614. We are but beasts

614 (a). We are but beasts

Our bid to halt the Scaled Court’s foul alchemical breeding of the Mantikora ends in the aptly named northern delve of Serpent’s Nest. Through its cheerless caves and murky passages, beyond the lurking serpents, lamia, trolls and cultists, lies the Spawning Pools of Hruzizolk. A progenitor Mantikora created by the alchemists to breed without need of further alchemical infusion.

614 (b). We are but beasts

Here in the liquid pools of crimson nirncrux we also find the third of the deadly predators bred into the creation of these abominations, man and mer. Some might argue, including the Regent Cassipia, that we are in fact the most dangerous predators of them all. Perhaps because like all predators we hunt for meat, be we alone also hunt for fur and bones, pests that damage our crops/livestock, to eliminate potential or perceived threats, and also simply for profit and sport. More likely what the alchemists of the Scaled Court sought to add to the Mantikora however, was our intellect. Our capacity to reason, to problem solve, and to utilize tools in overcoming anatomical disadvantages to dominate over beasts.

614 (f). We are but beasts

But the Mantikora we face is a huge, powerful, four-legged beast with two brawny arms, the segmented tail of a scorpion, and intelligent enough to wield a monumental spear as a weapon. To fight this behemoth as one would fight against normal beasts would most certainly end in disaster. Whilst to duel with it as one would against a man or mer would end equally calamitously. To win this battle perhaps we need remember that ultimately we are but beasts, just another expression of nature, and we must fight with all the feral instincts and savage impulse that we can rouse in our blood.

614 (j). We are but beasts

S.K

613. The Vulture’s Roost

613 (a). The Vulture’s Roost

The eagle is a noble bird that hunts for its food, whilst the vulture cravenly scavenges the already dead for its meat. So what could turn a soldier from eagle to vulture?

613 (b). The Vulture’s Roost

To the east of Dragonstar in Upper Craglorn there is an encampment on the crossroads run by a most motley group of Banner War deserters who have turned to scavenging weapons and armour from the battlefield of the heartlands. Their leader is a Nord who seems to have very little regard for her present comrades. One should not be surprised however, for Isrudde Crows-Watch obviously had little care or regard for her Pact comrades either before she deserted them, returning only to pillage their corpses.

613 (c). The Vulture’s Roost

Also part of the Crossroads Encampment can be found an Imperial selling scavenged armour from a stall she calls The Crow’s Pickings. She propounds that all the armour and weapons they stock have stories, yet she cares not enough to know them; Imagination being the torturer of conscience.

613 (d). The Vulture’s Roost

There is also an Argonian who discovered too late that he was just not cut out for army life, and a High Elf who was dissatisfied with the serviceman’s stipend. An overly aggressive Redguard who has dreams of retiring to Sentinal, if only he manages to survive Isrudde’s command. Whilst a Breton speaks a dubious tale of having to flee the Covenant ranks after facing execution for killing an officer, is joined by a Dark Elf and a Khajiit who both decline to share their tales at all.

613 (e). The Vulture’s Roost

One member of the group who stands apart from the rest is the polite Wood Elf Adandora. An aspiring writer with worthy ambition, if only she could find a publisher for her work. She earns her keep by writing and singing about the Crossroads Profiteers exploits. It is somewhat strange to find Adandora’s hopes tied to the fortunes of this group of renegades.

613 (f). The Vulture’s Roost

But oft it is that the road built in hope, and the road built in despair, meet at the same crossroads. It is curious that you may not find a more diverse group working together, for different reasons, for shared purpose, in all of Tamriel? So mayst desertion sometimes be a fine thing, a brave thing indeed? Perhaps… but not here, not at this crossroads encampment.

613 (g). The Vulture’s Roost

For this is a vulture’s roost, and the crimson fields of Cyrodiil is their banquet table. The manner of their victims death does not concern them, nor whether the corpse be man or mer; fought under red, blue or yellow banner. The hard work of others is their fodder; another’s most noble sacrifice, their most ignoble nourishment.

S.K

612. The Sunken Lair of the Wamasu

With the nesting grounds of the Giant Scorpion matron destroyed, I am directed south to the Sunken Lair where lies the Wamasu; the other giant predator used by the Scaled Court in their alchemical breeding of the Mantikora.

It is quite astonishing that these giant reptiles, natives of the great marshlands of the south, have come to be in the arid wastes of Craglorn. The simplest explanation however may be found to the west in the delve of Haddock’s Market, where the smugglers of the Greycloack Mercenaries hold a large adult Wamasu captive. I recall whilst there seeing the unique shimmering eggs of the wamasu, their glistening husks illuminating the gloom as if the brood were charging up inside their shells.

It is perhaps unlikely that these Wamasu will ever become more then an oddity of this discordant age in Craglorn however. For even if they survive the arid environment, the passion for hunting, whether it be in the name of culling, sport, or food, is deeply implanted in the nature of both man and mer. Is it not an adage of Hircine’s followers that says, ‘those that join the hunt for the largest prey, care for nothing more from that day.’

612 (h). The Sunken Lair of the Wamasu

S.K

611. The Fearfangs Caverns

611 (a). The Fearfangs Caverns

Deep in the craggy hills to the west of Dragonstar lies cavernous ruins where members of the Scaled Court can be found busy studying lost Nedic texts and artefacts. It is believed that the Nedes had a far superior understanding as to the properties of the local element nirncrux then we do today. But more importantly for the Celestial Serpent’s cultists, the deepest parts of Fearfangs Caverns are made up of very large chambers in which can be found the nesting grounds of a giant scorpion matron they call Lakorrah.

It is common wisdom in the arid wastes that a scorpion will not trouble you unless you step on one, because scorpions being opportunistic predictors, rarely attack a victim unless they mistakenly wander into their ambush range. However, no scholar who has set out to measure the ‘ambush range’ of these giant predictors of Craglorn has yet survived to report their findings.

The sting of the scorpion is as venomous as the fangs of the serpent, and so it is that the brood of this giant predator is used by the Scaled Court to alchemically augment the might of the mantikoras. That is why, if this giant matron can be overcome, we must purge her nesting grounds with fire.

611 (i). The Fearfangs Caverns

S.K

610. A common enemy

610 (a). A common enemy

Regent Cassipia, a leader in the insidious Scaled Court, sent a messenger requesting that we meet at an old derelict farm on the outskirts of the town of Dragonstar. She claims that she only wants to make Nirn better, in her own erroneous way; whilst the Celestial Serpent, much like the Yokudan serpent god Satakal, wants to destroy the world and start over. That she says, makes the Serpent our ‘common enemy’.

610 (b). A common enemy

She says that she can not openly oppose the Serpent whilst maintaining her high rank in the echelons of the Scaled Court. So she must employ subterfuge and an accomplice; or a believable scapegoat should all go wrong. The serpent, having failed to build its elemental army to the east, now plots to build an army of Mantikoras to the west. These powerful and cunning beasts are bred by alchemical measure, combing the worst traits of some of Tamriel’s most pernicious predators.

610 (c). A common enemy

Of course I should not trust a member of the Scaled Court, especially one seemingly so willing to betray their own master; betrayal is most common to those of little conscience. Yet the true betrayal in all this is perhaps not Cassipia’s, rather it is the Scaled Courts betrayal of Tamriel. That so many are willing to betray their families, friends, and selves is a tragedy. In all the history of mer and men, mute compliance in the face of tyranny is the perhaps the greatest betrayal of them all.

S.K