637. Tilling the fields of providence

637 (a). Tilling the fields of providence637 (b). Tilling the fields of providence

From a military perspective the Improvised Garrison seems to me to be strategically worthless. Being an isle in a sea of daedra it cannot be supported, it does nothing to impede enemy actions, and offers no clear path to the White Gold Tower. It is just as Caudex himself describes it, ‘bricks, old ledgers, and broken chairs’. Some may point to the garrison as a symbol of mortal defiance, a warning to Molag Bal that not a brick of Tamriel shall we surrender without fight. But when that symbol is eventually torn-down, then how quickly it becomes forgotten; for only the heroes and martyrs of the victors of battle become lyrics for the bard. Yet this night I choose to risk my life, and to risk my duty in support of the Drake’s quest, to aid the soldiers of the garrison in defending their doors against the deadric storm.

From the first moment I walked through the old forum doors I sensed there was something more to the survival of these eight soldiers then can been seen with the mortal eye. Perhaps it is because the scroll that Caudex later passes to me for the Drake. He claims it dates back to St. Alessia herself and credits it for bringing them back from the dead when they fell in battle. He says some priest, a Father Egnatius, was obsessed with it. It’s funny how when the dead are resurrected for their cause priests proclaim it is some sort of divine intervention, yet when it is not in their favour it is decried as foul necromancy, Reach magic, and devilry.

637 (f). Tilling the fields of providence

Call it providence if you will that these eight soldiers have survived so long, but surely not solely for a scroll, for it could have been manoeuvred by a much quicker and safer route into the hands of the Drake. Perhaps then for distraction, for the distrustful eyes of Molag Bal are certainly now fixed upon the garrison, searching for reason and comprehension as to their unnatural resilience.

Even with the scroll gone I believe the story of the Immortal Eight at the Improvised Garrison is not yet done. I recall the Elf Neramo when we first met upon Stros M’Kai telling me that the Dwemer automatons were full of cogs and wheels, and that if you could stop but one of those wheels, then you stop every wheel because they are dependent upon one another. I believe these soldiers are part of something bigger, a wheel in something we cannot yet see. That is why I was guided here to stand with them tonight, and to risk everything, and as others will stand with them on other nights, because there are many things that will depend upon this one thing. You see providence is the Divines sowing the fields with their seeds, but it always requires mortal hands to till the land for those seeds to grow.

637 (j). Tilling the fields of providence


636. The Immortal Eight

636 (a). The Immortal Eight

For almost two months Captain Anatolius Caudex and his small band of legionnaires have managed to hold their makeshift garrison in the forum of the Nobles district against the Daedric horde. But now only eight of them remain and the combined forces of Molag Bal’s minions and the traitors of Legion Zero are preparing for perhaps their biggest assault on the Improvised Garrison yet.

The legionaries brief me on what I did not know about that night of the Ruby Betrayal. It appears the loyalist legionaries in the Arboretum, Temple and Nobles districts lasted longer then the rest of us against our treacherous brethren. Indeed, for a time they believed they might win, but the daedra quickly turned the tide and the Arboretum and Temple units became overrun. Only Captain Caudex’s unit withstood the onslaught. Their scout suggested however that there might be more to their resilience then meets the eye, yet his comrades are unwilling to confide more in me. I cannot blame them of course, for it is difficult to trust anyone once you have been betrayed by your own brothers and sisters. Perhaps that is why this dutiful band is more like a family then a company.

Zelanus Equitius scouts the district for supplies and recruits to ease his comrades fight. Zelanus knows his talents, and makes the most of them to serve his company, even if that means not fighting at their side. He believes that the god’s will sell them all they need for the price of his honest labour.

Devout Arrianus Capius prays on his knees for Arkay to end his waking nightmare with a soldiers death, yet he seems certain his prayers will go unanswered. Despite this he pledges to never give up his fight to protect the mortal world from this immortal invasion… until his last breath.

The youthful Dulcilla Iullus attempts to keep the flagging spirits of her comrades raised and brightens their remaining time with music and smiles. The quality of the human spirit is to be able to face our certain doom with optimism. Yet when the night is darkest this Blessed Lady takes it one step further, reaching down and lifting up the people around her.

The studious Justianas Gratus believes that even in the absence of hope, it is still a virtue to study and learn. He endures this chaos by knowing more today than he knew yesterday. Knowledge however can only furnish the mind, it cannot impart wisdom, and Justianas has learnt you can only survive in battle by listening to the wisdom that your blood whispers to you.

Kyleus Herminia is annoyed when I disturb her writing. Bitterly she complains that the Eight ignore their prayers and that all is surely lost. They say that bitterness is to be avoided as it feeds upon its host, but it also fuels anger and resentment, and the truth of it is that some people need that fire to survive; It burns away their fear. And for this elemental mage, it is her enemy’s who must fear the fury of her storm.

Maxima Petellia thinks of her comrades as her children to be tended, fussed over and mothered. She cooks their meals and heals their wounds. Compassion is her way of fighting back against the horrors of the outer darkness. For these soldiers her acts of kindness are as powerful as a sword or staff raised in anger.

Statius Vettiena is sharpening his sword, when not swinging it at his enemies, he is always sharpening his sword. His tongue is as sharp as his blade, as he vociferously proclaims righteous indignation. For him it is simple, he survives solely to bring Stendarr’s justice to those who betrayed them. The longer he lives, the more justice he can deliver.

