Tirdas, 17th Sun’s Dawn, 4E 202
I was in no hurry to return to Evermor. The sounds of my friends laughing and enjoying life soothed a desperate need to act.
Rigmor and I enjoyed a bath in the outdoor spa even as the snow fell and a gale blew.
When we returned to our room and donned our armours, we were at peace. Things needed to be done, but not at the pace I was forcing others to maintain.
As I headed for breakfast, I did not expect a small figure to dart in front of me.
Olette cheerfully hugged me then said, “Hello Cap’n!”
“Olette! It is great to see you, but why are you at Silverpeak Lodge and not Dragons Keep?”
“Wujeeta had been looking after The Sentinels here when they were rotating between the two places. But when all The Sentinels decided to stay here, for now, something to do with your adventures, I assume, I asked if I could help her.”
“But what about….”
“But what about my schooling? Wujeeta is teaching me all this domestic stuff. Cooking, cleaning, laundry and so on. The laundry I could have happily missed. The Sentinels end up with rather interesting undergarments after following you for a few days on your adventures! Yuck!”
“You and Wujeeta have always been close. It is nice of you to help her.”
“Riften is our bond. We both saw all of Nirn compressed into one city. All the dramas and loves and losses. It leaves a mark on you, that place.”
“I think that is why some people like it. It seems so alive. It is Rigmor’s favourite city in Skyrim. Inigo things it is exciting if a bit smelly.”
“Can you remember when we first met?”
“Yes, it was the worst day of my life! Why did I talk to that strange, grubby girl on the bench?”
“I knew I could trust you, sort of.”
“I had seen you a couple of times before. The first time was when you visited with Rigmor. She wanted to go shopping but then got all upset. She thought she was too ugly to wear a pretty dress. I thought you were lovers because of the looks you gave each other. Later on, you brought Rigmor a red dress in secret, and I thought you did love her, and that was good. I liked to see people in love. My mother never had that because I don’t think she ever loved my pa.”
“Rigmor and I had not known each other long, but even then, I knew I loved her dearly and suspected she loved me. Adults can be a bit scared to tell another their feelings in case they get rejected.”
“You came another time with Rigmor and had a long talk with an old Khajiit about her. Being the nosey, sneaky type who made coin selling information, I made sure I could hear every word.”
“Information brokering is a dangerous occupation, even for adults.”
“It was better selling information than my body like some other children and safer. A lot of corpses appear in the Riften canal with many no older than me.”
“So, what did you learn from your eavesdropping?”
“I learnt Rigmor was an orphan and that Baa’Ren-Dar had looked after her. He could see you two loved each other.”
“Rigmor and I were still too scared to say the three words we wanted to say.”
“Because you have difficulty counting to three?”
“Yeah? Watch! One…umm…two…wait…I know this…ahh…three! I win!”
“You wanted to say, ‘I love you!’ I have read enough romance stories to know that is a highly anticipated moment in most of them. It is supposed to make the reader go all gushy. Then the couples in the books usually lock lips and sometimes hips.”
“What kind of books are you reading?”
“Yes, we both wanted to say, ‘I love you!’ but were too scared.”
“I know what happened when Rigmor finally told you. You were so amazed you didn’t notice Thalmor were aiming their bows at you!”
“Yeah, something like that.”
“You didn’t even get to the kissing bit.”
“The next time I saw you, it was on the day we first spoke, and I made your life a million times better. You came to Riften with Lydia and Celestine. I thought you might be cheating on Rigmor with one or the other, or both. But you kept a check on them as they walked around the market. There was not that sparkle in your eyes like you have for Rigmor, so I knew you weren’t cheating. When I said I thought you might be one of those molester types, you offered to have Lydia and Celestine vouch for you. But I was still suspicious!”
“That is understandable. I am so glad you trusted me enough to join us here. You were my first orphan, and don’t tell anybody, but you are my favourite.”
“Duh! Everybody knows that. What I want to know, Cap’n, is why Rigmor and you being together is such a secret?”
