Friday, May 29, 2015

Oblivion Day 6 - The Brief Criminal Life

2 Heartfire, 3E433

Jokes about cat-naps aside, my three hour rest at Bruma's inn left me feeling quite refreshed and ready for the rest of the day, though as it turned out the day did not require a well-rested Khajiit.

While wandering Bruma looking for something to do with what remained of the day I overheard a rumor that one of the townspeople, Arnora Auria, has had a large amount of gold stolen from her and was offering a reward for its return. The mention of a reward caught my interest, for there is much I would like to purchase and I have little coin as of yet to purchase with. After a few false directions, I found the lady's house and was cordially invited inside to hear her tale of woe.

Only it was not woe the tale was of, but theft of her own, betrayal, and from me a sense that she had already gotten what she deserved. To summarize: she and her former lover are thieves, but small-time: a dozen gold here and there as they made their way across the province. Nothing large enough to draw the interest of the citys' guards or the Legion, until, according to her, the lover decided to assault an Imperial tax collector, plus escort. They succeeded, but he killed a guardsman in the process, drawing much unwanted attention to their ploy.

So they hid the gold in the mountains and he threatened to kill her if she spoke a word about what had occurred. Shortly after this, the Bruma city guard tracked them down to their campsite and arrested the man while Arnora was out gathering whatever plants people eat in the mountains. But when she went to the place they had hidden the gold, she found that he had moved it somewhere else.

My part in this was to convince the man, Jorundr, to reveal where the gold was hidden. This would prove difficult, as his present stay in the city's dungeon left him less than cooperative. When I spoke to Jorundr he simply laughed at me and accused me of being in on a guard named Tyrellius's plan to get the gold for ourselves. Nothing I said would convince him otherwise, though I admit I could not find a reason why he should help either Arnora or myself anyway.

When I returned to Arnora about this problem, she suggested that I get myself arrested, stating that Jorundr would probably talk to me if he thought I was getting out at the same time he was, which is to say many years from now. I conceded that a plan that strange could actually work, so I returned to the dungeon and fifty Septims convinced the jailer to pretend to arrest me on minor thievery charges and to release me the next day.

Which is where I am now, for they took everything I owned except for my journal. Arnora was right though: as soon as I became his cell-mate Jorundr became downright chatty. But his story greatly differed from Arnora's. According to him, the assault on the tax collector was her idea, not his and the guardsman's death was on her hands. He pointed out the coincidence of her going out to get "supplies" and suddenly there's a dozen angry guards swarming all over him.

He said that his only desire now was for her death. He was likely going to rot in prison for the rest of his own life and considered it only fair that she lose hers as well. I confess now that I do find Jorundr's story more plausible than Arnora's, but I do not yet know who, if anyone, I will support in this matter. Tomorrow I will be released from jail and then I shall see what comes of what.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Oblivion Day 5 - On My Own Again

1 Heartfire, 3E433

As they say, there is no rest for the weary. My morning at Weynon Priory monastery started while it was still night, courtesy of an over-eager Jauffre seeking to reach the Blades stronghold before the afternoon. To his credit, the man also procured mounts for the three of us and though I was unaccustomed at riding, it was not my first time and I was able to keep my horse at a decent pace.
The land gradually changed from lush and green to grey, white, and barren as we worked our way along the northern road past Bleaker's Way Goodwill Inn, which I was pleasantly surprised to find still standing and in business. I must make it a point to stop there one day, it was a favorite of ours back then.

After several hours of on horseback I spied the top of the turrets of Bruma, grateful for the opportunity to massage feeling back into my legs.
Our visit to Bruma was brief. Jauffre hurried us to the gate on the far side of the city and exchanged a few quiet words with the guards, who just as hurriedly opened the gate for us after Jauffre finished speaking. The stronghold of the Blades is quite an unimpressive structure, mostly just unfinished stone blocks and an unimposing gatehouse.
One of the Blades that had been part of the Emperor's escort met us at the gate. He looked as thought he had not slept in a year, but brightened up somewhat when told that the man with us was the Emperor's true (and last) heir to the Empire. The heir did not look quite as happy.

