It was just before 2:00AM when Revel and I stopped before a door. It was obviously not to a cottage and was embedded into the mountainside.
I gave Revel his promised oats then left him free to graze the area.
The door had a totem next to it consisting of a Spriggan Matron’s head impaled on a branch. It declared the territory beyond the door as a witch grove. Obviously whoever put it there has no fear of the Vigilants.
I entered and found myself in a pocket plane. Instead of the darkness expected at 2.00AM. The mist and long shadows suggested it was dawn or just past. As far as I could tell the linear time was the same.
I walked a zig-zag path that crossed a slow moving river twice before I reached a small cottage.
I stood outside for a while trying to figure out what felt wrong.
It was not the cottage but the lack of wildlife. No insect, rabbit, birds or any other living thing.
I entered quietly. Mother and daughter were fast asleep.
I had a look around to see any evidence of evil that would require me to grant them ‘Stendarr’s Mercy’.
There was an alchemy table, which is far from evil apparatus, and nothing else apart from standard rustic furniture and a stove.
I gently shook the mother awake and to my surprise she was not startled by a warrior standing over her bed. Around her neck was an Amulet of Stendarr.
She sleepily asked, “Who are you? Please leave. You have no business here.”
“I was looking for an alchemist. I see the apparatus and reagents. Are you one?”
“Yes, I make my living from alchemy.”
“I feel so rude but I did knock and there was no answer. My name is Mecine.”
“And mine is Carene.”
Oh no, that would be too cruel!
“Is that your daughter?”
“Oh yes, her name is Lilian and she is also learning to be an alchemist.”
I must have turned pale. I certainly felt sick. They were the wife and daughter of the mercenary I killed earlier.
Carene looked concerned and asked, “Were you bitten by a Skeever? It looks like Ataxia to me!”
“It might be. Where did you learn alchemy?”
“From a Glenmoril Witch named Reyda. I don’t like being around her!”
“Then why put up with her?”
“I’m just desperate to solve a curse plaguing my husband.”
“I am not really ill Carene. I have come to warn you that the Vigilants of Stendarr are aware of where you live and sent me to harm you. I swear by The Nine you have nothing to fear from me. But you should take Lilian elsewhere as they are dangerous and so are the witches of the Glenmoril Coven.”
“Yes, of course. I understand. We will leave as soon as we can. Stendarr be with you.”
“And may The Divines bless both of you.”
It seemed to be Carene felt a false sense of security in her little home. With a stranger nearby she curled back up and went to sleep. I would not be surprised if there was some dweomer at work.
I had no choice but to question the young girl. The mother might not have been turned but past experiences have shown that children can be turned without their parents suspecting. They will happily murder their own parents if the being whispering to them says to. Nelkir in Whiterun is just one example.
Lilian looked to be ten or eleven years of age. I gently shook her. Like her mother she showed no fear and seemed to accept the presence of a large armoured man hovering over her bed.
She stood and said, “Hello. I’m Lilian. I am going to be a great alchemist like my Mommy one day!”
“Hello Lilian. I am Mecine. Aren’t you scared of me?”
“Why would I. The nice old lady says we have nothing to fear while we live here.”
“Who is this old lady?”
“We travelled a lot trying to find a cure for my Daddy’s sickness. But we got the door slammed in our faces everywhere as soon as they saw my Daddy. But the nice old lady was very kind to us. She gave us this house and sometimes she brings me sweets!”
“Is her name Reyda?”
“I have heard Mommy call her that. She always wears pointy hats and brings sweets and herbs. She shows Mommy how to make medicine but I still don’t understand. It looks very difficult.”
“But you understand the other medicines your Mommy makes?”
“Oh yes and she was famous in Waycrest her medicines are so good.”
“What is wrong with your Daddy?”
“He hasn’t been feeling well for a long time. Mommy says Daddy is very sick. So we’re making a potion to cure him!”
“Is he a soldier?”
“He was a guard and the best swordsman in Waycrest!”
“Do you know about the Vigilants of Stendarr?”
