Markarth, Solitude, Skyrim Plains: Danger from below.
J’zargo was in the process of jumping us via the ether to Markarth because I wanted to check my translation of the Falmer tome with Master Calcelmo.
Rigmor wanted to discuss my translation just after breakfast. She sat still and concentrated while I read it to her,
- THE HARMONY OF Y’FRRE SHALL FOREVER ENTOMB
- THE GREAT EVIL OF OUR FOLLY
- ONLY BY THE TONE OF HIS VOICE SHALL THE CHAMBERS OPEN
- THOUGH THROUGH MAULOCH THE TOOL OF OUR REVENGE SHALL BE FREED
- AND THE WORLD ABOVE SHALL BURN
- AND THE FALMER WILL FEEL THE LIGHT OF DAY ONCE MORE
- A GREAT DEATHWEAVER WILL RISE
- HE SHALL BE GIVEN VOICE AMONGST THE SILENT
- BE GIVEN SIGHT AMONGST THE BLIND
- AND HE SHALL LEAD US TO OUR DESTINY”
Rigmor is, “It is a prophecy like you thought it would be.”
“Yes. The mention of two Gods, plus three short paragraphs, hinted at a prophecy.”
“Can you explain what it means without too much gobblygook?”
“Read this; it is my interpretation.”
I handed Rigmor my theory on the prophecy which was,
“Y’frre is known as Jephre to the Dominion and Y’ffer to the Khajiit.
The various peoples that worship him attribute him with different immortal powers and titles. The title relevant to this prophecy is ‘God of Song.’ His shrines usually include a harp to symbolise this.
‘The harmony of Y’frre shall forever entomb’ suggest something is locked away either via music or song. Tonal Locks are quite common in Dwemer tombs, but I think this is something different. The tally sheet at the end of the tome may be a clue as to relevant musical notes, either sung or played.
‘The great evil of our folly.’ is one line the meaning of which I can only speculate. At this point, we have no clue as to what folly the author refers! We will have to do some more research, or even some more archaeological excavation, to decipher what the folly was.
‘Only by the tone of his voice.’ suggests a song, rather than music, unlocks the tomb.
It is prudent to jump to the third paragraph of the prophecy as the second paragraph refers to it.
‘A great Deathweaver will rise.’ refers to the being we encountered in the Temple of Phynaster.
‘He shall be given voice amongst the silent.” is a bit strange. Before he spoke Tamrielic, he already called out in the language of the Falmer, of the Betrayed. Perhaps it means he can speak other languages? So, for instance, if he encountered a group of Khajiit, he could talk to them in Ta’agra.
It could also mean he is a spokesperson for the Falmer. A representative if you will.
‘Be given sight amongst the blind.’ obviously refers to the fact he could see when all other Falmer we have ever encountered are blind.
‘And he shall lead us to our destiny.’ must be interpreted alongside the second and third line of the second paragraph which are, ‘And the world above shall burn’, and, ‘And the Falmer will feel the light of day once more.’
The Falmer destiny, according to this prophecy, is to wage war on those who live above ground. It states they will once again walk freely upon the surface. A nightmare scenario often contemplated by historians and others!
Are they capable of this? With the help of a Daedric Prince, they can certainly try!
‘Though through Mauloch the tool of our revenge shall be freed.’ points the finger at Malacath!
The spurned God’s ‘tool’ is either Deathweaver by himself or Deathweaver with a weapon created by Malacath.
I set the prophecy of ‘The Chosen One’ in motion by killing the last Minotaur.
I set this prophecy in motion by placing the chalice upon the platform. When the Magicka barrier dropped around the tome, Deathweaver was released to do Malacath’s bidding. Or it could have told him of trespassers. Maybe both.
The logical place to look for Deathweaver is in the Falmer’s Temple of Trinimac.
Boethia consumed the et’Ada that was Trinimac. That process created the Daedric Prince we know as Malacath. Like he used the New Order of Alinor in an attempt to conquer Nirn, he is going to use the Falmer in another effort.
I assume worshippers of Trinimac suddenly found a different God answering their prayers, a corruption of all that Trinimac once stood for. Malacath discovered he had the potential foundation of a new army. All he had to do was inflame the need for revenge to make it a reality.
An army we have unlashed in our quest for knowledge!”
Rigmor read my interpretation, and I could see the unease it caused. She asked, “So what do we do?”
“First, we go to Markarth, speak to Calcelmo and make sure my translation is accurate.”
“And if it is, we need to find the Temple of Trinimac.”
“Before we go looking for it, we will visit the Explorers Guild. They need to be ready to move out as soon as possible.”
“So, while they are preparing, we go searching for the temple?”
“That is the plan. If we find it, we return and give the guild directions to where it is.”
“You don’t want me anywhere near this excavation, do you?”
“No, it is far too dangerous! You can come with me today to search for the temple.”
“I want to be there, Wulf! If I stay inside Nafalilargus with a Sentinel Squad and the three Master Mages, I will be relatively safe. I can’t stand waiting in Cyrodiil for news. I can’t concentrate on trivial matters when you are in such heightened danger. Please, don’t ask me to sit on that fucking throne while you deal with a Daedric Prince.”