Jauffre led us both into the fortress where several Blades were milling about on various duties. With a word, he summoned them to the courtyard and gave a small speech telling them that the war continued, but that the heir was in fact safe and in front of them right at that very moment. He then asked the heir (I may as well divulge his name, Martin, at this point) to speak, much to the man's discomfort. He gave a rather hesitant and not at all rousing speech promising that he would do his best, but Jauffre and his Blades seemed pleased nonetheless.
I spoke with Martin after the Blades dispersed back to their chores. He was confused and obviously scared of his sudden responsibility and I had to gently remind him that we needed the Amulet of Kings back before we could make any further moves against the forces of Oblivion.

He surprised me by dictating to me the relationship between our world and the Plane of Oblivion. He said that the existence of the portal at Kvatch indicated that the old 'rules' no longer applied between the two worlds and that such knowledge would be familiar to any practitioner of Daedric magic. He slipped up on his next sentence, for he then stated that everything he knew of Daedric magic said that such portals were impossible, then blushed, obviously not having intended to reveal his dabbling in such an art. He said that he knew more than an ordinary priest should about the seductive nature of Daedric magic and insisted we leave that particular subject at that, which I was happy to do.

Far more amusing was Jauffre somberly inducting me into the organization I technically never left since my conscription six years ago in Balmora. The titles have changed a bit, for now I am a 'Knight Sister'. It is a rank I do not believe existed while I was in Morrowind, so perhaps the Blades in Cyrodiil follow a different chain of organization.

Unlike the past few days, I finished today's task just as the Blades started their communal lunch, so I had nearly a full day ahead of me with nothing specific to do. I decided to visit the city of Bruma, figuring that I would be passing through it more than a few times on Blades business.
Bruma was abuzz with the recent murder/execution of an innocent citizen/terrible vampire, depending on who you asked. The dead man's name was Bradon Lirrian and his assailant, Raynil Dralas. Vampires are a dire threat and to think one could be living inside of a city would make anyone shudder, but I heard enough doubt around Bradon's death to make me think there was more to it.

The city guard was not very helpful. The guardsman "investigating" the crime at Bradon's home was convinced that his fellow citizen had been a vampire solely based on the fact that he was killed by someone claiming to be a vampire-hunter. The idiot even expressed empathy for the man's wife, stating that she had no clue her husband had been infected. Obviously if he had been infected, she would have been the first victim! Their "investigation" revealed that no one ever saw Bradon out during the day, which was as solid an admission of guilt as the guardsman required.

Bradon's wife was convinced that her husband had been senselessly murdered and pleaded for me to help clear her late husband's name. The utter ineptitude of the city guard already convinced me to help and she was very grateful for my assurance that I would find out what really happened to her husband. She said that she had walked in on Raynil just after the murder and screamed for help, summoning the guards. After a search of the house, the guards found the body of a beggar in their basement, seemingly confirming Raynil's story. His wife sardonically pointed out that your own house is a very poor place to hide a body and suspected Raynil planted the body there prior to the murder.

I need more information. Innkeepers are always excellent sources of rumors and local knowledge, so I inquired as to the nearest inn and paid a visit to 'Olav's Tap and Tack'. Luckily, the innkeeper, Olav, was sympathetic towards Bradon's reputation and gave me the key to Raynil's room. Behind the dresser I found a small weather-beaten journal that seemed to archive the plundering of a ruin, which would be mundane except for that Bradon was one of the plunderers. Another name, Gelebourne, was also part of the gang's activity that night.

When I asked Olav if Raynil ever mentioned a 'Gelebourne', he seemed surprised, as that was the previous "vampire" Raynil had dispatched. Suddenly everything became very clear. The final pages of the journal had made mention of a special chest the trio had built, one with three locks and each of them with a key. Whatever their previous arrangement was, it looked like Raynil had lost patience and decided to claim the chest for his own.

