Fort Greenwall Snow Elf Ruins, Explorer’s Guild, Dragonborn Gallery, Markarth: Tragedy.
The best plans and intentions often come unstuck due to unforeseen circumstances.
I promised Rigmor a day in Riften. I intended to do something for the fourth anniversary of me awakening in the carriage. I intended to be with the Explorers Guild for the first few days of the new archaeological dig.
Sigunn falling ill halted all of that.
On the 17th we had breakfast with her at Bruma Castle when she fainted. I quickly calmed the panicking Rigmor and others when it became apparent that she wasn’t in danger, just exhausted. That was my and Celestine’s diagnosis. Some top physicians who rushed from all parts of Cyrodiil agreed.
It has only been a few months since the battles for Bruma and the Ruby Throne ended. The change of Emperor at any time can be chaotic, but Rigmor and I have ripped out what Sethius did and have started building our model of what The Empire should be. That meant Sigunn and other leaders have had very little rest since our coronation.
Sigunn is driven by doing what is right for her people and pushed herself too far. She, Cerys and Freathof have spent a few days at Silverpeak Lodge just relaxing and being pampered by The Sentinel and others.
Rigmor took on the duties of Countess, and I have been sitting on the Ruby Throne doing Emperor stuff.
I asked both Knight-Paladin Gelebor, and Master Calcelmo, if they wished to join the expedition to the newly discovered Snow Elf ruins.
Calcelmo declined. He said he needed to finish studying the Snow Elf artefacts I recovered last week. He assured me they would have some relevance to the excavation. I was disappointed he would not be with us but looked forward to what his research uncovered.
Yesterday I received a letter from him and three of the artefacts.
I want to thank you once again for your efforts in recovering the Snow Elf artefacts. Without you and The Sentinel, they would likely have remained lost to time.
I’ve gleaned what I can from the relics, and my experimentations have restored them to what I can only assume is their original power.
More in-depth research has revealed that the three staves were each held at one time or another by champions of the various orders of the Snow Elves.
The High Priestess of the Skysisters held the staff from Alftand.
The Snow Prince himself held the staff from Irkngthand. Remember he was named that by the Nords who brought about his inevitable demise.
The last was the Staff of the Sun Prince, evidently a powerful Arch-Curate of Auriel.
I have finished my studies of them and have sent them to you rather than your museum. I thought you might wish to study them yourself now they have been fully restored.
When I picked up the Staff of the Sun Prince, I could feel the presence of Lord Akatosh. Why I had not sensed him when I first handled it, I do not know.
What, if any, relevance they have to the archaeological dig I also do not know.
I had sent a detailed letter to Knight-Paladin Gelebor in the hope that if he could not come along on the expedition, he could at least provide some insight on what to expect.
This letter was his response,
“Emperor Wulf Septim,
My dear friend, I would not have been much use to you onsite and would probably get in the way. I have some exciting finds that I am investigating here, and I genuinely believe that is time better spent. I hope you understand.
As you are aware, much of what happened after we sealed the Great Chantry of Auri-El is unknown to me. I did consult some books from the pitiful number remaining in the chantry’s library.
Apart from this Great Chantry of Auri-El we had temples dedicated to Trinimac, Syrabane, Jephre and Phynaster. None of them as large or grand as this chantry but still significant structures.
I believe the ruins underneath Fort Greenwall was the Temple of Phynaster.
Looking at a modern map, the Temple of Trinimac was directly east of Arkngthamz.
The catastrophe that destroyed Winterhold most likely did the same to the Temple of Syrabane.
The Temple of Jephre was south-east of Markarth.
I can only speculate on what happened to the temple underneath Fort Greenwall. It sounds like the destruction was similar in scale to that of Nayasel. Tremendous forces, probably greater than a mortal can wield, may have caused that level of damage to the temple! But as I said, that is pure speculation.
I am interested in finding out what happened to the large number of Trinimac worshippers when Boethia defeated their God in battle and transformed him into Malacath. The effect it had on the Chimer was profound, and the Orsimer are very unlike their ancestors. I have said to you before; I suspect something in addition to the toxic fungi created the Betrayed. Perhaps something similar to the Chimer to Orsimer transformation. Once again this is speculation, but thought-provoking.