“One day, I will have to go to Cyrodiil. Rigmor and I will do something important, but our enemies need to consider me Rigmor’s guardian, not her lover. They must not know I am The Dragonborn.”
“Did the gods tell you that?”
“Yes, The Divines tell me things so I can help protect people.”
“And when it no longer has to be kept a secret?”
“The Rigmor and I will get married, have children, live on a farm. Be normal people.”
“And I can finally write that song about your love!”
“Oh, and what would be the title of this magnificent song?”
“I will call it, ‘The Beauty and the Idiot.’”
“And I shall write one about you titled, ‘The Brat in Black.’”
“I had better rush and grab some bacon before the hairy Nords eat it all!”
Olette ran and grabbed a spot at a table. I laughed as she piled her plate with bacon.
Nubaree was sitting next to the fire, and I joined her. I looked around at The Sentinels and felt love and pride.
Nubaree said, “If you are thinking of what to say to us in thanks for Arnima, don’t bother. We did what we thought was right and not just because you asked us.”
“Am I that easy to read?”
“We all know you very well, and there is nothing hidden. So, yes, you are easy to read.”
“Um, a sweet roll for breakfast?”
“Have you ever seen a fat Argonian?”
“Yes, the day I met you. One of the bounty hunters was a very fat Argonian.”
“Well, after this, I will get stuck into a plate piled with bacon and sausages to make sure I don’t get fat from sweet rolls.”
I walked around and had a quick chat with every one of The Sentinels.
I told those who were going to be on my squad the excellent news. Jordis looked shocked and asked, “What did I do wrong?”
Inigo stopped me for a talk.
“My friend, I am glad to have a rest from that place. It is very depressing!”
“Rigmor insists on coming, and honestly, I need her. I will try to be a bit less frantic.”
“We were hopping around like….”
“Fleas on a blue Khajiit?”
“It is wise not to take Ghorbash. He did not take the news of the born and bred Orsimer slaves very well at all.”
“No, it is better his anger subsides a bit before he revisits Evermor.”
“And Rayya knows her temper would also be hard to control.”
“We never heard a racist word directed at Khajiit.”
“But we didn’t see any except in The Cistern. That is sufficient proof of Bretonic regards for anybody that is not Breton.”
“We saved a lot of people in Arnima.”
“Yes, and while you finish your task there, you can call on us anytime. We are all armed, and in armour, so there would be no delay on us responding.”
“I will sit down for a few ales with you soon.”
“Are you visiting Hermaeus Mora?”
“Yes, it might be worth it. I can’t ignore Mora if there is a chance he can give me some information to help with Evermor. But he always wants something in return.”
“Just be careful. You can be reckless and impulsive when your temper gets hold of you. And don’t deny it, my friend.”
“I won’t deny it, and I can’t afford to do it. I was always so careful, but perhaps I am getting a bit weary with one crisis after another.”
“I recognised one of the children we took to the orphanage. During the invasion, I picked him up and piggybacked him to the temple. His parents were slain in front of him, and he sat there for ages just watching things from his nightmares kill others. Will it be like that when the Dream Strider comes?”
“It is like that when the monsters are mortals. The children of Munstor would have experienced the same as that boy. The difference being, they were killed by the same monsters that killed their parents.”
“My friend, I think we will need more than a couple of ales when this is over.”
After their morning meal, everybody scattered to do sparring, chores or whatever took their fancy.
I gathered my chosen squad.
Then we teleported to the front entrance of Raven Spring.
I said, “There is something different about the light above Lady Mara.”
We walked over, and I stared at the light. What was different, I couldn’t say.
I looked at Lady Mara, and she spoke.
“Remember, Special Child, I will help whenever I can, but my light is weak. However, even the faintest flame can act as a beacon against the background of a deep night. That flame will appear to you in a maze of darkness when you need it most.”
“I will remember.”
Lady Mara spoke no more, and we continued our journey to Umbasir.
- Erandur: Why repeat that now?
- Rigmor: Is that part of what she said in Riften?
- Wulf: Yes, and I assume she has always known I will be going somewhere that I will need her help and am now getting closer to it.
- Rigmor: Apocrypha?
