In small caves hidden amongst the crags and hills, the hags of the Alik’r keep a wary yet ever watchful eye upon the busy road to Sentinel.
Their bodies have become corrupted by the very nature of the dark magics they practice. Their leathery skin is as gnarled as the bark on the desert palms, and their root-tangled hair is as alive with bugs as the desert scrub. Their eyes have become so narrowed by the baking sun that it is now impossible to tell their true colour. But whilst their hunched bodies seemingly hang loose and decay upon their skeletal frames, their minds remain as sharp as a duneripper’s claws.
Woe betide any lost wanderer or lone straggler from a passing caravan, for once the hags have you marked as game, the first and last you shall know of it is when you hear their loathsome cackle.
At a distance the hags use their noxious magics to drain your life essence till you are but a shrivelled, empty husk. Yet if you allow them too close, they will gleefully and spitefully club you to a pulp with their twisted staves.
I find the Ash’abah camp south of the road to Bergama. Forevermore the pariahs of the sands, and yet the Kingdom of the deserts only defence against the undead armies of the Withered Hand.
The Redguard’s of the Alik’r consider it a sacrilege to take up arms against their honoured ancestors, swearing a curse to Tu’whacca upon the families of any who desecrate them; even when their ancestors are being risen for nefarious purpose. The Ash’abah have sacrificed their place amongst their own people to protect Hammerfell from the undead threat, and yet the people hate them for it.
Often when outcasts are exiled for long enough, they will begin to thrive upon being hated, their infamy becomes their very nature, and they forget that all that stands between themselves and self-destruction is their honour. Thankfully for the people of Hammerfell, the Ash’abah of Morwha’s Bounty appear to have retained their honour.
Recently however their water supply has been poisoned, leaving their chief Marimah, and many of their tribe upon their deathbeds.
It would be easy to attribute this attack to the Withered Hand, but the sad truth is, it could just as easily have been perpetrated by the very people the Ash’abah have sacrificed so much to protect.
Beneath the Southern walls of Sentinel, Samsi af-Bazra can only watch as the Badwater Mine collapses down upon her partner and her supplies. Alas that her partner was not to make it out alive, but his ghost lingers to tell a very different story of his fate then that told by the Redguard woman.
The spirit believes that he can only find rest in the afterlife when he has had his revenge upon the one he claims betrayed him.
That is the irony of vengeance, that it makes the vengeful forever dependent upon those who have wronged them, their release from their self-torment only coming when their adversary suffers the same fate, or worse.
I witness a Dark Fissure form in the desert wastes south of the harbour city of Sentinel, from which Daedra poured forth onto the baking sands. As to what mischief these servants of Oblivion had planned I could not say, for I dared not risk letting them roam free.
This is not the first such rift I have seen open beyond the Dark Anchors. Has Molag Bal’s Planemeld weakened the veil between our realms so much that Daedra will soon be able to come and go as they please?
Dwemer machines are not the only dangers lurking in the sombre halls of the Santaki Delve. A gang of bandits led by an impressively armoured Dark Elf, Tarrent Herano, appear to be searching the industrial ruins for something?
Perhaps it is this mysterious ‘Guardian’s Eye’ artefact I keep finding reference to in loose journal pages scattered throughout the delve. If it is then they are looking in the wrong place, for according to the last entry the artefact was moved long ago to another site called Aldunz.