Trade and the Silvenar himself. The War of the Blue Divide with Summurset Isle ended with the Altmeri winning several new coastal islands from the Wood Elves. The war with Elsweyr continued, ravaging the eastern borders of Valenwood. Still, Vanech and Atrius fought over who would help.

One fine morning in the early spring of the year 3E 398, a courier arrived at Decumus Scotti's door.

�Lord Vanech has won the Valenwood commission, and requests that you and the contracts come to his hall at your earliest convenience.�

�Has Lord Atrius decided not to challenge further?� asked Scotti.

�He's been unable to, having died very suddenly, just now, from a terribly unfortunate accident,� said the courier.

Scotti had wondered how long it would be before the Dark Brotherhood was brought in for final negotiations. As he walked toward Lord Vanech's Building Commission, a long, severe piece of architecture on a minor but respectable plaza, he wondered if he had played the game, as he ought to have. Could Vanech be so rapacious as to offer him a lower percentage of the commission now that his chief competitor was dead? Thankfully, he discovered, Lord Vanech had already decided to pay Scotti what he had proposed during the heat of the winter negotiations. His advisors had explained to him that other, lesser building commissions might come forward unless the matter were handled quickly and fairly.

�Glad we have all the legal issues done with,� said Lord Vanech, fondly. �Now we can get to the business of helping the poor Bosmeri, and collecting the profits. It's a pity you weren't our representative for all the troubles with Bend'r-mahk and the Arnesian business. But there will be plenty more wars, I'm sure of that.�

Scotti and Lord Vanech sent word to the Silvenar that at last they were prepared to honor the contracts. A few weeks later, they held a banquet in honor of the profitable enterprise. Decumus Scotti was the darling of the Imperial City, and no expense was spared to make it an unforgettable evening.

As Scotti met the nobles and wealthy merchants who would be benefiting from his business dealings, an exotic but somehow faintly familiar smell rose in the ballroom. He traced it to its source: a thick roasted slab of meat, so long and thick it covered several platters. The Cyrodilic revelers were eating it ravenously, unable to find the words to express their delight at its taste and texture.

�It's like nothing I've ever had before!�

�It's like pig-fed venison!�

�Do you see the marbling of fat and meat? It's a masterpiece!�

Scotti went to take a slice, but then he saw something imbedded deep in the dried and rendered roast. He nearly collided with his new employer Lord Vanech as he stumbled back.

�Where did this come from?� Scotti stammered.

�From our client, the Silvenar,� beamed his lordship. �It's some kind of local delicacy they call Unthrappa.�

Scotti vomited, and didn't stop for some time. It cast rather a temporary pall on the evening, but when Decumus Scotti was carried off to his manor house, the guests continued to dine. The Unthrappa was the delight of all. Even more so when Lord Vanech himself took a slice and found the first of two rubies buried within. How very clever of the Bosmer to invent such a dish, the Cyrodiils agreed.


A Dance In Fire, Chapter I
by Waughin Jarth



Scene: The Imperial City, Cyrodiil
Date: 7 Frost Fall, 3E 397

It seemed as if the palace had always housed the Atrius Building Commission, the company of clerks and estate agents who authored and notarized nearly every construction of any note in the Empire. It had stood for two hundred and fifty years, since the reign of the Emperor Magnus, a plain-fronted and austere hall on a minor but respectable plaza in the Imperial City. Energetic and ambitious middle-class lads and ladies worked there, as well as complacent middle-aged ones like Decumus Scotti. No one could imagine a world without the Commission, least of all Scotti. To be accurate, he could not imagine a world without himself in the Commission.

�Lord Atrius is perfectly aware of your contributions,� said the managing clerk, closing the shutter that demarcated Scotti's office behind him. �But you know that things have been difficult.�

�Yes,� said Scotti, stiffly.

�Lord Vanech's men have been giving us a lot of competition lately, and we must be more efficient if we are to survive. Unfortunately, that means releasing some of our historically best but presently underachieving senior clerks.�

�I understand. Can't be helped.�

�I'm glad that you understand,� smiled the managing clerk, smiling thinly and withdrawing. �Please have your room cleared immediately.�

Scotti began the task of organizing all his work to pass on to his successor. It would probably be young Imbrallius who would take most of it on, which was as it should be, he considered philosophically. The lad knew how to find business. Scotti wondered idly what the fellow would do with the contracts for the new statue of St Alessia for which the Temple of the One had applied. Probably invent a clerical error, blame it on his old predecessor Decumus Scotti, and require an additional cost to rectify.

�I have correspondence for Decumus Scotti of the Atrius Building Commission.�

Scotti looked up. A fat-faced courier had entered his office and was thrusting forth a sealed scroll. He handed the boy a gold piece, and opened it up. By the poor penmanship, atrocious spelling and grammar, and overall unprofessional tone, it was manifestly evident who the writer was. Liodes Jurus, a fellow clerk some years before, who had left the Commission after being accused of unethical business practices.


�Dear Sckotti,


I emagine you alway wondered what happened to me, and the last plase you would have expected to find me is out in the woods. But thats exactly where I am. Ha ha. If your'e smart and want to make lot of extra gold for Lord Atrius (and yourself, ha ha), youll come down to Vallinwood too. If you have'nt or have been following the politics hear lately, you may or may not know that ther's bin a war between the Boshmer and there neighbors Elswere over the past two years. Things have only just calm down, and ther's a lot that needs to be rebuilt.

Now Ive got more business than I can handel, but I need somone with some clout, someone representing a respected agencie to get the quill in the ink. That somone is you, my fiend. Come & meat me at the M'ther Paskos Tavern in Falinnesti, Vallinwood. Ill be here 2 weeks and you wont be sorrie.




-- Jurus

P.S.: Bring a wagenload of timber if you can.�


�What do you have there, Scotti?� asked a voice.

Scotti started. It was Imbrallius, his damnably handsome face peeking through the shutters, smiling in that way that melted the hearts of the stingiest of patrons and the roughest of stonemasons. Scotti shoved the letter in his jacket pocket.

�Personal correspondence,� he sniffed. �I'll be cleared up here in a just a moment.�

�I don't want to hurry you,� said Imbrallius, grabbing a few sheets of blank contracts from Scotti's desk. �I've just gone through a stack, and the junior scribes hands are all cramping up, so I thought you wouldn't miss a few.�

The lad vanished. Scotti retrieved the letter and read it again. He thought about his life, something he rarely did. It seemed a sea of gray with a black insurmountable wall looming. There was only one narrow passage he could see in that wall. Quickly, before he had a moment to reconsider it, he grabbed a dozen of the blank contracts with the shimmering gold leaf ATRIUS BUILDING COMMISSION BY APPOINTMENT OF HIS IMPERIAL MAJESTY and hid them in the satchel with his personal effects.

The next day he began his adventure with a giddy lack of hesitation. He arranged for a seat in a caravan bound for Valenwood, the single escorted conveyance to the southeast leaving the Imperial City that week. He had scarcely hours to pack, but he remembered to purchase a wagonload of timber.

�It will be extra gold to pay for a horse to pull that,� frowned the convoy head.

�So I anticipated,� smiled Scotti with his best Imbrallius grin.

Ten wagons in all set off that afternoon through the familiar Cyrodilic countryside. Past fields of wildflowers, gently rolling woodlands, friendly hamlets. The clop of the horses' hooves against the sound stone road reminded Scotti that the Atrius Building Commission constructed it. Five of the eighteen necessary contracts for its completion were drafted by his own hand.

�Very smart of you to bring that wood along,� said a gray-whiskered Breton man next to him on his wagon. �You must be in Commerce.�

�Of a sort,� said Scotti, in a way he hoped was mysterious, before introducing himself: �Decumus Scotti.�

�Gryf Mallon,� said the man. �I'm a poet, actually a translator of old Bosmer literature. I was researching some newly discovered tracts of the Mnoriad Pley Bar two years ago when the war broke out and I had to leave. You are no doubt familiar with the Mnoriad, if you're aware of the Green Pact.�

Scotti thought the man might be speaking perfect gibberish, but he nodded his head.

�Naturally, I don't pretend that the Mnoriad is as renowned as the Meh Ayleidion, or as ancient as the Dansir Gol, but I think it has a remarkable significance to understanding the nature of the merelithic Bosmer mind. The origin of the Wood Elf aversion to cutting their own wood or eating any plant material at all, yet paradoxically their willingness to import plantstuff from other cultures, I feel can be linked to a passage in the Mnoriad,� Mallon shuffled through some of his papers, searching for the appropriate text.

To Scotti's vast relief, the carriage soon stopped to camp for the night. They were high on a bluff over a gray stream, and before them was the great valley of Valenwood. Only the cry of seabirds declared the presence of the ocean to the bay to the west: here the timber was so tall and wide, twisting around itself like an impossible knot begun eons ago, to be impenetrable. A few more modest trees, only fifty feet to the lowest branches, stood on the cliff at the edge of camp. The sight was so alien to Scotti and he found himself so anxious about the proposition of entering the wilderness that he could not imagine sleeping.

Fortunately, Mallon had supposed he had found another academic with a passion for the riddles of ancient cultures. Long into the night, he recited Bosmer verse in the original and in his own translation, sobbing and bellowing and whispering wherever appropriate. Gradually, Scotti began to feel drowsy, but a sudden crack of wood snapping made him sit straight up.

�What was that?�

Mallon smiled: �I like it too. 'Convocation in the malignity of the moonless speculum, a dance of fire --'�

�There are some enormous birds up in the trees moving around,� whispered Scotti, pointing in the direction of the dark shapes above.

�I wouldn't worry about that,� said Mallon, irritated with his audience. �Now listen to how the poet characterizes Herma-Mora's invocation in the eighteenth stanza of the fourth book.�

The dark shapes in the trees were some of them perched like birds, others slithered like snakes, and still others stood up straight like men. As Mallon recited his verse, Scotti watched the figures softly leap from branch to branch, half-gliding across impossible distances for anything without wings. They gathered in groups and then reorganized until they had spread to every tree around the camp. Suddenly they plummeted from the heights.

�Mara!� cried Scotti. �They're falling like rain!�

�Probably seed pods,� Mallon shrugged, not turning around. �Some of the trees have remarkable --�

The camp erupted into chaos. Fires burst out in the wagons, the horses wailed from mortal blows, casks of wine, fresh water, and liquor gushed their contents to the ground. A nimble shadow dashed past Scotti and Mallon, gathering sacks of grain and gold with impossible agility and grace. Scotti had only one glance at it, lit up by a sudden nearby burst of flame. It was a sleek creature with pointed ears, wide yellow eyes, mottled pied fur and a tail like a whip.

�Werewolf,� he whimpered, shrinking back.

�Cathay-raht,� groaned Mallon. �Much worse. Khajiti cousins or some such thing, come to plunder.�

�Are you sure?�

As quickly as they struck, the creatures retreated, diving off the bluff before the battlemage and knight, the caravan's escorts, had fully opened their eyes. Mallon and Scotti ran to the precipice and saw a hundred feet below the tiny figures dash out of the water, shake themselves, and disappear into the wood.

�Werewolves aren't acrobats like that,� said Mallon. �They were definitely Cathay-raht. Bastard thieves. Thank Stendarr they didn't realize the value of my notebooks. It wasn't a complete loss.�

A Game At Dinner
by An Anonymous Spy



Forward From The Publisher:
The history behind this letter is almost as interesting and dark as the story it tells. The original letter to the mysterious Dhaunayne was copied and began circulating around the Ashlands of Vvardenfell a few months ago. In time, a print found its way to the mainland and Prince Hlaalu Helseth's palace outside Almalexia. While the reader may conclude after reading this letter that the Prince would be furious about such a work, impugning his highness with great malevolence, quite the reverse was true. The Prince and his mother, Queen Barenziah, had it privately printed into bound copies and sent to libraries and booksellers throughout Morrowind.

As matter of record, the Prince and the Queen have not officially stated whether the letter is a work of pure imagination or based on an actual occurrence. The House Dres has publicly denounced the work, and indeed, no one named Dhaunayne, despite the suggestions in the letter, has ever been linked to the house. We leave the reader to interpret the letter as he or she believes.

-- Nerris Gan, Publisher

***

Dark Liege Dhaunayne,

You asked for a detailed description of my experience last night and the reasons for my plea to House Dres for another assignment. I hope I have served you well in my capacity as informant in the court of Prince Helseth, a man who I have stated in many previous reports could teach Molag Bal how to scheme. As you know, I've spent nearly a year now working my way into his inner circle of advisors. He was in need of friendship when he first arrived in Morrowind and eagerly took to me and a few others. Still, he was disinclined to trust any of us, which is perhaps not surprising, given his tenuous position in Morrowind society.

For your unholiness's recollection, the Prince is the eldest son of Barenziah, who was once the Queen of Morrowind and once the Queen of the High Rock kingdom of Wayrest. At the death of her husband, Prince Helseth's stepfather, King Eadwyre, there was a power struggle between the Prince and Eadwyre's daughter, the Princess Elysana. Though details of what transpired are imperfect, it is clear that Elysana won the battle and became Queen, banishing Helseth and Barenziah. Barenziah's only other child, Morgiah, had already left court to marry and become Queen of the Summurset Isle kingdom of Firsthold.

Barenziah and Helseth crossed the continent to return to Morrowind only last year. They were well received by Barenziah's uncle, our current king, Hlaalu Athyn Llethan, who had taken the throne after Barenziah's abdication more than forty years ago. Barenziah made it clear that she had no designs on reclaiming the throne, but merely to retire to her family estates. Helseth, as you know, has lingered in the royal court, and many have whispered that while he lost the throne of Wayrest, he does not intend to lose the throne of Morrowind at Llethan's death.

I've kept your unholiness informed of the Prince's movements, meetings, and plots, as well as the names and characters of his other advisors. As you may recall, I've often thought that I was not the only spy in Helseth's court. I told you before that a particular Dunmer counselor of Helseth looked like a fellow I had seen in the company of Tholer Saryoni, the Archcanon of the Tribunal Temple. Another, a young Nord woman, has been verified to visit the Imperial fortress in Balmora. Of course, in their cases, they might well have been on Helseth's own business, but I couldn't be certain. I had begun to think myself paranoid as the Prince himself when I found myself doubting the sincere loyalty of the Prince's chamberlain, Burgess, a Breton who had been in his employ since his days in the court of Wayrest.

That is the background on that night, last night.

Yesterday morning, I received a curt invitation to dine with the Prince. Based only on my own paranoia, I dispatched one of my servants, who is a good and loyal servant of the House Dres, to watch the palace and report back anything unusual. Just before dinner, he returned and told me what he had witnessed.

A man cloaked in rags had been given entrance into the palace, and had stayed there for some time. When he left, my servant saw his face beneath the cloak -- an alchemist of infamous repute, said to be a leading suppliers of exotic poisons. A fine observer, my servant also noticed that the alchemist entered the palace smelling of wickwheat, bittergreen, and something alien and sweet. When he left, he was odorless.

He had come to the same conclusion as I did. The Prince had procured ingredients to prepare a poison. Bittergreen alone is deadly when eaten raw, but the other ingredients suggested something far deeper. As your unholiness can doubtless imagine, I went to dinner that night, prepared for any eventuality.

All of Prince Helseth's other counselors were in attendance, and I noticed that all were slightly apprehensive. Of course, I imagined that I was in a nest of spies, and all knew of the Prince's mysterious meeting. It is just as likely that some knew of the alchemist's visit, while others were simply concerned by the nature of the Prince's invitation, and still others merely unconsciously adopted the tense disposition of their fellow, better informed counselors.

The Prince, however, was in fine mettle and soon had everyone relaxed and at ease. At nine, we were all ushered into his dining hall where the feast had been laid out. And what a feast! Honeyed gorapples, fragrant stews, roasts in various blood sauces, and every variety of fish and fowl expertly and ostentatiously prepared. Crystal and gold flagons of wine, flin, shein, and mazte were at our seats to be savored as appropriate with each course. As tantalizing as the aromas were, it occurred to me that in such a maze of spices and flavors, a discreet poison would be undetectable.

Throughout the meal, I maintained the illusion of eating the food and drinking the liquor, but I was surreptitious and swallowed nothing. Finally, the plates and food were cleared from the table, and a tureen of a spicy broth was placed in the center of the banquet. The servant who brought it then retired, closing the banquet hall door behind him.

�It smells divine, my Prince,� said the Marchioness Kolgar, the Nord woman. �But I cannot eat another thing.�

�Your Highness,� I added, feigning a tone of friendliness and slight intoxication. �You know that every one at this table would gladly die to put you on the throne of Morrowind, but is it really necessary that we gorge ourselves to death?�

The others at the table agreed with appreciative groans. Prince Helseth smiled. I swear by Vaernima the Gifter, my dark liege, even you have never seen a smile such as this one.

�Ironic words. You see, an alchemist visited me today, as some of you already doubtless know. He showed me how to make a marvelous poison and its antidote. A most potent potion, excellent for my purposes. No Restoration spell will aid you once you've ingested it. Only the antidote in the tureen will save you from certain death. And what a death, from what I've heard. I am eager to see if the effects are all that the alchemist promised. It should be horribly painful for the afflicted, but quite entertaining.�

No one said a word. I could feel my heart beating hard in my chest.

�Your Highness,� said Allarat, the Dunmer I suspected of alliance with the Temple. �Have you poisoned someone at this table?�

�You are very astute, Allarat,� said Prince Helseth, looking about the table, eying each of his advisors carefully. �Little wonder I value your counsel. As indeed I value all in this room. It would be perhaps easiest for me to say who I haven't poisoned. I haven't poisoned any who serve but one master, any whose loyalty to me is sincere. I haven't poisoned any person who wants to see King Helseth on the throne of Morrowind. I haven't poisoned anyone who isn't a spy for the Empire, the Temple, the House of Telvanni, the House of Redoran, the House of Indoril, the House of Dres.�

Your unholiness, he looked directly at me at his last words. I know that in certainty. My face is practiced at keeping my thoughts from showing, but I immediately thought of every secret meeting I've had, every coded message I sent to you and the House, my dark liege. What could he know? What could he, even without knowing, suspect?

I felt my heart beating even faster. Was it fear, or poison? I couldn't speak, certain as I was that my voice would betray my calm facade.

�Those loyal to me who wish harm on my enemies may be wondering how can I be certain that the poison has been ingested. Is it possible that the guilty party, or dare I say, parties were suspicious and merely pretended to eat and drink tonight? Of course. But even the craftiest of pretenders would have to raise a glass to his or her lips and put empty forks or spoons in their mouths to play the charade. The food, you see, was not poisoned. The cups and cutlery were. If you did not partake out of fear, you're poisoned just the same, and sadly, missed an excellent roast.�

Sweat beaded on my face and I turned from the Prince so he would not see. My fellow advisors, all of them, were frozen in their seats. From the Marchioness Kolgar, white with fear, to Kema Inebbe, visibly shaking; from the furrowed, angry brow of Allarat to the statue-like stare of Burgess.

I couldn't help thinking then, could the Prince's entire counsellorship be comprised of nothing but spies? Was there any person at the table loyal? And then I thought, what if I were not a spy myself, would I trust Helseth to know that? No one knows better than his advisors both the depth of the Prince's paranoia and the utter implacability of his ambition. If I were not a spy for the House Dres, even then would I be safe? Could a loyalist be poisoned because of a not-so-innocent misjudgment?

The others must have been thinking the same, loyalists and spies alike.

While my mind whirled, I could hear the Prince's voice, addressing all assembled: �The poison acts quickly. If the antidote is not taken within one minute from now, there will be death at the table.�

I couldn't decide whether I had been poisoned or not. My stomach ached, but I reminded myself it might have been the result of sitting at a sumptuous banquet and not partaking. My heart shook in my chest and a bitter taste like Trama Root stung my lips. Again, was it fear or poison?

�These are the last words you will hear if you are disloyal to me,� said Prince Helseth, still smiling that damned smile as he watched his advisors squirming in their seats. �Take the antidote and live.�

Could I believe him? I thought of what I knew of the Prince and his character. Would he kill a self-confessed spy at his court, or would he rather send the vanquished back to his masters? The Prince was ruthless, but either possibility was within his manner. Surely the theatricality of this whole dinner was meant to be a presentation to instill fear. What would my ancestors say if I joined them after sitting at a table, eventually dying of poison? What would they say if I took the antidote, confessing my allegiance to you and the House Dres, and was summarily executed? And, I confess, I thought of what you might to do me even after I was dead.

I had grown so light-headed and filled with my own thoughts, that I didn't see Burgess jump from his seat. I was only suddenly aware that he had the tureen in his hands and was gulping down the liquid within. There were guards all around, though I never noticed them entering.

�Burgess,� said Prince Helseth, still smiling. �You have spent some time at Ghostgate. House Redoran?�

�You didn't know?� Burgess laughed sourly. �No House. I report to your stepsister, the Queen of Wayrest. I've always been in her employ. By Akatosh, you poisoned me because you thought I was working for some damnable Dark Elves?�

�You're half right,� said the Prince. �I didn't guess who you were working for, or even that you were a spy. But you're also wrong about me poisoning you. You poisoned yourself when you drank from the tureen.�

Your unholiness, you don't need to hear how Burgess died. I know that you have seen much over the many, many years of your existence, but you truly don't want to know. I wish I could erase the memory of his agonies from my own mind.

The council was dismissed shortly thereafter. I do not know if Prince Helseth knows or suspects that I too am a spy. I do not know how many others that night, last night, were as close as I was from drinking from the tureen before Burgess did. I only know that if the Prince does not suspect me now, he will. I cannot win at the games he mastered long ago at the court of Wayrest, and I beg your unholiness, my dark liege Dhaunayne to use your influence in the House Dres and dismiss your loyal servant from this charge.

****

Publisher's Note:
Of course, the anonymous writer's signature has not been on any reprint of the letter since the original.


A Hypothetical Treachery
A One Act Play
by Anthil Morvir



Dramatis Personae
Malvasian: A High Elf battlemage
Inzoliah: A Dark Elf battlemage
Dolcettus: A Cyrodiil healer
Schiavas: An Argonian barbarian
A Ghost
Some bandits

Scene: Eldenwood

As the curtain rises, we see the misty labyrinthian landscape of the legendary Eldengrove of Valenwood. All around we hear wolves howling. A bloodied reptilian figure, SCHIAVAS, breaks through the branches of one of the trees and surveys the area.

SCHIAVAS: It's clear.

INZOLIAH, a beautiful Dark Elf mage, climbs down from the tree, helped by the barbarian. There is the sound of footsteps nearby. Schiavas readies his sword and Inzoliah prepares to cast a spell. Nothing comes out.

INZOLIAH: You're bleeding. You should have Dolcettus heal that for you.

SCHIAVAS: He's still drained from all the spells he had to cast down in the caves. I'm fine. If we get out of this and no one needs it more, I'll take the last potion of healing. Where's Malvasian?

MALVASIAN, a High Elf battlemage, and DOLCETTUS, a Cyrodiil healer, emerge from the tree, carrying a heavy chest between the two of them. They awkwardly try to get down from the tree, carrying their loot.

MALVASIAN: Here I am, though why I'm carrying the heavy load is beyond me. I always thought that the advantage of dungeon delving with a great barbarian was that he carried all the loot.

SCHIAVAS: If I carried that, my hands would be too full to fight. And tell me if I'm wrong, but not one of the three of you has enough magicka reserved to make it out of here alive. Not after you electrified and blasted all those homunculuses down below ground.

DOLCETTUS: Homunculi.

SCHIAVAS: Don't worry, I'm not going to do what you think I'm going to do.

INZOLIAH (innocently): What's that?

SCHIAVAS: Kill you all and take the Ebony Mail for myself. Admit it -- you thought I had that in mind.

DOLCETTUS: What a perfectly horrible thought. I never thought anyone, no matter how vile and degenerate --

INZOLIAH: Why not?

MALVASIAN: He needs porters, like he said. He can't carry the chest and fight off the inhabitants of Eldengrove both.

DOLCETTUS: By Stendarr, of all the mean, conniving, typically Argonian --

INZOLIAH: And why do you need me alive?

SCHIAVAS: I don't necessarily. Except that you're prettier than the other two, for a smoothskin that is. And if something comes after us, it might go for you first.

There is a noise in some bushes nearby.

SCHIAVAS: Go check that out.

INZOLIAH: It's probably a wolf. These woods are filled with them. You check it out.

SCHIAVAS: You have a choice, Inzoliah. Go and you might live. Stay here, and you definitely won't.

Inzoliah considers and then goes to the bushes.

SCHIAVAS (to Malvasian and Dolcettus): The king of Silvenar will pay good money for the Mail, and we can divide it more nicely between three than four.

INZOLIAH: You're so right.

Inzoliah suddenly levitates up to the top of the stage. A semi-transparent Ghost appears from the bush and rushes at the next person, who happens to be Schiavas. As the barbarian screams and thrashes at it with his sword, it levels blasts of whirling gas at him. He crumbles to the ground. It turns next to Dolcettus, the healer, and as the Ghost focuses its feasting chill on the hapless Dolcettus, Malvasian casts a ball of flame at it that causes it to vaporize into the misty air.

Inzoliah floats back down to the ground as Malvasian examines the bodies of Dolcettus and Schiavas, who are both white-faced from the draining power of the ghost.

MALVASIAN: You had some magicka reserved after all.

INZOLIAH: So did you. Are they dead?

Malvasian takes the potion of healing from Dolcettus's pack.

MALVASIAN: Yes. Fortunately, the potion of healing wasn't broken when he fell. Well, I guess this leaves just the two of us to collect the reward.

INZOLIAH: We can't get out of this place without each other. Like it or not.

The two battlemages pick up the chest and begin plodding carefully through the undergrowth, pausing from time to time at the sound of footsteps or other eerie noises.

MALVASIAN: Let me make sure I understand. You have a little bit of magicka left, so you elected to use it to make Schiavas the ghost's target, forcing me to use most of my limited reserve to destroy the creature so I wouldn't be more powerful than you. That's first-rate thinking.

INZOLIAH: Thank you. It's only logical. Do you have enough power to cast any other spells?

MALVASIAN: Naturally. An experienced battlemage always knows a few minor but highly effective spells for just such a trial. I take it you, too, have a few tricks up your sleeve?

INZOLIAH: Of course, like you said.

They pause for a moment before continuing as a fearful wail pierces the air. When it dies away, they slowly trudge on.

INZOLIAH: Just as an intellectual exercise, I wonder what spell you would cast at me if we made it out of here without any more combat.

MALVASIAN: I hope you're not implying that I would dream of killing you so I would keep the treasure all to myself.

INZOLIAH: Of course not, nor would I do that to you. It is merely an intellectual exercise.

MALVASIAN: Well, in that case, purely as an intellectual exercise, I would probably cast a leech spell on you, to take away your life force and heal myself. After all, there are brigands on the road between here and Silvenar, and a wounded battlemage with a valuable artifact would make a tempting target. I'd hate to survive Eldengrove merely to die in the open.

INZOLIAH: That's a well-reasoned response. As for myself, again, not saying I would ever do this, but I think a simple, sudden electrical bolt would serve my purposes admirably. I agree about the danger of brigands, but don't forget, we also have a potion of healing. I could easily slay you and heal myself to full capacity.

MALVASIAN: Very true. It would end up a question then of whose spell was more effective at that instant. If our spells counteracted one another and I leeched your life energy only to be crippled by your lightning bolt, then we could both be killed. Or so near death that a mere potion of healing would scarcely help either one of us, let alone both. How ironic it would be if two scheming battlemages, not saying we are scheming but for the purpose of this intellectual exercise, were left on the brink of death, completely drained of magicka, with one healing potion to choose from. Who would get it then?

INZOLIAH: Logically, whoever drank it first, which in this case would be you since you're holding it. Now, what if one of us were injured, but not killed?

MALVASIAN: Logic would dictate that a scheming battlemage would take the potion, leaving the injured party to the mercy of the elements, I suppose.

INZOLIAH: That does seem most sensible. But suppose that the battlemages, while certainly scheming types, had a certain respect for one another. Perhaps in that case, the victorious one might, for instance, put the potion up a tree near his or her gravely wounded victim. Then when the wounded party had enough magicka replenished, he or she would be able to levitate to the tree branches and recover the potion. By that time, the victorious battlemage would have already collected the reward.

They pause for a moment at the sound of something in the bushes nearby. Carefully, they climb across the branches of a tree to bypass it.

MALVASIAN: I understand what you're saying, but it seems out of character for our hypothetic scheming battlemage to allow his or her victim to live.

INZOLIAH: Perhaps. But it's been my observation that most scheming battlemages enjoy the feeling of having bested someone in combat, and having that person alive to live with the humiliation.

MALVASIAN: These hypothetical scheming battlemages sound ... (excitedly) Daylight! Do you see it?

The two scurry across the branch dropping behind a bush, so we can no longer see them. We can, however, see the shimmering halo of sunlight.

MALVASIAN (behind the tall bush): We made it.

INZOLIAH (likewise, behind the tall bush): Indeed.

There is a sudden explosion of electrical energy and a wild howling aura of red light, and then silence. After a few moment's pause, we hear someone climbing up the tree. It is Malvasian, putting the potion high up in the bough. He chuckles as he climbs back down and the curtain drops.

Epilogue.

The curtain rises on a road to Silvenar. A gang of bandits have surrounded Malvasian, who is propped up on his staff, barely able to stand. They pull his chest away from him with ease.

BANDIT #1: What have we got here? Don't you know it ain't safe to be out on the road, all sick like you are? Why don't we help you with your load?

MALVASIAN (weakly): Please ... Let me be ...

BANDIT #2: Go on, spellcaster, fight us for it!

MALVASIAN: I can't ... too weak ...

Suddenly, Inzoliah flies in, casting lightning bolts from her fingers at the bandits, who quickly scramble away. She lands on the ground and picks up the chest. Malvasian collapses, dying.

MALVASIAN: Hypothetically, what if ... a battlemage cast a spell on another which didn't harm him at once, but ... drained his life force and his magicka, bit by bit, so he wouldn't know at the time, but ... feel confident enough to leave the potion of healing behind?

INZOLIAH: A most treacherous battlemage she'd be.

MALVASIAN: And ... hypothetically ... would she be likely to help her fallen foe ... so that she could enjoy the humiliation of him continuing ... to live?

INZOLIAH: From my experience, hypothetically, no. She doesn't sound like a fool.

As Inzoliah lugs the chest off toward Silvenar, and Malvasian expires on the stage, we drop the curtain.


A Less Rude Song
by Anonymous



They say
The Iliac Bay
Is the place to barrel around
Without a bit of apparel on,
As advertised in that carol song
A tune that's sung as the west wind blows
About it lovely not wearing any clothes.
Ladies singing high notes, men singing lows,
Implying that the most luscious depravity
And complete absence of serious gravity
Can only be found in the waterous cavity
Of Iliac Bay.

If you are the type who is more a sinner than a sinned,
You'll find it all in Morrowind.

But the truth, my child,
Is that nothing more wild
That an ordinary fashion
Kind of slightly mad passion
Can be detected if at all
In Sentinel and Daggerfall.

Whatever your odd needs: feathered, scaled, or finned,
You'll find it all in Morrowind

It's an invention of bards
That Bretons and Redguards
Have more than some staid fun
And suffer deviant fornication.
For the most of madness, not the least,
The wise debaucher heads out east.

Where your once steely reserve is now merely tinned,
You'll find it all in Morrowind.

In Morrowind,
There is sin.
But, pray, do not confuse Dunmer variety
With that found in tepid Western society
Compared to which, it nearly is piety.
It isn't terribly ingenious calling it prudery
Observing the Dark Elf aversion to nudity.
After all, the preferred sort of lewdity
In these parts is far more pernicious.
From the Ashlanders to the wettest fishes
You'll find pleasure and pain quite delicious
In Morrowind.

If you find yourself with unkind kinship with your kin
You'll find it all in Morrowind.

A Short History of Morrowind
by Jeanette Sitte



[from the Introduction]

Led by the legendary prophet Veloth, the ancestors of the Dunmer, exiles from Altmer cultures in present-day Summerset Isle, came to the region of Morrowind. In earliest times the Dunmer were harassed or dominated by Nord sea raiders. When the scattered Dunmer tribes consolidated into the predecessors of the modern Great House clans, they threw out the Nord oppressors and successfully resisted further incursions.

The ancient ancestor worship of the tribes was in time superseded by the monolithic Tribunal Temple theocracy, and the Dunmer grew into a great nation called Resdayn. Resdayn was the last of the provinces to submit to Tiber Septim; like Black Marsh, it was never successfully invaded, and was peacefully incorporated by treaty into the Empire as the Province of Morrowind.

Almost four centuries after the coming of the Imperial Legions, Morrowind is still occupied by Imperial legions, with a figurehead Imperial King, though the Empire has reserved most functions of the traditional local government to the Ruling Councils of the Five Great Houses....

[on Vvardenfell District]

In 3E 414, Vvardenfell Territory, previously a Temple preserve under Imperial protection, was reorganized as an Imperial Provincial District. Vvardenfell had been maintained as a preserve administrated by the Temple since the Treaty of the Armistice, and except for a few Great House settlements sanctioned by the Temple, Vvardenfell was previously uninhabited and undeveloped. But when the centuries-old Temple ban on trade and settlement of Vvardenfell was revoked by King of Morrowind, a flood of Imperial colonists and Great House Dunmer came to Vvardenfell, expanding old settlements and building new ones.

The new District was divided into Redoran, Hlaalu, Telvanni, and Temple Districts, each separately administered by local House Councils or Temple Priesthoods, and all under the advice and consent of Duke Dren and the District Council in Ebonheart. Local law became a mixture of House Law and Imperial Law in House Districts, jointly enforced by House guards and Legion guards, with Temple law and Imperial law enforced in the Temple district by Ordinators. The Temple was still recognized as the majority religion, but worship of the Nine Divines was protected by the legions and encouraged by Imperial cult missions.

The Temple District included the city of Vivec, the fortress of Ghostgate, and all sacred and profane sites (including those Blighted areas inside the Ghostfence) and all unsettled and wilderness areas on Vvardenfell. In practice, this district included all parts of Vvardenfell not claimed for Redoran, Hlaalu, or Telvanni Districts. The Temple stubbornly fought all development in their district, and were largely successful.

House Hlaalu in combination with Imperial colonists embarked on a vigorous campaign of settlement and development. In the decades after reorganization, Balmora and the Ascadian Isles regions have grown steadily. Caldera and Pelagiad are completely new settlements, and all legion forts were expanded to accommodate larger garrisons.

House Telvanni, normally conservative and isolationist, has been surprisingly aggressive in expanding beyond their traditional tower villages. Disregarding the protests of the other Houses, the Temple, the Duke, and the District council, Telvanni pioneers have been encroaching on the wild lands reserved to the Temple. The Telvanni council officially disavows responsibility for these rogue Telvanni settlements, but it is an open secret that they are encouraged and supported by ambitious Telvanni mage-lords.

Under pressure from the Temple, conservative House Redoran has steadfastly resisted expansion in their district. As a result, House Redoran and the Temple are in danger of being politically and economically marginalized by the more aggressive and expansionist Hlaalu and Telvanni interests.

The Imperial administration faces many challenges in the Vvardenfell district, but the most serious are the Great House rivalries, animosity from the Ashlander nomads, internal conflicts within the Temple itself, and the Red Mountain blight. Struggles between Great House, Temple, and Imperial interests to control Vvardenfell's resource could at any time erupt into full-scale war. Ashlanders raid settlements, plunder caravans, and kill foreigners on their wild lands. The Temple has unsuccessfully attempted to silence criticism and calls for reform within its ranks.

But most serious are the plagues and diseased hosts produced by the blight storms sweeping out from Red Mountain. Vvardenfell and all Morrowind have long been menaced by the legendary evils of Dagoth Ur and his ash vampire kin dwelling beneath Red Mountain. For centuries the Temple has contained this threat within the Ghostfence. But recently the Temple's resources and will have faltered, and the threat from Red Mountain has grown in scale and intensity. If the Ghostfence should fail, and hosts of blighted monsters were to spill out across Vvardenfell's towns and villages, the Empire might have no choice but to evacuate Vvardenfell district and abandon it to disease and corruption.


Aedra and Daedra



The designations of Gods, Demons, Aedra, and Daedra, are universally confusing to the layman. They are often used interchangeably.

"Aedra" and "Daedra" are not relative terms. They are Elvish and exact. Azura is a Daedra both in Skyrim and Morrowind. "Aedra" is usually translated as "ancestor," which is as close as Cyrodilic can come to this Elven concept. "Daedra" means, roughly, "not our ancestors." This distinction was crucial to the Dunmer, whose fundamental split in ideology is represented in their mythical genealogy.

Aedra are associated with stasis. Daedra represent change.

Aedra created the mortal world and are bound to the Earth Bones. Daedra, who cannot create, have the power to change.

As part of the divine contract of creation, the Aedra can be killed. Witness Lorkhan and the moons.

The protean Daedra, for whom the rules do not apply, can only be banished.


Aedra and Daedra



The designations of Gods, Demons, Aedra, and Daedra, are universally confusing to the layman. They are often used interchangeably.

"Aedra" and "Daedra" are not relative terms. They are Elvish and exact. Azura is a Daedra both in Skyrim and Morrowind. "Aedra" is usually translated as "ancestor," which is as close as Cyrodilic can come to this Elven concept. "Daedra" means, roughly, "not our ancestors." This distinction was crucial to the Dunmer, whose fundamental split in ideology is represented in their mythical genealogy.

Aedra are associated with stasis. Daedra represent change.

Aedra created the mortal world and are bound to the Earth Bones. Daedra, who cannot create, have the power to change.

As part of the divine contract of creation, the Aedra can be killed. Witness Lorkhan and the moons.

The protean Daedra, for whom the rules do not apply, can only be banished.


An Overview Of Gods and Worship In Tamriel
By Brother Hetchfeld



Editor's Note:
Brother Hetchfeld is an Associate Scribe at the Imperial University, Office of Introductory Studies

Gods are commonly judged upon the evidence of their interest in worldly matters. A central belief in the active participation of Deities in mundane matters can be challenged by the reference to apparent apathy and indifference on the part of Gods during times of plague or famine.

From intervention in legendary quests to manifestations in common daily life, no pattern for the Gods of Tamriel activities is readily perceived. The concerns of Gods in many ways may seem unrelated or at best unconcerned with the daily trials of the mortal realm. The exceptions do exist, however.

Many historical records and legends point to the direct intervention of one or more gods at times of great need. Many heroic tales recount blessings of the divinity bestowed upon heroic figures who worked or quested for the good of a Deity or the Deity's temple. Some of the more powerful artifacts in the known world were originally bestowed upon their owners through such reward. It has also been reported that priests of high ranking in their temples may on occasion call upon their Deity for blessings or help in time of need. The exact nature of such contact and the blessings bestowed is given to much speculation, as the temples hold such associations secret and holy. This direct contact gives weight to the belief that the Gods are aware of the mortal realm. In many circumstances, however, these same Gods will do nothing in the face of suffering and death, seeming to feel no need to interfere. It is thus possible to conclude that we, as mortals, may not be capable of understanding more than a small fraction of the reasoning and logic such beings use.

One defining characteristic of all Gods and Goddesses is their interest in worship and deeds. Deeds in the form of holy quests are just one of the many things that bring the attention of a Deity. Deeds in everyday life, by conforming to the statutes and obligations of individual temples are commonly supposed to please a Deity. Performance of ceremony in a temple may also bring a Deity's attention. Ceremonies vary according to the individual Deity. The results are not always apparent but sacrifice and offerings are usually required to have any hope of gaining a Deity's attention.

While direct intervention in daily temple life has been recorded, the exact nature of the presence of a God in daily mundane life is a subject of controversy. A traditional saying of the Wood Elves is that "One man's miracle is another man's accident." While some gods are believed to take an active part of daily life, others are well known for their lack of interest in temporal affairs.

It has been theorized that gods do in fact gain strength from such things as worship through praise, sacrifice and deed. It may even be theorized that the number of worshippers a given Deity has may reflect on His overall position among the other Gods. This my own conjecture, garnered from the apparent ability of the larger temples to attain blessings and assistance from their God with greater ease than smaller religious institutions.

There are reports of the existence of spirits in our world that have the same capacity to use the actions and deeds of mortals to strengthen themselves as do the Gods. The understanding of the exact nature of such creatures would allow us to understand with more clarity the connection between a Deity and the Deity's worshipers.

The implication of the existence of such spirits leads to the speculation that these spirits may even be capable of raising themselves to the level of a God or Goddess. Motusuo of the Imperial Seminary has suggested that these spirits may be the remains of Gods and Goddesses who through time lost all or most of their following, reverting to their earliest most basic form. Practioners of the Old Ways say that there are no Gods, just greater and lesser spirits. Perhaps it is possible for all three theories to be true.


Ancestors and the Dunmer



Ghosts Walk Among Them

The departed spirits of the Dunmeri, and perhaps those of all races, persist after death. The knowledge and power of departed ancestors benefits the bloodlines of Dunmeri Houses. The bond between the living family members and immortal ancestors is partly blood, partly ritual, partly volitional. A member brought into the House through marriage binds himself through ritual and oath into the clan, and gains communication and benefits from the clan's ancestors; however, his access to the ancestors is less than his offspring, and he retains some access to the ancestors of his own bloodline.

The Family Shrine

Each residence has a family shrine. In poorer homes, it may be no more than a hearth or alcove where family relics are displayed and venerated. In wealthy homes, a room is set aside for the use of the ancestors. This shrine is called the Waiting Door, and represents the door to Oblivion.

Here the family members pay their respects to their ancestors through sacrifice and prayer, through oaths sworn upon duties, and through reports on the affairs of the family. In return, the family may receive information, training, and blessings from the family's ancestors. The ancestors are thus the protectors of the home, and especially the precincts of the Waiting Door.

The Ghost Fence

It is a family's most solemn duty to make sure their ancestor's remains are interred properly in a City of the Dead such as Necrom. Here the spirits draw comfort from one another against the chill of the mortal world. However, as a sign of great honor and sacrifice, an ancestor may grant that part of his remains be retained to serve as part of a ghost fence protecting the clan's shrine and family precincts. Such an arrangement is often part of the family member's will, that a knucklebone shall be saved out of his remains and incorporated with solemn magic and ceremony into a clan ghost fence. In more exceptional cases, an entire skeleton or even a preserved corpse may be bound into a ghost fence.

These remains become a beacon and focus for ancestral spirits, and for the spirit of the remains in particular. The more remains used to make a ghost fence, the more powerful the fence is. And the most powerful mortals in life have the most powerful remains.

The Great Ghost Fence created by the Tribunal to hold back the Blight incorporates the bones of many heroes of the Temple and of the Houses Indoril and Redoran who dedicated their spirits to the Temple and Clan as their surrogate families. The Ghost Fence also contains bones taken from the Catacombs of Necrom and the many battlefields of Morrowind.

The Mortal Chill

Spirits do not like to visit the mortal world, and they do so only out of duty and obligation. Spirits tell us that the otherworld is more pleasant, or at least more comfortable for spirits than our real world, which is cold, bitter, and full of pain and loss.

Mad Spirits

Spirits that are forced to remain in our world against their will may become mad spirits, or ghosts.
Some spirits are bound to this world because of some terrible circumstances of their death, or because of some powerful emotional bond to a person, place, or thing. These are called hauntings.

Some spirits are captured and bound to enchanted items by wizards. If the binding is involuntary, the spirit usually goes mad. A willing spirit may or may not retain its sanity, depending on the strength of the spirit and the wisdom of the enchanter.

Some spirits are bound against their wills to protect family shrines. This unpleasant fate is reserved for those who have not served the family faithfully in life. Dutiful and honorable ancestral spirits often aid in the capture and binding of wayward spirits.

These spirits usually go mad, and make terrifying guardians. They are ritually prevented from harming mortals of their clans, but that does not necessary discourage them from mischievous or peevish behavior. They are exceedingly dangerous for intruders. At the same time, if an intruder can penetrate the spirit's madness and play upon the spirit's resentment of his own clan, the angry spirits may be manipulated.

Oblivion

The existence of Oblivion is acknowledged by all Tamriel cultures, but there is little agreement on the nature of that otherworld, other than it is the place where the Aedra and Daedra live, and that communication and travel are possible between this world and Oblivion through magic and ritual.

The Dunmer do not emphasize the distinction between this world and Oblivion as do the human cultures of Tamriel. They regard our world and the otherworld as a whole with many paths from one end to the other rather than two separate worlds of different natures with distinct borders. This philosophical viewpoint may account for the greater affinity of Elves for magic and its practices.

Foreign Views of Dunmeri Ancestor Worship and Spirit Magic

The Altmeri and Bosmeri cultures also venerate their ancestors, but only by respecting the orderly and blissful passage of these spirits from this world to the next. That is, Wood Elves and High Elves believe it is cruel and unnatural to encourage the spirits of the dead to linger in our world. Even more grotesque and repugnant is the display of the bodily remains of ancestors in ghost fences and ash pits. The presentation of fingerbones in a family shrine, for example, is sacrilegious to the Bosmer (who eat their dead) and barbaric to the Altmer (who inter their dead).

The human cultures of Tamriel are ignorant and fearful of Dark Elves and their culture, considering them to be inhuman and evil, like Orcs and Argonians, but more sophisticated. The human populations of Tamriel associate Dunmeri ancestor worship and spirit magic with necromancy; in fact, this association of the Dark Elves with necromancy is at least partly responsible for the dark reputation of Dunmer throughout Tamriel. This is generally an ignorant misconception, for necromancy outside the acceptable clan rituals is a most abhorrent abomination in the eyes of the Dunmer.

The Dark Elves would never think of practicing sorcerous necromancy upon any Dark Elf or upon the remains of any Elf. However, Dark Elves consider the human and orcish races to be little more than animals. There is no injunction against necromancy upon such remains, or on the remains of any animal, bird, or insect.

Imperial Policy officially recognizes the practices of Dunmeri ancestor veneration and spirit magic as a religion, and protects their freedom to pursue such practices so long as they do not threaten the security of the Empire. Privately, most Imperial officials and traders believe Dark Elf ancestor worship and displays of remains are barbaric or even necromantic.

Telvanni "Necromancy"

The Telvanni are adept masters of necromancy. They do not, however, practice necromancy upon the remains of Dark Elves. Sane Telvanni regard such practices with loathing and righteous anger. They do practice necromancy upon the remains of animals and upon the remains of Humans, Orcs, and Argonians -- who are technically no more than animals in Morrowind.


Publisher's Note: This book was written by an unknown scholar as a guide for foreign visitors to Morrowind shortly after the Armistice was signed. Many of these practices have since fallen into disfavor. The most obvious changes are those regarding the practice of Necromancy and the Great Ghostfence. Dunmer today regard Necromancy upon any of the accepted races as an abomination. The Ghostfence has forced many changes in the practice of ancestor worship. With the vast majority of ancestors' remains going to strengthen the Great Ghostfence around the mountain of Dagoth Ur, there are very few clan ghost fences in Morrowind. The Temple discourages such practices among the Houses as selfish. The upkeep of family tombs and private Waiting Doors has also fallen into disfavor, as very few remains have been buried in these tombs and shrines since the Armistice. In recent years most Dunmer venerate a small portion of their ancestor's remains kept at a local temple.


Antecedents of Dwemer Law



[This book is a historical account of the development of Dwemer law and custom from its roots in High Elven culture.]

In short, so far as I am able to trace the order of development in the customs of the Bosmeri tribes, I believe it to have been in all ways comparable to the growth of Altmeri law. The earlier liability for slaves and animals was mainly confined to surrender, which, as in Sumerset Isles, later became compensation.