When I confronted the gullible guard he immediately changed his tune and told me that Raynil had just been seen departing Bruma through the west gate, into the Jerrel Mountains. He offered the suggestion that Raynil was headed towards a cave the locals called the 'Boreal Stone Cave' and urged me to hurry after him.
I had never been so far north while in the Auxiliaries and the area's tough pines and cold, hard ground reminded me of Solstheim, though with a great deal less bears to contend with. In fact, I contended with absolutely nothing on my way to the cave and was soon creeping down the damp corridors looking for the murderer.

He was fiddling with the locks on the chest when I called out to him, causing him to curse and spin around to face me, drawing a cheap two-handed blade as he approached me. He declared that I was to meet my death this day and attacked with a mighty swing of his sword.

A mighty...slow swing of his sword. Evidently he was not well practiced with the weapon and he threw himself off balance, giving me time enough to drive the edge of my long blade into (ironically) his neck, killing him instantly.
The chest contained an amulet with no enchantment I could detect upon it, but I took it anyway, figuring Bradon's wife might appreciate the keepsake.

On my way back to Bruma I heard a dull roaring sound and decided to investigate. A small gate to Oblivion was simply sitting there, shooting out flames and the stink of melted rock. I was curious to see what would await me behind a gate not apparently opened for any specific purpose, so I stepped inside.

I found much the same as I did within the Kvatch gate, only this was a much smaller landmass and a smaller tower. Again, only Scamps existed to bar my way and they are no challenge for me. In a short time I had ascended to the top of the main Oblivion tower and rid it of its Stone, destroying the gate and sending me back to Cyrodiil, flush with accomplishment and pride.

It was well into the next morning when I finally arrived back at Bruma, a habit I am growing tired of already. I gave the amulet back to Bradon's wife, Erline and she thanked me but told me that I should take it instead. The amulet was enchanted to mask its actual enchantment, but she knew how to dispel it. With a word, the amulet glowed and she handed it back to me. The amulet is surprisingly powerful: wearing it makes me noticeably lighter on my feet and quicker to jump and run, a very useful item to have!

Again I have worked through a night and into the next day. No matter, I shall take a short nap and resume today's activities, whatever they may be.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Oblivion Day 4 - Assault Upon Weynon Priory

31 Last Seed, 3E433
Weynon Priory

After a grueling day yesterday which started the day before, I was prepared only to sleep after the battle for Kvatch. I curled up on my bedroll before dusk yesterday and woke this morning with the moon still high over the horizon.
I woke my ward and we cautiously moved out of the camp and to the road leading through Skingrad and back to the monastery. Leaving early wound up being a good choice and we arrived at Skingrad just as the sun was beginning to rise. My man thought it a good idea to purchase horses to make the trip quicker and I agreed, but the price the Skingrad stable-master was asking was far too steep for my pockets, so it was on our own pairs of feet that we crossed through the city and proceeded towards the monastery.

We came upon the cave with the skulls in front of it that I passed two days ago and I decided that we had made good enough time to afford me to keep my vow. My ward did not want to follow me into the cave, so he stayed outside while I gently eased the door open and crept inside.

The cave looked to have been a silver mine at one point and I even was able to pry a few nuggets of silver from veins along the cavern wall, but it had also been overrun by goblins and I had my work ahead of me in clearing them all out, just like the last time I was in this province, so very long ago. There was not much of interest in either the goods I found or the battles there that I fought, so let it suffice for me to write here that I won the day (of course), cleared the mine of goblins, made the road a little safer, and was back outside and walking towards the monastery just before what may have been supper time.

I began to regret my decision to clear out the old mine when it started to grow dark while we were still on the road. By the time we finally could see the monastery it was at the limit of our night-vision, for it was very late into the evening. I heard the sound of someone rapidly approaching and motioned for both of us to hide on the side of the road, but I recognized the figure running towards us as one of the groundskeepers of the monastery.

With barely a pause in to his retreat he breathlessly babbled that the monastery was under attack by strange, robed figures that seemed to have appeared out of nowhere. This sounded familiar, so I and my ward charged into the monastery, engaging three men dressed in the same garb as the Emperor's assassins. They fell quickly, but not before one of the monks lay dead before them. Sounds of fighting could be heard from the chapel, so I ran there, only to find that Jauffre managed to dispatch four assassins all his own.

