Middas, 11th Sun’s Dawn, 4E 202 & Turdas, 12th Sun’s Dawn, 4E 202
I was not willing to teleport from inside the Dwemer complex. Therefore, we made our way outside.
The ruins have a lot more secrets to unravel. I want to revisit with Professor Marassi and the Explorers Guild in tow if I get the opportunity.
I was familiar enough with Arnima that I could use regular teleportation rather than Mark and Recall. I teleported Reamonn and myself to the front of the temple then summoned The Sentinels.
Before entering the temple, I asked Reamonn, “You wanted me to look out for Direnni ruins when searching for stolen items. Why was that?”
“The Priest Circle are fascinated by The Direnni. They are scared of The Ayleid. Did you encounter any Ayleid construction?”
“Yes, according to somebody who is a bit of an expert on Ayleid architecture. I had her confirm it was Ayleid as it was very similar to Snow Elf in style. It was in the room containing the Shrine of Namira.”
“You took somebody down there with you?”
“No, she could see through my eyes from far away.”
“Oh…of course. And people think my scrying is strange? Anyway, the Priest Circle had been fixated on an ancient enemy, and they wonder if that nightmare is the source of Evermor’s problems. After travelling to Cyrodiil, I started to question the history they teach in Evermor. Did you see Ayleid construction where the items were hidden?”
“No, I didn’t.”
“But seeing some Ayleid architecture near a Shrine of Namira is disturbing. Perhaps the Priest Circle are not wrong? Speak to Brother Rirrard and ask about the Ayleid. See what you think of the tale he tells.”
As soon as we entered The Temple of The Nine, Reamonn excused himself and went off to pray to Lady Mara. We made a beeline for Brother Rirrard.
“Good evening, Brother Rirrard.”
“Your Excellency, I have some worrying news!”
“And what would that be?”
“Governor Merosa sent an Advisor to parley on her behalf with Lord Mortifayne.”
“And did Lord Mortifayne grant parley?”
“Yes, but not in his throne room. Lord Mortifayne insisted the parley occur at the foot of the stairs that lead to his keep.”
“What was said at the parley?”
“Lord Mortifayne was very aggravated. I feared for the Advisor’s life.”
“If Lord Mortifayne broke the rules of parley, he would have soon found the King’s army at his doorstep.”
“I think that possibility is the only thing that stopped him ordering his knights to cut the Advisor down.”
“Okay, we have established Ol’ Morty was in his usual good humour. What was said by the Advisor?”
“The Advisor told Lord Mortifayne that Governor Merosa has become increasingly distressed following the rumours and supposed activity within Arnima. And that she has spoken to the royalty of Evermor to discuss the claim of the fiefdom and Lord Mortifayne’s position in it.”
“I have no doubt an ultimatum was then forthcoming.”
“Yes, I am sorry to say. The Advisor told Lord Mortifayne that if he does not cease with the disruption of trade, his privileges will be revoked.”
“Fucking great! What was Mortifayne’s response?”
“Lord Mortifayne told Advisor, quote, ‘Tell that dog-faced shrivelled old bitch that if she meddles any further with this town….’ At this stage, I tried to calm Lord Mortifayne down. I knew he would only aggravate the situation with threats.”
“Oh, I am sure he welcomed your advice and thanked you for your wisdom.”
“He threatened to have my head cut off for daring to interrupt his tirade!”
“What threat did he make to Governor Merosa?”
“Mortifayne said to the Advisor, quote, ‘Tell that old crone that if she dares poke her nose within Arnima again, her bridge will fall into the current below!’”
“I was a fool to believe Evermor nobility has any sense of honour. She did exactly what she swore not to do. Now I fear it is too late for diplomacy. All King Sigmayne will care about is the loss of income. He will not listen any more than Merosa did. I think we will have to try and stop Namira’s plan and abandon diplomacy.”
“What is this about Namira?”
“Do you know why Mortifayne did not hold parley in his throne room?”
“I have no idea. It is certainly not protocol.”
“There is a rack and other torture devices in front of the throne. Mortifayne is under the impression that if he does as Namira, the ‘Dark Mother’, requests, she will not destroy Arnima, and his people will be spared. So Mortifayne has people tortured to death and orders other atrocities to appease the Daedric Prince. In his mind, he is killing some to save most.”
“Is there is proof of this?”
“Why did Mortifayne rename this town to Arnima?”
“I have no idea. Arnima has no historical or religious importance.”
“Arnima is an anagram of Namira.”
“Mother, help us! You are right!’
“There is a portal to a Shrine of Namira in the keep as well as corpses of tortured individuals. I have communicated with Namira’s minion via Mortifayne’s amulet. Do you want more proof? We can go ask ol’ Morty if you want.”
“No, no, I am convinced. You can’t act directly against Mortifayne, can you?”
“No, because that may trigger an event. That event involves at least one Oblivion Gate opening and Daedra invading this kingdom. But Namira’s minion told me that they don’t need Mortifayne to trigger the event any longer. Why they haven’t done so as yet is unknown to us.”
“Are you positive that diplomacy is a lost cause?”
“I will have to decide what to do after gathering some more information.”
“I know you have zero respect for myself or the Priest Circle, but I may be able to assist.”
