I make my way back to the Harborage from Bangkorai in answer to the old man’s call, the Redguard Sai Sahan has recovered from his ordeals in the dread Halls of Torment, and is ready to reclaim the Amulet of Kings from the ruins of Sancre Tor. First however we must travel to the Valley of the Blades deep within the Dragontail Mountains, where he left a mystical key to the ruined city in the safekeeping of his old mentor Kasura.
We arrive at the Abbey where generations of Redguard Sword-Singers have learnt their art, only to find a scene of devastation. The Abbey is in wreck and flames, and the charred bodies of its young students lie all about. Worm cultists arrived before us and opened rifts to Oblivion through which the scourge of Coldharbour flooded the Valley.
Together we beat back the remaining daedric minions and closed the rifts, but just as we thought we had achieved the daedra, the monstrous shadow of a huge titan falls upon us.
The Far Shores, the utopia of the Redguard warrior cast. An afterlife of eternal martial trial, challenge, and competition. An Aetherial mirror of their desert homeland that is the aspiration of every Redguard warrior, hero, and champion. Yet one wonders about the common folk, the everyday people without whom these heroes could not shine. From the blacksmiths that forge their weapons, to the armourers and cobblers. From the chefs that cook their food, to the innkeepers and maids. From the the stable masters that train their steeds, to the bankers, and merchants. From the magistrates that uphold the laws, to the diplomats, and the city guard. Where do these unsung of heroes of Redguard society go when they die?
Makes you question the motives of these ‘noble’ Redguard champions, what they truly fight for, and indeed what, or who, would they sacrifice to earn their place in this paradise? But these are questions for another time, for as I approach the pedestal upon which High King Emeric’s soul is still bound by ethereal chain, Septima Tharn brashly springs her unsubtle trap into which I have walked, eyes wide open.
Tharn has led me here because she believes that in the Far Shores I am severed from the Anuic forces that tethers me to my stolen soul. Perhaps she is right, perhaps if I fall in the Far Shores there is no way back. But Tharn is about to learn that in the Far Shores there are no predators or preys, there are just contenders.
The abduction of the High King was but a gambit to get me here, but for all her tactical brilliance and necromantic talents that force the spirits of the Hel Shira to fight for her, she is to me but a stepping-stone. For my prey is that accursed elf Mannimarco, and to reach him in Coldharbour I will need Emeric back on Nirn, alive again.
…long live the king.
Before Septima Tharn somehow managed to break into the Chamber of Passage with her prisoner, no living mortal had set foot in the passageway between between Nirn and the Far Shores. But now I too have arrived, too late however, or just in time depending on perspective, as I witness Tharn thrust her dagger deep into High King Emeric and retreat through the portal into the eternal realm.
The King is dead.
I watch his reluctant spirit forsake his corpse and follow his murderer into the afterlife as if tethered by fate. They say that a trap is only a trap if you don’t know about it, and yet I know this is certainly a trap, but there is no going back, and I can do no more now but follow hard upon.
Any man who says he does not fear death is either lying, or already without a soul.
The Keeper at the temple of the Hall of Heroes in Bangkorai believes the Magus-General Septima Tharn has taken her prisoner into the forbidden Chamber of Passage, a mystical gateway to the Far Shores. Only by winning the approval of the legionary warriors buried within the crypts can I gain entry into the Chamber and attempt to thwart whatever Tharn’s insidious ploy.
If attempting to impress such noble yet pompous champions wasn’t challenge enough however, the temple is overrun with soldiers of the Seventh legion and their daedric allies.
By far the worst of these are the giant Harvesters. These minions of Molag Bal are thought to be highly adept at both illusion and conjuration spells. I cannot judge their aptitude for one particular school of magic or another, but I know these serpentine creatures make deadly adversaries. I have witnessed these demons rip the very lifeblood from the bodies of their victims into floating opaque orbs which they absorb vampiric-like to restore their own vitality.
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.