Rigmor was close to tears. I could not think of anything that needed her presence in Cyrodiil for the next few days. I said to her, “If we find a likely site for the temple, we will fly back and get any urgent Empire business sorted. Then we can fly back here.”
“Do you know the area well where Knight-Paladin Gelebor said the temple is?”
“I know there used to be a couple of dragons who lived nearby. I also know it an area infested with Goblin tribes. What I am most worried about is large numbers of Falmer pouring out of caves and attacking us.”
“So, having an extra Sentinel squad ready, plus the Master Mages, would be a wise thing to do!”
“I have already said you can stay aboard the airship, but yes, it is a wise thing to do.”
Rigmor laughed then said, “That was easy; I didn’t even have to bat my eyelids!”
“I was the easy part. When we go to sign the dozens of pieces of paper Blackwell puts before us, he will question the necessity of such foolishness.”
“Just one of my ‘looks’ will tell him all he needs to know.”
“The type of look that makes the temperature suddenly plummet by many degrees?”
“That’s the one.”
Rigmor beckoned Inigo over so she could do a bit of matchmaking. She had it in her head that Latoria and our blue friend would make a great couple. I watched in amusement as Inigo tried politely to point out Latoria was not his type. It was if my wife was suddenly deaf. Lucky for Inigo the bell that announced our arrival in Markarth saved him from further badgering on the subject.
Rigmor went about it all wrong. I had already suggested that the sad Latoria might appreciate some ‘comforting’. Inigo was keen on that idea.
We headed straight for Calcelmo and did not bother hiding who we were. The Jarl would not approach us, as that is against protocol. We will have to go and speak to him about the imminent danger to his city if my translation is deemed correct.
We ignored the pointed fingers and awed whispers of the citizens. Let them give the Jarl a hard time if they want to know why the leaders of The Empire just traipsed through their city.
Calcelmo was quite surprised when our entourage suddenly appeared, accompanied by a sizeable audience of stickybeaks, at his worksite. He stammered, “Ah, your Majesties, this is an unexpected but pleasant surprise.”
I signalled Illia, and she put up a shield of fog and air around Rigmor, Calcelmo and me. The curious citizens would not be able to eavesdrop on or lipread our conversation.
- Wulf: I am afraid our visit is not so pleasant Master Calcelmo. Professor Marassi was killed yesterday at the excavation.
- Calcelmo: Oh no, an accident of some description?
- Rigmor: No, he was murdered by a seeing, talking Falmer called Deathweaver.
Calcelmo looked at Rigmor as if she was insane. When he looked at me, I nodded.
- Wulf: They used to have the ability Calcelmo; it would not take much for a Daedric Prince to return their senses.
- Calcelmo: Daedric Prince! I think you had better explain from the beginning your Majesties.
- Wulf: Knight-Paladin Gelebor surmised the site under Fort Greenwall were the remains of the Snow Elf Temple of Phynaster. He was correct.
- Rigmor: There was an ancient Falmer tome protected by a Magicka field. When the Emperor removed that field to retrieve the tome, Deathweaver appeared with many Falmer.
- Wulf: He accused us of blasphemy and desecrating the last great bastion of Falmer civilisation. He did not believe the Great Chantry of Auri-El still existed and that Snow Elves still lived there. He did not listen to the fact that according to Snow Elf tradition, I am enlightened. He also took no notice that I claimed to be a son of my Celestial Father, Auri-El. I also pointed out that Knight-Paladin Gelebor had asked me to investigate the ruins.
- Calcelmo: Surely if he was worried about religious matters, all what you told him should have been enough to stay his hand?
- Wulf: Alas, it was not. He did not physically attack us but set his many Falmer troops to do that. They tried to delay us as he brought down the roof of the cavern upon us with spells I have never witnessed before. All escaped but Professor Marassi. He was crushed under a massive boulder as I watched, unable to save him.
- Calcelmo: That will be devastating for Auryen. They had worked side by side for centuries.
- Rigmor: I think all members of the Explorers Guild will morn him for a long time.
- Calcelmo: Do you know what is behind all of this? You mentioned a Daedric Prince.
- Wulf: First of all, here is the Falmer tome we recovered from the ruins and my translation. Can you please check to see if I have it right?
- Calcelmo: Of course, your Majesty. Give them to me.
I handed Calcelmo the tome and my translation. He walked over to one of his workbenches and started his translation before he looked at my version.
I signalled Illia, and she dropped the anti-snooping barrier.
As Calcelmo worked on his translation, a lot faster than I could do mine, I listened in on what the audience was saying.
When discussing their Queen, they used the superlatives beautiful, stunning, gorgeous, and many others. Considering she was wearing her tin can, they only had a glimpse of her beauty. To me, the growing baby bump only made her more exquisite.
Many pointed to Meeko and called him Dicko, the Dibella trained dog.
Some morons laughed and derided Inigo. He stared one giant Nord down while doing forms with his twin swords. They were a blur, and the more complex the forms got, the less insults muttered. When he finally sheathed them, he wore a grin and a stare that promised pain to any who wanted to test his patience further. Nobody did.