“Okay then, tell me why there seems to be some interest in the Direnni among the Priest Circle? While searching for Mados’ relics and Mortifayne’s necklace, we did see some Direnni architecture.”
“The interest is purely academic. Direnni buildings are a wonder to modern architects and labourers alike as their structures still hold after all these years.”
“As do Snow Elf, Ancient Nordic, Ayleid and Dwemer constructions. That is not a unique feature of Direnni buildings. Speaking of which, I have also seen evidence of Ayleid construction, where the Shrine of Namira is.”
“Perhaps the portal took you to the Ayleid embassy, built by the Direnni all those millennia ago?”
“Is that speculation based on anything historical or the evidence of Dark Lord worship?”
“You’ve heard of the Alessian Empire, surely? And their revolt against the Ayleid of old Cyrodiil, ages before The Empire came to be.”
I looked at Serana, who mouthed the word, ‘Bullshit!’ From the beginning, Rirrard’s history was askew. But I wanted to hear the ‘Evermor’ history. Therefore, I played dumb.
“I have learnt of it, yes.”
“Then I needn’t bore you with yet another recital. That slave revolt, having swept over large swatches of Cyrodiil, had then turned their gaze west to the Direnni Hegemony, now High Rock.
“Desperate and engulfed in panic, the Direnni pooled whoever they could from what remained of the Ayleid. With the moniker of ‘The Last King’, actual name Dynar, one prominent figure was among the fleeing diaspora.”
“I have heard of the Direnni and Ayleid alliance. Why was Dynar prominent in all of this?”
“Some accounts say he was in exile, despondent to the suffering of his Ayleid kin and had only wanted to join the Direnni cause to indulge in the slaughter. The Direnni built his stalwart stronghold at the very interstice of warring forces. The Last King couldn’t have been happier!”
“What happened to this alliance of Mer, of Elves?”
“It was a very desperate alliance to speak the truth. In no other situation would that vile King interact with an outsider, let alone send aid for his kin.”
I was finding it difficult to keep quiet and listen. This recitation of crap was so far from actual history I had difficulty not laughing.
Rirrard continued, “When the first Alessians stepped into Dynar’s periphery, the nightmare was unleashed. The Reach had turned into some damned oblivion-scape that would send any timid soul running to the other end of Tamriel.”
“Did Dynar survive?”
“He reportedly died, and so did many of the Alessians, although the accounts made exceptions for the Nords among them. Even in the face of ultimate terror, the Nords traversed the dark realm, right to the doorstep of that King’s squalid hovel. They were losing many through hideous traps, terrific rituals and sadistic Ayleid subordinates who relished in those spiteful skirmishes. The Last King was killed. Well, that’s what the tomes show. However, such a being was surely the product of Daedric consort. He could have just faded into the arms of whatever Dark Lord he knelt to.”
“Anything else you can tell me?”
“Yes, when they did breach the inner sanctum, scholars had talked of the interior being a patchwork of human bodies, stitched together from one end of the giant hall to the other. The King and his debauched Ayleid underlings were seemingly unphased about the assailants at the gate, as they were still immersed in their profound work, which allowed those forlorn Nords to approach.”
“Dynar must have eventually noticed them?”
“Yes, and upon realising that his artistry was meddled with, he recoiled and flayed those unfortunate souls who made their advance, almost in an instance. Then came a cacophony of screams, killing those further back immediately after.”
‘It is amazing anybody survived to report on such an impossible ordeal! How was Dynar eventually killed?”
“When it proved futile that mere men weren’t up to the task, Alessia had called upon a friend. All evidence and descriptions of this person pointed to one candidate. Alessia called upon Pelinal Whitestrake!”
“Oh my! What was written of this battle?”
“The scribes of the time spoke of him entering the sanctum and have the gate sealed behind him. What followed was a cosmic clash of noise and magic reverberations that had shaken rock and stone, where even the very ground seemed to sink into the depths. People had fled, tension gripped those who thought Pelinal had fallen. Yet among the rubble, that metal-clad hand erupted from the heap. So, the filthy king of spite was no more, and the Alessians continued their march west.”
“This is the history you teach and are taught?”
“What are the names of the tomes that describe these events and their authors? Can I read them?”
“No is the answer as that was a bedtime story told to scare children. It is not history, and no real scholar or historian would put their name to such nonsense.”
“And you think you know the real story?”
“Yes, as does anybody who has read the many tomes about this subject as written by respected scholars. The accepted accounts can be found in The Imperial Library, The Arcanaeum of The College of Winterhold and my library in Solitude. Do you understand what a primary source is?”
“The primary sources of the accepted accounts are artefacts, documents, diaries, manuscripts, autobiographies and many other pieces of information that were created at the time of those events. A huge and indisputable body of evidence supports the real history. Would you like me to school you in what happened, or do you want to remain ignorant?”
“Does it matter what the correct history is?”
“You just provided a clue as to who The King, the centre of Namira’s plans, might be. If you want to understand why Daedra may invade Evermor, then you need to know the real history.”
“Serana, can you bring Reamonn over. He needs to understand this as well.”
As Serana fetched Reamonn, I sifted through the myriad facts and decided what was relevant. When she returned with Reamonn, I began.
