At the ancient Aylied Nilata Ruins in South Western Bangkorai, Seventh Legion soldiers from the nearby occupied town of Hallin’s Stand are falling victim to attacks by a plague of giant spiders. Whilst I am vexed by their continued corruption and allegiance to the Worm Cult, they are still my landsmen and I cannot leave them to a fate such as this.
As I battle against the giant arachnids and at the webbing that traps the still breathing legionaries, an unsettling thought occurs to me; what if these soldiers were not Cyrodilic? What if instead they were invading from Ebonheart or Aldmeri? What if they were not men at all but mer, or worse still Nords? Would I be so quick then to risk my own mission and my life to save them, or would I leave them to their fate?
That question seemed to grow ever more pertinent when I discovered the reasons for the spider infestation. A despondent goat herder wanders the ruins and recounts a sorrowful tale that is all too familiar; human weakness played upon by daedra. This wretch has not only lost his goats to the spiders, but also his marriage, and his family for the entertainment of the Webspinner.
Having watched Sheogorath torment one of the greatest mages in all Tamriel, witnessed Vaermina almost bring down a High King and his Covenant, and Molag Bal set his sights upon conquering the whole of Nirn, one would have thought that the daedric prince Mephala would have bigger Snappers to fry then the life of a simple goat herder.
Yet to these daedric princes it matters not whether you are a king or a pauper, an emperor or a herder. They see beyond the wealth and status of mortals, they see beneath our cloths, race, and fidelities. They see only our mortality, and discriminate against none. For the eternal Princes we are all but brief flesh and bone, and the same worm that will dine upon the corpse of an emperor, will the very next night dine upon a beggar.
To the daedra all men and mer are born, live and die equally, and in this respect they prove far more righteous then I.
I delve ever deeper into the Dwarven city of Klathzgar as I follow in the footsteps of the dead Altmer Pelorrah. He himself was following the fate of Princess Urenenya who life ended a thousand years ago in this very city, but her story did not.
The fates of people shift like the desert sands, and it has ever been the fate of some to uncover lost treasures, and others to become buried alive. But for Princess Urenenya, her fate was for her life and beyond to be conducted by others doing what that they thought best for her. What played out was a most sorrowful concerto where the virtuoso never got to play her own melody.
Perhaps it was the winds of providence that did lead both Pelorrah and myself through the sands to this lost city of Klathzgar, so that the Princess’s soul may finally be laid to rest, and all Aetherius may finally hear her song.
Automations still roam the mighty settlements of the Dwarves, but not just through the subterranean caverns and corridors, but also freely traversing through the pipes, walls, ceilings and floors. Dwarven centurions, spheres, and spiders work in harmony together with shared purpose to keep their city breathing, existing only to maintain their home and each other, and to keep uninvited guests like me out. Their solidarity would be the envy of every civic leader in Tamriel.
As I search deeper still, each machine seems to pause and consider before they inevitably attack, and I begin to wander if I might be the first being of flesh and blood these creatures of metal have seen in a millennia, but then I find the body of an Altmer, and quickly learn of his extraordinary search for a maidens soul that was never laid to rest…
The Dwarven city of Klathzgar, thought forever lost to the sands and forgot by all but the most sedulous of scholars. Yet the desert sands move much like the fates of men and mer, ever shifting and their drifts often guided solely by the the winds from Aetherius. And what was once thought lost is perhaps by providence found again. But unlike the lost cities of other civilizations that died hundreds of years gone by, Klathzgar breaths still.
As I enter the huge stone doorway my every sense tells me this subterranean compound is very much still alive. The clink and clank of metal upon metal, the grind of chain, the hiss of steam, and the roar of flame. As I wander the corridors of rock and iron, I feel the city’s heart beat vibrating beneath my feet, the air smells and tastes of earthy oils, and all the while I feel my every step is being watched by the many eyes of Klathzgar built into the walls, furnaces, pipes, and large machines of forgotten purpose.
But soon too I become aware of other things moving autonomously from the great Dwemer machines, and for a short time they seem content to watch me also…