Middas, 1st Frostfall, 4E 201

to Fredas 3rd Frostfall, 4E 201

During our morning meal, I outlined the history of The Tribunal and The Reclamations. This outline was necessary as we would be visiting Raven Rock’s Temple.

When we exited Severin Manor, the ash was minimal, and the day would at least begin with sunshine.

The streets were relatively empty, and no stalls were yet open in the market.

We made our way up the temple steps, and I stood before Azura’s statue.

Azura said, “Champion, is it by chance you stand before me or something else?”

“It is good to hear your voice one more, Lady Azura. I came to show my respect. Alas, I must soon leave Solstheim.”

“There is more. I think you have heard rumours about a worrying situation.”

“I heard there may be Tribunal devotees on this island, but that should not be cause for concern.”

“Normally, that would be the case. However, my seers have seen potential violence in Raven Rock from those who still worship The False Tribunal. Their visions are not clear enough for me to discern names. Perhaps Elder Othreloth may have some clue as to their identity.”

“It is not my place to intervene in religious disputes.”

“I know you will not harm people simply for rejecting The Reclamations. I only ask that you investigate and determine if there is danger.”

“That is a humble request from one I owe so much. I will investigate not just because you asked. The truth is, I cannot ignore the potential danger to the good people of Solstheim.”

Azura’s presence faded.

I looked at Boethia’s statue but did not try and communicate with her.

I greeted the Khajiiti sweeper.

“Good morning, S’thasa.”

“This one is pleased to greet Lord Welkynd and friends. However, Khajiit thinks she drank too much last night. That would explain why that one held a conversation with Azura.”

“Azura has aided me in the past. I am her champion.”

“Ahh, this one thinks it is good that other races can also like Aedra and Daedra. Khajiit always thought it silly that some people must divide the gods.”

“I agree. Have fun sweeping, S’thasa. Maybe there will be no more ash storms for a day or two.”

“Khajiit would be very pleased if that was so.”

We entered the temple. Elder Othreloth was nowhere to be seen, so we looked around.

About ten minutes later, Elder Othreloth came from below and approached us.

  • Othreloth: Greetings Lord Welkynd and Dragonguard. As I said days ago, you honour The Reclamations with your actions. What you have done for Solstheim will not be forgotten.
  • Wulf: Greetings, Elder Othreloth. Were you one of the Ashlanders who kept their faith in The Reclamations, once called The Anticipations?
  • Othreloth: I moved from tribe to tribe, teaching about our true gods.
  • Wulf: I admire the dedication required. Did you have dealings with The Dissident Priests?
  • Othreloth: Not much. They fought for the truth in the major population centres. I preferred the barren ashlands, where I could talk to many with less chance of violent retribution.
  • Wulf: Still, it took courage and strong faith.
  • Othreloth: You seem to serve many gods.
  • Dhali: Lord Welkynd is not only the Champion of The Divines but also of Boethia and Azura.
  • Wulf: I am also a champion for several of The House of Troubles. But I did oppose another one in his realm in Oblivion!
  • Othreloth: I would like to hear how you became champion of two of The Reclamations.
  • Wulf: Perhaps another time, Elder, for it is a long and complex tale.
  • Othreloth: May I ask you and The Dragonguard to resolve a problem for me?
  • Wulf: Please, tell us what that may be.
  • Othreloth: We can’t use the Ancestral Tomb beneath the Temple, so we have resorted to scattering remains elsewhere.
  • Wulf: And why is that?
  • Othreloth: Those foul vermin… the abominations we call Ash Spawn have risen from the ashes of our ancestors. They’re befouling the memories of our forefathers by defiling their remains.
  • Wulf: We shall cleanse the tomb for you.
  • Othreloth: Thank you. That would be most kind. Here, this key should open the door to the tomb.

I accepted the key, and we headed for the tomb.

As we walked, Inigo asked, “My friend, why didn’t you ask Elder Othreloth about suspected Tribunal troublemakers?”

“That topic is delicate, and Elder Othreloth would most likely hesitate to involve us. Clearing the tomb of Ash Spawn will improve his disposition and trust towards us.”

“Clever thinking!”

We entered the tomb.

Not far in, we saw Ash Spawn and drew our weapons.

It did not take long for us to dispose of all enemies.

Elder Othreloth met us at the foot of the stairs.

  • Dhali: We have cleared the Ash Spawn from the Ancestral Tomb.
  • Othreloth: Spirits be praised! I’m hoping none of you suffered an injury at the hands of those foul beings!
  • Wulf: Nobody received even a scratch.
  • Othreloth: I will not insult you by offering a reward.
  • Wulf: Use what you might have offered to aid the needy. We saw beggars on the streets of Raven Rock.
  • Othreloth: Like everybody here, the lack of support from Morrowind has made us count our gold like misers.
  • Dhali: Perhaps with the reopening of the mine, prosperity and meaningful employment for all will follow.
  • Othreloth: I shall pray for that outcome.
  • Wulf: Lady Azura spoke to me this morning. She thinks there are radical devotees of The False Tribunal in Raven Rock and fears they may be planning violence.
  • Othreloth: Restoration investigators from the mainland recently sent me the transcript of an interview. The person interviewed is a known False Tribunal sympathiser, if not a devotee. He came forward as he was concerned that he might be innocently entangled in what could be a sinister plan. Here is the transcript of what he told the investigators.

Elder Othreloth handed me the transcript. I read it to my friends.

“Kenro was a strange one. Always skulking about, perusing my wares, but never buying.

I’d ask him if he wanted a sword, and he’d say, ‘Not today.’

So, I’d ask him if he’d fancy a suit of armour. And again, he says, ‘Not today.’

Every day for a month, the same song and dance. Not today, not tomorrow, not ever. Or so I thought.

One day I opened the shop, checked my wares, and found a mistake in the shipment. Inside the crate was an odd gem, lumped in with the usual iron and steel. Figuring it for a mistake, I was about to send it back when Kenro walked into the store.

I greeted him and asked if he wanted to buy some wares, expecting him to say, ‘Not today.’

But to my surprise, he doesn’t. Today, he wants to buy.

He doesn’t want a sword or a shield. He wants the gem. As he hands me the coin, I get a strange feeling in the pit of my stomach, like this is the last time I’ll see him. So, I asked him where he was headed. He told me he was going to see a blacksmith. As I ran the forge, I was unsure if that was a joke.

When I asked which smith, he told me a Dwarven one in Fahlbtharz.

My face went white, and then Kenro commented, ‘You look like you’ve seen a ghost.’

I said to him, ‘No, have you?’ And he just smiled.”

  • Wulf: Fahlbtharz is in Solstheim.
  • Othreloth: After receiving this information a week ago, I asked Captain Veleth to watch for Kenro’s arrival in Raven Rock. He arrived yesterday.
  • Dhali: Is Kenro a suspected Tribunal devotee?
  • Othreloth: Yes, but that is not illegal, so Captain Veleth did not approach him or arrest him. I think Kenro and Fahlbtharz need to be investigated in light of what Azura said.
  • Wulf: Fahlbtharz is not far from The Water Stone. What is Kenro’s full name?
  • Othreloth: Kenro Hlan. We believe he calls himself Hand Kenro Hlan.
  • Wulf: In that case, this will be a good test of how militant they are.
  • P’Sua: Is Hand a rank?
  • Wulf: Hands were, or are, the personal guards of Almalexia. Their full title was Hands of Almalexia or Her Hands.
  • Khao: As Wulf explained this morning, Almalexia went insane after she lost her divinity. She killed Sotha Sil, and The Nerevarine killed her. Her orders to people like Kenro may be unpredictable and even delusional if she has been resurrected.
  • Wulf: We will approach Kenro with weapons sheathed and without stealth. He will have no reason to attack us.
  • Dhali: If he attacks us, do we assume all those associated with him are militant?
  • Wulf: No, but it would indicate some may be paranoid.
  • Inigo: Elder Othreloth, would people like Kenro need to fear you or your investigators?
  • Othreloth: No. As I said, continuing to worship The False Tribunal is not illegal. Some temples even have statues of them recognising their sainthood. Certain people have been pressurising me to have such statues. I am afraid the suffering I experienced and saw whilst keeping the true faith alive makes that impossible.
  • Wulf: Okay, we shall see what Kenro says and go from there.

We exited the temple to a cloudless, sunny sky. I didn’t think anything could ruin my good mood. Attendant Galdrus Hlervu tried.

I heard a weaselly voice say, “You may have everyone fooled, but I see what you’re doing here. The call of gold sends you scurrying like a rat.”

P’Sua growled, and Dhali blocked his path to the Attendant.

  • Wulf: What is your name?
  • Galdrus: Attendant Galdrus Hlervu.
  • Wulf: Do you know who I am, Attendant Galdrus?
  • Galdrus: You are mercenary scum.
  • Wulf: I am Lord Welkynd, Dragonborn and Champion of The Divines. My friends are known as The Dragonguard. Do our titles ring a bell, Attendant?
  • Inigo: Look at our weapons and armour. Do we look like we are short of money?
  • Dhali: Who gave Lord Welkynd gold for removing the Ash Spawn threat?
  • Galdrus: I assume the Councillor. Why else would somebody like him do it?
  • Dhali: Gold was offered, but Lord Welkynd refused to take it. He asked for it to be given to the families of Redoran Guards killed by the Ash Spawn.
  • Khao: Who gave him gold when he made the mine safe to use?
  • Galdrus: The mine? Since when?
  • Khao: You might have known that news if you took your head out of your arse.
  • Wulf: I accepted no payment for that task.
  • Khao: Who paid Wulf to save you from Miraak’s enslavement?
  • Galdrus: Well…ahh…
  • Inigo: What payment did Wulf receive for saving your freedom by defeating Alduin?
  • Galdrus: Oh…umm…
  • Wulf: We just cleared the Ash Spawn from the tomb. I accepted no payment for that task.
  • Khao: Lord Welkynd has repeatedly risked his life for you and asked for no payment!
  • Shiva: He has even travelled through various realms of Oblivion and closed an Oblivion Gate. What have you done for the good of others, Attendant?
  • Inigo: This judgmental turd could show some gratitude.
  • Dhali: Did we mention Lord Welkynd owns three orphanages and has paid for the upgrade of another? Do you think he makes money from them?
  • Wulf: Why the venom, Attendant Galdrus? Is it the fact I am not Dunmer? Or perhaps you think me ignorant of The Reclamations?
  • Galdrus: The Temple is for followers of our faith alone. Outsiders aren’t welcome here.
  • Wulf: Excuse me, but I own property in Raven Rock and am not an outsider. Besides, the Temples of Reclamation are open to all, as are those of The Nine.
  • Dhali: You should show reverence to Azura’s Champion.
  • Shiva: He is also Boethia’s Champion.
  • Wulf: Whatever the reason for your hatred, it makes you less than what you could be. Thank The Restorations that Skyrim and Cyrodiil do not emulate your bias. If they did, you would not be able to walk the streets of Raven Rock. They would be congested with those Dunmer that have been given refuge by ‘unbelievers.’
  • Dhali: Not to mention Solstheim was gifted to the Dunmer by unbelievers!
  • Inigo: Isn’t the largest statue of Lady Azura in the whole of Nirn in Skyrim?
  • Wulf: I have spoken to Lady Azura and felt her love and compassion. Something we mistakenly thought priests of The Reclamations would also have.
  • Galdrus: Blaspheming scum! As if our goddesses would make you their champion or speak to you!

P’Sua was livid at Galdrus’ tone and stepped forward again, his fists clenched. This time, nobody stopped him. Azura’s melodic voice saved Galdrus a beating.

“Attendant Galdrus and my champion, come before me!”

I walked beside a shaking Galdrus, and we stood before the statue of Azura.

Lady Azura said, “Attendant Galdrus, it seems your training is at fault. You will tell Elder Othreloth of this indiscretion and ask him for suitable penance. Am I clear in my instructions?”

“Yes, Lady Azura.”

“Lord Welkynd has already done much for the mortals of Nirn, and he is still very young. His friends have also contributed much. You will apologise to them, and I hope to see an improvement in your behaviour.”

The god addressed me, “Champion, sometimes you are too kind to those who should know better.”