“First of all, let me correct the very beginning of your account. The Alessian slave revolt was not ages before The Empire came to be. It was the beginning of The Empire, with Saint Alessia being the first Empress.
Also, it was not Alessia’s Empire or the slave revolt that attacked High Rock. The Alessian Order’s Empire was a long time after the slave revolt and unrelated to that event. That is who attacked High Rock!
I will now outline the history chronologically.
The Ayleid never had a cohesive empire. Their lands were divided into many city-states and many kings. Daedra, at that time, could provide far more support in the form of magic and troops than the Aedra could. With promises of power, wealth and support, many Ayleid kings became devoted followers of Daedric Princes and abandoned Aedra worship. Many later battles between Ayleid kingdoms were battles between warring Daedric Princes.
Many Ayleid kings worshipped the darker Daedric Princes and willingly indulged in activities we term evil. The Nedic slaves of the Ayleid were used to create flesh sculptures, bone sculptures, gut gardens and other artistic pursuits of that nature. Nedic children were set alight in the middle of packed arenas for the entertainment value, while bets were placed on which one would survive the longest.
The depravities practised by some Ayleid kingdoms generated a desire to change the status quo by other Ayelid Kingdoms. Both Daedra and Aedra worshipping Aylied kingdoms shared this desire.
Saint Alessia was inspired by the success of King Harald, who had driven the Mer out of Skyrim and established the first kingdom of Man on Tamriel. She visited Sancre Tor and was visited by an Avatar of Lord Akatosh. He sympathised with her desire to free her people but knew it would be impossible with Dark Lords assisting the Ayleid kings. The Covenant was made, and the Liminal Barrier formed between Mundus and Oblivion. The Ayleid kings could not use the magic and troops of the Daedric Lords anymore.
Saint Alessia started the slave revolt in 1E 242. In 1E 243, her forces captured The White-Gold Tower, and The Alessian Empire was formed.
The slave revolt was Nedic, the Nords from Skyrim and many Ayleid kings versus other Ayleid Kings. It was not Man versus Mer but one set of ideals versus another.
Many Ayleid kings remained in power during the early history of The Alessian Empire. Saint Alessia never showed hatred or bias against Mer.
King Laloriaran Dynar was born in the Ayleid city-state of Nenalata. His father had opposed Saint Alessia during the slave war and was humiliated by her afterwards. Dynar was made ruler of Nenalata after it became a vassal-state of The Alessian Empire. Nenalata was forced to abandon slavery and worship The Divines. Although this was a blow economically and spiritually to Nenalata, Dynar was content to swear allegiance to The Alessian Empire.
In 1E 332, The Alessian Order forcefully took control of Alessia’s Empire. The Alessian Empire under the Alessian Order became a cruel theocracy. Worship of The Divines was replaced by a fake religion revolving around Saint Alessia and Lord Akatosh. Saint Alessia’s Empire was one of cooperation between Man and Mer. The Alessian Order’s Empire was one of extreme anti-Mer sentiment.
By 1E 371, Nenalata was the sole remaining Ayleid city-state. In 1E 372, the Emperor sent Dynar an ultimatum. He was given a deadline to leave Cyrodiil or be killed. The population of Nenalata split into two factions. One faction left with Dynar and made their way to High Rock and was provided shelter by The Direnni Hegemony. In 1E 374, the Alessian Order’s troops razed Nenalata to the ground and massacred every Ayleid that had remained.
Dynar and the Ayleid were given land around the Bjoulsae River bays. There they created a new city made in the image of Nenalata. It was called Bisnensel-By-The-Lake or simply Bisnensel. Their alliance with the Direnni made it possible for the Ayleid of Bisnensel to have peaceful relationships with both Breton and Orsimer.
Dynar was a worshipper of Meridia, and so was his father. The Ayleid Kings who worshipped Meridia did not participate in the horrors and evil of those who worshipped Molag Bal, Boethia, Namira and other less palatable Dark Lords. It is unknown why Dynar’s father fought against Alessia.
Dynar was free to worship Meridia in High Rock as The Direnni Hegemon were willing to let citizens have freedom of worship.
A faction within Bisnensel worshipped Hermaeus Mora. They called themselves The Primeval Seekers. In 1E 453, The Primeval Seekers staged a coup and took control of Bisnensel. Dynar and his family fled, eventually arriving in The Isle of Balfiera in 1E 460.
It is important to remember that The Adamantine Tower, or The Direnni Tower as it is now called, exists on The Isle of Balfiera.
A strong friendship then formed between Dynar and Prince Aiden Direnni. The prince’s cousins, Ravena and Ryain, also became steadfast friends of The Last Ayleid King.
The Kingdom of Skyrim declared war on The Direnni Hegemony in 1E 461. The fighting was spasmodic until 1E 477. Dynar led the Hegemony to a brilliant victory in a massive battle. The Nord forces, led by King Hoag Merkiller, had never before suffered such a humiliating defeat. The Hegemony needed no great magic or monsters. It was the brilliant tactical mind of Dynar that won the day.
