The temple of the Hall of Heroes is the final resting place of many fabled Redguard gallants of yesteryear, and now it is to be the graveyard of the Seventh Legion’s ambitious Hammerfell incursion; or so it is expected. Indeed, so confident that this is indeed the Magus-General Septima Tharn’s last stand, that High King Emeric himself has rushed here to lead the final charge to drive the Imperials from the Bangkorai sands. No doubt he has one eye on the history books, but alas like all vain men he may have suffered a moment of unreasonable confidence.
The scouts warn us that the Seventh Legion have been here for several weeks and are now well dug in, and some have even reported they may have spotted daedra within the temple itself. Why here? Why at this ancient crypt? Why does this feels so much like a trap?
Throughout Her northern campaign Septima Tharn has proved herself a masterful and cunning tactician. Capturing the indomitable Bangkorai Garrison, and almost sweeping the entire region with but a single legion. We may have the numbers and the fresher troop, but we cannot underestimate Tharn’s artifice, for whilst a dagger might not be as large and destructive as a greatsword, in the hands of a skilled nightblade its edge cuts thrice as deep.
There was a saying back in the Imperial city, ‘The only thing sharper then an assassins blade is a Tharn’s tongue’.
One moment we stand ready to storm the temple, the next by Septima Tharn’s foul magics, the King’s entire retinue lays dead about and Emeric himself is made prisoner. And yet, whether for arrogance, sheer temerity, or a brilliant gambit I cannot yet see, she left one standing… me.
On such moments of unreasonable confidence do entire kingdoms stand or fall.
I come across a small ransacked campsite in the middle of nowhere. The locals call this area Ash’abahs’ Oasis, despite the fact that there is no water in sight, and the bodies I find scattered about do not look to me like those of Redguards. Perhaps the misnomer is deliberate, for it is a scornful name for such a barren waste, and the Ash’abah are still held in unjust disdain throughout Hammerfell.
The orgres that ransacked this camp are still here plundering through what is left of the tents. As tall as they are broad, their muscles bulge under their thick blue leathery skin. They lumber ungainly, hunched at the shoulders, which leads many people to mistakenly mark them as being slow. But I have seen an ogre run as fast as a guar when in pursuit, and climb a mountain as nimbly as a goat when pursued.
The closer you get to an orge the more noisome becomes the reek of rancid meat, yet despite this stomach-churning stench, they seem to rely most heavily upon their sense of smell. Indeed, as I approach the ogre it sniffs the air and slowly turns to peer at me from under its protuberant brow, and bellows a challenge full of spite, malice, and putrid fetor.
One of the largest and most feracious mines in all of Hammerfell, the yield of Onsi’s Breath is said to have kept the Redguard of Bangkorai armed and armoured for generations. Named after the Yokudan warrior god who was said to have taught the Ra Gada how to turn their knives into swords, rather curiously it was up until recently run by a Nord.
Now however it is under the control of soldiers from the Seventh Legion. Without the numbers or knowledge to work the mine themselves, the Imperials have began press-ganging unfortunate locals and wayfarers on the southern roads, and forcing the aforementioned foreman to keep the mine running for them.
Liberating the mine would certainly further blunt Septima Tharn’s Bangkorai ambitions, but perhaps more importantly, it would also ensure that in our final push against the Seventh Legion we aren’t caught in the barbed maw of a duneripper between two camps of Imperials at Onsi’s Breath and the Hall of Heroes.