He suspected the true aim of the attack was to steal the Amulet of Kings, but he was confident that it was safe in the secret room he had hidden it in. However, after thoroughly searching the room we had to face the unfortunate truth: the enemy, whomever they are, was now in possession of the Amulet. On the other hand, I did deliver the true heir safely to Jauffre, so we did have that going for us.

But the monastery was no longer safe. The heir and I are now to travel to a fortress near Bruma which serve as the headquarters of the Empire's Blades. It is likely the safest place in the entire Empire right now, but Bruma is no short distance away. I need  to rest before rushing off yet again to another possible enemy ambush. Tomorrow, just like this morning, I will set out early for Bruma and this secret fortress of the Blades. Perhaps afterwards I will finally have some time for myself.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Oblivion Day 3 - Attack on Kvatch

30 Last Seed, 3E433

I woke this morning in Skingrad fully expecting to walk into Kvatch, speak with the person I had been sent to retrieve, and suffer their presence on the long walk back to the monastery. Why I thought it would be this easy is beyond me.

On my way out of Skingrad a Bosmer urgently whispered that he and I had important business to discuss behind the chapel after midnight tonight, but I did not agree with this statement. Undeterred, he promised to be on time and scampered away. Soon after, a guard warned me about becoming involved with their resident 'eccentric' Wood Elf and I assured him I had no designs about cooperating with the crazy person.

The road between Skingrad and Kvatch were crawling with bandits and I killed four of them in just over an hour. At the time I thought the banditry to be the worst sign of the declining fortunes of the province, but events of the latter day would prove this entirely laughable.

As I approached Kvatch I noticed that the city was completed devoid of greenery. What trees were visible were bare and the ground around the city walls was scorched and devoid of life. Worried, I jogged the rest of the way up the curving road to the city, only to be met by a panicky Altmer urging me to get to abandon the city before the city's guardsmen were overwhelmed, though by what he apparently could not bring himself to say. Having warned me, he continued down the hill, running the entire way.
I got the full, much calmer story from a Redguard named 'Boldon' staying at a makeshift camp closer to the city. Portals had suddenly opened up throughout the town during the night, spilling forth Daedra that immediately cut down the surprised defenders and set fire to Kvatch, nearly burning the entire settlement to the ground, with great loss of life.

An older priest was wandering the camp, ranting that the Imperial line was dead and the "Covenant" was broken, allowing the Enemy, Lord Dagon, to return to this plane. It seemed the ranting of a madman until I started further up the hill to meet with what remained of the Guard.
It was a depressingly familiar experience.. Thunder suddenly rolled in, the sky darkened to blood-red, and sheets of purple lightning snaked overhead. Such an experience might have terrified another Khajiit, but I felt oddly comforted by the hellish horizon. It was as if an old friend decided to stop by and say hello.

The ranking guardsman was an Imperial, Captain Savlian Matius. The refugees had nothing but praise for the man and after speaking with him for a few moments I realized their devotion was entirely justified. The man had anger, fortitude, and skill with a blade, all three of which made him the Man of the Hour, so far as the citizens of Kvatch were concerned. He and three other guards were all that stood between a giant, flaming gate from which Imps poured out of and the defenseless refugees below.

Savlian lamented that he had no way to strike back at the enemy with the giant fiery portal blocking the city gate, so on an impulse, I offered to go into the portal and destroy it from within. He was surprised, sardonically pointing out that he was not in a position to refuse assistance even if it likely meant my death. He had sent several soldiers into the portal a few hours ago, but none had returned.
The land waiting for me was what I would have expected from the Plane of Oblivion: lava, heat, air that could barely be breathed, and a dead, barren soil saturated with the ruins of buildings and servants of Lord Dagon.
A body lay in front of me so badly burned that identification was impossible, the man's weapons and armor fused to his body in what must have fortunately been an instant, painless death. One man managed to escape death, Ilend Vonius, but he was far more interested in getting back to the barricade than he was in helping me shut down the portal. I cannot blame him, I do not believe descending into the Plane of Oblivion is typically what a guardsman expects to face during any given day. He babbled that one of the guards had been captured and dragged into a large tower and I promised to see if I could save the man. I sent him back to Savlian so that the Captain would know I had arrived safely and to save Ilend's life, for he did not seem capable of fighting any longer.