“No but I know who Lord Stendarr is. I have his amulet, see…”
Lilian proudly showed me her amulet then tucked it back into her top.
“Mummy says Stendarr tells us to help the poor and the sick if we can. That is what we used to do in Waycrest.”
“It has been very nice to meet you Lilian. You go back to sleep now and Divines bless your family.”
“Okay then. Goodnight Mister Mecine.”
Lilian also lay down and went to sleep immediately.
I left the little cottage and stood outside debating whether I should go inside, tell them their Daddy/Husband is dead and drag them kicking and screaming to somewhere safer.
Altano was trying to corrupt me. Trying to give Molag Bal some leverage on my soul. I decided I would sit outside the cottage till I heard them up and active. Then I would try again to convince them to leave.
Reyda was probably watching. I wonder what Hircine thinks about her working for Molag Bal?
About four hours later I heard talking from within the cottage.
I knocked on the door and Carene said, “Come in.”
I entered and both of them were sitting having their morning meal.
“You are in great danger. You must leave this place!”
Carene answered, “Reyda said we would be safe here. It is the only place I can learn the medicine to cure my husband so I have decided to stay.”
Do I tell them the man they are trying to cure is dead? I don’t think I could pull that off without them realising I killed him. What chance then of them coming with me? Zero! Maybe if I find the real witch I could get the dweomer removed and Carene would understand the danger they are in?
“Would you like some breakfast Mister Mecine?” asked Lilian.
“No thank you. That was nice of you to ask.”
“It is what Stendarr would want me to do isn’t that right Mommy?”
“Yes it is Lilian. Now hurry up because we need to try and get Daddy’s medicine right.”
I decided that I needed to find Reyda. There is no hope of convincing them of the danger while they are ensorcelled.
“Nice meeting you again. I have to go now.”
I barely heard their goodbyes as I hurriedly left their prison. It was not a home.
Altano was standing outside waiting for me.
I warned him, “They are not witches. They are devout followers of Lord Stendarr!”
“Is that so? You have let yourself be deceived. I was clear about this Novice! Go back in there and give them Stendarr’s mercy! You will only know whether they are witches or not when they’re dead! Go in there and kill them!”
“I will not kill them for they are innocent. You will die before they do if you take a step towards that cottage!”
“Do you think this is wrong? Haven’t you killed in cold blood before?”
“Not once and your master knows it. He is hoping I will so he can find some darkening of my soul to leverage against.”
“My master is Stendarr. Just do as I say and kill them in his name!”
I drew my sword and took a stance. I would not hesitate to cut this creature of Molag down.
“I see that you are adamant about this which is regrettable. It is very regrettable indeed!”
I could feel some probing against my defences. My Dovah half was screaming for me to cut him down. I could not. I had to trust my Gods.
I could not make it obvious that I dropped my barrier so I let Altano think he slowly wore it down.
“I don’t like such brutality but it seems I need to be clearer.”
I let my barrier weaken a little then used my bard skills to put on a show. I cried out, “No! Get out of my head. You can’t make me!”
I could sense Altano increase his will to its maximum. It was as if he was throwing raw eggs at a castle wall. That is as much chance he would have of penetrating my barrier. He was starting to sweat and I noticed his hand moved over to the mace.
I let my shield slowly crumble and for only the second time since I awakened in that carriage to Helgen I was subjected to a compulsion. The only other time took the strength of Molag Bal empowered by the Bridge of Sighs. Yet here I was allowing this weak creature to do so.
I was still in control enough to keep the charade up. I fell to my knees and held my head while pleading, “No! Please have mercy. Do not make me…”
With triumph in his voice Altano commanded, “You will kill the witches. You will do so and it will be your own free will!”
I stared at his boots and the countryside. Then all went black.
I awoke looking up at the door and ceiling of the cottage.
My first thought was that last command was far too strong for Altano. Molag Bal had worked through the mace to increase its strength.
I slowly got to my knees and turned around.
Lilian and her mother were lying in pools of blood. Lilian had been holding a toy bear when murdered. It seems she had rolled over and held her mother’s hand before dying. My sword was on the ground nearby.
