Elanecarne, the mystical Altmer, sits indolently atop a wall in Shinji’s Scarp staring off into the distance, seemingly oblivious to the furore and bedlam raging all about. She notices neither my approach, nor my faltering salutation which swift becomes lost to her faraway eyes.
I have neither the eloquence of a bard, nor the hand of an artist, thus I cannot hope to convey a portion of the beauty reflected in the Altmer’s eyes. Endless horizons, rainbows of colours I had never before seen, a world blossoming so recklessly that I wanted to look away, or never look away, I could not decide. For a brief moment of eternity, I and the whole of Tamriel were adrift within her faraway eyes.
But then she blinked, and that moment was forever gone… if it were ever anything more than my imagination.
The Ironhand ogres have made their final stand in Stormhaven at Shinji’s Scarp, halting their pursuers by raining stone and rock down from the towers and cliffs of the fortified escarpment.
The Orc general Godrun claims not to have the soldiers to spare to break the stalemate, and indeed, when I walk his camp I meet more recruits from the fighter’s guild and the Lion guard, then Orcs from his Murtag Clan. Even Gloria Fausta and the idiot Gautier are here; traveling together now it seems…
Despite fighting at King Emeric’s side during Ranser’s war and the subsequent repatriation of Orsinium back to the Orsimer, Godrun fails to mask his resentment at High Rock for the cities razing. If he truly is another victim of Vaermina’s insidious Omen, then it may not be too long before the general’s inner acrimony is manipulated into a rash act of treachery
But we will have to worry about the whereabouts of the rest of his Clan later, for now I must lead the charge up the escarpment and close the caverns once and for all through which the ogres are gaining access to Sormhaven from the mountainous Wrothgar.
Aphren’s Tomb is the final resting place of a merchant King whom, after setting out to conquer his neighbours, returned home triumphant only to find his fortress destroyed and his family slain in his absence.
The Mages Guild believes that Aphren’s Sword was endowed with magical properties and covets its retrieval so that they might ‘study’ it as a relic.
I take the broken pieces I have recovered from the forts ruins down into the Kings tomb to be reforged, only to discover that my greatest challenge in this endeavour comes not from the skeleton undead guarding the catacombs, nor the King’s own indignant spirit, but from Aphren’s eternal remorse, and how my conscience is to weigh the incorporeal penitence of a long dead spirit, ‘gainst the earthly weight of a full purse of gold coin promised me upon the swords retrieval.
They are the shadows that whisper dread, existing between light and dark, life and death. They shimmer brightly by both night and day, yet darkness drips from their luminous silhouettes, and the air is weighed heavy with anguish and misery by their very ubiety.
The ghosts of Aphren’s Hold have been aroused by the Supernal Dreamers scavenging their bones for relics, but now the cultists all lay dead about and the spectres continue to wander the ruined fort in search of any being of warm breath against whom they might levy their requital unjust.
But what have I to fear from these spirits of unrest? After all, what am I without a soul but a silhouette, existing between light and dark, life and death.
The owners of the ill-fated Dro-Dara plantation are a band of fortune hunters who tired of life on the road and attempted to settle down. Providence has not looked kindly upon their venture however and they have decided to return to the transient life, all except an aged Argonian Shaman named Murk-Watcher. The companions still hope she will join them again but I was warned that old-age had stiffened her spine to the point of cantankerousness, and clouded her senses so that often she seemed confused about whom or where she was.
When I finally caught up with the Argonian however, I found not stubbornness, but rather determination, and far from confusion, she spoke in melodious poesy of the path she must follow. She talked of nature’s cycles, of her inner truth, of her true form, and returning to the river. She said that one song must end for another to begin, and with the heart of the aged crocodile Ripplestrike, she can sing her song and finally claim the form she was always meant to be.
It all sounds far too outlandish, perhaps the senile words of a time-weathered mind, but really what is strange to me now? Since escaping from that grim Coldharbor cell, I’ve seen the dead rise, chains fall from the sky, fought in a battle from ages past, and statues and ghost talk to me everywhere I go. Only normality seems strange to me now. Besides, I know only too well the feeling of not belonging in my own body; it has been long since I recognized myself in my own reflection.
Perhaps she sold me when she said that before instinct overtook reason she wanted to take a bite out of the bandit leader. But it is her will, and even if I don’t wholly believe in her plan, I will stand by her and carry her back to her friends if her dreams prove false. Sometimes you have to support a strangers dream even if it makes no sense to do so, just because it feels right. And besides, if I don’t believe in her now… who will believe in me when it is my time to sing my song and fight to regain my soul.