I was the Emperor, but that did not rate as highly being the legendary Dragonborn of Nordic myth amongst the citizens of Markarth.
The existence of a Redguard and an Argonian did not elicit a single comment. Markarth was far more tolerant and metropolitan than the cities farther east.
Calcelmo finished his translation then compared mine beside it. After a minute or two, he looked up at us with a worried look. I signalled Illia, and the barrier returned.
- Calcelmo: Your translation was precise Majesty. I fear what this prophecy means, but perhaps I am too pessimistic.
- Wulf: No, Calcelmo. Here is my interpretation of what the prophecy means. I bet it fits the nightmare you have already envisioned.
I handed Calcelmo my interpretation which did not take long for him to read. He returned it to me with a shaking hand.
- Calcelmo: You are going to the Temple of Trinimac?
- Wulf: Yes, and I suggest you cease all work within the ruins and lock the entrances to them. You have a good-sized contingent of guards at your disposal. Put them on sentry duty at those entrances.
- Calcelmo: But what about Markarth itself? It is a honeycomb of Dwemer tunnels. Many houses even have access to them from their basements!
- Wulf: I came to see you before I talked to the Jarl. Now you concur with my findings I will advise him to cancel all leave and put the city guards on sentry duty as well. He may ask your advice as to how best place them.
- Rigmor: We do not want to panic the citizens. The Jarl and yourself will have to be discreet. Make up some reason for the extra guards deployed.
- Calcelmo: I am sure Jarl Igmund can do that. He is an excellent politician.
- Rigmor: In other words, he can convince people of an untruth with ease.
- Calcelmo: To put it diplomatically, yes.
- Wulf: The Empire’s liaison officer to Markarth, Legate Admand, is a good man to have here if General Tullius decides to mobilise the Legions.
- Calcelmo: I don’t think either the Jarl or Legate or even General Tullius realise what we would face if the Falmer started pouring into the city.
- Wulf: I will make High Queen Elisif and General Tullius understand. The general will realise that if the Falmer were to attack Skyrim, Markarth would be their first target. It would be the easiest city for them to conquer and their base for surface operations.
- Calcelmo: If there is nothing else your Majesties, I would like to start securing the sites immediately.
- Wulf: Good, we will speak to the Jarl.
- Calcelmo: I have faith you can stop this your Majesties. Please give my condolences to Auryen and the guild members. I may have had heated arguments with Professor Marassi, both verbal and in writing, but I respected him immensely.
- Rigmor: We shall do so, Master Calcelmo.
The Sentinel politely asked people to move out of the way. Soon a clear path let us reach Jarl Igmund with minimal delay.
Whoever designed Understone Keep knew the value of a long path to the throne. The staircase in the Imperial Palace is long, but far shorter than the one in this ancient castle.
The Sentinel blocked the stairway, so only Rigmor and me ascended them. The Markarth Guards at the foot of the steps gave them plenty of room and looked worriedly in their direction.
Halfway up the many steps, Rigmor whispered, “This is fantastic. I don’t get to stare down morons for half as long as Jarl Igmund does. Some of them must wet themselves before they finally stand before him!”
“We can’t elongate the throne room of the White-Gold Tower my dearest.”
“I know, but I can always wish.”
The position of the Jarl’s throne had no room to stand before it, thereby denying any supplicant the ability to be on the same level. Diplomatically, the Jarl stood sideways so I could be on the same level as he. He bowed then stood straight and waited for me to speak first. Since the citizens were well below us and a fair distance away, there was no need for the barrier to keep the conversation confidential.
- Wulf: It is good to see you again, Jarl Igmund.
- Igmund: I must admit it would be a lie for me to return the compliment. Although I enjoy your company, your Majesties appearing like this makes me more than a little apprehensive!
- Wulf: I apologise, but I was not sure of the gravity of our news until I confirmed some things with Master Calcelmo.
- Igmund: Then I assume this concerns the Dwemer.
- Wulf: Not the Dwemer but their once slaves, the Falmer. We have good reason to believe they are about to declare war on all who live on the surface.
The Jarl is an intelligent man. I waited and watched as the ramifications of that news became clear to him.
- Igmund: By the Divines, we would not stand a chance!
- Wulf: We will stand a chance if we prepare well beforehand. I do not want to panic the citizens, but you must cancel all leave for the guards and have them placed at the most likely entry points. Master Calcelmo will help you decide where they may be.
- Igmund: Do not worry your Majesties, I can come up with a plausible explanation. But such fake excuses will only survive limited scrutiny.
- Wulf: Hopefully, we can have this under control within days. If not then General Tullius may have to garrison troops in your city for the first time since the Markarth Incident. The citizens would then need to know why.
- Igmund: I am sure Master Calcelmo can fill me in on why you think this invasion may occur.
- Wulf: He can and will. Since the crowd of curious citizens seems to be exponentially growing, it is prudent Queen Rigmor, and I leave your city immediately.
- Igmund: I understand and hope you can do a formal visit soon. To most citizens of Skyrim, you are both still more myth than real flesh and blood.