And what does this matter for a study of our laws today? So far as concerns the influence of the Altmeri law upon our own, especially the Altmeri law of master and servant, the evidence of it is to be found in every judgment which has been recorded for the last five hundred years. It has been stated already that we still repeat the reasoning of the Altmeri magistrates, empty as it is, to the present day. And I will quickly show how Altmeri custom can be followed into the courts of the Dwemer.

In the laws of Karndar Watch (P.D. 1180) it is said, "If one who is owned by another slays one who owns himself, the owner must pay the associates three fine instruments and the body of the one who his owned." There are many other similar citations. And the same principle is extended even to the case of a centurion by which a man is killed. "If, at the common workbench, one is slain by an Animunculi, the associates of the slain may disassemble the Animunculi and take its parts within thirty days."

It is instructive to compare what Dhark has mentioned concerning the rude beasts of the Tenmar forests. "If a marsh cat was killed by an Argonian, his family were in disgrace till they retaliated by killing the Argonian, or another like it; but further, if a marsh cat was killed by a fall from a tree, his relatives would take their revenge by toppling the tree, and shattering its branches, and casting them to every part of the forest."


Arcana Restored
A Handbook
By Wapna Neustra
Praceptor Emeritus



FORM THE FIRST: Makest thou the Mana Fountain to be Primed with Pure Gold, for from Pure Gold only may the Humors be rectified, and the Pure Principles coaxed from the chaos of Pure Power. Droppest thou then the Pure Gold upon the surface of the Mana Fountain. Takest thou exceeding great care to safeguard yourself from the insalubrious tempests of the Mana Fountain, for through such Assaults may one's health be utterly Blighted.

FORM THE SECOND: Make sure that thou havest with you this Excellent Manual, so that thou might speak the necessary Words straightaway, and without error, so that thou not in carelessness cause thyself and much else to discorporate and disorder the World with your component humors.

FORM THE THIRD: Take in hand the item to be Restored, and hold it forth within the Primed Fountain, murmuring all the while the appropriate phrases, which are to be learned most expeditiously and faultlessly from this Manual, and this Manual alone, notwithstanding the vile calumnies of Kharneson and Rattor, whose bowels are consumed by envy of my great learning, and who do falsely give testament to the efficacies of their own Manuals, which are in every way inferior and steeped in error.

FORM THE FOURTH: Proceed instantly to Heal thyself of all injuries, or to avail yourself of the Healing powers of the Temples and Healers, for though the agonies of manacaust must be borne by any who would Restore a prized Arcana to full Potency, yet it is not wise that suffering be endured unduly, nor does the suffering in any way render the Potency more Sublime, notwithstanding the foolish speculations of Kharneson and Rattor, whose faults and wickednesses are manifest even to the least learned of critics.

Ashlands Hymns



[This is a volume of folk verses collected from Ashlanders. 'Wondrous Love' is from the Urshilaku Ashlanders of the northern Ashlands.]

What a wondrous love it is
To bind two souls in faith,
Chained completely together
With never a false word,
Weal and woe, wish and real,
Woven each together
From first kiss to last breath,
First and last whispered in love.


Azura and the Box
Ancient Tales of the Dwemer, Part XI
By Marobar Sul



Nchylbar had enjoyed an adventurous youth, but had grown to be a very wise, very old Dwemer who spent his life searching for the truth and dispelling superstitions. He invented much and created many theorems and logic structures that bore his name. But much of the world still puzzled him, and nothing was a greater enigma to him that the nature of the Aedra and Daedra. Over the course of his research, he came to the conclusion that many of the Gods were entirely fabricated by man and mer.

Nothing, however, was a greater question to Nchylbar than the limits of divine power. Were the Greater Beings the masters of the entire world, or did the humbler creatures have the strength to forge their own destinies? As Nchylbar found himself nearing the end of his life, he felt he must understand this last basic truth.

Among the sage's acquaintances was a holy Chimer priest named Athynic. When the priest was visiting Bthalag-Zturamz, Nchylbar told him what he intended to do to find the nature of divine power. Athynic was terrified and pleaded with his friend not to break this great mystery, but Nchylbar was resolute. Finally, the priest agreed to assist out of love for his friend, though he feared the results of this blasphemy.

Athynic summoned Azura. After the usual rituals by which the priest declared his faith in her powers and Azura agreed to do no harm to him, Nchylbar and a dozen of his students entered the summoning chamber, carrying with them a large box.

�As we see you in our land, Azura, you are the Goddess of the Dusk and Dawn and all the mysteries therein,� said Nchylbar, trying to appear as kindly and obsequious as he could be. �It is said that your knowledge is absolute.�

�So it is,� smiled the Daedra.

�You would know, for example, what is in this wooden box,� said Nchylbar.

Azura turned to Athynic, her brow furrowed. The priest was quick to explain, �Goddess, this Dwemer is a very wise and respected man. Believe me, please, the intention is not to mock your greatness, but to demonstrate it to this scientist and to the rest of his skeptical race. I have tried to explain your power to him, but his philosophy is such that he must see it demonstrated.�

�If I am to demonstrate my might in a way to bring the Dwemer race to understanding, it might have been a more impressive feat you would have me do,� growled Azura, and turned to look Nchylbar in the eyes. �There is a red-petalled flower in the box.�

Nchylbar did not smile or frown. He simply opened the box and revealed to all that it was empty.

When the students turned to look to Azura, she was gone. Only Athynic had seen the Goddess's expression before she vanished, and he could not speak, he was trembling so. A curse had fallen, he knew that truly, but even crueler was the knowledge of divine power that had been demonstrated. Nchylbar also looked pale, uncertain on his feet, but his face shone with not fear, but bliss. The smile of a Dwemer finding evidence for a truth only suspected.

Two of his students supported him, and two more supported the priest as they left the chamber.

�I have studied very much over the years, performed countless experiments, taught myself a thousand languages, and yet the skill that has taught me the finally truth is the one that I learned when I was but a poor, young man, trying only to have enough gold to eat,� whispered the sage.

As he was escorted up the stairs to his bed, a red flower petal fell from the sleeve of his voluminous robe. Nchylbar died that night, a portrait of peace that comes from contented knowledge.

Publisher's Note:

This is another tale whose origin is unmistakably Dwemer. Again, the words of some Aldmeris translations are quite different, but the essence of the story is the same. The Dunmer have a similar tale about Nchylbar, but in the Dunmer version, Azura recognizes the trick and refuses to answer the question. She slays the Dwemer present for their skepticism and curses the Dunmer for blasphemy.

In the Aldmeris versions, Azura is tricked not by an empty box, but by a box containing a sphere which somehow becomes a flat square. Of course the Aldmeris versions, being a few steps closer to the original Dwemer, are much more difficult to understand. Perhaps this "stage magic" explanation was added by Gor Felim because of Felim's own experience with such tricks in his plays when a mage was not available.

"Marobar Sul" left even the character of Nchylbar alone, and he represents many "Dwemer" virtues. His skepticism, while not nearly as absolute as in the Aldmeris version, is celebrated even though it brings a curse upon the Dwemer and the unnamed House of the poor priest.

Whatever the true nature of the Gods, and how right or wrong the Dwemer were about them, this tale might explain why the dwarves vanished from the face of Tamriel. Though Nchylbar and his kind may not have intended to mock the Aedra and Daedra, their skepticism certainly offended the Divine Orders.


Baladas Demnevanni



The afore-mentioned personage has been marked for honorable execution in accordance to the lawful tradition and practice of the Morag Tong Guild. The Bearer of this non-disputable document has official sanctioned license to kill the afore-mentioned personage.



BEWARE!!!!



HAVE NO DEALINGS with AURANE FRERNIS!!!
She is known to be both UNDERHANDED and UNETHICAL in her dealings!!!
The materials she uses are both SHODDY and DANGEROUS!!!
You could come to GREAT HARM from her products.
Her shop should be AVOIDED AT ALL COSTS!!!
See these testimonials:

"I took potion and got sick. Lost good lunch." - Grugbob G.
"Her materials looked old and stale. Not good for alchemical use." - Daren O.
"She should be disemboweled and fed to nix hounds." - Hlorngar F.


Biography of Queen Barenziah
by Stern Gamboge, Imperial Scribe



Late in the Second Era, a girl-child, Barenziah, was born to the rulers of the kingdom of Mournhold in what is now the Imperial Province of Morrowind. She was reared in all the luxury and security befitting a royal Dark Elven child until she reached five years of age. At that time, His Excellency Tiber Septim I, the first Emperor of Tamriel, demanded that the decadent rulers of Morrowind yield to him and institute imperial reforms. Trusting to their vaunted magic, the Dark Elves impudently refused until Tiber Septim's army was on the borders. An Armistice was hastily signed by the now-eager Dunmer, but not before there were several battles, one of which laid waste to Mournhold, now called Almalexia.

Little Princess Barenziah and her nurse were found among the wreckage. The Imperial General Symmachus, himself a Dark Elf, suggested to Tiber Septim that the child might someday be valuable, and she was therefore placed with a loyal supporter who had recently retired from the Imperial Army.

Sven Advensen had been granted the title of Count upon his retirement; his fiefdom, Darkmoor, was a small town in central Skyrim. Count Sven and his wife reared the princess as their own daughter, seeing to it that she was educated appropriately-and more importantly, that the imperial virtues of obedience, discretion, loyalty, and piety were instilled in the child. In short, she was made fit to take her place as a member of the new ruling class of Morrowind.

The girl Barenziah grew in beauty, grace, and intelligence. She was sweet-tempered, a joy to her adoptive parents and their five young sons, who loved her as their elder sister. Other than her appearance, she differed from young girls of her class only in that she had a strong empathy for the woods and fields, and was wont to escape her household duties to wander there at times.

Barenziah was happy and content until her sixteenth year, when a wicked orphan stable-boy, whom she had befriended out of pity, told her he had overheard a conspiracy between her guardian, Count Sven, and a Redguard visitor to sell her as a concubine in Rihad, as no Nord or Breton would marry her on account of her black skin, and no Dark Elf would have her because of her foreign upbringing.

�Whatever shall I do?� the poor girl said, weeping and trembling, for she had been brought up in innocence and trust, and it never occurred to her that her friend the stable-boy would lie to her.

The wicked boy, who was called Straw, said that she must run away if she valued her virtue, but that he would come with her as her protector. Sorrowfully, Barenziah agreed to this plan; and that very night, she disguised herself as a boy and the pair escaped to the nearby city of Whiterun. After a few days there, they managed to get jobs as guards for a disreputable merchant caravan. The caravan was heading east by side roads in a mendacious attempt to elude the lawful tolls charged on the imperial highways. Thus the pair eluded pursuit until they reached the city of Rifton, where they ceased their travels for a time. They felt safe in Rifton, close as it was to the Morrowind border so that Dark Elves were enough of a common sight.

Biography of Queen Barenziah, Vol 2
by Stern Gamboge, Imperial Scribe



The first volume of this series told the story of Barenziah's origin-heiress to the throne of Mournhold until her father rebelled against His Excellency Tiber Septim I and brought ruin to the province of Morrowind. Thanks largely to the benevolence of the Emperor, the child Barenziah was not destroyed with her parents, but reared by Count Sven of Darkmoor, a loyal Imperial trustee. She grew up into a beautiful and pious child, trustful of her guardian's care. This trust, however, was exploited by a wicked orphan stable boy at Count Sven's estate, who with lies and fabrications tricked her into fleeing Darkmoor with him when she turned sixteen. After many adventures on the road, they settled in Rifton, a Skyrim city near the Morrowind borders.

The stable boy, Straw, was not altogether evil. He loved Barenziah in his own selfish fashion, and deception was the only way he could think of that would cement possession of her. She, of course, felt only friendship toward him, but he was hopeful that she would gradually change her mind. He wanted to buy a small farm and settle down into a comfortable marriage, but at the time his earnings were barely enough to feed and shelter them.

After only a short time in Rifton, Straw fell in with a bold, villainous Khajiit thief named Therris, who proposed that they rob the Imperial Commandant's house in the central part of the city. Therris said that he had a client, a traitor to the Empire, who would pay well for any information they could gather there. Barenziah happened to overhear this plan and was appalled. She stole away from their rooms and walked the streets of Rifton in desperation, torn between her loyalty to the Empire and her love for her friends.

In the end, loyalty to the Empire prevailed over personal friendship, and she approached the Commandant's house, revealed her true identity, and warned him of her friends' plan. The Commandant listened to her tale, praised her courage, and assured her that no harm would come to her. He was none other than General Symmachus, who had been scouring the countryside in search of her since her disappearance, and had just arrived in Rifton, hot in pursuit. He took her into his custody, and informed her that, far from being sent away to be sold, she was to be reinstated as the Queen of Mournhold as soon as she turned eighteen. Until that time, she was to live with the Septim family in the newly built Imperial City, where she would learn something of government and be presented at the Imperial Court.

At the Imperial City, Barenziah befriended the Emperor Tiber Septim during the middle years of his reign. Tiber's children, particularly his eldest son and heir Pelagius, came to love her as a sister. The ballads of the day praised her beauty, chastity, wit, and learning. On her eighteenth birthday, the entire Imperial City turned out to watch her farewell procession preliminary to her return to her native land. Sorrowful as they were at her departure, all knew that she was ready for her glorious destiny as sovereign of the kingdom of Mournhold.


Biography of Queen Barenziah, Vol 3
by Stern Gamboge, Imperial Scribe



In the second volume of this series, it was told how Barenziah was kindly welcomed to the newly constructed Imperial City by the Emperor Tiber Septim and his family, who treated her like a long-lost daughter during her almost one-year stay. After several happy months there learning her duties as vassal queen under the Empire, the Imperial General Symmachus escorted her to Mournhold where she took up her duties as Queen of her people under his wise guidance. Gradually they came to love one another and were married and crowned in a splendid ceremony at which the Emperor himself officiated.

After several hundred years of marriage, a son, Helseth, was born to the royal couple amid celebration and joyous prayer. Although it was not publicly known at the time, it was shortly before this blessed event that the Staff of Chaos had been stolen from its hiding place deep in the Mournhold mines by a clever, enigmatic bard known only as the Nightingale.

Eight years after Helseth's birth, Barenziah bore a daughter, Morgiah, named after Symmachus' mother, and the royal couple's joy seemed complete. Alas, shortly after that, relations with the Empire mysteriously deteriorated, leading to much civil unrest in Mournhold. After fruitless investigations and attempts at reconciliation, in despair Barenziah took her young children and travelled to the Imperial City herself to seek the ear of then Emperor Uriel Septim VII. Symmachus remained in Mournhold to deal with the grumbling peasants and annoyed nobility, and do what he could to stave off an impending insurrection.

During her audience with the Emperor, Barenziah, through her magical arts, came to realize to her horror and dismay that the so-called Emperor was an impostor, none other than the bard Nightingale who had stolen the Staff of Chaos. Exercising great self-control she concealed this realization from him. That evening, news came that Symmachus had fallen in battle with the revolting peasants of Mournhold, and that the kingdom had been taken over by the rebels. Barenziah, at this point, did not know where to seek help, or from whom.

The gods, that fateful night, were evidently looking out for her as if in redress of her loss. King Eadwyre of High Rock, an old friend of Uriel Septim and Symmachus, came by on a social call. He comforted her, pledged his friendship-and furthermore, confirmed her suspicions that the Emperor was indeed a fraud, and none other than Jagar Tharn, the Imperial Battlemage, and one of the Nightingale's many alter egos. Tharn had supposedly retired into seclusion from public work and installed his assistant, Ria Silmane, in his stead. The hapless assistant was later put to death under mysterious circumstances-supposedly a plot implicating her had been uncovered, and she had been summarily executed. However, her ghost had appeared to Eadwyre in a dream and revealed to him that the true Emperor had been kidnapped by Tharn and imprisoned in an alternate dimension. Tharn had then used the Staff of Chaos to kill her when she attempted to warn the Elder Council of his nefarious plot.

Together, Eadwyre and Barenziah plotted to gain the false Emperor's confidence. Meanwhile, another friend of Ria's, known only as the Champion, who apparently possessed great, albeit then untapped, potential, was incarcerated at the Imperial Dungeons. However, she had access to his dreams, and she told him to bide his time until she could devise a plan that would effect his escape. Then he could begin on his mission to unmask the impostor.

Barenziah continued to charm, and eventually befriended, the ersatz Emperor. By contriving to read his secret diary, she learned that he had broken the Staff of Chaos into eight pieces and hidden them in far-flung locations scattered across Tamriel. She managed to obtain a copy of the key to Ria's friend's cell and bribed a guard to leave it there as if by accident. Their Champion, whose name was unknown even to Barenziah and Eadwyre, made his escape through a shift gate Ria had opened in an obscure corner of the Imperial Dungeons using her already failing powers. The Champion was free at last, and almost immediately went to work.

It took Barenziah several more months to learn the hiding places of all eight Staff pieces through snatches of overheard conversation and rare glances at Tharn's diary. Once she had the vital information, however -- which she communicated to Ria forthwith, who in turn passed it on to the Champion-she and Eadwyre lost no time. They fled to Wayrest, his ancestral kingdom in the province of High Rock, where they managed to fend off the sporadic efforts of Tharn's henchmen to haul them back to the Imperial City, or at the very least obtain revenge. Tharn, whatever else might be said of him, was no one's fool-save perhaps Barenziah's -- and he concentrated most of his efforts toward tracking down and destroying the Champion.

As all now know, the courageous, indefatigable, and forever nameless Champion was successful in reuniting the eight sundered pieces of the Staff of Chaos. With it, he destroyed Tharn and rescued the true Emperor, Uriel Septim VII. Following what has come to be known as the Restoration, a grand state memorial service was held for Symmachus at the Imperial City, befitting the man who had served the Septim Dynasty for so long and so well.

Barenziah and good King Eadwyre had come to care deeply for one another during their trials and adventures, and were married in the same year shortly after their flight from the Imperial City. Her two children from her previous marriage with Symmachus remained with her, and a regent was appointed to rule Mournhold in her absence.

Up to the present time, Queen Barenziah has been in Wayrest with Prince Helseth and Princess Morgiah. She plans to return to Mournhold after Eadwyre's death. Since he was already elderly when they wed, she knows that that event, alas, could not be far off as the Elves reckon time. Until then, she shares in the government of the kingdom of Wayrest with her husband, and seems glad and content with her finally quiet, and happily unremarkable, life.


Biography of the Wolf Queen
by Katar Eriphanes



Few historic figures are viewed as unambiguously evil, but Potema, the so-called Wolf Queen of Solitude, surely qualifies for that dishonor. Born to the Imperial Family in the sixty-seventh year of the third era, Potema was immediately presented to her grandfather, the Emperor Uriel Septim II, a famously kindhearted man, who viewed the solemn, intense babe and whispered, �She looks like a she-wolf about ready to pounce.�

Potema's childhood in the Imperial City was certainly difficult from the start. Her father, Prince Pelagius Septim, and her mother, Qizara, showed little affection for their brood. Her eldest brother Antiochus, sixteen at Potema's birth, was already a drunkard and womanizer, infamous in the empire. Her younger brothers Cephorus and Magnus were born much later, so for years she was the only child in the Imperial Court.

By the age of 14, Potema was a famous beauty with many suitors, but she was married to cement relations with King Mantiarco of the Nordic kingdom of Solitude. She entered the court, it was said, as a pawn, but she quickly became a queen. The elderly King Mantiarco loved her and allowed her all the power she wished, which was total.

When Uriel Septim II died the following year, her father was made emperor, and he faced a greatly depleted treasury, thanks to his father's poor management. Pelagius II dismissed the Elder Council, forcing them to buy back their positions. In 3E 97, after many miscarriages, the Queen of Solitude gave birth to a son, who she named Uriel after her grandfather. Mantiarco quickly made Uriel his heir, but the Queen had much larger ambitions for her child.

Two years later, Pelagius II died -- many say poisoned by a vengeful former Council member -- and his son, Potema's brother Antiochus took the throne. At age forty-eight, it could be said that Antiochus's wild seeds had yet to be sown, and the history books are nearly pornographic in their depictions of life at the Imperial court during the years of his reign. Potema, whose passion was for power not fornication, was scandalized every time she visited the Imperial City.

Mantiarco, King of Solitude, died the springtide after Pelagius II. Uriel ascended to the throne, ruling jointly with his mother. Doubtless, Uriel had the right and would have preferred to rule alone, but Potema convinced him that his position was only temporary. He would have the Empire, not merely the kingdom. In Castle Solitude, she entertained dozens of diplomats from other kingdoms of Skyrim, sowing seeds of discontent. Her guest list over the years expanded to include kings and queens of High Rock and Morrowind as well.

For thirteen years, Antiochus ruled Tamriel, and proved an able leader despite his moral laxity. Several historians point to proof that Potema cast the spell that ended her brother's life, but evidence one way or another is lost in the sands of time. In any event, both she and her son Uriel were visiting the Imperial court in 3E 112 when Antiochus died, and immediately challenged the rule of his daughter and heir, Kintyra.

Potema's speech to the Elder Council is perhaps helpful to students of public speaking.

She began with flattery and self-abasement: �My most august and wise friends, members of the Elder Council, I am but a provincial queen, and I can only assume to bring to issue what you yourselves must have already pondered.�

She continued on to praise the late Emperor, who was a popular ruler in spite of his flaws: �He was a true Septim and a great warrior, destroying -- with your counsel -- the near invincible armada of Pyandonea.�

But little time was wasted, before she came to her point: �The Empress Magna unfortunately did nothing to temper my brother's lustful spirits. In point of fact, no whore in the slums of the city spread out on more beds than she. Had she attended to her duties in the Imperial bedchamber more faithfully, we would have a true heir to the Empire, not the halfwit, milksop bastards who call themselves the Emperor's children. The girl called Kintyra is popularly believed to be the daughter of Magna and the Captain of the Guard. It may be that she is the daughter of Magna and the boy who cleans the cistern. We can never know for certain. Not as certainly as we can know the lineage of my son, Uriel. The last of the Septim Dynasty.�

Despite Potema's eloquence, the Elder Council allowed Kintyra to assume the throne as the Empress Kintyra II. Potema and Uriel angrily returned to Skyrim and began assembling the rebellion.

Details of the War of the Red Diamond are included in other histories: we need not recount the Empress Kintyra II's capture and eventual execution in High Rock in the year 3E 114, nor the ascension of Potema's son, Uriel III, seven years later. Her surviving brothers, Cephorus and Magnus, fought the Emperor and his mother for years, tearing the Empire apart in a civil war.

When Uriel III fought his uncle Cephorus in Hammerfell at the Battle of Ichidag in 3E 127, Potema was fighting her other brother, Uriel's uncle Magnus in Skyrim at the Battle of Falconstar. She received word of her son's defeat and capture just as she was preparing to mount an attack on Magnus's weakest flank. The sixty-one-year-old Wolf Queen flew into a rage and led the assault herself. It was a success, and Magnus and his army fled. In the midst the victory celebration, Potema heard the news that her son the Emperor had been killed by an angry mob before he had even made it for trial in the Imperial City. He had been burned to death within his carriage.

When Cephorus was proclaimed Emperor, Potema's fury was terrible to behold. She summoned daedra to fight for her, had her necromancers resurrect her fallen enemies as undead warriors, and mounted attack after attack on the forces of the Emperor Cephorus I. Her allies began leaving her as her madness grew, and her only companions were the zombies and skeletons she had amassed over the years. The kingdom of Solitude became a land of death. Stories of the ancient Wolf Queen being waited on by rotting skeletal chambermaids and holding war plans with vampiric generals terrified her subjects.

Potema died after a month long siege on her castle in the year 3E 137 at the age of 90. While she lived, she had been the Wolf Queen of Solitude, Daughter of the Emperor Pelagius II, Wife of King Mantiarco, Aunt of the Empress Kintyra II, Mother of Emperor Uriel III, and Sister of the Emperors Antiochus and Cephorus. Three years after her death, Antiochus died, and his -- and Potema's -- brother Magnus took the throne.

Her death has hardly diminished her notoriety. Though there is little direct evidence of this, some theologians maintain that her spirit was so strong, she became a daedra after her death, inspiring mortals to mad ambition and treason. It is also said that her madness so infused Castle Solitude that it infected the next king to rule there. Ironically, that was her 18-year-old nephew Pelagius, the son of Magnus. Whatever the truth of the legend, it is undeniable that when Pelagius left Solitude in 3E 145 to assume the title of the Emperor Pelagius III, he quickly became known as Pelagius The Mad. It is even widely rumored that he murdered his father Magnus.

The Wolf Queen must surely have had the last laugh.


Blasphemous Revenants



...not into the world, nor out of it, but between worlds they linger, held to the hearth and tomb by blood and loyalty. And if they come unbidden, from love of kin or faith to duty, it is not unholy. It is but the answering of the ancestors, the awakening of those who never sleep, the summoning to service of those bound through Hearth and House to the protection of the clan.

But if sorcerers bring them forth, then such a summons is blasphemy, an abomination before the Tribes and Temple, and a sin so great that ages of burning cannot cleanse the fault. Abide not the sorcerer among you, for he comes to steal the bones of your fathers and dust of your tombs. He seeks to bind by power what is yours by right, to drag forth the warm spirits from their world between and bind them to their service like slaves and beasts.

Who can know the shame of the dead, the ceaseless weeping of the necromancer's thrall? Cruel enough is the ancestor's service given in love to Hearth and Kin. But ghost or guardian, bonewalker or bonelord, summoned by profane ritual and bound by force to the corpse miner's will, how may such a spirit ever find rest? How may it ever find its way back to its blood and clan?

Only a righteous Dunmer, bound by blood to hearth and kin, bound by oath and service to the Temple, can call upon the spirits of the Dunmer dead. Those foreign sorcerers of other races that invade our shores, shall they be permitted to rob our tombs, to bind our kin-spirits into sorcerous slavery, to steal the lives of our dead as well as our land of the living? No, I say, no, and no, three times more. Such necromancers must die, and their profane magicks must die with them.

And shall we tolerate the hidden hosts of the undead, the arrogant princes of necromancers, the ancient vampire demons who creep from their lairs in the West, seeking refuge in profane Daedric shrines, abandoned Dunmer strongholds, and corrupted subterranean labyrinths of the detested Dwemer race? For ages the Great Houses and the Temple have kept our land clean of the vampire's taint, but now these undead lords and their vile cattle have returned. These vampires must die, and their corrupt cattle with them, and their blood taint must be forever erased by fire and stake.

Boethiah's Glory



Look upon the face of Boethiah and wonder. Raise your arms that Boethiah may look on them and bestow a blessing. Know that battle is a blessing. Know that death is an eventuality. Know that you are dust in the eyes of Boethiah.

Long is the arm of Boethiah, and swift is the blade.

Deep is the cut, and subtle is the poison.

Worship, o faithful. Pray your death is short.

Worship, o faithful. Pray your death is quiet.

Worship, o faithful. Worship the glory that is Boethiah.







Into battle strides the Daedra Prince, blade at the ready to cleave the unworthy.


Bone, Part I
By Tavi Dromio



�It seems to me,� said Garaz, thoughtfully looking into the depths of his flin. �That all great ideas come from pure happenstance. Take for instance, the story I told you last night about my cousin. If he hadn't fallen off that horse, he never would have become one of the Empire's foremost alchemists.�

It was late one Middas night at the King's Ham, and the regulars were always especially inclined toward philosophy.

�I disagree,� replied Xiomara, firmly but politely. �Great ideas and inventions are most often formed slowly over time by diligence and hard work. If you'll recall my tale from last month, the young lady -- who I assure you is based on a real person -- only recognized her one true love after she had slept with practically everyone in Northpoint.�

�I put it to you that neither is the case,� said Hallgerd, pouring a topper on his mug of greef. �The greatest inventions are created by extraordinary need. Must I remind you of the story I told some time ago about Arslic Oan and the invention of bonemold?�

�The problem with your theory is that your example is entirely fictional,� sniffed Xiomara.

�I don't believe I remember the story of Arslic Oan and the invention of bonemold,� frowned Garaz. �Are you sure you told us?�

�Well, this happened many, many, many years ago, when Vvardenfell was a beauteous green land, when Dunmer were Chimer and Dwemer and Nord lived together in relative peace when they weren't trying to kill one another,� Hallgerd relaxed in his chair, warming to his theme. �When the sun and moons all hung in the sky together--�

�Lord, Mother, and Wizard!� grumbled Xiomara. �If I'm going to be forced to hear your ridiculous story again, pray don't embellish and make it any longer than it has to be.�

This all happened in Vvardenfell quite some time ago (said Hallgerd, ignoring Xiomara's interruption with admirable restraint) during an era of a king you would never have heard of. Arslic Oan was one of this king's nobles and very, very disagreeable fellow. Because of his allegiance to the crown, the king had felt the need to grant him a castle and land, but he didn't necessarily want him as a neighbor so the land he granted was far from civilization. Right in an area of Vvardenfell that is, even today, not quite civilized to this day. Arslic Oan built a walled stronghold and settled down with his unhappy slaves to enjoy a quiet if somewhat grim life.

It was not long before his stronghold's integrity was tested. A tribe of cannibalistic Nords had been living in the valley for some time, mostly dining on one another, but occasionally foraging what they liked to call dark meat, the Dunmer.

Xiomara laughed with appreciation. �Marvelous! I don't remember that from before. It's funny how you don't hear much about the Nords' rampant cannibalism nowadays.�

This was obviously, as I've said, quite some time ago (said Hallgerd, glaring at part of his audience with civil malevolence) and things were in many ways quite different. These cannibalistic Nords began attacking Arslic Oan's slaves in the fields, and then slowly grew bolder, until they held the very stronghold itself under siege. They were quite a fearsome sight you can imagine: a horde of wild-eyed men and women with dagger-like teeth filed to tear flesh, wielding massive clubs, cloaked only in the skins of their victims.

Arslic Oan assumed that if he ignored them, they'd go away.

Unfortunately, the first thing that the Nords did was to poison the stream that carried water into the walled stronghold. All the livestock and most of the slaves died very quickly before this was discovered. There was no hope of rescue, at least for several months when the king's emissaries would come reluctantly to visit the disagreeable vassal. The next closest source of water was on the other side of the hill, so Arslic Oan sent three of his slaves with empty jugs to bring some back.

They were beaten with clubs and eaten before they were a few feet outside the stronghold gates. The next group he sent through he gave sticks to defend themselves. They made it a few feet farther, but were also overwhelmed, beaten, and devoured. It was obvious that better personal defensive was required. Arslic Oan went to talk to his armorer, one of his few slaves with specific talents and duties.

�The slaves need armor if they're going to make it to the river and back,� he said. �Collect every scrap of steel and iron you can find, every hinge, knife, ring, cup, everything that isn't needed to keep the walls sturdy, smelt it, and give me the most and the best armor you can, very, very quickly.�

The armorer, whose name was Gorkith, was used to Arslic Oan's demands, and knew that there could be no compromise on the quality and quantity of the armor, or the speed at which he worked. He labored for thirty hours without a break - and, recall, without any water to slake his thirst as he struggled with the kiln and anvil - until finally, he had six suits of mixed-metal armor.

Six slaves were chosen, clad in the armor, and sent with jars to collect river water. At first, the mission progressed well. The Nord attacked the armored slaves with their clubs, but they continued their march forward, warding off the blows. Gradually, however, the slaves seemed to be walking uncertainly, dazed by the endless barrage. Eventually, one by one, they fell, the armor was peeled from their bodies, and they were eaten.

�The slaves couldn't move quickly enough in that heavy armor you made,� said Arslic Oan to Gorkith. �I need you to collect all the cadavers of the poisoned livestock, strip their skin, and give me the most and the best leather armor you can, very, very quickly.�

Gorklith did as he was told, though it was a particularly repulsive task given the rancid state of the livestock. Normally it takes quite a time to treat and cure leather, so I understand, but Gorklith worked at it tirelessly, and in a half a day he had twelve suits of leather armor.

Twelve slaves were chosen, clad in the armor, and sent with jars to collect river water. They progressed, at first, much better than the earlier expedition. Two fell almost immediately, but the others had some luck out-maneuvering their assailants while deflecting an occasional blow of the club. Several got to the river, three were able to fill up their jars, and one fellow very nearly made it back to the stronghold gates. Alas, he fell and was eaten. The Nords possessed a remarkably healthy appetite.

�What we need before I completely run out of slaves,� said Arslic Oan thoughtfully to Gorkith. �Is an armor sturdier than leather but lighter than metal.�

The armorer had already considered that and taken stock of the materials available. He had thought about doing something with stone or wood, but there were practical problems with demolishing more of the stronghold. The next most prevalent stuff present in the stronghold was skinned dead bodies, hunks of muscle, fat, blood, and bone. For six hours, he toiled relentlessly until he produced eighteen suits of bonemold, the first ones ever created. Arslic Oan was somewhat dubious at the sight (and smell) but he was very thirsty, and willing to sacrifice another eighteen slaves if necessary.

�Might I suggest,� Gorklith queried tremulously, �Having the slaves practice moving about in the armor, here in the courtyard, before sending them to face the Nords?�

Arslic Oan coolly allowed it, and for a few hours, the slaves wandered about the stronghold courtyard in their suits of bonemold. They grew used to the give of the joints, the rigidity of the backplate, the weight pushed onto their shoulders and hips. They discovered how to plant their feet slightly askew to keep their balance steady; how to quickly turn, pivoting without falling down; how to break into a run and stop quickly. By the time they were sent out of the castle gates, they were easily very nearly almost amateurs in the use of their medium weight armor.

Seventeen of them were killed and eaten, but one made it back with a jar of water.

�It's perfect nonsense,� said Xiomara. �But my point is still valid even so. Like all great inventors, even in fiction, the armorer worked diligently to create the bonemold.�

�I think there was a good deal of happenstance as well,� frowned Garaz. �But it is an appalling story. I wish you hadn't told me.�

�If you think that's appalling,� grinned Hallgerd. �You should hear what happened next.�


Bone, Part II
By Tavi Dromio



�What do you mean the story gets more appalling?� Garaz was incredulous. �How in Boethiah's name could it get more appalling?�

�It's a ruse,� Xiomara scoffed, ordering two more mugs of greef and a glass of flin for Garaz. �How much worse can a tale get which prominently features cannibalism, abuse of slaves, and the regular placement of rotting animal carcasses?�

�Don't you dare dare me,� growled Hallgerd, annoyed by his listeners' lack of appreciation of his prose styling. �Remind me where we were?�

�Arslic Oan is the owner of a stronghold under siege by savage, cannibalistic Nords,� said Xiomara, keeping a straight face. �After a lot of deaths and several unsuccessful attempts to get water, he had his armorer with the unlikely name of Gorkith outfit his slaves with the first ever bonemold armor. One of them finally makes it back with some water.�

It was only one jarful of water (said Hallgerd, pulling back in his chair and continuing the tale), and Arslic Oan drank most of it, passing the remains to his dear armorer Gorkith and the last dribbles to the few dozen slaves who still lived. It was hardly enough to sustain health and well-being. Another expedition was necessary, but they had only one suit of bonemold left, as there was only one survivor of the trip.

�One out of eighteen slaves made it through the gauntlet of Nords wearing that marvelous bonemold armor of yours,� said Arslic Oan to Gorkith. �And one can only carry back enough water for one. Therefore, mathematically, as we have, counting you and me, fifty-six remaining people at the stronghold, we need armor for fifty-four. Since we already have one, you only need to make fifty-three to make the total. That way, three will make it back, with enough water for you and me and whoever's in the best condition to partake. I don't know what we'll do after that, but if we wait, we won't have enough slaves to fetch even a couple days' worth of water.�

�I understand,� whimpered Gorkith. �But how am I going to make the armor? I used all the livestock bones to make the first batch of bonemold.�

Arslic Oan gave an order which Gorkith fearfully complied with. In eighteen hours -

�What do you mean 'Arslic Oan gave an order which Gorkith fearfully complied with'?� asked Xiomara. �What was the order?�

�All will be clear,� smiled Hallgerd. �I have to chose what to reveal and what to conceal. Such is the way of the tale teller.�

In eighteen hours, Gorkith had fifty-three suits of bonemail (said Hallgerd, continuing, not really minding the interruption) prepared for the slaves. Without prompting, he ordered the slaves to practice using the armor, and even allowed them more training time than their predecessors. They not only learned how to move and stop quickly in bonemold, but how to adjust their peripheral vision to see a blow before it came, and to sway to dodge, and where the sturdiest reinforcement points on the arm were -- the center of the chest and the abdomen -- and how to position themselves to take blows there, against their natural instincts. The slaves even had time for a mock battle before being sent out among the cannibals.

The slaves handled themselves admirably. Very few, just fifteen slaves, were killed and eaten out right. Only ten were killed and eaten when they reached the river. That was when things did not go according to Arslic Oan's plans. Twenty-one slaves with jars of water took off for the hills. Only eight returned to the castle, largely because they were blocked by the cannibal Nords. It was a larger percentage than he had anticipated surviving, but Arslic Oan felt righteous indignation at the paucity of loyalty.

�Are you absolutely certain you wouldn't rather flee?� he hollered from the battlements.

Finally, he allowed the survivors in. Three had been killed waiting for the gate to open. Two more died almost upon stepping into the courtyard. One was delirious, walking around in circles, laughing and dancing before suddenly collapsing. That meant five jars of water for four people, the two surviving slaves, Arslic Oan, and Gorkith. As the lord of the manor, Arslic Oan took the extra jar, but he was democratic with the others.

�You're quite correct,� frowned Garaz. �This story is getting more and more appalling.�

�Just wait,� smiled Hallgerd.

The next morning (Hallgerd continued) Arslic Oan awoke to a perfectly still and quiet stronghold. There was no murmuring in the corridors, no sound of hard labor in the courtyard. He dressed and surveyed the scene. It appeared that the fortress was utterly deserted. Arslic Oan walked down to the armorer's quarters, but the door was locked.

�Open up,� said Arslic Oan, patiently. �We need to speak. Thirty out of fifty-four slaves successfully made it to the river and gathered water. Admittedly, some then fled, and a couple didn't survive because I needed to correct their fickleness, but mathematically, that's a fifty-five percent survival rate. If you and I and the two remaining slaves made the next run to the river, we two should survive.�

�Zilian and Gelo left last night with their armor,� cried Gorklith through the door.

�Who are Zilian and Gelo?�

�The two remaining slaves! They don't remain anymore!�

�Well, that's vexing,� said Arslic Oan. �Still we must continue on. Mathematically--�

�I heard something last night,� whimpered Gorklith in a funny voice. �Like footsteps, only different, and they were moving through the walls. And there were voices too. They sounded strange, like they couldn't move their jaws very well, but I knew one.�

Arslic Oan sighed, humoring his poor armorer: �And who was it?�

�Ponik.�

�And who is Ponik?�

�One of the slaves that died when the Nords poisoned our water. One of the many, many slaves that died, and we made use of. He was always a nice, uncomplaining fellow, that's why I noticed his voice above all the others,� Gorklith began to sob. �I understood what he was saying.�

�Which was what?� asked Arslic Oan with a sigh.

�'Give me back my bones!'� Gorklith's voice shrieked. There was silence for a moment, and then more hysterical sobbing.

�I saw that coming,� laughed Xiomara.

There was nothing more to be done with the armorer for the time being (said Hallgerd, a trifle annoyed at the regular interruptions), so Arslic Oan stripped one of the dead slaves of his suit of bonemold and put it on. He practiced in the courtyard, impressing himself with his natural comfortably with medium weight armor. For hours, he boxed, feinted, dodged, sprinted, skipped, jumped, and generally cavorted about. When he felt tired, he retired to the shade and took a nap.

The sound of the king's trumpet woke him with a start. Night had fallen, and for a moment, he thought he had been dreaming. Then the alarum sounded again, far in the distance, but clear. Arslic Oan leapt to his feet and ran to the ramparts. Several miles away, he could see the emissaries and their vast and well-armed escort approach. They were there early! The cannibal Nords below looked at one another with consternation. Savages they might be, but they knew when a superior force was approaching.

Arslic Oan joyously dashed down the stairs to Gorklith's chamber. The door was still locked. He beat on it, cajoling, demanding, threatening. Finally, he found a key, one of the few scraps of metal that had not been smelted days before.

Gorklith appeared to be sleeping, but as Arslic Oan approached, he noticed that the armorer's mouth and eyes were wide open and his arms were folded unnaturally behind his back. On closer inspection, the armorer was obviously dead. What was more, his face and whole body were sunken, like an empty pig's bladder.

Something moved through the walls, like a footfall only... squishy. Arslic Oan expertly and gracefully turned to face it, completely in balance.

At first, it seemed like nothing more than a bubble expanding through one of the cracks in the stone. As more of the flesh-colored gelatinous matter emerged, it more clearly resembled part of a face. A flaccid, almost shapeless face with a low brow and a slack, toothless jaw. The rest of the body oozed out of the crack, a soft bag of muscle and blood. Behind Arslic Oan and to the side, there was more movement, more slaves welling up through the cracks in the stone. They were all around him, reaching out.

�Give us,� moaned Ponik, his tongue rolling about his hanging jaw. �Give us back our bones.�

Arslic Oan began to rip off his bonemold, throwing it to the floor. A hundred figures, more, pooled into the small chamber.

�That's not enough.�

The cannibals had cleared away by the time the king's emissaries arrived at Arslic Oan's gates. They had not been looking forward to this visit. It was best, they though philosophically, to begin with the worst of the king's noblemen, so to end their trip well. They sounded the alarum once again, but the gates did not open. There was no sound from Arslic Oan's stronghold.

It took a few hours to gain access. If the emissaries had not brought a professional acrobat with them for entertainment, it might have taken longer. The place seemed to be abandoned. They searched every room, until finally they came to the armorer's.

There they found the master of the manor, folded neatly, legs behind his head, arms behind the legs, like a fine gown. Not a bone in his body.

�The first part of your story was complete nonsense,� cried Xiomara. �But now it doesn't hold true on any level. How could bonemold be made again if the armorer who invented it died before he could tell anyone how he did it?�

�I said that this was the first time it was created, not the first time people learned the craft.�

�And when did someone first teach someone else the craft?� asked Garaz.

�That, my friends,� replied Hallgerd with a sinister smile. �Is a tale for another night.�


Breathing Water
by Haliel Myrm



He walked through the dry, crowded streets of Bal Fell, glad to be among so many strangers. In the wharfs of Vivec, he had no such anonymity. They knew him to be a smuggler, but here, he could be anyone. A lower-class peddler perhaps. A student even. Some people even pushed against him as he walked past as if to say, �We would not dream of being so rude as to acknowledge that you don't belong here.�

Seryne Relas was not in any of the taverns, but he knew she was somewhere, perhaps behind a tenement window or poking around in a dunghill for an exotic ingredient for some spell or another. He knew little of the ways of sorceresses, but that they always seemed to be doing something eccentric. Because of this prejudice, he nearly passed by the old Dunmer woman having a drink from a well. It was too prosaic, but he knew from the look of her that she was Seryne Relas, the great sorceress.

�I have gold for you,� he said to her back. �If you will teach me the secret of breathing water.�

She turned around, a wide wet grin stretched across her weathered features. �I ain't breathing it, boy. I'm just having a drink.�

�Don't mock me,� he said, stiffly. �Either you're Seryne Relas and you will teach me the spell of breathing water, or you aren't. Those are the only possibilities.�

�If you're going to learn to breath water, you're going to have to learn there are more possibilities than that, boy. The School of Alteration is all about possibilities, changing patterns, making things be what they could be. Maybe I ain't Seryne Relas, but I can teach how to breathe water,� she wiped her mouth dry. �Or maybe I am Seryne Relas and I won't. Or maybe even I can teach you to breath water, but you can't learn.�

�I'll learn,� he said, simply.

�Why don't you just buy yourself a spell of water breathing or a potion over at the Mages Guild?� she asked. �That's how it's generally done.�

�They're not powerful enough,� he said. �I need to be underwater for a long time. I'm willing to pay whatever you ask, but I don't want any questions. I was told you could teach me.�

�What's your name, boy?�

�That's a question,� he replied. His name was Tharien Winloth, but in Vivec, they called him the Tollman. His job, such as it was, was collecting a percentage of the loot from the smugglers when they came into harbor to bring to his boss in the Camonna Tong. Of the value of that percentage, he earned another percentage. In the end it was very small indeed. He had scarcely any gold of his own, and what he had, he gave to Seryne Relas.

The lessons began that very day. The sorceress brought her pupil, who she simply called �boy,� out to a low sandbank along the sea.

�I will teach you a powerful spell for breathing water,� she said. �But you must become a master of it. As with all spells and all skills, you more you practice, the better you get. Even that ain't enough. To achieve true mastery, you must understand what it is you're doing. It ain't simply enough to perform a perfect thrust of a blade -- you must also know what you are doing and why.�

�That's common sense,� said Tharien

�Yes, it is,� said Seryne, closing her eyes. �But the spells of Alteration are all about uncommon sense. The infinite possibilities, breaking the sky, swallowing space, dancing with time, setting ice on fire, believing that the unreal may become real. You must learn the rules of the cosmos and then break them.�

�That sounds ... very difficult,� replied Tharien, trying to keep a straight face.

Seryne pointed to the small silver fish darting along the water's edge: �They don't find it so. They breath water just fine.�

�But that's not magic.�

�What I'm saying to you, boy, is that it is.�

For several weeks, Seryne drilled her student, and the more he understood about what he was doing and the more he practiced, the longer he could breath underwater. When he found that he could cast the spell for as long as he needed, he thanked the sorceress and bade her farewell.

�There is one last lesson I have to teach you,� she said. �You must learn that desire is not enough. The world will end your spell no matter how good you are, and no matter how much you want it.�

�That's a lesson I'm happy not to learn,� he said, and left at once for the short journey back to Vivec.

The wharfs were much the same, with all the same smells, the same sounds, and the same characters. His boss had found a new Tollman, he learned from his mates. They were still looking out for the smuggler ship Morodrung, but they had given up hope of ever seeing it. Tharien knew they would not. He had seen it sink from the wharf a long time ago.

On a moonless night, he cast his spell and dove into the thrashing purple waves. He kept his mind on the world of possibilities, that books could sing, that green was blue, that that water was air, that every stroke and kick brought him closer to a sunken ship filled with treasure. He felt magicka surge all around him as he pushed his way deeper down. Ahead he saw a ghostly shadow of the Morodrung, its mast billowing in a wind of deep water currents. He also felt his spell begin to fade. He could break reality long enough to breath water all the way back up to the surface, but not enough to reach the ship.

The next night, he dove again, and this time, the spell was stronger. He could see the vessel in detail, clouded over and dusted in sediment. The wound in its hull where it had struck the reef. A glint of gold beckoning from within. But still he felt reality closing in, and he had to surface.

The third night, he made it into the steerage, past the bloated corpses of the sailors, nibbled and picked apart by fish. Their glassy eyes bulging, their mouths stretched open. Had they only known the spell, he thought briefly, but his mind was more occupied by the gold scattered along the floor, the boxes that contained them shattered. He considered scooping as much he could carry into his pockets, but a sturdy iron box seemed to bespeak more treasures.

On the wall was a row of keys. He took each down and tried it on the locked box, but none opened it. One key, however, was missing. Thalien looked around the room. Where could it be? His eyes went to the corpse of one of the sailors, floating in a dance of death not far from the box, his hands tightly clutching something. It was a key. When the ship had begun to sink, this sailor had evidently gone for the iron box. Whatever was in it had to be very valuable.

Thalien took the sailor's key and opened the box. It was filled with broken glass. He rummaged around until he felt something solid, and pulled out two flasks of some kind of wine. He smiled as he considered the foolishness of the poor alcoholic. This was what was important to the sailor, out of all the treasure in the Morodrung.