Isn’t it strange that I was alive when all of this occurred, yet I am relying on you to tell me the history of my people!
As you know, we have been uncovering other Snow Elves in stasis, including children. They seem to have simply been near a mage when the slaughter started and not beneficiaries of a careful selection process.
Several brought out of stasis have mentioned a vast palace of some sort, secretly built, so they claim. The intention was that it could act as a refuge for a good number of people. I knew nothing of this except rumours. We have discovered it is not a rumour and are working on the teleporters that will give us access to it.
You must agree, such a thing could be invaluable to my people!
I wish those who are undertaking your expedition the best. I eagerly look forward to learning more of what happened during The Exodus.
The Explorers Guild has been working at the site for six days. In that time, they have managed to build extensive scaffolding with the help of the Legionnaires and engineers stationed at Fort Greenwall.
We went ether from Bruma to Riften. I then flew Nafalilargus to the dig’s camp just outside of Fort Greenwall.
It was just after 8:00 AM when we disembarked. The camp was a hive of activity as we made our way down to it.
I said to Rigmor, “It shouldn’t be too boring waiting for me. I hope you are not disappointed.”
“I understand you are concerned for mine and the bump’s safety. I hope you will deem it safe enough so I can also see it. Until then, I will easily find things to do.”
“Let’s go speak to Auryen.”
We walked over to Auryen who smiled when he saw us,
- Auryen: Ah good day, Majesties! I hope Countess Sigunn is feeling better.
- Rigmor: Yes, she is. Rest and relaxation are what she needed, and the Countess got plenty of that at our new home near Whiterun.
- Auryen: I can hardly believe what his Majesty found here. It is quite impressive, indeed.
- Wulf: We didn’t exactly find it. We were led here by the Snow Elf spirit.
- Auryen: And you think she might have been one of the fabled Skysisters?
- Wulf: Pure speculation. I still do not understand the two sides of her. One beckoned us to follow, and the other accused us of thievery.
- Rigmor: My husband received some interesting correspondence from Knight-Paladin Gelebor.
- Wulf: Yes, he thinks this was a Temple of Phynaster. Not as large as the Great Chantry of Auri-El but still a substantial structure.
- Auryen: We know so little of the religious practices of his people. Perhaps we can learn a lot more about that and clues about their downfall.
- Wulf: I hope so. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we can educate people on not just the Snow Prince, but other heroes of this once great nation?
- Auryen: It would indeed, Majesty! That is why everyone is somewhat excited, myself especially.
- Wulf: You are staying in camp this morning?
- Auryen: Oh yes, there are already finds that need some work to piece together and catalogue. I am sure Queen Rigmor will enjoy helping if she so desires.
- Rigmor: I would be delighted to help!
- Wulf: How has it been working with the Legionnaires?
- Auryen: I have not had much to do with them, but Kyre has provided nothing but positive feedback. Have they discovered what has been going on?
- Wulf: Not yet. There were two dead Legionnaires in the water when we swam to the ruins last week. The fort’s commander was oblivious to her missing men because somebody had not reported them AWOL. I can excuse her for not knowing Legate Sorenshield was down there as he was a free agent. As long as he put in the hours training the men, he could come and go as he pleased.
- Auryen: But Legionnaires in full armour do not voluntarily jump into a well.
- Rigmor: No, they don’t. They were murdered and so far, we have no clues as to why or by who.
- Auryen: And no clue as to why the Legate attacked?
- Wulf: No, but he did do a lot of dungeon and ruin exploration. He may have come across an artefact connected to one of the Dark Lords or other powerful entity.
- Auryen: Dead rank and file and an insane Legate. Do you think the two are connected?
- Wulf: I doubt it. We do get criminal elements creep into the Legions. Where do you think the soldiers of this garrison spend a lot of their time when off duty?
- Auryen: Riften, home of the Thieves Guild.
- Wulf: I have had a close look at that guild over the years. They are burglars and pickpockets who target the wealthy. They are not racketeers or murderers, and they would not mess with the Imperial Army.
- Auryen: Why hasn’t anybody gone in and wiped them out?