- Wulf: We shall when we get a break from these continuous crises.
Jarl Igmund bowed again, and we made our way back to Nafalilargus at a reasonable pace. The other Sentinel Squad had come down from the airship when they saw the crowds, and that helped considerably.
Morgan was having difficulty having her authority recognised due to her height. Jo’zaka sat on her shoulder and aided by emitting a most impressive growl for his size.
Rigmor was waving to the crowds and giving them what they wanted, attention from their High Queen. She indelicately elbowed me in the ribs, so the Emperor got the hint and did the same waving and smiling.
Meeko stopped to get patted countless times. I might have to watch out for him; he could be a potential usurper!
I was not worried about assassins. It would have to be an attack of opportunity, and although Meeko seemed distracted, he was excellent at detecting such attempts before any of The Sentinel did.
We entered the airship’s cabin, and I asked Onmund to fly us, via ether, to Solitude.
I sat down with Rigmor and wrote letters to Queen Elisif and General Tullius outlining the situation and suggesting what we think might be some prudent actions.
We both like to delegate and in no way wish ever to micromanage situations. We trust those around us and desire they work with us, not under us.
Rigmor is vastly better at diplomatic correspondence than me. Such letters as these end up much more concise and friendly than if left to me alone.
Rigmor and me signed both letters and sealed them with wax imprinted with our signet rings. To fake such correspondence is a sure ticket to the gallows.
When we docked at Solitude, I sent Thorald and Golldir to deliver the letters, first to Queen Elisif and then General Tullius. Their unique Sentinel uniforms guaranteed no delay in reaching such essential people. We then entered the museum to speak to Auryen.
We found him in the Gallery of Natural Science. For many people, viewing nature was relaxing and thought-provoking.
- Wulf: Greetings Auryen. How are you holding up?
- Auryen: Oh, I’m doing alright, all things considered.
- Rigmor: Master Calcelmo sends his condolences. He said any rivalry he had with Professor Marassi did not stop a deep mutual respect between them.
- Auryen: Much of that was quite amusing to watch from the side-line. Add Madras and Master Urag gro-Shub to the mix and bitter words could be exchanged for years on the most trivial differences of opinion.
- Rigmor: I am sure there is much you will miss about him.
- Auryen: It was very nice to have Patero around to confer about things. But our friendship was about more than history and archaeology. We talked for hours on many subjects outside those fields.
- Wulf: It is a terrible loss. He was a good colleague and a good friend. All of us shall miss him sorely.
- Auryen: His knowledge was rare. He will be a significant loss to the guild. But what about you, your Majesty? I hope you have overcome your needless guilt at his death.
- Rigmor: He tries Auryen, but our Emperor is who he is and thank The Divines for that.
- Auryen: What is next? Have you translated the Falmer tome?
- Wulf: Yes, and we have just returned from having Master Calcelmo check my translation. Here, please read it.
I passed my translation to Auryen, and his reactions mirrored those of Calcelmo. After a couple of minutes, he handed it back.
- Wulf: We have made High Queen Elisif, General Tullius and Jarl Igmund aware of the situation. Preparations to deal with a potential Falmer attack will be undertaken, hopefully without scaring the citizens.
- Auryen: Does the Explorers Guild have a part to play?
- Wulf: Yes, a very critical one. Knight-Paladin Gelebor told me where the Snow Elf Temple of Trinimac used to be.
- Auryen: And that would be the logical place to look for the Deathweaver since he is a creation of Mauloch.
- Wulf: Precisely. We will head there in the airship and scout the area. The Explorers Guild must be ready to travel the instant they receive word we have found the ruins.
- Auryen: We made Marassi the Chief archaeologist not only for his knowledge but his organisational and command skills. Those are skills I sorely lack in comparison. We need a replacement for him, even if his death is only recent and it may seem disrespectful.
- Rigmor: Poppycock!
- Wulf: Poppy what?
- Rigmor: It is a new word used in the polite circles of Cyrodiil to replace ‘rubbish’ or ‘twaddle’.
- Wulf: Combining a flower with the male anatomy is better than ‘bullshit’ or my favourite, ‘cobblers’?
- Rigmor: This is not up for debate, poppycock it is!
- Auryen: And what exactly did I say that is poppycock Majesty?
- Rigmor: Not what you said but the idiocy of those who would think we would disrespect Professor Marassi in any way. There is a need for quick action, and that supersedes any shallow comments from the peanut gallery.
- Wulf: Peanut gallery?
- Auryen: Those who comment without sufficient knowledge.
- Wulf: Oh, I understand the meaning, but peanuts?
- Rigmor: Have you ever spoken to an intelligent peanut?
- Wulf: Well, no.
- Rigmor: Therefore, the analogy withstands scrutiny. May we continue your Majesty?
- Wulf: Of course, my Queen.
- Rigmor: Who shall you ask to be Chief Archaeologist?
- Wulf: I will ask Kyre. He has been studying hard, and he showed me he was a logical thinker when he helped Latoria figure out the barrier around the book. He can undoubtedly lead well, and he appears to have been the Professor’s protégé. He is the logical choice.