I was about to go to a deep dark place and make Pelinal Whitestrake look like a saint. “Trust us” my fucking Gods said and then allow me to do this! The worst thing I could do. Kill devout and innocent followers of a Divine and one of them a child. If they wanted me to turn into a monster they have done it. Let them deal with the aftermath!
My Dovah half spoke up, “Our Gods did not lie. Be me for a few seconds. Hold back your emotions and take a close look.”
I looked as if studying an interesting artefact and not two bodies beaten to a pulp.
Beaten and not cut?
I took a close look at my sword. The only place there was blood was on the cross guard and handle. The blade was clean. I looked at my gauntlets and there was no blood. So how did the blood get on the handle? Did I decide not to use the sword and drop it then beat them to death? But I just saw there was no blood on my hands.
It was hard but I forced myself to look at the wounds closer. They were similar to the damage caused by a club or mace except for the indents. That unique combination of crushing plus indents would come from a morning star or a mace with spikes. A mace like the one Altano now carried. The Mace of Molag Bal.
I picked up my sword then stood up. I cleaned the blood off it with a nearby cloth and sheathed it.
I looked at the two innocents and cried when I imagined the horror of their last moments. Did I come through the door brandishing my sword and looking like some metal monster? Did I raise my sword and then change my mind? Or did I just drop it and refuse the compulsion. Either way Molag Bal failed to make me be untrue to who and what I am.
Was it Altano’s rage that made him hit them over and over again with that terrible weapon? Or did Molag use him as a puppet? It does not matter when it comes to blame. Altano is 100% responsible for the two bloodied corpses in front of me! How many similar scenes have the Vigilants of Stendarr left behind?
What to do about them? Molag Bal might have corrupted many as Master Jacob said but most of their sins would be through ignoring the Commands and Precepts of Stendarr. Young recruits convinced this is what their God demands because successful Vigilants do it. Molag Bal or any of the ‘evil’ Daedric Princes would point out their sins and have easy converts.
The need that created the order was genuine at the end of the Oblivion Crises. Even now there are still Daedra hiding out from that failed attempt to conquer Nirn by Mehrunes Dagon. My recent time in Evermore showed that to be true. There are plenty of conjurers who find their abilities are lacking when they conjure a Daedra which then rips them apart and roams unbound.
I will talk it over with Rigmor and our advisors when I get back. Meantime I have yet another crisis to avert. No doubt Molag Bal will have another attempt at penetrating Martin’s Barrier using Altano instead of Rahel.
I will recruit some Vigilants to accompany me to the Beacon. See if there is anybody salvageable amongst their ranks. A crucial test will involve their Keeper. If he is also corrupt there is very little chance I will allow them to continue existing.
I had a quick look around and found a letter from Taranis to his wife and daughter,
I have good news. I met a Conjuration master who will be able to release me from the sword’s curse. I only have to do one job for her and she will do it.
I never thought the day will come when I will be able to live with you and our daughter again.
Glory to the Nine Divines!
So even though Carene was told he may have a cure she persisted in her pursuit of an alchemical solution. The Glenmoril Witch had better keep hiding from me.
I stood next to Lilian and Carene. I promised aloud, “By The Nine I swear I will avenge your deaths. By The Nine I swear you will be buried with your husband and Daddy. I am sorry I could not save you. I am sorry I had to kill Taranis. I am sorry you are collateral damage in the war between the Gods.”
I left the cottage to find Reyda standing there. I told my Dovah to shut up. She may have useful information so I will not just chop her head off!
“Oh goody it is Reyda. What a pleasant surprise!”
“You know my name. Then you should know this. Ivarstead is mine. All people and beasts here belong to me.”
“Funny, I thought slavery was illegal in The Empire? Oh, you mean metaphorically! Aren’t I silly?”
“It is really ugly what you have done here. You just didn’t take away the life of an innocent but also that of a child.”
She thinks I killed them. Perhaps Molag Bal thinks I killed them. Let us play along and see what she reveals.
“I had no choice!”
“Of course you did and now you’re cursed. It serves you right if you serve the God of justice. You’re finished!”