- Rigmor: They have some protection from Maven Black-Briar, but the real reason is they do good policing. They stop the more violent gangs from getting a foothold in the city. If you wiped them out, worse elements which are not so open would step in. They do not try and hide who they are.
- Auryen: Yes, I know the concept. Many large cities have a similar deal. Leave the bad guys to police themselves and concentrate on the nastier guys.
- Wulf: It seems to work. But Riften still has other vices not under the control of the Thieves Guild. There is a lot of drug dealing, prostitution etcetera. I would not be surprised to find some soldiers in this fort involved with shady elements. It is almost impossible to prevent.
- Auryen: General Tullius visited a few days ago and was pleased with what he saw.
- Wulf: Model soldiers fully co-operating with the archaeologists to rescue their reputation.
- Auryen: You don’t think that is their motivation, do you?
- Wulf: No, I think they are good men who would have done the same when asked by any commander.
- Auryen: You will realise when you visit the site how much we relied on their engineers and the many men they provided. We would have taken months, not days, to get to this point without them.
- Rigmor: I smell something cooking. Let’s go check it out!
- Wulf: Yes, my dear. Anything you say, my love.
Auryen laughed as my Queen, and I made our way over to the firepit.
Latoria was busy preparing lunch. In about four hours, the spicey stew should be perfect.
- Wulf: Latoria, how are you enjoying the dig?
- Latoria: Latoria is looking at the sky with suspicion; it keeps trying to rain. I hope the weather holds out; I hate wet fur!
- Rigmor: Have you found anything interesting?
- Latoria: Oh yes, Latoria has found a book behind a Magicka barrier. Kyre is moving some more heavy things out of the way this morning. Maybe we can find a way to get the book then.
- Wulf: Knight-Paladin Gelebor thinks it was a Temple of Phynaster. That is one God I have not seen much evidence of in Skyrim or Cyrodiil.
- Latoria: What is left looks like a temple. Latoria thinks that something other than time and neglect caused the decent of the Snow Elven structures.
- Wulf: That is what I thought when I first saw it. Knight-Templar Gelebor also thinks the destruction would take significant power to achieve.
- Latoria: Well, Latoria is not a scaredy-cat anymore! Soon I will head inside and see if we can get to the book.
- Rigmor: That stew smells wonderful. What is in it?
- Latoria: Who knows? We start with a regular stew at the beginning of a dig, and each day we add to whatever leftovers remain from the previous day. Each person tends to add their favourite components, and then we get this.
- Wulf: It is that sort of random experimentation that made the Dwemer vanish!
- Latoria: Then Latoria thinks if all the members of the guild disappear, do not eat the stew!
- Wulf: Good advice. Do you know where Kyre is?
- Latoria: In the main tent, reading some boring Dwemer books.
Rigmor and me headed for the tent. We found the ex-miner deeply engrossed in one of Calcelmo’s books.
- Wulf: Good morning, Kyre. How have you found the dig so far?
- Kyre: Good day, your Majesties. Even though the fort soldiers helped, I still had to pitch in chopping and to shape a considerable amount of wood for the scaffolding. I must be getting soft; my back aches something terrible.
- Wulf: Does the salve Eriana makes help?
- Kyre: Very much so. Please thank Celestine once again when you see her. Eriana says the recipe is much better than the one we used to use and I know it is more effective!
- Rigmor: Latoria says you are heading inside with her soon.
- Kyre: She found a book behind a magical barrier. She wants me to do some heavy lifting and see if we can find a way to drop that barrier.
- Wulf: Maybe take a bucket of salve?
- Kyre: Probably more like two or three. The Imperial engineers filtered the water so you will find it a lot clearer.
- Wulf: Good, it was a bit daunting finding our way through the pitch-black!
- Kyre: There are some impressive ruins down there. We have erected safety barriers along the entire scaffolding but still, watch your step!
- Rigmor: Did the Legionnaires give you any trouble?
- Kyre: No, there are some excellent engineers amongst them, and they were keen to regain some reputation, I think.
- Wulf: They would have enjoyed doing something other than making ramparts and digging latrine trenches.
- Kyre: Are you are joining us at the ruins this morning Majesties?