Then, suddenly, Thalien Winloth felt reality.

He had not been paying attention to the grim, tireless advance of the world on his spell. It was fading away, his ability to breath water. There was no time to surface. There was no time to do anything. As he sucked in, his lungs filled with cold, briny water.

A few days later, the smugglers working on the wharf came upon the drowned body of the former Tollman. Finding a body in the water in Vivec was not in itself noteworthy, but the subject that they discussed over many bottles of flin was how did it happen that he drowned with two potions of water breathing in his hands.


Brilnosu Llarys



The afore-mentioned personage has been marked for honorable execution in accordance to the lawful tradition and practice of the Morag Tong Guild. The Bearer of this non-disputable document has official sanctioned license to kill the afore-mentioned personage.



Brown Book of Great House Telvanni



[The Brown Book is a yearbook of the affairs of the Telvanni Council of Vvardenfell District for 3E 426. It lists the current members of the council, their residences, and their representatives in Sadrith Mora. It also chronicles significant events and council actions for the year.]

Councilors of House Telvanni, Vvardenfell District, Imperial Era 426

Archmagister Gothren, Lord High Magus of Telvanni Council, Vvardenfell District, Tower of Tel Aruhn, East Molag Amur, District of Vvardenfell, Province of Morrowind

Master Aryon, Mage Lord of Telvanni Council, Vvardenfell District, Tower of Tel Vos, Village of Vos, The Grazelands, District of Vvardenfell, Province of Morrowind

Master Neloth, Mage Lord of Telvanni Council, Vvardenfell District, Tower of Tel Naga, Sadrith Mora, District of Vvardenfell, Province of Morrowind

Mistress Dratha, Mage Lord of Telvanni Council, Vvardenfell District, Tower of Tel Mora, The Grazelands, District of Vvardenfell, Province of Morrowind

Mistress Therana, Mage Lord of Telvanni Council, Vvardenfell District, Tower of Tel Branora, Azura's Coast, District of Vvardenfell, Province of Morrowind

Councilor Representatives of House Telvanni, Council Hall, Sadrith Mora

For Archmagister Gothren: Mouth Mallam Ryon, Mage
For Master Aryon: Mouth Arara Uvulas
For Master Neloth: Mouth Raven Omayn
For Mistress Therana: Felisa Ulessen
For Mistress Dratha: Mouth Mallam Ryon

Council Actions

In response to repeated protests from Duke Dren and representative of the other Great Houses, Telvanni Council reminded them that, according to ancient law and custom, Telvanni Council places no constraint on the ambitions and enterprise of its individual members. If the Empire or other House Councils wish to dispute Telvanni exploration and colonization of the wastes and wildernesses of Vvardenfell, they are welcome to do so, with the Councilors' best wishes, but Telvanni Council will not contribute its resources or authority to such endeavors.

The council renews its objection to proposals placed before Duke Dren and the Grand Council concerning slavery and slave trading in Vvardenfell District. The right to own and trade slaves is guaranteed by the terms of the Treaty of the Armistice, and Telvanni Council will not entertain any discussion of abridgements of those rights.

Buoyant Armiger's Map of Red Mountain



Citadel Vemynal: northwest
Citadel Tureynulal: northeast
Citadel Dagoth: center
Citadel Endusal: southwest
Citadel Odrosal: southeast
Ghostgate: south





Chance's Folly
by Zylmoc Golge



By the time she was sixteen, Minevah Iolos had been an unwelcome guest in every shop and manor in Balmora. Sometimes, she would take everything of value within; other times, it was enough to experience the pure pleasure of finding a way past the locks and traps. In either situation, she would leave a pair of dice in a prominent location as her calling card to let the owners know who had burgled them. The mysterious ghost became known to the locals as Chance.

A typical conversation in Balmora at this time:

�My dear, whatever happened to that marvelous necklace of yours?�

�My dear, it was taken by Chance.�

The only time when Chance disliked her hobby was when she miscalculated, and she came upon an owner or a guard. So far, she had never been caught, or even seen, but dozens of times she had uncomfortably close encounters. There came a day when she felt it was time to expand her reach. She considered going to Vivec or Gnisis, but one night at the Eight Plates, she heard a tale of the Heran Ancestral Tomb, an ancient tomb filled with traps and possessing hundreds of years of the Heran family treasures.

The idea of breaking the spell of the Heran Tomb and gaining the fortune within appealed to Chance, but facing the guardians was outside of her experience. While she was considering her options, she saw Ulstyr Moresby sitting at a table nearby, by himself as usual. He was huge brute of a Breton who had a reputation as a gentle eccentric, a great warrior who had gone mad and paid more attention to the voices in his head than to the world around him.

If she must have a partner in this enterprise, Chance decided, this man would be perfect. He would not demand or understand the concept of getting an equal share of the booty. If worse came to worse, he would not be missed if the inhabitants of the Heran Tomb were too much for him. Or if Chance found his company tiresome and elected to leave him behind.

�Ulstyr, I don't think we've ever met, but my name is Minevah,� she said, approaching the table. �I'm fancying a trip to the Heran Ancestral Tomb. If you think you could handle the monsters, I could take care of unlocking doors and popping traps. What do you think?�

The Breton took a moment to reply, as if considering the counsel of the voices in his head. Finally he nodded his head in the affirmative, mumbling, �Yes, yes, yes, prop a rock, hot steel. Chitin. Walls beyond doors. Fifty-three. Two months and back.�

�Splendid,� said Chance, not the least put off by his rambling. �We'll leave early tomorrow.�

When Chance met Ulstyr the next morning, he was wearing chitin armor and had armed himself with an unusual blade that glowed faintly of enchantment. As they began their trek, she tried to engage him in conversation, but his responses were so nonsensical that she quickly abandoned the attempts. A sudden rainstorm swelled over the plain, dousing them, but as she was wearing no armor and Ulstyr was wearing slick chitin, their progress was not impeded.

Into the dark recesses of the Heran Tomb, they delved. Her instincts had been correct -- they made very good partners.

She recognized the ancient snap-wire traps, deadfalls, and brittle backs before they were triggered, and cracked all manners of lock: simple tumbler, combination, twisted hasp, double catch, varieties from antiquity with no modern names, rusted heaps that would have been dangerous to open even if one possessed the actual key.

Ulstyr for his part slew scores of bizarre fiends, the likes of which Chance, a city girl, had never seen before. His enchanted blade's spell of fire was particularly effective against the Frost Atronachs. He even saved her when she lost her footing and nearly plummeted into a shadowy crack in the floor.

�Not to hurt thyself,� he said, his face showing genuine concern. �There are walls beyond doors and fifty-three. Drain ring. Two months and back. Prop a rock. Come, Mother Chance.�

Chance had not been listening to much of Ulstyr's babbling, but when he said �Chance,� she was startled. She had introduced herself to him as Minevah. Could it be that the peasants were right, and that when mad men spoke, they were talking to the daedra prince Sheogorath who gave them advice and information beyond their ken? Or was it rather, more sensibly, that Ulstyr was merely repeating what he heard tell of in Balmora where in recent years �Chance� had become synonymous with lockpicking?

As the two continued on, Chance thought of Ulstyr's mumblings. He had said �chitin� when they met as if it had just occurred to him, and the chitin armor that he wore had proven useful. Likewise, �hot steel.� What could �walls beyond doors� mean? Or �two months and back�? What numbered �fifty-three�?

The notion that Ulstyr possessed secret knowledge about her and the tomb they were in began to unnerve Chance. She made up her mind then to abandon her companion once the treasure had been found. He had cut through the living and undead guardians of the dungeon: if she merely left by the path they had entered, she would be safe without a defender.

One phrase he said made perfect sense to her: �drain ring.� At one of the manors in Balmora, she had picked up a ring purely because she thought it was pretty. It was not until later that she discovered that it could be used to sap other people's vitality. Could Ulstyr be aware of this? Would he be taken by surprise if she used it on him?

She formulated her plan on how best to desert the Breton as they continued down the hall. Abruptly the passage ended with a large metal door, secured by a golden lock. Using her pick, Chance snapped away the two tumblers and bolt, and swung the door open. The treasure of the Heran Tomb was within.

Chance quietly slipped her glove off her hand, exposing the ring as she stepped into the room. There were fifty-three bags of gold within. As she turned, the door closed between her and the Breton. On her side, it did not resemble a door anymore, but a wall. Walls beyond doors.

For many days, Chance screamed and screamed, as she tried to find a way out of the room. For some days after that, she listened dully to the laughter of Sheogorath within her own head. Two months later, when Ulstyr returned, she was dead. He used a rock to prop open the door and remove the gold.


Changed Ones



Of all the et'Ada who wandered Nirn, Trinimac was the strongest. He, for a very long time, fooled the Aldmeri into thinking that tears were the best response to the Sundering. They cried and shamed our ancestors, especially the feminine Altmer. They even took the Missing God's name in vain, calling His narratives into question. So one day Boethiah, Prince of Plots, precocious youth, tricked Trinimac to go into his mouth. Boethiah talked like Trinimac for awhile then, and gathered enough people to listen to him. Boethiah showed them the lies of the et'Ada, the Aedra, and told them Trinimac was the biggest liar of all, saying all this with Trinimac's voice! Boethiah told the mass before him the Tri-Angled Truth. He showed them, with Mephala, the rules of Psijic Endeavor. He taught them how to build Houses, and what items they needed to bury in the Corners. He demonstrated the right way to wear their skin. He performed the way to walk to achieve an Exodus. Then Boethiah relieved himself of Trinimac right there on the ground before them to prove all the things he said were the truth. It was easy then for his new people to become the Changed Ones.


Children of the Sky



Nords consider themselves to be the children of the sky. They call Skyrim the Throat of the World, because it is where the sky exhaled on the land and formed them. They see themselves as eternal outsiders and invaders, and even when they conquer and rule another people; they feel no kinship with them.

The breath and the voice are the vital essence of a Nord. When they defeat great enemies they take their tongues as trophies. These are woven into ropes and can hold speech like an enchantment. The power of a Nord can be articulated into a shout, like the kiai of an Akaviri swordsman. The strongest of their warriors are called "Tongues." When the Nords attack a city, they take no siege engines or cavalry; the Tongues form in a wedge in front of the gatehouse, and draw in breath. When the leader lets it out in a kiai, the doors are blown in, and the axemen rush into the city. Shouts can be used to sharpen blades or to strike enemies. A common effect is the shout that knocks an enemy back, or the power of command. A strong Nord can instill bravery in men with his battle-cry, or stop a charging warrior with a roar. The greatest of the Nords can call to specific people over hundreds of miles, and can move by casting a shout, appearing where it lands.

The most powerful Nords cannot speak without causing destruction. They must go gagged, and communicate through a sign language and through scribing runes.

The further north you go into Skyrim, the more powerful and elemental the people become, and the less they require dwellings and shelters. Wind is fundamental to Skyrim and the Nords; those that live in the far wastes always carry a wind with them.


Chimarvamidium
Ancient Tales of the Dwemer, Part VI
By Marobar Sul



After many battles, it was clear who would win the War. The Chimer had great skills in magick and bladery, but against the armored battalions of the Dwemer, clad in the finest shielding wrought by Jnaggo, there was little hope of their ever winning. In the interests of keeping some measure of peace in the Land, Sthovin the Warlord agreed to a truce with Karenithil Barif the Beast. In exchange for the Disputed Lands, Sthovin gave Barif a mighty golem, which would protect the Chimer's territory from the excursions of the Northern Barbarians.

Barif was delighted with his gift and brought it back to his camp, where all his warriors gaped in awe at it. Sparkling gold in hue, it resembled a Dwemer cavalier with a proud aspect. To test its strength, they placed the golem in the center of an arena and flung magickal bolts of lightning at it. Its agility was such that few of the bolts struck it. It had the wherewithal to pivot on its hips to avoid the brunt of the attacks without losing its balance, feet firmly planted on the ground. A vault of fireballs followed, which the golem ably dodged, bending its knees and its legs to spin around the blasts. The few times it was struck, it made certain to be hit in the chest and waist, the strongest parts of its body.

The troops cheered at the sight of such an agile and powerful creation. With it leading the defense, the Barbarians of Skyrim would never again successfully raid their villages. They named it Chimarvamidium, the Hope of the Chimer.

Barif has the golem brought to his chambers with all his housethanes. There they tested Chimarvamidium further, its strength, its speed, its resiliency. They could find no flaw with its design.

�Imagine when the naked barbarians first meet this on one of their raids,� laughed one of the housethanes.

�It is only unfortunate that it resembles a Dwemer instead of one of our own,� mused Karenithil Barif. �It is revolting to think that they will have a greater respect for our other enemies than us.�

�I think we should never accepted the peace terms that we did,� said another, one of the most aggressive of the housethanes. �Is it too late to surprise the warlord Sthovin with an attack?�

�It is never too late to attack,� said Barif. �But what of his great armored warriors?�

�I understand,� said Barif's spymaster. �That his soldiers always wake at dawn. If we strike an hour before, we can catch them defenseless, before they've had a chance to bathe, let alone don their armor.�

�If we capture their armorer Jnaggo, then we too would know the secrets of blacksmithery,� said Barif. �Let it be done. We attack tomorrow, an hour before dawn.�

So it was settled. The Chimer army marched at night, and swarmed into the Dwemer camp. They were relying on Chimarvamidium to lead the first wave, but it malfunctioned and began attacking the Chimer's own troops. Added to that, the Dwemer were fully armored, well-rested, and eager for battle. The surprise was turned, and most of the high-ranking Chimer, including Karenithil Barif the Beast, were captured.

Though they were too proud to ask, Sthovin explained to them that he had been warned of their attack by a Calling by one of his men.

�What man of yours is in our camp?� sneered Barif.

Chimarvamidium, standing erect by the side of the captured, removed its head. Within its metal body was Jnaggo, the armorer.

�A Dwemer child of eight can create a golem,� he explained. �But only a truly great warrior and armorer can pretend to be one.�

Publisher's Note:

This is one of the few tales in this collection, which can actually be traced to the Dwemer. The wording of the story is quite different from older versions in Aldmeris, but the essence is the same. "Chimarvamidium" may be the Dwemer "Nchmarthurnidamz." This word occurs several times in plans of Dwemer armor and Animunculi, but it's meaning is not known. It is almost certainly not "Hope of the Chimer," however.

The Dwemer were probably the first to use heavy armors. It is important to note how a man dressed in armor could fool many of the Chimer in this story. Also note how the Chimer warriors react. When this story was first told, armor that covered the whole body must have still been uncommon and new, whereas even then, Dwemer creations like golems and centurions were well known.

In a rare scholarly moment, Marobar Sul leaves a few pieces of the original story intact, such as parts of the original line in Aldmeris, "A Dwemer of eight can create a golem, but an eight of Dwemer can become one."

Another aspect of this legend that scholars like myself find interesting is the mention of �the Calling.� In this legend and in others, there is a suggestion that the Dwemer race as a whole had some sort of silent and magickal communication. There are records of the Psijic Order which suggest they, too, share this secret. Whatever the case, there are no documented spells of "calling." The Cyrodiil historian Borgusilus Malier first proposed this as a solution to the disappearance of the Dwemer. He theorized that in 1E 668, the Dwemer enclaves were called together by one of their powerful philosopher-sorcerers ("Kagrnak" in some documents) to embark on a great journey, one of such sublime profundity that they abandoned all their cities and lands to join the quest to foreign climes as an entire culture.

Chronicles of Nchuleft



[This is a chronicle of events of historical significance to the Dwemer Freehold Colony of Nchuleft. The text was probably recorded by an Altmer, for it is written in Aldmeris.]

23. The Death of Lord Ihlendam

It happened in Second Planting (P.D. 1220) that Lord Ihlendam, on a journey in the Western Uplands, came to Nchuleft; and Protector Anchard and General Rkungthunch met him there, and Dalen-Zanchu also came to the meeting. They talked together long by themselves; but this only was known of their business, that they were to be friends of each other. They parted, and each went home to his own colony.

Bluthanch and her sons came to hear of this meeting, and saw in this secret meeting a treasonable plot against the Councils; and they often talked of this among themselves. When spring came, the Councils proclaimed, as usual, a Council Meet, in the halls of Bamz-Amschend. The people accordingly assembled, handfasted with ale and song, drinking bravely, and much and many things were talked over at the drink-table, and, among other things, were comparisons between different dwemer, and at last among the Councilors themselves.

One said that Lord Ihlendam excelled his fellow Councilors by far, and in every way. At this Councilor Bluthanch was very angry, and said that she was in no way less than Lord Ihlendam, and that she was eager to prove it. Instantly both parties were so inflamed that they challenged each other to battle, and ran to their arms. But some citizens who were less drunk, and more understanding, came between them, and quieted them; and each went back to his colony, but nobody expected that they would ever meet in peace again together.

But then, in the fall, Lord Ihlendam received a message from Councilor Bluthanch, inviting him to a parlay at Hendor-Stardumz. And all Ihlendam's kin and citizens strongly urged him not to come, fearing treachery, but Lord Ihlendam would not listen to counsel, not even to carrying with him his honor guard. And sadly, it came to pass that, while traveling to Hendor-Stardumz, in Chinzinch Pass, a host of foul creatures set upon Lord Ihlendam and killed him, and all of his party. And many citizens said thereafter that Bluthanch and her sons had conjured these beasts and set them upon Lord Ihlendam, but nothing was proven. Lord Ihlendam lies buried at a place called Leftunch.


CONFESSIONS OF A DUNMER SKOOMA-EATER



Nothing is more revolting to Dunmer feeling than the sorry spectacle of another Dunmer enslaved by that derivative moon-sugar known as 'skooma.' And nothing is less appetising than listening to the pathetic tales of humiliation and degradation associated with a victim of this addictive drug.

Why, then, do I force myself upon you with this extended and detailed account of my sins and sorrows?

Because I hope that by telling my tale, the hope of redemption from this sorry state shall be more widely known. And because I hope that others who have also fallen into the sorry state of skooma addiction may therefore hear of my story, of how I fell into despair, and how I once again found myself and freed myself from my own self-imposed chains.

Because it is widely known to all Khajiit, who may be expected to know, that there is no cure for addiction to skooma, that once a slave to skooma, always a slave to skooma. Because this is widely known, it is taken to be true. But it is not true, and I am living proof.

There is no miracle cure. There is no potion to be taken. There is no magical incantation which frees you from the thrill of skooma running through your blood.

But it is through the understanding of that thrill, and the acceptance of the lust within oneself for that thrill, and the casting aside of the shame that the thrillseeker feels when he cannot set aside what becomes in the end his only comfort and pleasure, it is through this knowledge and understanding that the victim comes to the place where choices may be made, where despair and hope may be separated.

In short, only knowledge and acceptance can deliver into the slave's hands the key that opens his shackles and sets him free.


[The narrative of Tilse Sendas' tale carries the reader through the stages of early infatuation, ecstatic obsession, and profound degradation of her addiction, and in the course of the story she subtly enables the reader to discover that the hopelessness of the addict comes from the addict's own unconscious assumption that only a helpless and foolish person could become addicted to skooma, and that, consequently, no such helpless and foolish person could ever achieve the admittedly difficult task of renouncing, once tasted, the exquisite delights of the skooma. Tilse Sendas shows that once the addict overcomes the burden of her own self-despising, that there is the possibility of redemption. And, against all of society's dearly held beliefs, she says that it is not altogether clear that the addict SHOULD renounce the sugar, but that it is only one of the choices that the skooma addict must make. Tilse Sendas' casual proposition that skooma addiction is not necessarily a sign of moral and personal weakness is essential to her thesis that a cure is possible, but it has not endeared her or her book to the upright and conservative elements of Dunmer society.]

Dagoth Ur's Plans



[The following documents were prepared by Temple scholars and agents of the Inquisition for Lord Vivec.]

From interrogation of captured Sleepers and other Sixth House cultists, from study of manuscripts written by cultists and victims of dream-induced mania, from interviews with Lord Vivec concerning historical campaigns against Red Mountain, and from broad conjectures and inferences made upon these materials, this is our best estimate of Dagoth Ur's motivations and objectives in this most recent phase of his war upon Morrowind.

Basic Objectives

1. Establish a theocracy in Morrowind based on the worship of the new-born god Akulakhan [Second Numidium] to be created by Dagoth Ur from the heart of Lorkhan and a body constructed according to the principles and rituals pioneered by the Dwemer Kagrenac. Establish the ancient heirs of House Dagoth as the god-priests of Akulakhan, and the Sixth House of Dagoth Ur as the dominant political power in Morrowind. Through charismatic conversion, unite the Dunmer under the guidance of Dagoth Ur to battle against the foreign animals who hold Morrowind in subjection. [Note: Dagoth Ur has apparently adopted the views and motivations of the Dwemer High Craftlord Kagrenac. In effect, he recapitulates the ancient blasphemous folly of the Dwemer.]

2. Expose the false worship of the Tribunal and destroy the ecclesiastical authority and political power of the Temple. [How much the Dissident Priests or the Cult of the Nerevarine may be controlled or influenced by the Sixth House in this regard is open to speculation.]

3. Extirpate all remaining individuals of inferior and mongrel races from Morrowind.

4. Drive the Empire from Morrowind.

5. Recover ancient territories stolen by Skyrim and Argonia.

6. Extend the worship of Akulakhan to all nations of Tamriel through subversion and conquest.

Plans to Establish and Expand the Sixth House

Phase 1: Secure Red Mountain against Tribunal intruders. Deny Tribunal access to the Heart, weakening the Temple while securing Red Mountain for the creation of Akulakhan. Keep the construction of Second Numidium a secret.

Phase 2: Create passive servants in ever-widening circles around Red Mountain by broadcasting compulsions couched in dream imagery to susceptible subjects in their sleep. Establish a major operational base at Kogoruhn for further operations in the ash wastes. Establish smaller bases near small port villages and in lower-class waterfront districts in Vivec. Infiltrate and subvert smuggling syndicates. Recruit willing followers from disaffected populations, including the underworld, the poor, and rabid anti-Imperial activists.

Phase 3: Expand from smaller bases to other towns and villages, and recruit and indoctrinate subjects made susceptible by dream sendings. Occupy abandoned towers and ruins, and train corrupted cultists as raiders and irregular troops. Identify, discredit, and decimate possible sources of political resistance.

Phase 4: Use assassination and terror to weaken, distract, and disrupt the Legions and the Imperial bureaucracy, along with their Hlaalu sympathizers. Inspire popular uprisings of the native poor against the foreign rich and powerful. Summon Sleepers and Dreamers to Dagoth Ur to work on Second Numidium.

Inferring Dagoth Ur's Perspectives

Dagoth Ur thinks on a large time scale -- for the most part, in the outside-of-time scale of the divine consciousness. He thinks that only obstacles of mythic scale are worth consideration. He believes he is fated to rule Morrowind, to free Morrowind of the Empire, and to become the new hard-loving Father of Morrowind. Given that perspective, the only opposing forces Dagoth Ur worries about are the Tribunal, the Daedra, the Emperor, and the Incarnate.

With the Tribunal's loss of Sunder and Keening, and with the diminishing resources of Vivec, Almalexia, and Sotha Sil, Dagoth Ur believes he has permanently gained a decisive strategic advantage. On a mortal timescale, the battle may last for centuries, but the outcome is not in doubt. And Akulakhan may be a device for dramatically reducing the time scale for a decisive victory.

The myth of dynamic invincibility of the Emperor and the Empire has long been an unquantifiable and intimidating threat, but recent rumors of unrest in Cyrodiil, of the Emperor's failing health, and the unsettled question of the succession have diminished the scale of that threat. Nonetheless, the revelation that the Nerevarine is a pawn of Imperial intelligence, hand-picked and sent to Morrowind by the Emperor himself, may cause Dagoth Ur considerable anxiety.

The Daedra represent no coherent obstacle to Dagoth Ur. Nonetheless, their personal abilities and their influence upon their fanatic followers is considerable, their motives and actions obscure, and Dagoth Ur remains concerned about them.

The Incarnate represents Saint Nerevar, a mythic force that has previously defeated Dagoth Ur, and Dagoth Ur is obsessed with this threat. At the same time, Dagoth Ur knew Nerevar personally, knew that he was a mortal man with faults and weaknesses. Dagoth Ur may have some hope of seducing or negotiating with Nerevar's reincarnation. Further, when Nerevar and the Tribunal defeated Dagoth Ur, they were strong and allied; now the Nerevarine and the Tribunal are weak, opposed, and divided. Therefore, though the Nerevarine and the Tribunal represent the most serious threat to Dagoth Ur's plans, he still has good reason to believe that this time he will prevail.

A Recent Timescale of Dagoth Ur's Activities
[Much of the following timescale is based on inference from incomplete information.]

before 2E 882: Dagoth Ur and his kin lie dreaming beneath the sills of Red Mountain.

2E 882: Dagoth Ur and his ash vampires awake refreshed and emerge from lower Red Mountain into the Heart Chamber. Dagoth Ur ritually binds himself and his brethren as heartwights in a ritual of his own devising. First stages of construction of Second Numidium [conceived during the Long Sleep] are begun by heartwights and atronach constructs in a chamber near the Heart of Lorkhan. Keeping the Second Numidium project a secret from the Tribunal is a high priority.

2E 882: The Tribunal arrive at Red Mountain for their annual ritual bathing in the heart's power. Dagoth Ur and ash vampires ambush the Tribunal. The Tribunes are driven away, and prevented from restoring themselves with Kagrenac's tools at the Heart of Lorkhan.

2E 882-3E 417: Intermittent Tribunal campaigns assault Red Mountain. The Tribunal and supporting forces seek to force access to the Heart Chamber, but are repeatedly driven back. Dagoth Ur recruits Sleepers and Dreamers through dream sendings. Cultists are recruited through dream compulsion. Weaker cultists become corprus beasts; stronger cultists advance through stages towards the powers of the Ascended Sleepers.

3E 400: Kogoruhn reoccupied by Dagoth Uthol and fortified as an advance base for Sixth House operations. Blight storms more frequent and widespread. Soul sickness spreads in regions close to Red Mountain.

3E 410: Sixth House bases founded near Gnaar Mok and in waterfront areas of Vivec. Sixth House operatives exploit smuggler organizations and communications to spread their influence among victims unbalanced by Dagoth Ur's dream sendings.

3E 415: Small cells of Sixth House cultists in every town in Vvardenfell. Larger Sixth House operations are concealed in remote dungeons where creatures are bred and cultists are trained for the coming struggle.

3E 417: Almalexia and Sotha Sil lose the artifacts Keening and Sunder to Dagoth Odros and Vemyn. Vivec rescues Almalexia and Sotha Sil, but failing to recover Keening and Sunder, the Tribunal retreat from Red Mountain in disorder. Surviving Buoyant Armiger companions know the Tribunal was forced to retreat, but do not know how serious a reversal the Tribunal has suffered. The Three Tribunes return to their respective capitals and continue to perform their ritual functions. The Tribunes continue to grow weaker without access to the Heart, and because of resources required to support the Ghostfence. The inner circle of the Temple priesthood has begun to suspect the Tribunes have suffered seriously from wounds and demoralization in the wake of reverses at Red Mountain, but do not recognize the scale of the problem.

3E 426-427: Campaign of Sixth House assassinations of prominent Imperial citizens and Hlaalu Imperial sympathizers. Sudden increase in number and seriousness of attacks by cultists and victims deranged by soul sickness.

Noted with Concern

1. Dagoth Ur can apparently perceive and communicate directly through his cultists. Sleepers and Dreamers are often reported speaking as though with Dagoth Ur's voice and intention.

2. Little is known about the features, scale, or stage of completion of Akulakhan [Second Numidium]. No one has gained entrance to the Heart Chamber since 2E 282. In 3E 417, Keening and Sunder were captured, and may substantially aid in Akulakhan's construction.

Darkest Darkness



In Morrowind, both worshippers and sorcerers summon lesser Daedra and bound Daedra as servants and instruments.

Most Daedric servants can be summoned by sorcerers only for very brief periods, within the most fragile and tenuous frameworks of command and binding. This fortunately limits their capacity for mischief, though in only a few minutes, most of these servants can do terrible harm to their summoners as well as their enemies.

Worshippers may bind other Daedric servants to this plane through rituals and pacts. Such arrangements result in the Daedric servant remaining on this plane indefinitely -- or at least until their bodily manifestations on this plane are destroyed, precipitating their supernatural essences back to Oblivion. Whenever Daedra are encountered at Daedric ruins or in tombs, they are almost invariably long-term visitors to our plane.

Likewise, lesser entities bound by their Daedra Lords into weapons and armor may be summoned for brief periods, or may persist indefinitely, so long as they are not destroyed and banished. The class of bound weapons and bound armors summoned by Temple followers and conjurors are examples of short-term bindings; Daedric artifacts like Mehrunes Razor and the Mask of Clavicus Vile are examples of long-term bindings.

The Tribunal Temple of Morrowind has incorporated the veneration of Daedra as lesser spirits subservient to the immortal Almsivi, the Triune godhead of Almalexia, Sotha Sil, and Vivec. These subordinate Daedra are divided into the Good Daedra and the Bad Daedra. The Good Daedra have willingly submitted to the authority of Almsivi; the Bad Daedra are rebels who defy Almsivi -- treacherous kin who are more often adversaries than allies.

The Good Daedra are Boethiah, Azura, and Mephala. The hunger is a powerful and violent lesser Daedra associated with Boethiah, Father of Plots -- a sinuous, long-limbed, long-tailed creature with a beast-skulled head, noted for its paralyzing touch and its ability to disintegrate weapons and armor. The winged twilight is a messenger of Azura, Goddess of Dusk and Dawn. Winged twilights resemble the feral harpies of the West, though the feminine aspects of the winged twilights are more ravishing, and their long, sharp, hooked tails are immeasurably more deadly. Spider Daedra are the servants of Mephala, taking the form of spider-humanoid centaurs, with a naked upper head, torso, and arms of human proportions, mounted on the eight legs and armored carapace of a giant spider. Unfortunately, these Daedra are so fierce and irrational that they cannot be trusted to heed the commands of the Spinner. As a consequence, few sorcerers are willing to either summon or bind such creatures in Morrowind.

The Bad Daedra are Mehrunes Dagon, Malacath, Sheogorath, and Molag Bal. Three lesser Daedra are associated with Mehrunes Dagon: the agile and pesky scamp, the ferocious and beast-like clannfear, and the noble and deadly dremora. The crocodile-headed humanoid Daedra called the daedroth is a servant of Molag Bal, while the giant but dim-witted ogrim is a servant of Malacath. Sheogorath's lesser Daedra, the golden saint, a half-clothed human female in appearance, is highly resistant to magic and a dangerous spellcaster.

Another type of lesser Daedra often encountered in Morrowind is the Atronach, or Elemental Daedra. Atronachs have no binding kinship or alignments with the Daedra Lords, serving one realm or another at whim, shifting sides according to seduction, compulsion, or opportunity.

Dram Bero



The afore-mentioned personage has been marked for honorable execution in accordance to the lawful tradition and practice of the Morag Tong Guild. The Bearer of this non-disputable document has official sanctioned license to kill the afore-mentioned personage.



Evening Star
Book Twelve of
2920, The Last Year of the First Era
by Carlovac Townway



1 Sun's Dusk, 2920
Balmora, Morrowind

The winter morning sun glinted through the cobweb of frost on the window, and Almalexia opened her eyes. An ancient healer mopped a wet cloth across her head, smiling with relief. Asleep in the chair next to her bed was Vivec. The healer rushed to a side cabinet and returned with a flagon of water.

�How are you feeling, goddess?� asked the healer.

�Like I've been asleep for a very long time,� said Almalexia.

�So you have. Fifteen days,� said the healer, and touched Vivec's arm. �Master, wake up. She speaks.�

Vivec rose with a start, and seeing Almalexia alive and awake, his face broke into a wide grin. He kissed her forehead, and took her hand. At last, there was warmth again in her flesh.

Almalexia's peaceful repose suddenly snapped: �Sotha Sil --�

�He's alive and well,� replied Vivec. �Working on one of his machines again somewhere. He would have stayed here too, but he realized he could do you more good working that peculiar sorcery of his.�

The castellan appeared in the doorway. �Sorry to interrupt you, master, but I wanted to tell you that your fastest messenger left late last night for the Imperial City.�

�Messenger?� asked Almalexia. �Vivec, what has happened?�

�I was to go and sign a truce with the Emperor on the sixth, so I sent him word that it had to be postponed.�

�You can't do me any good here,� said Almalexia, pulling herself up with effort. �But if you don't sign that truce, you'll put Morrowind back to war, maybe for another eighty years. If you leave today with an escort and hurry, perhaps you can get to the Imperial City only a day or two late.�

�Are you certain you don't need me here?� asked Vivec.

�I know that Morrowind needs you more.�

6 Sun's Dusk, 2920
The Imperial City, Cyrodiil

The Emperor Reman III sat on his throne, surveying the audience chamber. It was a spectacular sight: silver ribbons dangled from the rafters, burning cauldrons of sweet herbs simmered in every corner, Pyandonean swallowtails sweeping through the air, singing their songs. When the torches were lit and servants began fanning, the room would be transfigured into a shimmering fantasy land. He could smell the kitchen already, spices and roasts.

The Potentate Versidue-Shaie and his son Savirien-Chorak slithered into the room, both bedecked in the headdress and jewelry of the Tsaesci. There was no smile on their golden face, but there seldom was one. The Emperor still greeted his trusted advisor with enthusiasm.

�This ought to impress those savage Dark Elves,� he laughed. �When are they supposed to arrive?�

�A messenger's just arrived from Vivec,� said the Potentate solemnly. �I think it would be best if your Imperial Majesty met him alone.�

The Emperor lost his laughter, but nodded to his servants to withdraw. The door then opened and the Lady Corda walked into the room, with a parchment in her hand. She shut the door behind her, but did not look up to meet the Emperor's face.

�The messenger gave his letter to my mistress?� said Reman, incredulous, rising to take the note. �That's a highly unorthodox way of delivering a message.�

�But the message itself is very orthodox,� said Corda, looking up into his one good eye. With a single blinding motion, she brought the letter up under the Emperor's chin. His eyes widened and blood poured down the blank parchment. Blank that is, except for a small black mark, the sign of the Morag Tong. It fell to the floor, revealing the small dagger hidden behind it, which she now twisted, severing his throat to the bone. The Emperor collapsed to the floor, gasping soundlessly.

�How long do you need?� asked Savirien-Chorak.

�Five minutes,� said Corda, wiping the blood from her hands. �If you can give me ten, though, I'll be doubly grateful.�

�Very well,� said the Potentate to Corda's back as she raced from the audience chamber. �She ought to have been an Akaviri, the way the girl handles a blade is truly remarkable.�

�I must go and establish our alibi,� said Savirien-Chorak, disappearing behind one of the secret passages that only the Emperor's most trusted knew about.

�Do you remember, close to a year ago, your Imperial Majesty,� the Potentate smiled, looking down at the dying man. �When you told me to remember 'You Akaviri have a lot of showy moves, but if just one of our strikes comes through, it's all over for you.' I remembered that, you see.�

The Emperor spat up blood and somehow said the word: �Snake.�

�I am a snake, your Imperial Majesty, inside and out. But I didn't lie. There was a messenger from Vivec. It seems he'll be a little late in arriving,� the Potentate shrugged before disappearing behind the secret passage. �Don't worry yourself. I'm sure the food won't go bad.�

The Emperor of Tamriel died in a pool of his own blood in his empty audience chamber decorated for a grand ball. He was found by his bodyguard fifteen minutes later. Corda was nowhere to be found.

8 Sun's Dusk, 2920
Caer Suvio, Cyrodiil

Lord Glavius, apologizing profusely for the quality of the road through the forest, was the first emissary to greet Vivec and his escort as they arrived. A string of burning globes decorated the leafless trees surrounding the villa, bobbing in the gentle but frigid night breeze. From within, Vivec could smell the simple feast and a high sad melody. It was a traditional Akaviri wintertide carol.

Versidue-Shaie greeted Vivec at the front door.

�I'm glad you received the message before you got all the way to the City,� said the Potentate, guiding his guest into the large, warm drawing room. �We are in a difficult transition time, and for the moment, it is best not to conduct our business at the capitol.�

�There is no heir?� asked Vivec.

�No official one, though there are distant cousins vying for the throne. While we sort the matter out, at least temporarily the nobles have decided that I may act in the office of my late master,� Versidue-Shaie signaled for the servants to draw two comfortable chairs in front of the fireplace. �Would you feel most comfortable if we signed the treaty officially right now, or would you like to eat something first?�

�You intend to honor the Emperor's treaty?�

�I intend to do everything as the Emperor,� said the Potentate.

14 Sun's Dusk, 2920
Tel Aruhn, Morrowind

Corda, dusty from the road, flew into the Night Mother's arms. For a moment, they stayed locked together, the Night Mother stroking her daughter's hair, kissing her forehead. Finally, she reached into her sleeve and handed Corda a letter.

�What is it?� asked Corda.

�A letter from the Potentate, expressing his delight at your expertise,� replied the Night Mother. �He's promised to send us payment, but I've already sent him back a reply. The late Empress paid us enough for her husband's death. Mephala would not have us be greedy beyond our needs. You should not be paid twice for the same murder, so it is written.�

�He killed Rijja, my sister,� said Corda quietly.

�And so it should be that you struck the blow.�

�Where will I go now?�

�Whenever any of our holy workers becomes too famous to continue the crusade, we send them to an island called Vounoura. It's not more than a month's voyage by boat, and I've arranged for a delightful estate for your sanctuary,� the Night Mother kissed the girl's tears. �You meet many friends there, and I know you will find peace and happiness at last, my child.�

19 Sun's Dusk, 2920
Mournhold, Morrowind

Almalexia surveyed the rebuilding of the town. The spirit of the citizens was truly inspirational, she thought, as she walked among the skeletons of new buildings standing in the blackened, shattered remains of the old. Even the plantlife showed a remarkable resilience. There was life yet in the blasted remains of the comberry and roobrush shrubs that once lined the main avenue. She could feel the pulse. Come springtide, green would bolt through the black.

The Duke's heir, a lad of considerable intelligence and sturdy Dunmer courage, was coming down from the north to take his father's place. The land would do more than survive: it would strengthen and expand. She felt the future much more strongly than she saw the present.

Of all the things she was most certain of, she knew that Mournhold was forever home to at least one goddess.

22 Sun's Dusk, 2920
The Imperial City, Cyrodiil

�The Cyrodiil line is dead,� announced the Potentate to the crowd gathered beneath the Speaker's Balcony of the Imperial Palace. �But the Empire lives. The distant relatives of our beloved Emperor have been judged unworthy of the throne by the trusted nobility who advised his Imperial Majesty throughout his long and illustrious reign. It has been decided that as an impartial and faithful friend of Reman III, I will have the responsibility of continuing on in his name.�

The Akaviri paused, allowing his words to echo and translate into the ears of the populace. They merely stared up at him in silence. The rain had washed through the streets of the city, but the sun, for a brief time, appeared to be offering a respite from the winter storms.

�I want to make it clear that I am not taking the title Emperor,� he continued. �I have been and will continue to be Potentate Versidue-Shaie, an alien welcomed kindly to your shores. It will be my duty to protect my adopted homeland, and I pledge to work tirelessly at this task until someone more worthy takes the burden from me. As my first act, I declare that in commemoration of this historical moment, beginning on the first of Morning Star, we will enter year one of the Second Era as time will be reckoned. Thus, we mourn the loss of our Imperial family, and look forward to the future.�

Only one man clapped at these words. King Dro'Zel of Senchal truly believed that this would be the finest thing to happen to Tamriel in history. Of course, he was quite mad.

31 Sun's Dusk, 2920
Ebonheart, Morrowind

In the smoky catacombs beneath the city where Sotha Sil forged the future with his arcane clockwork apparatus, something unforeseen happened. An oily bubble seeped from a long trusted gear and popped. Immediately, the wizard's attention was drawn to it and to the chain that tiny action triggered. A pipe shifted half an inch to the left. A tread skipped. A coil rewound itself and began spinning in a counter direction. A piston that had been thrusting left-right, left-right, for millennia suddenly began shifting right-left. Nothing broke, but everything changed.

�It cannot be fixed now,� said the sorcerer quietly.

He looked up through a crick in the ceiling into the night sky. It was midnight. The second era, the age of chaos, had begun.


Fellowship of the Temple
by Archcanon Tholer Saryoni



I have been asked to write this guidebook for outsiders who are unfamiliar with the Tribunal Temple, and interested in joining.

All those who are earnest, and who are willing to submit to the wisdom of Blessed Almsivi, Triune Grace, the saints, and the priests, are welcome to the Fellowship of the Tribunal Temple. The Temple is the religion of Morrowind and Dunmer people, and has been for generation upon generation. With guidance and counsel of Almalexia, Vivec, and Sotha Sil, the Anticipations, and all the hosts of saints of ancestors, the Temple guards and protects the lands and peoples of Morrowind.

Those who follow the Tribunal must have the Personality to lead others and the Willpower to resist the world's temptations. When violence is needful, we fight with staves and hammers, armored only in our faith. We study Restoration and Alchemy to heal the people, and Mysticism to learn more of the divine. We must also study Conjuration to speak with the spirits of our ancestors and protect against those who traffic with the Four Corners.

Those interested in joining the Tribunal Temple should speak to priests at the temples in Ald'ruhn, Balmora, Molag Mar, and Ghostgate, or with priests at the High Fane in the Temple Compound in Vivec.

Articles of Faith

The Temple believes that Almalexia, Vivec, and Sotha Sil were mortal guardians of Morrowind who walked the earth, defeated the Dunmer's greatest enemies, the Nords and the Dwarves, and achieved divine substance through superhuman discipline and virtue and supernatural wisdom and insight. Like loving ancestors, they guard and counsel their followers. Like stern parents, they punish sin and error. Like generous relatives, they share their bounty among the greatest and least, according to their needs.

Duties of the Faithful

Your fourfold duties are to: Faith, Family, Masters, and all that is good. Perform holy quests and bring luster to the Temple. Never transgress against your brothers or sisters, and never dishonor your house or your ancestors. Serve and protect the poor and weak, and honor your elders and clan.

For those who would be wise, these sacred books will be of interest.

Saryoni's Sermons

Learn from the teachings of Vivec, and from the Archcanon's sermons on the Seven Graces.

Lives of the Saints

Members of the Temple who wish to be virtuous will model their lives on the lives of the saints.

The Pilgrim's Path

The path to wisdom and self-knowledge is through pilgrimage. Those who would rise in the ranks of the faithful may retrace the steps of the Lords and Saints, and gain blessings and learn virtue by suffering and overcoming hardships.

The Consolations of Prayer

Learn what bounties and blessing might be gained by prayer at the shrines found in temples, and in places of pilgrimage, and in the tombs of our ancestors.


Feruren Oran



The afore-mentioned personage has been marked for honorable execution in accordance to the lawful tradition and practice of the Morag Tong Guild. The Bearer of this non-disputable document has official sanctioned license to kill the afore-mentioned personage.



Feyfolken
Book One
by Waughin Jarth



The Great Sage was a tall, untidy man, bearded but bald. His library resembled him: all the books had been moved over the years to the bottom shelves where they gathered in dusty conglomerations. He used several of the books in his current lecture, explaining to his students, Taksim and Vonguldak, how the Mages Guild had first been founded by Vanus Galerion. They had many questions about Galerion's beginnings in the Psijic Order, and how the study of magic there differed from the Mages Guild.

�It was, and is, a very structured way of life,� explained the Great Sage. �Quite elitist, actually. That was the aspect of it Galerion most objected to. He wanted the study of magic to be free. Well, not free exactly, but at least available to all who could afford it. In doing that, he changed the course of life in Tamriel.�

�He codified the praxes and rituals used by all modern potionmakers, itemmakers, and spellmakers, didn't he, Great Sage?� asked Vonguldak.

�That was only part of it. Magic as we know it today comes from Vanus Galerion. He restructured the schools to be understandable by the masses. He invented the tools of alchemy and enchanting so everyone could concoct whatever they wanted, whatever their skills and purse would allow them to, without fears of magical backfire. Well, eventually he created that.�

�What do you mean, Great Sage?� asked Taksim.

�The first tools were more automated than the ones we have today. Any layman could use them without the least understanding of enchantment and alchemy. On the Isle of Artaeum, the students had to learn the skills laboriously and over many years, but Galerion decided that was another example of the Psijics' elitism. The tools he invented were like robotic master enchanters and alchemists, capable of creating anything the customer required, provided he could pay.�

�So someone could, for example, create a sword that would cleave the world in twain?� asked Vonguldak.

�I suppose, in theory, but it would probably take all the gold in the world,� chuckled the Great Sage. �No, I can't say we were ever in very great danger, but that it isn't to say that there weren't a few unfortunate incidents where a unschooled yokel invented something beyond his ken. Eventually, of course, Galerion tore apart his old tools, and created what we use today. It's a little elitist, requiring that people know what they're doing before they do it, but remarkably practical.�

�What did people invent?� asked Taksim. �Are there any stories?�

�You're trying to distract me so I don't test you,� said the Great Sage. �But I suppose I can tell you one story, just to illustrate a point. This particular tale takes place in city of Alinor on the west coast of Summurset Isle, and concerns a scribe named Thaurbad.

This was in the Second Era, not long after Vanus Galerion had first founded the Mages Guild and chapter houses had sprung up all over Summurset, though not yet spread to the mainland of Tamriel.

For five years, this scribe, Thaurbad, had conducted all his correspondence to the outside world by way of his messenger boy, Gorgos. For the first year of his adoption of the hermit life, his few remaining friends and family -- friends and family of his dead wife, truth be told -- had tried visiting, but even the most indefatigable kin gives up eventually when given no encouragement. No one had a good reason to keep in touch with Thaurbad Hulzik, and in time, very few even tried. His sister-in-law sent him the occasional letter with news of people he could barely remember, but even that communication was rare. Most of messages to and from his house dealt with his business, writing the weekly proclamation from the Temple of Auri-El. These were bulletins nailed on the temple door, community news, sermons, that sort of thing.

The first message Gorgos brought him that day was from his healer, reminding him of his appointment on Turdas. Thaurbad took a while to write his response, glum and affirmative. He had the Crimson Plague, which he was being treated for at considerable expense -- you have to remember these were the days before the School of Restoration had become quite so specialized. It was a dreadful disease and had taken away his voicebox. That was why he only communicated by script.

The next message was from Alfiers, the secretary at the church, as curt and noxious as ever: �THAURBAD, ATTACHED IS SUNDAS'S SERMON, NEXT WEEK'S EVENTS CALENDAR, AND THE OBITUARIES. TRY TO LIVEN THEM UP A LITTLE. I WASN'T HAPPY WITH YOUR LAST ATTEMPT.�

Thaurbad had taken the job putting together the Bulletin before Alfiers joined the temple, so his only mental image of her was purely theoretical and had evolved over time. At first he thought of Alfiers as an ugly fat sloadess covered with warts; more recently, she had mutated into a rail-thin, spinster orcess. Of course, it was possible his clairvoyance was accurate and she had just lost weight.

Whatever Alfiers looked like, her attitude towards Thaurbad was clear, unwavering disdain. She hated his sense of humor, always found the most minor of misspellings, and considered his structure and calligraphy the worst kind of amateur work. Luckily, working for a temple was the next most secure job to working for the good King of Alinor. It didn't bring in very much money, but his expenses were minimal. The truth was, he didn't need to do it anymore. He had quite a fortune stashed away, but he didn't have anything else to occupy his days. And the truth was further that having little else to occupy his time and thoughts, the Bulletin was very important to him.

