384. A vampire with ambition


At the temple school of Leki’s Blade, I read an old story about a notorious local vampire by the name of Feremuzh. Fettered as they were by their own traditions, the people of the desert could not slay the monster, so instead buried it in a ‘tomb of earth for time eternal’.

If my journey through the Alik’r has taught me anything, it’s that nothing stays buried for long under these shifting sands, especially the dead.


In the depths of Coldrock Diggings, I discover an ancient vampire feeding upon the fresh corpses of Withered Hand emissaries. At my sudden appearance, one of her lackeys nearby calls to her… ‘Feremuzh’. Could this be that same dread vampire of Redguard lore, unwittingly unearthed by the excavations of miners, and now regaining her strength, in both vitality and followers?

Whilst the vampire in the tale was male, the author was likely chronicling a campfire tale and the monsters gender was but a presumption. Of course the name could be but a coincidence, or perhaps this vampire knew her lore, and took the name in homage?


Only one thing I know for certain, that this is a vampire with ambition, and such a creature is far too dangerous to ever be allowed to see the light of the two moons.



383. The enemy of my enemy




A scourge of vampires has overrun the mine at Coldrock Diggings to the southeast of Tava’s Blessing. One would think that such tragic news could not remain buried for long, even in a desert, what with the miners failing to return home to their families, and the sudden end to production of the mine itself. However many of the miners families would have already been lost to the Withered Hand incursion at Tava’s Blessing, and it was the town’s shipyards who were the main client for the grit-rock that the mine produced.

Another reason the news of the vampire presence has not spread to the outside world is that the vampires themselves have so far not needed to leave the cover of the mine to hunt for food. For it appears the Withered Hand cultists have made numerous attempts to entreat this vampire coven for aid, only for the vampires to reject their pleas in the most unequivocal way imaginable, by feeding upon the cultist envoys and throwing their carcasses to their bloodfiend thralls.

It appears that vampire’s disgust for necromancy goes far beyond that felt by even the peoples of the desert. For vampires do not see death as a loss of their life, but a transcendence into something far more glorious, and that the living should not fight against them, but grovel and beg to join them. They believe the living raising the undead as minions to be abhorrent, and as outlandish as a Guar harnessing a farmer, or a skeever hunting a senche-tiger.  

Yet despite the most unambiguous of rejections, the Withered Hand continues to send more emissaries. This news fills me with fresh hope for the fate of the Alik’r, for as the Lizard folk of the Black Marsh used to say, ‘even a Mer will stretch out his hand to the Saxhleel when he is drowning in the swamps’.


382. A town lost to the dead


12Atop the Tava’s Blessing lighthouse, Alasan, one of the sibling leaders of the Withered Hand Cult, is close to accomplishing a ritual to turn himself into a powerful, and unstoppable Lich.  I have little choice but to kill him as I did his brother, but in doing so I shatter the sacred Ansei Ward to which he had become so intricately bound during his rite.


Even death is not enough to stop Alasan however, as he rises again as an insidious spirit, and the Ra-netu rise from the desert sands with him.

There is little I can now do to save Tava’s Blessing, we have lost the town to the dead. Perhaps the Ash’abah may one day be able to muster a force large enough to reclaim the town, but for that to happen the people of the desert will need to learn to accept and honour the Ash’abah, and that day seems a very, very long way away.


As for Alasan, the spirit of the Ansei Ward will attempt to bind and imprison him into the reforged blade for all eternity, or until we next forget the lessons of the past; and one thing that our history has taught us is that we seem predestined to forget our history.


381. Totems of corrupt intent


It is a question so compelling it drives me on through the horror that surrounds me…

The necromancers of the Withered Hand Cult have overrun the port town of Tava’s Blessing in Northern Alik’r, killing almost every living thing, be it man, mer or beast.  Almost all, for the heir to the Redguard throne has somehow managed to survive the massacre, holding off the cultists in a warehouse with a small group of retainers.

Hammerfell is a land that  does not look kindly upon magicka-users, considering them at best unnatural. Necromancers they consider to be downright immoral, believing that they desecrate the mortal’s natural journey from life to death to the Far Shores. Even mages and sorcerers look unkindly upon the act of manipulating souls of mortals to reanimate their corpses.

Yet even the greatest of their orders are not foolish enough to underestimate the undaunted will of the necromancer.  For every attempt to raise the dead is thwart with dangers, not least the risk of a failed binding, or a corpse too far separated from life that it results in a feral undead who is just as likely to turn on its reanimator as obey them. The scouring sands of the Alik’r however preserves its corpses for centuries, allowing the skilled necromancer to successfully harvest the souls of warriors long since passed.

The first thing I noticed when I entered Tava’s Blessing was the smell, it struck hard like a punch in the nose, and it took me a while to overcome the involuntary gagging.  I am used to death, and I am used to corpses, yet the stench of rotten meat and burnt skin hangs thick here. It sits upon the air like a heavy blanket, suffocating my every breath.

There is an almost deafening buzz of tiny wings as thick clouds of insects creep across the town like black ghosts, gorging upon the bloated bodies, entrails, and coagulating blood left to fester in the streets.  Uncertain squawks and bickering of carrion birds can be heard from the near-by rooftops, unsure whether it is safe for them to swoop and scavenge, wary of the cultists who wander amidst the carnage chanting and hissing in what seems a gibberish language.

Dressed all in drab leathers, stained and caked with dried, blackened blood; bonelords and brutes, rogues and mystics, sorcerers and defilers, the host of the Withered Hand, gather in small groups, pilling corpses around ghastly totems, preparing ritual for corrupt intent.  

And all the while I am driven to fight my way through this horror that surrounds me by that one compelling question….. 

Why have the necromancers not raised the dead of Tava’s Blessing?