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Star Gazer

Well-Known Member
Entry 1:

Here I stand in the still-warm ashes of what was once beautiful Helgen; ash still falling from burnt buildings, the bodies of the dead citizens quickly desiccated and looted by the endless swarm of bandits which are native to the surrounding forests. The bandits, now dead, serve the same purpose to the next wave of looters that will inevitably arrive.

The looks on their faces are still fresh in my mind, those horrified citizens and guards with families back home, as they witnessed the dark beast descending on them from the mountains. None of us had ever seen anything like it. The only thing we can do now, I suppose, is move on.

When Skjor convinced me to take on the beast blood, I was wooed with promises of great power. He didn’t mention anything about the restless nights. Sleep, which was once a simple pleasure and charming reprieve from a long day of travel, now eludes me, and my only nightly comfort are the wheeling stars above as the moons crawl across the sky.

Although Skyrim is boiling with chaos, there is a calm order by which our plane operates, and even amongst the chaos, there is stasis.
 

Star Gazer

Well-Known Member
Entry 2:

My trek finally ended as I stepped into the Dead Man’s Drink in Falkreath while I wait for the world to wake once again. While I mourn the loss of sleep, it sure does leave time for introspection. Perhaps I will keep journaling, yet perhaps this entry may be the last.

As I sip the Juniper berry mead that I’d found in Helgen, I can’t help but consider the Nords that inhabit this land. While the Companions brought me in and considered me their own, it is evident that they only did so by consideration of the strength of my arm. There are things about the Nords that I, as a Bosmer native of Valenwood, will never understand. While there are some that have propped me up as some would-be savior, as the Greybeards have, I’ll be dead before I play the part of some cultural or political figure.

Meeting with the monks at the Throat of the World, I was disappointed to hear about their nordic cultural intentions for me and their fixation on dragon-kind. Perusing their library, however, I did learn some interesting things about the gods; stasis and change embodied, and children of Anu and Padomay accordingly.

Religiously speaking, the world is governed by these great powers, and many ascribe worship to them. Simply put, however, the Aedra may be killed and Daedra can be banished to Oblivion. Any creature, no matter how powerful he is; if he is subject to the strength and sword of men like me, he is not worthy of worship.

While Anu and Padomay fight and die for order and chaos, there must be something greater. Even the twin moons, subject to each-other’s pull and sway, are subject to the greater pull of Mundus. Likewise, the brothers Anu and Padomay, while subject to the whims of one another, seem to be subject to some greater power. I am not sure if that information is written in any book, or if that greater Being can even be known, but I suppose all I can do is keep my chin up, my eyes open, and he might be revealed.
 

Star Gazer

Well-Known Member
Entry 3:

Took up a job for Siddgeir of Falkreath. Standard frontier justice situation, nothing I haven’t handled before. There is honor in service and in work, but I wonder if Kodlak would have taken this one. Seems like there were discreet dealings between these bandits and the jarl, and they did something to set him off, which is why he sent me to “kill every last one of them.”

On my way, I ran into an injured Nord by the name of Valdr. Casting a simple healing spell on him, he sprung back to health and headed in to take care of what he called “Spriggans.” I wasn’t going to let him get himself killed, so I followed in after him. I had dealt with one just outside of Falkreath, and I know that they are quite tricky. We made short work of them, and something he said afterwards struck me; “Justice, if you can call it that.” We parted, and I headed up the path, discovered the bandit hideout, and tore them apart. They were young Orsimer, probably young twenties, and it looked like they were running a weapons and armor smithy outside of a orichalcum mine. If I wasn’t serving the Jarl, we may have been acquainted and I could have asked the secrets of orcish smithing. Now they are dead, and their secrets have died with them.

On my way back to Falkreath, I was set upon by three altmer, who were obviously of the Thalmor order. Two rushed me with steel weaponry while the leader, I presume, blasted me with lightning magic from a distance. I trailed the two armored assailants to a saber-cat’s den and let the beast have her way with them. I then leapt out of the shadows at the head justiciar with blade and Voice. He carried execution orders to “destroy with extreme hatred.” On a normal day, I would take this personal, but today it caught me by surprise, and I had to consider “am I any better than these thalmor? Is what I am doing any different?”

As I returned to Siddgeir, he says “That’ll teach them to stop paying me,” and Valdr’s words emerged in my mind once again. “Justice, if you can call it that.”

Even now, I think on those orcs in the mine. The fear in their eyes was similar to that of the citizens of Helgen. Instead of the Dragon, in this case, it was the Wolf. There is cause for consideration here, and I would seek to bring my questions to the old man in Jorrvaskr.
 