Oblivion was not quite as dangerous as I thought it might be. Outside the towers my foes were entirely Scamps and small ones at that. They flung fireballs at me inaccurately and even in melee proved to be easy opponents.

Courtesy of the ruins and the sparse amount of solid land, I seemed stuck to be walking in a spiral towards a pair of towers, one of which Ilend said one of the guards had been sent to.
As I approached the towers I was given a fine view of the bridge leading from them to the portal. The architecture was simple and effective, allowing large numbers of soldiers to march from within the towers to the portal in short order. It is no wonder the sleepy people of Kvatch had no chance against such an invasion. If the Enemy ever becomes coordinated, hundreds of these portals could discharge millions of Daedra in a matter of hours, overwhelming not only Cyrodiil but the whole Empire.
The entrance to the first tower was only guarded by a single Dremora archer, an old foe I was well-accustomed to fighting and defeating. The tower was more strongly garrisoned with Dremora in place of the outside's small Scamps, but I never encountered more than one Dremora at a time, so I had no trouble, even with my cheap long blade.

I found the missing solder, Menien Goneld, at the top of the smaller of the two towers in a room reachable by a precarious bridge joining the towers together. He was guarded only by a single Dremora, which had a key Menien said would unlock a chamber in the main tower that had something in it that would close the portal. I could find no way to free the man from his iron cage, but he insisted I leave him behind, as every moment the gate was open meant more Daedra could pour into the world. I agreed, but with a heavy heart. I did not like leaving him there, but I still maintain hope that closing the portal somehow freed him from the hellish Plane.

The chamber the key unlocked had another single Dremora, but also a sphere of some unknown material spinning at an incredible speed within a curl of fire. Nothing else in the room could have been it, so I assumed the sphere was the key to destroying the portal. With no idea what to do with it, I smacked it with my blade. Then the world exploded and a bright flash blinded me.
When I could see again (probably seconds later) I was standing in front of the gate of Kvatch between two stone pillars which remained to mark the former portal to Oblivion.
Savlian was overjoyed at the prospect of leading a charge back into the ruined city and asked that I come with them given that I had the most combat experience out of any of his men. I agreed and without further fanfare, charged into the city alongside the guardsmen.

The initial battle was brief and fiery, five Imperials and a Khajiit versus eight Scamps. We won the day with no loss to our side and were able to enter the chapel where my man of interest had taken refugee alongside the rest of the massacre's survivors.
Savlian gloated that we had completely wiped the bastards out, but conceded that the battle would grow increasingly difficult as we drew closer to the castle. He ordered the guards that had been in the chapel to escort the civilians to the refugee camp, then return to join the assault on Castle Kvatch. While we waited, a troop of Imperial Legion soldiers presented themselves to assist with the battle, having seen the smoldering city while on patrol between Skingrad and Anvil.

We hewed our way towards the castle through dozens of Scamps before finding that the portcullis was locked. The only way into the castle then was to lead a small party from the chapel, through an underground passage, and into the castle's guardhouse. Naturally, I was chosen to lead this party, but we did not fight anything that did not fall quickly and soon the full remainder of the Kvatch garrison was engaged in battle within the castle courtyard.

It was in this battle that we had our first causaulties: an Imperial Legion soldier and two guardsmen, but the enemy paid dearly for their deaths, losing more than a dozen of their number before we reached the entrance into the castle itself. One of the Legionnaires offered me the fallen man's steel long blade, a weapon superior to my own. I gratefully accepted, oddly pleased at this small gesture of respect.

The battle inside of the castle was more difficult, the quarters more cramped, and the Scamps significantly larger and stronger. Still, through teamwork and the skill of the Legionnaires we prevailed without further loss of life, only to discover that we were too late, the Count of Kvatch was dead. Savlian and the guards were waiting at the entrance to of the castle, so I and the Legionnaires returned to them bearing the late Count's signet ring. Savlian accepted the news well, thanking me for returning the ring for the next Count and rewarding me with his own armor, stating that he was done fighting for the rest of his life.