In 1E 478, The Thrassian Plague decimated the population of the Alessian Empire. King Mhorus of Skingrad dies of the disease. His son, Dorald, had been in the Imperial City for years under the tutelage of The Monks of Marukh. Dorald returned to Skingrad as king then ceded it to The Alessian Empire. Rislav Larich of Kvatch was appalled and killed Dorald and was then crowned King of Kvatch.
Rislav vowed to fight The Alessian Empire, which enraged Emperor Gorieus. When the much larger Empire force entered Skingrad, it was defeated by the clever placement of archers by Rislav. The other Colovian Estates joined Rislav in his opposition to The Alessian Empire.
The Direnni clan are inspired by the resistance shown by Rislav and Colovians. In 1E 479, Ryan Direnni outlaws the Alessian Reform, effectively returning religious freedom to High Rock. Prince Aiden Direnni then wipes out most Alessian forces in High Rock.
Such was the success of Aiden Direnni that the Bretons refused any more discussion with The Alessian Empire about joining their side.
Emperor Gorieus was furious and invaded High Rock. An Ayleid populated city, Craglorn, was laid to waste and its inhabitants slaughtered.
In 1E 480, Dynar sent an envoy to the Breton Vassal Kings. He wanted their aid in countering the Alessian invasion. The Breton Kings agreed when Dynar promised Man and Mer would be equal in the Direnni Hegemony. Despite reservations, Aiden Direnni signed the Rights Charter presented by the Breton Kings.
By the end of 1E 481, virtually all men of fighting age, including the farmers, had been conscripted into Hegemony armies.
The Alessian forces were led by Faolchu the Changeling. They were more of a horde than an organised military force. Faolchu was a werewolf, and many of his troops were as well. As well as Craglorn, other countless atrocities were committed by the Alessians.
The battle of which Brother Rirrard spoke is called The Battle of Glenumbra Moors and occurred in 4E 182.
On one side was the combined force of Direnni, Ayleid, Breton and Skyrim forces. Brother Rirrard implied the Nords were on the other side. No, they were on the Direnni side.
Opposing them was the undisciplined but numerically superior Alessian forced led by Faolchu. They outnumbered their opposition by three to one.
Dynar came up with a trap that ended up with Faolchu surrounded. He was killed early in the battle. Faolchu was resurrected as an undead werewolf at a later date, but that is irrelevant for now.
Brother Rirrard said there were terrible magics unleashed, and there were. Corvus and Calani Direnni are famous for inventing and perfecting much of modern Conjuration magic. They summoned hundreds of beasts, both Daedric and mortal, that tore into the Alessian forces. The Alessians had many werewolves, which in turn tore into the Hegemon forces. To any external observer, the battlefield would have looked like the darkest forces from the darkest pits of Oblivion were at war.
But there was no tower, castle, or other structure where Dynar hunkered down and performed dark rituals. There was no support given to either side by Daedric Princes. It was a battle of spell, steel, claws and teeth.
Thanks to the tactics of Dynar and the magic of the Direnni, the Alessian forces were routed, and their few survivors fled to Craglorn.
King Hoag Merkiller, fighting beside Dynar instead of against him, was killed in the battle. The Kingdom of Skyrim was reborn in the hands of Merkiller’s successor, Ysmir Wulfharth.
The Battle of Glenumbra Moors was a pivotal point in history. It is so pivotal it is hard to comprehend how supposedly learned men, the Priest Circle of Evermor, could recite such utter crap about the same event! Not only did Skyrim get reborn, but it also marked the decline of both The Direnni Hegemony and The Alessian Empire.
Aiden’s armies pursued the Alessian survivors, and most historians agree that no Alessian soldier made it home.
So Dynar was already a hero and far removed from the evil being portrayed by Brother Rirrard’s story. As I will now narrate, he was not killed in the battle but became an even bigger hero to Nirn.
In 1E 484, Dynar regarded the threat of The Alessian Order as ended. He decided to return to Nenalata at the request of Molag Bal. On the way, he stopped in the city of Delodiil.
Molag Bal had tricked Dynar and wanted to capture him. He had prepared beforehand, and when Dynar entered Delodiil, Molag Bal’s minions poured from portals connected to Coldharbour and besieged the city. Anybody outside the city gates was quickly slain. Those who were inside, thanks to the tactical brilliance of Dynar, managed to hold the city.
Despite the bravery and determination of Delodiil’s defenders, it soon became apparent that Molag Bal’s forces were too large. The city would eventually fall.
Dynar contacted Meridia, and she immediately saw an opportunity to save Delodiil and allow a fairer fight for the defenders. Using Molag Bal’s portals, she teleported Delodiil and all its inhabitants to Coldharbour.
Some Oblivion planes, including Coldharbour, have dweomer to protect against misuse of portals and teleportation. Meridia was not aware of this, and even though Delodiil arrived intact, its inhabitants were randomly placed around Coldharbour. Dynar was captured by Molag Bal’s minions and was imprisoned in Molag Bal’s mimic of The White-Gold Tower, which is called The Lightless Oubliette.
Delodiil still exists in Coldharbour and is now called The Hollow City. Meridia’s power still protects it and any mortals who can make their way into it.