- Wulf: I doubt it. There is nothing of great danger in Mora’s realm.
- Erandur: You think it tedious while the rest of us would be awed by it.
- Wulf: For the first thirty minutes. At least with Scuttling Void, nothing repeated itself.
- Serana: Rigmor, no Aedra, including Lady Mara, can aid or contract Wulf when in Oblivion.
- Rigmor: Yeah, I forgot that. When Wulf enters Oblivion, he is beyond the help of our gods.
We reached Umbasir and crept towards the entrance to its compound.
We then stood and ran.
Sentries came running.
I let them get close.
Then I killed them with Unrelenting Force.
We eliminated all of the enemies.
Urk-Magzor and Thalmor Agent Artnil were among the dead.
We entered the Umbasir ruins to be immediately greeted by Hermaeus Mora.
“More purveyors of the perverse? No…it is my Champion who once more pursues knowledge. Come then, descend into this decrepit ruin and find the most indelible truths!”
“I assume that the dead Orsimer at the door and by your greeting that we are far from the first to visit these ruins.”
“Nearly all who entered have perished, but most were not after knowledge. They sought treasure and would forever doom mortals to eternal stagnation through their greed. It would be an unending night for the mind.”
“Logically, this place must be an alternative to using Black Books to access Apocrypha. Built by the Direnni or their Ayleid immigrants.”
“Come now, Champion, that would be free information. You can find the answer if you descend.”
“Okay, we shall descend.”
“Good, we will talk again if you survive.”
Hermaeus Mora’s avatar faded. Behind him was the symbol of Auri-El.
- Erandur: He sounds like a used wagon salesman!
- Rigmor: That is a good description, Erandur!
- Wulf: And a good analogy. Mortals never get the better part of a deal with Mora.
- Rigmor: Do you think he holds a grudge about that Dwemer lockbox and the book?
- Wulf: No. I am a potential source of knowledge, and that is more important to him than one-upmanship.
We started on our journey down.
We came upon the spirit of a Direnni mage. I approached with weapons sheathed.
The Direnni attacked, so I turned it into a puddle of ectoplasm.
After that, we treated all Direnni spirits as hostile.
We reached a vast cavern with winding walkways. Several of the walkways led to two small rooms with magical barriers. Direnni spirits could be seen inside the rooms.
Two large Ayleid Welkynd Stones provided power to the barriers.
One of the Direnni spirits, for reasons unknown, left the safety of his barrier room and attacked.
We soon turned him into a puddle of ectoplasm.
The barrier protecting the room dropped.
A Will-O’-Wisp type entity made an appearance. It made it clear that it wanted to be followed.
It led us inside the room and to a staff. A plaque in several languages named the staff ‘Incandescent’.
Incandescent’s dweomer produced a tremendous amount of electricity per second.
We approached the second room with a barrier. The mage stayed inside and could harm us. However, we could not harm him.
I said to the group, “We must stop the Magicka powering the barrier. This new staff might be able to disrupt the flow. Electricity absorbs Magicka.”
We approached one of the Welkynd Stone.
I hit it with a short burst from Incandescent, and it disintegrated.
I laughed as I said, “That Welkynd Stone was worth at least fifty thousand septim!”
We made our way to the other Welkynd Stone.
A short zap with the staff destroyed that one as well.
We took care of the Direnni spirit that suddenly found itself with no protective barrier.
We now had access to walkways and a door at the bottom of the cavern previously blocked by barriers.
We went through the door and continued on our downward journey.
We arrived in a room containing a large piece of art but had to take care of several Direnni spirits before viewing the art in detail.
Auri-El was using magic to hold up a globe of Dwemer manufacture.
Three figures were trying to drag the globe away from Auri-El towards a large Seeker. The Seeker was behind spikes which I think represent the Liminal Barrier between Mundus and Oblivion.
The races of the three figures pulling the chain were hard to discern.
- Serana: It is very well made, but what does it represent?
- Wulf: I have no idea. I suppose if we keep going, we might find out.
- Rigmor: Seekers aren’t that big, are they?