Gorgos, having delivered all the messages, began to clean and as he did so, he told Thaurbad all the news in town. The boy always did so, and Thaurbad seldom paid him any attention, but this time he had an interesting report. The Mages Guild had come to Alinor.

As Thaurbad listened intently, Gorgos told him all about the Guild, the remarkable Archmagister, and the incredible tools of alchemy and enchanting. Finally, when the lad had finished, Thaurbad scribbled a quick note and handed it and a quill to Gorgos. The note read, �Have them enchant this quill.�

�It will be expensive,� said Gorgos.

Thaurbad gave Gorgos a sizeable chunk of the thousands of gold pieces he had saved over the years, and sent him out the door. Now, Thaurbad decided, he would finally have the ability to impress Alfiers and bring glory to the Temple of Auri-El.

The way I've heard the story, Gorgos had thought about taking the gold and leaving Alinor, but he had come to care for poor old Thaurbad. And even more, he hated Alfiers who he had to see every day to get his messages for his master. It wasn't perhaps for the best of motivations, but Gorgos decided to go to the Guild and get the quill enchanted.

The Mages Guild was not then, especially not then, an elitist institution, as I have said, but when the messenger boy came in and asked to use the Itemmaker, he was greeted with some suspicion. When he showed the bag of gold, the attitude melted, and he was ushered in the room.

Now, I haven't seen one of the enchanting tools of old, so you must use your imagination. There was a large prism for the item to be bound with magicka, assuredly, and an assortment of soul gems and globes of trapped energies. Other than that, I cannot be certain how it looked or how it worked. Because of all the gold he gave to the Guild, Gorgos could infuse the quill with the highest-price soul available, which was something daedric called Feyfolken. The initiate at the Guild, being ignorant as most Guildmembers were at that time, did not know very much about the spirit except that it was filled with energy. When Gorgos left the room, the quill had been enchanted to its very limit and then some. It was virtually quivering with power.

Of course, when Thaurbad used it, that's when it became clear how over his head he was.

And now,� said the Great Sage. �It's time for your test.�

�But what happened? What were the quill's powers?� cried Taksim.

�You can't stop the tale there!� objected Vonguldak.

�We will continue the tale after your conjuration test, provided you both perform exceptionally well,� said the Great Sage.


Feyfolken, Book 3
by Waughin Jarth



�Thaurbad had at last seen the power of the quill,� said the Great Sage, continuing his tale. �Enchanted with the daedra Feyfolken, servitor of Clavicus Vile, it had brought him great wealth and fame as the scribe of the weekly Bulletin of the Temple of Auri-El. But he realized that it was the artist, and he merely the witness to its magic. He was furious and jealous. With a cry, he snapped the quill in half.

He turned to finish his glass of mead. When he turned around, the quill was intact.

He had no other quills but the one he had enchanted, so he dipped his finger in the inkwell and wrote a note to Gorgos in big sloppy letters. When Gorgos returned with a new batch of congratulatory messages from the Temple, praising his latest Bulletin, he handed the note and the quill to the messenger boy. The note read: �Take the quill back to the Mages Guild and sell it. Buy me another quill with no enchantments.�

Gorgos didn't know what to make of the note, but he did as he was told. He returned a few hours later.

�They wouldn't give us any gold back for it,� said Gorgos. �They said it wasn't enchanted. I told 'em, I said 'What are you talking about, you enchanted it right here with that Feyfolken soul gem,' and they said, 'Well, there ain't a soul in it now. Maybe you did something and it got loose.'�

Gorgos paused to look at his master. Thaurbad couldn't speak, of course, but he seemed even more than usually speechless.

�Anyway, I threw the quill away and got you this new one, like you said.�

Thaurbad studied the new quill. It was white-feathered while his old quill had been dove gray. It felt good in his hand. He sighed with relief and waved his messenger lad away. He had a Bulletin to write, and this time, without any magic except for his own talent.

Within two days time, he was nearly back on schedule. It looked plain but it was entirely his. Thaurbad felt a strange reassurance when he ran his eyes over the page and noticed some slight errors. It had been a long time since the Bulletin contained any errors. In fact, Thaurbad reflected happily, there were probably other mistakes still in the document that he was not seeing.

He was finishing a final whirl of plain calligraphy on the borders when Gorgos arrived with some messages from the Temple. He looked through them all quickly, until one caught his eye. The wax seal on the letter read �Feyfolken.� With complete bafflement, he broke it open.

�I think you should kill yourself,� it read in perfectly gorgeous script.

He dropped the letter to the floor, seeing sudden movement on the Bulletin. Feyfolken script leapt from the letter and coursed over the scroll in a flood, translating his shabby document into a work of sublime beauty. Thaurbad no longer cared about the weird croaking quality of his voice. He screamed for a very long time. And then drank. Heavily.

Gorgos brought Thaurbad a message from Vanderthil, the secretary of the Temple, early Fredas morning, but it took the scribe until mid-morning to work up the courage to look at it. �Good Morning, I am just checking in on the Bulletin. You usually have it in on Turdas night. I'm curious. You planning something special? -- Vanderthil.�

Thaurbad responded, �Vanderthil, I'm sorry. I've been sick. There won't be a Bulletin this Sunday� and handed the note to Gorgos before retiring to his bath. When he came back an hour later, Gorgos was just returning from the Temple, smiling.

�Vanderthil and the archpriest went crazy,� he said. �They said it was your best work ever.�

Thaurbad looked at Gorgos, uncomprehending. Then he noticed that the Bulletin was gone. Shaking, he dipped his finger in the inkwell and scrawled the words �What did the note I sent with you say?�

�You don't remember?� asked Gorgos, holding back a smile. He knew the master had been drinking a lot lately. �I don't remember the exact words, but it was something like, 'Vanderthil, here it is. Sorry it's late. I've been having severe mental problems lately. - Thaurbad.' Since you said, 'here it is,' I figured you wanted me to bring the Bulletin along, so I did. And like I said, they loved it. I bet you get three times as much letters this Sundas.�

Thaurbad nodded his head, smiled, and waved the messenger lad away. Gorgos returned back to the Temple, while his master turned to his writing plank, and pulled out a fresh sheet of parchment.

He wrote with the quill: �What do you want, Feyfolken?�

The words became: �Goodbye. I hate my life. I have cut my wrists.�

Thaurbad tried another tact: �Have I gone insane?�

The words became: �Goodbye. I have poison. I hate my life.�

�Why are you doing this to me?�

�I Thaurbad Hulzik cannot live with myself and my ingratitude. That's why I've put this noose around my neck.�

Thaurbad picked up a fresh parchment, dipped his finger in the inkwell, and proceeded to rewrite the entire Bulletin. While his original draft, before Feyfolken had altered it, had been simple and flawed, the new copy was a scrawl. Lower-case I's were undotted, G's looked like Y's, sentences ran into margins and curled up and all over like serpents. Ink from the first page leaked onto the second page. When he yanked the pages from the notebook, a long tear nearly divided the third page in half. Something about the final result was evocative. Thaurbad at least hoped so. He wrote another note reading, simply, �Use this Bulletin instead of the piece of shit I sent you.�

When Gorgos returned with new messages, Thaurbad handed the envelope to him. The new letters were all the same, except for one from his healer, Telemichiel. �Thaurbad, we need you to come in as soon as possible. We've received the reports from Black Marsh about a strain of the Crimson Plague that sounds very much like your disease, and we need to re-examine you. Nothing is definite yet, but we're going to want to see what our options are.�

It took Thaurbad the rest of the day and fifteen drams of the stoutest mead to recover. The larger part of the next morning was spent recovering from this means of recovery. He started to write a message to Vanderthil: �What did you think of the new Bulletin?� with the quill. Feyfolken's improved version was �I'm going to ignite myself on fire, because I'm a dying no-talent.�

Thaurbad rewrote the note using his finger-and-ink message. When Gorgos appeared, he handed him the note. There was one message in Vanderthil's handwriting.

It read, �Thaurbad, not only are you divinely inspired, but you have a great sense of humor. Imagine us using those scribbles you sent instead of the real Bulletin. You made the archbishop laugh heartily. I cannot wait to see what you have next week. Yours fondly, Vanderthil.�

The funeral service a week later brought out far more friends and admirers than Thaurbad Hulzik would've believed possible. The coffin, of course, had to be closed, but that didn't stop the mourners from filing into lines to touch its smooth oak surface, imagining it as the flesh of the artist himself. The archbishop managed to rise to the occasion and deliver a better than usual eulogy. Thaurbad's old nemesis, the secretary before Vanderthil, Alfiers came in from Cloudrest, wailing and telling all who would listen that Thaurbad's suggestions had changed the direction of her life. When she heard Thaurbad had left her his quill in his final testament, she broke down in tears. Vanderthil was even more inconsolable, until she found a handsome and delightfully single young man.

�I can hardly believe he's gone and I never even saw him face-to-face or spoke to him,� she said. �I saw the body, but even if he hadn't been all burned up, I wouldn't have been able to tell if it was him or not.�

�I wish I could tell you there'd been a mistake, but there was plenty of medical evidence,� said Telemichiel. �I supplied some of it myself. He was a patient of mine, you see.�

�Oh,� said Vanderthil. �Was he sick or something?�

�He had the Crimson Plague years ago, that's what took away his voice box, but it appeared to have gone into complete remission. Actually, I had just sent him a note telling him words to that effect the day before he killed himself.�

�You're that healer?� exclaimed Vanderthil. �Thaurbad's messenger boy Gorgos told me that he had just picked up that message when I sent mine, complementing him on the new, primative design for the Bulletin. It was amazing work. I never would've told him this, but I had begun to suspect he was stuck in an outmoded style. It turned out he had one last work of genius, before going out in a blaze of glory. Figuratively. And literally.�

Vanderthil showed the healer Thaurbad's last Bulletin, and Telemichiel agreed that its frantic, nearly illegible style spoke volumes about the power and majesty of the god Auri-El.�

�Now I'm thoroughly confused,� said Vonguldak.

�About which part?� asked the Great Sage. �I think the tale is very straight-forward.�

�Feyfolken made all the Bulletins beautiful, except for the last one, the one Thaubad did for himself,� said Taksim thoughtfully. �But why did he misread the notes from Vanderthil and the healer? Did Feyfolken change those words?�

�Perhaps,� smiled the Great Sage.

�Or did Feyfolken changed Thaurbad's perceptions of those words?� asked Vonguldak. �Did Feyfolken make him mad after all?�

�Very likely,� said the Great Sage.

�But that would mean that Feyfolken was a servitor of Sheogorath,� said Vonguldak. �And you said he was a servitor of Clavicus Vile. Which was he, an agent of mischief or an agent of insanity?�

�The will was surely altered by Feyfolken,� said Taksim, �And that's the sort of thing a servitor of Clavicus Vile would do to perpetuate the curse.�

�As an appropriate ending to the tale of the scribe and his cursed quill,� smiled the Great Sage. �I will let you read into it as you will.�

Feyfolken, Book Two
by Waughin Jarth



After the test had been given and Vonguldak and Taksim had demonstrated their knowledge of elementary conjuration, the Great Sage told them that they were free to enjoy the day. The two lads, who most afternoons fidgeted through their lessons, refused to leave their seats.

�You told us that after the test, you'd tell us more of your tale about the scribe and his enchanted quill,� said Taksim.

�You've already told us about the scribe, how he lived alone, and his battles with the Temple secretary over the Bulletin he scripted for posting, and how he suffered from the Crimson Plague and couldn't speak. When you left off, his messenger boy had just had his master's quill enchanted with the spirit of a daedra named Feyfolken,� added Vonguldak to add the Great Sage's memory.

�As it happens,� said the Great Sage. �I was thinking about a nap. However, the story does touch on some issues of the natures of spirits and thus is related to conjuration, so I'll continue.

Thaurbad began using the quill to write the Temple Bulletin, and there was something about the slightly lopsided, almost three-dimensional quality of the letters that Thaurbad liked a lot.

Into the night, Thaurbad put together the Temple of Auri-El's Bulletin. For the moment he washed over the page with the Feyfolken quill, it became a work of art, an illuminated manuscript crafted of gold, but with good, simple and strong vernacular. The sermon excerpts read like poetry, despite being based on the archpriest's workmanlike exhortation of the most banal of the Alessian doctrines. The obituaries of two of the Temple's chief benefactors were stark and powerful, pitifully mundane deaths transitioned into world-class tragedies. Thaurbad worked the magical palette until he nearly fainted from exhaustion. At six o'clock in the morning, a day before deadline, he handed the Bulletin to Gorgos for him to carry to Alfiers, the Temple secretary.

As expected, Alfiers never wrote back to compliment him or even comment on how early he had sent the bulletin. It didn't matter. Thaurbad knew it was the best Bulletin the Temple had ever posted. At one o'clock on Sundas, Gorgos brought him many messages.

�The Bulletin today was so beautiful, when I read it in the vestibule, I'm ashamed to tell you I wept copiously,� wrote the archpriest. �I don't think I've seen anything that captures Auri-El's glory so beautifully before. The cathedrals of Firsthold pale in comparison. My friend, I prostrate myself before the greatest artist since Gallael.�

The archpriest was, like most men of the cloth, given to hyperbole. Still, Thaurbad was happy with the compliment. More messages followed. All of the Temple Elders and thirty-three of the parishioners young and old had all taken the time to find out who wrote the bulletin and how to get a message to congratulate him. And there was only one person they could go through for that information: Alfiers. Imaging the dragon lady besieged by his admirers filled Thaurbad with positive glee.

He was still in a good mood the next day when he took the ferry to his appointment with his healer, Telemichiel. The herbalist was new, a pretty Redguard woman who tried to talk to him, even after he gave her the note reading �My name is Thaurbad Hulzik and I have an appointment with Telemichiel for eleven o'clock. Please forgive me for not talking, but I have no voicebox anymore.�

�Has it started raining yet?� she asked cheerfully. �The diviner said it might.�

Thaurbad frowned and shook his head angrily. Why was it that everyone thought that mute people liked to be talked to? Did soldiers who lost their arms like to be thrown balls? It was undoubtedly not a purposefully cruel behavior, but Thaurbad still suspected that some people just liked to prove that they weren't crippled too.

The examination itself was routine horror. Telemichiel performed the regular invasive torture, all the while chatting and chatting and chatting.

�You ought to try talking once in a while. That's the only way to see if you're getting better. If you don't feel comfortable doing it in public, you could try practicing it by yourself,� said Telemichiel, knowing his patient would ignore his advice. �Try singing in the bath. You'll probably find you don't sound as bad as you think.�

Thaurbad left the examination with the promise of test results in a couple of weeks. On the ferry ride back home, Thaurbad began thinking of next week's temple bulletin. What about a double-border around the �Last Sundas's Offering Plate� announcement? Putting the sermon in two columns instead of one might have interesting effects. It was almost unbearable to think that he couldn't get started on it until Alfiers sent him information.

When she did, it was with the note, �LAST BULLETIN A LITTLE BETTER. NEXT TIME, DON'T USE THE WORD 'FORTUITOUS' IN PLACE OF 'FORTUNATE.' THE WORDS ARE NOT, IF YOU LOOK THEM UP, SYNONYMOUS.�

In response, Thaurbad almost followed Telemichiel's advice by screaming obscenities at Gorgos. Instead, he drank a bottle of cheap wine, composed and sent a suitable reply, and fell asleep on the floor.

The next morning, after a long bath, Thaurbad began work on the Bulletin. His idea for putting a light shading effect on the �Special Announcements� section had an amazing textural effect. Alfiers always hated the extra decorations he added to the borders, but using the Feyfolken quill, they looked strangely powerful and majestic.

Gorgos came to him with a message from Alfiers at that very moment as if in response to the thought. Thaurbad opened it up. It simply said, �I'M SORRY.�

Thaurbad kept working. Alfiers's note he put from his mind, sure that she would soon follow it up with the complete message �I'M SORRY THAT NO ONE EVER TAUGHT YOU TO KEEP RIGHT-HAND AND LEFT-HAND MARGINS THE SAME LENGTH� or �I'M SORRY WE CAN'T GET SOMEONE OTHER THAN A WEIRD, OLD MAN AS SCRIBE OF OUR BULLETIN.� It didn't matter what she was sorry about. The columns from the sermon notes rose like the massive pillars of roses, crowned with unashamedly ornate headers. The obituaries and birth announcements were framed together with a spherical border, as a heartbreaking declaration of the circle of life. The Bulletin was simultaneously both warm and avant-garde. It was a masterpiece. When he sent it off to Alfiers late that afternoon, he knew she'd hate it, and was glad.

Thaurbad was surprised to get a message from the Temple on Loredas. Before he read the content, he could tell from the style that it wasn't from Alfiers. The handwriting wasn't Alfiers's usual belligerent slashing style, and it wasn't all in Alfiers's usual capital letters, which read like a scream from Oblivion.

�Thaurbad, I thought you should know Alfiers isn't at the Temple anymore. She quit her position yesterday, very suddenly. My name is Vanderthil, and I was lucky enough (let me admit it now, I begged pitifully) to be your new Temple contact. I'm overwhelmed by your genius. I was having a crisis of faith until I read last week's Bulletin. This week's Bulletin is a miracle. Enough. I just wanted to say I'm honored to be working with you. -- Vanderthil.�

The response on Sundas after the service even astonished Thaurbad. The archpriest attributed the massive increase in attendance and collection plate offerings entirely to the Bulletin. Thaurbad's salary was quadrupled. Gorgos brought over a hundred and twenty messages from his adoring public.

The following week, Thaurbad sat in front of his writing plank, a glass of fine Torvali mead at his side, staring at the blank scroll. He had no ideas. The Bulletin, his child, his second-wife, bored him. The third-rate sermons of the archbishop were absolute anathema, and the deaths and births of the Temple patrons struck him as entirely pointless. Blah blah, he thought as he scribbled on the page.

He knew he wrote the letters B-L-A-H B-L-A-H. The words that appeared on the scroll were, �A necklace of pearl on a white neck.�

He scrawled a jagged line across the page. It appeared in through that damned beautiful Feyfolken quill: �Glory to Auri-El.�

Thaurbad slammed the quill and poetry spilled forth in a stream of ink. He scratched over the page, blotting over everything, and the vanquished words sprung back up in different form, even more exquisite than before. Every daub and splatter caused the document to whirl like a kaleidoscope before falling together in gorgeous asymmetry. There was nothing he could do to ruin the Bulletin. Feyfolken had taken over. He was a reader, not an author.

Now,� asked the Great Sage. �What was Feyfolken from your knowledge of the School of Conjuration?�

�What happened next?� cried Vonguldak.

�First, tell me what Feyfolken was, and then I'll continue the story.�

�You said it was a daedra,� said Taksim. �And it seems to have something to do with artistic expression. Was Feyfolken a servitor of Azura?�

�But the scribe may have been imagining all this,� said Vonguldak. �Perhaps Feyfolken is a servitor of Sheogorath, and he's gone mad. Or the quill's writing makes everyone who views it, like all the congregation at the Temple of Auri-El go mad.�

�Hermaeus Mora is the daedra of knowledge ... and Hircine is the daedra of the wild ... and the daedra of revenge is Boethiah,� pondered Taksim. And then he smiled, �Feyfolken is a servitor of Clavicus Vile, isn't it?�

�Very good,� said the Great Sage. �How did you know?�

�It's his style,� said Taksim. �Assuming that he doesn't want the power of the quill now that he has it. What happens next?�

�I'll tell you,� said the Great Sage, and continued the tale.


First Seed
Book Three of
2920, The Last Year of the First Era
by Carlovac Townway



15 First Seed, 2920
Caer Suvio, Cyrodiil

From their vantage point high in the hills, the Emperor Reman III could still see the spires of the Imperial City, but he knew he was far away from hearth and home. Lord Glavius had a luxurious villa, but it was not close to being large enough to house the entire army within its walls. Tents lined the hillsides, and the soldiers were flocking to enjoy his lordship's famous hot springs. Little wonder: winter chill still hung in the air.

�Prince Juilek, your son, is not feeling well.�

When Potentate Versidue-Shaie spoke, the Emperor jumped. How that Akavir could slither across the grass without making a sound was a mystery to him.

�Poisoned, I'd wager,� grumbled Reman. �See to it he gets a healer. I told him to hire a taster like I have, but the boy's headstrong. There are spies all around us, I know it.�

�I believe you're right, your imperial majesty,� said Versidue-Shaie. �These are treacherous times, and we must take precautions to see that Morrowind does not win this war, either on the field or by more insidious means. That is why I would suggest that you not lead the vanguard into battle. I know you would want to, as your illustrious ancestors Reman I, Brazollus Dor, and Reman II did, but I fear it would be foolhardy. I hope you do not mind me speaking frankly like this.�

�No,� nodded Reman. �I think you're right. Who would lead the vanguard then?�

�I would say Prince Juilek, if he were feeling better,� replied the Akavir. �Failing that, Storig of Farrun, with Queen Naghea of Riverhold at left flank, and Warchief Ulaqth of Lilmoth at right flank.�

�A Khajiit at left flank and an Argonian at right,� frowned the Emperor. �I never do trust beastfolk.�

The Potentate took no offense. He knew that �beastfolk� referred to the natives of Tamriel, not to the Tsaesci of Akavir like himself. �I quite agree your imperial majesty, but you must agree that they hate the Dunmer. Ulaqth has a particular grudge after all the slave-raids on his lands by the Duke of Mournhold.�

The Emperor conceded it was so, and the Potentate retired. It was surprising, thought Reman, but for the first time, the Potentate seemed trustworthy. He was a good man to have on one's side.

18 First Seed, 2920
Ald Erfoud, Morrowind

�How far is the Imperial Army?� asked Vivec.

�Two days' march,� replied his lieutenant. �If we march all night tonight, we can get higher ground at the Pryai tomorrow morning. Our intelligence tells us the Emperor will be commanding the rear, Storig of Farrun has the vanguard, Naghea of Riverhold at left flank, and Ulaqth of Lilmoth at right flank.�

�Ulaqth,� whispered Vivec, an idea forming. �Is this intelligence reliable? Who brought it to us?�

�A Breton spy in the Imperial Army,� said the lieutenant and gestured towards a young, sandy-haired man who stepped forward and bowed to Vivec.

�What is your name and why is a Breton working for us against the Cyrodiils?� asked Vivec, smiling.

�My name is Cassyr Whitley of Dwynnen,� said the man. �And I am working for you because not everyone can say he spied for a god. And I understood it would be, well, profitable.�

Vivec laughed, �It will be, if your information is accurate.�

19 First Seed, 2920
Bodrums, Morrowind

The quiet hamlet of Bodrum looked down on the meandering river, the Pryai. It was an idyllic site, lightly wooded where the water took the bend around a steep bluff to the east with a gorgeous wildflower meadow to the west. The strange flora of Morrowind met the strange flora of Cyrodiil on the border and commingled gloriously.

�There will be time to sleep when you've finished!�

The soldiers had been hearing that all morning. It was not enough that they had been marching all night, now they were chopping down trees on the bluff and damming the river so its waters spilled over. Most of them had reached the point where they were too tired to complain about being tired.

�Let me be certain I understand, my lord,� said Vivec's lieutenant. �We take the bluff so we can fire arrows and spells down on them from above. That's why we need all the trees cleared out. Damming the river floods the plain below so they'll be trudging through mud, which should hamper their movement.�

�That's exactly half of it,� said Vivec approvingly. He grabbed a nearby soldier who was hauling off the trees. �Wait, I need you to break off the straightest, strongest branches of the trees and whittle them into spears. If you recruit a hundred or so others, it won't take you more than a few hours to make all we need.�

The soldier wearily did as he was bade. The men and women got to work, fashioning spears from the trees.

�If you don't mind me asking,� said the lieutenant. �The soldiers don't need any more weapons. They're too tired to hold the ones they've got.�

�These spears aren't for holding,� said Vivec and whispered, �If we tired them out today, they'll get a good night's sleep tonight� before he got to work supervising their work.

It was essential that they be sharp, of course, but equally important that they be well balanced and tapered proportionally. The perfect point for stability was a pyramid, not the conical point of some lances and spears. He had the men hurl the spears they had completed to test their strength, sharpness, and balance, forcing them to begin on a new one if they broke. Gradually, out of sheer exhaustion from doing it wrong, the men learned how to create the perfect wooden spears. Once they were through, he showed them how they were to be arranged and where.

That night, there was no drunken pre-battle carousing, and no nervous neophytes stayed up worrying about the battle to come. As soon as the sun sank beneath the wooded hills, the camp was at rest, but for the sentries.

20 First Seed, 2920
Bodrum, Morrowind

Miramor was exhausted. For last six days, he had gambled and whored all night and then marched all day. He was looking forward to the battle, but even more than that, he was looking forward to some rest afterwards. He was in the Emperor's command at the rear flank, which was good because it seemed unlikely that he would be killed. On the other hand, it meant traveling over the mud and waste the army ahead left in their wake.

As they began the trek through the wildflower field, Miramor and all the soldiers around him sank ankle-deep in cold mud. It was an effort to even keep moving. Far, far up ahead, he could see the vanguard of the army led by Lord Storig emerging from the meadow at the base of a bluff.

That was when it all happened.

An army of Dunmer appeared above the bluff like rising Daedra, pouring fire and floods of arrows down on the vanguard. Simultaneously, a company of men bearing the flag of the Duke of Mournhold galloped around the shore, disappearing along the shallow river's edge where it dipped to a timbered glen to the east. Warchief Ulaqth nearby on the right flank let out a bellow of revenge at the sight and gave chase. Queen Naghea sent her flank towards the embankment to the west to intercept the army on the bluff.

The Emperor could think of nothing to do. His troops were too bogged down to move forward quickly and join the battle. He ordered them to face east towards the timber, in case Mournhold's company was trying to circle around through the woods. They never came out, but many men, facing west, missed the battle entirely. Miramor kept his eyes on the bluff.

A tall Dunmer he supposed must have been Vivec gave a signal, and the battlemages cast their spells at something to the west. From what transpired, Miramor deduced it was a dam. A great torrent of water spilled out, washing Naghea's left flank into the remains of the vanguard and the two together down river to the east.

The Emperor paused, as if waiting for his vanquished army to return, and then called a retreat. Miramor hid in the rushes until they had passed by and then waded as quietly as he could to the bluff.

The Morrowind army was retiring as well back to their camp. He could hear them celebrating above him as he padded along the shore. To the east, he saw the Imperial Army. They had been washed into a net of spears strung across the river, Naghea's left flank on Storig's vanguard on Ulaqth's right flank, bodies of hundreds of soldiers strung together like beads.

Miramor took whatever valuables he could carry from the corpses and then ran down the river. He had to go many miles before the water was clear again, unpolluted by blood.

29 First Seed, 2920
Hegathe, Hammerfell

�You have a letter from the Imperial City,� said the chief priestess, handing the parchment to Corda. All the young priestesses smiled and made faces of astonishment, but the truth was that Corda's sister Rijja wrote very often, at least once a month.

Corda took the letter to the garden to read it, her favorite place, an oasis in the monochromatic sand-colored world of the conservatorium The letter itself was nothing unusual: filled with court gossip, the latest fashions which were tending to winedark velvets, and reports of the Emperor's ever-growing paranoia.

�You are so lucky to be away from all of this,� wrote Rijja. �The Emperor is convinced that his latest battlefield fiasco is all a result of spies in the palace. He has even taken to questioning me. Ruptga keep it so you never have a life as interesting as mine.�

Corda listened to the sounds of the desert and prayed to Ruptga the exact opposite wish.

The Year is Continued in Rain's Hand.

Flowers of Lake Amaya
Journeyman Report of Ajira



Ajira studies hard to learn secret magical properties of Gold Kanet, Stoneflower Petals, Willow Anther, and Heather.

Gold Kanet has yellow flowers and very dark green leaves with sharp spines. Gold Kanet and Stoneflower Petals makes a paste that restores strength. The paste has some bad effects, but they last only short time.

Stoneflowers are dark blue and the flowers are very heavy so they bend to the ground. It is very expensive, but Ajira can gain more magicka for a short time by mixing Stoneflower petals with crushed emeralds and water.

Willow flowers are red and very tall with tall and thin leaves also. Willow very good for potions and has many uses. With frost salts, Ajira made a shield of frost. With grave dust and green lichens, Ajira made a potion to cure common diseases. And with Corkbulb Ajira made a potion that can cure paralyzation.

Ajira thinks Heather comes from Skyrim because the leaves look like the spiny leaves of trees in Skyrim. The flowers are also pink like the Nord people. When mixed with ruby, it makes very good potion to make you not weigh so much. With a scrap of Scamp skin, Ajira made a potion to restore personality.

Ajira works very hard to collect these flower samples from the dangerous Lake Amaya. Ajira must do two reports and Galbedir must only do one silly report. Ajira deserves rank of Journeyman very soon now.


For My Gods and Emperor
A Handbook for the Imperial Cult



What is the Imperial Cult?

The missionary arm of the great faiths, the Imperial cult brings divine inspiration and consolation to the Empire's remote provinces. The cults combine the worship of the Nine Divines, the Aedra Akatosh, Dibella, Arkay, Zenithar, Mara, Stendarr, Kynareth, and Julianos, and the Talos cult, veneration of the divine god-hero Tiber Septim, founder and patron of the Empire. Imperial cult priests provide worship and services for all these gods at Imperial shrines in settlements throughout Vvardenfell.

What is the Virtuous Life?

Our doctrines are simple. We acknowledge the divinity of the Nine Divines: Akatosh, Dibella, Arkay, Zenithar, Mara, Stendarr, Kynareth, Julianos, and Tiber Septim. We preach the Nine Virtues: Humility, Inspiration, Piety, Work, Compassion, Justice, Ambition, Learning, and Civility. Our Emperor is the Defender of the Faith, and the Empire is the worldly working of the Divine Plan. We pledge aid and comfort to all citizens in need, and serve the Emperor and Empire at his will.

The Imperial cults look to the Nine Divines as models for living a good and virtuous life. Each of the Nine represents different aspects of life, and how it should be lived. But the simplest statement of our doctrines is -- help and protect one another. The stronger one is, the wealthier one is, the more one bears responsibility for helping and protecting others. One's first duty, of course, is to one's fellow members of the Imperial Cult. But after that, one should help and protect any needy persons.

We also say, "do not harm one another." It is forbidden to attack another person of the Imperial cult, and of course, forbidden to kill another member. It is forbidden to steal from another member, whether by open theft or by covert pickpocketing. It is forbidden to trespass upon the private property of another member. Break any one of these rules, and be expelled from the cult.

How can I join the Imperial cult?

The Imperial cult accepts all citizens of good character and earnest faith. We ask only a one-time pledge of 50 drakes to aid us in our good works. Thereafter, the only cost of membership comes when you use our health, healing, and blessing shrines -- modest fees which help us spread the blessings of the Nine to those less fortunate than ourselves.

Those who wish to join the Imperial cult in Vvardenfell will find a warm welcome from our cult greeters: Ygfa at Fort Pelagiad, Syloria Siruliulus at Buckmoth Legion Fort, Somutis Vunnis at Moonmoth Legion Fort, Ruccia Conician in the Grand Council Chambers in Ebonheart, or Lalatia Varian in the Imperial Chapels at Ebonheart.

What are the requirements for advancement in the Imperial cult?

Seekers who wish to advance in the service of the Nine must dedicate time and resources to serving the cult, and must strive for personal improvement in their attributes and skills. Only the most distinguished are worthy of advancement to the higher ranks in the Imperial cults.

To serve and glorify the Nine Divines, the faithful must cultivate a noble personality and a strong will. Respect the magical arts, especially the colleges of Restoration, Mysticism, and Conjuration. Those who swear to avoid bloodshed, to take the field unarmored to fight only with blunt weapons, are especially praiseworthy. Knowledge of enchantments and the gift of diplomatic speech are other qualities we value in our initiates.

Imperial cult services

You can find Imperial cult services in Buckmoth Legion Fort, Moonmoth Legion Fort, Pelagiad Legion Fort, Gnisis Legion Fort, Wolverine Hall in Sadrith Mora, Vivec Foreign Quarter, and Imperial chapels in Ebonheart. Seek training at Wolverine Hall, Buckmoth Fort, Moonmoth Fort, Ebonheart Imperial Chapels, Governor's Hall in Caldera, and Ald Velothi Outpost.

Many Imperial cult locations have healing altars. You may pray at Imperial cult healing altars and receive blessings which cure common and blight diseases, cure poisons, and restore damaged attributes. Non-members pay 25 drakes. Non-members pay 25 drakes. Newer members pay 10 drakes, while higher-ranking members receive blessings free. Healing altars are found in: Vivec Foreign Quarter; Wolverine Hall in Sadrith Mora; Buckmoth Legion Fort; Moonmoth Legion Fort; Pelagiad Legion Fort; Gnisis Legion Fort; and Imperial Chapels in Ebonheart.

Opportunities for service

Lay healers gather ingredients for health and healing potions, and minister to the sick and hurt in poor and isolated communities. It is difficult and sometimes dangerous work, but the spiritual rewards are great. Lay healers need only the skills of the prudent traveler, being often on the road and in the wilderness, gathering herbs and potion components. They should avoid trouble where possible, and so need not be masters of the arts of war. Those interested should speak to Synnolian Tunifus at the Imperial Chapels in Ebonheart.

Almoners gather alms from members and friends of the faith. We depend on donations to fund most of our good works. Almoners who are successful at bringing in generous donations may rise in the ranks of Imperial Cults service. Almoners must travel in town and village, and should be skilled in persuasion and mercantile matters. Also, almoners with personal wealth are in a position to better serve the cult. Those interested should speak to Iulus Truptor at the Imperial Chapels in Ebonheart.

A shrine sergeant helps keep order at the shrines, carries messages and packages, and sometimes escorts priests and lay servants on dangerous missions. This occasional service is ideal for bold, free-spirited adventurers. Shrine sergeants are called upon to serve the Nine with weapon, armor, and spell. New shrine sergeants are given the easiest tasks, but later, missions may demand higher levels of combat proficiency. Those interested should speak to Kaye at the Imperial Chapels in Ebonheart.

Oracle's Quests are the most demanding of all Imperial cult missions. Only members of the higher ranks are invited to assist the Oracle, and the challenges require the skill and courage found only in heroes of legend.

How do the Imperial cults view the other factions of Vvardenfell?
The Imperial cults have a very close relationship with the Imperial legions, and a friendly and supportive relationship with the Imperial Guilds -- especially the Fighters and Mages Guilds. We also have a friendly and supportive relationship with House Hlaalu, which strongly supports the Emperor and Imperial principles. Though we cannot condone the actions of the Thieves Guild, we praise their faithful dedication to the Emperor and to Imperial culture.

The Imperial cults have the greatest respect for the high moral principles of House Redoran and the Morag Tong, and honors their different but noble conceptions of Divine Inspiration.

We disapprove of the primitive heathen beliefs of the Ashlanders, and of the impious and inhumane practices of the Telvanni. The Imperial cult especially disapproves of the practice of slavery, and looks forward to the day when slavery is illegal in all Imperial provinces. The Imperial cult also disapproves of the lawless and greedy Camonna Tong, and their ruthless exploitation of the poor and weak.

Historically, our relationship with the Tribunal Temple is difficult and unfriendly. Though the Imperial cults acknowledges the lords and saints of the Temple pantheon as worthy inspirations, the Temple falsely insists that theirs is the One True Faith, and that the Imperial cults worship false gods.


Frontier, Conquest, and Accommodation:
A Social History of Cyrodiil
University of Gwylim Press, 3E 344



Historians often portray the human settlement of Tamriel as a straightforward process of military expansion of the Nords of Skyrim. In fact, human settlers occupied nearly every corner of Tamriel before Skyrim was even founded. These so-called "Nedic peoples" include the proto-Cyrodilians, the ancestors of the Bretons, the aboriginals of Hammerfell, and perhaps a now-vanished Human population of Morrowind. Strictly speaking, the Nords are simply another of these Nedic peoples, the only one that failed to find a method of peaceful accommodation with the Elves who already occupied Tamriel.

Ysgramor was certainly not the first human settler in Tamriel. In fact, in "fleeing civil war in Atmora", as the Song of Return states, Ysgramor was following a long tradition of migration from Atmora; Tamriel had served as a "safety valve" for Atmora for centuries before Ysgramor's arrival. Malcontents, dissidents, rebels, landless younger sons, all made the difficult crossing from Atmora to the "New World" of Tamriel. New archeological excavations date the earliest human settlements in Hammerfell, High Rock, and Cyrodiil at ME800-1000, centuries earlier than Ysgramor, even assuming that the twelve Nord "kings" prior to Harald were actual historical figures.

The Nedic peoples were a minority in a land of Elves, and had no choice but to live peacefully with the Elder Race. In High Rock, Hammerfell, Cyrodiil, and possibly Morrowind, they did just that, and the Nedic peoples flourished and expanded over the last centuries of the Merethic Era. Only in Skyrim did this accommodation break down, an event recorded in the Song of Return. Perhaps, being close to reinforcements from Atmora, the proto-Nords did not feel it necessary to submit to the authority of the Skyrim Elves. Indeed, the early Nord chronicles note that under King Harald, the first historical Nord ruler (1E 113-221), �the Atmoran mercenaries returned to their homeland� following the consolidation of Skyrim as a centralized kingdom. Whatever the case, the pattern was set -- in Skyrim, expansion would proceed militarily, with human settlement following the frontier of conquest, and the line between Human territory and Elven territory was relatively clear.

But beyond this "zone of conflict", the other Nedic peoples continued to merge with their Elven neighbors. When the Nord armies of the First Empire finally entered High Rock and Cyrodiil, they found Bretons and proto-Cyrodiils already living there among the Elves. Indeed, the Nords found it difficult to distinguish between Elf and Breton, the two races had already intermingled to such a degree. The arrival of the Nord armies upset the balance of power between the Nedic peoples and the Elves. Although the Nords' expansion into High Rock and Cyrodiil was relatively brief (less than two centuries), the result was decisive; from then on, power in those regions shifted from the Elves to the Humans.


Frostfall
Book Ten of
2920, The Last Year of the First Era
by Carlovac Townway



10 Frostfall, 2920
Phrygias, High Rock

The creature before them blinked, senseless, its eyes glazed, mouth opening and closing as if relearning its function. A thin glob of saliva burbled down between its fangs, and hung suspended. Turala had never seen anything of its kind before, reptilian and massive, perched on its hind legs like a man. Mynistera applauded enthusiastically.

�My child,� she crowed. �You have come so far in so short a time. What were you thinking when you summoned this daedroth?�

It took Turala a moment to recall whether she was thinking anything at all. She was merely overwhelmed that she had reached out across the fabric of reality into the realm of Oblivion, and plucked forth this loathsome creature, conjuring it into the world by the power of her mind.

�I was thinking of the color red,� Turala said, concentrating. �The simplicity and clarity of it. And then -- I desired, and spoke the charm. And this is what I conjured up.�

�Desire is a powerful force for a young witch,� said Mynistera. �And it is well matched in this instance. For this daedroth is nothing if not a simple force of the spirits. Can you release your desire as easily?�

Turala closed her eyes and spoke the dismissal invocation. The monster faded away like a painting in sunlight, still blinking confusedly. Mynistera embraced her Dark Elf pupil, laughing with delight.

�I never would have believed it, a month and a day you've been with the coven, and you're already far more advanced than most of the women here. There is powerful blood in you, Turala, you touch spirits like you were touching a lover. You'll be leading this coven one day -- I have seen it!�

Turala smiled. It was good to be complimented. The Duke of Mournhold had praised her pretty face; and her family, before she had dishonored them, praised her manners. Cassyr had been nothing more than a companion: his compliments meant nothing. But with Mynistera, she felt she was home.

�You'll be leading the coven for many years yet, great sister,� said Turala.

�I certainly intend to. But the spirits, while marvelous companions and faultless tellers of truth, are often hazy about the when and hows. You can't blame them really. When and how mean so little to them,� Mynistera opened the door to the shed, allowing the brisk autumn breeze in to dispel the bitter and fetid smells of the daedroth. �Now, I need you to run an errand to Wayrest. It's only a week's ride there, and a week's ride back. Bring Doryatha and Celephyna with you. As much as we try to be self-sufficient, there are herbs we can't grow here, and we seem to run through an enormous quantity of gems in no time at all. It's important that the people of the city learn to recognize you as one of the wise women of Skeffington coven. You'll find the benefits of being notorious far outweigh the inconveniences.�

Turala did as she was bade. As she and her sisters climbed aboard their horses, Mynistera brought her child, little five-month-old Bosriel to kiss her mother good-bye. The witches were in love with the little Dunmer infant, fathered by a wicked Duke, birthed by wild Ayleid elves in the forest heart of the Empire. Turala knew her nursemaids would protect her child with their lives. After many kisses and a farewell wave, the three young witches rode off into the bright woods, under a covering of red, yellow, and orange.

12 Frostfall, 2920
Dwynnen, High Rock

For a Middas evening, the Least Loved Porcupine tavern was wildly crowded. A roaring fire in the pit in the center of the room cast an almost sinister glow on all the regulars, and made the abundance of bodies look like a punishment tapestry inspired by the Arcturian Heresies. Cassyr took his usual place with his cousin and ordered a flagon of ale.

�Have you been to see the Baron?� asked Palyth.

�Yes, he may have work for me in the palace of Urvaius,� said Cassyr proudly. �But more than that I can't say. You understand, secrets of state and all that. Why are there so many damned people here tonight?�

�A shipload of Dark Elves just came in to harbor. They've come from the war. I was just waiting until you got here to introduce you as another veteran.�

Cassyr blushed, but regained his composure enough to ask: �What are they doing here? Has there been a truce?�

�I don't know the full story,� said Palyth. �But apparently, the Emperor and Vivec are in negotiations again. These fellas here have investments they were keen to check on, and they figured things on the Bay were quiet enough. But the only way we can get the full story is to talk to the chaps.�

With that, Palyth gripped his cousin's arm and pulled him to the other side of the bar so suddenly, Cassyr would have had to struggle violently to resist. The Dunmer travelers were spread out across four of the tables, laughing with the locals. They were largely amiable young men, well-dressed, befitting merchants, animated in gesture made more extravagant by liquor.

�Excuse me,� said Palyth, intruding on the conversation. �My shy cousin Cassyr was in the war as well, fighting for the living god, Vivec.�

�The only Cassyr I ever heard of,� said one of the Dunmer drunkenly with a wide, friendly smile, shaking Cassyr's free hand. �Was a Cassyr Whitley, who Vivec said was the worst spy in history. We lost Ald Marak due to his bungling intelligence work. For your sake, friend, I hope the two of you were never confused.�

Cassyr smiled and listened as the lout told the story of his failure with bountiful exaggerations which caused the table to roar with laughter. Several eyes looked his way, but none of the locals sought to explain that the fool of the tale was standing at attention. The eyes that stung the most were his cousin's, the young man who had believed that he had returned to Dwynnen a great hero. At some point, certainly, the Baron would hear about it, his idiocy increasing manifold with each retelling.

With every fiber in his soul, Cassyr cursed the living god Vivec.

21 Frostfall, 2920
The Imperial City, Cyrodiil

Corda, in a robe of blinding whiteness, a uniform of the priestesses of the Hegathe Morwha conservatorium, arrived in the City just as the first winter storm was passing. The clouds broke with sunlight, and the beauteous teenaged Redguard girl appeared in the wide avenue with escort, riding toward the Palace. While her sister was tall, thin, angular, and haughty, Corda was a small, round-faced lass with wide brown eyes. The locals were quick to draw comparisons.

�Not a month after Lady Rijja's execution,� muttered a housemaid, peering out the window, and winking to her neighbor.

�And not a month out of the nunnery neither,� the other woman agreed, reveling in the scandal. �This one's in for a ride. Her sister weren't no innocent, and look where she ended up.�

24 Frostfall, 2920
Dwynnen, High Rock

Cassyr stood on the harbor and watched the early sleet fall on the water. It was a pity, he thought, that he was prone to sea-sickness. There was nothing for him now in Tamriel to the east or to the west. Vivec's tale of his poor spycraft had spread to taverns everywhere. The Baron of Dwynnen had released him from his contract. No doubt they were laughing about him in Daggerfall, too, and Dawnstar, Lilmoth, Rimmen, Greenheart, probably in Akavir and Yokuda for that matter. Perhaps it would be best to drop into the waves and sink. The thought, however, did not stay long in his mind: it was not despair that haunted him, but rage. Impotent fury that he could not assuage.

�Excuse me, sir,� said a voice behind him, making him jump. �I'm sorry to disturb you, but I was wondering whether you could recommend an inexpensive tavern for me to spend the night.�

It was a young man, a Nord, with a sack over his shoulder. Obviously, he had just disembarked from one of the boats. For the first time in weeks, someone was looking at Cassyr as something other than a colossal, famous idiot. He could not help, black as his mood was, but be friendly.

�You've just arrived from Skyrim?� asked Cassyr.

�No, sir, that's where I'm going,� said the fellow. �I'm working my way home. I've come up from Sentinel, and before that Stros M'kai, and before that Woodhearth in Valenwood, and before that Artaeum in Summurset. Welleg's my name.�

Cassyr introduced himself and shook Welleg's hand. �Did you say you came from Artaeum? Are you a Psijic?�

�No, sir, not anymore,� the fellow shrugged. �I was expelled.�

�Do you know anything about summoning daedra? You see, I want to cast a curse against a particularly powerful person, one might say a living god, and I haven't had any luck. The Baron won't allow me in his sight, but the Baroness has sympathy for me and allowed me the use of their Summoning Chambers.� Cassyr spat. �I did all the rituals, made sacrifices, but nothing came of it.�

�That'd be because of Sotha Sil, my old master,� replied Welleg with some bitterness. �The Daedra princes have agreed not to be summoned by any amateurs at least until the war ends. Only the Psijics may counsel with the daedra, and a few nomadic sorcerers and witches.�

�Witches, did you say?�

29 Frostfall, 2920
Phrygias, High Rock

Pale sunlight flickered behind the mist bathing the forest as Turala, Doryatha, and Celephyna drove their horses on. The ground was wet with a thin layer of frost, and laden down with goods, it was a slippery way over unpaved hills. Turala tried to contain her excitement about coming back to the coven. Wayrest had been an adventure, and she adored the looks of fear and respect the cityfolk gave her. But for the last few days, all she could think of was returning to her sisters and her child.

A bitter wind whipped her hair forward so she could see nothing but the path ahead. She did not hear the rider approach to her side until he was almost upon her. When she turned and saw Cassyr, she shouted with as much surprise as pleasure at meeting an old friend. His face was pale and drawn, but she took it to be merely from travel.

�What brings you back to Phrygias?� she smiled. �Were you not treated well in Dwynnen?�

�Well enough,� said Cassyr. �I have need of the Skeffington coven.�

�Ride with us,� said Turala. �I'll bring you to Mynistera.�

The four continued on, and the witches regaled Cassyr with tales of Wayrest. It was evident that it was also a rare treat for Doryatha and Celephyna to leave Old Barbyn's Farm. They had been born there, as daughters and grand-daughters of Skeffington witches. Ordinary High Rock city life was exotic to them as it was to Turala. Cassyr said little, but smiled and nodded his head, which was encouragement enough. Thankfully, none of the stories they had heard were about his own stupidity. Or at the very least, they did not tell him.

Doryatha was in the midst of a tale she had heard in a tavern about a thief who had been locked overnight in a pawnshop when they crossed over a familiar hill. Suddenly, she halted in her story. The barn was supposed to be visible, but it was not. The other three followed her gaze into the fog, and a moment later, they rode as fast as they could towards what was once the site of the Skeffington coven.

The fire had long since burned out. Nothing but ashes, skeletons, and broken weaponry remained. Cassyr recognized at once the signs of an orc raid.