Over three thousand years later, The Vestige, supported by members of the Fighter and Mages Guilds, entered Coldharbour to end Molag Bal’s Planemeld. They released Dynar from his prison. The leader of the Fighters Guild had been slain, so Dynar took command of them. With the aid of Meridia, this group of mortals managed to enter what was called The Planar Vortex. There they stopped The Planemeld.
While trying to close one of the last Daedric portals, Dynar perished. His soul now rests in Aetherius, a rare honour for a devotee of a Dark Lord.
So, Brother Rirrard, far from being some evil Mer using unspeakable magics, King Laloriaran Dynar is a hero of not only High Rock but all of Nirn. The story told by the Priest Circle is a product of ignorance and hatred for anything Mer.
I would go so far as to say the additional garbage about Saint Alessia being involved and somehow conjuring the dead Pelinal Whitestrake to help is nothing short of blasphemy. You should be ashamed to call yourself a Priest of The Nine and utter such words!
Thus ends my little history lesson.”
- Reamonn: This is why I started not only to question how religion is taught in Evermor. I was finding the fundamental truths told to us were nonsense.
- Wulf: Every single corner of Tamriel knows the true history except this backward kingdom.
- Rirrard: I only repeat what I was taught, and many generations before me were taught.
- Wulf: Sorry, Brother Rirrard, but this false history is a small part of your failure. When you claim to be a Priest of The Nine, you should obey the Ten Commands. We have already demonstrated your neglect of that fundamental precept in a previous discussion. You and the Priest Circle have ignored the basis of our religion and adopted the dogma of greed and racism. There is no possibility of something like the massacre of Munstor occurring in a society that worships Lady Mara. You and the Priest Circle mouth the words but have no conviction.
- Serana: So, what are we going to do now that Merosa has kicked the ant’s nest?
- Wulf: We will visit with King Sigmayne soon, but I get the impression that all we will find is corruption. I don’t think we can rely on him doing the right thing. Not if money is involved.
- Reamonn: That is an accurate assessment!
- Wulf: Therefore, I think we need to do two things. We need to try and stop Namira’s plan directly, rather than wasting time with negotiation and diplomacy. We also need to prepare Arnima for an invasion of Daedra. I think the guards and scouts could put up a good defence if they were motivated.
- Rirrard: My bruised ego is not as important as helping the people of Evermor. So, I will keep endeavouring to assist. I have a suggestion that may help with the guards.
- Wulf: Realise, Brother Rirrard, that we have more important things to do than bruise your ego. I think I have been reasonably controlled in my disdain for the nobility and priests of Evermor. What is your suggestion?
- Rirrard: Rumours have stirred about an important individual, a descendant of Mados. And from what we know, he resides not too far from the kingdom’s capital, in the hamlet nestled west of us, called Tebandra.
- Wulf: And why do you think this is important?
- Rirrard: Image. After all these years, the armour we’ve maintained from Mados’ fatal excursion still shows its majestic craft.
- Wulf: I have suits of armour thousands of years old that still show their majestic craftsmanship after all these years. What is your point?
- Rirrard: Anybody can wear the armour, but none can trigger the runes marked on its metal, and we’re sure the very trigger is blood. Do you see where this is leading?
- Wulf: You want me to track down this descendant of Mados. I then slaughter him, cover myself with his entrails, and then wear Mados’ armour with glowing shiny runes!
The Sentinels and Reamonn burst out laughing. Rirrard’s shocked face turned to one of embarrassment when he realised the jest was on him.
- Rirrard: Oh, very droll.
- Wulf: My speciality.
- Rirrard: Probably none can measure up to Mados, but it shouldn’t stop those with the potential to do so from trying. The person in question goes by the name Rados. He is reportedly a large fellow, which comes from being a blacksmith, no doubt.
- Wulf: If we are in that area, we will seek him out.
- Rirrard: Evermor is a very welcome change of tone from the dreary scenery here. It has been a long while since I’ve made the journey there myself.
- Wulf: Yes, I am sure it has higher quality destitute who wear better quality rags and have silver begging bowls.
- Serana: That was droll with a side of droll for extra drollness.
- Rirrard: Rados would mean more than his fighting prowess to this town. Having Mados’ descendant don the iconic armour of that bygone hero would instil a new sense of hope and morale within us all.
- Inigo: And having The Dragonborn, Champion of The Divines, defeater of Alduin and arguably the best warrior on Nirn, fighting for them does not instil a new sense of hope and morale? Not to mention the incredibly handsome Khajiit friend at his side?
- Derkeethus: Every single person here owes their life and their freedom to Envoy Valdr.
- Reamonn: His Excellency is not Breton, so none of that counts.
- Wulf: Brother Rirrard, the armour does not make the warrior. You could put my armour on, forged by Lord Akatosh himself, and still get beaten up by an angry Skeever. If Rados is not a warrior, I will not ask him to risk his life. If he can improve the guards’ outlook and overall morale, it is worth talking to him.
- Serana: Wulf, you said the discussion about The Battle of Glenumbra Moors provided clues to the King’s identity in Namira’s plans. Can you elaborate?
- Rirrard: Wulf?
- Reamonn: That is Envoy Valdr’s given name. Sheesh, I thought everybody knew that!
- Inigo: It usually takes more than one trip with Wulf before a person becomes insane.