- Wulf: No, they are about five feet tall and hover off the ground another foot.
We proceeded and came to another large cavern.
Serana commented, “This reminds me of Snow Elf architecture.”
I replied, “It is interesting, and I would like to explore it one day. But I think we have to go deeper down.”
We soon found a door that led to more stairs leading down.
We entered a chamber containing a larger version of the globe that was part of the Auri-El artwork.
A Direnni mage came around the corner. He was not a spirit like the others but a mortal surrounded by a stasis field of Dwemer design.
- Erinium: So, a mass of tentacles and eyes sets a trap, and you lot eagerly run right into it, without delay. Really, you should hold yourselves to a higher standard.
- Erandur: Ah, a Direnni. Aren’t they a race of Mer so idiotic they did not learn from the fate of the Ayleid and thought they could deal with the Daedric Lords and get the better of their bargaining?
- Wulf: So true, Erandur. However, it was not the merchants of that race who were the stupidest. Their mages were known to make the most idiotic comments towards beings whose power dwarfed theirs many times over.
- Erinium: Fools that bite. My name is Erinium, and you are?
- Wulf: I am Wulf, Dragonborn and Champion of The Divines. These are my friends.
- Rigmor: What kind of idiot calls strangers fools?
- Serana: Idiots who think their failed race is somehow superior.
- Jordis: They are the best at losing large tracts of their territory.
- Wulf: Erinium, we did not get tricked by Hermaeus Mora. He asked us to investigate this place as he was concerned about people trying to destroy the knowledge that it contains.
- Erinium: Have you dealt with that Dark Lord in the past?
- Wulf: I am his mortal champion. But not a devotee of his. I am a Son of Akatosh and here on behalf of Lady Mara.
- Erinium: How did you become his champion?
- Wulf: I removed his previous champion, who was trying to conquer Nirn.
Erinium moved further into the room. We followed.
I checked to see if Erinium was a mortal.
He was, and the stasis field surrounding him stopped any ageing.
- Wulf: I have read of Dwemer stasis fields. With such knowledge, they should have been content.
- Erinium: Knowledge of which I obtained from a Daedric Prince. It was one time I think I got the better of the bargain. I swapped information about an enemy of mine for eternal life.
- Wulf: Then it wasn’t Hermaeus Mora with who you dealt.
- Erinium: No doubt the Dark Lord promised riches. I’m sure you’ve taken your fill from these halls already.
- Rigmor: Why are we speaking to this idiot?
- Wulf: Erinium, look at our weapons and my armour. Any Direnni merchant could tell you this gear would sell for millions of gold coins. So no, we are not here to make paltry amounts of money from these ruins.
- Erinium: Then you must sense a far greater reward, something that material riches cannot satisfy. With only the gods having the power to grant. Well, I hate to be the messenger, but that promise will not bear fruit. A truth we were too slow to realise ourselves. Deception is all that thing knows.
- Serana: You are clueless! The Dark Lords are true to their word and will always honour a verbal agreement. The trick is in getting the wording correct. Any flaw in an agreement will be utilised to the mortal’s detriment.
- Wulf: We are here seeking knowledge, something Mora has in abundance.
- Jordis: Unlike this clueless clown.
- Erandur: We do not seek knowledge for selfish reasons. We are helping the people of Evermor.
- Wulf: So, unless you can in some way assist, shut up and move aside.
- Erinium: The key to unsealing the passage between this world and theirs is at the end of this hall. A machine fashioned from the technologies of the Dwemer.
- Wulf: Why not call a portal a portal?
- Serana: He is trying to make it sound mysterious.
- Erinium: I hope you can stop Hermaeus Mora. He sends eyes to scour these halls in search of our most guarded secrets.
- Wulf: Mora can’t do that.
- Serana: What is left of your people are crowded on a small island. Apart from the Conjuration School of Magicka, they have not contributed a single thing worth mentioning.
- Rigmor: It must be the secret to sounding smart when you are as dumb as a rock.
- Wulf: I have had enough of this fool. Let us look for the mechanism to open the portal.