- Wulf: I will be. Until I am sure it is safe, Queen Rigmor will be up here helping Auryen.
- Kyre: Then, I look forward to seeing you at the ruins, Majesty.
- Wulf: Okay, see you inside soon.
We walked back outside and found Eriana attending to the stew.
- Wulf: How are you this morning, Eriana?
- Eriana: I am somewhat envious your Majesty. I wish I could do more than just support the others as quartermaster.
- Rigmor: Just show some interest and Auryen, Madras and the Professor will happily help you learn. Wulf hired Kyre as the miner and the muscle, yet he was just reading some very complex books on the Dwemer.
- Eriana: You are right; some of Nirn’s leading experts surround me so I should take advantage of that.
- Rigmor: There is a sense of excitement amongst you.
- Eriana: Yes, I think we all find it amazing that such a significant Snow Elf ruin has been down there under the fort all this time!
- Wulf: Have you made your contribution to today’s stew?
- Eriana: Of yes, a couple of lovely big onions!
- Rigmor: I would put a lid on the stew when not attending it. Delicious food may disappear without a trace when Meeko and Inigo are around.
- Eriana: Hahaha! Yes, I can see it in their eyes, and that rather impressive drool puddle Meeko has made.
Kyre and Latoria were busy chatting away as they passed us on the way to the cave entrance. I noticed Madras sitting and enjoying some breakfast, so we went over to say hello.
- Rigmor: Surely you are not going to eat that entire blueberry tart?
- Madras: If I pace myself, I might finish it just before lunch. I think I have my calculations correct on when I should take each bite.
- Wulf: What do you think of the site?
- Madras: It makes me wonder what happened to cause it to sink into the earth like that.
- Wulf: That is one of the many mysteries I hope we solve. The Snow Elves are very similar to the Ayleid in their architecture.
- Madras: Yes, and they really could do some fantastic things with magic, much like how the Dwemer used machines.
- Rigmor: We will let you get back to your blueberry tart. It would be terrible if we caused a miscalculation!
Madras happily took another bite as we left him and headed for Meeko.
“You will keep our Queen safe won’t you boy?”
“I will take that for a yes. See you soon.”
I kissed Rigmor then headed to the cave full of curiosity.
The water was as cold as I remembered it.
Another dead Legionnaire was in the water. That is three of which I am aware.
I noticed a piece of paper on the bottom so dived down to retrieve it. It read,
“We know what you’ve been up to traitor!
If you don’t want us ratting you out to the commander for fencing gear from our store, you’d better meet us by the well at midnight.
We should have known a recruit from Riften could never be trusted.”
I will hand the note over to the commander. It is up to her to deal with crimes within her garrison.
At various points of the underwater cavern were new drain covers. They were there to help keep any silt from spreading throughout the entire waterway.
I finally made my soggy way to the beginning of the platforms. Latoria would be popular with the others as she would use Magicka to dry herself and others instantaneously. I also dried myself with Magicka, then I looked around.
The amount of work accomplished in a less than a week was astounding. I will have to write a letter of commendation to the garrison.
Professor Marassi patiently waited for me to address him.
“I am impressed Professor. I did not expect to see this much scaffolding done.”
“Oh, yes, indeed. We’ve completed the scaffold and have been studying the architecture with mixed returns.”
“What do you think of it?”
“This is quite a fantastic find, I must say. And you said that that Snow Elven spectre guided you here?”
“She was very persistent and seemed keen for me to reach that top right-hand balcony.”
“Has Latoria told you of what we found there?”
“She said there was a book protected by a Magicka barrier.”
“Kyre is up there at the moment moving some rocks out of the way. Latoria thinks there is a way to disable the barrier underneath them.”
“That large round structure in the middle is Ayleid in design. A Great Welkynd Stone was once held by it.”
“Are you sure?”
“I have crawled through enough Ayleid, and Snow Elf ruins to know what belongs where. Exactly the same structure is in Nayasel. Nowhere will you find similar in the Great Chantry of Auri-El.”
“We know little nothing of any interactions between the two people’s, but naturally there must have been some.”
“Man has been very thorough in the destruction of the Mer histories.”
“If Mer were ever victorious, the reverse would occur, I am sure.”
