Loredas, 21st First Seed, 4E 202

Azura’s Shrine, College of Winterhold, The Frozen Hearth: Summon Azura, Favour for a Favour, Ask about Elf, Blame misdirected, Star location found.

Today is Hogithum, the Summoning Day for Azura.

Today I am going to annoy The Divines by asking Azura for a favour. Frankly I do not care how pissed off at me they get. It was OK for me to deal with Azura so I could complete their task. I even had to speak to Boethia! I did a service for both Daedric Princes. I am now going to talk to Azura and ask for a boon. I want to know what is happening with Rigmor. How she is coping. Is she safe?

I have researched extensively to find any evidence of Azura openly working against The Divine. I have asked priests of The Divine and other Daedra worshippers and there is none.

The involvement of Azura in the destruction of the Dwemer is debated endlessly.

There is no doubt she was involved in the Nerevarine Prophesy. Removing the Tribunals’ godhood, which they had obtained through theft and murder, is not exactly an evil act!

Azura had an interest in Nirn continuing to exist. She created the Khajiit from some of the Bosmer. They were blessed to be the most beautiful, cleverest and fastest creatures in the world. Also to be the best climbers and deceivers. They are her people. I have a soft spot for Khajiit. They are openly discriminated against throughout Skyrim.  I met Baa’Ren-Dar and learnt of how he saved my beloved. I know how brave and compassionate they can be.

I have not been complimentary in the past on how the Gods manipulate lives. I still do not know how much of the destruction of Rigmor’s family I can lay at Azura’s feet if any at all. Azura relies on mortal seers to read and interpret the timelines.  She can easily be out manoeuvred by Lord Akatosh who sees them far clearer and longer than any mortal can. For now I will just have to accept that Rigmor’s childhood and her father were collateral damage in some God’s plan.

Azura saved my life! That is a fact! I have often wondered why it took a Daedra to rescue the Champion of The Divines from the brink of death. I should have asked Talos. Maybe she simply got her hands on my fading soul first. I do know it took a lot of her energy when it was in very short supply on Nirn.

I am not voluntarily asking a Daedric Prince for a favour out of blind ignorance. I would not be surprised if she asked me to do a favour in return.

I have decided to take Kharjo and Iona on this little expedition. Kharjo is more than keen to visit Azura’s shrine on her summoning day!

We left Dragons Keep at around 7:00AM

The only encounter on the way was a large tribe of Riekling.

We rode a bit slower due to the snow restricting how far we could see ahead. Great ambush weather! We arrived at Azura’s Shrine just after midday.

When I climbed the steps I was greeted by an Azura worshipper,

“Azura has seen your coming, Dragonborn. It was not curiosity, but fate, that has led you here.”

(I have had this discussion with Daedric Princes before. I am here by choice. Using the free will we have and they lack. If I was to desecrate the place it would not have been foreseen. Azura developed a hate for Dwemer when one of them proved she was not omnipotent.)

You had a vision?

“My name is Aranea Ienith. Azura has given me the gift of foresight. I had a vision of you walking up the steps to this altar long ago. Please speak with her.”

(That is wrong. Foresight is not a gift of any God but a natural phenomenon. The Augur of Dunlain was not gifted his foresight by any God and no other seers claim so. I did not want to get into a philosophical or religious argument with the woman so kept my opinion to myself.)

Thank you, Aranea.

I placed Azura’s Bane on the altar.

After a few seconds it started to glow.

Then Azura spoke.

“So Aranea was right once again. It was wise of you to come on Hogithum and use my sword to summon me. It takes me far less power to talk and was guaranteed to get my immediate attention. Even if I had not been expecting you I would have known who it was. My Champion.”

I have a boon to ask Queen of the Night Sky. I wish to know how my beloved Rigmor is fairing and who she has helping her in that pit of vipers.

“I can’t imagine you came to me with the blessing of your Lord.”

No. I do not suppose The Divine will be overly pleased. Perhaps they may learn something about mortal love. You can’t separate two entwined souls and expect them to not worry about each other. I understand the necessity of me remaining here for now. I find it impossible to function fully while I am worried about Rigmor’s welfare.

“I could tell you or have Aranea tell you but I have an important task ideal for my Champion. You do what I need in exchange for what information we can provide. Deal?”

Not until I hear what the task is. I will not compromise my Lord’s plans or my values.

“An ancient relic of mine has been stolen and its purpose corrupted. No different than the New Order stealing my black diamonds and warping them for their evil purposes. I give you my promise that nothing I am asking compromises your Lord’s plans or your values.”

Then it is a deal.

“Aranea will explain further. Good fortune, my Champion.”

 Aranea looked stunned.

“My mistress rarely speaks with such casualness. It is usually a set of orders delivered with sternness.”

Azura knows with me she has to negotiate. I can’t be commanded or compelled.

“My mistress needs you to go to a fortress that is endangered by water yet untouched by it. Inside you will find an elven mage who can turn the brightest star as black as night.”

Don’t you just love immortal gibberish!  I assume you can translate it to something sensible for me?

“It is cryptic, I know, but Azura’s signs are never wrong. I believe the fortress may refer to Winterhold. Ask if they know this elven enchanter.”

Tell me more about Azura.

“She is the Goddess of Dawn and Dusk. Azura sees into the Twilight of the future, and guides her followers through it.”

Who built this shrine?

“My people, the Dunmer, built it. We fled from Morrowind after Vvardenfell erupted almost 200 years ago. Those of us who were faithful to Azura were given a vision that led us away from the island before the worst came. This shrine is our thanks to her. That none will forget that she watches over us all.”

I see no others. Are you alone here?