The witches fell from their horses, racing through the remains, wailing. Celephyna found a tattered, bloody piece of cloth that she recognized from Mynistera's cloak. She held it to her ashen face, sobbing. Turala screamed for Bosriel, but the only reply was the high whistling wind through the ashes.

�Who did this?� she cried, tears streaking down her face. �I swear I'll conjure up the very flames of Oblivion! What have they done with my baby?�

�I know who did it,� said Cassyr quietly, dropping from his horse and walking towards her. �I've seen these weapons before. I fear I met the very fiends responsible in Dwynnen, but I never thought they'd find you. This is the work of assassins hired by the Duke of Mournhold.�

He paused. The lie came easily. Adopt and improvise. What's more, he could tell instantly that she believed it. Her resentment over the cruelty the Duke had shown her had quieted, but never disappeared. One look at her burning eyes told him that she would summon the daedra and wreak his, and her, revenge upon Morrowind. And what's more, he knew they'd listen.

And listen they did. For the power that is greater than desire is rage. Even rage misplaced.


Galasa Uvayn



The afore-mentioned personage has been marked for honorable execution in accordance to the lawful tradition and practice of the Morag Tong Guild. The Bearer of this non-disputable document has official sanctioned license to kill the afore-mentioned personage.



Galerion The Mystic
By Asgrim Kolsgreg



During the early bloody years of the Second Era, Vanus Galerion was born under the name Trechtus, a serf on the estate of a minor nobleman, Lord Gyrnasse of Sollicich-on-Ker. Trechtus' father and mother were common laborers, but his father had secretly, against the law of Lord Gyrnasse, taught himself and then Trechtus to read. Lord Gyrnasse had been advised that literate serfs were an abomination of nature and dangerous to themselves and their lords, and had closed all bookstalls within Sollicich-on-Ker. All booksellers, poets, and teachers were forbidden, except within Gyrnasse's keep. Nevertheless, a small scale smuggling operation kept a number of books and scrolls in circulation right under Gyrnasse's shadow.

When Trechtus was eight, the smugglers were found and imprisoned. Some said that Trechtus's mother, an ignorant and religious woman fearful of her husband, was the betrayer of the smugglers, but there were other rumors as well. The trial of the smugglers was nonexistant, and the punishment swift. The body of Trechtus' father was kept hanging for weeks during the hottest summer Sollicich-on-Ker had seen in centuries.

Three months later, Trechtus ran away from Lord Gyrnasse's estate. He made it as far as Alinor, half-way across Summerset Isle. A band of troubadours found him nearly dead, curled up in a ditch by the side of the road. They nursed him to health and employed him as an errand boy in return for food and shelter. One of the troubadours, a soothsayer named Heliand, began testing Trechtus' mind and found the boy, though shy, to be preternaturally intelligent and sophisticated given his circumstances. Heliand recognized in the boy a commonality, for Heliand had been trained on the Isle of Artaeum as a mystic.

When the troupe was performing in the village of Potansa on the far eastern end of Summurset, Heliand took Trechtus, then a boy of eleven, to the Isle of Artaeum. The Magister of the Isle, Iachesis, recognized potential in Trechtus and took him on as pupil, giving him the name of Vanus Galarion. Vanus trained his mind on the Isle of Artaeum, as well as his body.

Thus was the first Archmagister of the Mages Guild trained. From the Psijics of the Isle of Artaeum, he received his training. From his childhood of want and injustice, he received his philosophy of sharing knowledge.


Grasping Fortune
by Serjo Hlaalu Dram Bero



I am a councilor of House Hlaalu and chose to write this short guide for those who seek to understand us or join us. House Hlaalu is the most open and modern of the Great Houses. We are the only Great House who has embraced the irresistible tides of Imperial law and custom. And thus we have profited by the Empire's new policies, rising from obscurity as the Greatest of the Houses.

In the great wind of progress, tradition cannot stand.

The Redoran may surpass us on the field of battle, but when the dust clears, they will find themselves indebted to us. The Telvanni may know many arcane secrets, but they fight among themselves more than against each other, and they cannot adapt to the ways of the Empire. Ancient and powerful though a Telvanni wizard may be, no individual can withstand the march of history. The Indoril are loved by the people for their gifts and donations, but when the money runs dry, will the people remember? The Dres know how to make money, but they have not learned how not to make enemies.

Grasp fortune by the forelocks. When you see your chances, seize them.

When you see a chance to turn a profit, take it. But do not follow money blindly. There is value in reputation, more than many young Hlaalu realize. This value must be carefully balanced against the more tangible coins in any deal. Theft and murder are bad for business. You can steal from someone, but will he trade with you after that? You can't bargain with a dead man.

There are many ways to do business.

In House Hlaalu you must be fast and agile. You must be able to keep up with business and with the times. You must be able to speak quickly and convincingly. You must be able to trade with the best of merchants and make a profit. You must learn to protect your own property by securing it with hidden chests, locks, and even traps. And when confrontation is unavoidable, it is best to fight quickly in comfortable, light armors with short blades, or to fight from a distance with a marksman's weapons.

Then, reader, would you seize this opportunity to join House Hlaalu? Would you have yourself be counted among the victors in the race for success? Then submit yourself for examination at the Balmora Council Manor. If you have the skills, you will be welcome. And if you have the will, you may serve House Hlaalu, and advance in the ranks, for above all things, House Hlaalu prizes initiative and ambition.

Great Houses of Morrowind



In modern times Morrowind is ruled by five Great Houses: House Hlaalu, House Redoran, House Telvanni, House Indoril, and House Dres. Only three of these Houses have interests in Vvardenfell. The three Great Houses on Vvardenfell identify themselves by their traditional colors: red for Redoran, yellow for Hlaalu, and brown for Telvanni. Thus, members of House Hlaalu may be referred to collectively as Yellows.

The Great Houses traditions derive from ancient Dunmer clan and tribes, but now function as political parties. Dunmer Great House membership is largely a matter of birth and marriage, but Imperial colonists may also become retainers of a Great House, or may be adopted into a Great House. Initially an outlander may gain status in a house as an oath-bonded hireling, pledging exclusive loyalty to a single house and forsaking ambitions with all other houses. Later, after faithful service and advancement in lower ranks, an outlander may seek adoption into a Great House. Adoption and advancement to higher ranks in a Great House requires that a Great House councilor stand as sponsor for the candidate's character and loyalty. Finding a councilor to sponsor an outlander often involves performing a great service for the prospective sponsor.

House Redoran is one of the three Dunmer Great Houses with holdings on Vvardenfell. The Redoran prize the virtues of duty, gravity, and piety. Duty is to one's own honor, and to one's family and clan. Gravity is the essential seriousness of life. Life is hard, and events must be judged, endured, and reflected upon with due care and earnestness. Piety is respect for the gods, and the virtues they represent. A light, careless life is not worth living. Redoran settlements are designed in the Dunmer village style, built of local materials, with organic curves and undecorated exteriors inspired by the landscape and by the shells of giant native insects. Redoran villages are typically centered on Temple compounds and their courtyards, with huts and tradehouses gathered around a central plaza, as in the West Gash village of Gnisis. Ald'ruhn, the Redoran district seat, is exceptional, with its distinctive feature being the colossal prehistoric bug shell that has been adapted as the house's council house.

As a result of its close relationship with the Imperial administration, House Hlaalu has emerged as politically and economically dominant among the Great Houses of Vvardenfell and Morrowind. Hlaalu welcomes Imperial culture and law, Imperial Legions and bureaucracy, and Imperial freedom of trade and religion. Hlaalu still honors the old Dunmer ways -- the ancestors, the Temple, and the noble houses -- but has readily adapted to the rapid pace of change and progress in the Imperial provinces. Unlike the other Great Houses, which are largely hostile to non-Dunmer, House Hlaalu aspires to live in peace and harmony with the other races, and to share in the growth and prosperity of the Empire. Hlaalu public buildings -- tradehouses and craft guilds, manors and council halls -- are designed as simple multi-storied buildings roughly rectangular in plan, featuring arched entranceways and modest decorated exteriors. More modest one-story private dwellings follow the same plan, except with less decoration. Hlaalu plantation estates resemble Temple compounds, with walled precincts enclosing outbuildings for craftsmen and servants, dominated by a grand manor residence in place of a Temple shrine.

The wizard-lords of House Telvanni have traditionally isolated themselves, pursuing wisdom and mastery in solitude. But certain ambitious wizards-lords, their retainers, and clients have entered whole-heartedly into the competition to control and exploit Vvardenfell's land and resources, building towers and bases all along the eastern coast. According to Telvanni principles, the powerful define the standards of virtue, and the Telvanni are unwilling to allow the ambitious Hlaalu to dominate Vvardenfell's untapped resources by default. Telvanni architecture is dominated by the wizards' tower, a fantastic organic form grown and sculpted from stems, caps, and root-like holdfasts of the giant native mushrooms. Telvanni villages are comprised of smaller mushroom pods hollowed out for craftsmen and commoners. Open-air markets often include the giant cages displaying the wares of the slave masters.

House Indoril and House Dres are the two Great Houses without holdings or interest in Vvardenfell. Indoril District occupies the heartland of Morrowind, comprising the lands south of the Inner Sea and the eastern coast. The city of Almalexia is located in Indoril District, and the Indoril are orthodox and conservative supporters of the Temple and Temple authority. House Indoril is openly hostile to Imperial culture and religion, and preserves many traditional Dunmer customs and practices in defiance of Imperial law. Dres District is in the south of Morrowind, bordering the swamps and marshes of Black Marsh. House Dres is an agrarian agricultural society, and its large saltrice plantations rely completely on slave labor for their economic viability. Always firm Temple supporters, House Dres is hostile to Imperial law and culture, and in particular opposed to any attempts to limit the institution of slavery.


Guide to Ald'ruhn





Principle Districts of Ald'ruhn

Ald'ruhn is the district seat of House Redoran, and one of the largest settlements on Vvardenfell. The three principal districts are Ald'ruhn town, Ald'ruhn-under-Skar, and Buckmoth Fort.

Ald'ruhn town is a large settlement in the Redoran village style, built of local materials, with organic curves and undecorated exteriors inspired by the landscape and by the shells of giant native insects. Most guildhalls, cornerclubs, and merchants are sited in the southwest corner of town, convenient to West Gate and the strider port, while the Temple is located on high ground to the east, and surrounded by a residential section.

Ald'ruhn-under-Skar is the most distinctive architectural feature of Ald'ruhn -- a manor and council district sheltered beneath the shell of an ancient extinct giant crab. The large carapace encloses a central dome, from which radiate the entrances to the Redoran Council chambers, the manors of the Redoran councilors, and shops of a few upscale merchants.

Buckmoth Fort is the Imperial legion garrison for the district. The strong walls and towers of this Western fortress lies a short distance to the south of Ald'ruhn town, through South Gate behind the Mages Guild.

Services

House Redoran services are in the Council House and Councilor's Manors of Ald'ruhn-Under-Skar. The Ald'ruhn Temple on the east side of town provides service for Temple worshipers. Buckmoth Fort offers services to the Imperial Legion and devotees of the Imperial cult, including an Imperial cult altar. The guildhalls of the Fighters Guild and Mages Guild are near the South Gate. Pricy but high-quality clothier, alchemist, and enchanter shops are under Skar as well. Commodities at reasonable prices, but with smaller selections, are available from the smith, clothier, trader, pawnbroker, and bookseller near the entrance to Ald'ruhn-Under-Skar. The Ald Skar Inn and the Council Club cornerclub are found to the west, near West Gate and the silt strider port. The Rat in the Pot cornerclub is in south Ald'ruhn, near the guildhalls.

Notable figures

All six Redoran councilors, Brara Morvayn, Hlaren Ramoran, Athyn Sarethi, Garisa Llethri, Miner Arobar, and Bolvyn Venim, have manor residences in Ald'ruhn-Under-Skar. Edwinna Elbert is the Mages Guild steward, and Percius Mercius has recently become the Fighters Guild steward. Old Methal Seran is an eminent Temple priest and scholar. Raesa Pullia is commandant of Buckmoth Fort, but Imsin the Dreamer is the chapter steward. The Redguard Hean is priest of the Imperial cult. Goren Andarysis the guild steward of the Morag Tong, whose guildhall is found in Ald'ruhn-Under-Skar.

Travel and Transportation

Roads lead northwest to Maar Gan and Gnisis villages and by a circuitous western route to Caldera, Balmora, and points south. The road to Balmora swings northwest to avoid the barren wastes, and curves around towards the west until it heads south again to Caldera. Between Ald'ruhn and Caldera are many sidepaths; watch for signposts, or you'll get lost. The silt strider port is along the western town wall, north of West Gate. Silt strider service goes from Ald'ruhn to Balmora, Gnisis, Khuul, or Maar Gan.. Guild guides at the Mages Guild teleport you to Balmora, Vivec, Caldera, and Sadrith Mora for a modest fee. Gnaar Mok is a LONG and exceptionally unpleasant walk west to the coast and then south; there are no trails or marked routes. Casual travelers ill-equipped for the attacks of wild beasts and brigands should keep to the roads and travel services.

Guide to Balmora




Balmora is the district seat of House Hlaalu, and the largest settlement on Vvardenfell after Vivec City. Balmora's four districts are High Town, the Commercial District, Labor Town, and Fort Moonmoth. High Town, on the hill to the west, has the Tribunal Temple, Hlaalu Council Hall, rich manors, better shops, and the Morag Tong guildhall. The Commercial District, just west of the river, is centered on the large plaza north of South Gate, with the strider port along the south wall, east of South Gate. The Fighters Guild and Mages Guild, and most of Balmora's shops and inns, are located along the streets of the Commercial District. Labor Town, east of the river, where the commoners and poor live, has several modest cornerclubs and a few merchants. Fort Moonmoth, a long walk southeast of town, houses the Legion garrison and the Imperial cult.

Services

House Hlaalu services are available at Hlaalu Council Manor in High Town. Temple faithful seek solace and services at the Balmora Temple in the southeast. Outlanders must travel outside the town walls, through South Gate and east along well-marked roads to Fort Moonmoth for Imperial Legion and the Imperial cult services. The guildhalls of the Fighters Guild and Mages Guild are on the street north from the plaza in the Commercial District. Morag Tong services are available at their guildhall in the extreme northwest of High Town. Better shops are in High Town on the hill, with numerous merchants in the Commercial District, west of the river, and a few traders in Labor Town, east of the river.

Notable Figures

None of the Hlaalu counselors live in Balmora. Nileno Dorvayn at the Council Hall is the ranking Hlaalu local. At the Fighters Guild, Eydis Fire-Eye is the steward. Ranis Athrys is the Mages Guild steward. Ethasi Rilvayn is the Morag Tong steward. Feldrelo Sadri is the ranking cleric of the Balmora Tribunal Temple. The colorful 'Sugar Lips' Habasi, a freelance facilitator of no fixed address, is often rumored to be the local boss of the Thieves Guild.

Transportation

A good road leads south to Pelagiad, Seyda Neen, Ebonheart, and Vivec. A rugged wilderness track leads southwest along the Odai River to the fishing village of Hla Oad. Improved roads head north to Caldera and Ald'ruhn. The silt strider port is on the west side of the river near South Gate. Silt strider service goes to Ald'ruhn, Suran, Ald'ruhn, and Seyda Neen. Guild guides at the Mages Guild can teleport you to Ald'ruhn, Vivec, Caldera, and Sadrith Mora for a fee. Hla Oad is southwest on the coast. An unimproved trail leads northeast up the ravines of Foyada Mamaea to Ghostgate; the path is easy to follow, but dangerous beasts threaten pilgrims who travel this route to Ghostgate shrine.


Guide to Sadrith Mora




Sadrith Mora is the district seat of House Telvanni, and home of the Telvanni Council, though only one Telvanni councilor actually lives in Sadrith Mora. Sadrith Mora is an island settlement, and accessible only by sea and teleportation. The town is large, with many craftsmen, traders, and trainers, but it is open only to Telvanni retainers; outsiders should confine themselves to the Gateway Inn, and to Wolverine Hall, the Imperial quarters of the Legion garrison and guilds. The docks are in a sheltered bay on the western side of the island, and a trail leads up from the docks to the Gateway Inn. Beyond the Gateway Inn is the Great Market, with numerous craftsmen and traders, and a small slave market. North of the Great Market is the Telvanni Council Hall, a large orb supported by giant mushroom stalks. To the east of the Great Market is Tel Naga, the towering wizard-tower residence of Telvanni Councilor Mage-Lord Master Neloth.

Services

Outlanders can find services for the Fighters Guild, Mages Guild, and Imperial cult at Wolverine Hall. Members of the Thieves Guild congregate at Dirty Muriel's Cornerclub. Telvanni Great House and Tribunal Temple services are all housed within the Council Hall; additional Telvanni services are available in the Great Market district and in Tel Naga. The Gateway merchant inn is the only establishment with public beds. Members of the Fighters Guild, Mages Guild, and Imperial cults look for hospitality at Wolverine Hall. Telvanni kin and retainers stay at the Gateway, at Wolverine Hall, at a local cornerclub, or at Tel Naga. The Great Market has many services and tradesmen, and many others are scattered through town. There are two cornerclubs: Dirty Muriel's, for outlanders, and Fara's Hole in the Wall for local Dunmer. Tel Naga is Master Neloth's wizard tower.

Notable Figures

If you're not Telvanni or Telvanni retainers, you'll want to know Angaredhel, Prefect of Hospitality at the Gateway merchant inn, and Ery, Gateway's publican. At Wolverine Hall, Hrundi the Nord is the Fighters Guild steward, Procyon Nigiliusis is Mages Guild steward, and Aunius Autrus is the Imperial cult priest. Big Helende, the Thieves Guild Boss, makes frequent appearances at Dirty Muriel's Cornerclub. Telvanni wizards and retainers visit the Council Hall to confer with the Telvanni Mouths (Telvanni Mouths are spokesmen for their councilor mage-lords) Felisa Ulessen, Galos Mathendis, Arara Uvulas, Mallam Ryon, Raven Omayn, and Dalyne Arvel, Telvanni Council clerk. Councilor Mage-Lord Master Neloth lives in Tel Naga, the wizard tower in the center of town.

Transportation

Sadrith Mora is an island; there's no road or bridge to the mainland. To visit the mainland, you must either be able to fly, swim, or water-walk, or you must rely on shipmasters at the docks or the guild guide at the Mages Guild. Gals Arethi at the docks offers ship passage to Ebonheart, Tel Branora, Tel Mora, or Dagon Fel. Iniel at the Wolverine Hall Mages Guild can teleport you to Ald'ruhn, Vivec, Caldera, and Balmora for a modest fee.


Guide to Vivec




Vivec City is the largest settlement on Vvardenfell, and one of the largest cities in the East. Each of the great cantons is the size of a complete town. The High Fane and the palace of Vivec are visited by hundreds of tourists and pilgrims daily. Citizens flock to the Arena for public entertainments like mock battles and comic plays. Outlanders mostly confine themselves to the Foreign Canton, while natives live, work, and shop in the Great House compounds and residential cantons. But most of all, this is Lord Vivec's holy city. The Ministry of Truth, the Temple prison, hangs above the great temple of the High Fane, the Halls of Wisdom and Justice, and Lord Vivec's Palace.

Vivec is a city made up of eight cantons, each a little town in itself. On a map, it looks like a cross, with the Foreign Quarter at the top, the Temple Compound, with Vivec's Palace, the High Fane, the Ministry of Truth, and the Hall of Wisdom and the Hall of Justice at the bottom, the Hlaalu Compound to the west, the Telvanni Compound on the east, and four cantons grouped together at the center of the cross -- Redoran Compound northwest, Arena northeast, St. Delyn's Canton southwest, and St. Olms Canton southeast.

The Foreign Quarter

The Foreign Quarter is the large three-tiered canton to the north. Originally, foreigners were not allowed to enter Vivec any further than the Foreign Quarter, but now outlanders can travel throughout Vivec at will. The Imperial Guilds each have guildhalls and complete services here, and an Imperial cult shrine serves the spiritual needs of the Imperial faithful. Various independent tradesmen, craftsmen, and trainers also rent space here. The Black Shalk Cornerclub rents beds to non-guild visitors.

Temple Compound

The High Fane is the largest Tribunal temple on Vvardenfell. Archcanon Saryoni presides over the temple, along with a large staff of priests, healers, and monks. Pilgrims travel from all over Morrowind to view the High Fane and the Ministry of Truth, and to offer prayer and thanks before the Palace of Vivec. The Ministry of Truth, a celestial body suspended by Vivec's mighty power over the Temple Compound, is the headquarters of the Temple Ordinators, and heretics are imprisoned and re-educated there. The Hall of Wisdom and Hall of Justice contain the executive, administrative, judicial, and martial operations of the Tribunal Temple. The Palace of Vivec is the abode of the god-hero Lord Vivec, the Warrior-Poet of the three deities who comprise Almsivi, the divine patrons of the Tribunal Temple. Only the most devout are admitted to the presence of Lord Vivec, and only at his initiation. Beneath the Palace of Vivec is the Puzzle Canal, a place of worship and testing for questing heroes hoping to receive Vivec's favor. Many choice treasures are guarded by Daedric servants in the Puzzle Canal's dark passages.

Hlaalu Compound

Hlaalu Compound is the westmost canton. The Hlaalu Councilor Crassius Curio has a splendid tier-top mansion here. The tiers below contain Hlaalu treasuries, records, holding cells, and various Great House services. There are two public houses: the Elven Nations and the No Name Club. A variety of craftsmen and tradesmen also have shops at Hlaalu Compound. Some House Hlaalu nobles and retainers prefer to maintain their residences in the less-formal St. Delyn and St. Olms cantons.

Telvanni Compound

Telvanni Compound is the eastmost canton. The mage-lord Mavon Drenim is the ranking Telvanni noble. The Telvanni rent the compound from the Temple, and have to make do with a Velothi tower instead of their preferred mushroom towers. The administrative center includes a treasury and a hall of records. Slaves are housed in the lowest tiers, along with cells full of monsters. There are many tradesmen, craftsmen, and trainers, and the Lizard's Head cornerclub provides lodgings for Telvanni kin and mercenaries.

Redoran Compound

Redoran Compound is the canton south of the Foreign Quarter, west of and next to the Arena. The Redoran administrative center there includes the Redoran Treasury, Hall of Records, and Holding Cells. On the lowest tier is a Redoran shrine and ancestral vaults. Two noble families, the Sarens and the Dralors, have top-tier manors. There are many tradesmen, craftsmen, and trainers, and the Flowers of Gold cornerclub provides lodgings for Redoran kin and retainers.

Arena Compound

The Arena Compound lies between the Redoran compound on the west and the Telvanni compound on the east. The Arena is the site of public entertainments and combat sports. The comfortable domed Arena has seating for hundreds of spectators; beneath the Arena are dressing and storage rooms for entertainers and training rooms and animal pens for the combat competitors.

St. Delyn and St. Olms Residential Cantons

St. Delyn Canton and St. Olms Canton are residence cantons for commoners and paupers. The Temple charges very reasonable rents for comfortable workshops, shops, and apartments, and most of Vvardenfell's crafts and light industry are housed in these cantons. The Abbey of St. Delyn the Wise is on the top tier of St. Delyn, and Hlaalu Councilor Yngling Half-Troll has a top-tier manor on St. Olms.

Transportation

Foot bridges connect with the mainland between the Ebonheart region and Hlaalu Compound, between the north bay region and the Foreign Quarter, and between the east bay region and Telvanni Compound. Good roads lead from the Hlaalu Compound bridge south to Ebonheart and north to Seyda Neen and points north. Good roads lead from the Foreign Quarter bridge west towards Seyda Neen, north towards Suran and the Ascadian Isles, and east towards Molag Mar. Roads from the Telvanni Compound bridge are useful mostly for travelers to Molag Mar. Silt strider service is available at the north end of the Foreign Quarter bridge, traveling from Vivec to Suran, Seyda Neen, Balmora, and Molag Mar. Ships from the docks at the Foreign Quarter travel to Ebonheart, Hla Oad, Molag Mar, and Tel Branora. Ships from nearby Ebonheart sail to Hla Oad, Sadrith Mora, Tel Branora, and the Foreign Quarter of Vivec. Low-fare gondolas shuttle passengers from canton to canton via Vivec's canals.

GUIDE TO VVARDENFELL




Morrowind is the northeastmost province of the Tamrielic Empire, bounded on the north and east by the Sea of Ghosts, on the west by Skyrim, on the southwest by Cyrodiil (also known as the Imperial Province), and on the south by Black Marsh (also known as Argonia). Vvardenfell District encompasses Vvardefell Island, a great land mass dominated by the giant volcano Red Mountain and cut off from mainland Morrowind by the surrounding Inner Sea.

Only recently open to settlement and trade, most of the island's population is confined to the relatively hospitable west and southwest coast, centered on the ancient city of Vivec and the old Great House district centers at Balmora, Ald'ruhn, and Sadrith Mora. The rest of the island is covered by hostile desert wastes, arid grasslands, and volcanic badlands, and thinly populated by the nomadic Ashlander tribes.

Vvardenfell has nine basic geographic regions, each with their own distinctive plants and terrain features. Scholars have based their classifications on the different types of land described by the native Ashlanders, so the designations are recognized by most local traders, travelers, and adventurers. These geographic regions are called: the Ascadian Isles, the Ashlands, Azura's Coast, the Bitter Coast, the Grazelands, Molag Amur, Red Mountain, the West Gash, and Sheogorad.


ASCADIAN ISLES


The Ascadian Isles is a region of lush, green, well-watered southern lowlands where most of Vvardenfell's agriculture is found. The area includes Pelagiad, Suran, Vivec City, and Ald Sotha along with the inland lakes and waterways of the Ascadian Isles proper. The urban areas of Vivec and Ebonheart of the southern coast are densely populated; the inland Ascadian Isles are dotted with small farms and large plantations. The climate is temperate and comfortable, with moderate rainfall.

Ebonheart is the seat of the Imperial government for Vvardenfell district, and a busy center of maritime trade. Castle Ebonheart is the home of Duke Vedam Dren, the district's ruler and Emperor's representative. Also located at Castle Ebonheart are the Vvardenfell District Council chambers and the Hawk Moth Legion garrison. The officers, docks, and warehouses of the East Empire Company are also found in Ebonheart.

Vivec City is the largest settlement on Vvardenfell, and one of the largest cities in the East. Each of the great cantons is the size of a complete town. The High Fane and the palace of Vivec are visited by hundreds of tourists and pilgrims daily. Citizens flock to the Arena for entertainments and war games. Outlanders mostly confine themselves to the Foreign Canton, while natives live, work, and shop in the Great House compounds and residential cantons.

Ald Sotha is a splendid Daedric ruin within sight of Vivec City. Though exotic and picturesque, it is a dangerous site, haunted by old magics, dark cultists, and their Daedric summonings, and not recommended for sightseers.

Suran is an agricultural village in the northeastern corner of the fertile Ascadian Isles region. Two popular pilgrimage sites are nearby -- the Fields of Kummu and the Shrine of Molag Bal.

Pelagiad is a newly chartered Imperial village between Balmora and Vivec City on the western edge of the Ascadian Isles region. The village is right outside the Imperial Legion garrison at Fort Pelagiad. The houses and shops are built in the Western Imperial style, and Pelagiad looks more like a village in the western Empire than a Morrowind settlement.


THE ASHLANDS


The Ashlands are the dry, inhospitable wastelands surrounding the lower slopes of Red Mountain. The Ashlands extend to the Sea of Ghosts in the north, and elsewhere form a wide margin between the blighted Red Mountain region and other geographic regions. The village of Maar Gan is the only sizable permanent Ashlands settlement; Ald'ruhn, the district seat of House Redoran, is on the margin of the region. Ashlanders hunt for game here, and their herds find sparse grazing. It rains rarely, and suffers frequent ash storms.

Maar Gan is a small isolated village in a remote region north of Ald'ruhn. The Maar Gan shrine is an important Temple pilgrimage site.

The Ashlander Urshilaku tribe has a permanent settlement at Urshilaku camp in the Ashlands region north of Maar Gan village.


AZURA'S COAST


The rugged coast and islands of northern and eastern Vvardenfell are called Azura's Coast. The region is rocky, infertile, and largely uninhabited, except for the outpost at Molag Mar, the Telvanni settlements at Sadrith Mora, the wizard towers at Tel Aruhn, Tel Mora, and Tel Branora, and Ahemmusa camp and the remote fishing villages of Ald Redaynia and Dagon Fel on the north coast. There are no roads; most travel is by boat. Despite the rocky terrain, a variety of plants thrive on the regular rainfall.

Sadrith Mora is the district seat of House Telvanni, and home of the Telvanni Council, though only one Telvanni councilor actually lives in Sadrith Mora. Sadrith Mora is an island settlement, and accessible only by sea and teleportation. The town is large, with many services, but it is open only to Telvanni retainers; outsiders must confine themselves to the Gateway Inn.

Tel Branora is the tower and seat of the eccentric Telvanni wizard named Mistress Therana. The tower and its tiny village are located on a rocky promontory at the southeasternmost tip of Azura's Coast.

Tel Fyr is the Telvanni tower of Sorcerer-Lord Divayth Fyr. Beneath the tower is the Corprusarium, a refuge-prison where the deranged, distorted victims of the deadly corprus disease are housed and tended.

Tel Aruhn is the Telvanni tower of Archmagister Gothren, Telvanni Sorcerer-Lord and head of the Telvanni Council. The associated settlement is a sizable village, and the site of the Festival Slave Market, the largest slave market on Vvardenfell.

Tel Mora is the Telvanni tower of Mistress Dratha, an ancient wizard of the Telvanni Council. The small settlement includes a few craftsfolk and a tradehouse.

Tel Vos is the tower of Telvanni wizard and council member Master Aryon. Tel Vos is a peculiar blend of Telvanni and Western architectural styles, and is close to Vos village.

Bal Fell is the "City of Stone," an ancient First Era ruin in the southeastern islands and promontories of Azura's Coast. The site has a nasty reputation, and several Telvanni wizards currently have competing camps of hirelings and adventurers exploring and looting there. Legend says that Bal Fell was built on the site of an ancient Daedric worship center.

The Ashlander Ahemmusa tribe has a permanent settlement at Ahemmusa camp on a rocky promontory at the northeastern tip of the Vvardenfell mainland in the Azura's Coast region.


THE BITTER COAST


The western coast of Vvardenfell from Seyda Neen north to Gnaar Mok is called the Bitter Coast. The salt marshes and humid swamps of this region are uninhabited, with the only settlements found at the good harbors of Gnaar Mok, Hla Oad, and Seyda Neen. Also called the Smuggler's Coast, the region's secluded coves and islands provide refuge for criminal trade, and the frequent rain and fog hides small boats from Excise cutters.

The piercing light of the Grand Pharos at the mouth of the harbor of the port village of Seyda Neen is a beacon to mariners throughout the Inner Sea. Most visitors from the Empire make landfall at the port of Seyda Neen, where they are processed by the Imperial Census and Excise Commission agents of the Coastguard station. The Coastguard cutters docked here control smuggling and piracy on the Inner Sea.

Hla Oad is a tiny isolated fishing village on western Vvardenfell in the Bitter Coast region. A rough track along the River Odai connects Hla Oad with the town of Balmora.

Gnaar Mok is a tiny island fishing village in the Bitter Coast region of western Vvardenfell.


THE GRAZELANDS


The regular rain and dark soils of the Grazelands produce the rich grazing for Ashlander herds that give the region its name. The region lies in the northeast of Vvardenfell, sandwiched between the Ashlands and Azura's Coast. Permanent settlements include Vos village and the towers of Tel Vos and Tel Fyr. The Ashlanders of Zainab camp move their herds across the plains in search of fresh grazing. There are no roads or tracks, but travel is easy across the open plains.

The Ashlander Zainab tribe has a permanent settlement at Zainab camp, near the village of Vos in the Grazelands region.


MOLAG AMUR


Located inland in the southeast of Vvardenfell, Molag Amur is an uninhabited wasteland of rocky hills, steep-sided ravines, lava pools, and barren ash pavements. Pathfinding and travel is extremely difficult in this trackless wilderness, and is complicated by frequent ash storms. The Ashlanders of Erabenimsun camp hunt game here, but few others venture into this region. The worst part of Molag Amur, called the Great Scathes, is considered impassible even by the Ashlanders.

The outpost at Molag Mar is a fortified stronghold on the southeastern edge of the desolate Molag Amur region. Pilgrims bound for the nearby pilgrimage sites at Mount Assarnibibi and Mount Kand take refuge at the outpost's hostels, comforted by the garrison of Redoran and Buoyant Armiger crusaders stationed at the stronghold.

The Ashlander Erabenimsun tribe has a permanent settlement at Erabenimsun camp, an isolated hut settlement in the middle of the desolate Molag Amur region.


RED MOUNTAIN


The dominant feature of Vvardenfell, Red Mountain, is a vast volcano in the center of Vvardenfell. The outer slopes are steep and rugged, and the crater is deep and dotted with surface lava. The Ghostfence, a magical barrier which blocks travel as well as seals in the harmful, disease-laden weather called 'blight,' rings the volcano's outer slopes, and is broken only at Ghostgate. Within the Ghostfence, rain never falls and the sun never shines; the only weather is the red and deadly ash-blight.

Ghostgate is the gate citadel of the Ghostfence Ordinator and Buoyant Armiger garrisons. Ghostgate sits astride the only gap through which the monstrous hosts of Dagoth Ur might emerge from Red Mountain to threaten the rest of Morrowind. The Ghostfence itself is a colossal magical artifact that completely encircles Red Mountain and prevents the Blight from spilling its corruption across the rest of Vvardenfell.


WEST GASH


The western highlands of Vvardefell are called the West Gash. The region extends from the Sea of Ghosts on the northwest coast to the inland town of Balmora, where the region is sandwiched between the Bitter Coast and the Ashlands. The trading village of Gnisis is north of Ald'ruhn, and the fishing villages of Ald Veloth and Khuul lie on the north coast. The town of Caldera lies near Balmora. The herds of the Ashlanders of Urshilaku camp graze on the sparse but hardy highland vegetation.

Balmora is the district seat of House Hlaalu, and the largest settlement on Vvardenfell after Vivec City. Good roads lead north to Ald'ruhn and south to Caldera, Seyda Neen, and Vivec City. The Imperial Legion garrison of Fort Moonmoth lies south of Balmora.

Caldera is a recently chartered Imperial town and mining corporation. The Caldera Mining Company has been granted an Imperial monopoly to remove raw ebony from the rich deposits here. Caldera has the appearance and flavor of a Western Imperial town.

Ald'ruhn is the district seat of House Redoran, and a large settlement. The Redoran Council chambers are located inside the shell of an ancient extinct giant crab. Tracks lead north to Maar Gan and Gnisis villages and south to Balmora.

Gnisis is a small mining and trade village astride the silt strider caravan route between the northwest West Gash and Ald'ruhn.

Ald Velothi and Khuul are tiny fishing villages on the northern coast of the West Gash.


SHEOGORAD


The large island of Sheogorad lies north of Vvardenfell. This island and its associated lesser islands are a maritime wilderness extending north from Vvardenfell into the Sea of Ghosts. The region is largely hostile and uninhabited, with two small villages at Ald Redaynia and Dagon Fel. Only Dagon Fel is reached by ship services; all other island-to-island transport must be provided by the traveler.

Guril Retheran



The afore-mentioned personage has been marked for honorable execution in accordance to the lawful tradition and practice of the Morag Tong Guild. The Bearer of this non-disputable document has official sanctioned license to kill the afore-mentioned personage.



Guylaine's Architecture of the Second Empire



[This is Guylaine Marilie's outdated but entertainingly written and well-illustrated reference on late Dwemer architecture. Excerpt is from the chapter describing the Second Empire style of approaches and defenses, and mentioning the common formal convention of the "Four Tests". The book also mentions that the Telvanni have adopted this Four Tests convention as an aesthetic element in their defenses and approaches to their towers.]

"The Test of Pattern requires the observer to examine and analyze for patterns before he acts, with the understanding that many patterns are subtle or hidden.

"The Test of Disorder requires the observer to proceed systematically when no pattern is perceived. When the observer recognizes that many things must be done, and in no specific order; the procedure is to perceive and order all the things to be done, and, upon doing a thing, to recall how and when that thing has been done. For example, the observer must remember the initial position of a thing, and also the new position of that thing.

"The Test of Evasion requires the observer to examine the obstacle, and compare his resources and abilities; if the obstacle is too difficult, seek for a path around the difficulty.

"The Test of Confrontation requires the observer to examine the obstacle, and compare his resources and abilities; if the obstacle is too difficult, look for a path around the difficulty... but if no path around can be found, confront the obstacle directly."


Hallgerd's Tale
by Tavi Dromio



�I think the greatest warrior who ever lived had to be Vilus Nommenus,� offered Xiomara. �Name one other warrior who conquered more territory.�

�Tiber Septim obviously,� said Hallgerd.

�He wasn't a warrior, he was an administrator, a politician,� said Garaz. �And besides, acreage conquered can't be final means of determining the best warrior. How about skill with a blade?�

�There are other weapons than blades,� objected Xiomara. �Why not skill with an axe or a bow? Who was the greatest master of all weaponry?�

�I can't think of one greatest master of all weaponry,� said Hallgerd. �Balaxes of Agia Nero in Black Marsh was the greatest wielder of a lance. Ernse Llervu of the Ashlands is the greatest master of the club I've ever seen. The greatest master of the katana is probably an Akaviri warlord we've never heard of. As far as archery goes --�

�Pelinal Whitestrake supposedly conquered all of Tamriel by himself,� interrupted Xiomara.

�That was before the First Era,� said Garaz. �It's probably mostly myth. But there are all sorts of great warriors of the modern eras. The Camoran Usurper? The unknown hero who brought together the Staff of Chaos and defeated Jagar Tharn?�

�We can't declare an unknown champion as the greatest warrior. What about Nandor Beraid, the Empress Katariah's champion?� suggested Xiomara. �They said he could use any weapon ever invented.�

�But what happened to him?� smiled Garaz. �He was drowned in the Sea of Ghosts because he couldn't get his armor off. Call me overly particular, but I think the greatest warrior in the world should know how to take armor off.�

�It's kinda hard to judge ability to wear armor as a skill,� said Xiomara. �Either you have basic functionality in a suit of armor or you don't.�

�That's not true,� said Hallgerd. �There are masters in that as well, people who can do things while wearing armor better than we can out of armor. Have you ever heard of Hlaalu Pasoroth, the King's great grandfather?�

Xiomara and Garaz admitted that they had not.

�This was hundreds and hundreds of years ago, and Pasoroth was the ruler of a great estate which he had won by right of being the greatest warrior in the land. It's been said, and truly, that much of the House's current power is based on Pasoroth's earnings as a warrior. Every week he held games at his castle, pitting his skill against the champions of the neighboring estates, and every week, he won something. His great skill wasn't in the use of weaponry, though he was decent enough with an axe and a long sword, but in his ability to move quickly and with great agility wearing a full suit of heavy mail. There were some who said that he moved faster while wearing armor than he did out of it.

�Some months before this story begins, he had won the daughter of one of his neighbors, a beautiful creature named Mena who he had made his wife. He loved her very much, but he was intensely jealous, and with good reason. She wasn't very pleased with his husbandly skills, and the only reason Mena never strayed was because Pasoroth kept a close eye on her. She was, to put it kindly, naturally amorous and resentful of her position as a prize. Wherever he went, he always brought her with him. At the games, she was placed in a special box so that he could see her even while he competed.

�But his real competition, though he didn't know it, was from a handsome young armorer he also had won at one of his competitions. Mena had noticed him, and the armorer, whose name was Taren, had certainly noticed her.�

�This has all the makings of a dirty joke, Hallgerd,� said Xiomara, with a smile.

�I swear that it's entirely true,� said Hallgerd. �The problem facing the lovers was, of course, that they could never be alone. Perhaps because of this, it became a burning obsession to both of them. Taren decided that the best time for them to consummate their love was during the games. Mena feigned illness, so she didn't have to stay in the box, but Pasoroth visited the sickroom every few minutes between fights, so Taren and Mena could never get together. The sound of Pasoroth's armor clunking up the stairs to visit his sick wife gave Taren the idea.

�He crafted his lord a new suit of armor, strong, and bright, and beautifully decorated. For his purposes, Taren rubbed the leg joints with luca dust so the more he sweated and the more he moved them, the more they'd stick together. After a little while, Taren figured, Pasoroth wouldn't be able to walk very quickly, and wouldn't have enough time in between fights to visit his wife. But just in case, Taren also added bells to the legs which rung loudly when they moved, so the couple would be able to hear him coming in plenty of time.

�When the games commenced the following week, Mena feigned illness again and Taren presented his lord with the new armor. Pasoroth was delighted with it, as Taren hoped he would be, and donned it for his first fight. Taren then stole upstairs to Mena's bedchamber.

�All was silent outside as the two began to make love. Suddenly, Mena noticed a peculiar expression on Taren's face and before she had a chance to ask him about it, his head fell off at the neck. Pasoroth was standing behind him with his axe in hand.�

�How did he get upstairs so quickly, with his leg joints gummed up? And didn't they hear the bells ringing?� asked Garaz.

�Well, you see, when Pasoroth realized he couldn't walk on his legs very quickly, he walked on his hands.�

�I don't believe it,� laughed Xiomara.

�What happened next?� asked Garaz. �Did Pasoroth kill Mena also?�

�No one knows exactly what happened next,� said Hallgerd. �Pasoroth didn't return for the next game, nor for the next. Finally, at the fourth game, he returned to fight, and Mena appeared in the box to watch. She didn't appear to be sick anymore. In fact, she was smiling and had a light flush to her face.�

�They did it?� cried Xiomara.

�I don't have all the salacious details, except that after the battle, it took ten squires thirteen hours to get Pasoroth's armor off because of all the luca dust mixed with sweat.�

�I don't understand, you mean, he didn't take his armor off when they -- but how?�

�Like I said,� replied Hallgerd. �This is a story about someone who was more agile and accomplished in his armor than out of it.�

�Now, that's skill,� said Garaz.


Hanging Gardens of Wasten Coridale



[This book was apparently written in Dwemer and translated to Aldmeris. Only fragments of the Aldmeris is readable, but it may be enough for a scholar of Aldmeris to translate fragments of other Dwemer books.]

...guide Altmer-Estrial led with foot-flames for the town-center where lay dead the quadrangular gardens...
...asked the foundations and chains and vessels their naming places...
...why they did not use solid sound to teach escape from the Earth Bones nor nourished them with frozen flames...
....the word I shall have once written of, this "art" our lesser cousins speak of when their admirable ignorance...
...but neither words nor experience cleanses the essence of the strange and terrible ways of defying our ancestors' transient rules.

[The translation ends with a comment in Dwemer in a different hand, which you can translate.]
Put down your ardent cutting-globes, Nbthld. Your Aldmeris has the correct words, but they cannot be properly misinterpreted.

Hearth Fire
Book Nine of
2920, The Last Year of the First Era
by Carlovac Townway



2 Hearth Fire, 2920
Gideon, Black Marsh

The Empress Tavia lay across her bed, a hot late summer wind she could not feel banging the shutters of her cell to and fro against the iron bars. Her throat felt like it was on fire but still she sobbed, uncontrollably, wringing her last tapestry in her hands. Her wailing echoed throughout the hollow halls of Castle Giovese, stopping maids in their washing and guards in their conversation. One of her women came up the narrow stairs to see her mistress, but her chief guard Zuuk stood at the doorway and shook his head.

�She's just heard that her son is dead,� he said quietly.

5 Hearth Fire, 2920
The Imperial City, Cyrodiil

�Your Imperial Majesty,� said the Potentate Versidue-Shaie through the door. �You can open the door. I assure you, you're perfectly safe. No one wants to kill you.�

�Mara's blood!� came the Emperor Reman III's voice, muffled, hysterical, tinged with madness. �Someone assassinated the Prince, and he was holding my shield! They could have thought he was me!�

�You're certainly correct, your Imperial Majesty,� replied the Potentate, expunging any mocking qualities from his voice while his black-slitted eyes rolled contemptuously. �And we must find and punish the evildoer responsible for your son's death. But we cannot do it without you. You must be brave for your Empire.�

There was no reply.

�At the very least, come out and sign the order for Lady Rijja's execution,� called the Potentate. �Let us dispose of the one traitor and assassin we know of.�

A brief pause, and then the sound of furniture scraping across the floor. Reman opened the door just a crack, but the Potentate could see his angry, fearful face, and the terrible mound of ripped tissue that used to be his right eye. Despite the best healers in the Empire, it was still a ghastly souvenir of the Lady Rijja's work in Thurzo Fortress.

�Hand me the order,� the Emperor snarled. �I'll sign it with pleasure.�

6 Hearth Fire, 2920
Gideon, Cyrodiil

The strange blue glow of the will o' the wisps, a combination, so she'd be told, of swamp gas and spiritual energy, had always frightened Tavia as she looked out her window. Now it seemed strangely comforting. Beyond the bog lay the city of Gideon. It was funny, she thought, that she had never stepped foot in its streets, though she had watched it ever day for seventeen years.

�Can you think of anything I've forgotten?� she asked, turning to look back on the loyal Kothringi Zuuk.

�I know exactly what to do,� he said simply. He seemed to smile, but the Empress realized that it was only her own face reflected in his silvery skin. She was smiling, and she didn't even realize it.

�Make certain you aren't followed,� she warned. �I don't want my husband to know where my gold's been hiding all these years. And do take your share of it. You've been a good friend.�

The Empress Tavia stepped forward and dropped from sight into the mists. Zuuk replaced the bars on the tower window, and threw a blanket over some pillows on her bed. With any luck, they would not discover her body on the lawn until morning, at which time he hoped to be halfway to Morrowind.

9 Hearth Fire, 2920
Phrygias, High Rock

The strange trees on all sides resembled knobby piles crowned with great bursts of reds, yellows, and oranges, like insect mounds caught fire. The Wrothgarian mountains were fading into the misty afternoon. Turala marveled at the sight, so alien, so different from Morrowind, as she plodded the horse forward into an open pasture. Behind her, head nodding against his chest, Cassyr slept, cradling Bosriel. For a moment, Turala considered jumping the low painted fence that crossed the field, but she thought better of it. Let Cassyr sleep for a few more hours before giving him the reigns.

As the horse passed into the field, Turala saw the small green house on the next hill, half-hidden in forest. So picturesque was the image, she felt herself lull into a pleasant half-sleeping state. A blast of a horn brought her back to reality with a shudder. Cassyr opened his eyes.

�Where are we?� he hissed.

�I don't know,� Turala stammered, wide-eyed. �What is that sound?�

�Orcs,� he whispered. �A hunting party. Head for the thicket quickly.�

Turala trotted the horse into the small collection of trees. Cassyr handed her the child and dismounted. He began pulling their bags off next, throwing them into the bushes. A sound started then, a distant rumbling of footfall, growing louder and closer. Turala climbed off carefully and helped Cassyr unburden the horse. All the while, Bosriel watched open-eyed. Turala sometimes worried that her baby never cried. Now she was grateful for it. With the last of the luggage off, Cassyr slapped the horse's rear, sending it galloping into the field. Taking Turala's hand, he hunkered down in the bushes.

�With luck,� he murmured. �They'll think she's wild or belongs to the farm and won't go looking for the rider.�

As he spoke, a horde of orcs surged into the field, blasting their horns. Turala had seen orcs before, but never in such abundance, never with such bestial confidence. Roaring with delight at the horse and its confused state, they hastened past the timber where Cassyr, Turala, and Bosriel hid. The wildflowers flew into the air at their stampede, powdering the air with seeds. Turala tried to hold back a sneeze, and thought she succeeded. One of the orcs heard something though, and brought another with him to investigate.

