I return the book to the Altmer at the mages guild and inform her of the phantom. She knew his name by reputation, an Arch-mage of the first era whom she held in high revere and spoke of as if I should know his name. I was never an ardent student of the histories, especially when it concerned mages. It’s not that I don’t respect mages or the powers that they wield. It is just that from experience I have found many to lack the self-control, and discipline to be counted on as reliable allies upon the battlefield.
I have witnessed first-hand a mage use nought but sorcery and spell to single-handedly rip down the wall of a stone keep, only to be skewered moments later on the pitchfork of a farm hand because he was all spent. Self-discipline is as important a trait to a mage as it is to a front-line foot-soldier, and upon it an army will either stand or fall.
In the end without self-discipline, even the most powerful of sorcerers will eventually be just an old man with a stick.
It was a relief to spend at least one night with a roof over my head, and in the comfort of a real bed again. As I looked out across a Daggerfall freshly brushed by the morning sun, I took note perhaps for the first time just how pretty this city is.
When I was a child growing up in Cyrodiil, no matter the weather, every morning my mother would rise with the sun and take her breakfast in her lovingly tended garden. “Remember how beautiful this is”, she would say, “because you never know when you might lose it.”
We lost Cyrodiil… I’ll be damned if I’ll lose Daggerfall.
Upon this sunrise I pledge fresh allegiance. My shield for the Covenant… my sword for her enemies.
The local Bretons warned of another Ayleid ruin just north of the Dominion beech camp; the ancient halls of Enduum. There was too great a risk that the Aldmeri could have secured these ruins as they had done at Silumm, so I set off to scout what threat, if any, there was.
I was to discover that the Aldmeri had indeed gained access to the ruins, but judging by the scenes of carnage and slaughter with which I was greeted, they had encountered something far more dangerous than they were prepared for. The Ayleid dead still lay claim to their former home and offer a murderous hospitality to all who trespass.
Maybe this is how it should be, ancient ruins left undisturbed and forgot as tombs for their former owners. Or perhaps it is time for the dead to move on and leave this world to the living. Such debates may be had by men safe and warm in dry chamber and musty guild halls; I’ll just concentrate on trying to survive what the Aldmeri could not.
Climbing to the top of the tower was to prove an awful lot simpler than getting back down again. The surviving Aldmeri from the forward camp seemed a little put out by the dousing of their signal fires.
Thankfully upon reaching the beach there was little sign that the Dominion forces were yet readying for battle. Meanwhile the Daggerfall troops had regrouped and the Redguard Captain Gilame seemed confident that the incursion threat would soon be dealt with.
I fight my way to the base of the tower only to find that I am too late. The Aldmeri advance party has already begun to light the fires atop the tower that signal their invasion force waiting offshore.
Whilst time is now enemy however, the morning sun might yet prove ally. At this height its rising rays blind the coastline to the tower’s flames… but for how long? If I can reach the tower summit, I might yet be able be extinguish the signal fires and delay the incursion until Glenumbra can rouse reinforcements and defend its shores.