580. Of brave fools and wise cowards

580. Of brave fools and wise cowards

Kelmen Locke fears history will paint him a coward.

When Craglorn was beset by the Dark Anchors of Molag Bals insidious Planemeld, it was he and his fellow guild members that braved the regions rocky wilderness to greet them with defiance. Indeed, aided by the atronachs they eventually overcame; but then the Serpentine One appeared. They sent their minions against it, but the atronachs refused their oaths and instead turned against their masters. Whilst his comrades died unmerciful deaths, Locke fled.

Is it cowardice to run from certain death? Is not fear the survival instinct innate in every man, mer or beast? Yet every soldier knows the clutch of fear, but they choose to stand and fight because they know that if they do not then others shall be forced into a fight that wasn’t theirs to begin with.

Someone once said that the fighting is done by brave fools and the thinking by wise cowards… In truth I could not tell you whether that was written by a soldier or a scholar.

Locke is able to inform us that those first atronachs that the Celestial Mage taught them to summon were ancient and somewhat cognizant. He claims they were able to commanded the others through them using a mystic gem which he has now given to me.

In the end if Kelmen Locke had not run away and left his comrades to their deaths we would not now have this opportunity to perhaps stop the atronachs before they overrun the whole of Craglorn. In saving his own life the coward may have inadvertently saved a thousand more.

History is not written by the winners, it is written by the survivors.


579. Haddock’s Market

579 (a). Haddock’s Market

There is no sovereign of all Craglorn, the regions few cities and townships must maintain their own autonomies by employment of guards, militia, or mercenaries. Thus the roads and trails outside of these settlements, despite being key trade routes between the provinces of High Rock and Cyrodiil, are left unguarded and lawless. And any caravan or expedition braving these routes without ample or able guard, will undoubtedly fall prey to the ruthless Greycloak Mercenaries.

579 (b). Haddock’s Market

The Greycloacks are an outlaw band, and by outlaws I don’t mean the rascals and rogues that are but the trite invention of the tavern bards. These are vagabonds, bullies, cut-throats and petty thieves. Along the eastern road, just outside the jurisdiction of Belkarth, can be found a huge mountain cavern from which the Greycloacks run much of their illicit businesses. Exploring the cavern I found everything from the essential to the exotic. Teas, textiles, spices and sugars, weapons, armour, jewellery and even caged beasts; all no doubt smuggled or purloined.

579 (e). Haddock’s Market

They even have a giant adult Wamasu, a dangerous reptile rarely seen outside of the Black Marsh. Just how the Greycloacks managed to get it down here is beyond my comprehension, or indeed just what they intend to do with it. I recall back in Glenumbra reading the lament of a sea captain who had foolishly tried to transport a full grown Wamasu matron to Anvil on the Gold Coast. During a storm the brute broke free of its crate, crashed through the hold and proceeded to destroy the ship in tempestuous fury. So it is no great surprise to now watch on as the Greycloack handlers loss control of their beast too.

579 (h). Haddock’s Market

Perhaps their misguided confidence came directly from their leader, a fierce Redguard named Ariana At-Fara, who herself keeps two senche-tigers close as hand at all times; perhaps as guards, pets, or companions. She might do well to remember the Khajiiti adage, ‘One can befriend a senche, one can train a senche, but one can never, ever, tame a senche’.


578. Homeward-bound

578. Homeward-bound

Serving in the Imperial Legions can take you to some unexpected places in inhospitable lands. Antonia Gratas of the Sixth Legion has set up camp near the Mountain Overlook Wayshrine in Craglorn where she attempts to sell her military surplus in order to get back to Cyrodiil. Often the most arduous journey of them all is the one that leads back home. Whilst she may seem brusque in manner, it is but a soldiers pretence to mask the throe in the pith of every Imperial legionnaire across Tamriel; that ineffable longing for our green and verdurous heartland home.


577. The twice betrayed

577 (a). The twice betrayed

How numb have I now become to the agonies of Tamriel. The more oft I see things around me – even the wicked, vile, and hateful things – the more they have become invisible to me. In the same way that I often used to take for granted the beauty of this world, in these times of strife I have seen the awful so oftentimes, that I see them now less and less.

577 (b). The twice betrayed

At the Proving Grounds Dolmen in Craglorn, the corpses of the Mages Guild members who fought so valiantly for our freedom lie abandoned, their sacrifice disregarded and unhonoured, treated with as little lament as the Worm Cultists that rot alongside. These Mages were not the victims of the cultists or their Daedric allies however, but of the very atronachs they summoned to defend against Molag Bals incursion. It seems as soon as the Dark Anchors were defeated, the atronachs of the Celestial Mage turned upon Craglorn and its defenders.

577 (c). The twice betrayed

The Celestial Thief wants to discover how and why, and for that we need to find a conjurer named Kelmen Locke, the sole survivor of this most unmerciful betrayal.


576. How do you fight against an enemy you know you cannot defeat?

576 (a). How do you fight against an enemy you know you cannot defeat

The fallen aspects of the Celestial Mage gather to confront their corrupted sister beneath the blighted city of Elinhir. They say that the Lost One has grown too strong for any mortal to defeat, and fear that she may prove more powerful than the four of them combined. But the Aspects have a plan. They hope that by rejoining with their twin they might divide her within themselves, and together they can fight the Serpent’s corruption from within. But for this to work they will need a distraction… namely me.

576 (b). How do you fight against an enemy you know you cannot defeat576 (c). How do you fight against an enemy you know you cannot defeat

Unfortunately, she seems to have anticipated their course and fled to the Celestial Apex Stone, the very device which allows the Celestials to manifest upon our plane. It was the Apex Stone that was sought by the Serpent in his artful deal with the Blackcaster Mages which led to the fall of the city above. By his befoulment of the stone the Serpent corrupted the will of the Lost One, and unless their plan works, this will be the inevitable fate to befall all the Aspects.

As I engage with the Lost One it is clear we have been expected for she knows her siblings are close. She is indeed powerful, using the elements as if they were a part of her, and summoning atronachs of every hue to defend her. As much as I try to close the gap to attack her, most of the battle all I can do just try to stay alive.

576 (g). How do you fight against an enemy you know you cannot defeat

How do you fight against an enemy you know you cannot defeat? Like the proverbial cornered beast, breath by breath, tooth and nail. For the animal with it’s foot caught in a trap does not yield to despair; It is too busy fighting to survive. The truth is, when you fight any battle you never know whether you will win or lose, you fight to survive… or you won’t. The greatest act of courage for mortals is not to be found in vainglorious victory, nor in valiant defeat, but in surviving your battles, to learn the lessons, tell the tales, and witness another dawn.

576 (h). How do you fight against an enemy you know you cannot defeat

I have fought my battle, it now up to the aspects of the Celestial Mage to fight theirs.