“What curse? How do I get rid of it?”
“Didn’t you listen to me? I already told you. It’s too late. You’re finished.”
“Who is your master?”
“Well, it could be anyone right? A witch will open her legs for anyone if she’s promised power, hahaha!”
“You knew all along didn’t you? About me and what would happen to this family? You helped plan it and execute it.”
“That’s right. So what? Are you blaming me? You’re the one who killed them, not me. You’re the villain here. I just watched as promised and perhaps made the fog a bit thicker. I could have spared myself the latter effort thanks to the Old Fool.”
“I bet the fog was nowhere near as thick as you!”
“You were the one led to sin by his nose!”
“And that is why Lord Stendarr cursed me?”
“Of course you idiot!”
“Except I am not cursed if you stopped gloating and checked.”
Reyda stared at me then said, “Well, well. Looks like the old fool got soft hearted.”
“Any last words before I kill you?”
“Haven’t you had enough of killing? First you slaughter a heartbroken Khajiit and then a woman and child. Is your bloodlust still not sated? Now you want to kill a poor old woman too?”
“What will happen when I kill you? Will the God who gave you your power, Hircine, allow you to join Molag Bal in Coldharbour or insist you join him in the Hunting Grounds? Or will both of them leave you in The Void for eternity due to your utter failure?”
“You promised to watch yet don’t even know I did not kill them. How are you going to explain that you moron? Molag Bal will not be amused.”
“You didn’t kill them? How is that possible?”
“You do not even know who I am. Prepare to die you ugly old hag.”
Reyda screeched and I found myself surrounded by Grummites. The last time I saw a Grummite it was a butler to Sheogorath.
I slashed one then thought I have nothing to hide as the only witness will soon be dead. So I used a full strength Unrelenting Force to kill another three.
In all I killed at least two dozen Grummites and one brave but foolish Baliwog which I just stomped on. It made a satisfying pop sound.
Reyda had exhausted her Magicka and cowered as I walked towards her.
“You might kill me but nothing can save you from your burnt soul! You are a monster!”
“Burnt soul? At least make your last words sensible ones.”
“You touched the red stone didn’t you? Didn’t those fools tell you what it was?”
“It is the blood of Molag Bal. They knew nothing about them as I did not tell them.”
“Now your soul had found the gates of Oblivion. That gate will swallow you from the inside sooner or later. You’re already trapped in Oblivion. No one ever escapes and neither will you. Enjoy your time here while you still can.”
“I have been to Apocrypha many times, Ashpit, The Realm of Boethia, The Deadlands, Moonshadow and The Scuttling Void. Yet here I am in Mundus. I have also escaped The Void twice. So you speak rubbish and prove your ignorance with every word uttered.”
The fear grew in Reyda’s eyes. She was finally figuring out who I was.
“How do you think I recognised Molag Bal’s blood? Did you not just see me use the Thu’um? Have you not figured out who I am by now?”
Reyda stepped back a few steps. I stepped a few forward.
“Do you have nothing to say? You were so boastful only moments ago.”
“No! Have mercy! Please don’t kill me! I’ll do anything you want!”
“Why would you deserve my mercy?”
“I was deceived by Molag Bal. I had no idea what would happen! It’s true! Please!”
“I asked if you knew what was going to happen and you admitted you did. So now you die and don’t expect either of your masters to pluck you out of The Void.”
“You damn bastard! I’ll rip off your head!”
I slashed her four times before she fell dying. Much tougher than the Dremora I have faced the last two days. Her last words were, “You monster. May Laza devour you!”
Laza is some old God connected to Kyne I think. I doubt he would have an issue with me for killing evil.
I exited the witch grove and was relieved to find I had not lost much time since entering. Revel came up and nudged me. By the looks of his lips and teeth he had found plenty to graze on.
“I am no pushover. You won’t get oats every time. Let’s see how fast you can get me to the Vigilants Temple.”
I mounted and let Revel show me what he had.
I arrived at the Temple just after 4.00PM. There were no guards outside.