As we investigated the cavern, I noticed an open but inert Black Book. Its dweomer was destroyed by Direnni experimentation. No wonder Mora was worried about any knowledge within reach of them.
The sphere was of Dwemer construction and had no visible means of enabling its dweomer.
The control mechanism for the sphere was on a platform above and was inert.
I said to The Sentinels, “I am going to give this mechanism a jolt from Incandescent. The Direnni went to a lot of effort to protect this staff, so it must be useful for more than killing things. Seekers and Lurkers may come from the portal, so be ready.”
I fired electricity into the centre of the console, and the portal opened. Seekers attacked.
We disposed of the Seekers, weak opponents even in Apocrypha and much more vulnerable on Nirn.
I approached Erinium and said, “Look at that! Us idiots figured it out without your help.”
I told Rigmor, “There is nothing to fear in Apocrypha. Mora’s minions are far weaker than Namira’s and not in great numbers. I hope the maze is not too long as the place is mind-numbingly monotonous.”
“You have been there often enough that I do not worry about that place. But I never like it when the rings stop working.”
“I will not dally there. If the information is not available, I will come right back.”
I walked into the portal and found myself in a pocket plane of Apocrypha.
Seekers attacked and died.
After defeating the Seekers, I examined the pocket plane. Three braziers were not lit.
It was not too much of a leap of logic to use the staff on them.
As soon as all three were lit, a barrier surrounded the pocket plane, and a portal to Apocrypha opened.
I stepped through the portal and was in Apocrypha proper.
A bridge rolled out, and I proceeded further.
I activated a Scrye to unlock a door. Then continued and hoped I didn’t have to do this crap for long.
I disposed of a few more Seekers then approached Hermaeus Mora and another entity using a similar avatar.
- Ven: If you seek to forgo combat with my subordinates, then free me.
- Wulf: Not so fast. Give me your name so I can better bargain with respect.
- Ven: Bow, mortal, and show respect to the Lord of Knowledge and Memory.
- Mora: Ven, I told you, my Champion is not one to command or who will blindly obey.
- Wulf: Please don’t tell me this is a child of yours!
- Mora: I got tired of speaking with Ayleid and Direnni. Therefore, I created this aspect.
- Wulf: Two races of mortals with as much arrogance as yourself. It must have been agony!
- Mora: This aspects name is Ven, Eater of Dreams.
- Wulf: That is undoubtedly pretentious enough for one of your minions.
- Mora: And how is Septimus?
- Wulf: He is recovering remarkedly well. I would not be surprised to find him returning to The College of Winterhold by the end of the year.
- Mora: And my Oghma Infinium?
- Wulf: Locked away where nobody can get it. You shouldn’t have killed Storn.
- Mora: You should have been more careful when wording our verbal agreement.
- Wulf: So why should I free Ven, and does he pose a danger?
- Mora: He poses no danger. He has access to knowledge not yet released to my indexers and cataloguers, those you call Seeker. I would gain that knowledge, including many Direnni secrets, some of which may aid you with the playground of Namira called Evermor.
- Wulf: Ven, what do I need to do to free you?
- Ven: Two books reside within my library. They are studies of my being covering my birth to my death. Find them and divulge in their texts. Upon reading them, I will be free from my prison. And we can then drown in truths unseen.
There is no need to describe this trip through Apocrypha. It is no different than any of the others I have undertaken.
The two volumes about Ven did not contain any information legible by me. It was the opening of the two books that released Ven from his prison.
On the way back to Ven, I noticed Erinium was waiting in the pocket plane.
The Aspect of Hermaeus Mora called Ven was in the form of a translucent and very large Seeker.
“Ven, I did as you requested.”
“Loyal mortal, followed the breadcrumb to the source from mere curiosity. A curiosity that has yet to be sated, I assume? Not to worry, a compendium of knowledge surrounds you so that curiosity shall forever be entertained.”
“You are wrong on many levels. My loyalty is to The Divines and the mortals of Mundus. I do not seek anything out of pure curiosity. I did not follow breadcrumbs but applied logic to reach this point. I want specific information.”