“You mentioned that locked chest to us. We have made a platform to it but have been unable to open it. Auryen suggested we hire somebody from the Riften thieves, but then Latoria remembered you have skill with locks.”
“I will give it a try.”
“Okay, why you do that I will go and see if they are having any luck with that book.”
I approached the chest then studied the lock for a few seconds. It was very similar to many of the older Mer designs. It took a lot of concentration, but eventually I heard a satisfying click and the latch sprung open.
Inside was a hand axe that combined both Snow Elf and Dwemer materials. It had a Dweomer that inflicted some frost damage and helped resist such damage from other sources. It was an average weapon but almost priceless due to its historical value.
I walked to the centre structure and had no doubt it was a Welkynd Well. As I was examining it, Latoria yelled from above.
“Majesty! Professor Marassi! Latoria has figured it out. You must come up here!”
I called back, “We will be right there, Latoria.”
When I reached Latoria, she had a massive grin on her face.
“This way Majesty!”
I followed her into a room dominated by her discovery.
On a dais sat a book. Surrounding the platform on which the dais sat was a Magicka barrier in the shape of a dome.
I put my hands on the dome and told Latoria, “I could overwhelm this barrier, but that may damage the book. Or I could get the Staff of Magnus from the College and use that.”
“No need Majesty. Follow Latoria upstairs and see.”
Up some stairs was a platform similar in shape and dimension to the one upon which the dais sat. Kyre was kneeling and inspecting it.
- Latoria: I think this platform is somehow linked the barrier magically. It also is obviously missing something.
- Wulf: You may be right. Let me have a look at it.
I spent a few minutes carefully studying the platform.
- Wulf: There is no evidence the two platforms are connected physically or via Magicka. But logic, and my intuition, says you are correct. Since I can’t see any evidence of something smashed to bits, whatever sat on the centre of the platform has probably been knocked flying.
- Kyre: That is what Latoria and I thought. Rocks came crashing down and knocked it away.
- Latoria: And that is what activated the barrier.
- Marassi: Wonderful news, that’s great to hear. Perhaps what we need was merely knocked off and could still be in the area.
- Wulf: If Knight-Paladin Gelebor is correct, then whatever it is has probably got a connection to Phynaster. Let’s all have a look around and see if we can find it.
It did not take long for me to find the missing item.
I returned to the platform with it then explained, “Shrines to Phynaster are of two main designs. Some Mer cultures that worship him believe he taught them how to live longer by, of all things, taking shorter steps when walking. That is why most shrines have a boot as the symbol to represent him. Other societies, the Bretons, for instance, chose the chalice instead. It represents the abundance of life, hence a connection to Phynaster.”
“Hurry, Latoria wants to see if she was right!” said the Khajiit excitedly.
I placed the chalice in the centre of the platform.
Professor Marassi exclaimed from below, “That did it! Amazing. Let’s have a look at the book, shall we?”
Latoria rushed downstairs. Such was her enthusiasm; she did not even realise she was standing in water.
I stood in front of her and said, “Latoria, you are getting the hem of that magnificent cloak wet.”
“Just read the book Majesty!”
“It will be in Dwemer or Falmer, so don’t get too excited.”
The book had the Snow Elf symbol of Auri-El on its cover.
I opened it, and it was in Falmer. That is not a language I can just read without some reference books to sort out phrasing and the meaning of specific word groupings. I could tell it was a prophecy. The last page was a tally sheet of some sort.
I handed it to Professor Marassi and said, “As you can see, it is in Falmer. Short sentences I am sure of so the title is ‘Forbidden Lore’. The rest of the structure suggests it is a prophecy. Only two other words I am sure of, as they have no different meaning no matter where placed within the text. They are Y’frre and Mauloch. Also known as Jephre and Malacath.”
Professor Marassi flicked through the book, then asked, “Do you think you could translate it?”
He handed the book back to me, and I replied, “Given a few hours and my reference books then yes. I would double-check with Master Calcelmo just in case I mucked something up.”
“What about the tally marks in the back?”
“Well, they are easy to translate to numerals. For instance, the top line is ‘3 5 4 2 1’”
“I suppose until we translate the book, we will not know what the numbers are for.”