- Serana: Perhaps Reamonn was more susceptible?
- Wulf: Namira would be aware of the warped history taught and believed within Evermor. To further ensure Mortifayne’s cooperation, she would have created a threat that played on his fears and seemed plausible to him.
- Serana: Mortifayne would believe the story about the evil Last King of the Ayleid and his dark powers at The Battle of Glenumbra Moors. After all, the priests tell the story, so it must be correct. He would then assume The King of Namira’s plot would refer to Dynar.
- Ghorbash: If the Priest Circle dictates that Dynar was snatched from death’s door by his Dark Lord, that will strengthen Mortifayne’s fear.
- Inigo: So, is there a King and tower?
- Wulf: Dynar was imprisoned inside The Lightless Oubliette for three thousand and eighteen years. We have already concluded that Namira’s king will reign from Scuttling Void, with The Price being his representative on Nirn.
- Inigo: Ah, so Namira will produce a copy of one of the towers of Nirn within Scuttling Void.
- Wulf: Yes. Which one we don’t know yet.
- Derkeethus: And who did she recruit to be The King?
- Wulf: It is best if I reveal that in a story.
- Inigo: You can’t help playing the role of a bard.
- Serana: Wulf is quite a good singer and storyteller, so quiet, you fleabag!
“During the crowning ceremony, the new King of Nenalata used to don a powerful relic and recite an incantation. The relic is called The Crown of Nenalata.
The powers of the crown are many and vary according to what records you read.
In 3E 433, a very wealthy Altmer mage called Umbacano wanted the crown. He knew it had been recently purchased by an Imperial scholar and Ayleid expert named Herminia Cinna.
Umbacano was a well-known collector of Ayleid artefacts. He was also an Ayleid Revivalist. They were a group of people who wanted to bring back the glory days of the Ayleid Empire.
Umbacano was convinced that if he wore The Crown of Nenalata while sitting on the Nenalata throne and recited an incantation, he would become an Ayleid king and restore Nenalata to its former glory. The first step in re-establishing an Ayleid Empire.
In 3E 433, Umbacano offered a fortune to Herminia for the crown. Herminia suspected his real motive for wanting the crown and refused to sell it to him. This rebuttal led to Umbacano hiring The Champion of Cyrodiil to steal the crown for him.
The Champion of Cyrodiil also suspected there were ulterior motives. Therefore, he talked to Herminia about Umbacano instead of stealing the crown. Together they hatched a plot to give Umbacano the Crown of Lindai instead.
Lindai was another Ayleid city-state and fierce rival to Nenalata. The kings and citizens of Lindai were loyal to Auri-El and fought Nenalata for many years.
The Champion of Cyrodiil presented the Crown of Lindai to Umbacano, who thought it was The Crown of Nenalata. The Champion of Cyrodiil then agreed to accompany Umbacano to the ruins of Nenalata as his bodyguard.
The Sentinels might be interested to know another bodyguard accompanied The Champion and Umbacano. His name was Claude Maric. He was a member of a small bandit group that included Rigmor of Bruma.
After battling through the undead denizens of Nenalata, they arrived at the throne room. The Champion and Claude watched as Umbacano sat on the throne, donned The Crown of Lindai, and loudly said the chant, ‘By blessed Tamriel acknowledge the Noble King Umbacano in your loving-vassalage.’
Now, if Umbacano were wearing the Crown of Nenalata, he would have become king and well on the way to re-establishing Ayleid rule over Tamriel.
But he was wearing the crown of Nenalata’s enemy, Lindai. Dark Welkynd stones that lined the throne room killed Umbacano and vaporised The Crown of Lindai.
There was much speculation as to what happened to Umbacano’s soul. Most scholars believe it was thrown into The Void. Souls can be retrieved from The Void by gods, both Aedra and Daedra. Sometimes out of pity and to give the deceased an afterlife. Sometimes to exploit the soul and use it for nefarious purposes.
I surmise that Namira found the soul of Umbacano to be ideal for the plot she devised for Evermor. Umbacano may very well have believed he achieved his ambition and legitimately became King of the Ayleid before his death. Or Namira has convinced him that he is. He may even think he is Dynar.
So, what do you think?”
- Ghorbash: Is there any chance of convincing The Witchmen that they are backing a false king?
- Wulf: Even if we convinced them that Umbacano and not Dynar is the returned king, they would still accept him as Namira’s chosen.
- Rirrard: What about telling the false king of his real identity?
- Wulf: If he ever talks to me again, I can try. But he is not likely to believe a mortal agent of The Divines.
- Serana: What next?
- Wulf: Let’s make sure nothing else may trigger Mortifayne, such as raids by Orsimer or similar. His paranoia would be enough to blame Merosa for any such incursion.
- Ghorbash: That Jackos fellow is at the back of this temple. I am sure he has been listening in.
- Wulf: I am hoping he did. He needs to know what he and his men may face.
We left Reamonn and Rirrard in deep discussion. Rirrard look horrified by the tale of our trip to the Dwemer ruins. No doubt Reamonn was exaggerating much.
We walked up to Jackos, who was really in need of a good long bath!
- Wulf: Jackos, do you have any family nearby?
