398. What I found in Yldzuun… and what I lost

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Throughout my journey through the Alik’r I have been following in the footsteps of treasure hunters searching for an esoteric Aylid relic I know only as the Guardian Stone. I have no idea of the relics worth, purpose, or even what it looks like, but its trail, which has already led me through the Dwemer ruins of Santaki and Aldunz, does not end here in Yldzuun. But what I do discover in Yldzuun is something far more valuable to me then any ancient artefact, a company of soldiers from the Imperial army.

These are the first organized members of the Imperial legions, my legions, that I have encountered since my return from the sepulchral prison cells of Coldharbour. Indeed, the last time I was in company of my own people was the night my unit was ambushed by those wretched Worm Cultists on the road back to the Imperial City. And now I find my former comrades here, deep under the sands of the Alik’r, defending themselves against the pernicious automations of a long lost civilization. I can only surmise that these soldiers came here for the same reason as I, which means this Guardian Stone is far more important then I had previously thought.

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My first mistake was to call out, I should have known better, these soldiers were fighting for their lives after all; I came under fire from a battle-mage almost instantly. My pleas of restraint fell upon deaf ears and I was forced to defend myself from my own brethren. As I moved deeper through the ruins I was attacked on sight again and again by both the soldiers and the Dwemer constructs.

This was not the legion as I remembered, these soldiers are impulsive, emotion-driven and ill-disciplined. Operating this deep into Hammerfell these would have to be the soldiers of the Seventh Legion, led still I believe by the enigmatic Septima Tharn. The Seventh had always had an irregular reputation. Their recruits often came from the soldiers the other divisions either did not want or had given up on, and yet somehow Tharn managed to turn her legion into the Empires most feared and notorious. Cruel and ruthless to their enemies, arrogant and haughty to their allies, surly and pitiless to civilians.

They are far from the disciplined, committed, proud legion I remember; but perhaps that legion is no more. Perhaps that legion ended with the fall of the Imperial City, and perhaps I am now the irregular. Or perhaps it was always like this and I am just remembering the legions through the silvered hazed memories of a time when I was content, of a time when I wasn’t always lonely, of a time when every day I did not feel the abrading emptiness deep within where my soul should nest.

I guess I’ll have to learn to accept that the Cyrodiil I once called home, the legion I once lived for, and the legionnaire that I once was, are no more.

S.K

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