In the depths of the ancient subterranean settlement known only as ‘Orc’s Finger ruins’, an Ayleid Well still radiates magical energy just as it has done for the many hundreds of years since the Ayleid’s were forced to abandon their great cities.
As a young man exploring my homeland of Cyrodiil, we would occasionally discover such Ayleid monuments in the wilds. I remember vividly the sensations as we approached the Wells light, how my skin would tingle, and I would quickly begin to feel invigorated, full of energy, both physically and mentally. However, once we knew where such Wells were located, we would be sure to steer clear for they would attract all sorts of strange and unsavoury characters. Nomadic Elven sorcerers, Hagravens, gangs of Breton cultists, and even at one we watched dumbfounded as a band of Bandaari Peddlers were attempting to bottle the light.
History scholars often teach that these Ayleid Wells inhale their magic from the stars at night and then slowly breathe the energies back into the skies when fully charged. One wonders the plausibility of such an explanation given how far underground this Well is built.
Some have proposed the Well’s location is the key; suggesting that they were built upon points where ancient lines of mystical energies crossed or met. I have even heard a tavern theory that they were built to mirror upon Nirn the constellations in the sky. Whilst both highly unlikely, no-one has as yet been able to map their locations to fully disprove either theory.
It is all just conjecture of course, the Ayleids like the Dwemer, have now passed from Nirn and took much of their knowledge with them, leaving even our brightest scholars with only suppositions, theories, and empty bottles of light.
Whilst searching south of Northpoint I discover the entrance to an Ayleid delve known locally as ‘Orc’s Finger ruins’. Perhaps it gained its contemporary nickname from the shape of the rocky crags that shadow its entrance, for the original name for the Ayleid settlement appears now lost to history.
Inside the ancient hallways and chambers remain remarkably well preserved, with the crystals still lighting much of the subterranean city long after the light of their architects have faded from Tamriel.
It is no surprise to find that Bitterhand Bandits have found their way into the ruins, squatting in the dank, mucid corridors, waiting upon the night when they surface like skeevers to pick at the corpses of those who would brave the day.
The defeat of their rather inordinately named leader, Fingaenion Forestsmasher, may serve to keep the rodents in their hole for a while at least.
Whilst searching for a way into the captured city of Northpoint, I find a camp from where Commander Pyline commands House Montclair’s forces beyond the city walls. Her orders are to find and dispatch any escaped Northpoint guard, whilst preventing reinforcements reaching the city from Shornhelm.
We can expect no help from the sea as Montclair’s navy seems to hold the entire Eastern coastline. Our only hope is that the Breton Darien Gautier has found more success with his scouting… if we can only find him.
I arrive at the outskirts of Northpoint, for generations the principle city of ambitious House Dorell. Now however the Baron and his troop have been supplanted from their own home by the insidious forces of the Montclairs.
I must find Skordo the Knife amongst the outlaying farmsteads which have also become overrun. The brash Orc, the Countess Tamrith, and the former captain of Camlorn, Darien Gautier, have been tasked with finding a way into the locked city.
The Dremora still control the Sigil stone attuned to the portal beneath the Edrald Estate in Rivenspire. Before we return to High Rock this relic must be destroyed lest the demons of the Deadlands return for their revenge, only next time as legion. But to get to the stone, I must first overcome the Dremoran Lord Velark.
For the Dremora, the bestowal of honorific titles such as Lord is not an hereditary tradition as in Breton society, nor a reward for wealth and enterprise like the Redguards, or by the nepotism that High Elf society often stands accused, but it is earned by bloody deed and viscous achievement on and off the battlefield; and more often than not, over the brutal supplantation of the titles previous occupant.