I replied, “Lady Azura, there seems to be at least one Tribunal devotee who has recently arrived. We shall visit him and see if there is any danger to this temple.”

“Perhaps Attendant Galdrus will owe you another debt, his life if my seers are correct.”

“Let us hope they are not violent.”

Lady Azura’s presence faded, and I turned to Galdrus.

  • Galdrus: I apologise to you, Lord Welkynd, and The Dragonguard.
  • Wulf: Is that the first time Lady Azura has spoken to you?
  • Galdrus: Yes, and to my shame, it was to admonish me.
  • Dhali: It should not take a god to teach you manners and respect!
  • Galdrus: As Lady Azura made abundantly clear.
  • Wulf: Do you have suspicions on who may cause issues regarding The Tribunal?
  • Galdrus: Aphia Velothi. She may wear Robes of Azura, but her sympathies for The False Tribunal have often been demonstrated within the Temple. She is no longer welcome here for that reason.
  • Wulf: I shall talk with her if I think it necessary.
  • Galdrus: You must understand Elder Othreloth’s hardships while keeping the faith during The False Tribunal’s ascendency.
  • Dhali: I assume Elder Othreloth and others were treated similarly to Talos worshippers within The Empire.
  • Wulf: Perhaps both religions could have coexisted in Morrowind if more care had been taken.
  • Galdrus: Perhaps. Please, again, accept my apology for my behaviour.
  • Wulf: Apology accepted. I suggest you organise with the Temple Guards and Captain Veleth for extra guards.
  • Galdrus: That is a sensible precaution and will be done.

I told the group, “Gather around, and I will teleport us to The Water Stone. Fahlbtharz is on the other side of the mountain. Therefore, I will do the usual routine.”

We teleported to The Water Stone.

I then Blinked over the mountain and summoned my friends.

Totems marked the territory of a Riekling tribe and served as warnings to trespassers.

There were several recently killed Riekling near the entrance of Fahlbtharz.

Inigo quipped, “That place reminds me of Shiva.”

Shiva asked, “How can Dwemer ruins possibly remind you of me?”

“Oh, not the looks but its name. Fahlbtharz and fat arse. Very similar, don’t you think?”

Shiva tried to look angry for a second but gave in and joined the laughter.

We entered Fahlbtharz, and I exclaimed, “Well, this is something different. A Dwemer ruin populated by Riekling, not Falmer.”

We walked past a few Rieklings, who did not seem agitated.

Then we came upon other Rieklings killed by somebody or something else.

Arrows embedded in one Riekling corpse suggested a mortal, not a Dwemer Automaton, was the killer.

We entered a small chamber populated by dead Riekling, a Dwemer Draugr Automaton and the spirit of a Tonal Architect.

As Inigo yelled, “Hyah” and dispensed with the automaton, I did a sneak kill on the spectre.

We could see a large chamber full of rotating, giant Dwemer gears through some grating.

  • Wulf: I wonder if Sotha Sil made that machinery?
  • P’Sua: What do those giant cogs operate?
  • Wulf: I don’t know. However, I have read about such machinery. They are a sort of maze. You could easily get disoriented as you jump from cog to cog.
  • Dhali: One false step, and you would get squished.
  • Wulf: There are probably automatons that suddenly appear and try to make you lose balance.
  • P’Sua: The Dwemer weren’t very nice people.
  • Wulf: They are an extinct people, and I think they wiped themselves out.
  • Inigo: My friend, do we have to cross over those cogs?
  • Wulf: I don’t know. If we don’t, they can remain a mystery for another day.

We arrived at a room occupied by two Dwemer Spiders and a dead Riekling.

Unrelenting Force and arrows eliminated the enemies.

The only other exit had locked gates. A faint voice could be heard coming from the left of the gates.

  • Wulf: Inigo, you have better hearing than me. What is that person saying?
  • Inigo: I don’t know. The language is very guttural and harsh.
  • Wulf: From what I can hear, I think it is Daedric. I would say we have found Hand Kenro Hlan.
  • Inigo: Is Daedric another language you know, my friend?
  • Wulf: I can read and write it. I can understand most of it when spoken. It depends on the speaker’s accent.
  • Dhali: How do we open the gate?
  • Wulf: One of the ten buttons over there will open it.
  • Dhali: Which one?
  • Wulf: I don’t know. Therefore, I will push each one in turn!
  • Dhali: What will happen if you push the wrong one?
  • Wulf: Well, I can see several traps.

I walked over to a wall and said, “The wrong button will release a Dwemer Spider. How scary!”

Then I told them, “Pushing the wrong button will shoot flames at anybody in front of the buttons.”

Finally, I informed them, “A wrong button will release mechanical whirling blades in several directions from these slots.”

I stood beside the buttons and said, “If I was a bastard, which the Dwemer were, where would I place the correct button? Most people would start from the top left, complete the top row, and then continue with the bottom left. A bastard would make it one of the last buttons using that method. Therefore, I will do the opposite and start bottom right.”

I pushed the bottom right button, and flames shot out a nozzle.

I then pushed the second from the right button on the bottom row. The gate opened.

  • Khao: That was logical for us, Wulf because we read left to right, top to bottom. The Dwemer did the opposite.
  • Dhali: Ha! Not so smart after all!
  • Wulf: I got the correct button on the second try!
  • Dhali: More arse than class.
  • Inigo: Are we talking about Shiva again?
  • P’Sua: There is nothing wrong with Shiva’s arse!

The distant Daedric talking and mechanical clanking were the only sounds to be heard. Shiva smiled at P’Sua’s discomfort, so I rescued him by proceeding through the gate and to the left.

It is no secret that P’Sua has been keen on Shiva for some time. Although he is one of the bravest people you could meet, my Ka’Po’Tun friend turned to jelly when talking to Shiva.

When we came to a door, I told my friends, “There is a single person beyond that door. I guess it is Hand Kenro Hlan.


When we entered, Kenro screamed, “You are Her enemies! Stay away from me!”

He ran at me with a drawn weapon. In one smooth movement, I drew my katana and decapitated him.

I searched Kenro’s corpse and recovered a note, a vial of Pyroil Tar, an elaborate, unenchanted sword and a white gem with a Dwemer metal sleeve.

I read the note to the group.

“Hand Kenro’s Note

Information on how to fix a machine

I live to serve only Her. Always Her.

I have found the forge, and Her fire will burn when its spark is lit. The Spectre once worked the gears of this swollen machine, but I no longer require his service. The mechanism is simple. With this vial of Pyroil Tar, I have all that is required to ignite it.

Tar lit the flame once before, and tar will do so again. And when I return triumphant, fire in hand, she will embrace me again.

But I have a problem. The machine requires four gems to power it, and I have procured only one. The others, it seems, are still out there. Yet I do not doubt that as Her chosen, she will guide me to them.

For now, I will return to the temple. The entrance sits above the mine in Raven Rock, perched atop basalt cliffs within Ashfall’s Tear. But even if one finds the cave, only the devout know the way inside the temple. I spin the words, and the way opens.”

I handed the note to Inigo and said, “Look at the bottom, then pass it on.” When everybody had seen the note, it was handed back to me.

  • Wulf: What were the three symbols on the bottom?
  • Khao: They are the Daedric letters for ASV.
  • Wulf: Yes, and they represent the three gods of The Tribunal. Almalexia, Sotha Sil and Vivec.
  • Inigo: He wrote that he serves only her. I assume he means Almalexia.
  • Wulf: Yes, that is right. But I am puzzled as to why he wrote the note. Why put in writing how you open the door to their temple? And why record where the temple is?
  • Khao: I think the note was a reminder to himself. Kenro was as insane as his mistress and knew he might forget those things.
  • Wulf: That is a valid assumption.
  • P’Sua: Their temple is close to Raven Rock. Why choose to build it there instead of another cave or ruins?
  • Wulf: Maybe it was an existing religious site.
  • Dhali: What is Pyroil Tar?
  • Khao: It is a very rare reagent used to create weapons that do fire damage.
  • Wulf: One of the most revered artefacts is TrueFlame, the sword of Saint Nerevar. It was given to him by Dumac, King of the Dwemer, as a wedding present when Nerevar married Almalexia. Almalexia wielded its twin called Hopesfire. Both blades must occasionally be coated with Pyroil Tear to keep their flames alight.
  • Khao: Kenro had that pretty sword with him. Do you think it might be Hopesfire or TrueFlame?
  • Dhali: Kenro said something about returning with flame in hand.
  • Wulf: I can’t be sure and might have to ask Auryen, but I think this sword is either TrueFlame or a replica.

We looked around the room, and the only thing of note was a puddle of ectoplasm and the machine mentioned by Kenro.

Then I handed around the gem with the Dwemer metal sleeve.

  • Wulf: You need to place four sleeved gems in the corner receptacles. Then you would cover the sword’s blade with Pyroil Tar and place it in the central slot. The machine would then create TrueFlame or a replica thereof.
  • Dhali: Are we going to search for the gems?
  • Wulf: It is not a priority.
  • P’Sua: Kenro had some skill. At our feet are the remains of a Dwemer Spectre. We saw the dead Rieklings and destroyed Dwemer automatons.
  • Inigo: He was likely talking to the spectre when we first arrived and killed it just before we entered.
  • Wulf: If you claim to be a guard of a god, you should have skill.
  • Shiva: What next?
  • Wulf: I am still not sure how militant these people are. Therefore, we need to visit their temple.
  • Dhali: To Raven Rock, then!
  • Wulf: I will place a Mark as we may return here eventually.

I placed a Mark, and then we teleported to Raven Rock.

We headed for the area above the ebony mine. That is where the entrance to Ashfall’s Tear is supposed to be.

To our surprise, we encountered a Khajiiti trader outside of Raven Rock. Even more surprising was the marking on his fur. He looked at my Ka’Po’Tun friends and smiled.

He said in Tsaesci, “Greetings. I am Ridzo, a humble Leyawiin trader who has decided to make his fortune in Solstheim.”

I replied, in Tamrielic, “There are those amongst us who cannot speak Tsaesci. Let us converse in Tamrielic if possible.”

  • Ridzo: Ahh, I see an odd-coloured Khajiiti amongst you. It is always pleasant to meet another outcast.
  • Inigo: Are you part Ka’Po’Tun?
  • Ridzo: Indeed I am. My mother was a sole survivor of a trading vessel from Akavir. My father found her barely alive on a beach amongst the wreckage of her ship. Long story short, they fell in love and out I popped.
  • Dhali: We have heard of Khajiiti and Ka’Po’Tun breeding, but you are the first of such a union I have met.
  • Ridzo: I travelled through Skyrim before arriving in Solstheim. While there, I heard rumours of Ka’Po’Tun travelling with The Dragonborn. Therefore, I assume that you are The Dragonguard.
  • Dhali: Yes, we guard Lord Welkynd, The Dragonborn. He is the ugly one without whiskers or a tail.
  • Wulf: Why are you trading here?
  • Ridzo: You must have noticed how busy the market is in Raven Rock. I learnt from the caravans in Skyrim the advantages of trading outside such busy markets. My stall will slowly grow as I stock items rarely seen in Solstheim.
  • Inigo: Where do you get your stock?
  • Ridzo: My father is a very successful trader and sends stock once a month via one of his ships. Exotic liquor, clothes and jewellery differentiate me from the stalls in town.
  • Wulf: I hope your venture proves successful.
  • Ridzo: It will be successful now you have opened the mine as the seer predicted.
  • Wulf: One of Lady Azura’s disciples?
  • Ridzo: Yes. I have patiently waited for the vision to come true. They don’t always, but you will never become wealthy without some risks.
  • Wulf: It was a pleasure meeting you, Ridzo.
  • Ridzo: Likewise.
  • Dhali: We had better see what you have in stock!

My Ka’Po’Tun friends were delighted to find delicacies and booze from Akavir amongst Ridzo’s goods. They didn’t bother haggling, so keen were they. Of course, I was the pack mule and stuffed everything inside my Journal Case.

We continued our search for Ashfall’s Tear and discovered a cave entrance.

We entered the cave and found a small cavern at the end of a short, natural corridor.

There were three rotating columns, each with three sides, and each side showed a letter of the Daedric alphabet.