“Admission to this library isn’t free. I implore you to accept this offer. Reclaim the soul of Erinium and bring it to me. Then the torrent of anthologies and studies you see before you will be at your disposal.”
“Why do you want Erinium’s soul? And I repeat, I am not interested in accumulating knowledge for the sake of knowing.”
“Have you ever had trouble discerning the motives of your cohorts? The affairs of mortals may seem incomprehensible when you are one, and time isn’t a luxury you can take for granted. But here we gain hindsight, this a new lens in which the web of egos become clear.”
“What a load of bollocks! You are not omnipotent and would have no idea of the motives of mortals in general. There is no possibility, without being told, of knowing the motivations of specific mortals.”
“All entities capable of cognition, however basic, have needs. For you, they are food, water, and copulation, while our need is knowledge. A ravaging hunger resides within that needs knowledge. Erinium is keeping a secret that is too tempting from which to avert our gaze. Hence my desire for Erinium’s soul. So again, I implore you, retrieve his soul.”
“I am Champion of The Divines. Lord Arkay’s Commandment is, ‘Honor the earth, its creatures, and the spirits, living and dead. Guard and tend the bounties of the mortal world, and do not profane the spirits of the dead.’ You are asking me to profane the spirit of a mortal by handing over his soul. That will never happen.”
As I walked back to the pocket realm, I decided to play the greedy knowledge seeker and see how Erinium reacts. I am certain Ven must be something it can tell me that will aid with Evermor’s problems. Perhaps I might have something to trade Ver other than a soul.
“Ven wants your soul before I can access his archives.”
“And you are to be the courier?”
“I would rather not kill you if there is another way.”
“We are blessed with intelligence so that binary choices can become many. You may bark ‘Fallacy!’ at what I propose, but hear me out. Bring that entity a soul in my image, even with my scent. Aha, but it will not be mine! Simple, but genius, right?”
“And you discuss this plan while within his realm?”
“Do you think I told you to light these fires for my amusement? They produce the Liminal Barrier that surrounds us. This barrier shields and shrouds us to that being’s eyes. What is discussed here is for our ears only.”
I had to grab hold of my anger before my Dovah made an appearance. You can’t raise a Liminal Barrier within Oblivion. By definition, it is a barrier between Oblivion and Mundus. The knowledge and ability to create the Liminal Barrier resides with Lord Akatosh! You can make Liminal Bridges which are short-lived portals, but that requires a Sigil Stone and the co-operation of the Daedric Prince whose realm within Oblivion you are trying to breach.
Erinium never mentioned the fires, and if he wanted a private conversation, anywhere in Mundus would do!
I managed, barely, to contain my temper and said, “Ven wants the knowledge that he will gain from consuming your soul. A Black Soul Gem may contain a soul that you have modified to mimic yours. However, it can’t contain the knowledge desired.”
“It’ll be none the wiser, a glutton as it is, only desiring the next meal without a care for the taste.”
“Why not just give Ven the information it seeks?”
“And give it all the power? What’s to be gained from that? Knowledge has a value that can be traded for spoils beyond your fickle thoughts.”
“Hand me the Soul Gem. Your continued arrogance and false superiority sicken me.”
The Soul Gem that Erinium handed me was not a quick thing to be produced on a whim. It would have taken considerable effort and time. He may have been holding on to it for thousands of years, waiting for somebody capable of delivering it.
I consume souls from slain dragons to absorb their knowledge. I know The Soul Gem will not fool Ven, but Erinium doesn’t. His plan is one of arrogance and not complete understanding.
I approached Ven.
“I have with me a Black Soul Gem with a modified soul within. Erinium is under the impression you would absorb the soul and not realise his ruse. Such a deception must enrage you?”
Hermaeus Mora’s voice issued from Ven and echoed the anger I had seen when he killed Miraak and Storn. He growled, “You have gifted us the knowledge of Erinium’s deception without striking a bargain beforehand. You are also incensed that he would ask you to gain an advantage via deception. Dealings with my kind are inviolate contracts, and you knew my anger would match yours. You hoped I would give you something in return so my anger and desire for revenge may be realised through my Champion.”