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Star Gazer

Well-Known Member
Entry 4:

My time in Falkreath has revealed it to be a place of magic and mystery, despite all appearances. I met a priest of Arkay, Runil. Much unlike the priest of Arkay in Whiterun, who is hermetic and quite rude, Runil is a charismatic and caring elf of Altmer heritage who serves the people humbly, despite being the only elf this deep in the Nordic sticks. I stumbled into him in the graveyard during a funeral ceremony, and he humbly asked that I find his journal. A simple task, which I accepted.

I retrieved the journal from a local cave, and felt it no great slight upon my honor to intrude upon its contents. Runil, it seems, had served as a Thalmor agent in a previous life, and has since left his position to pursue a more peaceful existence. He notes that Arkay (the Divine who he serves) has great influence in Falkreath; “Life and death, growth and change, the turning of the seasons- these are all aspects of mighty Arkay.” While I cannot claim to understand the theology of Arkay, being an aedra, he takes after the nature of Anu, and thus Arkay is an embodiment of the “cleansing stasis.” Static though he is, he is yet the bringer of change- the supposed weaver of life which emerges from the ground, and the death which blossoms from it. Falkreath being in a perpetual autumnal state of change and death is a perfect manifestation of that mysterious static yet chaotic nature.

While Arkay is the “god of life and death,” I cannot help but think of him also as a slave to such forces. Being an aedra, he is under the yoke of mortality, and indeed may already be dead. How could a mortal being like Arkay the aedra claim to be the controller of such forces?

Runil seems to have his own reservations about such a being, but his service to Arkay has brought him much peace, and he is a valuable asset to the people of Falkreath. Suffice it to say, this priest has earned my respect.
 

Star Gazer

Well-Known Member
Entry 5:

It has been a week and a half since my last entry, and since then I have seen things wondrous and terrifying. Returning again to Falkreath and mingling with the townsfolk, I discovered that the funeral which Runil was performing was for a young girl, torn apart by a werewolf, which was then being held in “the pit.” I met the man, his name was Sinding. He explained to me how he was innocent, and was a victim of the beast blood and its influence, which I can personally understand. He explained that after taking a ring which was said to help control transformations, a curse was placed on him. While Hircine is the “gifter” of lycanthropy, he is also known for meddling in the lives of those who receive it. I was immediately inspired to help this man.

I offered to commune with Hircine to uncurse the ring. I performed the necessary rite, and lo and behold, Hircine met with me. He commanded that I participate in the Hunt for Sinding. While I petitioned for Sinding's innocence, the Prince explained that he himself had no interest in justice, only entertainment. While I am not necessarily a devoutee of Hircine, I had accepted his gift of the Beast Blood, but after being witness to his dealings, I rejected his command, and aligned myself with Sinding to defeat the hunters sent after him.

Hircine eventually uncursed the ring anyway, as he was ultimately not after Hircine's death, simply his own entertainment. I am holding on to the ring, as it has proven useful in my transformations; I no longer feel the lethargy I used to upon return to human form, and it has helped me to extend my traveling days.

Since meeting with Hircine, I met with other Princes. Why they continue to choose me for their errands, I am unsure. While each of them is different temperamentally, I am consistently disappointed with their behavior; whether it is Hircine’s eternal boredom and need for entertainment, Clavicus Vile’s petty and pitiful dealings with man and mer, or Meridia’s helplessness to cleanse her own temple, despite her unending self-aggrandizing.
Most recently, I was employed by an orc tribe to help them back into good graces with their own Prince, Malacath, who is, as they say, “quick to anger.”

I grow weary of these “higher powers” and their inconsequential existence. While I want nothing to do with Malacath or his “blessings,” I agreed to help this Orsimer tribe, I think, because of the unfortunate encounter I had with that orc band on behalf of Siddgeir of Falkreath. After this, however, I am done being an errandboy for the gods. They are weak and selfish, and I know there is more to this life than the service of these beings.

I continue to meditate on the misuse of power. While great, the gods are limited; and while influential, they follow and are bound by some greater Order. Even those entropic Princes, the embodiments of change and chaos, follow a code of existence and know that there is a limit to what they can reasonably get away with. I will continue my pursuit of natural philosophy, that the greater Being might make himself known to me.
 

Star Gazer

Well-Known Member
Entry 6:

Continuing to seek the honor of the Companions, in their name I pledged to help the Temple of Kynareth to revivify the Gildergleam in the Sky District, which is said to be older than man or mer in Tamriel. Because it is so old, to retrieve sap from the mother tree I need what the priestess called “an implement of the old magics,” and told me such a tool was held by a witch coven, led by what is called a “hagraven.”