The man whose existence in Kvatch was the entire reason for my coming was back at the refugee camp. As a priest, he did not understand why he should follow me away from his own people and refused to leave the camp until he was sure everyone there was being taken care of. 

Having not slept now in over twenty-four hours, I had not the energy to argue nor make the trip back to the monastery anyway. So I am spending the night in the camp and we will be returning to the monastery tomorrow, whether he likes it or not.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Oblivion Day 2 - Beware What Ye Summon

28 Last Seed, 3E433

I awoke early this morning amused to find that, now free, I am resuming the schedule I held in Morrowind years ago. Which is to say: I woke at roughly six in the morning as the monks were finishing breakfast and preparing to go about their daily tasks.

My goal was the town of Kvatch, where I would find a person of interest to Jauffre. This person does not know they are of interest, so it was up to me to convince the man to leave the town and join me in walking back to the monastery.

But before I did anything of the sort, I needed better equipment. Chorrol was right outside the monastery, so I waited for the gates to open and walked into my first city in six years. The experience was a bit underwhelming, but I did learn that some madman had attacked the congregation in Anvil's chapel, leading others to start loudly proclaiming that the end of the world was at hand. I am sure the Anvil city guards can deal with such a problem.

A better weapon was needed before I set out to Kvatch, but the blacksmith's shop completely lacked anything even resembling a spear. I suppose that's just as well, for I am six years out of practice in wielding any sort of weapon and wound up choosing a simple iron long sword instead. I probably have just as much skill with a long blade at this point as with a spear.

Thus armed and somewhat armored, I left the small town and started the trek down the road towards Skingrad and Kvatch. The walk and weather afforded me a beautiful view of the Imperial City, though I am not comfortable with the thought of visiting it quite yet, being the escaped convict that I am.
As if to ruin to the moment, a yell sounded from my right and I turned to see a conjurer charging at me from across a rope bridge, summoning a frail-looking scamp as he rapidly approached. Perhaps he did not see the bow strapped to my back.
The last time I was in Cyrodiil the Imperial Legion constantly patrolled these roads and banditry was a rare and short-lived occurrence. The Auxiliaries were more frequently engaged in fighting bears than bandits, but I like to think our presence, rowdy though it could be at times, helped maintain order. If the death of the Emperor was not bad enough, it appears that the strength of the Legion was diminished in the Empire's home province and the Auxiliaries have ceased to exist.

The lack of patrols had a very visible result when I found a group of imps wandering around near a small cave. As soon as one of them saw me, it would start to fling magicka and make a big nuisance of itself. To an unarmed farmer trying to get home though, even a single imp would have been a dire threat and I wound up shooting down five of them outside the cave, certainly enough to cause a great deal of harm to anyone...if they had attacked all at once.

As I was pondering where so many imps might have come from, one answered my question by flying out of the cave. After putting an arrow into its back I sliced open the imps' bodies and collected the gall into small vials which I could either use myself or sell for a decent amount of coin, disgusting as collecting it might be. Cheered by the prospect of making good money today, I decided to proceed into the cave in the hopes of finding more imps.

I was quite startled to find a large pile of skulls and bones right at the entrance of the cavern, but all it contained was a few rats and some more imps, nothing I could not comfortably handle by myself. There were also several rotted bedrolls strewn about, one with a complete skeleton laying upon it, clutching a small sack in its skeletal hand.
Aside from the imps' remains, there was little of value to be found. The place had likely been used by rogue mages who became overwhelmed and killed by their own summonings. A fitting, though ironic, way for them to go.
The sun was beginning to set when I exited the cave, six more flasks of gall sloshing in my pack. I was not going to make it to Kvatch before night fell, but I thought I could at least reach Skingrad, so I continued down the road. Again: a cave with skulls and other remains littering the entrance. But I had no time left in the day to pursue this, but I may on my way back to the monastery. Someone should and it appears no one else is.
It was dark as pitch by the time I reached the gates of Skingrad and a helpful guard directed me to the Two Sisters' lodge where I could get a bed for the night. The two sisters were Orsimer, but pleasant enough. The proprietor, Mog gra-Mogakh, handed me a pamphlet about the Emperor's death. It was short and light on theatrics, only stating that we must all continue on for the good of the Empire.