Cassyr quietly unsheathed his sword, mustering all the confidence he could. His skills, such as they were, were in spying, not combat, but he vowed to protect Turala and her babe for as long as he could. Perhaps he would slay these two, he reasoned, but not before they cried out and brought the rest of the horde.

Suddenly, something invisible swept through the bushes like a wind. The orcs flew backwards, falling dead on their backs. Turala turned and saw a wrinkled crone with bright red hair emerge from a nearby bush.

�I thought you were going to bring 'em right to me,� she whispered, smiling. �Best come with me.�

The three followed the old woman through a deep crevasse of bramble bushes that ran through the field toward the house on the hill. As they emerged on the other side, the woman turned to look at the orcs feasting on the remains of the horse, a blood-soaked orgy to the beat of multiple horns.

�That horse yours?� she asked. When Cassyr nodded, she laughed loudly. �That's rich meat, that is. Those monsters'll have bellyaches and flatulence in the morning. Serves 'em right.�

�Shouldn't we keep moving?� whispered Turala, unnerved by the woman's laughter.

�They won't come up here,� she grinned, looking at Bosriel who smiled back. �They're too afraid of us.�

Turala turned to Cassyr, who shook his head. �Witches. Am I correct in assuming that this is Old Barbyn's Farm, the home of the Skeffington Coven?�

�You are, pet,� the old woman giggled girlishly, pleased to be so infamous. �I am Mynista Skeffington.�

�What did you do to those orcs?� asked Turala. �Back there in the thicket?�

�Spirit fist right side the head,� Mynista said, continuing the climb up the hill. Ahead of them was the farmhouse grounds, a well, a chicken coop, a pond, women of all ages doing chores, the laughter of children at play. The old woman turned and saw that Turala did not understand. �Don't you have witches where you come from, child?�

�None that I know of,� she said.

�There are all sorts of wielders of magic in Tamriel,� she explained. �The Psijics study magic like its their painful duty. The battlemages in the army on the other end of the scale hurl spells like arrows. We witches commune and conjure and celebrate. To fell those orcs, I merely whispered to the spirits of the air, Amaro, Pina, Tallatha, the fingers of Kynareth, and the breath of the world, with whom I have an intimate acquaintance, to smack those bastards dead. You see, conjuration is not about might, or solving riddles, or agonizing over musty old scrolls. It's about fostering relations. Being friendly, you might say.�

�Well, we certainly appreciate you being friendly with us,� said Cassyr.

�As well you might,� coughed Mynista. �Your kind destroyed the orc homeland two thousand years ago. Before that, they never came all the way up here and bothered us. Now let's get you cleaned up and fed.�

With that, Mynista led them into the farm, and Turala met the family of the Skeffington Coven.

11 Hearth Fire, 2920
The Imperial City, Cyrodiil

Rijja had not even tried to sleep the night before, and she found the somber music played during her execution to have a soporific effect. It was as if she was willing herself to be unconscious before the ax stroke. Her eyes were bound so she could not see her former lover, the Emperor, seated before her, glaring with his one good eye. She could not see the Potentate Versidue-Shaie, his coil neatly wrapped beneath him, a look of triumph in his golden face. She could feel, numbly, the executioner's hand touch her back to steady her. She flinched like a dreamer trying to awake.

The first blow caught the back of her head and she screamed. The next hacked through her neck, and she was dead.

The Emperor turned to the Potentate wearily, �Now that's done. You said she had a pretty sister in Hammerfell named Corda?�

18 Hearth Fire, 2920
Dwynnen, High Rock

The horse the witches had sold him was not as good as his old one, Cassyr considered. Spirit worship and sacrifice and sisterhood might be all well and good for conjuring spirits, but it tends to spoil beasts of burden. Still, there was little to complain about. With the Dunmer woman and her child gone, he had made excellent time. Ahead were the walls surrounding the city of his homeland. Almost at once, he was set upon by his old friends and family.

�How went the war?� cried his cousin, running to the road. �Is it true that Vivec signed a peace with the Prince, but the Emperor refuses to honor it?�

�That's not how it was, was it?� asked a friend, joining them. �I heard that the Dunmer had the Prince murdered and then made up a story about a treaty, but there's no evidence for it.�

�Isn't there anything interesting happening here?� Cassyr laughed. �I really don't have the least interest in discussing the war or Vivec.�

�You missed the procession of the Lady Corda,� said his friend. �She came across the bay with full entourage and then east to the Imperial City.�

�But that's nothing. What was Vivec like?� asked his cousin eagerly. �He supposed to be a living god.�

�If Sheogorath steps down and they need another God of Madness, he'll do,� said Cassyr haughtily.

�And the women?� asked the lad, who had only seen Dunmer ladies on very rare occasions.

Cassyr merely smiled. Turala Skeffington flashed into his mind for an instant before fading away. She would be happy with the coven, and her child would be well cared for. But they were part of the past now, a place and a war he wanted to forget forever. Dismounting his horse, he walked it into the city, chatting of trivial gossip of life on the Iliac Bay.


Honor Among Thieves
by Arnie the Scrib



Many admirers ask, "Arnie, how can I become a flash and prosperous fellow like you?"

And I tell them, "You want to join the Guild. Make friends. Be a part of something."

"But who can join?" they ask.

We're just like any other trade guild. We've got requirements. And if you want to advance in the ranks, we've got standards.

You want to be fast and agile. You want to move undetected. You want to know about security -- locks, traps, and how to get around them. You want to defend yourself. You travel light and fast, and want light arms like daggers and shortswords. You don't want to get into a slugging match, so you want the marksman's weapons -- the bow, crossbow, throwing star, and dart. You want light armor, so you can keep moving, and moving fast.

Why belong? Simple. Everybody needs friends.

The help of friends includes information. Your friends at the Thieves Guild know where the action is, and where the action is safe, and where it is not. The help of friends includes a place to rest, and a place to buy supplies and services -- training and tools. The help of friends includes fixing things with the guards at a discount rate. That's where the 'honor among thieves' part comes in. Friends stick together, and help each other.

"But what about the competition?" my admirers ask.

The competition is the Camonna Tong. And you don't want to join them, because they don't want you. They have this thing about outlanders. They want them all dead. So, unless your ambition is to be dead, you don't want to join them.

And the Camonna Tong are bad people. The Camonna Tong don't mind killing people. Heck, they LIKE killing people. The Thieves Guild, on the other hand, thinks killing people is bad business. You want to be good people, right? So join the Thieves Guild, and stay far, far away from the Camonna Tong.

So you want to join. But where do you look?

Being a thief is not like being a fighter. You don't just go to the local guild Hall. The Thieves Guild doesn't have Guild Halls. But thieves like to be where their friends are. And where are their friends? At the local cornerclub or tradehouse. In Vvardenfell, look for friends in Balmora, Ald'ruhn, Sadrith Mora, and the Foreign Quarter of Vivec.


How Orsinium Passed to the Orcs
by Menyna Gsost



The year was 3E 399 and standing on a mountainside overlooking a vast tract of land between the lands of Menevia and Wayrest was a great and learned judge, an arbitrator and magistrate, impartial in his submission to the law.

�You have a very strong claim to the land, my lad,� said the judge. �I won't lie to you about that. But your competition has an equal claim. This is what makes my particular profession difficult at times.�

�You would call it my competition?� sneered Lord Bowyn, gesturing to the Orc. The creature, called Gortwog gro-Nagorm, looked up with baleful eyes.

�He has ample documentation to make a claim on the land,� the magistrate shrugged. �And the particular laws of our land do not discriminate between particular races. We had a Bosmer regency once, many generations ago.�

�But what if a pig or a slaughterfish turned up demanding the property? Would they have the same legal rights as I?�

�If they had the proper papers, I'm afraid so,� smiled the judge. �The law is very clear that if two claimants with equal titles to the property are set in deadlock, a duel must be held. Now, the rules are fairly archaic, but I've had opportunity to look them over, and I think they're still valid. The Imperial council agrees.�

�What must we do?� asked the Orc, his voice low and harsh, unused to the tongue of the Cyrodiils.

�The first claimant, that's you, Lord Gortwog, may choose the armor and weapon of the duelists. The second claimant, that's you, Lord Bowyn, may choose the location. If you would prefer, either or both you may choose a champion or you may duel yourself.�

The Breton and the Orc looked at one another, evaluating. Finally, Gortwog spoke, �The armor will be Orcish and the weapons will be common steel long swords. No enchantments. No wizardry allowed.�

�The arena will be the central courtyard of my cousin Lord Berylth's palace in Wayrest,� said Bowyn, looking Gortwog in the eye scornfully. �None of your kind will be allowed in to witness.�

So it was agreed. Gortwog declared that he would fight the duel himself, and Bowyn, who was a fairly young man and in better than average condition, felt that he could not keep his honor without competing himself as well. Still, upon arriving at his cousin's palace a week before the duel was scheduled, he felt the need to practice. A suit of Orcish armor was purchased and for the first time in his life, Bowyn wore something of tremendous weight and limited facility.

Bowyn and Berylth sparred in the courtyard. In ten minutes times, Bowyn had to stop. He was red-faced and out of breath from trying to move in the armor: to add to his exasperation, he had not scored one blow on his cousin, and had dozens of feinted strikes scored on him.

�I don't know what to do,� said Bowyn over dinner. �Even if I knew someone who could fight properly in that beastly steel, I couldn't possibly send in a champion to battle Gortwog.�

Berylth commiserated. As the servants cleared the plates, Bowyn stood up in his seat and pointed at one of them: �You didn't tell me you had an Orc in your household!�

�Sir?� whined the elderly specimen, turning to Lord Berylth, certain that he caused offense somehow.

�You mean Old Tunner?� laughed Berylith. �He's been with my house for ages. Would you like him to give you training on how to move in Orcish armor?�

�Would you like me to?� asked Tunner obsequiously.

Unknown to Berylith but known to him now, his servant had once ridden with the legendary Cursed Legion of High Rock. He not only knew how to fight in Orcish armor himself, but he had acted as trainer to other Orcs before retiring into domestic service. Desperate, Bowyn immediately engaged him as his full-time trainer.

�Your try too hard, sir,� said the Orc on their first day in the arena. �It is easy to strain yourself in heavy mail. The joints are just so to let you to bend with only a little effort. If you fight against the joints, you won't have any strength to fight your foe.�

Bowyn tried to follow Tunner's instructions, but he quickly grew frustrated. And the more frustrated he got, the more intensity he put into his work, which tired him out even quicker. While he took a break to drink some water, Berylith spoke to his servant. If they were optimistic about Bowyn's chances, their faces did not show it.

Tunner trained Bowyn hard the next two days, but her Ladyship Elysora's birthday followed hard upon them, and Bowyn enjoyed the feast thoroughly. A liquor of poppies and goose fat, and cock tinsh with buttered hyssop for a first course; roasted pike, combwort, and balls of rabbit meat for a second; sliced fox tongues, ballom pudding with oyster gravy, battaglir weed and beans for the main course; collequiva ice and sugar fritters for dessert. As Bowyn was settling back afterwards, his eyes weary, he suddenly spied Gortwog and the judge entering the room.

�What are you doing here?� he cried. �The duel's not for another two days!�

�Lord Gortwog asked that we move it to tonight,� said the judge. �You were training when my emisary arrived two days ago, but his lordship your cousin spoke for you, agreeing to the change of date.�

�But there's no time to assemble my supporters,� complained Bowyn. �And I've just devoured a feast that would kill a lesser man. Cousin, how could you neglect to tell me?�

�I spoke to Tunner about it,� said Berylith, blushing, unused to deception. �We decided that you would be best served under these conditions.�

The battle in the arena was sparsely attended. Saturated with food, Bowyn found himself unable to move very quickly. To his surprise, the armor responded to his lethargy, rotating smoothly and elegantly to each stagger. The more he successfully maneuvered, the more he allowed his mind and not his body to control his defensive and offensive actions. For the first time in his life, Bowyn saw what it was to look through the helmet of an Orc.

Of course, he lost, and rather badly if scores had been tabulated. Gortwog was a master of such battle. But Bowyn fought on for more than three hours before the judge reluctantly called a winner.

�I will name the land Orsinium after the land of my fathers,� said the victor.

Bowyn's first thought was that if he must lose to an Orc, it was best that the battle was largely unwatched by his friends and family. As he left the courtyard to go to the bed he had longed for earlier in the evening, he saw Gortwog speaking to Tunner. Though he did not understand the language, he could see that they knew each other. When the Breton was in bed, he had a servant bring the old Orc to him.

�Tunner,� he said kindly. �Speak frankly to me. You wanted Lord Gortwog to win.�

�That is true,� said Tunner. �But I did not fail you. You fought better than you would have fought two days hence, sir. I did not want Orsinium to be won by its king without a fight.�


Ice and Chitin
By Pletius Spatec



The tale dates to the year 855 of the Second Era, after General Talos had taken the name Tiber Septim and begun his conquest of Tamriel. One of his commanding officers, Beatia of Ylliolos, had been surprised in an ambush while returning from a meeting with the Emperor. She and her personal guard of five soldiers barely escaped, and were separated from their army. They fled across the desolate, sleet-painted rocky cliffs by foot. The attack had been so sudden, they had not even the time to don armor or get to their horses.

�If we can get to the Gorvigh Ridge,� hollered Lieutenant Ascutus, gesturing toward a peak off in the mist, his voice barely discernible over the wind. �We can meet the legion you stationed in Porhnak.�

Beatia looked across the craggy landscape, through the windswept hoary trees, and shook her head: �Not that way. We'll be struck down before we make it halfway to the mountain. You can see their horses' breath through the trees.�

She directed her guard toward a ruined old keep on the frozen isthmus of Nerone, across the bay from Gorvigh Ridge. Jutting out on a promontory of rock, it was like many other abandoned castles in northern Skyrim, remnants of Reman Cyrodiil's protective shield against the continent of Akavir. As they reached their destination and made a fire, they could hear the army of the warchiefs of Danstrar behind them, making camp on the land southwest, blocking the only escape but the sea. The soldiers assessed the stock of the keep while Beatia looked out to the fog-veiled water through the casements of the ruin.

She threw a stone, watching it skip across the ice trailing puffs of mist before it disappeared with a splash into a crack in the surface.

�No food or weaponry to be found, commander,� Lieutenant Ascutus reported. �There's a pile of armor in storage, but it's definitely taken on the elements over the years. I don't know if it's salvageable at all.�

�We won't last long here,� Beatia replied. �The Nords know that we'll be vulnerable when night falls, and this old rock won't hold them off. If there's anything in the keep we can use, find it. We have to make it across the ice floe to the Ridge.�

After a few minutes of searching and matching pieces, the guards presented two very grimy, scuffed and cracked suits of chitin armor. Even the least proud of the adventurers and pirates who had looted the castle over the years had thought the shells of chitin beneath their notice. The soldiers did not dare to clean them: the dust looked to be the only adhesive holding them together.

�They won't offer us much protection, just slow us down,� grimaced Ascutus. �If we run across the ice as soon as it gets dark--�

�Anyone who can plan and execute an ambush like the warchiefs of Danstrar will be expecting that. We need to move quickly, now, before they're any closer.� Beatia drew a map of the bay in the dust, and then a semicircular path across the water, an arc stretching from the castle to the Gorvigh Ridge. �The men should go the long way across the bay like so. The ice is thick there a ways from the shoreline, and there are a lot of rocks for cover.�

�You're not staying behind to hold the castle!�

�Of course not,� Beatia shook her head and drew a straight line from the castle to the closest shore across the Bay. �I'll take one of the chitin suits, and try to cross the water here. If you don't see or hear me when you've made it to land, don't wait -- just get to Porhnak.�

Lieutenant Ascutus tried to dissuade his commander, but he knew that she was would never order one of her men to perform the suicidal act of diversion, that all would die before they reached Gorvigh Ridge if the warlords' army was not distracted. He could find only one way to honor his duty to protect his commanding officer. It was not easy convincing Commander Beatia that he should accompany her, but at last, she relented.

The sun hung low but still cast a diffused glow, illuminating the snow with a ghostly light, when the five men and one woman slipped through the boulders beneath the castle to the water's frozen edge. Beatia and Ascutus moved carefully and precisely, painfully aware of each dull crunch of chitin against stone. At their commander's signal, the four unarmored men dashed towards the north across the ice.

When her men had reached the first fragment of cover, a spiral of stone jutting a few yards from the base of the promontory, Beatia turned to listen for the sound of the army above. Nothing but silence. They were still unseen. Ascutus nodded, his eyes through the helm showing no fear. The commander and her lieutenant stepped onto the ice and began to run.

When Beatia had surveyed the bay from the castle ramparts, the crossing closest to shore had seemed like a vast, featureless plane of white. Now that she was down on the ice, it was even more flat and stark: the sheet of mist rose only up their ankles, but it billowed up at their approach like the hand of nature itself was pointing out their presence to their enemies. They were utterly exposed. It came almost as a relief when Beatia heard one of the warchiefs' scouts whistle a signal to his masters.

They didn't have to turn around to see if the army was coming. The sound of galloping hoofs and the crash of trees giving way was very clear over the whistling wind.

Beatia wished she could risk a glance to the north to see if her men were hidden from view, but she didn't dare. She could hear Ascutus running to her right, keeping pace, breathing hard. He was used to wearing heavier armor, but the chitin joints were so brittle and tight from years of disuse, it was all he could do to bend them.

The rocky shore to the Ridge still looked at eternity away when Beatia felt and heard the first volley of arrows. Most struck the ice at their feet with sharp cracking sounds, but a few nearly found home, ricocheting off their backs. She silently offered a prayer of thanks to whatever anonymous shellsmith, now long dead, had crafted the armor. They continued to run, as the first rain of arrows was quickly followed by a second and a third.

�Thank Stendarr,� Ascutus gasped. �If there was only leather in the keep, we'd be pierced through and through. Now if only it weren't... so rigid...�

Beatia felt her own armor joints begin to set, her knees and hips finding more and more resistance with every step. There could be no denying it: they were drawing closer toward the shore, but they were running much more slowly. She heard the first dreadful galloping crunch of the army charging across the floe toward them. The riders were cautious on the slippery ice, not driving their horses at full speed, but Beatia knew that they would be upon the two of them soon.

The old chitin armor could withstand the bite of a few arrows, but not a lance driven with the force of a galloping horse. The only great unknown was time.

The thunder of beating hooves was deafening behind them when Ascutus and Beatia reached the edge of the shore. The giant, jagged stones that strung around the beach blockaded the approach. Beneath their feet, the ice sighed and crackled. They could not stand still, run forward, nor run back. Straining against the tired metal in the armor joints, they took two bounds forward and flew at the boulders.

The first landing on the ice sounded an explosive crack. When they rose for the final jump, it was on a wave of water so cold it felt like fire through the thin armor. Ascutus's right hand found purchase in a deep fissure. Beatia gripped with both hands, but her boulder was slick with frost. Faces pressed to the stone, they could not turn to face the army behind them.

But they heard the ice splintering, and the soldiers cry out in terror for just an instant. Then there was no sound but the whining of the wind and the purring lap of the water. A moment later, there were footsteps on the cliff above.

The four guardsmen had crossed the bay. There were two to pull Beatia up from the face of the boulder, and another two for Ascutus. They strained and swore at the weight, but finally they had their commander and her lieutenant safely on the edge of Gorvigh Ridge.

�By Mara, that's heavy for light armor.�

�Yes,� smiled Beatia wearily, looking back over the empty broken ice floe, the cracks radiating from the parallel paths she and Ascutus had run. �But sometimes that's good.�


Idroso Vendu & Ethal Seloth



The afore-mentioned have been marked for honorable execution in accordance to the lawful tradition and practice of the Morag Tong Guild. The Bearer of this non-disputable document has official sanctioned license to kill the afore-mentioned personages.



Imperial Charter of the Guild of Fighters



I. Purpose

The Guild of Fighters provides employment to free-swords and mercenaries and contracts to local citizens. Citizens may contract with the Guild for the removal of creatures and pests, the delivery of goods on dangerous routes, the collection of beasts for the arenas, and other duties defined by the Guild Stewards.

II. Authority

The Guild of Fighters was established under the section 4 of the "Guilds Act," and this charter was first confirmed under the Potentate Versidue-Shaie in the 321st year of the Second Era.

III. Rules and Procedures

Any member of the Guild of Fighters who strikes or steals from another member shall be expelled from the Guild. Re-admittance is at the discretion of the Guild Stewards.

Citizens who contract with the Guild of Fighters and have a dispute may appeal first to the Guild Steward who accepted the contract and second with the authorities of each Province.

IV. Membership Requirements

The Guild selects candidates who are strong and healthy. A candidate must have some proficiency with long blades, axes, blunt weapons, and shields. Guildsmen must be able to use and maintain heavy armor.

V. Applications for Membership

Candidates must present themselves to the Steward of the Guild Hall for examination and approval.

ATTACHMENT A: Fighters Guild Chapters in Vvardenfell District, Province of Morrowind

Chapters are established in Guild-owned, free-standing guildhalls in the towns of Ald'ruhn and Balmora. The chapter in Sadrith Mora is established in Wolverine Hall under lease from the Telvanni Council. The chapter in Vivec is established in the Foreign Quarter under lease from the Tribunal Temple.


Imperial Charter of the Guild of Mages



I. Purpose

The Guild of Mages provides benefits to scholars of magic and established laws regarding the proper use of magic. The Guild is dedicated to the collection, preservation, and distribution of magical knowledge with an emphasis on ensuring that all citizens of Tamriel benefit from this knowledge.

II. Authority

The Guild of Mages was established on Summerset Isle in the year 230 of the Second Era by Vanus Galerion and Rilis XII. It was later confirmed by the "Guilds Act" of Potentate Versidue-Shaie.

III. Rules and Procedures

Crimes against fellow members of the Guild are treated with the harshest discipline. Whether a member may regain their status in the Guild is determined by the Arch-Mage.

IV. Membership Requirements

The Guild of Mages only accepts candidates of keen intelligence and dominant will. Candidates must exhibit mastery in the great schools of magic: Destruction, Alteration, Illusion, and Mysticism. Candidates must also display practical knowledge of enchantments and alchemical processes.

V. Applications for Membership

Candidates must present themselves to the Steward of the Guild Hall for examination and approval.

ATTACHMENT A: Mages Guild Chapters in Vvardenfell District, Province of Morrowind

Chapters are established in Guild-owned, free-standing guildhalls in the towns of Ald'ruhn, Balmora, and Caldera. The chapter in Sadrith Mora is established in Wolverine Hall under lease from the Telvanni Council. The chapter in Vivec is established in the Foreign Quarter under lease from the Tribunal Temple.


Incident in Necrom
by Jonquilla Bothe



�The situation simply is this,� said Phlaxith, his face as chiseled and resolute as any statue. �Everyone knows that the cemetery west of the city is haunted by some malevolent beings, and has been for many years now. The people have come to accept it. They bury their dead by daylight, and are away before Masser and Secunda have risen and the evil comes forth. The only victims to fall prey to the devils within are the very stupid and the outsiders.�

�It sounds like a natural solution to filtering out the undesirables then,� laughed Nitrah, a tall, middle-aged woman with cold eyes and thin lips. �Where is the gold in saving them?�

�From the Temple. They're re-opening a new monastery near the cemetery, and they need the land cleansed of evil. They're offering a fortune, so I accepted the assignment with the caveat that I could assemble my own team to split the reward. That's why I've sought you each out. From what I've heard, you, Nitrah, are the best bladesman in Morrowind.�

Nitrah smiled her unpleasant best.

�And you, Osmic, are a renowned burglar, though never once imprisoned.�

The bald-pated young man stammered as if to refute the charges, before grinning back, �I'll get you in where you need to go. But then it's up to you to do what you need to do. I'm no combatter.�

�Anything Nitrah and I can't handle, I'm sure Massitha will prove her mettle,� Phlaxith said, turning to the fourth member of the party. �She comes on very good references as a sorceress of great power and skill.�

Massitha was the picture of innocence, round-faced and wide-eyed. Nitrah and Osmic looked at her uncertainly, particularly watching her fearful expressions as Phlaxith described the nature of the creatures haunting the cemetery. It was obvious she had never faced any adversary other than man and mer before. If she survived, they thought to themselves, it would be very surprising.

As the foursome trudged toward the graveyard at dusk, they took the opportunity to quiz their new teammate.

�Vampires are filthy creatures,� said Nitrah. �Disease-ridden, you know. They say off to the west, they'll indiscriminately pass on their curse together with a number of other afflictions. They don't do that here so much, but still you don't want to leave their wounds untreated. I take it you know something of the spells of Restoration if one of us gets bit?�

�I know a little, but I'm no Healer,� said Massitha meekly.

�More of a Battlemage?� asked Osmic.

�I can do a little damage if I'm really close, but I'm not very good at that either. I'm more of an illusionist, technically.�

Nitrah and Osmic looked at one another with naked concern as they reached the gates of the graveyard. There were moving shadows, stray specters among the wrack and ruins, crumbled paths stacked on top of crumbled paths. It wasn't a maze of a place; it could have been any dilapidated graveyard but even without looking at the tombstones, it did have one very noticeable feature. Filling the horizon was the mausoleum of a minor Cyrodilic official from the 2nd Era, slightly exotic but still harmonizing with the Dunmer graves in a complimentary style called decay.

�It's a surprisingly useful School,� whispered Massitha defensively. �You see, it's all concerned with magicka's ability to alter the perception of objects without changing their physical compositions. Removing sensual data, for example, to cast darkness or remove sound or smell from the air. It can help by--�

A red-haired vampire woman leapt out of the shadows in front of them, knocking Phlaxith on his back. Nitrah quickly unsheathed her sword, but Massitha was faster. With a wave of her hand, the creature stopped, frozen, her jaws scant inches from Phlaxith's throat. Phlaxith pulled out his own blade and finished her off.

�That's illusion?� asked Osmic.

�Certainly,� smiled Massitha. �Nothing changed in the vampire's form, except its ability to move. Like I said, it's a very useful School.�

The four climbed up over the paths to the front gateway to the crypt. Osmic snapped the lock and disassembled the poison trap. The sorceress cast a wave of light down the dust-choked corridors, banishing the shadows and drawing the inhabitants out. Almost immediately they were set on by a pair of vampires, howling and screaming in a frenzy of bloodlust.

The battle was joined, so no sooner were the first two vampires felled than their reinforcements attacked. They were mighty warriors of uncanny strength and endurance, but Massitha's paralysis spell and the weaponry of Phlaxith and Nitrah clove through their ranks. Even Osmic aided the battle.

�They're crazy,� gasped Massitha when the fight finally ended and she could catch her breath.

�Quarra, the most savage of the vampire bloodlines,� said Phlaxith. �We have to find and exterminate each and every one.�

Delving into the crypts, the group hounded out more of the creatures. Though they varied in appearance, each seemed to rely on their strength and claws for attacking, and subtlety did not seem to be the style of any. When the entire mausoleum had been searched and every creature within destroyed, the four finally made their way to the surface. It was only an hour until sunrise.

There was no frenzied scream or howl. Nothing rushed forward towards them. The final attack when it happened was so unlike the others that the questors were taken utterly by surprise.

The ancient creature waited until the four were almost out of the cemetery, talking amiably, making plans for spending their share of the reward. He judged carefully who would be the greatest threat, and then launched himself at the sorceress. Had Phlaxith not turned his attention back from the gate, she would have been ripped to shreds before she had a chance to scream.

The vampire knocked Massitha across a stone, its claws raking across her back, but stopped its assault in order to block a blow from Phlaxith's sword. It accomplished this maneuver in its own brutal way, by tearing the warrior's arm from its socket. Osmic and Nitrah set on it, but they found themselves in a losing battle. Only when Massitha had pulled herself back up from behind the pile of rocks, weak and bleeding, that the fight turned. She cast a magickal ball of flame at the creature, which so enraged it that it turned back to her. Nitrah saw her opening and took it, beheading the vampire with a stroke of her sword.

�So you do know some spells of destruction, like you said,� said Nitrah.

�And a few spells of healing too,� she said weakly. �But I can't save Phlaxith.�

The warrior died in the bloodied dust before them. The three were quiet as they traveled across the dawn-lit countryside back toward Necrom. Massitha felt the throb of pain on her back intensify as they walked and then a gradual numbness like ice spread through her body.

�I need to go to a healer and see if I've been diseased,� she said as they reached the city.

�Meet us at the Moth and Fire tomorrow morning,� said Nitrah. �We'll go to the Temple and get our reward and split it there.�

Three hours later, Osmic and Nitrah sat in their room at the tavern, happily counting and recounting the gold marks. Split three ways, it was a very comfortable sum.

�What if the healers can't do anything for Massitha?� smiled Osmic dreamily. �Some diseases can be insidious.�

�Did you hear something in the hall?� asked Nitrah quickly, but when she looked, there was no one there. She returned, shutting the door behind her. �I'm sure Massitha will survive if she went straight to the healer. But we could leave tonight with the gold.�

�Let's have one last drink to our poor sorceress,� said Osmic, leading Nitrah out of the room toward the stairs down.

Nitrah laughed. �Those spells of illusion won't help her track us down, as useful as she keeps saying they are. Paralysis, light, silence -- not so good when you don't know where to look.�

They closed the door behind them.

�Invisibility is another spell of illusion,� said Massitha's disembodied voice. The gold on the table rose in the air and vanished from sight as she slipped it into her purse. The door again opened and closed, and all was silent until Osmic and Nitrah returned a few minutes later.


Interviews With Tapestrists
Volume Eighteen
Cherim's Heart of Anequina
by Livillus Perus
Professor at the Imperial University



Contemporary with Maqamat Lusign (interviewed in volume seventeen of this series) is the Khajiti Cherim, whose tapestries have been hailed as masterpieces all over the Empire for nigh on thirty years now. His four factories located throughout Elsweyr make reproductions of his work, but his original tapestries command stellar prices. The Emperor himself owns ten Cherim tapestries, and his representatives are currently negotiating the sale of five more.

The muted use of color contrasted with the luminous skin tones of Cherim's subjects is a marked contrast with the old style of tapestry. The subjects of his work in recent years have been fabulous tales of the ancient past: the Gods meeting to discuss the formation of the world; the Chimer following the Prophet Veloth into Morrowind; the Wild Elves battling Morihaus and his legions at the White Gold Tower. His earliest designs dealt with more contemporary subjects. I had the opportunity to discuss with him one of his first masterpieces, The Heart of Anequina, at his villa in Orcrest.

The Heart of Anequina presents an historic battle of the Five Year War between Elsweyr and Valenwood which raged from 3E 394 (or 3E 395, depending on what one considers to be the beginning of the war) until 3E 399. In most fair accounts, the war lasted 4 years and 9 months, but artistic license from the great epic poets added an additional three months to the ordeal.

The actual details of the battle itself, as interpreted by Cherim, are explicit. The faces of a hundred and twenty Wood Elf archers can be differentiated one from the other, each registering fear at the approach of the Khajiti army. Their hauberks catch the dim light of the sun. The menacing shadows of the Elsweyr battlecats loom on the hills, every muscle strained, ready to pounce in command. It is not surprising that he got all the details right, because Cherim was in the midst of it, as a Khajiti foot soldier.

Every minute part of the Khajiti medium-weight armor can be seen in the soldiers in the foreground. The embroidered edging and striped patterns on the tunics. Each lacquered plate on loose-fitting leather in the Elsweyr style. The helmets of cloth and fluted silver.

�Cherim does not understand the point of plate mail,� said Cherim. �It is hot, for one, like being both burned and buried alive. Cherim wore it at the insistence of our Nord advisors during the Battle of Zelinin, and Cherim couldn't even turn to see what my fellow Khajiit were doing. Cherim did some sketches for a tapestry of the Battle of Zelinin, but Cherim finds that to make it realistic, the figures came out very mechanical, like iron golems or dwemer centurions. Knowing our Khajiti commanders, Cherim would not be surprised if giving up the heavy plate was more aesthetic than practical.�

�Elsweyr lost the Battle of Zelinin, didn't she?�

�Yes, but Elsweyr won the war, starting at the next battle, the Heart of Anequina,� said Cherim with a smile. �The tide turned as soon as we Khajiit sent our Nordic advisors back to Solitude. We had to get rid of all the heavy armor they brought to us and find enough traditional medium armor our troops felt comfortable wearing. Obviously, the principle advantage of the medium armor was that we could move easily in it, as you can see from the natural stances of the soldiers in the tapestry.

�Now if you look at this poor perforated Cathay-raht who just keeps battling on in the bottom background, you see the other advantage. It seems strange to say, but one of the best features of medium armor is that an arrow will either deflect completely or pass all the way through. An arrow head is like a hook, made to stick where it strikes if it doesn't pass through. A soldier in medium armor will find himself with a hole in his body and the bolt on the other side. Our healers can fix such a wound easily if it isn't fatal, but if the arrow still remains in the armor, as it does with heavier armor, the wound will be reopened every time the fellow moves. Unless the Khajiit strips off the armor and pulls out the arrow, which is what we had to do at the Battle of Zelinin. A difficult and time-consuming process in the heat of battle, to say the least.�

I asked him next, �Is there a self portrait in the battle?�

�Yes,� Cherim said with another grin. �You see the small figure of the Khajiit stealing the rings off the dead Wood Elf? His back is facing you, but he has a brown and orange striped tail like Cherim's. Cherim does not say that all stereotypes about the Khajiit are fair, but Cherim must sometimes acknowledge them.�

A self-deprecating style in self-portraiture is also evident in the tapestries of Ranulf Hook, the next artist interviewed in volume nineteen of this series.


Invocation of Azura
by Sigillah Parate



For three hundred years I have been a priestess of Azura, the Daedric Princess of Moonshadow, Mother of the Rose, and Queen of the Night Sky. Every Hogithum, which we celebrate on the 21st of First Seed, we summon her for guidance, as well as to offer things of worth and beauty to Her Majesty. She is a cruel but wise mistress. We do not invoke her on any Hogithum troubled by thunderstorms, for those nights belong to the Mad One, Sheogorath, even if they do coincide with the occasion. Azura at such times understands our caution.

Azura's invocation is a very personal one. I have been priestess to three other Daedric Princes, but Azura values the quality of her worshippers, and the truth behind our adoration of her. When I was a Dark Elven maid of sixteen, I joined my grandmother's coven, worshippers of Molag Bal, the Schemer Princess. Blackmail, extortion, and bribery are as much the weapons of the Witches of Molag Bal as is dark magic. The Invocation of Molag Bal is held on the 20th of Evening Star, except during stormy weather. This ceremony is seldom missed, but Molag Bal often appears to her cultists in mortal guise on other dates. When my grandmother died in an attempt to poison the heir of Firewatch, I re-examined my faith in the cult.

My brother was a warlock of the cult of Boethiah-and from what he told me, the Dark Warrior was closer to my spirit than the treacherous Molag Bal. Boethiah is a Warrior Princess who acts more overtly than any other Daedroth. After years of skulking and scheming, it felt good to perform acts for a mistress which had direct, immediate consequences. Besides, I liked it that Boethiah was a Daedra of the Dark Elves. Our cult would summon her on the day we called the Gauntlet, the 2nd of Sun's Dusk. Bloody competitions would be held in her honor, and the duels and battles would continue until nine cultists were killed at the hands of other cultists. Boethiah cared little for her cultists-she only cared for our blood. I do think I saw her smile when I accidentally slew my brother in a sparring session. My horror, I think, greatly pleased her.

I left the cult soon after that. Boethiah was too impersonal for me, too cold. I wanted a mistress of greater depth. For the next eighteen years of my life, I worshipped no one. Instead I read and researched. It was in an old and profane tome that I came upon the name of Nocturnal-Nocturnal the Night Mistress, Nocturnal the Unfathomable. As the book prescribed, I called to her on her holy day, the 3rd of Hearth Fire. At last I had found the personal mistress I had so long desired. I strove to understand her labyrinthine philosophy, the source of her mysterious pain. Everything about her was dark and shrouded, even the way she spoke and the acts she required of me. It took years for me to understand the simple fact that I could never understand Nocturnal. Her mystery was as essential to her as savagery was to Boethiah or treachery was to Molag Bal. To understand Nocturnal is to negate her, to pull back the curtains cloaking her realm of darkness. As much as I loved her, I recognized the futility of unraveling her enigmas. I turned instead to her sister, Azura.

Azura is the only Daedra Princess I have ever worshipped who seems to care about her followers. Molag Bal wanted my mind, Boethiah wanted my arms, and Nocturnal perhaps my curiosity. Azura wants all of that, and our love above all. Not our abject slavering, but our honest and genuine caring in all its forms. It is important to her that our emotions be engaged in her worship. And our love must also be directed inward. If we love her and hate ourselves, she feels our pain. I will, for all time, have no other mistress.


Kagrenac's Journal



[The contents of this handwritten journal are in an unfamiliar script in an unknown language. There are many complex diagrams heavily annotated with numbers and strange symbols. The title page, however, is clearly marked in Aldmeris -- 'Kagrenac's Journals'.]

Kagrenac's Planbook



[The contents of this handwritten journal are in an unfamiliar script in an unknown language. There are many complex diagrams heavily annotated with numbers and strange symbols. The title page, however, is clearly marked in Ald Aldmeris -- 'Kagrenac's Planbook'.]

Kagrenac's Tools



[summarized from the Apographa by Gilvas Barelo, Abbot of Holamayan, and various of the Dissident Priests ]

Beneath Red Mountain, Dwemer miners discovered a great magical stone. By diverse methods, Lord Kagrenac, High Priest and Magecrafter of the ancient Dwemer, determined that this magical stone was the heart of the god Lorkhan, cast here in the Dawn Era as a punishment for his mischief in creating the mortal world. Determined to use its divine powers to create a new god for the exclusive benefit of the Dwemer, Kagrenac forged three great enchanted artifacts, which are called "Kagrenac's Tools." Wraithguard is an enchanted gauntlet to protect its wearer from destruction when tapping the heart's power. Sunder is a enchanted hammer to strike the heart and produce the exact volume and quality of power desired. Keening is an enchanted blade that is used to flay and focus the power that rises from the heart.

When Kagrenac used these tools on the heart in the Battle of Red Mountain, no one knows what happened, but the Dwemer race disappeared entirely from the mortal world. Lord Nerevar and Lord Dagoth retrieved these tools, and didn't know what to do with them. Nerevar asked Dagoth to guard the tools while he went to consult with his counselors, Vivec, Almalexia, and Sotha Sil. He left and spoke with his three counselors, and they decided to return together to Red Mountain to decide what to do.

But while Nerevar was gone, Dagoth was tempted and confused by the powers of the tools. When Nerevar and the counselors arrived, he refused to give up the tools, claiming he had sworn to Nerevar to protect them. Then Dagoth fought with Nerevar and the counselors, and was mortally wounded and driven off, and the tools were recovered.

Then Nerevar and his counselors decided to take the tools for safekeeping. They all swore a great oath never to use the tools, but after Nerevar's death, Vivec, Almalexia, and Sotha Sil yielded to temptation. They took these tools themselves and went to Lorkhan's heart buried beneath Red Mountain, and gave themselves divine powers.

But Dagoth had not died. We don't know what happened, but this is what we believe. His experiments with Kagrenac's Tools had joined him to the heart's divine nature in some way, so that he learned to draw power directly from the heart.

We conjecture that Dagoth Ur, driven by anger and greed, used the heart without caution and restraint, and, as a result, he has become terribly powerful, and terribly mad. But the Tribunal showed great care and restraint in their use of the tools, and so they were not driven mad, and they did many good things. Nonetheless, the Tribunal, too, appear to heave been corrupted by the heart's power, though more subtly.

Kagrenac's Tools are cursed. Stealing power from the heart of a god is a terrible folly, and fated to disaster. The Tribunal is losing its battle to control the power of the heart. They are sustained by the same tainted power that drives Dagoth Ur mad. They grow weak, and cannot protect us from Dagoth Ur. But even if they could, would we be wise to worship gods such as these? They conceal the truth from us out of shame. They persecute the Nerevarine and the Dissident priests out of shame, when they should be welcoming them and enlisting their aid against Dagoth Ur.

The Tribunal have done much good for Morrowind and the Dunmer. But they succumbed to the temptation of Kagrenac's Tools, and though these tools once may have seemed the instruments of salvation, now they must be seen as instruments of doom.

Lady Benoch's
Words and Philosophy



Lady Allena Benoch, former master of the Valenwood Fighter's Guild and head of the Emperor's personal guard in the Imperial City, has been leading a campaign to reacquaint the soldiers of Tamriel with the sword. I met with her on three different occasions for the purposes of this book. The first time was at her suite in the palace, on the balcony overlooking the gardens below.

I was early for the interview, which had taken me nearly six months to arrange, but she gently chided me for not being even earlier.

"I've had time to put up my defenses now," she said, her bright green eyes smiling.

Lady Benoch is a Bosmer, a Wood Elf, and like her ancestors, took to the bow in her early years. She excelled at the sport, and by the age of fourteen, she had joined the hunting party of her tribe as a Jaqspur, a long distance shooter. During the black year of 396, when the Parikh tribe began their rampage through southeastern Valenwood with the aid of powers from the Summurset Isle, Lady Benoch fought the futile battle to keep her tribe's land.

"I killed someone for the first time when I was sixteen," she says now. "I don't remember it very well -- he or she was just a blur on the horizon where I aimed my bow. It meant no more to me than shooting animals. I probably killed a hundred people like that during that summer and fall. I didn't really feel like a killer until that wintertide, when I learned what it was like to look into a man's eyes as you spilled his blood.

"It was a scout from the Parikh tribe who surprised me while I was on camp watch. We surprised each other, I suppose. I had my bow at my side, and I just panicked, trying to string an arrow when he was half a yard away from me. It was the only thing I knew to do. Of course, he struck first with his blade, and I just fell back in shock.

"You always remember the mistakes of your first victim. His mistake was assuming because he had drawn blood and I had fallen, that I was dead. I rushed at him the moment he turned from me towards the sleeping camp of my tribesmen. He was caught off guard, and I wrested his blade away from him.

"I don't know how many times I stabbed at him. By the time I stopped, when the next watch came to relieve me, my arms were black and blue with strain, there was not a solid piece of him left. I had literally cut him into pieces. You see, I had no concept of how to fight or how much it took to kill a man."

Lady Benoch, aware of this deficiency in her education, began teaching herself swordsmanship at once.

"You can't learn how to use a sword in Valenwood," she says. "Which isn't to say Bosmer can't use blades, but we're largely self-taught. As much as it hurt when my tribe found itself homeless, pushed to the north, it did have one good aspect: it afforded me the opportunity to meet Redguards."

Studying all manners of weapon wielding under the tutelage of Warday A'kor, Lady Benoch excelled. She became a freelance adventurer, traveling through the wilds of southern Hammerfell and northern Valenwood, protecting caravans and visiting dignitaries from the various dangers indigenous to the population.

Unfortunately, before we were able to pursue her story of her early years any further, Lady Benoch was called away on urgent summons from the Emperor. Such is often the case with the Imperial Guard, and in these troubled times, perhaps, more so than in the past. When I tried to contact her for another talk, her servants informed me than their mistress was in Skyrim. Another month passed, and when I visited her suite, I was told she was in High Rock.

To her credit, Lady Benoch actually sought me out for our second interview on Sun's Dusk of that year. I was in a tavern in the City called the Blood and Rooster, when I felt her hand on my shoulder. She sat down at the rude table and continued her tale as if it had never been interrupted.

She returned to the theme of her days as an adventurer, and told me about the first time she ever felt confident with a sword.

"I owned at that time an enchanted daikatana, quite a good one, of daedric metal. It wasn't an original Akaviri, not even of design. I didn't have that kind of money, but it served my primary purpose of delivering as much damage with as little effort on my part as possible. A'kor had taught me how to fence, but when faced with a life or death situation, I always fell back on the old overhand wallop.

"A pack of orcs had stolen some gold from a local chieftain in Meditea, and I went looking for them in one of the ubiquitous dungeons that dot the countryside in that region. There were the usual rats and giant spiders, and I was enough of a veteran by then to dispatch them with relative ease. The problem came when I found myself in a pitch black room, and all around me, I heard the grunts of orcs nearing in.

"I waved my sword around me, connecting with nothing, hearing their footsteps coming ever nearer. Somehow, I managed to hold back my fear and to remember the simple exercises Master A'kor had taught me. I listened, stepped sideways, swung, twisted, stepped forward, swung a circle, turned around, side-stepped, swung.

"My instinct was right. The orcs had gathered in a circle around me, and when I found a light, I saw that they were all dead.

"That's when I focused on my study of swordplay. I'm stupid enough to require a near death experience to see the practical purposes, you see."

Lady Benoch spent the remainder of the interview, responding in her typically blunt way to the veracity of various myths that surrounded her and her career. It was true that she became the master of the Valenwood Fighter's Guild after winning a duel with the former master, who was a stooge of the Imperial Battlemage, the traitor Jagar Tharn. It was not true that she was the one responsible for the Valenwood Guild's disintegration two years later ("Actually, the membership in the Valenwood chapter was healthy, but in Tamriel overall the mood was not conducive for the continued existence of a nonpartisan organization of freelance warriors.") It was true that she first came to the Emperor's attention when she defended Queen Akorithi of Sentinel from a Breton assassin. It was not true that the assassin was hired by someone in the high court of Daggerfall ("At least," she says wryly, "That has never been proven."). It was also true that she married her former servant Urken after he had been in her service for eleven years ("No one knows how to keep my weaponry honed like he does," she says. "It's a practical business. I either had to give him a raise or marry him.").

The only story I asked her that she would neither admit nor refute was the one about Calaxes, the Emperor's bastard. When I brought up the name, she shrugged, professing no knowledge of the affair. I pressed on with the details of the story. Calaxes, though not in line for succession, had been given the Archbishopric of The One: a powerful position in the Imperial City, and indeed over all Tamriel where that religion is honored. Whispering began immediately that Calaxes believed that the Gods were angered with the secular governments of Tamriel and the Emperor specifically. It was even said that Calaxes advocated full-scale rebellion to establish a theocracy over the Empire.

It is certainly true, I pressed on, that the Emperor's relationship with Calaxes had become very stormy, and that legislation had been passed to limit the Church's authority. That is, up until the moment when Calaxes disappeared, suddenly, without notice to his closest of friends. Many said that Lady Benoch and the Imperial Guard assassinated the Archbishop Calaxes in the sacristy of his church -- the date usually given was the 29th of Sun's Dusk 3E 498.

"Of course," responds Lady Benoch with one of her mysterious grins. "I don't need to tell you that the Imperial Guard's position is as protectors of the throne, not assassins."

"But surely, no one is more trusted that the Guard for such a sensitive operation," I say, carefully.

Lady Benoch acknowledges that, but merely says that such details of her duties must remain secret as a matter of Imperial security. Unfortunately, her ladyship had to leave early the next morning, as the Emperor had business down south -- of course, I couldn't be told more specifics. She promised to send me word when she returned so we could continue our interview.

As it turned out, I had business of my own in the Summurset Isle, compiling a book on the Psijic Order. It was therefore with surprise that I met her ladyship three months later in Firsthold. We managed to get away from our respective duties to complete our third and final interview, on a walk along the Diceto, the great river that passes through the royal parks of the city.

Steering away from questions of her recent duties and assignments, which I guessed rightly she was loath to answer, I returned to the subject of swordfighting.