On my way to the Orsimer settlement in the Rift, I approached this coven to ask for their wisdom, but was attacked with all kinds of elemental magic. They fell to my claw. Hagravens are formidable, and surprised me with an exceedingly powerful fireball. After all was said and done, I left their encampment with Nettlebane, a mysterious dagger worked of twisted green metal, which seems of ebony make.

Traveling in bestial form, onlookers usually respond with violence or flight. Interestingly, I approached a Khajiit male, who did not run or attack, but spoke to me in parable. He seems to know more than he lets on. Reverting to human form, I spoke to him for a moment and was blown away by his depth of wisdom. He spoke to me about the old days of Skyrim when there was nothing but snow and butterflies.

I hope to see him again.

In other news, I had another battle with the Silver Hand, who were Headquartered and running a dog-fighting ring in an abandoned castle overlooking Lake Honrich. I was overwhelmed and outnumbered, and despite being in beast form, was outmatched by their silver weaponry. Luckily, and perhaps by the meddling of Hircine, the pit wolves within the castle took my side, and seemed to acknowledge me as kin. Together, we slaughtered them, and I retrieved the artifact of the famed Wuuthrad to the glory of the Companions. Why the Sliver Hand is hunting these pieces is beyond me, but they seem to be in direct competition with Jorrvaskr, shouting such things as “Ysgramor would be ashamed of you,” in battle. Perhaps I might learn their history, but it seems that peace is no longer an option, especially after the death of Skjor. May he Rest In Peace, or at the very least, enjoy his hunt.

I made it to the orcish settlement, where they communed with Malacath, who is extremely unpleasant. He is an interesting Prince, and I will probably learn more about him as I travel to the shrine with Yamarz. I intend to see this through, and I hope to, at least to some extent, repay the orcs for the harm I caused them. I see Yamarz strapping on his weapons now, and I presume he is ready, so I will conclude this entry here. I will record the results of our journey when we return.
 

Star Gazer

Well-Known Member
Entry 7:

Yamarz is dead, crushed by the giant that we were sent to slay. I don’t know how we could have handled things differently. After his defeat, the giant rushed at me, and I was overwhelmed by his massive strength. I know Vilkas would mock me, but I was forced to resort to a few sips of the batch of invisibility potion that I had mocked up during that Sinding business. I was finally able to shift to beast form with the help of Hircine’s Ring and take the giant head to head. Despite his overwhelming brute strength, my claws tore through him like butter. I am continuously surprised at the strength of this power, and it has saved me no few times.

Be it giant, lich, or dragon, the beast form has prevailed, and I can feel the power growing each time I transform. While the power grows, the savagery parallels. My hunger has grown while in the form of the wolf, and I have begun feeding not only on men and mer, but also on beast and insect. Maybe someday the strength of my arm will need no supplement, but for now, I can thank this power for my survival.

The orcs in the settlement thanked me profusely and even made me what they called “blood-kin.” I hope to make use of this gift, and perhaps I will travel and trade with each of the strongholds. My sense of guilt over Bilegulch Mine remains. I don’t think I will ever confess my fault to the orcs, but I will do my best to overwhelm them with honor. They serve a horrible and dreadful Prince, but in me they will have a faithful and generous friend.
 

Star Gazer

Well-Known Member
Entry 8:

It’s been a few days. Aela has been covering for me at Jorrvaskr while I have been hunting down the Silver Hand. They have been attacking on-sight, and perhaps I have gotten lazy, but the thrill of the hunt has overcome me on more than one occasion, striking first and asking questions later, awaking from beast form to a fortress full of the dead Silver Hand. Is this truly honorable?

It seems that Aela wants to wipe them off the face of the earth, and has been sending me on countless efforts to, as she says, “assassinate their leaders.” We are not the Dark Brotherhood, whose agents lurk the shadows. Perhaps once we have fully vanquished them, we will find honor and peace once more. I can’t help but feel like I have been dragged into a fight which was not fully my own. A small voice in my mind tells me that the Companions (that is, at least Aela and Skjor) took me on when they noticed my strength and gave me the beast blood because they saw me as a weapon; a heavy hammer to bring down on their rival. If that was their intention, it surely worked.

Regardless of how they see me, I want to live up to Kodlak’s value- honor and family.
 

Star Gazer

Well-Known Member
Entry 9:

It seems Kodlak has taken notice of our quest for vengeance. He summoned me to his chambers and disclosed that he was disappointed with Aela and I for our sneaking and killing. I felt ashamed.

He revealed to me that the Beast-Blood was given to the Companions fairly recently by a short-sighted Harbinger who was deceived by a coven of witches to take on the “gift,” which was actually a ploy to bring us under the claw of Hircine. Although we gained this great power, Kodlak explained that it has a deeper price than anyone could have expected.