Two tapestries depicted Sotha Sil and Vivec.

To the right of a lowered stone door was a pull chain.

In front of the door were holes from which spears would thrust upwards.

The pull chain would raise the stone door if the columns displayed the correct combination.

Several skeletons on the floor proved two things. First, they proved that the temple had been here for some time. The second is that Nirn is full of stupid people.

  • Wulf: Oh, dear, how will we ever figure out this puzzle? We might as well leave!
  • Inigo: My friend, it might have been difficult without Kenro’s note.
  • Khao: No, Inigo, it would not. The three columns have three sides each. Therefore, the possible combinations are three times three times three, which equals twenty-seven.
  • P’Sua: It would take a couple of minutes to try all twenty-seven. That is stupid!
  • Wulf: I will show you something even stupider.

I stood to the side and pulled the chain.

Spears thrust upwards but did not endanger me.

  • P’Sua: I agree, that is even stupider!
  • Shiva: These dead people were probably more intelligent than Inigo.
  • Inigo: A rock is more intelligent than you.
  • Dhali: You need more practice, Shiva. Lydia wouldn’t lose so badly to the blue flea palace.
  • Shiva: I am having difficulty thinking down to Inigo’s level.
  • Dhali: He cheated by soaking his brain in Skooma.
  • Inigo: Hey, one person at a time is allowed to abuse me!
  • Wulf: Okay, children, I will set the combination per Kenro’s note.

I set the combination and then pulled the chain.

The door rose with loud grating and lots of dust.

At the end of a short, downward corridor was a chamber.

In the centre of the chamber was a colossal statue of Almalexia.

Two Ordinators guarded a doorway to what must be the temple.

We made our way to the chamber floor, weapons sheathed.

I noticed a hole in the cavern’s roof.

When the Ordinators charged, I drew my sword.

I cut down one and then the other.

  • P’Sua: Nice armour!
  • Wulf: It was initially the armour of House Indoril. Almalexia, Sotha Sil and Vivec were members of that Great House before becoming gods. Subsequently, Indoril Armour was used by elite guards called Ordinators.
  • P’Sua: It is difficult to gauge how skilled our opponents are. You always cut them down with ease.
  • Dhali: You know that most opponents are too predictable. They learn some weapon forms and use them without variation.
  • Wulf: Enemies are invariably unprepared for the speed of katana and dai-katana.
  • P’Sua: Yes, our kai-katana swing much faster than standard greatswords.
  • Wulf: It looks like the statue of Almalexia is carved from a single rock.
  • Dhali: It would take decades to carve!
  • Wulf: The question is, was the statue here before The Reclamations? If so, that suggests this temple was also here.
  • Shiva: Or have they managed to construct this temple since The Reclamations?
  • P’Sua: This place is so close to Raven Rock it would be difficult to hide its construction.
  • Dhali: The skeletons in the antechamber are likely those of people who would be missed. Search parties would be arranged, and the totem puzzle would be discovered.
  • Wulf: The temple’s history is intriguing, but we must concentrate on the people who use it. Are they a threat to Raven Rock?

We entered the temple via the door that The Ordinators guarded.

We noticed that ebony ore and Heartstone were abundant in minable quantities as we explored.

  • Wulf: Crescius said he searched for alternate ebony sources all over Solstheim.
  • Dhali: Perhaps he found the antechamber, and Aphia asked him to keep quiet about it?
  • P’Sua: That shithead priest had his suspicions about Aphia.
  • Wulf: Now, now, P’Sua. Attendant Galdrus did apologise.
  • P’Sua: An apology does not remove shitheadiness!
  • Dhali: We have seen no evidence of Aphia’s involvement
  • Wulf: If Aphia is involved, we must determine to what level before acting against her.

We could hear many voices before we saw the speakers.

Inigo said, “My friend, they are squabbling like siblings.”

“It seems they can’t even agree on basic dogma.”

We stood at the entrance to a large chamber. I could see eight people. Five, including a mage with a mushroom helmet, argued about Tribunal dogma specifics. Three people were watching the proceedings, one of them an Orsimer. The other two were Ordinators.


A woman standing behind a podium seemed to be in command. She yelled, “Kill the blasphemers!”


The enemy lasted seconds.

I searched the male Hand and found his journal.

His name is Kydren Indobar. I read the relevant part of the journal to my friends.

“Five Hands served Her once. Yet those numbers have dwindled, and as I stand here alongside hedge wizards, sellswords, and other vermin on two legs, I cannot help but weep for the Lady and her station.

Still, I will not allow them access to the armoury. They do not deserve the honour of wearing the sacred garb. To do so means you are an extension of the Goddess. Our bodies and soul belong to Her and are fortified by her divine magic. So it was for my ancestors, and so it is for me.

I will not see my Lady’s hands covered in filth. The Matriarch may have granted them a place on the dais, but while they stand eye to eye, they are still beneath us. And so, they are beneath Her.

I would slay all of them, but I stay my hand for Her sake. As long as they are loyal and do the Lady’s bidding, I will allow their hearts to remain beating against their soiled flesh.”

  • Inigo: That explains the not-so-friendly chat they were having.
  • Wulf: Almalexia was no longer a god when The Nerevarine killed her. Kydren’s soul and body were no longer fortified by divine magic.
  • Dhali: If Kenro was a hand, why wasn’t he wearing the fancy armour?
  • P’Sua: If any of them wore their traditional armour in public, they would arouse suspicion.
  • Dhali: Duh! That was obvious, Dhali. I know, but I can be so silly sometimes.
  • Inigo: Yes, Mr Dragonfly, you are correct. Dhali is speaking to herself. Remember, not everybody can be normal like us.

Hand Ethra Mavandes’ name was engraved on her weapon. She had nothing of use.

The Temple Priest and two Ordinators were also devoid of items of interest.

I searched the Orsimer and discovered a journal. Her name is Vesparth the Toe. I read part of her journal to my friends.

“Indobar’s a riot. Every day he reminds us how we’re not worthy of wearing his precious Ordinator armour, even though I’m pretty sure if push came to shove, I could take him.

But since I’m not good enough to be Her Hand, I started calling myself Almalexia’s Toe just for fun. Dirty little toe at that, with a lot of ash under the nail.

I tossed the idea to Indobar and knocked back another pint as the veins on his forehead started popping. I also offered to anoint Sindras as Almalexia’s navel because why not? There are enough body parts on her ladyship for all of us.

Indobar didn’t think it was amusing. It must be in the blood. The same goes for me, as my ancestors were Armigers. Loyal to Vivec, and more importantly, knew how to take a joke.

Can’t tell whose side Sindras is on, but you can’t get a read on what the mage thinks, given he’s got a mushroom on his head.”

  • Dhali: What is an Armiger?
  • Wulf: Their full title was Buoyant Armiger. They were knights-errant who served Vivec. They were experts at personal combat, chivalric courtesy, and subtle verse.
  • Shiva: In other words, they were pompous twats!
  • Dhali: I wonder how many pieces of cutlery they had to use at supper?
  • Khao: I hope Rigmor is ready for that silly etiquette.
  • P’Sua: Did they have to behave when no guests dined with them?
  • Dhali: If they tried to make Rigmor eat like a lady when guestless, she would shove one of her forks up their rectum.
  • P’Sua: Only after asking which of the seven forks was suitable for rectal insertion.
  • Wulf: We are assuming that a fork is the correct rectum utensil. What about a spoon?
  • Dhali: Only common scum would assume a spoon to be the correct implement for anal penetration.
  • Inigo: Vesparth the Toe is more interesting than Vesparth. Naming yourself after body parts sounds like fun!
  • Shiva: I agree, and thus name you Inigo the Haemorrhoid.
  • Inigo: A haemorrhoid is not a body part.
  • Shiva: Maybe not, but it suits you.

I searched Sindras the Navel and found nothing useful.

I then searched the woman who had been behind the podium. On her were written orders, a key, and a journal which I quickly read.

I told the group, “This is Matriarch Drevlan, the cult leader. Listen to this passage from her journal.”

I recited, “When I first entered the great chamber, I was in the High Chapel, nestled in her glow again.

Great pillars surrounded the stone where the Goddess Almalexia once stood. Mournhold had shed its skin to reveal a temple of rock and bone as if it were washed in the fire.

I knew then that this stone was the heart of our Goddess. And through faith, love, and sweat, we have slowly restored Her flesh.

Now that she is almost complete, my thoughts turn to my old friend, Erden Relvel. He was the Diviner whose scrying brought us to this holy place. Without him, none of this would be possible. Yet time and toil changed him to the point I questioned his devotion. Wherever he is, I hope he has regained his love for Her.

Regardless, our work does not end there. With Her Hands to guide me, we will rid this world of Her dissidents. We will reunite the fires of hope and truth under Her banner and theirs, and let the light of ALMSIVI shine on servants and apostates alike.”

  • Dhali: They want to use violence to restore The False Tribunal.
  • Wulf: I think they are trying to resurrect Almalexia using Heartstone.
  • Khao: I noticed several large deposits outside and inside this temple.
  • Wulf: Remember, Heartstone was created when molten rock lay close to Lorkhan’s Heart for an extended period. When Red Mountain erupted, Heartstone was scattered over Solstheim. Matriarch Drevlan sensed the same power in Heartstone as in Almalexia. That is due to Almalexia becoming a goddess after syphoning power from Lorkhan’s Heart.
  • Dhali: That is how the three members of The Tribunal became gods.
  • Wulf: Yes.
  • Khao: The Diviner, Erden Relvel, may have realised that Heartstone is not what The Matriarch thinks it is.
  • P’Sua: And that is why The Matriarch questions his devotion.
  • Dhali: Wulf, I know you told us earlier, but can you please explain why Azura wanted The Tribunal destroyed again?
  • Wulf: Sotha Sil angered Lady Azura when he claimed The Chimer no longer needed to worship Daedra. That is when she cursed them, and they became Dunmer. The Nerevarine performed tasks for Lady Azura and The Nine. Lady Azura asked them to deal with The Tribunal. They defeated Dagoth Ur, destroyed Lorkhan’s Heart and hid Kagrenac’s Tools. When that was done, the three Tribunal members became mortal once more. Almalexia killed Sotha Sil. The Nerevarine killed Almalexia. Vivec vanished during The Oblivion Crisis.
  • P’Sua: Why do you refer to The Nerevarine as they instead of him or her?
  • Wulf: I refer to The Nerevarine using they and them pronouns as nobody is sure of their gender. Very few people saw them without their distinctive Bonemold armour.
  • Khao: It seems these heretics are receiving orders from somebody. Could Almalexia be alive?
  • Wulf: I don’t know. But they are religious fanatics, and I question their sanity.
  • Shiva: Who knows what little voices in their heads are telling them?
  • Inigo: I wonder if they echo like the little voices in your head?
  • Shiva: You are in fine form today, Inigo. I have some catching up to do.
  • Wulf: Now, listen to a later entry from the matriarch’s journal.

I read aloud, “Rumours have long stalked the temple halls of the return of The Sharmat, spreader of Corprus, the corrupter of hearts, the architect of The Akulakhan. I speak, of course, of the blighted one, Dagoth Ur.

We now know this word has been spread by a traitorous priest who once served Her faithfully. He is the Diviner, a necromancer, and my former friend, Erden Relvel.

His creations accost Her temple, but I know not the source of his power. My fear is the truth may be found in the armoury.

Before we began building this temple, my predecessor gave me a gift. Or rather, a responsibility. A box.

The box was to be placed in the armoury but never opened. Erden’s voice trembled at the mere mention of it, and his hands gripped the edges as if to drop it would shatter the world. I heeded his warning when he begged me never to look inside. To this day, I do not know how to open the rear gate.

Yet the restoration of this temple has required many hands, and not all of them Hers. Someone may have found a way inside.

Evil can be vanquished only with the full power of The Tribunal and our Goddess’ will.”

