The portal now attuned becomes an open doorway to another world.
The trouble with portals, especially a Daedric portal, is that one never truly knows where it will lead. Sure for the trained eye there may be sigils, or runes that could be read, but wouldn’t it just be the Dremora thing to do to put up a sign saying ‘Through here for free tea and Colovian crumpets’… only for the portal to lead directly to a Deadland’s alter, a Coldharbour prison cell, or an Eastmarch tavern hosting a Nordic wedding feast.
I stand before the swirling gateway trying to espy some hint of what lays beyond; It is like watching fire reflected in marble. As I stare entranced by the flurry, the world about turns a molten gold hew, and the air tastes crisp as if charged, tingling my skin from pate to toe.
Unknowingly I step through, adrift between two worlds, briefly I hover like a star upon the horizon’s verge, and then suddenly I arrive… But where?
Please Divines, let it not be Eastmarch.
It is all quiet at the Edrald estate in the town of Fell’s Run; unnaturally so. In the main house there are signs of violence and struggle, yet no sign of the Edrald family or their retainers. In an Undercroft beneath the estate we discover a dormant Daedric portal.
An open tome nearby suggests that once attuned, the portal will lead directly to the Deadlands, the realm of Oblivion ruled over by Mehrunes Dagon, the God of Destruction.
As I reached the last standing rampart at the Old Fell’s Fort in Rivenspire, the rains began to fall heavily upon the bloody remnants of the bandit camp below, and Leonce Gavendien emerged from the tower to face his prosecutor.
They say that when you confront a bully, they will back down in fear; rarely is this true. Earlier this day the bandit leader had callously cut the throat of a helpless shop owner and left her to bleed to death upon the streets of Fell’s Run, he is a most wicked creature, but no coward. He didn’t run or try to hide from the man who was cleaving his way through his entire bandit entourage in order to claim baneful retribution.
Instead he charged straight at me with hubristic dare… no, with indignant fury… no again, with desperate defiance… yes that was it. Never is a man more dangerous than when he is desperate, yet never is a man more vulnerable than when he loses self-control.
Growing up in rural Cyrodiil, I remember the priests of Stendarr teaching that ‘strength is no blessing in itself, except when it is used to protect the innocent’. By the time I arrived at gates of the Imperial city as a young man eager to join the ranks of the Imperial Legions, those same priests were now teaching ‘strength is no blessing in itself, except when it is used to punish the guilty’. That was the first time I realised that in Tamriel, the Divines are as much subjects to the Empire as are its people.
The Bitterhand Bandits have set up camps in abandoned delves and old Breton ruins throughout Rivenspire, just like this one at the Old Fell’s Fort. Much like the Red Rooks in Northern Glenumbra, the cut-throat gang have been able to operate on the highways and rural lands of the region without fear of interference or reprisal from local authorities, whose capability to defend their people has been hamstrung by the Montclair’s treachery, and their ongoing commitments to the Three Banners War.
Unlike the Red Rooks however, who overran the remote town of Crosswych, and sought alliance with Angof and his Bloodthorn Cult, the Bitterhands have shown little ambition beyond preying upon unwary travellers, and under-protected small towns. I wonder if they even know the threat the Montclair’s nefarious intentions poses to all life in Rivenspire. Surely even they have had to fight back the bloodfiend scourge; and what protection are crumbling fort walls against the blood-curse that so swiftly devoured the once secure and sheltered town of Crestshade?
It took just a little borrowed magic to discover why the people of Fell’s Run were living in such fear of their new Constable and bailiff. But it was to take a lot of muscle to overcome their confederate Bulzog, a brute Orc who was holding town’s people’s relatives hostage at an old mill to the south of town.
Alas, by the time I returned Constable Gavendien had already gotten away with what he had come for, a large shipment of amethysts that were bound for the jewellery store. But whist he made his escape had also took something far, far more valuable. Simply to deter the locals from giving chase, the bandit thief mercilessly cut the throat of the jeweller and left her to bleed to death on the street.
This was a repugnant act of a coward, and I swear by the blessed Hammer of Stendarr, that if I have to cut my way through an entire Bitterhand encampment to bring him to justice, I shall.