"Frandar Hunding," she says. "Lists thirty-eight grips, seven hundred and fifty offensive and eighteen hundred defensive positions, and nearly nine thousand moves essential to sword mastery. The average hack-and-slasher knows one grip, which he uses primarily to keep from dropping his blade. He knows one offensive position, facing his target, and one defensive position, fleeing. Of the multitudinous rhythms and inflections of combat, he knows less than one.

"The ways of the warrior were never meant to be the easiest path. The archetype of the idiot fighter is as solidly ingrained as that of the brilliant wizard and the shrewd thief, but it was not always so. The figure of the philosopher swordsman, the blade-wielding artist are creatures of the past, together with the swordsinger of the Redguards, who was said to be able to create and wield a blade with but the power of his mind. The future of the intelligent blade-wielder looks bleak in comparison to the glories of the past."

Not wanting to end our interviews on a sour note, I pressed Lady Allena Benoch for advice for young blade-swingers just beginning their careers.

"When confronted with a wizard," she says, throwing petals of Kanthleaf into the Diceto. "Close the distance and hit 'im hard."


Larrius Varro



The afore-mentioned personage has been marked for honorable execution in accordance to the lawful tradition and practice of the Morag Tong Guild. The Bearer of this non-disputable document has official sanctioned license to kill the afore-mentioned personage.



Last Seed
Book Eight of
2920, The Last Year of the First Era
by Carlovac Townway



1 Last Seed, 2920
Mournhold, Morrowind

They were gathered in the Duke's courtyard at twilight, enjoying the smell and warmth of a fire of dry branches and bittergreen leaves. Tiny embers flew into the sky, hanging for a few moments before vanishing.

�I was rash,� agreed the Duke, soberly. �But Lorkhan had his laugh, and all is well. The Morag Tong will not assassinate the Emperor now that my payment to them is at the bottom of the Inner Sea. I thought you had made some sort of a truce with the Daedra princes.�

�What your sailors called a daedra may not have been one,� said Sotha Sil. �Perhaps it was a rogue battlemage or even a lightning bolt that destroyed your ship.�

�The Prince and the Emperor are en route to take possession of Ald Lambasi as our truce agreed. It is certainly typical of the Cyrodiil to assume that their concessions are negotiable, while ours are not,� Vivec pulled out a map. �We can meet them here, in this village to the north-west of Ald Lambasi, Fervinthil.�

�But will we meet them to talk,� ask Almalexia. �Or to make war?�

No one had an answer to that.

15 Last Seed, 2920
Fervinthil, Morrowind

A late summer squall blew through the small village, darkening the sky except for flashing of lightning which leapt from cloud to cloud like acrobats. Water rushed down the narrow streets ankle-deep, and the Prince had to shout to be heard by his captains but a few feet away from him.

�There's an inn up ahead! We'll wait there for the storm to pass before pressing on to Ald Lambasi!�

The inn was warm and dry, and bustling with business. Barmaids were rushing back and forth, bringing greef and wine to a back room, evidently excited about a famous visitor. Someone who was attracting more attention than the mere heir to the Empire of Tamriel. Amused, Juilek watched them run until he overheard the name of �Vivec.�

�My Lord Vivec,� he said, bursting into the back room. �You must believe me, I knew nothing about the attack on Black Gate until after it happened. We will, of course, be returning it to your care forthwith. I wrote you a letter to that effect at your palace in Balmora, but obviously you're not there,� he paused, taking in the many new faces in the room. �I'm sorry, let me introduce myself. I'm Juilek Cyrodiil.�

�My name is Almalexia,� said the most beautiful woman the Prince had ever seen. �Won't you join us?�

�Sotha Sil,� said a serious-looking Dunmer in a white cloak, shaking the Prince's hand and showing him to a seat.

�Indoril Brindisi Dorom, Duke-Prince of Mournhold,� said the massively-built man next to him as he sat down.

�I recognize that the events of the last month suggest, at best, that the Imperial Army is not under my control,� said the Prince after ordering some wine. �This is true. The army is my father's.�

�I understood that the Emperor was going to be coming to Ald Lambasi as well,� said Almalexia.

�Officially, he is,� said the Prince cautiously. �Unofficially, he's still back in the Imperial City. He's met with an unfortunate accident.�

Vivec glanced the Duke quickly before looking at the Prince: �An accident?�

�He's fine,� said the Prince quickly. �He'll live, but it looks like he'll lose an eye. It was an altercation that has nothing to do with the war. The only good news is that while he recovers, I have the use of his seal. Any agreement we make here and now will be binding to the Empire, both in my father's reign and in mine.�

�Then let's start agreeing,� smiled Almalexia.

16 Last Seed, 2920
Wroth Naga, Cyrodiil

The tiny hamlet of Wroth Naga greeted Cassyr with its colorful houses perched on a promontory overlooking the stretch of the Wrothgarian mountain plain and High Rock beyond. Had he been in a better mood, the sight would have been breathtaking. As it was, he could only think that in practical terms, a small village like this would have meager provisions for himself and his horse.

He rode down into the main square, where an inn called the Eagle's Cry stood. Directing the stable boy to house and feed his horse, Cassyr walked into the inn and was surprised by its ambience. A minstrel he had heard play once in Gilderdale was performing a jaunty old tune to the clapping of the mountain men. Such forced merriment was not what Cassyr wanted at that moment. A glum Dunmer woman was seated at the only table far from the noise, so he took his drink there and sat down without invitation. It was only when he did so that he noticed that she was holding a newborn baby.

�I've just come from Morrowind,� he said rather awkwardly, lowering his voice. �I've been fighting for Vivec and the Duke of Mournhold against the Imperial army. A traitor to my people, I guess you'd call me.�

�I am also a traitor to my people,� said the woman, holding up her hand which was scarred with a branded symbol. �It means that I can never go back to my homeland.�

�Well, you're not thinking of staying here, are you?� laughed Cassyr. �It's certainly quaint, but come wintertide, there's going to be snow up to your eyelashes. It's no place for a new baby. What is her name?�

�Bosriel. It means 'Beauty of the Forest.' Where are you going?�

�Dwynnen, on the bay in High Rock. You're welcome to join me, I could use the company.� He held out his hand. �Cassyr Whitley.�

�Turala,� said the woman after a pause. She was going to use her family's name first, as is tradition, but she realized that it was no longer her name. �I would love to accompany you, thank you.�

19 Last Seed, 2920
Ald Lambasi, Morrowind

Five men and two women stood in the silence of the Great Room of the castle, the only sound the scrawl of quill on parchment and the gentle tapping of rain on the large picture window. As the Prince set the seal of Cyrodiil on the document, the peace was made official. The Duke of Mournhold broke out in a roar of delight, ordering wine brought in to commemorate the end of eighty years of war.

Only Sotha Sil stood apart from the group. His face betrayed no emotion. Those who knew him best knew he did not believe in endings or beginnings, but in the continuous cycle of which this was but a small part.

�My Prince,� said the castle steward, unhappy at breaking the celebration. �There is a messenger here from your mother, the Empress. He asked to see your father, but as he did not arrive --�

Juilek excused himself and went to speak with the messenger.

�The Empress does not live in the Imperial City?� asked Vivec.

�No,� said Almalexia, shaking her head sadly. �Her husband has imprisoned her in Black Marsh, fearing that she was plotting a revolution against him. She is extremely wealthy and has powerful allies in the western Colovian estates so he could not marry another or have her executed. They've been at an impasse for the last seventeen years since Juilek was a child.�

The Prince returned a few minutes later. His face betrayed his anxiety, though he took troubles to hide it.

�My mother needs me,� he said simply. �I'm afraid I must leave at once. If I may have a copy of the treaty, I will bring it with me to show the Empress the good we have done today, and then I will carry it on to the Imperial City so it may be made official.�

Prince Juilek left with the fond farewells of the Three of Morrowind. As they watched him ride out into the rainswept night south towards Black Marsh, Vivec said, �Tamriel will be much healed when he has the throne.�

31 Last Seed, 2920
Dorsza Pass, Black Marsh

The moon was rising over the desolate quarry, steaming with swamp gas from a particularly hot summer as the Prince and his two guard escort rode out of the forest. The massive piles of earth and dung had been piled high in antiquity by some primitive, long-dead tribe of Black Marsh, hoping to keep out some evil from the north. Evidently, the evil had broken through at Dorsza Pass, the large crack in the sad, lonely rampart that stretched for miles.

The black twisted trees that grew on the barrier cast strange shadows down, like a net tangling. The Prince's mind was on his mother's cryptic letter, hinting at the threat of an invasion. He could not, of course, tell the Dunmer about it, at the very least until he knew more and had notified his father. After all, the letter was meant for him. It was its urgent tone that made him decide to go directly to Gideon.

The Empress had also warned him about a band of former slaves who attacked caravans going into Dorsza Pass. She advised him to be certain to make his Imperial shield visible, so they would know he was not one of the hated Dunmer slavers. Upon riding into the tall weeds that flooded through the pass like a noxious river, the Prince ordered that his shield be displayed.

�I can see why the slaves use this,� said the Prince's captain. �It's an excellent location for an ambush.�

Juilek nodded his head, but his thoughts were elsewhere. What threat of invasion could the Empress have discovered? Were the Akaviri on the seas again? If so, how could his mother from her cell in Castle Giovese know of it? A rustle in the weeds and a single sharp human cry behind him interrupted his ponderings.

Turning around, the Prince discovered that he was alone. His escort had vanished.

The Prince peered over the stretch of the moonlit sea of grass which waved in almost hypnotic patterns to the ebb and flow of the night wind billowing through the pass. It was impossible to tell if a struggling soldier was beneath this system of vibrations, a dying horse behind another. A high, whistling wind drowned out any sound the victims of the ambush might be making.

Juilek drew his sword, and thought about what to do, his mind willing his heart not to panic. He was closer to the exit of the pass than the entrance. Whatever had slain his escort must have been behind him. If he rode fast enough, perhaps he could outrun it. Spurring his horse to gallop, he charged for the hills ahead, framed by the mighty black piles of dirt.

When he was thrown, it happened so suddenly, he was hurdling forward before he was truly conscious of the fact. He landed several yards beyond where his horse had fallen, breaking his shoulder and his back on impact. A numbness washed over him as he stared at his poor, dying steed, its belly sliced open by one of several spears jutting up just below the surface of the grass.

Prince Juilek was not able to turn and face the figure that emerged from the grass, nor able to move to defend himself. His throat was cut without ceremony.

Miramor cursed when he saw the face of his victim more clearly in the moonlight. He had seen the Emperor at the Battle of Bodrum when he had fought in His Imperial Majesty's command, and this was clearly not the Emperor. Searching the body, he found the letter and a treaty signed by Vivec, Almalexia, Sotha Sil, and the Duke of Mournhold representing Morrowind and the Prince Juilek Cyrodiil, representing the Cyrodiil Empire.

�Curse my luck,� muttered Miramor to himself and the whispering grass. �I've only killed a Prince. Where's the reward in that?�

Miramor destroyed the letter, as Zuuk had instructed him to do, and pocketed the treaty. At the very least, such a curiosity would have some market value. He disassembled the traps as he pondered his next step. Return to Gideon and ask his employer for a lesser reward for killing the heir? Move on to other lands? At the very least, he considered, he had picked up two useful skills from the Battle of Bodrum. From the Dunmer, he had learned the excellent spear trap. And abandoning the Imperial army, he had learned how to skulk in the grass.

The Year is Continued in Hearth Fire.

Legions of the Dead



Undead commonly occur in three basic types: spirit, flesh, and fleshless. Spirit revenants like the ancestor ghost, wraith, and dwarven ghost, can only be harmed by weapons that are enchanted or made of refined substances such as silver. Ancestor ghosts, the most common spirit revenant, are harmless, apart from the minor curses they lay upon their victims. Wraiths are similar to ghosts, but they are capable of inflicting wounds to the careless explorer. Dwarven ghosts are more dangerous still, but they generally appear only in Dwarven ruins.

Flesh revenants, or 'zombies' as they are often called in the West, are known as 'bonewalkers' in Morrowind. Magic preserves the bonewalker's fleshy remains along with the bones and spirit. Bonewalkers are readily identified by the sharp protuberances of bone and metal employed in the rituals that bind them to this plane. All bonewalkers are malevolent and dangerous, but the greater bonewalkers are far worse than the more common 'lesser' bonewalkers. Thankfully, normal weapons harm bonewalkers.

It is difficult to generalize about fleshless revenants, or skeletons. The agility and fighting ability of the animated remains may depend on the abilities of the revenant's former life, and may therefore be weak or strong, or more or less capable with weapons and shields. Fortunately, enchanted weapons are not needed to destroy skeletons. An exception is the bonelord, a peculiar form of revenant that seems to derive its powers more from its spirit energies than from the substance of its skeletal remains. Bonelords are very powerful, and very dangerous. Normal weapons do not affect them.

Vampires were believed to be extinct in Morrowind for centuries. Dunmer culture has a special hatred for vampires, and in earlier times the Ordinators and Buoyant Armigers hunted them to extinction. In recent years, however, vampires have either begun to sneak into Morrowind, or long-dormant ones have been awakened. Vampires vary in their substance and power according to their age and accumulated lore, but even the weakest vampire is immeasurably stronger than most other undead. Note: Ash vampires are not vampires, and are not undead. Ash vampires are extremely dangerous. While their spirit and substance may indeed be preserved by some magical process, the holy warriors of the Tribunal Temple report that spell effects known to affect the undead have no effect on ash vampires.


Legions of the Dead



[Sharn gra-Muzgob's personal copy.]

Undead commonly occur in three basic types: spirit, flesh, and fleshless. Spirit revenants like the ancestor ghost, wraith, and dwarven ghost, can only be harmed by weapons that are enchanted or made of refined substances such as silver. Ancestor ghosts, the most common spirit revenant, are harmless, apart from the minor curses they lay upon their victims. Wraiths are similar to ghosts, but they are capable of inflicting wounds to the careless explorer. Dwarven ghosts are more dangerous still, but they generally appear only in Dwarven ruins.

Flesh revenants, or 'zombies' as they are often called in the West, are known as 'bonewalkers' in Morrowind. Magic preserves the bonewalker's fleshy remains along with the bones and spirit. Bonewalkers are readily identified by the sharp protuberances of bone and metal employed in the rituals that bind them to this plane. All bonewalkers are malevolent and dangerous, but the greater bonewalkers are far worse than the more common 'lesser' bonewalkers. Thankfully, normal weapons harm bonewalkers.

It is difficult to generalize about fleshless revenants, or skeletons. The agility and fighting ability of the animated remains may depend on the abilities of the revenant's former life, and may therefore be weak or strong, or more or less capable with weapons and shields. Fortunately, enchanted weapons are not needed to destroy skeletons. An exception is the bonelord, a peculiar form of revenant that seems to derive its powers more from its spirit energies than from the substance of its skeletal remains. Bonelords are very powerful, and very dangerous. Normal weapons do not affect them.

Vampires were believed to be extinct in Morrowind for centuries. Dunmer culture has a special hatred for vampires, and in earlier times the Ordinators and Buoyant Armigers hunted them to extinction. In recent years, however, vampires have either begun to sneak into Morrowind, or long-dormant ones have been awakened. Vampires vary in their substance and power according to their age and accumulated lore, but even the weakest vampire is immeasurably stronger than most other undead. Note: Ash vampires are not vampires, and are not undead. Ash vampires are extremely dangerous. While their spirit and substance may indeed be preserved by some magical process, the holy warriors of the Tribunal Temple report that spell effects known to affect the undead have no effect on ash vampires.


Lives of the Saints



If you would be wise, model your lives on the lives of the saints.

If you would learn valor, follow St. Nerevar the Captain, patron of Warriors and Statesmen. Lord Nerevar helped to unite the barbarian Dunmer tribes into a great nation, culminating in his martyrdom when leading the Dunmer to victory against the evil Dwemer and the traitorous House Dagoth in the Battle of Red Mountain.

If you would learn daring, follow Saint Veloth the Pilgrim, Patron of Outcasts and Spiritual Seekers. Saint Veloth, prophet and mystic, led the Dunmer out of the decadent home country of the Summerset Isles and into the promised land of Morrowind. Saint Veloth also taught the difference between the Good and Bad Daedra, and won the aid of the Good Daedra for his people while teaching how to carefully negotiate with the Bad Daedra.

If you would learn generosity, follow Saint Rilms the Barefooted, Patron of Pilgrims and Beggars. Saint Rilms gave away her shoes, then dressed and appeared as a beggar to better acquaint herself with the poor.

If you would learn self-respect and respect for others, follow Saint Aralor the Penitent, Patron of Tanners and Miners. This foul criminal repented his sins and traveled a circuit of the great pilgrimages on his knees.

If you would learn mercy and its fruits, follow Saint Seryn the Merciful, Patron of Brewers, Bakers, Distillers. This pure virgin of modest aspect could heal all diseases at the price of taking the disease upon herself. Tough-minded and fearless, she took on the burdens of others, and bore those burdens to an honored old age.

If you would learn fierce justice, follow Saint Felms the Bold, Patron of Butchers and Fishmongers. This brave warlord slew the Nord invaders and drove them from our lands. He could neither read nor write, receiving inspiration directly from the lips of Almsivi.

If you would learn pride of race and tribe, follow Saint Roris the Martyr, Patron of Furnishers and Caravaners. Captured by Argonians just before the Arnesian War, Roris proudly refused to renounce the Tribunal faith, and withstood the cruel tortures of Argonian sorcerers. Vengeance and justice for the martyred Saint Roris was the rallying cry of the Arnesian War.

If you would learn the rule of law and justice, follow Saint Olms the Just, Patron of Chandlers and Clerks. Founder of the Ordinators, Saint Olms conceived and articulated the fundamental principles of testing, ordeal, and repentance.

If you would learn benevolence, follow Saint Delyn the Wise, Patron of Potters and Glassmakers. Saint Delyn was head of House Indoril, a skilled lawyer, and author of many learned treatises on Tribunal law and custom.

If you would learn the love of peace, follow Saint Meris the Peacemaker, Patron of Farmers and Laborers. As a little girl, Saint Meris showed healing gifts, and trained as a Healer. She ended a long and bloody House War, intervening on the battlefield in her white robe to heal warriors and spellcrafters without regard to faction. The troops of all House adopted white robes as her standard, and refused to shed the blood of their brethren.

If you would learn reverence, follow Saint Llothis the Pious, Patron of Tailors and Dyers. Contemporary and companion of the Tribunals, and the best-loved Alma Rula of the Tribunal Temple, he formulated the central rituals and principles of the New Temple Faith. Saint Llothis is the symbolic mortal bridge between the gods and the faithful, and the archetypal priest.


Lord Jornibret's Last Dance
(Traditional)



Women's Verse I:
Every winter season,
Except for the reason
Of one war or another
(Really quite a bother),
The Queen of Rimmen and her consort
Request their vassals come and cavort.
On each and every ball,
The first man at the Hall
Is Lord Ogin Jornibret of Gaer,
The Curse of all the Maidens Fair.

Women's Refrain:
Oh, dear ladies, beware.
Dearest, dearest ladies, take care.
Though he's a very handsome man,
If you dare to take his handsome hand,
The nasty little spell will be cast
And your first dance with him will be the last.

Men's Verse I:
At this social event
Everyone who went
Knew the bows and stances
And steps to all the dances.
The Queen of Rimmen and her consort
Would order a trumpet's wild report,
And there could be no indecision
As the revelers took position.
The first dance only ladies, separate
Away from such men as Lord Jornibret.

Men's Refrain:
Oh, dear fellows, explain.
Brothers, can you help make it plain:
The man's been doing this for years,
Leaving maidens fair in tears
Before the final tune's been blast.
And her first dance with him will be the last.

Women's Verse II:
Lord Ogin Jornibret of Gaer
Watched the ladies dance on air
The loveliest in the realm.
A fellow in a ursine-hide helm
Said, �The Queen of Rimmen and her consort
Have put together quite a sport.
Which lady fair do you prefer?�
Lord Jornibret pointed, �Her.
See that bosom bob and weave.
Well-suited for me to love and leave.�

Women's Refrain.

Men's Verse II:
The man in the mask of a bear
Had left the Lord of Gaer
Before the ladies' dance was ending.
Then a trumpet sounded, portending
That the Queen of Rimmen and her consort
Called for the men to come to court.
Disdainful, passing over all the rest,
Ogin approached she of bobbing breast.
She was rejected, saved a life of woe,
For a new maiden as fair as snow.

Men's Refrain.

Women's Verse III:
At the first note of the band,
The beauty took Ogin's hand.
She complimented his stately carriage
Dancing to the tune about the marriage
Of the Queen of Rimmen and her consort.
It is very difficult indeed to comport
With grace, neither falling nor flailing,
Wearing ornate hide and leather mailing,
Dancing light as the sweetest of dreams
Without a single squeak of the seams.

Women's Refrain.

Men's Verse III:
The rhythms rose and fell
No one dancing could excel
With masculine grace and syncopation,
Lord Jornibret even drew admiration
From the Queen of Rimmen and her consort.
Like a beauteous vessel pulling into port,
He silently slid, belying the leather's weight.
She whispered girlishly, �The hour is late,
But I've never seen such grace in hide armor.�
It 'twas a pity he knew he had to harm her.

Men's Refrain

Women's Verse IV
The tune beat was furious
He began to be curious
Where had the maiden been sequest'ed.
�Before this dance was requested
By the consort and his Queen of Rimmen
I didn't see you dance with the women.�
�My dress was torn as I came to the dance,�
She said smiling in a voice deep as a man's,
�My maids worked quickly to repair,
While I wore a suit of hide, a helm of a bear.�

Women's Refrain.

-- End

Master Zoaraym's Tale
By Gi'Nanth



The Temple of Two-Moons Dance in Torval has for many hundreds of years been the finest training ground in all Tamriel for warriors of foot and fist. The masters teach students of all ages from all parts of the Empire the most ancient techniques and the most modern variations, and many a former pupil has graduated to great fame. I myself trained there, and as a young child I remember asking my first master, Zoaraym, which former student he felt had best learned the lessons of the Temple.

�I was not a teacher when I met this man, but a student myself,� he said, smiling in reminiscence, his great wrinkled face becoming even more like the withered fruit of the bathrum tree. �This was long ago, before your parents were born. For many years I had trained at the Temple, rising to study in more difficult and demanding classes taught by the wisest and most learned Masters of the Two-Moons Dance.

�Gi'Nanth, you will come to understand that the tempering of your body must attend the tempering of your mind, and there is a prescribed order of training we at the Temple have designed over the years in concordance with the way of Riddle'Thar. I had reached the highest level, where my power and skill were such that even by supernatural, magical means, few could ever could ever best me in weaponless combat.

�There was a servant at the Temple at the time, a Dunmer a few years older than myself and those in my class. We had never noticed him but in passing over the years, for he would enter the training chambers quietly, clean for a few minutes' time, and leave without saying a word. Not that we would have listened if he spoke, so enraptured were we in our exercises and lessons.

�When our last Master told some of us, myself included, that the time had come for us to leave the Temple or become teachers, there was a great festival of celebration. The Mane itself deigned to visit and observe our ceremony. As we were and are a Temple of philosophy and combat, there were contests of debate and competitions in the Temple's war arena, not only among the elite few, but open to all students.

�On the first day of the festival, I was examining the gladiatorial roster to see who I would fight with first, when I heard a conversation behind me: the servants speaking to the archpriest of the Temple. It was the first time I heard the Dunmer's voice, and the first time I heard his name.

�'I understand you wish to rejoin your people's struggle in Morrowind, Taren,' the archpriest was saying. 'I am sorry to hear it. You have been an institution here for many, many years, and you will be missed. If there's anything I can do for you, please name it.'

�'Thank you for your kindness,' the Dunmer replied. 'I do have a request, but I fear you would be loath to grant it. Ever since I first came to the Temple, I have been watching the students learn, and practiced myself when my duties allowed for it. I know I am but a servant here, but I would be honored if you would allow me to compete in the war arena.'

�I stifled back my gasp at the mer's impertinence, to even suggest that he would be worthy to fight with those of us who had trained so hard. To my surprise, the archpriest agreed, adding the name Taren Omathan to the roster at the beginners' level. I was eager to whisper the news to my fellow elite students, but my first bout was scheduled to begin in a few minutes' time.

�I fought eighteen competitions in a row, besting all. The crowd gathered in the arena knew of my prowess, and gave polite, unsurprised applause at the end of each fight. As much as I focused on my own battles, I could not help noticing that other competitions were receiving more and more attention in the arena. The spectators whispered among themselves, and more began drifting away to see something that was evidently more spectacular and unusual than my unbroken string of victories.

�One of the most important lessons we teach from the Two-Moons Dance is the lesson of rejecting one's vanity. I understood then the importance of achieving a personal synchronicity with one's body and mind, of rebuffing outside influences of no importance, but I admit I had not accepted the lesson in my heart. I knew I was good, but my pride was hurt.

�It came down to a contest of champions, and I was one of the two. When I saw who the other fighter would be, my mood turned from one of wounded dignity to complete disbelief. My adversary was the servant, Taren.

�It must be a joke, or some final philosophical test, I reasoned. Then I looked into the crowd, and saw anticipation of a great battle to come in every eye. We gave one another the sign of respect, I stiffly and he with great elegance and modesty. The fight began.

�Initially, I sought to end it quickly, still thinking that he was unworthy to be cleaning the arena, let alone fighting in it. In retrospect, I was being illogical, as I must have known he had bested as many students as I to had reach that final level. He offered simple counterblows to my attacks, and responded in kind. His style was expansive, encompassing sophisticated arcane foot play one moment and simple jabs and kicks the next. I tried assailments intended to dazzle, but his face never showed either fear or contempt of my abilities.

�The fight lasted for a long time. I don't recall when I realized I was destined to lose, but when it ended, I was not surprised with the outcome. With a sense of unusual and true modesty, I bowed to him. But I could not resist asking him as we left the arena to the sound of thunderous applause how he had so secretly grown to become a Master.

�'I never had a choice to rise in the Temple,' Taren replied. 'Every day, I cleaned the training chambers of the elite classes and then the beginners'. So you see, I never had the misfortune to forget those early mistakes, lessons, and techniques while observing and learning the ways of the Masters.'

�He left Torval early the next morning to return to his homeland, and I never saw him again, though I've heard people saw that he's become a priest and a teacher. I became a teacher as well, for children just beginning their training in the Two-Moons, as well as the elite. And I make certain to bring my best pupils to see the how the unlearned fight, so that they might never forget.�


Mathyn Bemis



The afore-mentioned personage has been marked for honorable execution in accordance to the lawful tradition and practice of the Morag Tong Guild. The Bearer of this non-disputable document has official sanctioned license to kill the afore-mentioned personage.



Mavon Drenim



The afore-mentioned personage has been marked for honorable execution in accordance to the lawful tradition and practice of the Morag Tong Guild. The Bearer of this non-disputable document has official sanctioned license to kill the afore-mentioned personage.



Mid Year
Book Six of
2920, The Last Year of the First Era
by Carlovac Townway



2 Mid Year, 2920
Balmora, Morrowind

�The Imperial army is gathered to the south,� said Cassyr. �They are a two weeks march from Ald Iuval and Lake Coronati, heavily armored.�

Vivec nodded. Ald Iuval and its sister city on the other side of the lake Ald Malak were strategically important fortresses. He had been expecting a move against them for some time. His captain pulled down a map of southwestern Morrowind from the wall and smoothed it out, fighting a gentle summer sea breeze wafting in from the open window.

�They were heavily armored, you say?� asked the captain.

�Yes, sir,� said Cassyr. �They were camped out near Bethal Gray in the Heartland, and I saw nothing but Ebony, Dwarven, and Daedric armor, fine weaponry, and siege equipment.�

�How about spellcasters and boats?� asked Vivec.

�A horde of battlemages,� replied Cassyr. �But no boats.�

�As heavily armored as they are, it will take them at least two weeks, like you said, to get from Bethal Gray to Lake Coronati,� Vivec studied the map carefully. �They'd be dragged down in the bogs if they then tried to circle around to Ald Marak from the north, so they must be planning to cross the straits here and take Ald Iuval. Then they'd proceed around the lake to the east and take Ald Marak from the south.�

�They'll be vulnerable along the straits,� said the captain. �Provided we strike when they are more than halfway across and can't retreat back to the Heartland.�

�Your intelligence has once again served us well,� said Vivec, smiling to Cassyr. �We will beat back the Imperial aggressors yet again.�

3 Mid Year, 2920
Bethal Gray, Cyrodiil

�Will you be returning back this way after your victory?� asked Lord Bethal.

Prince Juilek barely paid the man any attention. He was focused on the army packing its camp. It was a cool morning in the forest, but there were no clouds. All the makings of a hot afternoon march, particularly in such heavy armor.

�If we return shortly, it will be because of defeat,� said the Prince. He could see down in the meadow, the Potentate Versidue-Shaie paying his lordship's steward for the use of the village's food, wine, and whores. An army was an expensive thing, for certes.

�My Prince,� said Lord Bethal with concern. �Is your army beginning a march due east? That will just lead you to the shores of Lake Coronati. You'll want to go south-east to get to the straits.�

�You just make certain your merchants get their share of our gold,� said the Prince with a grin. �Let me worry about my army's direction.�

16 Mid Year, 2920
Lake Coronati, Morrowind

Vivec stared across the blue expanse of the lake, seeing his reflection and the reflection of his army in the cool blue waters. What he did not see was the Imperial Army's reflection. They must have reached the straits by now, barring any mishaps in the forest. Tall feather-thin lake trees blocked much of his view of the straits, but an army, particularly one clan in slow-moving heavy armor could not move invisibly, silently.

�Let me see the map again,� he called to his captain. �Is there no other way they could approach?�

�We have sentries posted in the swamps to the north in case they're fool enough to go there and be bogged under,� said the captain. �We would at least hear about it. But there is no other way across the lake except through the straits.�

Vivec looked down again at his reflection, which seemed to be distorting his image, mocking him. Then he looked back on the map.

�Spy,� said Vivec, calling Cassyr over. �When you said the army had a horde of battlemages, what made you so certain they were battlemages?�

�They were wearing gray robes with mystical insignia on them,� explained Cassyr. �I figured they were mages, and why else would such a vast number travel with the army? They couldn't have all been healers.�

�You fool!� roared Vivec. �They're mystics schooled in the art of Alteration. They've cast a spell of water breathing on the entire army.�

Vivec ran to a new vantage point where he could see the north. Across the lake, though it was but a small shadow on the horizon, they could see gouts of flame from the assault on Ald Marak. Vivec bellowed with fury and his captain got to work at once redirecting the army to circle the lake and defend the castle.

�Return to Dwynnen,� said Vivec flatly to Cassyr before he rode off to join the battle. �Your services are no longer needed nor wanted.�

It was already too late when the Morrowind army neared Ald Marak. It had been taken by the Imperial Army.

19 Mid Year, 2920
The Imperial City, Cyrodiil

The Potentate arrived in the Imperial City amid great fanfare, the streets lined with men and women cheering him as the symbol of the taking of Ald Marak. Truth be told, a greater number would have turned out had the Prince returned, and the Versidue-Shaie knew it. Still, it pleased him to no end. Never before had citizens of Tamriel cheered the arrival of an Akaviri into their land.

The Emperor Reman III greeted him with a warm embrace, and then tore into the letter he had brought from the Prince.

�I don't understand,� he said at last, still joyous but equally confused. �You went under the lake?�

�Ald Marak is a very well-fortified fortress,� explained the Potentate. �As, I might add, the army of Morrowind has rediscovered, now that they are on the outside. To take it, we had to attack by surprise and with our soldiery in the sturdiest of armor. By casting the spell that allowed us to breathe underwater, we were able to travel faster than Vivec would have guessed, the weight of the armor made less by the aquatic surroundings, and attack from the waterbound west side of the fortress where their defenses were at their weakest.�

�Brilliant!� the Emperor crowed. �You are a wonderous tactician, Versidue-Shaie! If your fathers had been as good at this as you are, Tamriel would be Akaviri domain!�

The Potentate had not planned to take credit for Prince Juilek's design, but on the Emperor's reference to his people's fiasco of an invasion two hundred and sixteen years ago, he made up his mind. He smiled modestly and soaked up the praise.

21 Mid Year, 2920
Ald Marak, Morrowind

Savirien-Chorak slithered to the wall and watched through the arrow slit the Morrowind army retreating back to the forestland between the swamps and the castle grounds. It seemed like the idea opportunity to strike. Perhaps the forests could be burned and the army within them. Perhaps with Vivec in their enemies' hands, the army would allow them possession of Ald Iuval as well. He suggested these ideas to the Prince.

�What you seem to be forgetting,� laughed Prince Juilek. �Is that I gave my word that no harm to the army or to their commanders during the truce negotiations. Do you not have honor during warfare on Akavir?�

�My Prince, I was born here in Tamriel, I have never been to my people's home,� replied the snake man. �But even so, your ways are strange to me. You expected no quarter and I gave you none when we fought in the Imperial Arena five months ago.�

�That was a game,� replied the Prince, before nodding to his steward to let the Dunmer battle chief in.

Juilek had never seen Vivec before, but he had heard he was a living god. What came before him was but a man. A powerfully built man, handsome, with an intelligent face, but a man nonetheless. The Prince was pleased: a man he could speak with, but not a god.

�Greetings, my worthy adversary,� said Vivec. �We seem to be at an impasse.�

�Not necessarily,� said the Prince. �You don't want to give us Morrowind, and I can't fault you for that. But I must have your coastline to protect the Empire from overseas aggressions, and certain key strategic border castles, such as this one, as well as Ald Umbeil, Tel Aruhn, Ald Lambasi, and Tel Mothrivra.�

�And in return?� asked Vivec.

�In return?� laughed Savirien-Chorak. �You forget we are the victors here, not you.�

�In return,� said Prince Juilek carefully. �There will be no Imperial attacks on Morrowind, unless in return to an attack by you. You will be protected from invaders by the Imperial navy. And your land may expand by taking certain estates in Black Marsh, whichever you choose, provided they are not needed by the Empire.�

�A reasonable offer,� said Vivec after a pause. �You must forgive me, I am unused to Cyrodiils who offer something in return for what they take. May I have a few days to decide?�

�We will meet again in a week's time,� said the Prince, smiling. �In the meantime, if your army provokes no attacks on mine, we are at peace.�

Vivec left the Prince's chamber, feeling that Almalexia was right. The war was at an end. This Prince would make an excellent Emperor.

The Year is Continued in Sun's Height.

Mistress Therana



The afore-mentioned personage has been marked for honorable execution in accordance to the lawful tradition and practice of the Morag Tong Guild. The Bearer of this non-disputable document has official sanctioned license to kill the afore-mentioned personage.



Mixed Unit Tactics in the Five Years War
Volume One
By Codus Callonus



The Legions could learn from the unconventional tactics used by the Khajiit in the Five Years War against Valenwood. I was stationed at the Sphinxmoth Legion Fort on the border near Dune and witnessed many of the northern skirmishes firsthand.

The war started with the so-called "Slaughter of Torval." The Khajiit claim that the Bosmer invaded the city without provocation and killed over a thousand citizens before being driven off by reinforcements from a nearby jungle tribe. The Bosmer claim that the attack was in retaliation for Khajiti bandits who were attacking wood caravans headed for Valenwood.

In the spring of 3E 396 the war moved closer to Fort Sphinxmoth. I was posted on lookout and saw parts of the conflict. I later spoke with both Khajiit and Bosmer who fought in the battle, and it will serve as an excellent example of how the Khajiit used a mixture of ground and tree units to win the war.

The Khajiit began the fight in an unusual way by sending tree-cutting teams of Cathay-raht and the fearsome Senche-raht or "Battlecats" into the outskirts of Valenwood's forests. When word reached the Bosmer that trees were being felled (allegedly a crime in the strange Bosmeri religion), a unit of archers were dispatched from larger conflicts in the south. The Bosmer were thus goaded into splitting their forces into smaller groups.

The Bosmer archers took up positions in the remaining trees whose branches were now twenty or more feet apart, allowing some light into the forest floor. The Bosmer bent the remaining trees with their magics into small fortifications from which to fire their bows.

When the tree-cutters arrived the next morning, a half dozen Khajiit fell to the Bosmer arrows in the first volley. After that the Khajiit took large wooden shields from the backs of the Senche-raht and made a crude shelter. The Khajiit, even the enormous Senche-raht, were able to hide between this shelter and one of the larger trees. When it became apparent that the Khajiit would not leave their shelter, some Bosmer choose to descend and engage the Khajiit sword-to-claw.

When the Bosmer were nearly upon the shelter, one of the Khajiit began playing on a native instrument of plucked metal bars. This was a signal of some kind, and a small group of the man-like Ohmes and Ohmes-raht emerged from covered holes on the forest floor. Although outnumbered, they were attacking from behind by surprise and won the ground quickly.

The Bosmer archers in the trees would have still won the battle were they not having troubles of their own. A group of Dagi and Dagi-raht, two of the less common forms of Khajiit who live in the trees of the Tenmar forest, jumped from one tree to another under a magical cover of silence. They took up positions in the higher branches that could not hold a Bosmer's weight. When the signal came, they used their claws and either torches or spells of fire (accounts from the two survivors I spoke with vary on this point) to distract the archers while the battle on the ground took place. A few of the archers were able to flee, but most were killed.

Apparently the Dagi and Dagi-raht have more magical ability than is widely believed if they were able to keep themselves magically silenced for so long. One of the surviving Bosmer told me that he saw a few ordinary cats among the Dagi and even claimed that these ordinary cats are known as 'Alfiq' and that they were the spellcasters, but Bosmer are almost as unreliable as the Khajiit when it comes to the truth, and I cannot believe that a housecat can cast spells.

At the end of the day the Khajiit lost perhaps a half-dozen fighters out a force of no more than four dozen, while the Bosmer lost nearly an entire company of archers. The survivors were unable to report back before a second company of archers arrived and this strategy was repeated again, with similar results. Finally, a much larger force was sent and the Bosmer won that battle with the help of the native animals of Valenwood. That third skirmish and the Khajiti response I will discuss in the second volume of this series.

Morning Star
Book One of
2920, The Last Year of the First Era
by Carlovac Townway



1 Morning Star, 2920
Mournhold, Morrowind

Almalexia lay in her bed of fur, dreaming. Not until the sun burned through her window, infusing the light wood and flesh colors of her chamber in a milky glow did she open her eyes. It was quiet and serene, a stunning reverse of the flavor of her dreams, so full of blood and celebration. For a few moments, she simply stared at the ceiling, trying to sort through her visions.

In the courtyard of her palace was a boiling pool which steamed in the coolness of the winter morning. At the wave of her hand, it cleared and she saw the face and form of her lover Vivec in his study to the north. She did not want to speak right away: he looked so handsome in his dark red robes, writing his poetry as he did every morning.

�Vivec,� she said, and he raised his head in a smile, looking at her face across thousands of miles. �I have seen a vision of the end of the war.�

�After eighty years, I don't think anyone can imagine an end,� said Vivec with a smile, but he grew serious, trusting Almalexia's prophecies. �Who will win? Morrowind or the Cyrodilic Empire?�

�Without Sotha Sil in Morrowind, we will lose,� she replied.

�My intelligence tells me the Empire will strike us to the north in early springtide, by First Seed at the latest. Could you go to Artaeum and convince him to return?�

�I'll leave today,� she said, simply.

4 Morning Star, 2920
Gideon, Black Marsh

The Empress paced around her cell. Wintertide gave her wasteful energy, while in the summer she would merely sit by her window and be grateful for each breath of stale swamp wind that came to cool her. Across the room, her unfinished tapestry of a dance at the Imperial Court seemed to mock her. She ripped it from its frame, tearing the pieces apart as they drifted to the floor.

Then she laughed at her own useless gesture of defiance. She would have plenty of time to repair it and craft a hundred more. The Emperor had locked her up in Castle Giovesse seven years ago, and would likely keep her here until he or she died.

With a sigh, she pulled the cord to call her knight, Zuuk. He appeared at the door within minutes, fully uniformed as befitted an Imperial Guard. Most of the native Kothringi tribesmen of Black Marsh preferred to go about naked, but Zuuk had taken a positive delight to fashion. His silver, reflective skin was scarcely visible, only on his face, neck, and hands.

�Your Imperial Highness,� he said with a bow.

�Zuuk,� said Empress Tavia. �I'm bored. Lets discuss methods of assassinating my husband today.�

14 Morning Star, 2920
The Imperial City, Cyrodiil

The chimes proclaiming South Wind's Prayer echoed through the wide boulevards and gardens of the Imperial City, calling all to their temples. The Emperor Reman III always attended a service at the Temple of the One, while his son and heir Prince Juilek found it more political to attend a service at a different temple for each religious holiday. This year, it was at the cathedral Benevolence of Mara.

The Benevolence's services were mercifully short, but it was not until well after noon that the Emperor was able to return to the palace. By then, the arena combatants were impatiently waiting for the start of the ceremony. The crowd was far less restless, as the Potentate Versidue-Shaie had arranged for a demonstration from a troupe of Khajiiti acrobats.

�Your religion is so much more convenient than mine,� said the Emperor to his Potentate by way of an apology. �What is the first game?�

�A one-on-one battle between two able warriors,� said the Potentate, his scaly skin catching the sun as he rose. �Armed befitting their culture.�

�Sounds good,� said the Emperor and clapped his hands. �Let the sport commence!�

As soon as he saw the two warriors enter the arena to the roar of the crowd, Emperor Reman III remembered that he had agreed to this several months before and forgotten about it. One combatant was the Potentate's son, Savirien-Chorak, a glistening ivory-yellow eel, gripping his katana and wakizashi with his thin, deceptively weak looking arms. The other was the Emperor's son, Prince Juilek, in ebony armor with a savage Orcish helm, shield and longsword at his side.

�This will be fascinating to watch,� hissed the Potentate, a wide grin across his narrow face. �I don't know if I've even seen a Cyrodiil fight an Akavir like this. Usually it's army against army. At last we can settle which philosophy is better -- to create armor to combat swords as your people do, or to create swords to combat armor as mine do.�

No one in the crowd, aside from a few scattered Akaviri counselors and the Potentate himself wanted Savirien-Chorak to win, but there was a collective intake of breath at the sight of his graceful movements. His swords seemed to be a part of him, a tail coming from his arms to match the one behind him. It was a trick of counterbalance, allowing the young serpent man to roll up into a circle and spin into the center of the ring in offensive position. The Prince had to plod forward the less impressive traditional way.

As they sprang at each other, the crowd bellowed with delight. The Akaviri was like a moon in orbit around the Prince, effortlessly springing over his shoulder to attempt a blow from behind, but the Prince whirled around quickly to block with his shield. His counter-strike met only air as his foe fell flat to the ground and slithered between his legs, tripping him. The Prince fell to the ground with a resounding crash.

Metal and air melted together as Savirien-Chorak rained strike after strike upon the Prince, who blocked every one with his shield.

�We don't have shields in our culture,� murmured Versidue-Shaie to the Emperor. �It seems strange to my boy, I imagine. In our country, if you don't want to get hit, you move out of the way.�

When Savirien-Chorak was rearing back to begin another series of blinding attacks, the Prince kicked at his tail, sending him falling back momentarily. In an instant, he had rebounded, but the Prince was also back on his feet. The two circled one another, until the snake man spun forward, katana extended. The Prince saw his foe's plan, and blocked the katana with his longsword and the wakizashi with his shield. Its short punching blade impaled itself in the metal, and Savirien-Chorak was thrown off balance.

The Prince's longblade slashed across the Akavir's chest and the sudden, intense pain caused him to drop both his weapons. It a moment, it was over. Savirien-Chorak was prostate in the dust with the Prince's longsword at his throat.

�The game's over!� shouted the Emperor, barely heard over the applause from the stadium.

The Prince grinned and helped Savirien-Chorak up and over to a healer. The Emperor clapped his Potentate on the back, feeling relieved. He had not realized when the fight had begun how little chance he had given his son at victory.

�He will make a fine warrior,� said Versidue-Shaie. �And a great emperor.�

�Just remember,� laughed the Emperor. �You Akaviri have a lot of showy moves, but if just one of our strikes comes through, it's all over for you.�

�Oh, I'll remember that,� nodded the Potentate.

Reman thought about that comment for the rest of the games, and had trouble fully enjoying himself. Could the Potentate be another enemy, just as the Empress had turned out to be? The matter would bear watching.

21 Morning Star, 2920
Mournhold, Morrowind

�Why don't you wear that green gown I gave you?� asked the Duke of Mournhold, watching the young maiden put on her clothes.

�It doesn't fit,� smiled Turala. �And you know I like red.�

�It doesn't fit because you're getting fat,� laughed the Duke, pulling her down on the bed, kissing her breasts and the pouch of her stomach. She laughed at the tickles, but pulled herself up, wrapping her red robe around her.

�I'm round like a woman should be,� said Turala. �Will I see you tomorrow?�

�No,� said the Duke. �I must entertain Vivec tomorrow, and the next day the Duke of Ebonheart is coming. Do you know, I never really appreciated Almalexia and her political skills until she left?�

�It is the same with me,� smiled Turala. �You will only appreciate me when I'm gone.�

�That's not true at all,� snorted the Duke. �I appreciate you now.�

Turala allowed the Duke one last kiss before she was out the door. She kept thinking about what he said. Would he appreciate her more or less when he knew that she was getting fat because she was carrying his child? Would he appreciate her enough to marry her?

The Year Continues in Sun's Dawn

Mushrooms of the Bitter Coast
Journeyman Report from Ajira



Ajira studies four common mushrooms in Vvardenfell.

Luminous Russula is a toadstool like mushroom with a brown spot on top. All Russula has strong odors, but Luminous Russula much stronger. Russula can be poison if not prepared right. When mixed with pearl dust it makes very good potion to breathe under the water.

Violet Coprinus is a tall toadstool that glows in the night. Coprinus also is poison if mixed wrongly like if you mix with Russula. Coprinus mixed with scales lets Ajira walk on the water instead of under the water. Much better.

Bungler's Bane looks like a brown shelf and grows from trees and sometimes wet rocks. Bungler's Bane very bad for you when mixed with almost anything. Very hard to use, but Ajira found Bungler's Bane and left over crushed pearl makes good dispel potion. No bad effects with Ajira's skill, but potion tastes very bad.

Hypha Facia looks just like Bungler's Bane. Confuses Ajira very easily, but Bungler's Bane smells more dry and dusty. Hypha Facia has little smell, but taste is very moist. Hypha Facia very good mushroom for eating, but too much makes Ajira clumsy. Ajira used Hypha Facia to make the nix hound meat more edible, and Ajira could smell all enchantments in Ajira's room. Ajira found no other use for Hypha Facia.

Ajira works very hard to go all over Bitter Coast and collect all these mushrooms. Ajira deserves rank of Journeyman much sooner than Galbedir.


Mysterious Akavir



Akavir means �Dragon Land�. Tamriel means "Dawn's Beauty." Atmora means �Elder Wood�. Only the Redguards know what Yokuda ever meant.

Akavir is the kingdom of the beasts. No Men or Mer live in Akavir, though Men once did. These Men, however, were eaten long ago by the vampiric Serpent Folk of Tsaesci. Had they not been eaten, these Men would have eventually migrated to Tamriel. The Nords left Atmora for Tamriel. Before them, the Elves had abandoned Aldmeris for Tamriel. The Redguards destroyed Yokuda so they could make their journey. All Men and Mer know Tamriel is the nexus of creation, where the Last War will happen, where the Gods unmade Lorkhan and left their Adamantine Tower of secrets. Who knows what the Akaviri think of Tamriel, but ask yourself: why have they tried to invade it three times or more?