  • Wulf: The Matriarch had a very biased view of what is evil. Almalexia participated in the murder of her husband, Lord Indoril Nerevar, then broke her vow to Lady Azura and used Kagrenac’s Tools on The Heart of Lorkhan. She killed Sotha Sil and then attacked the city named after her.
  • Dhali: There is a puzzle to be solved.
  • Inigo: My friend, we know you cannot resist a puzzle.
  • Wulf: Does logic tells you what is in the sealed box?
  • Shiva: They worship Almalexia, and I think it would be something associated with her.
  • Wulf: Her most famous artefact is Hopesfire, her sword. They might treat that sword with reverence but not fear.
  • Dhali: Dagoth Ur is their enemy. Perhaps it is something of his?
  • P’Sua: It could be a pair of Almalexia’s smelly underpants, complete with holy stains. That would explain the fear of opening the box!
  • Shiva: Eww!
  • Dhali: Eww!
  • Khao: Gross!
  • Inigo: I wonder what colour?
  • P’Sua: Behold the sacred skid mark!
  • Inigo: The Matriarch wrote, ‘Evil can be vanquished only with the full power of The Tribunal and our Goddess’ will.’
  • Wulf: What a load of big hairy cobblers! The Champion of Azura, The Nerevarine, defeated Dagoth Ur. I could have taken him down. The Tribunal could not.
  • Khao: Unlike dragons, you would not destroy Dagoth Ur’s soul. He would return, as he seemingly has now.
  • Wulf: The Nerevarine destroyed Lorkhan’s Heart before battling Dagoth Ur. Dagoth Ur was killed, and I see no way he could return. There was nothing to protect his soul.
  • Shiva: We are dealing with delusional people who think these artificial gods have returned.
  • Wulf: We can’t dismiss the idea that Erden Relvel is an enslaved follower of a resurrected Dagoth Ur. Dagoth Ur could recruit weak-willed people via their dreams.
  • Dhali: Is Sharmat another name for Dagoth Ur?
  • Wulf: The concept of a Sharmat is challenging to explain. Think of a Sharmat as the evillest of beings. Dagoth Ur is the only being ever given that title and only by Dunmer that worship The Tribunal.
  • Dhali: And what is The Akulakhan?
  • Wulf: It was a colossal Dwemer Automaton designed to be a god. It was a replica of Father’s Numidium. Almalexia could not save her people from it. Once again, The Nerevarine, Azura’s champion, was needed. They defeated and dismantled The Akulakhan.
  • Inigo: My friend, have you ever spoken to Talos about his use of Numidium?
  • Wulf: The conflicting histories of Tiber Septim all have a grain of truth. Father said I would decide what is the real story over time.
  • Khao: Wulf should form an opinion rather than be given one by Talos.
  • Dhali: The reasons for that are complex.
  • Shiva: What next?
  • Wulf: There was one other thing I retrieved from Matriarch Drevlan. It is a written order she would have given to a subordinate.

I read the order to my friends.

“The Goddess commands you to recover the artefacts of her fellow God-Kings. We have received word that the Mask of Vivec is being transported from Raven Rock to an unknown ship at the dock. We don’t know the destination, only that for secrecy, multiple fake couriers are being used to hide the identity of the mask bearer.

However, our contact at the docks says the actual courier is a Redoran Guard named Vavhus Dalsrara. He patrols the Bulwark, and it seems he has plans for the mask. He’s arranged a meeting with a buyer at an unknown location.

Vavhus’ greed angers the Goddess, as does the buyer. Track the guard’s movements, dispose of him and the buyer, and bring the artefact to me.

In addition, the Goddess’ temple requires new servants to restore this temple and provide valuable services. Speak to Priest Drureth. He will hand you a letter to be delivered to the banished priestess, Aphia Velothi, in Raven Rock. She is a friend of The Tribunal and will translate it for distribution to the common folk.

When you meet her, be sure to also inquire about the whereabouts of our apothecary, Curate Melita. She has been in search of the Mask of Sotha Sil.

Succeed, and you will gain access to the Goddess’ armoury. Fail, and you will incur her wrath.

The law is as the Goddess commands.”

  • Wulf: The note is dated today. One of those we just killed was supposed to do this task.
  • Khao: What language would need translating?
  • Wulf: I have no idea. But we know there is a priest called Drureth.
  • Dhali: The priest we just killed had nothing on him.
  • Wulf: We might find Drureth when searching this place.
  • P’Sua: Maybe he is the one hammering.
  • Inigo: Red. Yes, I think red is the answer.
  • Dhali: What is red?
  • Inigo: Red is the colour of Almalexia’s underwear inside the box.
  • Shiva: Pervert!
  • Inigo: I am not the one who made her knickers a sacred relic!
  • Dhali: Getting back to the business at hand. There are four exits, including the one we entered. Which one first, Wulf?
  • Wulf: For no reason other than I am facing that way, I have decided we shall take the passage to the right of the podium.

At the end of a short corridor was a large room. Within the room was a priest working at an Enchanting Table.

I walked closer and asked, “Are you Priest Drureth?”

The priest drew a dagger. I sighed, as I was sick of the killing.

Inigo said, “Leave him to me, my friend.”

Inigo cut him down.

I recovered the note that needed translation from Drureth’s corpse.

I told my friends, “The language is Daedric, and this is my translation.”

“You have lost the temple, but you are not lost. The right place exists at the wrong time.

Know that when the great egg Baar Dau cracked open, from its rotten yolk spilt the Dissident Priests and heretics, full of lies and falsehoods that shaped Othreloth and his Reclamation. But in reality, the bile spewed by the Lie Rock cannot fool a Minister of Truth for long.

The Tribunal will rise again, and the Grand Inquisitors will judge all from the beginning. For entry to our temple is the ending of words, ALMSIVI.”

  • Wulf: It is pathetic that devotees of Daedric Princes can’t transcribe Daedric writing.
  • Dhali: Does it mention Aphia?
  • Wulf: Yes, in Dunmeri it says, ‘Priestess Velothi. Here is the transcript of the letter we found in the archives. Your expertise in this matter is required, as is your discretion.’
  • Khao: When Vivec vanished, they used a machine designed by the Dark Lord, Clavicus Vile, to keep Baar Dau in the sky. They had to sacrifice souls to make it work. Eventually, they started to sacrifice live prisoners to keep it aloft. Then they randomly chose innocent civilians for sacrifice. That started an uprising, and Baar Dau crashed into Vivec City.
  • Dhali: When it fell, it caused Red Mountain to erupt. Is that right?
  • Wulf: Yes, Dhali, that is what happened. However, Vivec could have removed Baar Dau whenever he wanted to. He kept it hovering over Vivec City as a sort of bribe. Respect The Tribunal or die.
  • Dhali: What an arsehole!
  • Wulf: The Tribunal members were mortals with godlike powers. That was not a good combination.
  • P’Sua: The letter is typical propaganda.
  • Wulf: Yes, nothing is compelling about it. But they are desperate for recruits and hope the letter will attract a few.

We searched Priest Drureth’s room and found his journal. As usual, I read it before reading the relevant part to the group.

“The temple is almost complete, but work is still to be done. There is so much work and not enough hands.

Where once stood an army, now only a dozen of us remain.

This would not be the case if the Matriarch delivered justice to the Diviner, Erden Relvel, for his blasphemous comments about the Corprus.

Instead, she offered him exile, which was more reward than punishment. Worse yet, he was allowed to sway Arthamis and a few others to join him.

We cannot afford to let sentimentality affect our decisions. I must remind her that we are at war, and every Dunmer lost is a soldier for the enemy.”

  • Dhali: The False Tribunal has no hope if they can’t keep their recruits loyal.
  • Wulf: Matriarch Drevlan failed to instil the enthusiasm for Almalexia that she had.
  • Inigo: Their fragmentation will make it easier to wipe them out!
  • Wulf: The False Tribunal has no hope of replacing The Restorations. Mortals disobeying their oath to their gods and becoming gods was not foreseen. It was a sudden shift in the balance of power. Due to the Liminal Barrier, there was nothing that the Daedric Princes could do in time to prevent the coup. Lady Azura then planned for The Nerevarine, but many failed to fulfil her prophecy before the right person was born.
  • Khao: These heretics are trying to replace the religion of millions without the power of three Nirn-based gods to aid them.
  • Wulf: Even if their gods now live, they will never recruit enough Dunmer to succeed.
  • Dhali: It seems The False Tribunal is not fondly remembered.
  • Wulf: Mortals were suddenly given the power of gods with no inclination to treat mortals with respect. I can’t recall an occasion where The Restorations have treated their worshippers with contempt.
  • Khao: Even when enraged, Lady Azura changed Chimer to Dunmer. Her curse changed their eye and skin colour, and that is all.
  • Dhali: It is correct that we intervene. We are not picking sides in this religious argument but preventing unnecessary deaths.
  • P’Sua: These people might eventually have somebody competent enough to kill Elder Othreloth. That would be a tragedy!
  • Wulf: Let’s keep looking for the armour room. There is a puzzle to be solved!

Through more winding corridors, we trudged.

Eventually, we came to a room with smelter, haphazardly stored furniture and two reasonably new beds.

Another corridor led from that room.

A lowered gate at the end of that corridor prevented entry to the armour room. The key I retrieved from Matriarch Drevlan unlocked a pull chain. However, using it did not raise the gate.

I held my hand over the gate and said, “There is a dweomer waiting to be triggered by an object. What that object is, I cannot tell.”

Shiva suggested, “Maybe one of the masks will be the trigger?”

“I think you are right. Let’s search the rest of this place before looking for the masks.”

We headed back to the main chamber. This time we chose the exit to the left of the podium.

It led to a small cavern dedicated to the cultivation of Ash Yams.

We returned to the main room and headed down the corridor behind the podium.

When we came to a fork, we decided to head in the direction from where the hammering was emanating.

The hammering originated from a Dunmer in monk robes chiselling a stone.

We approached with weapons sheathed.

I said, “Hello.”

The sculptor slowly rose and reached for his knife.

Inigo fired an arrow, which was off target and hit the sculptor in the leg. However, the dweomer on the bow ensured the target’s death by setting him alight, freezing and electrocuting him.

I searched the corpse and found nothing of use.

I found his journal on a shelf and discovered his name is Vishtar Athrthyn. I read the relevant section to my friends.

“The statue was my masterpiece, my one true love. Some say she is too large, too grand, but I would have made Her a thousand feet tall if I could. For my love is a titan, and we are but useless worms, grovelling at Her feet.

However, sculpting a goddess came with no shortage of anxiety. The pressure I felt to chisel every line, hone every curve, and do so with exacting precision was almost too much to bear. But the result is one I take immense pride in.

These days, the anxious voices in my head are no more. Instead, they speak in a patois of ease and routine. I’ve fallen into a simple routine, making shrines with basic carvings in tribute to the three.

Yet it is the risk that makes a sculptor an artist. It is daring that turns the ordinary into the sublime.

I dared to sculpt a Goddess once. As I chisel away at these blocks of stone, doing the same tired work, I wonder, is it too late to be that bold again?”

  • Wulf: According to Heimskr, that annoying blasphemer in Whiterun, we are worms at the feet of Father.
  • Khao: Why don’t you do something about him?
  • Wulf: If I hear something treasonous, I might.
  • Dhali: I don’t think carving a massive statue of Almalexia was good for the sculptor’s health.
  • Wulf: I agree. It seems that carving these stones was a sort of therapy.
  • Khao: If he had not drawn a weapon, he might have lived to carve other masterpieces.
  • Wulf: Every person in this temple has attacked without bothering to talk. I don’t think any of them have been mentally stable.
  • Dhali: A few sheep short in the top paddock?
  • Wulf: Exactly!
  • Inigo: Huh?
  • Dhali: Insane.
  • Inigo: My friend, you must write a book of Roscrea colloquialisms.

We traversed more corridors till we came to a well-furnished room, most likely the private chambers of Matriarch Drevlan.

A pull chain operated a stone door.

Through the door was a very short tunnel leading to the meeting room.

I leapt down and cast a Mark as we needed to return to enter the armour room.

I told the group, “We shall speak to Aphia and see if she knows where Curate Melita is. Hopefully, if we find the curate, we find the Mask of Sotha Sil.”

We teleported to Raven Rock’s docks.

Then we headed for Gratian and Aphia’s house.

I knocked on the door, but there was no answer.

Khao suggested, “Wulf, like normal, sane people, they are probably partaking of warm food and cold ale at The Retching Netch.”

