In a small house within the town of Wind Keep, the Wild Elf Breloth closed her eyes on Tamriel for the final time leaving behind her Breton husband Michel Helomaine, who had never considered that his long-lived wife might pass before him. Dedicated to the love of Breloth and Michel…
‘We aren’t young saplings anymore belovéd’,
the final words you whispered me.
But your beauty never aged belovéd,
like a bouquet in eternal bloom.
Your flawless face, your perfect grace,
your smile that was my sun.
Take this kiss goodnight belovéd,
your moonlit voyage has begun.
How could you depart before I belovéd,
sorrow veils my heart in gloom.
We’d planned to share each day belovéd,
from morn’s haze till twilight’s brume.
You were the centre of my Mundus,
and you put your faith in me.
And until my final breath belovéd,
I’ll prove your faith was true.
I chose you every day belovéd,
and every day you chose me.
Our love was love for love belovéd,
though our families could never see.
No more will you feel the rain or cold,
but I’ll still shelter you.
And I’ll still hold your hand belovéd,
whilst my heart is forever held by you.’
What we see in the mirror is often only what others would have us perceive, a distortion of our reflection, painted by suggestions, dressed by insinuations. Perhaps to discern a true reflection of ourselves we need to stare into the looking glass with our eyes closed.
Villainous plot uncovered and mirror’s spell broken, yet Vaermina’s cultists still would not give up their victim easily, and we engaged in a most bloody battle amongst the gravestones of Wind Keep’s cemetery.
The night survived, I take my leave of the Countess’s hospitality, but before I go she asks for my opinion of her many suitors. I tell her to get a pet dog instead… because when a dog looks into a mirror, all it sees is a dog.
As dusk drapes her sombre shawl across the evening sky my thoughts turn towards a hot meal, warm ale, and dry bed. As I cross the bridge to the nearest town I am approached by an anxious looking man seeking aid for his former employer, the Countess Ilise Manteau of Wind Keep.
Wind Keep is a small town surrounded East and West by rocky hills which help to keep its impressive forges supplied with plentiful ore. To the North a natural lake has formed by the waters running down from the Wrothgar Mountains, before continuing their journey as the twin rivers running through the heart of Stormhaven and out into the Illiac Bay. To the South lays the forsaken ruins of Aphren’s Hold where rumour tells that Daedric cultists and ethereal spectres have made maleficent garrison.
The man tells of the Countesses uncharacteristically erratic behaviour of late, which has culminated in her sacking all retainers and locking herself away from the world and its responsibilities. Usually I would shy from interfering in the spotted affairs of Breton nobility, but this behaviour sounds far too similar to that of Pascal, Hughes, and Hosni to be but coincidence. I fear the nightmares of Vaermina have found another sleepless victim to corrupt this night.
Hiding in a cave just to the west of Wind Keep is Captain Rama whose reckless actions were to blame for the events at Cumberland’s Watch in which many soldiers and Goblins were killed. He seems not to understand his leading role in the incident, or perhaps he hides from shame behind denial, or maybe his hatred has blinded him to the repercussions of his actions and he cannot see anything beyond his own resentment and rancour. Whatever his mental state it is clear that he is a desperate man with nothing to lose, and you do not dare a person who has nothing left to lose.
This Rama poses no threat to me, he is not my enemy, and indeed some might see it that we fight the same cause. Darien Gautier’s reckless behaviour at Cath Bedraud also caused the death of his own soldiers and yet he seems to be held somewhat in esteem by Breton society. Is the only difference between Rama and Gautier the perceived success of their ventures, or is it that one is a Breton and the other a Redguard. I myself am Cyrodilic, why then should I care whether he escapes a sectarian justice.
Why? Because I can, and because with ability comes responsibility. Because If I do not act, the next they send against him will likely be less capable then myself, and if they were to fall, then their blood will be on my hands also. As would any innocent blood Rama might spill in his ever-increasing state of delusion. High Rock is a dangerous land not because it is full of evil people or wicked creatures, but because it is full of people who don’t do anything about it.
As a boy I joined the Imperial Legions for the prestige, for honour, for pride, and for the prospect of regular pay. But also I had nobler ideals, because I wanted to help those who could not help themselves, to protect those who could not protect themselves, and to bring justice to those who could not achieve justice for themselves. I am no longer a legionnaire, but I am still that same boy but in a man’s body.
… and of course principles are all well and good, but then there’s the matter of the bounty.
Vaermina’s Supernal cultists continue their ignoble attempts to undermine the Covenant from within, whilst Dark Elven slave ships menace Stormhaven’s southern coastline. In Wayrest, whispers and bruit unsettle tavern and court alike that the wretched of the Reach are gathering in numbers once more and have fixed their ravening eyes upon both Wrothgar and Bangkorai. All the while the strength of High Rock continues to battle bloody stalemate on the fields of Cyrodill… and still the anchors fall.
It is beneath these foul grapnels, forged under Dremoran whip in Coldharbour’s infernal foundries, that the night seems darkest. When the hooded cultists gather, and sacrifice is raised, hatred riles the air about; sudden winds, swirling mists, and the grind of chain heralds the arrival of the Daedric swarm to the outer darkness.
Tamriel is a land of banners, a continent of disparate peoples united only in our fear of one another. That fear is everywhere, we see it in our minds, feel it in our hearts, it whispers to our dreams, and it sits upon us like a virus. It is this fear that makes us stay silent in the face of dark deed and greater evil.
Yet it is here under the shadow of the anchors that I find hope. I have come to realize that I am not as singular as the old man would have me believe. I am but one of a thousand, and together we stand beneath the Worm cults rifts, to greet the Lord of Brutalities horde with resolve sharpened, and weapons drawn.
Let these cursed monsters come, let them drink deep agony; let them feel the fear that has for too long tormented our families. Let us show this Molag Bal that though we continue to quarrel one amongst another, we will willingly stand back to back with our most feared enemies when our quarrel is with him.