Just then, a booming voice speaking Falmer echoed throughout the chamber.
At the highest part of the scaffolding, where I had yet to visit, stood a Falmer wearing clothes. Not a handsome Snow Elf, but the grotesque form, the Betrayed, that you usually find in rags or chitin armour.
On many ledges and levels of the platform swarmed dozens of Betrayed.
The being then said, in heavily accented Tamrielic, “How dare you defile this place with your presence! These hallowed halls are all that remains of our once proud people.”
Kyre exclaimed, “By the Gods! He just spoke!”
I had been studying the being and told Kyre, “Not only that, he has eyes that can see.”
I addressed the being, “You are mistaken, for the Great Chantry of Auri-El still exists unharmed, and your people still live there. Knight-Paladin Gelebor is a friend of mine and asked us to find out what happened to this temple. We defile nothing.”
It replied, “You lie! Your presence here is a blasphemy and has corrupted this place. A sin only cleansed by destruction.”
“I have followed the initiate’s footsteps carrying the holy ewer. I completed my mantras and visited each wayshrine. I am enlightened according to the laws of your people. I am also a son of Auri-El and blessed by him. How dare you accuse me of blasphemy! We have come here in peace, do not threaten these people!”
“More lies! Kill them!”
It cast a spell, and I watched a ball of energy slowly travel towards the roof. I realised in horror what was about to happen.
Professor Marassi said, “They’re coming from above and below! You take care of the ones coming up from the entrance, and we’ll hold off the ones up here! Go!”
I yelled, “No! The Falmer are expendable and are sacrificing themselves to slow us down. That being is going to bring the roof down on top of us. If you wondered what destroyed this place in the past, you are about to witness it first-hand!”
I called out to the being, “Feel the wrath of Auri-El!”
I did a full-strength Unrelenting Force.
It knocked the being flying, and I could see a spray of blood.
To my surprise, it rose once again and fired another of its spells towards the ceiling.
I told the others, “It is no good. It regenerated. Probably to do with that beam of light in which it stands. I do not want to use Shouts or Destruction spells anymore when our lives rely on these platforms staying intact. Follow me, and we shall carve our way through to the exit.”
Just then two Falmer leapt at me.
I cut them down in seconds, and we proceed towards the exit.
They were coming from behind us as well, so I fell back and cut down seven. When I caught back up with the others, Latoria was turning Falmer into ash with Lightening.
I yelled, “Take point, Kyre. Well done, Latoria! Professor Marassi, you are going to have to keep up.”
Kyre and Latoria were doing an excellent job clearing the way ahead.
Professor Marassi was huffing and puffing as he tried to keep up. He was not a warrior and quite advanced in years. This rush for the exit was probably the most rigorous exercise he has had in decades.
As we made our way to the exit, the being continuously cast its spells at the ceiling.
I stayed with the Professor while Kyre and Latoria got further ahead. I called out to them, “Keep moving. Do not wait for us!”
The last group of Falmer between them and the exit were delaying them, so I joined them to help clear the way. Then I returned to help Professor Marassi.
Before I reached him, a Falmer spellcaster dropped in front of me. Just as I cut him down a loud, terrible cracking came from above.
Professor Marassi yelled, “Majesty! Look out above you!”
I looked up to see a huge boulder dropping from the ceiling. It was not going to hit me, but the Professor was directly underneath it.
When I looked over at the Professor, he was standing transfixed as death descended upon him. I was too far away, and I could not reach him in time!
The boulder smashed into the platform and took the life of a friend. I ended up in the water at the bottom of the cavern.
I scrambled out of the water and rushed to where the boulder had pulverised both wood and flesh. I called out Professor Marassi’s name, even knowing what I saw was real and that he could not be alive.
I used my Thu’um and yelled,
“WHOEVER YOU ARE, YOU HAVE JUST MURDERED MY FRIEND. HE MEANT YOU NO HARM. I WILL FIND YOU AND JUSTICE WILL FOLLOW. THIS OATH I SWEAR ON AURI-EL’S NAME!”
My anger and grief left little room for logical thought. Such was the power of my voice more boulders started to fall. Accompanied by the noise of splintering wood and creaking support beams, I ran towards the exit tunnel.