“Yes. There were others at first, but Azura’s visions tested everyone’s faith. One by one, they left. Afraid to know their own future. But I refuse to abandon the shrine. The visions are a gift. Azura warns me of tragedy, war, death before it happens. I won’t leave her guidance.”

Faithful like your mistress was to Padomay, or Fadomai if you wish.

“You are well versed on our lore and I am honoured to have you compare my sacrifice to that of Azura. It is probably blasphemous but pleasing nonetheless.”

I shall travel to the College of Winterhold and see if somebody knows who this mysterious Elven Mage might be.

“Twilight guide your path.”

May Azura’s magic protect you!

With that farewell we descended the steps, mounted our horses and rode to the College.

It was about 3:30PM by the time I found Arch-Mage Tolfdir instructing an Apprentice in The Hall of the Elements.

“Greetings Mage Wulf or is it in the capacity of Dragonborn you come?”

Still teaching Arch-Mage? The duties of your office not as time consuming as I thought?

“Urag tells me it is the calm before the storm. I enjoy teaching so will continue to do so when time permits.”

I am looking for an individual. An elven mage that studies stars. Do you know him?

“Studies stars you say? Why, there hasn’t been a mage doing anything related to stars since… Oh…”

Something went wrong?

“Well, it’s a… minor stain on the College’s reputation. One of many unfortunately. You should head to the Frozen Hearth and speak with Nelacar. It’s his story to tell, and I wouldn’t want to discredit him by talking behind his back.”

Wishing you the best till we meet again Arch-Mage.

Both Iona and Kharjo were eager to visit a tavern. As we exited the College and headed for it I also looked forward to a mead or two before travelling in the Northern cold again.

We found Nelacar in the room he rented at the Frozen Hearth. He welcomed me,

“Greetings Dragonborn.”

Well met Nelacar. Are you with the College?

“No. Gods no, not for years. I left Winterhold for some time, and returned to stay here at the inn. I still have research that keeps me busy, and being here in Winterhold ensures I have access to former colleagues.”

I hear you study stars.

“Who sent you? Was it the College? The Jarl? We agreed there would be no more questions.”

Azura sent me.

“Azura? Gods, it’s all finally coming back to haunt me.”

I am not here to cause problems. I do not even know what trouble has forced you to exile yourself.

“What do you know about souls gems?”

Why are you asking?

“That’s what caused all the trouble. Soul gems are used in enchanting, but they break afterwards. Except one. Azura’s Star. A Daedric artefact that allows any number of souls to pass through it. Some of us wanted to find out how. I was working under Malyn Varen, then. If only we knew what he was really planning.”

What did Malyn do?

“Malyn wanted to alter the Star. He was dying. Disease. He thought he could store his own soul inside. Become immortal. It drove him mad. Students started dying. Eventually, the College exiled him. He took a few loyal disciples to Ilinalta’s Deep and vanished. Look, I don’t care who asked you to find the Star, but don’t take it back to Azura. The Daedra are evil. They’re the reason Malyn went insane.”

(It is so convenient to blame the Gods for your own weaknesses and mistakes. Malyn was trying to alter an ancient relic whilst his body was ravished by some disease. The most likely scenario is the disease and his desperation to survive pushed him over the edge of sanity and/or morality. He most likely dappled in the dark arts in an attempt to achieve his goal.)

How do you think Azura drove Malyn insane?

“Azura is no ordinary Daedra. She commands an entire realm inside of Oblivion. The more Malyn worked on the Star, the more she was able to damn him. It started slowly at first. Malyn would see things that weren’t there. Then he would yell at students over words they hadn’t said. Then one day I walked in and Malyn had… killed a student, and in a horrific moment of inspiration, he started using her soul for his work.”

All Daedra have their own realm and I have travelled in some. Azura has Moonshadow. Hermaeus Mora has Apocrypha. Nocturnal has Evergloam. Molag Bal has Coldharbour etc. Azura is not unique in that respect! Your friend practised the dark arts long before you caught him. Azura does not kill mortals. Insane mages trying to achieve immortality do. He got what he deserved and you should stop blaming an immortal for a mortal’s flaws!

“The College would agree with you, but do you have any idea how many innocent lives were cut short, just so Azura could have revenge? We’re nothing to the Daedra. Pawns to move around, praise, and punish as they see fit.”

You speak through ignorance! For a Daedra to reach through Martin Septim’s shield a great deal of their energy is expended. They very rarely physically attack a mortal. I suggest you give up your magic studies for a while and learn more about the Gods and the sacrifices made to prevent them doing as you suggest.

I have stood as close as I am to you with the most evil of Daedric Princes and refused to obey him and even threatened his temple. Yet here I stand. Your friend killed those students. A mortal is to blame. Every evil perpetrated at the behest of a Daedric Prince had been performed by mortals. I would not be surprised to find Malyn worshipped one much darker and more evil than Azura.

With that I stormed out of the inn with Kharjo and Iona following and a bit grumpy at missing out on mead..

I know where Ilinalta’s Deep is. It is not far South of Whiterun. I told my companions we would sleep in my home in Whiterun before travelling there in the morning.

Our trip to Whiterun was encounter free. By the time we stabled the horses and entered the front gate it was about 10:15PM.

As we walked towards Breezehome one of the gate guards attacked me. Another Stormcloak spy too stupid to realise their cause was unjust and over. He died.

Kharjo cooked an interesting meal for us. He always carries many spices with him in case he has to add flavour to the bland cuisine of Skyrim. Within half an hour of finishing we all trumpeted worse than Sethri.

I sat by the fire and wrote this journal entry before retiring for the night.

I know not what time I fell asleep.

I know it was with a pillow over my head as I tried to drown out Kharjo’s and Iona’s love making. There is more than a floor between us and at least three sturdy doors! I thought Khajiit only growled when mad?

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