597. The sum of his every breath

597. The sum of his every breath

The warrior not of this time looks down upon his own sarcophagus. This tomb forgotten is the sum of every moment of his life; a heroic life yet unglorifed by the shallow rhymes of the vagabond bards, or the sugared yarns of the Spinners.

His every achievement in life, and every sacrifice, every decision made both foolish and wise. Every battle he fought whether won or lost, every ally saved and enemy slayed. Every laugh shared in joy, every tear shed in grief, every kiss, every touch, and every embrace. Every courageous stand he ever did make, every moment of cowardice an unfading stain. Every virtue laid bare and every vice that he hid, every graceful dance, and every drunken jig. Every curse, every prayer, every thought, every word, the sum of his every breath… forgotten.


596. Faith in madness

The ruthless warlord Tarish-Zi has risen with his savage army of Anka-Ra to conquer these lands at the behest of the Celestial Warrior. It is now only a matter of time before this seemingly unstoppable host turns east towards the city of Belgarth.

When a land suffers under the influence of such great fear its people cannot be trusted to act or think sanely. Thus I would have scorned at the tavern rumours of a naked man appearing in the Dragonstar arena claiming to be our only hope to defeat the risen Ra Gada, had it not been for the adumbrate words given by Hermaeus Mora at the Seeker’s Archive – ‘There is a man who can help you defeat the Anka-Ra. His name is Titus Valerius, but he is not of this time.

This man now held prisoner at the Bangkorai Gate speaks so franticly that it is little wonder the guards believe him mad. Yet perhaps in such desperate times we should not be so eager to impeach another man’s sanity. For whilst we may all share this same world, within it each of us lives a unique reality; our own private perception different from those experienced by all others. One person’s reality is so different from another’s that sometimes they can’t explain it to us, and we think them mad. What if I was to tell this man I was once soul-shriven but made whole again by overcoming the daedric Prince of Brutality in an affair of honour; would he not think me mad also?

So I shall take a chance on this mad man, and follow him through a cave he called the Buried Sands, where he believes we will find something vital to defeating the Anka-Ra. And perhaps in doing so prove the philosophers’ claim, that in life true freedom can only be found in madness and dreams.

596 (i). Faith in madness


595. The battle for the Warrior’s stone

595 (a). The battle for the Warrior’s stone

Great victory requires great risk, yet too oft it is only in such victory that one discovers the prize was not worth the risk at all.

595 (b). The battle for the Warrior’s stone

In the ancient Yokudan tombs of Kardala the eternal Anka-Ra have risen from the dust. Incorporeal spirits of the heroic Ra Gada roam the repositories coarse chambers under the sway of a powerful Lich; and Izrunath the Corrupter of the Scaled Court stands guardian before the defiled Apex stone of the fallen Warrior. The Celestial Thief cannot aid me here beneath the sands for fear of ambush, so this grim fight must be fought and won by mortal alone.

595 (f). The battle for the Warrior’s stone595 (g). The battle for the Warrior’s stone

With this fiendish cartel overcome I am thus able to call upon the Aspects of the Lord, Lady and Steed using the Skystone Amulet to cleanse the Warrior’s Stone of the Serpent’s venom. But their ghostly visage is swiftly usurped by the umbral form of the Serpent itself, gloating that mine is but a victory vain. For whilst I have prevented further corruption to the Celestial Warrior’s stone, I am too late for it’s master is already trapped in mortal form and fully under serpentine control.


Sometimes it is the hardest fought victories that seemingly achieve the least.


594. The Skystone Amulet

594. The Skystone Amulet

In the deepest chambers of the Dwemer ruins of Mtharnaz I find the Skystone Amulet which the Star-Gazers believe can help us gain access to the Warrior’s Apex Stone in Kardala. The Scaled Court, as the followers of the insidious Serpent are known, have weakened the Warrior’s Stone with their magics. The Celestial Thief hopes that the aetherial energy from the Mundus stones of the Warrior’s celestial charges, the Lord, the Lady, and the Steed, will allow us to loosen the Serpent’s grip on the Warrior, in much the same way as we did for the Celestial Mage beneath Elinhir.

It is rather strange when we are told that the Dwarves had a far deeper appreciation of astronomy then the scholars of today, that they chose to build so many of their settlements deep underground. Did the Dwarves fear the gaze of Aetherius that much? Or to take this tavern theory a few mugs deeper, could it be that the Dwemer astronomers foresaw the corruption of the Celestials centuries before? Or could they have perceived a far worse threat from the skies above that has yet to come to pass?

Wild hokum and conjecture of course, but all arrows with which to pique and rile the pompous saloon scholars of the Crossroads Tavern the next time I have an evening to sate.


593. The descant of Mtharnaz

593 (a). The descant of Mtharnaz

Another day and another Dwarven ruin in Hammerfell. Other then the most studious of scholars, it is perhaps only the treasure hunter that fully appreciates the vast scale of the Dwemer civilization across Tamriel, and just how seismic and monumental must have been their sudden, unexplained disappearance.

The broad and tall caverns of Mtharnaz seem unsuitable for a place of domicile, yet these ruins also lack the giant furnaces, pipes and work stations that suggest it might have once been a place of manufacture. And whilst there appears to be what looks like an ancient orrey, there are no other furnishings or fittings to imply that this may have been a place of study either. What was Mtharnaz’s purpose is now alas a mystery. If only these Dwemer constructs had a voice, of what wonderments they would sing.

593 (d). The descant of Mtharnaz

The automatons still roaming the tunnels do not enjoy complete dominion over Mtharnaz however, for a cluster of giant spiders has made their nest in the inner delve. These most unfriendly neighbours have between them created a rather macabre battlefield of spiders limbs and metal parts. What is perhaps more bizarre is the thought of the brass constructs trapped in the huge webbed cocoons suspended from the ceilings.

This curious struggle between nature and machine reminds me of the philosophical debates that rage between the scholars whether nature is itself but a deterministic machine of intricate design by the Aedra. Indeed some even suggest that one of the dark elves so-called ‘living gods’, Sotha Sil, was somehow trying to replicate this theory with the building of a ‘Clockwork City’. Absurd of course, and besides that glorified tinkerer has not been seen for centuries; if he ever existed at all.

The only contribution this soldier can add to their debate is that once you have fought enough of their kind, the giant spiders behaviour in battle becomes just like that of the Dwemer automatons, as predicable as the journey of the two moons.