We made our way to and entered The Retching Netch.

I could not see Aphia, but Captain Veleth sat at a table. He stood when he saw us approaching.

“Good evening, Captain Veleth.”

“Good evening, Lord Welkynd. Do heretics present a danger to Solstheim?”

“Yes, but we eliminated most of them and will dispose of the remainder.”

“Then I shall maintain the extra guards at the temple and patrols in Raven Rock. Attendant Galdrus said you, and he talked to Azura.”

“Yes, Lady Azura learnt things from her seers that worried her. She asked my friends and me to investigate possible False Tribunal heretics and determine if they threatened the people of Solstheim.”

“You are so casual when mentioning conversations with gods.”

“It is something I often do.”

“Where were they based?”

“Their temple is just above the ebony mine. They have been there for many years.”

“And they remained undetected! That is a concern.”

“I know they have sympathisers within Raven Rock. There will always be Dunmer who are loyal to The False Tribunal. But it is not my place to interfere with religious matters. My only concern is the safety of Nirn’s mortals. These people pose a threat, so we are dealing with them.”

I noticed Aphia had entered the tavern and sat at another table. Gratian was not with her.

“Excuse me, Captain. I have other matters to attend to.”

Captain Veleth sat down, and we approached Aphia. We were far enough away from everybody else to talk without being overheard.

“Aphia, your friends threatened the innocent people of Solstheim. They are now dead.”

“I have no idea what you are talking about.”

“Matriarch Drevlan. Hands Kydren Indobar, Kenro Hlan and a female Hand. Priest Drureth and Vishtar. Several Ordinators. Need I continue?”

“All dead?”

“Every one of them attacked my friends and me without provocation. Each time we approached with weapons sheathed, and not once did they speak before trying to kill us. Yes, they are all dead.”

“What kind of threat did they pose?”

“They thought they could replace The Restorations through a violent uprising. I am convinced Elder Othreloth was in immediate danger. Lady Azura asked us to investigate.”

“Azura spoke to you?”

“I am her champion, Aphia.”

“Are you going to tell Elder Othreloth of my involvement?”

“Tell me, did you know of the heretics’ plans for violence?”

“No, I just thought, like me, they were upset at the lack of respect for the saints. That is why I agreed to provide minor aid like translating ancient documents and so forth.”

“I believe you. Now, do you know the whereabouts of Curate Melita?”

“Are you going to harm her?”

“Not unless she tries to harm us.”

“Then read this letter she sent me.”

Aphia handed me a letter which I read to my friends,

“Priestess Velothi,

You or whoever’s reading this, I need your help. Well, that’s a stupid thing to write. Of course, you’re reading this, and you wouldn’t be staring at a piece of paper and not reading it, would you?

Not unless you’re illiterate or mad. Not ‘angry’ mad, but ‘I clip my toenails with a fork’ mad. You get what I mean.

The point is, I think I’ve found it. The Mask of Sotha Sil, in Kagrenzel. It is a Dwarven labyrinth with a surprisingly high vowel count. It’s high in the Velothi Mountains, and you’re a Velothi too! Funny how that works out.

There’s just one problem. I caught myself in some contraption, and now I’m unsure where I am. We’ve decided to make camp here and have one of the mercs I hired find help. He can’t write, read, or put together a coherent thought, so I’m giving him this letter.

I should have just taken the mask and left the orb. You’d think I’d know better than falling into an obvious trap. But the orb was glowing and cute and looked kind of lonely.

Side note, if you come to rescue me, DO NOT touch the orb.”

I said to Aphia, “I know where Kagrenzel is. We shall look for Curate Melita.”

“It took almost a week for the mercenary to arrive in Solstheim and hand me that letter. Do you think Melita is still alive?”

“I have no idea. It is a bit of a walk for us to reach Kagrenzel. We should know in a few hours if she survived.”

“Elder Othreloth should do what other temples have done and include shrines to the three saints.”

“I am not interested in religious arguments, Aphia.”

We exited The Retching Netch and headed for the Temple.

I stood before Azura’s statue.

“My champion, was there danger?”

“Yes. The Tribunal devotees were intent on violence and attacked my friends and me without provocation. They were convinced Almalexia had been resurrected and was giving them orders.”

“And what do you think?”

“I don’t think Almalexia is speaking to them. I would not dismiss one of the Daedric Princes impersonating her.”

“Yes, there are several of us who would use such subterfuge. It matters not which one as long as this problem is resolved.”

“We are eliminating this group, but I must again emphasise that I do this to protect mortals, not promote The Restorations over The Tribunal.”

“I understand. Be careful, my champion.”

Galdrus had been sitting near the statue and listening to my conversation with Azura.

“Attendant Galdrus, please inform Elder Othreloth that he was in danger. However, we have almost eliminated those who posed a threat.”

“I will do so. May I ask why Azura speaks to you with her voice and not in your head?”

“I allow no gods to enter my mind. All the Daedric Princes must speak to me aloud. I only allow certain mortals, my unicorn friends, my dog, and several dragons to speak to me telepathically.”

“Your unicorns and dog?”


“Okay…umm…I shall go and speak to Elder Othreloth.”

“Blessings of The Nine, Attendant Galdrus.”

I chuckled as Galdrus quickly moved away and entered the temple.

I told my friends, “Kagrenzel is far from anywhere I can teleport us. We shall start at Kynesgrove and walk from there.”

We teleported to Kynesgrove.

Not far into our walk, we encountered some Alik’r harassing a Redguard woman and listened briefly.

  • Torlhlan: Listen, wench, we’re on to you. We know who you are, so you’d better come with us right now!
  • Tamma: My name is Tamma, not wench! And I don’t know who you think I am, but I don’t care. Leave me alone!
  • Torlhlan: I don’t have time for this foolishness. Now come along quietly, and we won’t have to get rough.
  • Amrst: Torlhlan, I think she’s telling the truth…
  • Tamma: I’m not going anywhere. Now back off before I do something drastic.
  • Amrst: She doesn’t have the scar.
  • Torlhlan: What? Oh… you’re right, Amrst!
  • Amrst: We’ve made a mistake. Now move along before that mouth of yours gets you into trouble.
  • Tamma: Next time you want to pester someone, ensure it’s the right person!

I startled all three when I said, “If I weren’t so busy, I would throw you two into prison!”

The two Alik’r looked at each other with concern as six well-armed people approached them.

I turned to Tamma.

“Greetings, Tamma. I am Lord Welkynd, and my friends are called The Dragonguard.”

“I was hoping somebody would get these idiots away from me, but never thought The Dragonborn would be the one.”

“We are on our way to deal with a danger to other people, so I am not impressed I have to waste time on these morons.”

Torlhlan said, “The woman we hunt is a traitor! We shall do what is needed to bring her to trial in Hammerfell!”

I said, “Be on your way, Tamma. These two need a lesson on Imperial law.”

I could tell Tamma was curious as to what would happen. However, she looked around, realised how late it was and headed toward Kynesgrove.

I turned to Torlhlan.

  • Wulf: Over four months ago, I warned two of your fellow Alik’r in Whiterun that their actions were illegal. There names were Kalvond and Athoon.
  • Dhali: We had another of your brothers, who couldn’t keep his mouth shut, placed in Whiterun’s prison.
  • Shiva: They refused to tell us why they were hunting the woman you seek.
  • Wulf: Now you say she is a traitor that needs to be returned to Hammerfell for trial. That information changes nothing. You have no legal jurisdiction within any Hold of Skyrim.
  • Inigo: Are you after this woman for a bounty?
  • Torlhlan: We shall be paid for her return, but our primary motivation is justice.
  • Wulf: It is difficult at the moment as your embassy, like the others of various nations, have no High King or Queen to approach. However, the Penitus Oculatus are still operating and are the Imperial authority responsible for apprehending political prisoners. You must wait until a High King or Queen sits on Skyrim’s throne again and then plead your case.
  • Torlhlan: That could be months away!
  • Dhali: You have already searched for her for over four months!
  • Wulf: The civil war will soon be resolved. Until then, take this as a final warning. If I encounter Alik’r illegally harassing another woman, I will ensure all of you are jailed. All of you would become outcasts like that poor soul you abandoned in Whiterun. Barelan is his name, in case you have forgotten. He didn’t know what to do once he was released. Do you want to be like him?
  • Torlhlan: No. We shall warn the others.
  • Wulf: Good. Now go before I change my mind and drag you to Windhelm’s dungeon!

We continued towards Kagrenzel while the Alik’r watched us leave.

When we walked past the small camp and natural springs, my thoughts turned to Rigmor. There have been times in the last few days that Our Quiet was needed. My mood was turning sour.

  • Dhali: You are thinking of Rigmor, aren’t you, Wulf?
  • Wulf: What makes you say that?
  • Dhali: You tripped over a rock while staring at that camp. Rigmor told us of your visit to such a place.
  • Shiva: Is that where Rigmor did her hip wriggle?
  • Wulf: You ladies are like Silah’s gossip circle.
  • Inigo: Ko’rassa told me it is their right to talk about partners, and I need not concern myself.
  • Dhali: We occasionally say something nice about them.
  • Shiva: I have never witnessed that!
  • Dhali: We did say nice things about P’Sua when we realised he is so shy.
  • P’Sua: Can we please change the subject?
  • Inigo: That would be good. I do not want to hear what Ko’rassa had to say.
  • Shiva: Oh, do you mean about how you dumped her to go wandering all over Tamriel with your brother?
  • Dhali: Inventing imaginary revenge scenarios was a fun couple of hours.
  • Wulf: Don’t worry, Inigo, Ko’rassa loves you, and all that is in the past.
  • Dhali: Yes, we have moved on to more pressing matters, such as P’Sua.
  • Shiva: So, why have you been trailing behind me, P’Sua? Should I try some of Rigmor’s hip wiggling?
  • Inigo: That could be dangerous for anybody walking next to you.
  • Dhali: And Inigo scores another point!

The laughter of my friends rescued me from the melancholy that threatened me.

My mood turned very dark when we encountered a Stormcloak patrol. Amongst them was a giant, and the wrongness of it made my hand inch towards my sword. Dhali grabbed my wrist and shook her head.

We continued walking until we were at the base of a steep climb leading to Mzulft.

  • Wulf: Thank you for earlier, Dhali. It is not often that my Dovah half is so close to dominating me.
  • Dhali: What they have done to giants is deplorable.
  • Shiva: They have removed the giants from their territory and family. Then they use punishment and reward methods to turn them into killers.
  • Wulf: What do we do with the giants after we dispose of Ulfric? If I wore my Imperial uniform, the giant would have attacked, and its handlers could not stop it. It doesn’t want to be whipped and starved, and killing Legionairres earns it extra food and maybe false affection.
  • Inigo: My friend, it is just an extension of the racist Nord philosophy of Ulfric’s followers. Giants are brutes with no rights in their eyes.
  • Wulf: Giants should be protected by the anti-slavery statutes of Imperial Law.
  • Khao: Is there anybody who could help the giants return to normal?
  • Wulf: Perhaps Breton druids could do so. We need to find out. Otherwise, the easy solution might be chosen by the authorities.
  • P’Sua: Would they kill them?
  • Wulf: Yes, and they would call it culling and not murder.
  • Inigo: Are you going to Blink over the mountain, my friend?
  • Wulf: Yes, and I will summon you near the Mzulft Dwemer ruins. Then we shall walk from there to the Imperial camp. Just past that is a steep path to Kagrenzel.
  • Shiva: How steep?
  • Wulf: It will be a good workout for your thighs.

I made my way to a clearing near Mzulft’s steps.

I then summoned my friends.

I told them, “We have to climb to the entrance of Mzulft. There is a path to the Imperial camp from there.”

Four graverobbers were camped outside of Mzulft. They attacked, so we killed them.

From there, we made our way to and then through the Imperial camp and started our climb.

One of Kagrenzel’s turrets could be seen halfway up the steep path.

The path was steep and bitterly cold, but nobody complained. After Solstheim’s ash and monotonous landscape, we found ourselves appreciating the beauty of Skyrim.

When we entered Kagrenzel, Inigo tapped me on the shoulder.