I entered and Altano was sitting before the naked body of Keeper Thorondir. There was a bound Dremora to his right. Bloodied bodies of Vigilants were scattered around.
“Well, well, well. Look who has finally decided to show up. And it seems even Stendarr has forsaken you.”
“Reyda made the same mistake before I killed her. The last mortal in Mundus Lord Stendarr would desert is me.”
That news stunned the idiot.
“So I see all of these good people resisted Molag’s honeyed words. Did that make you angry so you killed them? Or were you upset all that power Molag Bal gave you was not enough to make me kill innocents.”
“There’s no reason to explain anything to you. You will die now.”
“Come on then Altano. Or is that mace just for decoration?”
“Genghis, send this soul to Molag Bal. I must return to the altar and continue the ritual.”
“Altano runs away in fear leaving a useless Dremora to die in his place. How noble is that!”
Altano had been gifted with some sort of teleport. That would explain how he got in and out of the witches grove without Reyda noticing.
Stuff the secrecy! I did a full strength Unrelenting Force.
It killed the Dremora but Altano was already in the ether so was unharmed.
I looked at Keeper Thorondir and wondered if his undressed state was some sort of petty revenge on Altano’s part.
I did a quick look around and found nobody alive on the ground floor.
I checked the library. There was a young woman injured right at the back.
She pleaded, “Please help me! I don’t want to die…”
I cast some healing on her.
“You are going to be alright now. What is your name?”
“Gwyneth. I am the librarian here. I am also a mage and that was very powerful Restoration!”
“My name is Mecine. Can you tell me what happened here?”
“Altano summoned a Daedra. We didn’t understand what was happening. It was all so sudden. I couldn’t do anything. I saw that Daedra tearing the others apart like they were nothing!”
“I killed it but Altano has fled to the Beacon. I am sorry your comrades were killed.”
“Please stop Altano. He’s doing something terrible!”
“Yes, he is trying to open a portal to Coldharbour so Molag Bal can conquer Nirn.”
“What? How do you know?”
“I closed a portal there yesterday. Many of the Vigilants were converts of Molag Bal. They have been working towards this for years.”
“How can you stop them by yourself?”
“Because I am not what I seem. Now you need to rest. The healing got rid of the injuries but you still need to take it easy. Your body took a beating.”
“Yes, I will do that. I will rest. I don’t have to worry anymore.”
I rushed outside and rode Revel as fast as before. He had excellent endurance and we made good time to the Temple.
I made sure all my defences were in place before entering the tunnels to the altar.
At the top of the steps the spirit of Lilian awaited.
“I was scared at first. Why would nice Mister Mecine hurt me and Mommy? Then you dropped your sword and kept saying ‘No, no, no, no…’ I stroked your face and told you it was okay and that Mommy and me and Stendarr would help you. Then that other man just appeared out of nowhere and things were not okay. Stop him Mister Mecine!”
“I will Lilian but there is something I need to tell you.”
“If it is about killing Daddy I know. He said you had no choice. I am sorry you had to do that.”
“He is with you and your Mommy! That is the best news. I have to go now Lilian. May The Divines bless you and your family.”
“Bye Mister Mecine” she said as her spirit faded.
On the first landing Taranis’ spirit awaited.
“If you had not killed me and had just walked away Molag Bal would have won!”
“I did not know about the portal at the time but had to come down here.”
“The Gods must have decided I was not guilty of the crimes I committed for I am with my family.”
“The Gods have judged you innocent as you never volunteered to work for Molag Bal or do evil work. It is a fair judgment and I am pleased for you.”
“Get rid of that sword before it does more harm.”
“I will, but first I must stop their plan.”
Taranis faded and I continued further down.
Carene’s spirit was next. She pleaded, “Please stop them. Their evil knows no bounds.”
Her spirit also faded and I moved on.
Next was Jo’vanni.
“Jo’vanni thanks you. You have retrieved his wife. Jo’vanni cannot thank you enough.”
He faded and I proceeded quickly till near the entrance to the altar. There Master Jacob’s spirit waited.
“Master Jacob, you won in the end. Your love was too much for Molag Bal to conquer.”