“I am angry he would try such deceit but would never kill another mortal just to sate your desire for revenge.”
“Perhaps I can provide some knowledge that will lead you to more understanding of how Evermor became as it is. This knowledge, in turn, may result in the uncontrolled anger of your kind and thereby the revenge I desire.”
“I would slay him if justice demands it but never think for a moment that your wants in this matter are of any concern.”
“I know that, my Champion. But I would still gloat at his demise.”
“What is it you want to impart?”
“Ask Erinium about Laloriaran Dynar, the Last Ayleid King. Press him on the Rights Charter. Feed his ego and mention Delodiil. You will learn much about the history of Evermor.”
I exited into the pocket plane.
Then I stepped through the portal and returned to Nirn.
Rigmor came running over and said, “We did not stop Erinium following you into the portal because we didn’t think he posed much of a threat.”
“I gave no instructions about that eventuality as it was unexpected.”
“Did you learn anything useful?”
“Not yet. But let us go and talk with Erinium and see if he provides it.”
“I can tell your Dovah is seething. Please, Wulf, don’t kill out of anger alone.”
“I promise I will not do that.”
I signalled The Sentinels, and they joined me as I spoke to Erinium.
- Wulf: Erinium, did you ever meet The Last Ayleid King?
- Erinium: Laloriaran? That twisted despot? Why do you evoke such a name?
- Wulf: He tried to invade Nirn. With the aid of his Dark Lord, they opened an Oblivion Gate in Raven Spring, and many were slain. I traversed Oblivion and removed the Sigil Stone, thus ending the threat for now.
- Erinium: That could have been quite the heroic tale, you know, without the guts and torture. Yet, no story of Dynar would be complete without that. Ask any of my kin, and they would have told you the same of him, and none would be surprised that he ended up the way he did. More a wild flame to cover our retreat than an ally. We even feared he’d turn his attention to us had he prevailed against Alessia. Such was his desire for blood.
- Wulf: You are an eyewitness to the truth, so why tell the same falsehoods as the Breton?
- Erinium: They say that the victors write the history. It was our hope to sully the name of the one who destroyed the Direnni! We won the battle and war, but it seems all have not accepted our history.
- Wulf: He led your forces to victory!
- Erinium: At the cost of our control over the Breton and a false acknowledgement of racial equity!
- Wulf: The Rights Charter was needed before the Breton Kings would aid against the Alessian Order. Lady Alessia was not the enemy of the Direnni Hegemony! Your false history might not have been so easily been detected if you left Lady Alessia and Pelinal Whitestrake from your falsehood.
- Erinium: As if those mongrel Breton could ever be our equal! When Dynar invited the Men of Skyrim to fight alongside him, it was insult upon insult!
- Rigmor: The Breton turned on the Direnni if I remember my history correctly.
- Serana: Yes, and within two decades, the Direnni were forced from all of High Rock except the Isle of Balfiera.
- Wulf: The Breton were tired of the Direnni arrogance and their reliance on Dark Lords.
- Erinium: Which Dark Lord aided Dynar with his invasion? Was it his beloved Meridia, or did he become a traitor and join Molag Bal?
- Wulf: You know of his capture by Molag Bal?
- Erinium: We made plans with Molag Bal, who wanted Meridia’s champion in his grasp. I arranged the invite to Nenalata and the stop at Delodiil. His name was sullied, and he became a prisoner of the darkest of Dark Lords. Our revenge on Dynar was complete.
- Wulf: The entire population of Delodiil perished except for Dynar.
- Erinium: If you are looking for guilt on my part, you will find none. Whatever happened in Oblivion, he became the monster we invented. He killed Breton, and that makes the deaths at Delodiil a fair price.
- Wulf: You think you are superior yet have proved to be one of the dumbest individuals I have met.
- Erinium: You would never have reached Apocrypha and found the information you needed without my aid!
- Wulf: I can enter Apocrypha whenever I desire as I own many Black Books. You did not tell me how to enable the portal, nor did you mention the three braziers.
- Rigmor: We all heard every word said to Wulf. Where was the help from you?