  • Inigo: My friend, I have been here before.
  • Wulf: When and why?
  • Inigo: I find it hard to remember what happened. I think it was something exciting, followed by a head injury.
  • Dhali: Who would want to hit you in the head?
  • Shiva: I have a list, but you must ask Wulf for it. It’s so big he had to put it in his Journal Case.
  • Dhali: Only half a point for that one, Shiva. Lydia would have made a better insult.
  • Shiva: I am new at this ‘Abuse Inigo’ game!

We entered another room.

As we walked towards the room’s centre, a glowing orb appeared above a circular plinth. The plinth was in the centre of a stone circle whose perimeter was made of Dwarven metal.

I walked close to the orb. Two corpses and paraphernalia surrounded the plinth.

I inspected the bodies, and there was no sign of trauma. Without a lengthier inspection, I could not ascertain what killed them.

The intact but numerous jars and amphoras were a mystery.

I placed my hand near the globe, careful not to touch it. I did not recognise the dweomer it contained.

I cast a levitation spell, and it worked.

I then stepped off the circle to speak to my friends.

  • Inigo: I have never seen you cast that spell before.
  • Wulf: I know over one hundred and fifty spells you have not seen me cast.
  • Dhali: Wulf used to cast more spells before he was allowed to use The Voice.
  • Wulf: I know dozens of Shouts you have not seen me use.
  • Khao: Was that a levitation spell?
  • Wulf: Yes. The orb has a dweomer, but I can’t recognise it without touching it. However, logic tells me what it does.
  • Khao: Are there any clues for us?
  • Wulf: Curate Melita.
  • Dhali: Curate Melita is the woman searching for Sotha Sil’s mask. She became trapped when she touched that glowing orb.
  • Khao: Even without touching it, you would know if the orb is a teleport or portal.
  • Wulf: Yes, and it is neither. What else can you conclude from the curate’s letter?
  • Inigo: There must be another way of reaching her. If not, the Orsimer would not have been able to deliver the letter to Aphia.
  • Wulf: Melita had time to write and send a message to Aphia. That means she wasn’t killed outright, and I would have time to escape via teleport or use other spells if required. I am guessing that platform is a trapdoor or a tilt trap.
  • P’Sua: Are you going to touch the orb?
  • Wulf: Yes, with a levitation spell ready to cast if required.
  • Dhali: Inigo, does the orb seem familiar?
  • Inigo: This whole place does, but the memories are fuzzy. I am trying hard to remember.
  • Wulf: Okay, here goes.

I walked over and touched the orb.

A circular cage shot upwards.

The orb then circled the outside of the cage. I had the eerie feeling it was staring and me and deciding what to do next.

Inigo called out, “Mr Dragonfly remembers what happened. The floor tipped, and we fell a long way. I hit my head on a rock!”

Just as Inigo finished his sentence, the orb chirped and went through the top of the plinth.

The plinth lifted a few feet. I cast Levitation.

The floor flipped, and the corpses, jars, amphoras and other items started to fall.

I lowered myself towards the water at a controlled but rapid pace.

I climbed onto a rock and summoned my friends.

  • Inigo: I remember that there are many Falmer here. There is another entrance at the end of a long tunnel with a stream in the middle.
  • Wulf: I can see Falmer hidey-holes. I will use Heat Vision to know when they plan to leap out.
  • Dhali: I wonder if Curate Melita has been killed. After all, the Orsimer she sent to Raven Rock took a week to reach Aphia.
  • Wulf: Melita wrote that she found The Mask of Sotha Sil, and if she is dead, we still have to recover that item.

We made our way through a narrow tunnel but paused at one point when part of the roof caved in.

Our first encounter with a Falmer was not far past the rockfall. When it leapt from its hiding place, I cut it down when it landed.

There was a substantial amount of Moonstone Ore and indications the place was once mined.

We could hear a fight not far ahead. One of the combatants had a distinct growl.

Khao remarked, “That sounds like a Kamal! I hate Kamal!”

We turned the corner, and a Dwemer Spectre was combating a Gehenoth.

Kamal exclaimed, “It looks similar to a Kamal but uglier!”

I replied, “It is a Gehenoth. I will explain in a second.”

I blinked over and stabbed the Dwemer Spectre in the back.

Then the Gehenoth stared at me.

In Tsaesci, I asked, “Do you still understand the tongue of Akavir?”

I was answered with a roar, and I leapt back to avoid a mighty swing aimed at my head.

I then stepped forward and thrust my katana through the Gehenoth’s belly. It dropped dead.

I said, “Relax, Khao, it is dead.”

Khao asked, “Are you sure?”

I laughed and replied, “Yes, it is dead.”

The Ka’Po’Tun examined the Gehenoth and were understandably confused.

  • Inigo: Okay, my friend, what is that ugly thing? And I don’t mean Shiva.
  • Wulf: It is a Gehenoth. They are feral descendants of the Kamal that invaded Tamriel in 2E 572.
  • Dhali: Inigo, the Kamal are the Snow Demons of Akavir. They have an eternal war with the Monkey People and occasionally invade Ka’Po’Tun territory. They captured Khao once.
  • Khao: They wanted to cook me and argued if I would taste better roasted or stewed.
  • Wulf: The Kamal are heavily armed and armoured. They are intelligent, fierce fighters, and it took a combined force to defeat them. It consisted of Dunmer, led by Almalexia, a Nord army led by Prince Jorunn and an Argonian phalanx.
  • Inigo: Things must have been desperate to have those forces fight together.
  • Wulf: The Kamal destroyed Windhelm before their main army was defeated. Some Kamal went into hiding, and in about 2E 800, they combined with other Akaviri from Rimmen and seized The Ruby Throne.
  • Inigo: Did they rule The Empire well?
  • Wulf: They didn’t get the chance to establish themselves. They lacked the charisma to unite all nations, so wars continued. Father removed them from power in 2E 812 and started The Third Era.
  • Shiva: That creature looks similar to Kamal but more beastly.
  • Wulf: Gehenoth are aggressive beasts with little sign of intelligence. It is thought a Daedric Price has something to do with the transformation.
  • Khao: They are bad enough without some idiotic god altering them.
  • Inigo: My friend, have you seen one before?
  • Wulf: Never, but there are good tomes about them with excellent illustrations in the museum’s library.
  • Shiva: Is that thing scarier than a zombie, Inigo?
  • Inigo: Nothing is scarier than a zombie!
  • Khao: Kamal discussing cooking methods is scarier. And do you know what was the worst bit, Inigo?
  • Inigo: Your friends watched the Kamal argue because they thought it was amusing. I would have done the same thing.
  • Khao: All of you are bastards!
  • Wulf: We rescued you, so stop whining.
  • Khao: And then you four argued about the best way to cook Ka’Po’Tun all the way home.
  • Wulf: We finally agreed on sauteed with a rich jus.
  • Shiva: No, it was roasted with fresh vegetables.
  • P’Sua: Such poor memories you have. Thinly sliced and raw was the best.
  • Khao: Do you mind?
  • Wulf: Let’s keep going before Khao starts dribbling.

We killed many more Falmer before coming to a t-intersection.

Inigo told us, “The left leads to a dead end. The right leads to a lower cavern. From there, you can follow another tunnel to the outside. I can hear arguing from the right.”

My Ka’Po’Tun friends nodded as they could hear what I couldn’t, like Inigo.

We proceeded until I saw Curate Melita bound and helpless. The bandits were arguing about killing her or finding out if she if worth hostage money.

I drew my sword, ran, and leapt in the middle of four bandits.

As I cut them down, my friends joined me, and we killed another four together.

I said, “Curate Melita, we shall return shortly. There are likely more of these arseholes between you and freedom.”

We rushed down the exit tunnel, killing bandits as we went.

When we were sure all were dead, we returned to the curate.

We searched the bandits and found Sotha Sil’s Mask on one who was probably their leader.

I approached the bound curate, who looked young. It is difficult to tell the age of a Dunmer.

I told her, “Curate Melita, you did well to survive the fall and Falmer.”

“They killed my guards. Are you one of Her servants? Did you come to rescue me?”

“I came to rescue you and retrieve Sotha Sil’s mask. But I do not serve Almalexia or The Tribunal. I am Lord Welkynd, Dragonborn and Champion of The Divines, Boethia, Azura, Sheogorath, Meridia and Hermaeus Mora.”

“You will rescue me and not kill me?”

“Your associates were homicidal maniacs. I am not.”

“Were? What do you mean by that?”

“They attacked my friends and me and now lay dead. I am about to cut your bonds. If you live or die is up to you.”

“I just want to leave here.”

“I advise you don’t return to the temple. Elder Othreloth will soon have his people scouring the place. I don’t think they will destroy the statue of Saint Almalexia.”

I cut Melita’s bonds, and she grimaced as circulation returned to her hands.

She stood and said, “I warned them against aggression. We can’t force people to worship The Tribunal.”

“Not a single one of them bothered to talk before attacking. Anyway, you are free. The tunnel to the outside is clear of bandits.”

“You are not going to accompany me?”

“No, we have another mask to retrieve and will teleport to Raven Rock.”


My friends came closer, and we teleported to Raven Rock’s docks.

We climbed a set of stairs that led from the temple’s courtyard to The Bulwark.

I approached one of the guards on duty.

“Excuse me, guardsman, but do you know where I can find Vavhus Dalsrara.”

“He is not on duty but is standing over there.”

The guard pointed and explained, “He is staring at that old farm. I asked him what he was doing, and he told me he just needed some quiet time.”

“Thank you, guardsman.”

The guard continued his patrol. We headed towards Vavhus.

As described, Vavhus stood and stared towards Old Attius Farm.

So intent was Vavhus that I walked up to him without him registering I was there.

He almost jumped out of his skin when I tapped him on the shoulder. Then he quickly turned around.

“Where is the mask, Vavhus.”

“I don’t know what you are talking about.”

“Do you know who we are?”

“The Dragonborn and Dragonguard. You and your friends are heroes to the people of Solstheim.”

“The people who want the mask are violent and threaten the safety of innocents. At the moment, Captain Veleth knows nothing of your involvement with them. I cannot let the threat to innocents remain. I need that mask to protect the citizens you swore to serve. Therefore, tell me, Vavhus, where is the mask?”

“Violent? I just thought they were religious fanatics.”

“Most of the violence on Nirn derives from religious differences. They were going to send somebody to kill you and the buyer.”


“Tell me, why did you decide to sell the mask?”

“For twenty years, all I’ve been is a loyal guard. I do what I should and pay my taxes. I pray to the Gods, but they return me no favours.

I pray for riches, and I get guard duty. I pray for a good woman, and I get more guard duty.

Now I’m supposed to deliver that expensive-looking mask to their temple. Well, it’s time I made my luck. I’m selling the thing to an Imperial buyer I met at the Netch.

I’ll tell the priests the bloody mask got swallowed by a Gaur, so good luck finding it now.

Twenty years and I’ve never spoken a lie. They’ll have no choice but to believe me.”

“The Restorations will not give you riches or find a wife for you. You have comrades who depend on you, and you swore a sacred oath to protect the citizens of Morrowind. If that honourable duty no longer appeals to you, ask for a discharge, and find another profession. Don’t be a liar and oath breaker.”

“I don’t have the mask. The buyer is evaluating it. I will receive payment when he is satisfied it is authentic.”

“You are looking in the direction of Old Attius Farm. Is that where the buyer is?”

“Yes, there is a trapdoor to the basement. That is where the buyer is.”

“Do you have a key?”


Vavhus handed me a key.

I asked, “What is the buyer’s name?”

“Corvowe Alfician.”

“That arsehole sells artefacts to the highest bidder and does not care how they are obtained. Whatever he offered you would be a fraction of what he will sell it for. Instead of important artefacts being displayed in museums, they end up in mansions as trophies. People like Corvowe encourage grave robbers and corrupt honest guards.”

“What will you do?”

“I will retrieve the mask. I advise you to return to your barracks and decide your future.”

“They will still come after me!”

“No, they won’t, as my friends and I have killed most of them.”


I leapt off The Bulwark and landed with a thud below. Vavhus looked over the edge, and I waved to him.

My friends leapt down to join me.

When we reached Old Attius Farm, Khao said, “I think Vavhus is following us.”