I will be doing my part by reaching Kvatch tomorrow. What happens after that or what I will do is a mystery.  

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Oblivion Day 1 - The Dawn & Dusk of Life

27 Last Seed, 3E433
Weynon Priory

Ingratitude. It is what I have been suffering for the past six years while languishing in prison. Prior to today, the last breath of fresh air tasted of ash and sea in Khuul village of Morrowind. I had boarded the Khajiit S'virr's small boat for a trip to Solstheim to visit Raven Rock and had just started to relax as Vvardenfell disappeared into the morning fog.

The first hint of trouble came in the form of a crossbolt bolt suddenly sprouting from poor S'virr's throat. He toppled overboard and was immediately set upon by slaughterfish. Even six years later the thought of dying that way makes me shiver, I have always hoped that he died before the fish got to him.

No crossbow bolts shot out of the gloom for me, but a fairly sizable vessel I most often saw wrecked and beached along Vvardenfell's dangerous shore. Hooks latched on to my little rowboat and I was quickly hoisted upon the ship and facing at least two dozen Imperial Legionaries. My arrest for smuggling illict goods to Raven Rock was laughably pronounced and without my amulet, I had the choice to either surrender or kill a few of them before dying. The latter was pointless, so I agreed to be detained below deck.

At the time I thought it a simple mistake. I knew S'virr was smuggling something, for why else but for profit would a Khajiit be rowing a boat between the two islands? Killing him struck me as a bit extreme, but then we arrived in Cyrodiil via the Imperial Run and I was thrown in a dungeon for six years...clearly not for smuggling, but my crime, be it real or imagined, has never been explained to me.

I received my daily ribbing from the Dunmer in the cell across from me, a tiresome tradition just over five months old today and was about to mount a bored riposte when voices and heavy footfalls sounded from the stairs next to my cell. I thought it too early for breakfast and figured another unfortunate soul had found her way into captivity.
The soldiers lacked the sloven indifference of the jailers and carried themselves with a sense of purpose, nervous though they obviously were. An older man was with them and I was curious to see what business this odd group had in the damp depths of the Imperial City.
The man was somber and stared at me for longer than I was comfortable with before declaring that the Gods had placed me in this cell so that he and I could meet. I was about to reply that I had no business with him, but he continued on, nonchalantly identifying himself as the Emperor, Uriel Septim and his solders as members of the Blades, such as I was once. They were escorting him through a secret escape leading out of the city, the beginning of which started in my cell. One of the soldiers sardonically commented that today must be my lucky day before the group left via a passageway behind my cot. Not one to let opportunity pass me by, I followed.
The reason for their escape soon became clear. Creeping behind them as quietly as I could, I spotted the assassins moments before they did, allowing me to shout out a warning as their foes sprang to the attack, cutting down their Captain within melee's initial seconds.
The two remaining Blades quickly dispatched their foes whom appeared to be conjurers of some kind. One of them thanked me for my warning with a silent, curt nod, collected the Emperor, and moved deeper underground, leaving the Captain's body behind.

Unarmed and in an area possibly still housing assassins, I had no qualms about picking through the bodies for useful equipment. I claimed a simple steel short blade from the late Captain and on a whim, her rare Akaviri Katana. My wrist irons had long since lost their chain and I was able to (carefully!) use the short blade to pry the rusted manacles off of my wrists, which conspicuously have all the fur rubbed off of them.

The group had locked the door behind them, so I was at a bit of a loss as to where to go now. Back to my cell was an incredibly depressing thought, but two rats came to my aid, crashing through a loose pile of masonry in an attempt to eat me. Once they had been dealt with, I examined the area the rats had come from.
Save for the scratchings of rats, I heard nothing, so I deemed it better than going back to jail. Evidently someone else had thought the same, for I found upon a gnawed-upon skeleton with rat-damaged, but serviceable, leather armor. It was a great deal better than my burlap shirt and pants. Further inside I found a bow and some arrows in surprisingly good condition and a battered leather-wrapped shield in considerably worse condition, but it was better than nothing. At least I had a decent complement of weaponry.