“With death comes knowledge. Now I know who you are I am confident of your victory. Push forward without hesitation for you are the Champion of the Divines.”
As his spirit faded I stood before the door and listened. Absolute silence! I entered.
Altano was completing the summoning ritual. What he did not realise is not enough energy was being fed through the mace to open a portal to Coldharbour. He would summon something but what?
A ring of flames appeared.
When I walked through them an avatar of Molag Bal in the form of a dragon stood before Altano.
Altano said to him, “Yes my Lord! I’ve been waiting for you! I’ve corrupted so many souls for you. Please, grant me a place in your realm!”
As he was talking to Molag Bal I walked behind him.
Molag Bal chuckled and replied, “Fool. What use do I have for you now? You were bait for the big fish behind you.”
Altano had no time to react before Molag Bal grabbed him in his jaws and shook him like a terrier with a rat. Altano screamed and then was silent as the Dark Lord’s avatar threw his broken body across the room.
I walked up and stood in front of the avatar.
“This is getting boring. Can’t you let the others have a turn at making portals?”
“He was not of use but you? What a team we would make! But I know you will never turn.”
“Why would I abandon the winning side?”
Molag Bal chuckled for the second time and I wish he wouldn’t. I wasn’t sure of the integrity of the roof and small pieces of rock fell around the place.
“I know that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but still, Lord Akatosh would not be pleased with you taking that form. You have managed to turn the most magnificent into the vilest abomination.”
“It is an art I have perfected. Now let us get down to business. Are you sure you will not reconsider. It would be a shame to leave Rigmor a widow before Kintyra’s birth. You do not have that infernal Scourge or that bitch to help you this time.”
“And you are but in avatar form. But I have something better than Scourge. Do you remember how Auriel’s Bow destroyed the best shields you could give Harkon? One arrow each time overpowered the best you could do.”
I drew my sword and held it up.
“This sword is made of the same metal on the same forge. What do you think it will feel like as it slices through that fake dragon flesh of yours?”
Molag Bal roared and went for the same manoeuvre that ended Altano. I smashed his head away with my shield then cut his throat.
Molag Bal’s avatar reared back and the fight was over. Now I really wish The Sentinel were here. Who will believe I beat him with a single swing?
As the avatar writhed in its death throws and roared. I used my Thu’um.
“YOU ARE DIMINISHING YOURSELF WITH EACH LOSS MORAG. KEEP THIS UP AND EVEN MALACATH COULD KICK YOUR ARSE!”
The avatar kept protesting its doom for what seemed like years till it finally reared up and roared its last.
Then it faded away and the huge cavern was quiet except for the crackling of the flames.
“Please Mecine. Forgive me.”
I removed my helmet and walked up to the dying Altano. He looked at my face and his eyes widened.
“He used us all to get to you didn’t he?”
“I think he modified a plan that had been in action for a long time. He improvised after we stopped him using the Bridge of Sighs. It was a close call as The Divines are a bit blind at the moment and only recently figured out what he was doing.”
“We are very much alike you and I Emperor. Before you scoff and deny that fact I ask you to read my journal. But after I have left as my time is short.”
“You have done well lasting this long after being chomped on by a dragon. The only impressive thing I have seen you do!”
“Your barbs never end do they? But I suppose they are deserved. How long did you suspect?”
“The first clue was how you kept getting these mystical reports. Not once did I see a courier or another speaking to you. Molag was telling you the next move each time hoping I would darken my soul. Apparently I have already done that by touching one of his red stones. It doesn’t matter. It is nothing that a trip to Coldharbour won’t fix.”
“So you knew before you handed me the mace?”
“I wanted you to use it. I did not think it would cost the lives of a mother and daughter. But collateral damage is a price The Divines expect me to accept to ensure the survival of Mundus.”
“But why hand me such power?”
“As Molag Bal said, you were bait! I have defeated him again. I have outmanoeuvred him again. I need to keep doing that till he is so weakened we can forget about him for a long time.”
“The Prophecy of the Chosen One is true isn’t it?”