“He wouldn’t try and take on the six of us.”

“He would be a fool if he tried.”

I stood over the trapdoor. Heat-Vision showed me a single person below.

I picked the lock, which was of poor quality, so the picking was quick and quiet.

I opened the hatch, and we descended a ladder.

My friends guarded the ladder in case Vavhus was a fool.

Heat Vision showed Corvowe standing with a weapon drawn.

He asked, “Is that you, Vavhus? Don’t worry. I haven’t finished evaluating the mask. I am not going to try and steal it from you.”

I replied, “It is Lord Welkynd. You know who I am, Corvowe Alfician. The False Tribunal devotees know you are attempting to steal The Mask of Vivec from them. They are fanatics and will kill you and anyone else possessing that artefact. Hand it over and leave Solstheim, or they will hunt you down.”

“No, you just want it for your museum. Some clients have waited decades for me to obtain it. You can’t have it!”

“I am not asking, Corvowe. I will display replicas in my museum but return the originals to Morrowind. The masks belong to the Dunmer and not private collectors.”

“No! You can’t have it!”

“I am going to approach you. Be smart and live to steal more artefacts.”

I turned the corner, and Vavhus rushed me, intent to somehow kill The Dragonborn with a dagger.”

I decapitated him.

I heard the trapdoor open and somebody climbing down the ladder.

Vavhus yelled, “I need that mask!”

He tried to get past five Dragonguard with his sword drawn.

They quickly cut him down. Vavhus was a self-entitled fool who asked his gods for riches and a wife.

I searched Corvowe’s corpse and retrieved The Mask of Vivec and a Fahlbtharz forge gem.

I told my friends, “We don’t know where the third mask is. Therefore, we will return to the temple and see if carrying these masks allows us entry to the barred room.”

I cast Recall, and we teleported to the Mark I had placed inside the temple.

Inigo said, “My friend, the bodies have been moved!”

“Yes, somebody visited while we were gathering the two masks.”

Shiva shushed us.

We could hear muffled moans from the direction of the entrance, so we drew weapons and investigated.

A strange Dunmer attacked us. He was unarmed and unarmoured.

I cut him down and turned his corpse over.

  • P’Sua: What the fuck is that?
  • Wulf: It is an Ash Zombie.
  • Inigo: ZOMBIE?
  • Shiva: Before you cack your dacks, Inigo, that thing seemed quite weak.
  • Wulf: Despite the name, Ash Zombies are not undead.
  • Khao: They are created using Corprus. What kind of insane person dares to use a plague that wiped out half of Tamriel’s population?
  • Wulf: The same person who interfered with the corpses. They are probably a devotee of Dagoth Ur, which is silly since The Nerevarine killed him.
  • Khao: Ash Zombies are the weakest of the Ash Creatures.
  • Wulf: Lame Corprus, Corprus Stalker, Ash Vampire, Ash Slave, Ash Ghoul, and Ascended Sleeper are other types of Ash Creature far more powerful than an Ash Zombie.
  • Dhali: Why are their mouths sewn shut?
  • Wulf: I don’t know what these would say, but when Dagoth Ur was alive, Ash Zombies would endlessly moan about their predicament and plead with Dagoth Ur for release.
  • Khao: Whoever made this Ash Zombie sacrificed a healthy Dunmer.
  • Wulf: They must have had Corprus stored somewhere. When it was first released, there was no cure. However, we now know to remove it from an infected individual. But we must get to it before the person becomes insane.
  • P’Sua: There must be other Ash Zombies. Somebody knew we had been here due to the bodies we left behind and assumed we would return.
  • Wulf: They would think we would have to come through the entrance. Let’s check the path for other zombies.
  • Inigo: Zombies, leave me alone. Zombies, I want to go home. I can smell your zombie bones. Zombies, you weaken my knees. Please, please, I want to go home.
  • Shiva: The Ash Zombies are weak, Inigo. But even if they were mighty, we would not let them harm you.
  • Inigo: I wish they were called something else.
  • Wulf: Okay, we shall refer to them as Ash Creatures.
  • Inigo: That is a good idea, my friend.

We dispatched many Ash Creatures as we made our way to the exit.

In the cavern containing the giant statue of Almalexia, many Ash Creatures were already dead.

I said, “Not all Ash Creatures survive their transformation for long.”

We killed many more Ash Creatures.

Then we made our way to the locked gate.

This time, when I pulled the chain, the portcullis rose.

We entered and searched the room.

In one of the cabinets was a note. There was also one of the gems needed for the forge in Fahlbtharz and The Mask of Almalexia. I read the note to my friends.

“The Matriarch does not speak of what remains locked behind the gate. She says our way is to serve the Goddess and the Tribunal.

But Erden was right. The artefact speaks to us, and I feel its heartbeat rattling in my head like a loose rock. Rattle, rattle, rattle. A curious song. Not a heart of blood, but of stone.

Yet the gate remains, for all intents and purposes, impenetrable. I saw no levers or chains and found no secret buttons under the display cases.

There is nothing here save a few broken pillars and the mannequins. I grew so weary of their stares that. I covered their faces with masks. It was not until that moment that the solution came to me.

What if the mannequins themselves are the key? Three faces and three masks. A Tribunal. But which mask goes on which face?

When memory fails, I go to the sculptor’s room and pray at the shrines to match blessing to symbol. I can now solve the puzzle, but it is useless without the masks.

Erden hates it when I worry. He tells me to be patient, that masks or not, our master will show us the way. I have no choice but to believe.

Priest Arthamis Dallno.”

I said, “Priest Arthamis Dallno was one of Erden Relvel’s recruits. We must keep an open mind about Dagoth Ur. However, I doubt he or any of The Tribunal have been resurrected.”

Bars blocked access to a small alcove.

I said, “The puzzle is how to gain access.”

I looked around and then smiled.

Inigo said, “My friend, you will tell us that the puzzle is easy.”

“It is easy, and the answer is on the wall. Look up.”

Inigo looked up and asked, “Those banners are the answer?”

“Yes. Go on, Inigo, apply some logic.”

Inigo looked at the banners and then surveyed the room. After a minute or two, a smile crossed his face.

  • Inigo: Wow, that was easy. Why provide the solution in the same room as the puzzle?
  • Wulf: Logic only goes so far.
  • Dhali: We must accept some things and move on, Inigo.
  • P’Sua: What is the answer?
  • Inigo: The flag represents the seven mannequins in this room. The four triangles mean those mannequins are not part of the key. The front three are.
  • P’sua: Oh, I see it now. The front and centre mannequin needs Almalexia’s mask. The one on the right needs Vivec’s mask. The one on the left needs Sotha Sil’s mask.
  • Wulf: I will place the masks and see if we are correct.

I placed The Mask of Almalexia on the centre mannequin.

Then I placed The Mask of Vivec on the mannequin to the right.

When I placed The Mask of Sotha Sil on the mannequin to the left, the bars rose, giving us access to the alcove.

Within the chest was Hopesfire, Almalexia’s sword.

There was also a note from Erden Revel, which I read to my friends.

“I was told the gate would not open without the masks, but the priests underestimated my master’s will.

It was Dagoth Ur who opened the gate and beckoned me forward. And when I wear his face, I speak his truth. From his words, I spawn the cure that will spread across Nirn.

My temple brother, Arthamis, was the first to receive its blessing. His once melancholy face has been carved into the most delightful shape, and his mouth stitched into a comely smile. He must be pleased with the changes, as I have heard no complaints. I feel now that he is truly happy.

You may have already met him – slain him with Her Hand. Perhaps you have met all my master’s little pets as they descended on Her temple. I knew this would happen, for there must come a time when The Tribunal’s champion will challenge my master, as The Nerevarine once did.

The Tribunal has three heads, and you wear them all. And so, by opening the way, you are worthy of dying by my master’s hand.

Come to the graveyard by Tel Mithryn. My master’s creatures will dine on you there.”

  • Wulf: Oh, how scary. More unarmoured and unarmed Ash Creatures! What shall we do?
  • P’Sua: How can they dine on us with their mouths sewn shut?
  • Shiva: One bite of Inigo, and they would be gagging so much, the rest of us could escape.
  • Inigo: They wouldn’t bother eating the rest of us. You could feed them for a month.
  • Shiva: Are you implying I am fat?
  • Inigo: No, Shiva, you are perfectly proportioned. But you are a big lady.
  • Shiva: I can’t argue with that.
  • Dhali: Erden claims Dagoth Ur opened the gate.
  • Wulf: Cobblers! I firmly believe Dagoth Ur died at the hands of The Nerevarine. I suspect a Daedric Prince is playing games here. I wouldn’t put it past Uncle Sheo.
  • Khao: All the Daedric Princes despised The Tribunal.
  • Dhali: Almalexia hasn’t returned?
  • Wulf: No. She had a keen tactical mind. What these idiots have been doing is not good tactics.
  • Khao: Dagoth Ur would teach Erden Revel how to create minions far superior to these Ash Creatures.
  • Wulf: The return of any of The Tribunal or Dagoth Ur would create huge ripples in The Void, and I would be told. Let’s go to Tel Mithryn and end this idiocy once and for all!

We teleported to Tel Mithryn.

I used Night Vision as it was pitch black.

I approached Talvas and asked, “Mage Talvas, where is Tel Mithryn’s graveyard?”

“Why do you ask?”

“Could it be because oranges are orange? Or perhaps it is because I enjoy my questions being answered by questions.”

“Okay, there is no need to get snappy. It is over there.”

Talvas pointed, and we headed that way.

We looked down on the graveyard, and I saw Erden Revel and a few zombies.


We approached the small cemetery as the echoes of The Voice diminished.

Erden and his pathetic cronies ran towards us.

Unrelenting Force turned most of them to ash. They all died.

I searched Erden’s ashes and recovered The Mask of Dagoth Ur.

He was also carrying a Fahlbtharz forge gem.

I turned to my friends.

  • Wulf: I have the four gems needed to reforge TrueFlame.
  • Dhali: Are we then heading back to Skyrim?
  • Wulf: There are a few quick things to do. First, we shall tell Elder Othreloth of our success.
  • Khao: Will he allow the statue of Almalexia to remain?
  • Wulf: That is not up to him as it is not his temple. I doubt the councillors will want to offend any Tribunal worshippers. After all, there is no ban on the old religion.
  • Shiva: They might want to check the ebony ore in there.
  • Wulf: Yes, different ores were abundant.
  • Dhali: What else needs to be done?
  • Wulf: We must say goodbye to the councillors and inform Captain Veleth of Vavhus.
  • P’Sua: I hope there isn’t anybody who needs his pension and will be deprived of it.
  • Wulf: I am sure they wouldn’t punish the innocent for Vavhus’ actions.
  • Dhali: Anything else?
  • Wulf: I want to check on Miraak and see if he is ready to join us in Skyrim.
  • Dhali: I think we are all interested in meeting him.
  • Wulf: I doubt he will be much of a conversationalist for some time. I intend to place him in The Safe House while he catches up on forty-five centuries of history.
  • Dhali: Yes, if he is to travel with us, he must understand who we side with and why.
  • P’Sua: You don’t trust him fully.
  • Wulf: I think I am right about him, but until I am sure, he can’t visit Aurane.
  • P’Sua: What is after Miraak?
  • Wulf: I will summon Nahfahlaar, see where The New Order are, and decide.

I Recalled to the Mark I had placed in Fahlbtharz’s forge.

I placed the four gems into their holders.

The Dwemer machine then emitted a bright light as lava flowed.

I coated the blade recovered from Hand Kenro Hlan with Pyroil Tar. I then placed it, blade down, into the slot of the Dwemer machine.

The light dimmed, and when I withdrew the sword, it had been transformed into TrueFlame.

I told my friends, “We shall teleport into the temple.”

Elder Othreloth raised his eyebrows as we materialised but was not overly disturbed. We walked over to him.