A zombie assailed me in the next room, eerily reminding me of the Corpus-infected creatures I fought so very long ago in Morrowind. Other than that, I thought the place was only infested by rats until I nearly stumbled over the body of a goblin sprawling in front of the only door I could find. It appeared to have succumbed to wounds from the zombie, but I could not be sure.

The goblins had set up camp further inside...where ever I was. Two of them died underneath a pile of logs I pushed down a small hill and one died after tripping its own trap. The rest, including a shaman who fired bolts of lightning at me, died to my bow or sword.

Through some strange trick of architecture, my journey through the underground goblin caves ended not at an opening to the outside world, but a finished section of the jail once more. Voices floated through the stale air, reminding me that there were others trying to make their way through this odd place.
The Emperor somehow heard me and motioned towards my hiding place. Instantly, I had two angry Blades approaching me, but he ordered them to stop, saying that they could not see what he had already seen, that I would play a part in (once again...) saving the Empire from a dire threat. I felt like asking him if perhaps the Legion might be better suited to the task.

We walked uneasily together for a ways until we were stopped by a gate that should not have been locked. The two Blades told the Emperor to retreat to an adjacent room just as five conjurer assassins sprang from the alcoves above us. Not wanting to die immediately, I retreated with the Emperor, but he pressed the amulet he had been wearing into my hand and told me to bring it to a man named Jauffre. With the sounds of battle growing more desperate in the room behind us, he insisted I go to the aid of the Blades.

And so I did, accounting for two assassins on my own, greatly surprising friend and foe alike. But when we returned to the Emperor he was dead, his throat slit, but his face peaceful, as if he had expected it all along.

The Blades did not take it well and were shocked to see the Emperor's amulet in my hands. The younger of the two told me that it was the Amulet of Kings, a sacred Artifact that could only be worn by someone of the Septim bloodline and one that would keep the Empire safe so long as a member of the bloodline wore it. I will not divulge the Blade's name here, but he told me to go to a specific monastery to find the monk named Jauffre, after which I would receive further instructions. He then thanked me for returning his Captain's Katana, an item which I had completely forgotten I had been carrying to begin with.

There was a small sewer system to contend with on my way out, but it does not bare mentioning compared to what I saw at the end of the sewer tunnel: sunlight.
And finally, the freedom of the outdoors once again.
The monastery was just past the Auxiliary post of Fort Ash and while I doubted that anyone I used to know was still in the Auxiliaries, let alone that they would remember me, I would at least be able to identify myself as a former militia-Khajiit and be sure of a cordial reception. 

To say life can be cruel would be an understatement.
Not only was Fort Ash abandoned, it was also decrepit, neglected, and re-occupied by goblins. In my day it was a thriving toll post and now it is a ruin. I must make time to find out why the Auxiliaries abandoned the fort. For today though, I decided to do some investigation of my own. Into the fort I went.
I found little of note. Just goblins, goblins, and a single dead adventurer. When I left the fort I was accosted by a Khajiit bandit who demanded one hundred Septims to let me pass alive. It did not end well for him.
I arrived at the monastery with no other trouble and even though it was late into the night, Jauffre was still awake at his table, doing whatever it is monks do at two in the morning. For safety's sake, I cannot record what he and I spoke about, but I certainly have an interesting task at hand now. He offered me a good steel bow and arrows and I gratefully traded my worn, bitten bow for it.

Now I am resting in a comfortable bed at the monastery, nervous, excited, and eager to tackle my new responsibilities. This morning I was a prisoner and this evening I am a Blade once again.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015


20 Evening Star
Caius Cosades

Fishing between the islands of Solstheim and Vvardenfell proved just as lucrative as our informant assured us it would be. We caught two fish, one of which we threw back into the sea. Nets spread in Ald'ruhn and the Redoran stronghold of Indarys manor have dredged up additional valuables. See enclosed list.

Per your orders, our catch will be delivered to the Imperial Prision in Cyrodiil.

Your faithful servant,