- Auryen: I agree, and I don’t think any of the other’s would object to his promotion.
- Rigmor: Just make sure he understands you think he is qualified for the position and not just an emergency stopgap.
- Wulf: Yes, my dear. Would you like to teach my Grandmother how to suck eggs?
- Rigmor: What?
- Wulf: It’s a new phrase used in the polite circles of taverns and inns. It is a longish way of saying “DUH!”.
- Rigmor: You’re weird, has anybody ever told you that?
- Auryen: I have told him so on several occasions.
- Wulf: It is good we can find humour so soon after yesterday’s tragedy, and with the significant danger the Falmer represent. However, this is a most grave situation, and I wish to end Deathweaver not just to save our people, but as justice for the murder of our friend. I believe the Snow Elf spirit led us to this, not only to trigger the prophecy, but to halt it.
- Rigmor: Eventually, somebody else would have triggered it.
- Wulf: Yes, and she chose us to trigger and end it due to our demonstrated skills.
- Auryen: Why did not write that in your summary?
- Wulf: I came to that realisation after I wrote it. I also have a theory on what their entombed ‘evil folly’ might be.
- Auryen: As do I, your Majesty. Their folly was to accept the fungus that turned them blind and enabled their enslavement.
- Wulf: Yes, and if they could somehow blind us surface dwellers…
- Rigmor: … we would be slaughtered! They have evolved to compensate for their lack of eyesight, but we would be helpless.
- Auryen: As the Snow Elves were when they first ate the fungus. It was their blindness that allowed the Dwemer to enslave them. After they evolved, they fought back as it was no longer so much of a hindrance.
- Wulf: This is still only speculation. Let us wait and see if there is evidence before scaring any others.
- Rigmor: I rarely get your sense of urgency Wulf, but at the moment I have it in abundance. Let’s speak to the other guild members then find that temple!
- Auryen: May the Gods, all of them, guide you and keep you safe your Majesties.
We exited from the museum and entered the Explorers Guild headquarters. It was quiet and subdued. Usually, it is a hive of laughter and goodwill.
Kyre was upstairs sitting at a table, staring ahead. When we approached, he went to stand up, and I waved him back down.
- Wulf: There is no need for formalities out of the public eye. How are you?
- Kyre: Good your Majesties.
- Rigmor: This place seems quiet.
- Kyre: We have all been self-absorbed with our memories of Professor Marassi. There are moments of a less somber mood when somebody mentions a memory that a few of us share.
- Rigmor: We understand.
- Kyre: We all know you two are full of compassion and appreciate your sentiments.
- Wulf: Is there one thing you would like others to know about Professor Marassi?
- Kyre: As gruff as he seemed on the surface, he was always very encouraging.
- Wulf: He seemed keen for you to improve your knowledge.
- Kyre: It is strange to hear any Mer speak of old age. I think a lot of conflict between Man and Mer has its root in jealousy of their longer lifespan. It is an odd difference between two species that originate from the same et-Ada turned mortal. Two arms, legs, eyes and ears. We can fall in love with each other, have babies together, forge strong bonds and friendships, but there is always that difference.
- Rigmor: Professor Marassi spoke of getting old?
- Kyre: Yes, and that is why he urged me to learn what I could while I still had his guidance. It is like he knew his time was limited. He called himself old and frail, yet his mind was sharp. He was like a vast library of knowledge with a much quicker index than any I have visited.
- Rigmor: Wulf is very much like that. Many of the mages I speak too seem to have such a capacity. Potentially we all do according to my old tutor, Freathof.
- Kyre: Yes, and Calcelmo had hundreds of years to stock his shelves, so to speak.
- Wulf: Speaking of libraries and shelves has reminded me, Urag gro-Shub is over six hundred and fifty years of age!
- Rigmor: Really, he doesn’t look a day over six hundred and forty!
- Kyre: Have you two been drinking? Anyway, I agreed to learn as quick as I could. But always in the back of my mind is the fact I can only ever know a fraction of what he had learnt. I will be lucky to live to eighty years of age.
- Wulf: I think you are too focused on amassing knowledge rather than the skills he wanted you to practice and perfect.
- Kyre: What do you mean?
- Wulf: It took me hours to translate the Falmer tome but mere minutes for Master Calcelmo. He has stored much of the knowledge he wrote in his books in his memory. I had to read his books as I translated. I didn’t need to memorise the same knowledge as he. It was more important I had the skills to use the knowledge he has imparted in print!
- Rigmor: Wulf often gets upset at those who present speculation as fact. He believes, as do I, it is far better to offer your theories as speculation with, hopefully, some evidence to back them up.
- Wulf: The vital skill is delving into the works of others, combining them with your knowledge and intuition, then presenting your thoughts to your peers for discussion.
- Kyre: Like when Latoria and me cleared that platform and told you we thought it connected to the one that held the book?
- Wulf: Exactly. Neither you or Latoria had read that in a book about the Temple of Phynaster and memorised it.
- Kyre: No, we hadn’t, but we both remembered reading of similar platforms. Also, they were the same shape and size; therefore, some connection was logical.
