467. The inexplicable duel


As the Battlemage Papus fell to my blade, the abyssal voice of Molag Bal thundered threats and menaces through the Royal Crypts. There can no longer be any doubts that Septima Tharn and her Seventh Legion are but minions upon Nirn for the Lord of Brutality.

I made my return back up to the courtyard just in time to hear the dread horn bellow and witness the mammoth metal chains of a Dark Anchor crashing into the very heart of the Garrison. When the dust and smoke settled I expected to see a horde of daedra awaiting us, there was however but one solitary figure, a Xivilai by the looks of it’s horns and azure skin.


So instead of a battalion of daedra to crush our weary troop, Molag Bal sends a single champion against us. It is clear this is to be a challenge, a duel, a champion of Coldharbour against a King’s champion. For such a dishonourable prince, it is a strangely honourable challenge, and one I feel I am honour bound to accept. As I make my way down to the dolmen below, I begin to wonder just how I came to this?

Despite what that blind old man in the cave claims to have seen in his scrolls, I do not believe that I am slave to destiny. I was never born to be a champion, especially for a King in who I have no faith, a country that is not my home, or a Covenant I cannot in all good conscience fight for. it’s all just… utterly inexplicable.

I was raised by my mother and father to spend my days in Cyrodilic fields and Colovian markets. I joined the legions, not to become a champion or a hero, but to escape that fate; the recruiter after all promised that I would see the world.

In training I was never the best recruit, I never stood out at any particular discipline. I just fulfilled my duties to the best of my abilities and it proved enough for me to earn my place as just another spoke in a wheel of the Empire’s legions.


And my eventual demise in the Imperial City was not through any heroic sacrifice, nor any grand act of martyrdom against the invading daedra. I was doing little more then my expected duty when I was ambushed on the streets by cultists, and died on that cold stone slab to the ritual bodkin of that most villainous Mer.

And I remember well that anarchic night in the prison when the pale Argonian freed me from my cell, for it feeds my nightmares still. I saw hundreds that night just like me, scrambling blindly about the forge and Undercroft like panicked guar fleeing from a Black Marsh storm. And who knows just how big the Wailing Prison truly is, I saw hundreds, but there may well have been thousands, all desperately trying to escape that underworld and find a way, any way, back home to Nirn.

And though it has been through deed that I have earned the title of King’s Champion, it was because I posses any special skills or talents, but through sheer bloody mindedness, and from fighting alongside and learning from some of the greatest warriors in all of High Rock and Hammerfell.

I shall indeed meet this champion of Coldharbour in single combat, and I shall drive my blade through it’s neck and send it back home to Oblivion in pieces… and by my victory shall Molag Bal know our measure.



466. The last rites of Battlemage Papus

With the Evermore Guard preoccupied by the Reachman invasion to the North, and Emeric’s Lions still mustering beyond the Bjoulsae River, Septima Tharn jumped rashly upon the back of opportunity, and yet won a remarkable victory.

We are at our most vulnerable in the twilight of our greatest achievements however. and her Seventh Legion failed to hold onto what they had achieved because they overreached and could not reinforce the battlements in time with fresh soldiers or supplies from the south. For all her reputation as a ruthless tactician in battle, Tharn’s ambition, like so many would be conquerors before her, fell to the seduction of that most cruel of sirens, vainglory.


We may have secured the main courtyard but the battle for Bangkorai Garrison is not yet fully won, for the Seventh still hold the Royal Crypts from where they are preparing their final stand. King Emeric urges us forward hoping to catch Septima Tharn before her inevitable retreat, but also fearing what the Imperial necromancers may have planned, for this is also where fallen King Eamond’s corpse was set to be laid to rest.

The Seventh’s final charge is of but green conscripts who fall quickly to our blades upon the bridge, and beyond we meet their final line of defence, daedra summoned from the shadow realms. Whilst not enough to stop our advance, they prove enough to slow us, and alas, I arrive too late to capture Septima. Instead I find one of her officers, a Battlemage named Papus, performing debased rites upon the corpse of the late king.


What wretched crescendo this conductor of insidious rituals has planned I know not what, only that his vile coda must be brought to an close upon the thrust of my sharp baton.


465. Once a legionnaire?



The battle for Bangkorai Garrison rages on in the main courtyard between the forces of High King Emeric and those of the corrupt Seventh Legion. Though we seem to be securing an advantage, every yard we gain is earned by bloody deed. For these legionnaires honourably bequest their last breath to their cause, even though their cause be a dishonourable one. During battle raged is when the loyalty of the legionnaire is proven best.

The question is to whom are the soldiers of the Seventh Legion loyal? Is it to their leader Clivia Tharn, or to their country, forever their heartland no mater it’s leader or state? Or is it to the Seventh itself and their comrades, or to themselves, and their own innate sense of honour?

The detractors of the Legions have always accused them of being enslaved by their own loyalties, but is that such a bad thing? Is nobly dying for ones cause, even an ignoble one, not better then living for no cause at all?


And is this inherent Cyrodilic ambition to expand and conquer not in the very spirit of the most noble St Alessia herself, so that all the peoples of Tamriel may benefit from the protection and shared prosperity of the empire?


Were it not for the claws of Coldharbour dug deep into the spine of the Seventh Legion, I may well have been questioning my own loyalties today.


464. Tripping through the sewers

King Emeric’s grand plan to retake the Bangkorai Garrison from the Seventh Legion is to have me crawl through the rancid sludge of the fort sewers like a rat to reach the gatehouse. Once there I am to open the front gates where upon he will stroll triumphantly through them in his clean, shiny Breton armour to glorious fanfare; because they won’t be expecting that.


Only, judging by the amount of soldiers I encounter paroling these putrid tunnels, they were expecting just that.


So thank you Emeric, thank you for this most uniquely foul experience, and thank you for sending me to do a job that any sneak thief could have done.



463. Doubts and resolutions


The gates and high walls of the Bangkorai Garrison are an imposing sight. Near-by I find that High King Emeric and his retinue of Lions guards and Evermore soldiers have arrived before me. Despite our combined forces however, we do not have enough numbers to enact a full assault or siege upon the mighty stone battlements of the garrison.


King Emeric though has earned renown for his tactical acumen in past battles, so I will put my trust in his plan today. It is good to see the High King leading on the front. Quick-witted, silver-tongued and sardonic, this is Emeric at his best; troubled times calls for a more visible and bold leadership.

However, I still remember vividly Emeric’s weaknesses cruelly exposed by Vaermina’s consort. I witnessed what truly lies beneath his breast plate, and I cannot forget.

I know next to nothing of the little elf girl, or the drunken minstrel that lead the other alliances who war over the tarnished throne and the ashes of an empire, whilst tearing my homeland apart. They may be no better, they may be no worse, the only time I’ve ever encountered them was in some twisted fancy of Sheogorath’s imagining. All I know is I cannot in good conscience back Emeric’s claim to be emperor, and thus I cannot fight under the Lion’s banner.


So if I do not fight for Bangkorai, for Emeric, or his Covenant, then as I stand here on the morn of another battle which I may or may not survive, who or what am I fighting for?

I am about to raise my sword against an Imperial Legion, my once comrades, my landsman, my kin. Some of the soldiers on the other side of these stone walls I may know, some I may have trained with, served with even. We may have grown up as neighbours, played in the same streets and fields. Many of them were born my countrymen, but not today.

Today, I fight against this corrupted legion and those that have corrupted them. I fight against the Tharns, the cultists, the daedra worshippers, and that thief Mannimarco.

Today I fight for Cyrodiil. Today and everyday, I fight for Stendarr’s Legions.