- Jackos: Propositioning me lad? Careful, sodomy is a crime that earns a particular type of punishment here. You had better not let Ranney get his hands on you.
- Wulf: Shut up, you idiot! Same-sex marriages and relationships are legal throughout the Empire. Ladies Dibella and Mara also support them. Any suppression of such liaisons witnessed by me would be greeted with force. Ranney, whoever he is, could soon find himself dead.
- Inigo: Even my fleas find this individual unattractive with his layers of dirt. My nose says he has not wiped his bottom correctly for some time, so I think his dreams of sodomy will go unanswered.
- Ghorbash: Jackos, before you say something stupid that will make me slam my fist into your face, take Envoy Valdr’s advice and shut up.
- Jackos: It seems you are not in the mood for jocularity. After hearing you tear Brother Rirrard to shreds and the reasons why I can understand your grimness.
- Wulf: You make a terrible spy, Jackos.
- Jackos: And yet I have survived ol’ Morty so far. In answer to your question, my family aren’t here. I’ve made sure of that and sent them off to Daggerfall with all the coin I could muster. My children will be learning a trade without the worries that they’d have here.
- Wulf: And your wife?
- Jackos: Yes, she is with the children. It tears at me daily, knowing they’re all so far away. But having them stay here would put a greater burden on my heart.
- Wulf: Have you been tempted to join them?
- Jackos: Of course, but I can’t. I found my nest in this town, and I seek to drag it out of its sorry state. Fleeing would only blacken my conscience further. Once things change, and I mean radically, then I’ll reconsider that option. I would have them returning east rather than me heading west. People have to know their home, lest you forget your history.
- Wulf: Brother Rirrard suggests I recruit a descendant of Mados to don his famous armour. Do you think that would improve the morale and morals of the guards and scouts?
- Jackos: Incontrovertibly so! Mados’ presence in these walls gave people a figure to rally around. Brimming with confidence, he projected a mutual sense of belonging in those that adored him. He was the Reachmen’s hero. Well, for the civilised of The Reach.
- Wulf: You seem to be a good man, Jackos. Don’t destroy the illusion by sprouting xenophobic bullshit.
- Jackos: If Mados’ relative can live up to his legacy, it will make a difference. It seems those who mirror his martial prowess are found wanting in mind, such as those large lads, clad in ebony, that you’ve undoubtedly seen in your travels through Arnima.
- Wulf: Mek and Sek, the twin idiots.
- Jackos: They are ‘Knights of Evermor’, a parody that went from tragedy to farce almost immediately after their making. Knights have a whole different connotation in Evermor, it seems.
- Wulf: They were knighted by King Sigmayne?
- Jackos: Yes, and if you can’t tell them apart, the taller one is Mek. He is slow in the brain but still capable of all the savagery that any mad Reachman can meet out. He must have been dropped on his head as a babe. He is reined in by his more cunning and terrifically more sinister brother. Sek is a whole new beast, a whole new low for knighthood. He would gut a lifelong friend if it meant another pouch of gold or another accolade from the king. He displayed his lack of morality and savagery to earn his knighthood.
- Wulf: Let me guess. He was knighted for exemplary action in the dangerous and challenging massacre at Munstor. The place the most significant danger he faced was presented by the insides of slaughtered women and children. Slippery things, those entrails!
- Jackos: Yes, he was at Munstor. Those who saw him in the slaughter shuddered upon recalling his debauched behaviour. I have never known a man that can go through so many women within a night – slaying twice that number of men with his hammer.
- Serana: Of course. Rape is needed to prove your masculinity. Wulf, when he is no longer needed, let me have a quiet word with Sek.
- Ghorbash: Envoy Valdr had Sek on the ground with his sword at his throat within seconds of meeting him. We fought beside the twin twats a few days ago, and they are not very impressive warriors. We retook that Imperial fort without losing a man, and Envoy Valdr killed more than eighty per cent of my bloodkin before those knights had even arrived. Then the other Sentinels and I helped kill the rest. The knights and Legionnaires did not kill a single enemy that day.
- Serana: I remember Breton knights of old. They were gallant and devout followers of The Divines and the extended pantheon of High Rock. It took many years of being a squire and an exemplary record back then before reaching knighthood. It seems being and becoming a Knight of Evermor is a far less arduous undertaking.
- Jackos: How long ago was that?
- Serana: Oh, hundreds of years ago. I am much older than I look. Don’t ask. It is a long and dark story.
- Jackos: Well, most knights of High Rock still adhere to those traditional standards. However, in Evermor, it is different. You made enough gold for King Sigmayne, no matter the means? You’re knighted! You have brought another girl for Sigmayne to gawk at? You are a knight! Perhaps you burnt a village to the ground because someone took the king’s name in vain? Congratulations, you are now a knight!
- Derkeethus: I can understand why Mados was revered. In contrast to others, he was a beacon of righteousness. Not unlike a person I know.
- Jackos: So now you know and understand our predicament when it comes to current morals and morale. You can’t have pride when it’s based on farce and criminality. Corruption seeps through every crevice of our kingdom.
- Wulf: It is quite refreshing to hear the truth from a citizen of Evermor.
- Jackos: Ahem…I got carried away. I am sworn to this town’s defences and will lay down my life for the people. Don’t take my words as a slight against any of my peers.