“Yes but it is not yet complete. Other Dark Lords will try to stop it.”
Altano was starting to fade. He pleaded, “Please, forgive me.”
“It is the Gods you betrayed that will weigh up your deeds and decide the fate of your soul. If Molag Bal discards it and leaves it to The Void they may take pity. I cannot forgive the murder of a mother and child.”
Altano’s eyes shed final tears at my refusal to forgive. Then he sighed and his soul left Mundus to wherever the Gods decide.
I walked over to the Mace of Molag Bal and drew my sword once more.
Using all the strength I could muster I hit that symbol of ultimate evil with a mighty swing.
There was a deafening sound of thunder and the cavern shook. The mace started to fade. I watched till it was no more. That was one less tool for Morag Bal to use.
His voice came from the flames,
“Know this Akatosh’s plaything. I will be watching you always. If even a spot of corruption touches your soul you are mine. The gates of my realm will open wide for you. I will eagerly await your arrival. My Red Stone has made that inevitable. Ask one of your pathetic priests or Gods if this is so.”
The flames vanished and the cavern was completely silent. I did not need to ask a Divine or priest. The taint of the stone was real and intuition told me only a trip to Coldharbour would remove it.
I walked over to Altano and removed his journal. Many pages at the start had been torn out. Many pages at the end burnt. Those that remained brought me to my knees.
“Sundas, 17th Last Seed, 4E 201
Who am I? I don’t remember my own name. I don’t know where I came from. My first memory is standing in this almost endless snowy field.
I hoped this journal would help me, but all the pages have been torn out. The future looks bleak.
Tirdas, 2nd Hearthfire, 4E 201
An old man named Jacob found me lying here and decided to help me. He is a Vigilant of Stendarr.
After telling him of my situation, the old man named me Altano.
Middas, 3rd Evening Star, 4E 201
Three months have passed since I joined the Vigilants of Stendarr. There is no sign my memory will ever return.
Middas, 8th Frostfall, 4E 201
There are reports of witches gathering south of Whiterun.
Sundas, 12th Frostfall, 4E 201
Tomorrow we hunt the witches. We must stop their rituals and prevent them from summoning any Daedra.
I am expecting a fierce battle, and the faces of my friends look tense.
Morndas, 13th Frostfall 4E 201
Witch hunt was successful. We sustained only minor injuries and no losses.
I can’t sleep. When I close my eyes, I see the faces of witches I killed.
Morndas, 9th Sun’s Dawn, 4E 202
I met a werewolf. I followed him, but he escaped the chase. He was strangely timid for such a beast.
Sundas, 15th Sun’s Dawn, 4E 202
I met a woman from the Silver Hand. It seems she is hunting a werewolf. When I told her I can’t tell the difference between a werewolf and an ordinary man, she hissed at me and left.
She acted like a child.”
They were the only entries legible and nothing extraordinary except the first.
I woke aboard the carriage on the way to Helgen on the same day with no memories! Does this mean anything? Is it just more immortal gobblygook? I don’t know and probably never will.
Altano was a man with no memories or name. His moral guidance came from a man who sold his wife’s soul to survive. Altano had no hope of avoiding Morag’s grasp. Perhaps the Gods will show mercy after all.
I exited via the trapdoor and looked over at Taranis’ body. I remembered Taranis’ plea and my promise to his family. I placed the sword in its sheath then slung him over my shoulder. I put on my Ayleid amulet and was teleported to my pocket realm. I lay Taranis out straight on the floor, placed the sword in a chest then removed the amulet.
When I reappeared Revel was sniffing where I had vanished seconds earlier. He stepped back startled and gave me a disapproving stare and snort. He forgave me when I gave him a good serving of oats.
I decided it would be too much for Revel to do another trip today. So I made a fire and sat down to write the journal entries of the last few days.
In a few hours I will head for the cabin and retrieve mother and daughter. They would not spoil in my pocket realm so I could leave them their till I finished this Divine Task. I will then travel to the Temple and check on Gwyneth. I have no doubt the many things I have to do before getting to Coldharbour will continue from there.