- Wulf: When I studied them, I could not see Magicka or something mechanical linking the two, and I do not recall reading about anything similar. But yes, logically they would be connected.
- Kyre: You also mentioned your intuition.
- Wulf: That comes from experience. When you visit enough ruins and ancient places, you will get to develop such intuition. Madras, Professor Marassi and especially Auryen often steer us in the right direction via a gut feeling, an educated guess, intuition.
- Rigmor: Every mortal life on Nirn owes its continued existence to Wulf’s educated guesses on more than one occasion.
- Kyre: So, you think Professor Marassi saw the potential to develop those skills, not necessarily remember vast amounts of written knowledge?
- Wulf: Exactly, and he was correct. You are already well on your way to becoming a leading researcher and archaeologist.
- Kyre: Coming from you, Your Majesty, that is high praise indeed.
- Wulf: It is not just flattery but the truth. That is why I am offering you the position of Chief Archaeologist.
- Kyre: But he has only been dead less than a day! I wouldn’t feel right.
- Rigmor: We urgently need the skills of the Explorers Guild. For you all to work at your peak efficiency, somebody has to wear the mantle of Chief Archaeologist.
- Wulf: You were Professor Marassi’s protégé. He envisioned you taking on the role even if he never said it directly. I will not order you to accept the role either as Emperor or Guild Master. All we ask is you consider what we just said and base your decision on facts, not emotions or the needless worry about any impropriety.
- Kyre: Ask my colleagues. If they have no objection, then I will accept the role.
- Rigmor: Auryen, the Chief Librarian, has no objection, and neither does Wulf, the Guild Master. But we will ask the others, so that you can feel some reassurance it is the right decision.
Eriana was sitting on her bed, absorbed in her thoughts. I felt guilty when I accidentally startled her!
- Wulf: Hello Eriana, is it okay if we have a quick talk?
- Eriana: Oh my, I almost jumped out of my skin!
- Wulf: Oops, sorry!
- Rigmor: How are you coping?
- Eriana: I already miss Professor Marassi’s sense of humour. It was rather droll sometimes, but his practical jokes were legendary.
- Rigmor: Droll humour? Somebody else I know has the same affliction.
- Wulf: It is not my fault that sarcasm seems to confuse you my dearest.
- Eriana: We all miss him, but we will bounce back.
- Wulf: Of that, I have no doubt. I know it seems sudden after Professor Marassi’s death, but the guild needs a new Chief Archaeologist. I have offered the position to Kyre.
- Eriana: Knowing him, he is probably worried about the timing and if we would support him. I think he is an excellent choice. I guess the urgency is to do with what you discovered in the ancient Falmer tome?
- Rigmor: Yes, but we will let Kyre tell you about that as Chief Archaeologist.
- Wulf: We will need to tell him first.
- Rigmor: DUH!
- Eriana: You two remind me of my grandparents, after they had been married sixty years.
- Wulf: That comment is worth at least a month in the dungeon, wouldn’t you say Rigmor?
- Rigmor: We would have trouble proving it to be a lie, my husband.
- Wulf: I suppose so. Then I sentence Eriana to carrying a heavy backpack whenever the Explorers Guild goes on a field expedition.
- Rigmor: She already does that.
- Wulf: Of course, she does, she was found guilty of pointing out the truth! Weren’t you listening?
- Eriana: Is there a stronger word than droll?
- Rigmor: Quaint, odd, queer or eccentric are some options.
- Eriana: I think we will stick to droll.
- Rigmor: Agreed.
Eriana was laughing as we made our way to Latoria. She had sat down at the table with Kyre while we spoke to Eriana. I was not used to seeing her with anything but a smile on her face. Khajiit must have far more face muscles than Man or Mer as it projects their mood with utmost clarity.
- Rigmor: Latoria, you look so sad!
- Latoria: Marassi was always kind to Latoria. He always encouraged her. Latoria misses him.
- Rigmor: I will not tell you it will get easier.
- Latoria: Auryen had taken Marassi’s death very hard. Harder than Latoria, she thinks.
- Rigmor: We have spoken to him. I think he is rather philosophical about it at the moment. Undoubtedly there will be moments where he misses him terribly.
- Latoria: What about you, Majesty? We could see you were near him but could not reach him. We feared for you when the scaffold gave out, and you fell so far into the water. We did not know if you survived, and that was when Latoria was once again a scaredy-cat.
- Wulf: I am okay, Latoria. I am not used to seeing friends die. But I believe as long as you remember them and talk about them occasionally; then they are not really dead. They are friends who you miss but will meet again.
Latoria shrieked, “Fafnir! What has happened to Fafnir?”
I looked at the little raccoon then laughed.
- Wulf: And people accuse me of a droll sense of humour? The Gods surpass me in that respect. Lady Kyne, Lord Khenarthi to you Khajiit, is playing a joke on me. I am supposed to kill animals marked as such and earn a blessing next time I pray.
- Latoria: You will not kill Fafnir!
- Rigmor: Relax Latoria, Wulf would never harm Fafnir, and that God knows it.
- Wulf: He will return to his regular colouring in a minute.