  • Wulf: Good day, Elder Othreloth.
  • Othreloth: Good day, Lord Welkynd and Dragonguard.
  • Wulf: We have killed everyone inside the heretic’s temple only because they attacked us without provocation. I rescued one False Tribunal devotee from bandits. Her name is Curate Melita, and I doubt she shall return to their temple.
  • Othreloth: Attendant Galdrus will visit the temple with some Redoran Guards. They shall recover the bodies for internment within our tombs.
  • Wulf: One of the deceased spent decades making a statue of Saint Almalexia. It is magnificent, and I implore you not to destroy it.
  • Othreloth: I won’t allow symbols of the three saints within this temple. We shall leave the statue for those who want to show their respects. However, we shall have a representative in that temple to watch for heresy.
  • Dhali: The heretics in the temple had an enemy. He abandoned them and Saint Almalexia and believed Dagoth Ur was aiding him. He had been making Ash Zombies, but we believe the last of them died with him.
  • Othreloth: Was he insane enough to inflict Corprus on people?
  • Dhali: Yes, and we think they were all deranged.
  • Wulf: I will let others figure out if any members of The Tribunal have returned. But I doubt they have and think a Daedric Prince led the heretics astray. Lady Azura thought that was likely, but didn’t seem concerned about which one it may be.
  • Othreloth: I also doubt they have returned.
  • Wulf: We have some other problems to resolve, but hopefully, I can return to Solstheim soon.
  • Dhali: Goodbye, for now, Elder Othreloth.

We exited the temple, and then I stood before Azura’s statue.

I said, “Lady Azura, this statue is filthy!”

“Perhaps I should task Attendant Galdrus with its cleaning as penance?”

“We have done what we can to stop the plans of the heretics.”

“I thank you all for your efforts.”

I bowed slightly, and then we headed onto the main street of Raven Rock.

As per usual, Captain Veleth was easy to find.

  • Wulf: Captain Veleth, I must speak to you about Vavhus Dalsrara.
  • Veleth: He failed to show up for muster this morning. Do you know where he is?
  • Wulf: There is a trapdoor in the ruins of Old Attius Farm. You will find his corpse in the room below, along with an Imperial from Cyrodiil called Corvowe Alfician.
  • Veleth: Did reavers kill them?
  • Wulf: No, we killed them in self-defence. Vavhus was trying to sell a relic of The False Tribunal, and I stopped him from doing so. I gave him a chance to walk away. Instead, he decided to stalk and attack.
  • Veleth: Why would you care if he sold the relic?
  • Wulf: It wasn’t his to sell. He was supposed to deliver it to the heretics. I wanted to keep it from the heretics and save his life, for they would have killed Vavhus.
  • Veleth: It isn’t easy when somebody you recruited decades ago and nurtured suddenly decides to break his oath. He was a good and solid member of the Redoran Guard.
  • Wulf: He wanted more out of life and expected The Restorations to gift him wealth and a wife for his twenty years of service. The temptation to sell the mask was too much when they didn’t.
  • Dhali: Twenty years is a small percentage of a Dunmer’s lifespan. He had plenty of time to seek those things without being dishonest and an oath breaker.
  • Veleth: Twenty years would have earned him a good pension to aid his transition to civilian life.
  • Wulf: I am sorry he didn’t take the chance I gave him.
  • Veleth: You wouldn’t have mentioned his indiscretion.
  • Wulf: No, I wouldn’t, and I told Vavhus that.
  • Veleth: Then he was a fool. Still, he deserves a proper Ashlander funeral. I will send somebody to fetch him.
  • Shiva: Does he have a family?
  • Veleth: Yes, he has elderly parents. They will receive his pension.
  • Dhali: Can you please try and find the Imperial’s family in Cyrodiil? They should be informed.
  • Veleth: Of course.
  • Wulf: We are going home, Captain Veleth, but will return when we can to investigate some interesting archaeological sites.

We made our way to Morvayn Manor and entered.

I retrieved Cindiri’s folio from my Journal Case and handed it to her.

I said, “Many reavers were living in the wreck of The Strident Squall. We removed their stain from Solstheim and recovered your book.”

“You have no idea what this means to me… to my family. Reclamations bless you!”

I moved to the councillors.

  • Wulf: We have eliminated the False Tribunal devotees who endangered Solstheim.
  • Lleril: Captain Veleth mentioned the problem to us.
  • Adril: How much of a danger were they?
  • Wulf: Their grand plan could never succeed. However, Elder Othreloth was in dire danger.
  • Dhali: One of them used Corprus to create Ash Zombies.
  • Lleril: Is there a danger of Corprus being released to the winds?
  • Wulf: No. He used a form of Corprus that needed to be injected into people. He would have endangered himself with the air-born variant.
  • Inigo: Their temple is just above the mine. There are many types of ore, and it looks like it was a mine in the past.
  • Lleril: Then we shall investigate and see if it would be another viable source of income.
  • Wulf: Elder Othreloth is organising the retrieval of those we had to kill. They will be interred and not left to feed vermin.
  • Lleril: Are you heading to Skyrim now?
  • Wulf: Yes. The New Order is getting close to Whiterun, so it is time I helped coordinate its defence.
  • Shiva: You might find Severin Manor used by many of The Dragonguard.
  • Adril: How many Dragonguard are there?
  • Wulf: About thirty in Skyrim. Double that in Akavir. I am sure our numbers will increase as we combat chaos and help the people of Nirn.
  • Lleril: I assume they are of many races.
  • Wulf: Yes, they are.
  • Lleril: All are welcome to visit.
  • Wulf: Our time in Solstheim has been chaotic. I will return when I can and hopefully enjoy a more relaxing time amongst your people.
  • Adril: We wish you a safe and complete victory over those who have invaded your homeland.
  • Wulf: What happens to them will be a lesson that all the people of Nirn will remember.
  • Lleril: That sounds ominous.
  • Dhali: We shall annihilate them with minimal losses. The best way to reduce the chances of future violence is to destroy the enemy ruthlessly and without mercy.
  • Wulf: The New Order will cease to be. Its swift demise will make other potential invaders hesitate if not abandon their plans.
  • P’Sua: We find no glory in battle.
  • Wulf: Goodbye, for now, councillors.

My friends gathered around, and we teleported to Miraak’s Temple.

When we came out of the ether, I said, “I want to speak to Silah before Miraak.”

I tried summoning Silah, but she did not respond.

After a few minutes, I tried Summoning Nahfahlaar. He appeared almost instantly.

He landed on the temple’s steps, where I spoke to him.

“Greetings, Nahfahlaar.”

“Greetings to you all. Now, before you ask, Silah said there was something urgent she had to attend to, and I have been deputising for her. It is a bit difficult since I don’t fit in the map room of Castle Dour.”

“I have no doubt it is time-related stuff that they can’t do anything about.”

“Precisely, but as a Jill, she had to be there to stare at timelines and answer questions from The Divines.”

“Okay, what is the status?”

“At the current rate of forced march, The New Order troops should be in place by midday on the fifth. They will be exhausted, demoralised, and almost leaderless. They will have no trebuchets or catapults. There are very few mages and no cavalry. Their best troops are Orsimer mercenaries, but many have started to rebel.”

“Have they realised their peril?”

“Yes, and our culling of officers has led to declining discipline. The Orsimer Brigade that was supposed to isolate Windhelm has become a rampaging mob, and unless they are stopped, many civilian lives will be lost and damage done.”

“What is being done to neutralise that brigade?”

“Rigmor and The Sons of Talos, plus most of The Dragonguard and various mages, will tackle them. Using dragons as scouts allows us to know the locations of the Orsimer and where they are heading. Hopefully, they will remain a single unit, making it easier and quicker to dispose of them. We don’t know if Rigmor and her troops will arrive in Whiterun before the main New Order army attacks.”

“Is Rigmor leading this force?”

“Yes. Some veterans advise her, but Rigmor is a natural leader. Ragnar spent time teaching her tactics, but that would not explain her abilities. Some of the more superstitious veterans say she must have fought in many battles, and her soul must be older than eighteen.”

“Rigmor has never seen a battlefield, and I worry what the experience will do to her. I do not fear for her safety with The Dragonguard surrounding her. I feel like joining her to help Rigmor cope with the aftermath. However, I know these battles will make her a better Countess. The horror of battle will no longer be a mystery to her, and her aversion to them will shape future decisions.”

“They will also help Rigmor to understand you better, Wulf. The darkness that threatens you after a battle will be known to her. She will understand why Ragnar rarely spoke of his experiences. Rigmor will not see the glory in battle that The Sons of Talos do.”

“I decided the morning I kissed her goodbye at the farm that I would wait till Whiterun to reunite with Rigmor. I will not change that, even if she is fighting her first battle before then.”

“I can sense another Dovahkiin. I assume it is Miraak.”

“Yes, this is his temple. The Greybeards would have sensed his use of The Thu’um and be confused. I suppose Miraak and I should visit them soon and explain.”

“You wouldn’t want them to go grey with worry.”

“Hopefully, Paarthurnax listens before turning Miraak into a pile of ash.”

“He will trust your judgement, Wulf. We all do.”

“Three of our brethren were also released from Apocrypha. The names they use are Sahrotaar, Relonikiv and Kruziikrel. All are Serpent Dragons.”

“The poor bastards! Serpent Dragons are not the most attractive breed.”

“Not everybody is as vain as you, Nahfahlaar.”

“They would be if they were as handsome as me.”

“Where are Yngol’s and Casius’ temporary camps?”

“Cassius’ is on the road leading north from Fort Greymoor. Yngol’s is northeast of your Tundra Homestead. Neither of them is in the path of New Order forces. They are far enough apart not to suggest that Imperial and Stormcloak are allies.”

“Thanks. Now, you had better head back, Legionnaire.”

“Yes, General. I would salute, but it is hard enough to balance with both wings on the ground.”

Nahfahlaar lifted and flew over the temple with a roar.

He soon disappeared into the ether.

We found Miraak inspecting the All Maker Stone.

“Dragonborn, who is that Dovah?”

“That is Nahfahlaar, sometimes called Nafaalilargus. He has aided mortals many times and is a close friend of mine.”

“Who are these people accompanying you?”

“They are my friends and members of The Dragonguard.”

“The Dragonguard?”

“They are sworn to protect me. Well, some of them are. We have absorbed other people into The Dragonguard without the formalities. All of them are friends.”

“You did a thorough job of eliminating my followers inside the temple. However, others have arrived since and been eliminated. Hermaeus Mora had influenced them. It was he who told them of your existence. However, they decided to assassinate you. He did not instruct them to do so.”

“If you are to accompany me in the future, you will need to study the history of Nirn since you entered Apocrypha. You must understand the current political and religious divisions. When you are ready to leave here, I will house you next to my museum. That will give you access to vast reading materials and knowledgeable scholars.”

“That is a wise suggestion.”

“We must visit The Greybeards, who are very powerful Tongues. When you cleansed this All Maker Stone, they would have detected your presence and know you are Dragonborn. We will also visit Paarthurnax.”

“Paarthurnax still lives?”


“He will not be pleased to see me.”

“He will not harm you even if his anger is great.”

“I think it best I remain here for another three days. My devotees are a danger to innocents and my responsibility. Therefore, it is up to me to eradicate them.”

“Okay, three days is good. We should have won the war by then.”

“What war?”

“An army of Altmer rebels has invaded parts of Tamriel. We will easily eliminate them.”

“Farewell, Dragonborn.”

We teleported to Whiterun Stables.

  • Inigo: My friend, Miraak’s accent was peculiar.
  • Wulf: It is Atmoran.
  • Dhali: What does his face look like?
  • Wulf: I don’t know. I have never seen him without his mask.
  • P’Sua: Even if his Thu’um is not as powerful as yours, he would be a formidable opponent.
  • Wulf: He and three other Dragon Priests defeated over twenty dragons in a single battle. That is impressive when you consider they did not have Dragonrend.

We walked to Ri’saad’s caravan.

I told Ri’saad, “The New Order will arrive in two or three days.”

“Khajiiti will defend Whiterun’s walls and provide other help. This one suspects the enemy will not get close to the walls as Lord Welkynd’s army will kill them all.”

“They won’t be lobbing random death over the walls as we have already eliminated their trebuchets and catapults.”

“That is good. Khajiit finds such weapons to be cowardly and immoral.”

“Divines bless you and your caravans, Ri’saad.”

One of the cubs was practising his spells.

I intended to travel diagonally across the grasslands. However, Inigo said, “There is fighting at the watchtower!”