- Wulf: Serana, this fool said that lighting the three braziers created a Liminal Barrier. We were already in a pocket plane of Apocrypha.
- Serana: An impossibility. And he calls himself a mage?
- Erandur: Claiming others can replicate the power of Lord Akatosh is blasphemy!
- Wulf: Erinium, the altered soul you gave me would not have fooled Ven. I am Dragonborn, and like Ven, I absorb knowledge by absorbing souls. In my case, the souls of dragons.
- Rigmor: Whose Ven?
- Wulf: Ven is an aspect of Hermaeus Mora. He is the big Seeker in the artwork with Auri-El. Ven was used as a vendor to Ayleid and Direnni because Mora couldn’t stand either of them.
- Erinium: So, I admit, I was wrong about some things. Now leave and let me work in peace!
- Wulf: King Laloriaran Dynar was a prisoner of Molag Bal for three thousand years. Mortal agents rescued him with the assistance of Meridia. He helped thwart a plan of Molag Bal’s called Planemeld but died a hero when doing so. He now resides in Aetherius after The Divines accepted his rejection of Meridia.
- Rigmor: Wow, what does it feel like, Erinium, knowing that your nemesis is a hero?
- Wulf: Your false histories aided in the corruption of the Kingdom of Evermor, which subsequently became a playground for Namira. It was Namira and a fake Dynar that opened the Oblivion Gate.
- Erinium: Many Breton half breeds died. Dynar suffered for three thousand years. Our revenge is sweet.
- Wulf: You are complicit in the deaths of the people of Delodiil and the imprisonment of a mortal hero by a Daedric Prince. You helped create false histories which contributed to corruption, further death and misery. You are scum and have lived for far too long.
Erinium’s eyes grew wide as he realised too late what was to follow.
I did a weak Unrelenting Force and smashed Erinium against the far wall. He lay groaning and in pain. His stasis field will keep him alive while his bones mend.
I said to Erinium, “I want to kill you, and I could probably justify it, but in reality, I would be giving in to my anger. So, you live, but know that when you die, none will mourn or remember you. Dynar is remembered by many, both Man and Mer, for his courage and his compassion. Hermaeus Mora was more than a little upset at your attempt at deception. You wanted me to cheat on a verbal contract which is something a Dark Lord would never do. Expect many mortal agents to be after your soul from this point forward.”
All I got in reply was loud moans.
After I moved away from Erinium, Rigmor came up to me.
“Was this whole thing worth it?”
“We know a bit more history, which is never a waste. Mora’s aspect probably has information we could use, but the cost is too high. When dealing with Mora, it is knowledge for knowledge exchange. Ven was created to deal with Ayleid and Direnni, so knowledge within Black Soul Gems for information is its default exchange. I have no doubt people like Erinium would murder to acquire a requested Soul Gem.”
“So, how did you get the information about Erinium and the false history?”
“I told Ven of Erinium’s planned deception. Mora was listening in and was incensed. He gave me a clue about Erinium and Dynar.”
“Silverpeak Lodge. I want you with me in Evermor but can’t expect you to keep going at the same rate. Therefore, we shall have a meal with The Sentinels, a bath and go to bed at a reasonable time.
“I think we will visit General Tullius and give him an update. I would not be surprised if he moved troops to the border.”
“Why, what do you think is going to happen?”
“Either Damian or I will remove his father. Instability may result, which other parts of High Rock could use to their advantage. Certainly, the many factions with Evermor may see a chance to grab power or cause chaos. I also think the existing troops need to be replaced. That could be done under the pretext of them doing such a good job defending Raven Spring and being decimated as a result. Units are often removed for refitting. Tullius also needs to know there may have been collusion with Orsinium’s Sons.”
“Erinium is still groaning over there.”
“He deserves to die, but I am tired of being the one to kill.”
“We will see if Reamonn’s scrying was successful.”
We teleported to Silverpeak Lodge and did as I suggested.
I know not what time I fell asleep.
I know it was not long after wrestling half-asleep Rigmor for the return of my half of the blanket.