- Latoria: Latoria is not amused!
- Wulf: Look at Fafnir’s grin. I think he likes being transparent.
- Latoria: Khenarthi should have picked a better colour.
- Wulf: I will tell him/her next time I pray.
- Latoria: You were going to ask Latoria about Kyre being the new Chief Archaeologist? Kyre has already asked this Khajiit about it, and this Khajiit told him to stop worrying because Latoria thinks he is the best choice.
- Kyre: I am right here, you know.
- Latoria: Good, then Latoria won’t have to tell you again.
- Wulf: Thankyou Latoria.
Madras was like Eriana, sitting on the edge of his bed, lost in his thoughts. We were careful not to startle him.
- Wulf: Ahem.
- Madras: Oh, hello, your Majesties.
- Rigmor: Hello to you too, Madras. You seemed deep in thought?
- Madras: Just remembering the many heated debates Marassi and I would have. We especially disagreed about the downfall of the Dwemer and its cause. Somehow, I would always end up fuming, and he’d end up laughing.
- Rigmor: Auryen said he found such debates amusing, especially if others joined in such as Urag gro-Shub.
- Madras: I think Urag enjoyed them as well. He would say something to support my position, and when I got too righteous, he would give Marassi something he could use to fight back.
- Wulf: I doubt you would could ever sound as arrogant or as self-assured as master Calcelmo.
- Madras: No, he has a smugness that makes me want to hit him with my mace.
- Wulf: I have offered Kyre the position of Chief Archaeologist.
- Madras: If you are worried that I might be upset because I have been doing this for centuries longer than Kyre, then do not worry. If you had offered it to me, I would have declined.
- Wulf: And why is that?
- Madras: I much prefer spending my time studying the Dwemer that trying to organise and plan a dig. Kyre will do a lot better job at that task than I could.
- Wulf: Then, it is unanimous. Thank you for your input Madras.
We walked back over to Kyre.
- Wulf: Every member thinks you are the right choice. Will you accept the position of Chief Archaeologist?
- Kyre: Yes, I accept. At least I have some time before I have to pretend to know what I am doing.
- Wulf: You have no time at all. Here, read the translation of the Falmer tome and then my summation of what I think it all means.
I handed him the papers, and for the third time that day, we watched a familiar scenario. Madras realised the potential disaster, and it showed on his face as he handed the papers back.
- Kyre: The Falmer know how to hold a grudge, but who can blame them? From what I’ve read lately, they got the shite end of the stick.
- Rigmor: But that gives them no right to seek revenge on all mortals who live above. You were the only Nord amongst the party that Deathweaver attacked. If anybody, they should be the target of Falmer revenge.
- Wulf: Revenge simply reincarnates old hatreds. The people of Skyrim are not responsible for the sins of their forefathers. Knight-Paladin Gelebor holds no hatred for the current Nord population.
- Kyre: You are right in your summation of the prophecy where you suggest Malacath is merely using the Falmer for his reasons other than sympathy for their plight.
- Wulf: Yes, he has used the appeal of revenge to create a mindless bloodlust amongst some Falmer. There are similarities between what happened to Trinimac and the Snow Elves.
- Kyre: Malacath is the Daedric Prince of the forsaken, spurned and unfavourable. They are labels also applicable to the Falmer. Both Trinimac and the Snow Elves transformed into uglier and more despised versions of themselves.
- Wulf: The need for revenge and similar fates drives both God and Betrayed and has formed a kinship.
- Rigmor: We have no idea how far this concept of a war on all surface dwellers has penetrated. It would only take one victory, the successful reclamation of Markarth for instance, for the entire Falmer population to become supporters of the cause.
- Kyre: We need to find this Temple of Trinimac and investigate!
- Wulf: That is why you have no time to get used to your new position. You are to prepare for a dig of unknown duration and complexity immediately. You must decide what to bring and be prepared to ask for anything extra that may be required once there.
- Kyre: At least with yesterday’s site, we knew a large amount of timber for the platforms was a requirement. This one we are going in blind!
- Rigmor: As the old saying goes, you have ‘been thrown into the deep end!’
- Kyre: With lead ingots tied to my ankles!
- Wulf: We will leave you to it, Chief Archaeologist. We will be back later with the precise location of where the camp will be.
- Kyre: No advice on what to tell the others?
- Rigmor: Are you more scared of making mistakes as you learn how to be Chief Archaeologist, or the thought of Falmer attacking innocent civilians on the surface?
- Kyre: I am far more terrified of the Falmer!
- Rigmor: Then, all you need to do is make the others realise the gravity of the situation. Nobody will care about any mistakes you make when they realise how petty they are in the scheme of things.
- Wulf: For example, I sailed a boat for the first time ever and in pitch-black darkness across many miles of volatile ocean. I then killed dozens of vampires single-handed and rescued the fair Princess from certain death. Do you think that Princess cared I had forgot to tie up the boat, and that it had drifted away?
- Kyre: Remember, I have read your journals, and Her Majesty is currently wearing her sword. Because I value my attached head, I must ask, how could you lose a boat?
- Rigmor: I told you he was smart!
