An Orc sits alone in a prison cell without visible wall, lock, or door. Gurlak is bound in a mystical cage made by vengeful wizards for the crime of falling in love with an Ayleid maid. He says he’s been imprisoned here for centuries, but by my unscholarly calculations it may now be well over two and a half millennia. One wonders at what point he give up on counting the years.
He claims that many have tried to free him, but all have failed; and yet the puzzle to my mind is simple to any who can appreciate the passing of time. And if any had the time to solve the puzzle it was Gurlak; yet having been forced to watch his love grow old and die before his eyes, never being able to hear, smell, or touch her, it is little wonder if he gave up trying.
And when finally set free from his prison, unfettered from the spell that prolonged his tormented life, he says he wants to stay exactly where he is, for it is all he now knows.
Yet the spirit of his former lover, Nuralanya, appears from the mists to take him “beyond this mortal realm”.
That we are all so lucky as Gurlak, for it seems to me that centuries of incarceration and torment are not so high a price to pay to not die alone.
In the gloomy chambers beneath the Salas En ruins in the Alik’r desert, Lady Clarisse Laurent and I are attempting to close the portal to Valenwood and thus prevent the Aldmeri from launching an invasion directly into the heart of Hammerfell. But the Elves, both living and undead, are unwilling to give up their portal without a fight.
The ruins at Salas En on the Hammerfell coast are believed to have been an Ayleid stronghold built during the Merethic Era. The Breton archaeologist Lady Clarisse Laurent, leads an expedition to learn more about the original inhabitants of which little is now known.
Since the Ayleids were overthrown, Corelanya Elves and Yath Yokuda have both attempted to build on the site, but neither of their settlements managed to endure the attrition of the desert winds as well as the original Ayleid structures.
An active portal was discovered deep in the ruins which upon investigation was found to lead to the jungles of Grahtwood. Unfortunately, the investigator returned from the Valenwood with the Dominion army hot on his tail.
Now the Aldmeri seem to be preparing for a full-scale invasion on the Alik’r. We must quickly find a way to close the portal before the Elves retake the ruins they last held some 2600 years ago.
Too late the princes of the Ra Gada make their return to the palace to discover their father King slain, but now risen again as an undead puppet for the Elvan necromancer, Wraithmaster Venerien.
The princes choice was plain. Either give up the palace and the land they fought so hard to achieve, or confront the most honoured dead, his own father, and damn himself and his ancestors to eternal dishonour and exile. Thus was I witness to the first sacrifice of the Ash’abah.
For the Ash’abah tribe, sacrifice is not just a part of life, it is who they are. It is not a regrettable conclusion, it is an aspiration. They do not see sacrifice as the loss of something for themselves, but the gain of something for others; others who will never thank them, but rather despise, scorn, and curse them for it.
And now for the sake of Hammerfell, I must request it of them once again.
The princes of the Ra Gada rush back to the Yokudan palace to report to their father and King their triumph over the Corelanya Clan and their fallen leader, Kinlady Iniel. But as they make their way through the palace crypts, the Elvan soldiers the Ra Gada slew have risen to challenge them once again.
It appears the rumours that the Corelanya had brought necromancers to the desert are true, and the brothers realize to late that their father’s palace has become compromised by their victorious charge.