There are four major nations of Akavir: Kamal, Tsaesci, Tang Mo, and Ka Po' Tun. When they are not busy trying to invade Tamriel, they are fighting with each other.
Kamal is �Snow Hell�. Demons live there, armies of them. Every summer they thaw out and invade Tang Mo, but the brave monkey-folk always drive them away. Once Ada'Soom Dir-Kamal, a king among demons, attempted to conquer Morrowind, but Almalexia and the Underking destroyed him at Red Mountain.

Tsaesci is �Snake Palace�, once the strongest power in Akavir (before the Tiger-Dragon came). The serpent-folk ate all the Men of Akavir a long time ago, but still kind of look like them. They are tall, beautiful (if frightening), covered in golden scales, and immortal. They enslave the goblins of the surrounding isles, who provide labor and fresh blood. The holdings of Tsaesci are widespread. When natives of Tamriel think of the Akaviri they think of the Serpent-Folk, because one ruled the Cyrodilic Empire for four hundred years in the previous era. He was Potentate Versidue-Shaie, assassinated by the Morag Tong.

Tang Mo is the �Thousand Monkey Isles�. There are many breeds of monkey-folk, and they are all kind, brave, and simple (and many are also very crazy). They can raise armies when they must, for all of the other Akaviri nations have, at one time or another, tried to enslave them. They cannot decide who they hate more, the Snakes or the Demons, but ask one, and he will probably say, �Snakes�. Though once bitter enemies, the monkey-folk are now allies with the tiger-folk of Ka Po' Tun.

Ka Po' Tun is the �Tiger-Dragon's Empire�. The cat-folk here are ruled by the divine Tosh Raka, the Tiger-Dragon. They are now a very great empire, stronger than Tsaesci (though not at sea). After the Serpent-Folk ate all the Men, they tried to eat all the Dragons. They managed to enslave the Red Dragons, but the black ones had fled to (then) Po Tun. A great war was raged, which left both the cats and the snakes weak, and the Dragons all dead. Since that time the cat-folk have tried to become the Dragons. Tosh Raka is the first to succeed. He is the largest Dragon in the world, orange and black, and he has very many new ideas.

�First,� Tosh Raka says, �is that we kill all the vampire snakes.� Then the Tiger-Dragon Emperor wants to invade Tamriel.


Mysticism
The Unfathomable Voyage
by Tetronius Lor



Mysticism is the school of sorcery least understood by the magical community and the most difficult to explain to novice mages. The spell effects commonly ascribed to the School of Mysticism are as extravagantly disparate as Soul Trap, the creation of a cell that would hold a victim's spirit after death, to Telekinesis, the manipulation of objects at a distance. But these effects are simply that: effects. The sorcery behind them is veiled in a mystery that goes back to the oldest civilizations of Tamriel, and perhaps beyond.

The Psijics of the Isle of Artaeum have a different term for Mysticism: the Old Way. The phrase becomes bogged in semantic quagmire because the Old Way also refers to the religion and customs of the Psijics, which may or may not be part of the magic of Mysticism.

There are few mages who devote their lives to the study of Mysticism. The other schools are far more predictable and ascertainable. Mysticism seems to derive power from its conundrums and paradoxes; the act of experimentation, no matter how objectively implemented, can influence magicka by its very existence. Therefore the Mystic mage must consign himself to finding dependable patterns within a roiling imbroglio of energy. In the time it takes him to devise an enchantment with a consistent trigger and result, his peers in the other schools may have researched and documented dozens of new spells and effects. The Mystic mage must thus be a patient and relatively uncompetitive philosopher.

For centuries, mostly during the Second Era, scholarly journals published theory after theory about the aspect or aspects of magicka lumped together under Mysticism. In the Mages Guild's tradition of finding answers to all things, respected researchers suggested that Mysticism's penultimate energy source was the Aetherius Itself, or else Daedric Beings of unimaginable power -- either rationale would explain the seemingly random figurations of Mysticism. Some even ventured that Mysticism arose from the unused elements of successfully, or even unsuccessfully, cast spells. Discussion within the Order of Psijics after Artaeum's reappearance has led some scholars to postulate that Mysticism is less spiritual in nature as was originally supposed, and that either the intellect or the emotional state of the believer is sufficient to influence its energy configuration and flow.

None of these explanations is truly satisfactory taken by itself. For the beginning student of Mysticism, it is best simply to learn the patterns distinguishable in the maelstrom of centuries past. The more patterns are discovered, the clearer the remaining ones become. Until, of course, they change. For inevitably they have to. And then the journey begins anew.


N'Gasta! Kvata! Kvakis!



[an obscure text in the language of the Sload, purportedly written by the Second Era Western necromancer, N'Gasta.]

N'Gasta! Kvata! Kvakis!

N'Gasta! Kvata! Kvakis! ahkstas so novajxletero (oix jhemile) so Ranetauw. Ricevas gxin pagintaj membrauw kaj aliaj individuauw, kiujn iamaniere tusxas so raneta aktivado. En gxi aperas informauw unuavice pri so lokauw so cxiumonataj kunvenauw, sed nature ankoix pri aliaj aktuasoj aktivecauw so societo. Ne malofte enahkstas krome plej diversaspekta materialo eduka oix distra.

So interreta Kvako (retletera kaj verjheauw) ahkstas unufsonke alternativaj kanasouw por distribui so enhavon so papera Kva! Kvak!. Sed alifsonke so enhavauw so diversaj verjheauw antoixvible ne povas kaj ecx ne vus cxiam ahksti centprocente so sama. En malvaste cirkusonta paperfolio ekzemple ebsos publikigi ilustrajxauwn, kiuj pro kopirajtaj kiasouw ne ahkstas uzebsoj en so interreto. Alifsonke so masoltaj kostauw reta distribuo forigas so spacajn limigauwn kaj permahksas pli ampleksan enhavon, por ne paroli pri gxishora aktualeco.

Tiuj cirkonstancauw rahkspeguligxos en so aspekto so Kvakoa, kiu ja cetere servos ankoix kiel gxeneraso retejo so ranetauw.

N'Gasta! Kvata! Kvakis!



[an obscure text in the language of the Sload, purportedly written by the Second Era Western necromancer, N'Gasta.]

N'Gasta! Kvata! Kvakis!

N'Gasta! Kvata! Kvakis! ahkstas so novajxletero (oix jhemile) so Ranetauw. Ricevas gxin pagintaj membrauw kaj aliaj individuauw, kiujn iamaniere tusxas so raneta aktivado. En gxi aperas informauw unuavice pri so lokauw so cxiumonataj kunvenauw, sed nature ankoix pri aliaj aktuasoj aktivecauw so societo. Ne malofte enahkstas krome plej diversaspekta materialo eduka oix distra.

So interreta Kvako (retletera kaj verjheauw) ahkstas unufsonke alternativaj kanasouw por distribui so enhavon so papera Kva! Kvak!. Sed alifsonke so enhavauw so diversaj verjheauw antoixvible ne povas kaj ecx ne vus cxiam ahksti centprocente so sama. En malvaste cirkusonta paperfolio ekzemple ebsos publikigi ilustrajxauwn, kiuj pro kopirajtaj kiasouw ne ahkstas uzebsoj en so interreto. Alifsonke so masoltaj kostauw reta distribuo forigas so spacajn limigauwn kaj permahksas pli ampleksan enhavon, por ne paroli pri gxishora aktualeco.

Tiuj cirkonstancauw rahkspeguligxos en so aspekto so Kvakoa, kiu ja cetere servos ankoix kiel gxeneraso retejo so ranetauw.

Navil and Ranis Ienith



The afore-mentioned have been marked for honorable execution in accordance to the lawful tradition and practice of the Morag Tong Guild. The Bearer of this non-disputable document has official sanctioned license to kill the afore-mentioned personages.



Nchunak's Fire and Faith



[This book is a translated account of Nchunak's travels among the various colonies of the Dwemer explaining the theories of Kagrenac.]

I made inquiry as to the state of enlightenment among the people he spoke for. He answered that with respect to the theories of Kagrenac, there was but one scholar near who could guide the people through the maze that leads to true misunderstanding.

He informed me, however, that in Kherakah the precepts of Kagrenac were taught. He said that nothing pleased him more than to see the Dwemer of Kherakah, the most learned people in the world, studying Kagrenac's words and giving consideration to their place in the life to come, and where neither planar division nor the numeration of amnesia nor any other thing of utility was more valued than the understanding of the self and its relationship to the Heart.

I was gracious enough to receive this as a high compliment, and, removing my helm, I thanked him and departed with an infinity of bows.


Nerevar at Red Mountain



[The following is from the Apographa, the hidden writings of the Tribunal Temple. It is a scholarly retelling of a tradition transmitted through the Ashlanders concerning the battle at Red Mountain and subsequent events. The Ashlanders associate this tale with the telling of Alandro Sul, a shield-companion of Nerevar who came to live among the Ashlanders after the death of Nerevar and during the ascension of the Tribunal. There are many variant treatments of this story, but the primary elements are consistent throughout the tradition. The murder of Nerevar, the tragic fate of Dagoth Ur, and the profane source of the Tribunal's divine power are denied by Temple doctrine as ignorant Ashlander superstition, and not widely known among civilized Dunmer.]

Resdayn, present day Morrowind, was contested ground between two very different types of mer: the Chimer, who worshipped Daedra, and the Dwemer, who worshipped a profane and secret power. These two people warred with each other constantly until their lands were invaded by a young, vibrant, and violent alien culture, the Nords.

Two heroes, one from the Chimer and one from the Dwemer, Indoril Nerevar and Dumac Dwarf-Orc, made peace between their people and together ousted the alien invaders. Then these two heroes worked long and hard to maintain that peace thereafter, though their counselors thought it could not last or, worse, that it shouldn't. Nerevar's queen and his generals-- Almalexia, Sotha Sil, Vivec-- told him to claim all Resdayn for his own. But Nerevar would not listen, for he remembered his friendship with Dumac. There would be only peace.

Until Dagoth-Ur arrived. House Dagoth had discovered the source of the profane and secret power of the Dwemer: the legendary Heart of Lorkhan, which Dumac's people had used to make themselves immortal and beyond the measure of the gods. In fact, one of the their high priests, Kagrenac, was building a New God so that the Dwemer could claim Resdayn for their own.

The Tribunal urged Nerevar again to make war on the Dwarves. Nerevar was troubled. He went to Dumac, his friend of old, and asked if what Dagoth-Ur said was true. But Kagrenac and the high priests of the Dwemer had kept their New God secret from their King, and Dumac said the Dwemer were innocent of any wrongdoing. Nerevar was troubled again and made pilgrimage to Holamayan, the sacred temple of Azura, who confirmed that all that Dagoth-Ur said was indeed true and that the New God of the Dwemer should be destroyed for the safety of not only Resdayn, but for the whole world. When Nerevar went back and told his Tribunal what the goddess had said, his queen and generals felt themselves proved aright and again counseled him to war. There were reasons that the Dwemer and Chimer had hated each other forever.

Finally, Nerevar, angered that his friend Dumac would lie to him, went back to Vvardenfell. This time the Chimer King was arrayed in arms and armor and had his hosts around him, and he spoke harshly to Dumac Dwarf-Orc, King of Red Mountain. "You must give up your worship of the Heart of Lorkhan or I shall forget our friendship and the deeds that were accomplished in its name!" And Dumac, who still knew nothing of Kagrenac's New God, but proud and protective as ever of his people, said, "We shall not relinquish that which has been our way for years beyond reckoning, just as the Chimer will not relinquish their ties to the Lords and Ladies of Oblivion. And to come at my door in this way, arrayed in arms and armor and with your hosts around you, tells me you have already forgotten our friendship. Stand down, my sweet Nerevar, or I swear by the fifteen-and-one golden tones I shall kill you and all your people."

And so the Chimer and Dwemer went to war. The Dwemer were well-defended by their fortress at Red Mountain, but the bravery and cleverness of Nerevar's queen and generals drew most of Dumac's armies out into the field and kept them there, so that Nerevar and Dagoth-Ur could make their way into the Heart Chamber by secret means. There, Nerevar met Dumac and the Dwarf King and they both fell from grievous wounds. Dagoth-Ur slew Kagrenac and took the tools the Dwemer used to tap the power of the Heart. He went to his dying lord Nerevar and asked him what to do with these tools. And Nerevar summoned Azura again, and she showed them how to use the tools to separate the power of the Heart from the Dwemer people.

And on the fields, the Tribunal and their armies watched as the Dwemer turned into dust all around them as their stolen immortality was taken away.

Back in Red Mountain, Nerevar told Dagoth-Ur to protect the tools and the Heart Chamber until he returned. Dagoth-Ur said, "But shouldn't we destroy these tools at once, so that they might never be used for evil again?" But Nerevar was confused by his wounds and his sorrow (for he still loved Dumac and the Dwemer people) and so went to the fields outside of Red Mountain to confer with his queen and his generals, who had foreseen that this war would come and whose counsel he would not ignore again. "I will ask the Tribunal what we shall do with them, for they have had wisdom in the past that I had not. Stay here, loyal Dagoth-Ur, until I return."

Then Nerevar told his queen and generals all that had transpired under Red Mountain and how the Dwemer had used special tools to turn their people into immortals and of the wondrous power of the Heart of Lorkhan. The Tribunal decided that the Chimer should learn how to use this power so that Nerevar might claim Resdayn and the world for their people. Nerevar did not expect or want this, so he asked his queen and generals to help him summon Azura yet again for her guidance. But the Tribunal had become as greedy as Kagrenac upon hearing of the power of the Heart and they coveted it. They made ritual as if to summon Azura as Nerevar wanted but Almalexia used poisoned candles and Sotha Sil used poisoned robes and Vivec used poisoned invocations. Nerevar was murdered.

Then Azura came forth anyway and cursed the Tribunal for their foul deeds. She told them that she would use her powers over dusk and dawn to make sure Nerevar would come back and make things right again. But the Tribunal laughed at her and said that soon they would be gods themselves and that the Chimer people would forget their old ways of worship. And Azura knew this would be true and that it would take a long time before her power might bring Nerevar back. "What you have done here today is foul beyond measure and you will grow to regret it, for the lives of gods are not what mortals think and matters that weigh only years to mortals weigh on gods forever." And so that they might know forever their wicked deeds Azura changed the Chimer into Dunmer, and their skin turned ashen and their eyes into fire. "Let this mark remind you of your true selves who, like ghouls, fed on the nobility, heroism, and trust of their king."

And then the Tribunal went into Red Mountain and met with Dagoth-Ur. Dagoth-Ur saw what had been done, for his skin had changed as well, and he tried to avenge the death of Nerevar but to no avail. He was driven off and thought dead. The Tribunal found the tools he had been guarding and, through study of Kagrenac's methods, turned themselves into gods.

Thousands of years after their apotheosis, the Tribunal are still the gods of Morrowind and the old ways of worship are remembered only by a few. And the murder of Nerevar is known to fewer. But his queen and generals still fear his return, for the words of Azura linger long and they see the mark of her curse on their people every day.

Nerevar Moon-and-Star



[This is a selection from a series of monographs by various Imperial scholars on Ashlander legends.]

In ancient days, the Deep Elves and a great host of outlanders from the West came to steal the land of the Dunmer. In that time, Nerevar was the great khan and warleader of the House People, but he honored the Ancient Spirits and the Tribal law, and became as one of us.

So, when Nerevar pledged upon his great Ring of the Ancestors, One-Clan-Under-Moon-and-Star, to honor the ways of the Spirits and rights of the Land, all the Tribes joined the House People to fight a great battle at Red Mountain.

Though many Dunmer, Tribesman and Houseman, died at Red Mountain, the Dwemer were defeated and their evil magicks destroyed, and the outlanders driven from the land. But after this great victory, the power-hungry khans of the Great Houses slew Nerevar in secret, and, setting themselves up as gods, neglected Nerevar's promises to the Tribes.

But it is said that Nerevar will come again with his ring, and cast down the false gods, and by the power of his ring will make good his promises to the Tribes, to honor the Spirits and drive the outsiders from the land.

Night Falls On Sentinel
By Boali



No music played in the Nameless Tavern in Sentinel, and indeed there was very little sound except for discreet, cautious murmurs of conversation, the soft pad of the barmaid's feet on stone, and the delicate slurping of the regular patrons, tongues lapping at their flagons, eyes focused on nothing at all. If anyone were less otherwise occupied, the sight of the young Redguard woman in a fine black velvet cape might have aroused surprise. Even suspicion. As it were, the strange figure, out of place in an underground cellar so modest it had no sign, blended into the shadows.

�Are you Jomic?�

The stout, middle-aged man with a face older than his years looked up and nodded. He returned to his drink. The young woman took the seat next to him.

�My name is Haballa,� she said and pulled out a small bag of gold, placing it next to his mug.

�Sure it be,� snarled Jomic, and met her eyes again. �Who d'you want dead?�

She did not turn away, but merely asked, �Is it safe to talk here?�

�No one cares about nobody else's problems but their own here. You could take off your cuirass and dance bare-breasted on the table, and no one'd even spit,� the man smiled. �So who d'you want dead?�

�No one, actually,� said Haballa. �The truth is, I only want someone ... removed, for a while. Not harmed, you understand, and that's why I need a professional. You come highly recommended.�

�Who you been talking to?� asked Jomic dully, returning to his drink.

�A friend of a friend of a friend of a friend.�

�One of them friends don't know what he's talking about,� grumbled the man. �I don't do that any more.�

Haballa quietly took out another purse of gold and then another, placing them at the man's elbow. He looked at her for a moment and then poured the gold out and began counting. As he did, he asked, �Who d'you want removed?�

�Just a moment,� smiled Haballa, shaking her head. �Before we talk details, I want to know that you're a professional, and you won't harm this person very much. And that you'll be discreet.�

�You want discreet?� the man paused in his counting. �Awright, I'll tell you about an old job of mine. It's been - by Arkay, I can hardly believe it - more 'n twenty years, and no one but me's alive who had anything to do with the job. This is back afore the time of the War of Betony, remember that?�

�I was just a baby.�

�'Course you was,� Jomic smiled. �Everyone knows that King Lhotun had an older brother Greklith what died, right? And then he's got his older sister Aubki, what married that King fella in Daggerfall. But the truth's that he had two elder brothers.�

�Really?� Haballa's eyes glistened with interest.

�No lie,� he chuckled. �Weedy, feeble fella called Arthago, the King and Queen's first born. Anyhow, this prince was heir to the throne, which his parents wasn't too thrilled about, but then the Queen she squeezed out two more princes who looked a lot more fit. That's when me and my boys got hired on, to make it look like the first prince got took off by the Underking or some such story.�

�I had no idea!� the young woman whispered.

�Of course you didn't, that's the point,� Jomic shook his head. �Discretion, like you said. We bagged the boy, dropped him off deep in an old ruin, and that was that. No fuss. Just a couple fellas, a bag, and a club.�

�That's what I'm interested in,� said Haballa. �Technique. My... friend who needs to be taken away is weak also, like this Prince. What is the club for?�

�It's a tool. So many things what was better in the past ain't around no more, just 'cause people today prefer ease of use to what works right. Let me explain: there're seventy-one prime pain centers in an average fella's body. Elves and Khajiiti, being so sensitive and all, got three and four more respectively. Argonians and Sloads, almost as many at fifty-two and sixty-seven,� Jomic used his short stubby finger to point out each region on Haballa's body. �Six in your forehead, two in your brow, two on your nose, seven in your throat, ten in your chest, nine in your abdomen, three on each arm, twelve in your groin, four in your favored leg, five in the other.�

�That's sixty-three,� replied Haballa.

�No, it's not,� growled Jomic.

�Yes, it is,� the young lady cried back, indignant that her mathematical skills were being question: �Six plus two plus two plus seven plus ten plus nine plus three for one arm and three for the other plus twelve plus four plus five. Sixty-three.�

�I must've left some out,� shrugged Jomic. �The important thing is that to become skilled with a staff or club, you gotta be a master of these pain centers. Done right, a light tap could kill, or knock out without so much as a bruise.�

�Fascinating,� smiled Haballa. �And no one ever found out?�

�Why would they? The boy's parents, the King and Queen, they're both dead now. The other children always thought their brother got carried off by the Underking. That's what everyone thinks. And all my partners are dead.�

�Of natural causes?�

�Ain't nothing natural that ever happens in the Bay, you know that. One fella got sucked up by one of them Selenu. Another died a that same plague that took the Queen and Prince Greklith. 'Nother fella got hisself beat up to death by a burglar. You gotta keep low, outta sight, like me, if you wanna stay alive.� Jomic finished counting the coins. �You must want this fella out of the way bad. Who is it?�

�It's better if I show you,� said Haballa, standing up. Without a look back, she strode out of the Nameless Tavern.

Jomic drained his beer and went out. The night was cool with an unrestrained wind surging off the water of the Iliac Bay, sending leaves flying like whirling shards. Haballa stepped out of the alleyway next to the tavern, and gestured to him. As he approached her, the breeze blew open her cape, revealing the armor beneath and the crest of the King of Sentinel.

The fat man stepped back to flee, but she was too fast. In a blur, he found himself in the alley on his back, the woman's knee pressed firmly against his throat.

�The King has spent years since he took the throne looking for you and your collaborators, Jomic. His instructions to me what to do when I found you were not specific, but you've given me an idea.�

From her belt, Haballa removed a small sturdy cudgel.

A drunk stumbling out of the bar heard a whimpered moan accompanied by a soft whisper coming from the darkness of the alley: �Let's keep better count this time. One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. Seven..."


Notes - Kagouti Mating Habits
Edras Oril



Observations made on wild kagouti in southeastern Morrowind.

Kagouti do not seem to travel in large packs, as previously believed. Perhaps they group into larger packs when mating season is imminent.

Females seem to be dominant sex. Males will bring gifts of food in exchange for mating advantage. Males sometimes attacked.

Loud vocalizations heard exchanged (believed to be from males), especially at night. Fascinating.

Males do not seem to engage in physical confrontation for reproductive rights. Some posturing, but no conflict.

All kagouti display increased aggressiveness during mating. Must be careful not to be seen.

Mating kagouti found to be increasingly territorial.


Notes on Racial Phylogeny and Biology, Seventh Edition
by the Council of Healers, Imperial University



After much analysis of living specimens, the Council long ago determined that all "races" of elves and humans may mate with each other and bear fertile offspring. Generally the offspring bear the racial traits of the mother, though some traces of the father's race may also be present. It is less clear whether the Argonians and Khajiit are interfertile with both humans and elves. Though there have been many reports throughout the Eras of children from these unions, as well as stories of unions with daedra, there have been no well documented offspring. Khajiit differ from humans and elves not only their skeletal and dermal physiology -- the �fur� that covers their bodies -- but their metabolism and digestion as well. Argonians, like the dreugh, appear to be a semi-aquatic troglophile form of humans, though it is by no means clear whether the Argonians should be classified with dreugh, men, mer, or (in this author's opinion), certain tree-dwelling lizards in Black Marsh.

The reproductive biology of orcs is at present not well understood, and the same is true of goblins, trolls, harpies, dreugh, tsaesci, imga, various daedra and many others. Certainly, there have been cases of intercourse between these "races," generally in the nature of rape or magickal seduction, but there have been no documented cases of pregnancy. Still the interfertility of these creatures and the civilized hominids has yet to be empirically established or refuted, likely due to the deep cultural differences. Surely any normal Bosmer or Breton impregnated by an orc would keep that shame to herself, and there's no reason to suppose that an orc maiden impregnated by a human would not be likewise ostracized by her society. Regrettably, our oaths as healers keep us from forcing a coupling to satisfy our scientific knowledge. We do know, however, that the sload of Thras are hermaphrodites in their youth and later reabsorb their reproductive organs once they are old enough to move about on land. It can be safely assumed that they are not interfertile with men or mer.

One might further wonder whether the proper classification of these same �races,� to use the imprecise but useful term, should be made from the assumption of a common heritage and the differences between them have arisen from magickal experimentation, the manipulations of the so-called "Earth Bones," or from gradual changes from one generation to the next.


Notes on the Persistence of Oblivion Streams
by Itermerel



The variable flow of daedrons in Oblivion streams can have profound effects on the magicka potential of various locations. Magicka use often causes effects on the streams themselves. By reconfiguring the polarity of the daedron fields, it is possible to manipulate and trace the streams in the following cases...

[The notes go on about this subject for some time.]

Odaishah Yasalmibaal



The afore-mentioned personage has been marked for honorable execution in accordance to the lawful tradition and practice of the Morag Tong Guild. The Bearer of this non-disputable document has official sanctioned license to kill the afore-mentioned personage.



On Artaeum
By Taurce il-Anselma



The Isle of Artaeum (ar-TAY-um) is the third largest island in the Summurset archipelago, located south of the Moridunon village of Potansa and west of the mainland village of Runcibae. It is best known for being home to the Psijic Order, perhaps the oldest monastic group in Tamriel.
The earliest written record of Psijics is from the 20th year of the First Era and tells the tale of the renowned Breton sage and author Voernet, traveling to the Isle of Artaeum to meet with Iachesis, the Ritemaster of the Psijics. Even then, the Psijics were the counsellors of kings and proponents of the "Elder Way," taught to them by the original race that inhabited Tamriel. The Elder Way is a philosophy of meditation and study said to bind the forces of nature to the individual will. It differs from magicka in origin, but the effects are much the same.
That said, it is perhaps more than coincidence that the Isle of Artaeum literally vanished from the shores of Summurset at the beginning of the Second Era at about the time of the founding of the Mages Guild in Tamriel. Various historians and scholars have published theories about this, but perhaps none but Iachesis and his own could shed light on the matter.
Five hundred years passed and Artaeum returned. The Psijics on the Isle consisted of persons, mostly Elves, who had disappeared and were presumed dead in the Second Era. They could not or would not offer any explanation for Artaeum's whereabouts during that time, or the fate of Iachesis and the original council of Artaeum.
Currently, the Psijics are led by the Loremaster Celarus, who has presided over the Council of Artaeum for the last two hundred and fifty years. The Council's influence in Tamrielan politics is tidal. The kings of Sumurset, particularly those of Moridunon, have often sought the Psijics' opinion. Emperor Uriel V was much influenced by the Council in the early, most glorious parts of his reign, before his disastrous attack on Akavir. It has even been suggested that the fleet of King Orghum of Pyandonea was destroyed by a joint effort of Emperor Antiochus and the Psijic Order. The last four emperors, Uriel VI, Morihatha, Pelagius IV, and Uriel VII, have been suspicious of the Psijics enough to refuse ambassadors from the Isle of Artaeum within the Imperial City.
The Isle of Artaeum is difficult to chart geographically. It is said that it shifts continuously either at random or by decree of the Council. Visitors to the island are so rare as to be almost unheard of. Anyone desirous of a meeting with a Psijic may find contacts in Potansa and Runcibae as well as many of the kingdoms of Summurset.
Were it more accessible, Artaeum would be a favored destination for travelers. I have been to the Isle once and still dream of its idyllic orchards and clear pastures, its still and silent lagoons, its misty woodlands, and the unique Psijic architecture that seems to be as natural as its surroundings as well as wondrous in its own right. The Ceporah Tower in particular I would study, for it is a relic from a civilization that predates the High Elves by several hundred years and is still used in certain rites by the Psijics. Perhaps one day I might return.

[Note: The author is currently on the Isle of Artaeum by gracious consent of Master Sargenius of the Council of Artaeum.]


On Morrowind
the Imperial Province
by Erramanwe of Sunhold



After the conquest of Hammerfell, Imperial legions massed along the northeastern borders of Cyrodiil, and invasion fleets prepared in Skyrim.

Initially, though the Imperial legions and navy were widely considered undefeatable, House Indoril and the Temple hierarchy proposed to resist to the death. Redoran and Dres stood by Indoril, with Telvanni remaining neutral. Hlaalu proposed accommodation.

Contrived border incidents in Black Marsh ended inconclusively, but the swampy terrain did not favor legion and navy coordination. Against the legions massed west of Silgrad Tower and Kragenmoor, and the legions west of Blacklight and Cormaris View, Morrowind had pitifully small militias stiffened by small companies of Redoran mercenaries and elite units of house nobles and Temple Ordinators and Armigers. Further complicating matters was the refusal of Indoril, Dres, Hlaalu, and Telvanni to garrison the western borders; Indoril and Dres proposed, rather than defend the western border, instead to withdraw to the interior and fight a guerilla war. With Hlaalu advocating accommodation, and Telvanni remaining neutral, Redoran therefore faced the prospect of standing alone against the Empire.

The situation changed radically when Vivec appeared in person in Vivec City to announce his negotiation of a treaty with Emperor Tiber Septim, reorganizing Morrowind as a province of the Empire, but guaranteeing "all rights of faith and self-government." A shocked Temple hierarchy, which apparently had not been consulted, greeted the announcement with awkward silence. Indoril swore they would resist to the death, with the loyal support of Dres, while Redoran, grateful for a graceful excuse to avoid facing the legions unsupported, joined with Hlaalu in welcoming the agreement. Telvanni, seeing which way the wind blew, joined with Hlaalu and Redoran in supporting the treaty.

Nothing is known of the circumstances of the personal meeting between Septim and Vivec, or where it took place, or the preliminaries which must have preceded the treaty. The public reason was to protect the identities of the agents involved. In the West, speculation has centered around the role of Zurin Arctus in brokering the agreement; in the East, rumors suggest that Vivec offered Numidium to aid in the conquest of the Altmer and Sumerset Isle in return for significant concessions to preserve self-rule, house traditions, and religious practices in Morrowind.

The Lord High Councilor of the Grand Council, an Indoril, refused to accept the treaty, and refused to step down. He was assassinated, and replaced by a Hlaalu. House Hlaalu took the opportunity to settle some old scores with House Indoril, and a number of local councils changed hands in bloody coups. More blood was shed in these inter-house struggles than against the Imperial Legions during Morrowind's transition from an independent nation to a province of the Empire.

The generals of the legions had dreaded an invasion of Morrowind. The Dunmer were widely regarded as the most dreadful and fanatic foes, further inspired by their Temple and clan traditions. The generals had not grasped the political weaknesses of Morrowind, which Emperor Tiber Septim recognized and exploited. At the same time, given the tragic depopulation and destruction experienced by the other provinces conquered by Septim, and the swift and efficient assimilation of Morrowind into the Imperial legal systems and economy, with relatively small impact on lower or upper classes of Morrowind's citizens, the Tribunal also deserves some credit for recognizing the hopelessness of Morrowind's defense, and the chance of gaining important concessions at the treaty table by being the first to offer peace.

By contrast, many Indoril nobles chose to commit suicide rather than submit to the Empire, with the result that the House was significantly weakened during the period of transition, guaranteeing that they would lose much of their influence and power to House Hlaalu, whose influence and power was waxing with its enthusiastic accommodation with the Empire. The Temple hierarchy more skillfully managed their loss of face, remaining aloof from political struggles, and earning the good will of the people by concentrating on their economic, educational, and spiritual welfare.


On Oblivion
by Morian Zenas



It is improper, however customary, to refer to the denizens of the dimension of Oblivion as �demons.� This practice probably dates to the Alessian Doctrines of the First Era prophet Marukh -- which, rather amusingly, forbade �trafficke with daimons� and then neglected to explain what daimons were.

It is most probable that �daimon� is a misspelling or etymological rendition of �Daedra,� the old Elven word for those strange, powerful creatures of uncertain motivation who hail from the dimension of Oblivion. (�Daedra� is actually the plural form; the singular is �Daedroth.�) In a later tract by King Hale the Pious of Skyrim, almost a thousand years after the publication of the original Doctrines, the evil machinations of his political enemies are compared to �the wickedness of the demons of Oblivion... their depravity equals that of Sanguine itself, they are cruel as Boethiah, calculating as Molag Bal, and mad as Sheogorath.� Hale the Pious thus long-windedly introduced four of the Daedra lords to written record.

But the written record is not, after all, the best way to research Oblivion and the Daedra who inhabit it. Those who �trafficke with daimons� seldom wish it to be a matter of public account. Nevertheless, scattered throughout the literature of the First Era are diaries, journals, notices for witch burnings, and guides for Daedra-slayers. These I have used as my primary source material. They are at least as trustworthy as the Daedra lords I have actually summoned and spoken with at length.

Apparently, Oblivion is a place composed of many lands -- thus the many names for which Oblivion is synonymous: Coldharbour, Quagmire, Moonshadow, etc. It may be correctly supposed that each land of Oblivion is ruled over by one prince. The Daedra princes whose names appear over and over in ancient records (though this is not an infallible test of their authenticity or explicit existence, to be sure) are the afore-mentioned Sanguine, Boethiah, Molag Bal, and Sheogorath, and in addition, Azura, Mephala, Clavicus Vile, Vaernima, Malacath, Hoermius (or Hermaeus or Hormaius or Herma -- there seems to be no one accepted spelling) Mora, Namira, Jyggalag, Nocturnal, Mehrunes Dagon, and Peryite.

From my experience, Daedra are a very mixed lot. It is almost impossible to categorize them as a whole except for their immense power and penchant for extremism. Be that as it may, I have here attempted to do so in a few cases, purely for the sake of scholastic expediency.

Mehrunes Dagon, Molag Bal, Peryite, Boethiah, and Vaernima are among the most consistently �demonic� of the Daedra, in the sense that their spheres seem to be destructive in nature. The other Daedra can, of course, be equally dangerous, but seldom purely for the sake of destruction as these five can. Nor are these previous five identical in their destructiveness. Mehrunes Dagon seems to prefer natural disasters -- earthquakes and volcanoes -- for venting his anger. Molag Bal elects the employment of other daedra, and Boethiah inspires the arms of mortal warriors. Peryite's sphere seems to be pestilence, and Vaernima's torture.

In preparation for the next instalment in this series, I will be investigating two matters that have intrigued me since I began my career as a Daedra researcher. The first is on one particular Daedroth, perhaps yet another Daedra prince, referred to in multiple articles of incunabula as Hircine. Hircine has been called �the Huntsman of the Princes� and �the Father of Man-beasts,� but I have yet to find anyone who can summon him. The other, and perhaps more doubtful, goal I have is to find a practical means for mortal men to pass through to Oblivion. It has always been my philosophy that we need only fear that which we do not understand -- and with that thought in mind, I ever pursue my objective.


On the Preparation of the Corpse
Volume 3: The Fresh Corpse



Fresh and decayed corpses are those that still have flesh upon them. If their decay is advanced, or if you wish a skeletal servant instead, place the corpse along a coast or in a swamp or marsh. Animals are the Necromancer's greatest allies when it comes to stripping the flesh from a corpse. The ravenous mudcrabs of Morrowind can strip a corpse down to its bones in a matter of days. Lesser crabs in other provinces can do the same in a matter of weeks.

If you wish to create a zombie servant, one need only bring the corpse to a suitable site and enact the proper rituals. However, there are a few tips that a young Necromancer might want to know. For instance, a decayed servant may be raised many times, even if they have been dismembered by those who do not appreciate our Art. If one of your servants comes to an unfortunate end, you may raise the servant again by carefully gathering as many parts as you can find, binding the bones with leather straps, and sewing the flesh (if it not too decayed) with catgut. Your servant may be weaker each time this is done, but with care and maintenance, one may raise zombies dozens of times.

However, creating a mere zombie is a method best left to lazy or desperate practitioners. With only a bit more time and effort, one may create a far more useful mummified servant.

The first step to creating a mummified servant is to soak the decaying corpse in a bath of salt or natron for at least one month. This will halt the decay of the corpse, and if the corpse is fresh enough to have an unpleasant odor, the salts will remove that as well. In a moist climate, such as Argonian or Thras, you may have to apply more salts if they become saturated. Some Necromancers remove the vital organs before or after this process, but I have never found any practical reason for doing this.

The next step is to wrap the servant in cloth or linen. This will further preserve the body against decay and, if done properly, will offer some protection as well. Do not worry if the corpse seems too stiff or desiccated to be a useful servant, the proper rituals will imbue the mummified corpse with the strength to move itself. Most importantly, you will have a much stronger servant who will follow your commands with more independence and understanding.


On the Preparation of the Corpse
Volume One: The Acquisition of the Corpse



While the Arts of Necromancy are only illegal in the province of Morrowind, few citizens of the Empire have an enlightened view of our Art. Thus, the acquisition of corpses on which to experiment is often difficult.

In Cyrodiil, a few Necromancers who have served the Empire are given the corpses of criminals and traitors to use legally. This provides those who have acquired such a post with a fresh supply of corpses, most of them young, strong, and intact.

In Morrowind, the outlawing of Necromancy would make its practice impossible were it not for the fortunate institution of slavery. While the Temple will investigate obvious signs of Necromancy such as hastily emptied graves or ash stolen from one of their ashpits, a careful and discrete Necromancer can thrive in Morrowind by taking slaves at a modest rate. Most will assume the slave escaped or died in the Ashlands.

Finding suitable corpses in Black Marsh is nearly impossible due to their rapid decay. There are also diseases, Argonian tribesmen, and other difficulties that must be dealt with. I know of only a few Sload Necromancers who operate successfully in Black Marsh, and even they stay near coast.

While the forests of Elsweyr pose some of the same problems as those of Black Marsh, the deserts preserve corpses for hundreds of years in a way that requires very little preparation. Khajiit of the desert tribes are often buried with only a small cairn of stones which are easy to find and uncover. The Khajiit show remarkably enlightened indifference to graves being uncovered. It is said that in the port of Senchal, one may purchase anything one desires. This is true if you desire fresh corpses.

While few Bosmer perform Arkay's rituals when burying the dead, the more primitive Bosmer still practice cannibalism upon their enemies, which reduces the number of available corpses. As would be expected from such a backwards people, they have an intolerance of Necromancy that goes beyond all reason. Many Necromancers who practice our Arts in Valenwood become "one with the trees" themselves.

Summerset Isle is even worse in some ways. Some Altmer born into the most respected noble and scholarly families are actually allowed to study the dead in the open. Their research, however, seems to be centered on finding ways to extend their lives even further rather than the more practical uses of our Art. A Necromancer of any other race caught in Summerset Isle can expect the worst possible punishments.

In Hammerfell, where worship of Arkay is strongest, the dead are almost always subject to Arkay's Law. There are exceptions after large battles or in remote areas where death occurs far from meddlesome priests. Fortunately, the dangerous terrain and creatures in the deserts and mountains of Hammerfell makes the acquisition of corpses possible, though they are often in poor condition and require special care in preparation.

The newly formed Orsinium presents a unique opportunity. As you know, Orc corpses are among the most sought after for the durability of their skin and the strength of their bones. If King Gortwog will listen to reason, we could offer the services of our Art in defense of his young nation in exchange for disposing of the Orcish dead. A mutually beneficial arrangement as I'm sure the Orcs will agree. To this end, a delegation has been sent to Orsinium, though we have not yet heard any word on the state of these negotiations.

In my native High Rock, traditions dating back to the witch kings and nomadic horsemen mandate cremation of the dead. This is practiced almost without exception in the north, through an Imperial burial in a tomb or city cemetery is more common in the south. There are still many corpses easily taken from the battlefields of the War of Betony and the lawless times that followed. There are even rumors that King Gothryd of Daggerfall may institute the Imperial practice of donating the corpses of criminals for Necromantic study as a deterrent to the bandits and pirates that still threaten the Iliac Bay.

In Skyrim, the cold weather and isolated terrain allow a few Necromancers to operate freely. Alas, the availability of corpses is limited to Nords who die from exposure or in battle. While the cold is preservative, the snow makes these corpses difficult to find. More research dedicated to the magical detection of corpses would be invaluable to the Necromancers of Skyrim.

The Sload are the most famous Necromancers, but little is known of their native Thras. In Tamriel, Sload only practice Necromancy on other races. It is uncertain whether this is true in Thras as well. If so, it would explain the number of slaves that are purchased in Tear by Sload merchants and the rumors of Sload airships carrying corpses from Senchal.

These difficulties lead many Necromancers to create their own corpses. While I prefer to work with those who have died a natural death, a more expedient approach is sometimes necessary to further the study of the Art.

While the Arts of Necromancy can be practiced on animals, such experiments rarely produce interesting results. The servant's ability to follow directions seems to be related to the subject's intelligence in life. While raising the corpse of a man, elf, or beastman can produce a useful servant, the corpses of animals produce mere guard dogs at best. Often a raised animal is unable to distinguish its master from the rest of the living and many amateur practitioners have been torn apart by the animal servants they created. Let such stories be a lesson to you.


On the Preparation of the Corpse
Volume One: The Acquisition of the Corpse



While the Arts of Necromancy are only illegal in the province of Morrowind, few citizens of the Empire have an enlightened view of our Art. Thus, the acquisition of corpses on which to experiment is often difficult.

In Cyrodiil, a few Necromancers who have served the Empire are given the corpses of criminals and traitors to use legally. This provides those who have acquired such a post with a fresh supply of corpses, most of them young, strong, and intact.

In Morrowind, the outlawing of Necromancy would make its practice impossible were it not for the fortunate institution of slavery. While the Temple will investigate obvious signs of Necromancy such as hastily emptied graves or ash stolen from one of their ashpits, a careful and discrete Necromancer can thrive in Morrowind by taking slaves at a modest rate. Most will assume the slave escaped or died in the Ashlands.

Finding suitable corpses in Black Marsh is nearly impossible due to their rapid decay. There are also diseases, Argonian tribesmen, and other difficulties that must be dealt with. I know of only a few Sload Necromancers who operate successfully in Black Marsh, and even they stay near coast.

While the forests of Elsweyr pose some of the same problems as those of Black Marsh, the deserts preserve corpses for hundreds of years in a way that requires very little preparation. Khajiit of the desert tribes are often buried with only a small cairn of stones which are easy to find and uncover. The Khajiit show remarkably enlightened indifference to graves being uncovered. It is said that in the port of Senchal, one may purchase anything one desires. This is true if you desire fresh corpses.

While few Bosmer perform Arkay's rituals when burying the dead, the more primitive Bosmer still practice cannibalism upon their enemies, which reduces the number of available corpses. As would be expected from such a backwards people, they have an intolerance of Necromancy that goes beyond all reason. Many Necromancers who practice our Arts in Valenwood become "one with the trees" themselves.

Summerset Isle is even worse in some ways. Some Altmer born into the most respected noble and scholarly families are actually allowed to study the dead in the open. Their research, however, seems to be centered on finding ways to extend their lives even further rather than the more practical uses of our Art. A Necromancer of any other race caught in Summerset Isle can expect the worst possible punishments.

In Hammerfell, where worship of Arkay is strongest, the dead are almost always subject to Arkay's Law. There are exceptions after large battles or in remote areas where death occurs far from meddlesome priests. Fortunately, the dangerous terrain and creatures in the deserts and mountains of Hammerfell makes the acquisition of corpses possible, though they are often in poor condition and require special care in preparation.

The newly formed Orsinium presents a unique opportunity. As you know, Orc corpses are among the most sought after for the durability of their skin and the strength of their bones. If King Gortwog will listen to reason, we could offer the services of our Art in defense of his young nation in exchange for disposing of the Orcish dead. A mutually beneficial arrangement as I'm sure the Orcs will agree. To this end, a delegation has been sent to Orsinium, though we have not yet heard any word on the state of these negotiations.

In my native High Rock, traditions dating back to the witch kings and nomadic horsemen mandate cremation of the dead. This is practiced almost without exception in the north, through an Imperial burial in a tomb or city cemetery is more common in the south. There are still many corpses easily taken from the battlefields of the War of Betony and the lawless times that followed. There are even rumors that King Gothryd of Daggerfall may institute the Imperial practice of donating the corpses of criminals for Necromantic study as a deterrent to the bandits and pirates that still threaten the Iliac Bay.

In Skyrim, the cold weather and isolated terrain allow a few Necromancers to operate freely. Alas, the availability of corpses is limited to Nords who die from exposure or in battle. While the cold is preservative, the snow makes these corpses difficult to find. More research dedicated to the magical detection of corpses would be invaluable to the Necromancers of Skyrim.

The Sload are the most famous Necromancers, but little is known of their native Thras. In Tamriel, Sload only practice Necromancy on other races. It is uncertain whether this is true in Thras as well. If so, it would explain the number of slaves that are purchased in Tear by Sload merchants and the rumors of Sload airships carrying corpses from Senchal.

These difficulties lead many Necromancers to create their own corpses. While I prefer to work with those who have died a natural death, a more expedient approach is sometimes necessary to further the study of the Art.

While the Arts of Necromancy can be practiced on animals, such experiments rarely produce interesting results. The servant's ability to follow directions seems to be related to the subject's intelligence in life. While raising the corpse of a man, elf, or beastman can produce a useful servant, the corpses of animals produce mere guard dogs at best. Often a raised animal is unable to distinguish its master from the rest of the living and many amateur practitioners have been torn apart by the animal servants they created. Let such stories be a lesson to you.


On the Preparation of the Corpse
Volume Two: The Skeletal Corpse



When raising a skeleton servant, it is most important that the body of the skeleton be complete. If the skeleton is missing crucial bones, the results can be frustrating. One should only attempt to raise skeletons when you are sure that all or nearly all the bones are present.

While the magic involved in raising a skeleton will assemble the bones in the proper order, skeletons may be strengthened considerably by the addition of support on their joints. The most common are leather straps that bind the bones together more tightly. Some practitioners also drive metal spikes are between the joints, which is more expensive and time consuming, but they protect the servant where it is weakest. The details of this are unimportant as even an amateur can strengthen a skeleton significantly. Only practice will reveal the best methods of binding and reinforcing the skeletal servant. Amateurs often make the mistake of binding the bones too tightly, limiting the skeleton's movements and making it useless. Again, only practice can give the necessary experience in these matters, though it is best to err towards tight bindings. One may always loosen them at a later date.

One more note to the student: While most undead can be raised again and again, skeletons are often damaged in ways that make raising them again impossible. This is another reason that care should be given to the skeleton's preparation. Too many young Necromancers raise every skeleton they see with little or no preparation at all. Given the difficulty of obtaining corpses, this kind of inefficiency cannot be tolerated.


On Wild Elves
by Kier-jo Chorvak



In the wilds of most every province of Tamriel, descended philosophically if not directly from the original inhabitants of the land, are the Ayleids, commonly called the Wild Elves. While three races of Elven stock -- the Altmer (or High Elves), the Bosmer (or Wood Elves), and the Dunmer (or Dark Elves) -- have assimilated well into the new cultures of Tamriel, the Ayleids and their brethren have remained aloof toward our civilization, preferring to practice the old ways far from the eyes of the world.
The Wild Elves speak a variation of Old Cyrodilic, opting to shun Tamrielic and separating themselves from the mainstream of Tamriel even further than the least urbanized of their Elven cousins. In temperament they are dark-spirited and taciturn -- though this is from the point of view of outsiders (or �Pellani� in their tongue), and doubtless they act differently within their own tribes.
Indeed, one of the finest sages of the University of Gwilym was a civilized Ayleid Elf, Tjurhane Fyrre (1E2790-2E227), whose published work on Wild Elves suggests a lively, vibrant culture. Fyrre is one of the very few Ayleids to speak freely on his people and religion, and he himself said �the nature of the Ayleid tribes is multihued, their personalities often wildly different from their neighbor[ing] tribes� (Fyrre, T., Nature of Ayleidic Poesy, p. 8, University of Gwilym Press, 2E12).
Like any alien culture, Wild Elves are often feared by the simple people of Tamriel. The Ayleids continue to be one of the greatest enigmas of the continent of Tamriel. They seldom appear in the pages of written history in any role, and then only as a strange sight a chronicler stumbles upon before they vanish into the wood. When probable fiction is filtered from common legend, we are left with almost nothing. The mysterious ways of the Ayleids have remained shrouded since before the First Era, and may well remain so for thousands of years to come.





Veni, veni, venias, Ne me mori facias

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