- Wulf: I know your first concern is for the people of Arnima. That is why we are having this conversation. You listened in on what I told Brother Rirrard, so understand what the guards and your scouts might face. We need time to prepare. Therefore I need to know if there are any immediate threats to Arnima and other ways of boosting her defences.
- Jackos: If you are sincere in your want to help out, then there is something.
- Ghorbash: Envoy Valdr walked into Oblivion yesterday to recover Mados’ gauntlets. We didn’t mention that to Brother Rirrard. Now, Jackos, if that does not prove his willingness to aid Evermor, that the fuck does?
- Wulf: Just tell me what needs doing, Jackos, and keep the paranoia and suspicions to yourself.
- Jackos: There is an encampment of Exiles and bandits nearby. I need somebody to scout them out and seek any evidence of collusion with our guards.
- Wulf: Easy enough. Mark the camp on my map.
Jackos marked my map and returned it to me.
- Jackos: You can gander at the whole camp on that humble knoll. Just make sure you are discreet with this venture. These Exiles may be dumb, but they are not blind.
I cast invisibility then smacked Jackos across the head. I reappeared in front of him.
- Jackos: Ouch!
- Serana: You still don’t realise who you are dealing with, do you?
- Inigo: Envoy Valdr has, while solo, killed hundreds of members of both the Morag Tong and Dark Brotherhood. What level of sneakiness do you think that requires?
- Ghorbash: You heard that he found hidden portals and other incriminating evidence in Mortifayne’s keep. Could you or any of your scouts do that?
- Derkeethus: Evermor is in its little pocket of infinite ignorance. Don’t blame Jackos for not having any idea what The Dragonborn has accomplished. I don’t think they even allow the news sheets from other countries to be distributed here. They do not want the serfs to realise they are slaves.
- Wulf: A bunch of bandits are not going to turn up at Arnima’s gates and trigger Mortifayne. Are there any immediate threats?
- Jackos: Yes, the Redguard Corsairs. They have been raiding up and down the river system, which has been flooding recently, as you can see in Forlorn. There is a considerable force of them not far from here. I fear they may try raiding the biggest target of them all, Arnima.
- Wulf: Is there any sign that such a raid is imminent.
- Jackos: Yes, my scouts have reported a build-up of numbers over the last few days. Under the command of a leader known for his daring exploits. Sacking Arnima is the sort of thing his ego would find appealing.
- Wulf: From which direction would they likely approach?
- Jackos: They would almost certainly cross the southern bridge of Forlorn. The only alternative is a long trek to avoid the floodwaters.
- Wulf: Tell me what the Redguard have been doing since they arrived in Evermor.
- Jackos: Well, these raiders or corsairs or whatever you want to call them, swarmed our southern mines and in the middle of the storm that brought the rivers crashing to our walls. Canon had levelled The Bog, and we soon saw the rats feed among the rubble.
- Wulf: They use Black Powder weapons?
- Jackos: Yeah, because the Reds have impotent minds incapable of handling magic.
- Wulf: Here you go with the xenophobia again. Cut it out, Jackos or I will save Ghorbash the trouble and smash your teeth in myself.
- Jackos: Pardon the jab. It is difficult when dealing with this much dung being thrown at you from every corner of the land.
- Wulf: There is no excuse, Jackos. There are different races in my team. Here to help not because they were ordered but because they want to help Evermor’s citizens. Every racist comment you make is an insult to them.
- Jackos: We know the Reds are preparing to attack and soon. If you hear our horns blowing, then you will know we are asking for help.
- Wulf: You will receive help from the Legion and us. Ideally, the Corsairs will not get anywhere near the walls of Arnima. We will not play games with them if they do attack.
- Jackos: I will make myself scarce before my mouth gets me in trouble.
- Wulf: As Envoy, I hereby order you, Jackos, not to inform Merosa of Mortifayne’s interactions with Namira. If I hear of such, you will be spending a long time in prison making little rocks out of big rocks. Do you understand?
- Jackos: Yes, I understand. If she heard of these accusations, she would be here baying for blood, and we are not ready for a Deadra invasion.
I told The Sentinels, “Let us head to the Embassy and get a few hours of sleep.”
As soon as we reached the Imperial compound, Ghorbash took The Sentinels to the mess for a meal and then the barracks for some sleep.
On the way to my room, I encountered Commander Drugo.
“Commander, is there anything to report?”
“We have noticed increased Redguard Corsair activity and fear an attack on Arnima. Mortifayne has constantly refused our offer of troops to help man Arnima’s walls.”
“I want a platoon outside the front gates all day, every day until I order otherwise. They are not to enter Arnima but be a presence that can’t be ignored. This troop placement is to start first thing tomorrow morning.”
“Do you also expect trouble from the corsairs?”
“Yes, and far, far worse. I will fill you in on the details soon.”
“Okay, good night, Your Excellency.”
“Good night and blessing of The Divines, Commander Drugo.”
I sat in my room and discussed the day with Rigmor. As I did so, a hot meal was delivered.
When I finally crawled into bed, my mind was clear of doubt. Based on the current circumstances, I think the decisions made are correct.
I know not what time I fell asleep.