Kyre was laughing as we left for Nafalilargus. We made a few of the guild members forget their sorrow for brief moments. That is a definite win for the good guys!
Inigo stayed at the wheel with me as I did an ethereal flight to Markarth.
“That took two hours?” he asked.
“Yes, inside the cabin, two hours have passed.”
“But it felt no different or longer than when you summon me with Langley’s spell.”
“It has to do with metaphysics. I can try and explain, or you can remain sane.”
“This is that gobblygook stuff?”
“Yep. Now, do you want to try and fly it to Arkngthamz?”
“I just have to get it high enough to avoid things and then fly a straight path to Arkngthamz?”
“The airship has dampers and protection so you can’t damage it by smashing into anything. Those inside the cabin will feel nothing no matter how crappy you fly!”
“But Jarl Igmund would not be pleased if I smashed into that lovely state of Dibella that seems very close to Nafalilargus’ dock.”
“Forget the Jarl; you do not want to make the Priestesses angry!”
“Can you make it clear of the city first, then I will take over?”
I manoeuvred Nafalilargus till we were in the open countryside. I then stayed with Inigo as he flew the airship manually to Arkngthamz. We halted opposite the extensive Dwemer ruins, and I took over flying duties. I needed Inigo’s keen Khajiit eyesight to help find the temple.
He exclaimed, “That was fun!”
“It is even more fun in the middle of a thunderstorm!”
“You wish me to look over the right-hand side as you fly low and slow eastward?”
“Yes. Look out for ancient avalanches. Generally, when a ruin had remained hidden for this long, its entrance has been concealed magically or naturally. Sometimes a rockfall is natural, other times deliberate.”
“And if we can’t see evidence of an avalanche?”
“We will go back and forth a few times aboard the airship. If we do not find it that way, we will try on foot.”
“Falmer are very smelly, so my nose would be useful on the ground. But from up here, the contrast between the rocks is easier to distinguish, so my eyes will better. This search would also be fun if not so serious.”
I reduced Nafalilargus’ height till the skeleton dragon was almost scraping its belly on the ground. I then mentally made the airship move forward at a crippled snail’s pace.
After twenty minutes, Inigo said there was a small overhang that looked promising.
I moved Nafalilargus a bit further away then had Inigo set up a beacon. The Sentinel scouted the area and gave the all-clear, then Rigmor and I descended the ladder and walked with Inigo to the overhang.
- Wulf: You can see that the rocks are of a different composition. More sedimentary while the roof of the overhang and surrounding cliffs are igneous.
- Rigmor: Whatever that all means! I can see it is a different colour.
- Inigo: What Wulf is saying is that the lighter coloured rock consists of smaller rocks squished together. The cliff consists of larger, darker rocks.
- Rigmor: Thankyou Inigo. Sedimentary? Igneous? Pfft, yeah, right!
- Wulf: And I didn’t even mention metamorphic rocks.
- Rigmor: What about that nose of yours Inigo?
- Inigo: I can smell Goblin, fresh person poop, so watch where you step, and a bear recently used this as a den, but no Falmer.
- Wulf: Who knows how deep this layer of rock is? Soon we shall have a chance to find out. How good are you with a pickaxe Inigo?
- Inigo: A what?
- Rigmor: A device designed to give you blisters and a sore back. Too bad pregnant Queens are only allowed to supervise their use. On the other hand, Emperors must work shirtless for hours on end while the supervising Queen sips on cocktails.
J’zargo flew us to Solitude via the ether while the rest of us enjoyed a good meal while gossiping in the cabin.
It was just after 8:00 PM when we docked at Solitude and made our way inside the guild headquarters.
Kyre was in the middle of his dinner, which we interrupted with our news.
- Wulf: I think we found it. An overhang made of solid rock. A wall of rockfall below. In the area that Knight-Paladin Gelebor says the Temple of Trinimac once stood.
- Kyre: Mark it on my map, and we will set off within half an hour.
I marked the spot on Kyre’s map and handed it back to him.
- Kyre: We will be there late tomorrow or early morning the day after. General Tullius visited and said he would provide a platoon of Legionnaires as escort.
- Rigmor: Did the General say anything else?
- Kyre: No, but his demeanour told me he is concerned.
- Wulf: I have no doubt he will have a sleepless night or two, hoping to hear good news from us.
- Rigmor: And dreading news from outposts reporting Falmer pouring out of the ground!
- Wulf: It would be a difficult war to fight. Like the enemy being able to teleport large numbers of troops behind your defensive lines at will.
- Kyre: I don’t know about the General, but I doubt I will sleep well.
- Wulf: We will fly to the Imperial City tonight so we can clear up any outstanding matters of state tomorrow morning. After completing that we will fly to the dig site and await your arrival. Good luck, Kyre, see you at the dig site.
We headed back to the airship and told the mages that we wanted to arrive at the Imperial City at 8:00 AM. They were to use the alarm, so Blackwell knows we were coming two hours before we arrive.
I wrote this journal entry and joined Rigmor in bed. Despite being surrounded by our quiet, we were both nervous and full of dread.
I know not what time I fell asleep.