I looked at the cavern one more time, and silently said goodbye to my friend.
I dived into the icy water, and then swam as fast as I could through the narrow tunnel. When I broke the surface, I could hear Rigmor loudly protesting, and Meeko was excitedly barking.
I made my way to the entrance of the cave where Illia, Meeko and Plue met me.
“Thank the Divines you are alive Majesty. Do you need healing?” asked Illia.
“No, I am okay. But Professor Marassi didn’t make it.”
“That is grave news! I suggest you quickly go outside before Queen Rigmor cuts down Inigo and Nubaree!”
As soon as I stepped into the sunlight, Rigmor threw herself into my arms.
After almost crushing me with a hug, she stepped back.
Rigmor said, “The ground started shaking then we heard this enormous boom, and about thirty seconds later all of this dust came pouring out of the cave entrance then after another thirty seconds Kyre and Latoria came running out of the cave then we heard you use the Thu’um and The Sentinel would not let me into the cave, and I was so scared…and…and…”
Rigmor grabbed me in another bear hug. I smoothed her hair and told her, “A talking Falmer attacked us. Not a Snow Elf but a Betrayed, and he made huge boulders fall from the roof of the cavern.”
“Why did he attack you?”
“That is unclear. Can we please discuss all of that later? I have to talk to the Explorers Guild. Professor Marassi is dead. I saw him die, Rigmor!”
“Oh my! I will tell them to come over.”
“Can you take this note I found and go with a couple of The Sentinel to see the fort commander. Tell her everything is okay. But while exploring, we found another dead Legionnaire dumped in the well. That note was on him. Tell her they are allowed to retrieve the body, but it is forbidden for anybody to enter the ruins. We shall send her orders on what to do about the entrance soon.”
Rigmor took the note from me, then asked, “What are you going to do after telling the guild members?”
“I want The Sentinel to help them pack up their camp. There is nothing else to be seen at this dig site. I will be in Nafalilargus translating a book we found in there. I need to do this, so I understand who our enemy is and plan out next move. I do not want to be disturbed!”
“You think there is a danger to Skyrim?”
“I have a feeling we have just stirred up a hornet’s nest, so yes, I do. You had better advise the commander to have at least a platoon guarding the exit to the cave and another the well twenty-four hours a day until she receives further orders.”
“I am so sorry you lost your friend, my love.”
Rigmor kissed me on the cheek and rushed off to do as I asked her.
A minute or so later the Explorers Guild stood before me.
- Wulf: Professor Marassi died. I am so, so sorry.
There was shock and then tears at the news.
- Wulf: A huge boulder crushed him and I could not reach him or do anything to save him. All the power I have and I could not save a friend.
- Auryen: I can hear the guilt in your voice Majesty. Do not be so naïve as to think you can prevent all deaths, and this was not your fault!
- Kyre: It was the mutated Falmer’s fault! Why did it attack us?
- Wulf: It chose not to believe what I said, and nothing was going to stop its actions. There was no justification for its attack. It murdered our friend.
- Auryen: Do you have any idea what or who it was and how it is related to the temple?
- Wulf: I have my suspicions. I have a book we recovered that I need to translate, so I would prefer not to speculate at this stage.
- Auryen: What do you want us to do Majesty?
- Wulf: This is no longer a dig site. It will be sealed and thus remain a tomb for our friend.
- Latoria: That is fitting. Professor Marassi would like the idea of being interred in such a place.
- Auryen: Yes, Latoria, he would indeed.
- Wulf: You are to pack everything up and head back to the museum. The Sentinel will help with that. I will come and visit tomorrow, hopefully with an accurate translation.
- Auryen: We will mourn our friend Majesty, but do not think his death will dampen our enthusiasm for exploration. He is not the first and certainly will not be the last to die in the pursuit of knowledge.
- Wulf: I have found many a corpse equipped with quill and paper, and not sword or staff, on my journeys.
The guild members wandered off but did not go far before Eriana burst out in woeful sobs and had to be comforted.
I headed for Nafalilargus determined to translate the book and figure out why my friend died so needlessly.
I have a suspicion the Jolly Green Giant, Malacath, is behind it.