Finally Captain Caudex, the leader of this band who stand alone in defiance of the will of a Deadric prince. He personifies the Imperial qualities of endurance and dutiful service. As a leader he keeps his fears to himself, but shares his courage with his comrades. And he embodies the motto that it doesn’t matter how many times you get knocked down, all that matters is that you get back up.


635. The noble profiteer

635 (a). The noble profiteer

In all the years I served in the Imperial City I never once visited the Nobles district. It’s not that as a common soldier I was ever barred from visiting here, it was just not somewhere I ever wanted to visit. I held no aspirations to ever live amongst the rich, or to be considered a noble. Growing up in rural Cyrodiil the nobility weren’t people we respected or admired, they were more ridiculed, and sometimes pitied. You see our opinion was that people who live with an abundance of wealth seem to get lost somehow. They don’t have to worry about their next meal, the holes in their shoes, or affording necessities like medicines. They worry about nonsense like spirituality, happiness and relationships. Their lives are comfortable, vapid, and stale. We are meant to be hungry, it is what drives us to endeavour, to achieve. When you are wealthy you no longer hunger, and your life becomes so stuffed full of little things that there is no room for anything great.

I meet a stout Redguard woman stalking the Nobles district hunting daedra in order to sell their parts to alchemists and traders. She says that the Legion Zero have been hindering her movement through the district of late, and so she has been unable to bait her Ogrim traps with ‘fresh’ Daedrat meat. I question whether she could build a trap large enough to capture one of those bulky, lumbering monsters, but she claims only to want their fingers. She asks my aid, for payment of course. “An honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay” she calls it. Profiteering I call it. Although perhaps not of the same repugnant nature as that of the Crossroads Profiteers in Craglorn. The difference I suppose is that Brihana’s exploitation aids our cause, even if our motives are not shared. Perhaps she dreams of earning enough from this tragedy to one day live a nobles life… comfortable, vapid and stale.


634. We are more than ink and paper

634 (a). We are more than ink and paper634 (b). We are more than ink and paper

I enter the Arboretum District of the Imperial City through the sewers drainage system. I had prepared myself for the worst, but it was worse. As thick smoke bellows from fires all across the district, daedra roam the streets unchallenged, and the stone buildings crumble strewing rubble across the once pristine avenues. These botanical gardens and the libraries of the Imperial Academy were once the aspiration for scholars from all across the empire. For what more can one ask but flowers at ones feet, a book in hand, and the stars above. After-all what is a book but a garden of words, and what is more joyous then the touch of a page and the feel of a petal; except perhaps the whisper of a lover.

Yet the scholar’s utopia has turned to horror, for the smoke that now cascades above the district comes from the daedra’s attempts to eradicate our very history and culture by burning every book they can lay their claws upon. It is folly of course, for you cannot erase a peoples identity by burning their libraries. Our culture lives on through the people. From parent to child, bard to patron, priest to congregation, teacher to student, we pass down our stories, songs, traditions and folklore from generation to generation. It is something the immortal daedra cannot possibly understand, for their culture is doomed to never grow, never cultivate. Indeed, they are enslaved not by their princes, but by their own immortality.

And for that same reason is why we humans should never tolerate being under the yoke of the long lived elves. They are a stagnant race, you can see it in their architecture. Beautiful though it is, it has not changed, not altered, not advanced for thousands of years. If an elf sits atop the Ruby Throne then our own advancement would become smothered and restricted, and we would lose our capacity, and our advantage, of innovation and invention.

We manage to save what few documents we can, including one book the daedra were not attempting to destroy at all. Realising the importance of the ‘The Sublime Brazier’ the quick witted Chief Archivist managed to scramble the text of the book with a distortion spell as the daedra broke into his libraries. Once I had reclaimed it, and it was again deciphered, we discovered it describes a relic the emperors once used to light the Dragonfires that kept the daedra from entering our world. Since the daedra are here in increasing numbers and long it has been since Akatosh blessed us with a Dragonborn emperor, I was under the impression the Dragonfires had been forever extinguished. I shall pass the book onto the Drake. Perhaps the Dragonguard might discover what danger the daedra believe this Brazier holds for them… or for us.


633. When fowl have no feathers

633. The Drake of Blades

I am greeted in the tunnels by a masked figure calling herself the ‘Drake of Blades’, a rather curious title for a female agent, but I suppose it sounds a little more formidable then the ‘Duck of Blades’. She claims to be a member of the Imperial Dragonguard, sworn to serve the true heir of the Dragon, yet driven into hiding by the Empress Regent. I recall Sai Sahan was also a member of the Dragonguard before… all this! I wonder what he and Lyris are up to now, and Tharn of course; perhaps he returned to Cyrodiil as Meridia suggested he would. Although surely he would not be so foolish as to bring the Amulet of Kings back to the Imperial City at this time.

As for this masked Drake, she cares nothing for the Three Banners, claiming “When Akatosh’s heir arrives, the old order, all of it, will be swept away.” I daren’t tell her that the power of the Chim-el Adabal is supposedly spent for a generation at least, and so is about as functional as fish with no fins. She believes Molag Bal eventually plans to pull the Imperial City into Coldharbour itself, but for now is searching above and below for something of immense power; but she knows not what.

I wonder about her mask. The irony of it is that those who wear masks often tell more truths than those without, for their eyes reveal what their tongues do not. And she has the eyes of one who believes devoutly in fate.