158. Field of defilement

158 (a). Field of defilement158 (b). Field of defilement158 (c). Field of defilement158 (d). Field of defilement

Long before I reach Nurin’s farm I spy many thick columns of dark smoke snaking into the uncommonly blue skies above Stormhaven.  As I draw nearer the stench of smoulder befouls the air, and I begin to taste soot and ash upon the wind.  As I reach the road north of Koeglin Village I see for the first time collapsed roofs sitting precariously atop the crumbling cinder ruin of barn and shed.

Blackened soil, charred crop, and gnawed carcass of livestock consummate the bleak vista of devastation.  And the very pestilence that wrecked such desolation lingers still.  Daedra, ever gluttonous for mortal despair frolic like lambs in spring garden through their field of defilement and repugnant deed.


157. Corruption

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As I engage with the Supernal cultist in battle, I am taken aback to discover she wields a healers staff as skilfully as any I have met.  It takes much discipline and knowledge to harness the raw magicka that flows through each of us, and by force of will, shape it into spell and physical effect.  But to become a truly skilled healer, one needs not only to be able to express empathy, but also the ability to focus it.

I wonder how one so blessed with such a capability to sustain and support others has strayed so far down this darkened path that her once honest and honourable gifts are now corrupted to feed befouled purpose.

There are some that believe that one day alchemy may surpass the school of restoration magic, and we might eventually garner the same effects from a bottle brought from any flea-bitten Baandari peddler stall, as are to be archived from all those hours of training and hard work.  Until that time comes however, let us shield our healers from unclean influence, lest they are to share the same ill fate as this wretch.


156. A betrayal of Tamriel

156 (a). A betrayel of Tamriel

156 (f). A betrayel of Tamriel

With the lighthouse restored, finally it is time to answer Dame Dabienne’s plea and head north to Alcaire Castle.  That night however I was only to reach as far as the Vanne family Farm, finding it beset by what up until now I had thought to be but vile rumour and bruit.  A betrayal of Tamriel; humans working side by side with Daedra to murder, enslave and work ritual upon their former neighbours, friends and countryman.

I rescue a monk from fetter, a Brother Perry of Pariah Abbey, who informs me that these cultists call themselves the Supernal Dreamers, servants of Vaermina, the Daedric Prince of Nightmares.  The same cult behind the brutal attack on the Lion’s guard caravan, the deluding sickness of Constable Pascal in Keoglin, and now the infestation of much of Northern Stormhaven by this spawn of Oblivion.  


154. The Assassination Beetle

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Whilst mining for ore near any crag, cliff or rocky outcrop, one needs to be ever watchful for the dangerous Assassination Beetle.  These giant insects seem able to subsist in almost any climate and the threat of their formidable biting, pincer like mouths potentially makes them a most deadly adversary.

The first I knew that my digging had disturbed the creature hidden near-by, was when I heard a soft clicking, followed by scruff and scuttle upon the rocks behind me.  I turned to face the agitated quarrel of a beetle’s stridulation and its blood stained mandibles opening wide, preparing to lacerate my lower legs.

I rolled instinctively away, drawing my sword and shield in one motion, and set myself ready to parry and counter.  My first strike crashed against its rock hard carapace, almost jarring my sword from my hand.  My second swing was more circumspect, directed at its limb joints.  My aim was sure and true and yet my blade cut into nothing but a cloud of silt and soil as the beetle disappeared from my sight.

I held my breath and tried to settle myself as alert, yet as loose as possible.  Within moments I felt the earth tremor behind and in one swift motion, I turned and blindly thrust my blade into where I judged its head should be.  Its mandibles snapped against my plate greaves, as my blade cracked into the husk just above its array of red eyes, sinking deeply into the soft tissue underneath.

Its legs crimped into its body and it curled into a withered ball, yet it posed one last unexpected peril in its death coil.  As I yanked my blade loose from its carcass, acidic blood spurted from the breach and bit holes into my shield and plate.

I strongly suspect that whoever eventually achieves the ruby throne, whether it be man, mer, beast, or daedra, it will be the insects that will outlive us all to conquer Nirn.