From what I know of the Prince, this is spot-on. He is deceptive in his dealings, granting boons, as he did with Sinding, and cursing what he called a gift for his own entertainment. Who knows if he will one day send hunters after us? Hircine pledges his allegiance to no one, only being bound by the laws of existence and the limitations of the Daedra. We have no reason to trust him or remain under his influence.

The Silver Hand seem to think that lycanthropy is a disease, as if they seek to prevent contracting it, each of them carrying bottles of cure disease potion along with their silver implements. This condition, lycanthropy, is not a disease in the same way that, say, rock-joint is; it has to be willingly taken on and expressed, it cannot be passed through a scratch or a breath. Kodlak seems to agree, at least to some extent, with the Silver Hand that this boon is a disease, and he said as much in our meeting; that it is a disease that “seeps into the spirit,” influencing one’s heart and ultimately, their destiny upon death.

The old man wishes for Sovngarde, and believes that if we can take the heads of the Glenmoril Witches, we may be able to reverse this curse and secure our hearts and futures from the Prince of the Hunt.

“The spirit of Ysgramor goes with you, to restore the honor of his legacy,” he said. I’ve had dealings with similar witches before, and I know what to expect. I am unsure what kind of trickery they will attempt to play on me, so I will have to go in level-headed and calm. That means no ale until the job is done, and the beast within must stay dormant until we have found a cure.
 

Star Gazer

Well-Known Member
Entry 10:

It all happened so fast.

Kodlak Whitemane is dead, singing in Sovngarde. While I haven’t sleep well since I took the beast blood, I haven’t rested in days. The moment I got back from slaying the witches and peering into the mysteries of “soul-magic,” I was met with Kodak’s death. Vilkas commanded that I go with him to retrieve the fragments of Wuuthrad from the Silver Hand, but I could sense that he had nothing but vengeance in his heart. We made the day’s travel North to their headquarters. I had no time to grieve, no time to process what had happened.

We arrived at their refuge, and hoping to feel something, I took bestial form and slaughtered every last one of them. I felt nothing. We retrieved the fragments, wiped out the remainder of the Silver Hand, and returned another day’s travel to Jorrvaskr just in time for Kodak’s funeral. I did not know the ceremony, nor could I join with them in commemorating him, as I did not know the words. I was immediately sent to Kodlak’s bedroom to retrieve his personal fragment of Wuuthrad and discovered his journal, in which he named me as his successor. I returned the fragment and met with the Circle in the Underforge. Eorland showed up moments later, having repaired Wuuthrad, and we were off again, on some quest to a nordic burial site.

Learning of Kodlak’s death, destroying the Silver Hand, attending the funeral of one of the few men I respect, learning I was next in line for Harbinger, being handed an ancient weapon which has slaughtered countless mer, some of which I am personally descended from and being told to lead the charge on a nordic barrow to restore the honor of the companions and the eternal state of Kodlak’s soul, all with no sleep or a moment to breathe, I look around and see that my shield-siblings were already charging out the door.

Here I stand, hardly remembering the journey to Ysgramor’s tomb, fighting through the barrow against the spirits of the original band of companions entombed within, and meeting with Kodlak. I approached him in the final chamber, and had no great ceremony before he told me to throw the head of the Glenmoril witch into the fire, which I immediately did, being set upon by a gigantic wolf spirit. Aela and I made extremely short work of it, Kodlak thanked me, called me Harbinger, and disappeared. After a brief congratulations from Aela, she was back up to the entrance with the twins.

Here I sit. Alone with my thoughts, staring at the blue-flame of the companions. I can wash my hands of all of this mess; cast the witch head into the fire, take care of the wolf spirit, emerge a new man, and never return to Jorrvaskr ever again. On the other hand, I can hold onto this power. Aela mentioned a way that we can push the power of the blood even further. We would be an unstoppable force. I would rule viciously over the Companions, bringing the teeth of the circle on any who oppose us, ushering in a force worthy to put to death any darkness or evil within all of Skyrim.

No. I have seen the corruption that comes with power. Hircine, the “Great Hunter,” sitting in eternal boredom and forcing the dog to bite his own tail to entertain him. Meridia the Arrogant, begging adventurers to perform the simple errands she is unable to do. Clavicles Vile, astonishingly shallow in his interactions with mortals, tricking fathers into killing daughters, and his own worshippers into being slain. Malacath, who treats his own people like dust, dashing settlements to pieces for their weakness. The cast out god who can do nothing but cast out in turn.

And then there is myself, corrupted by the power of the beast blood and the promise of influence. It will not happen. The Daedra are pathetic, the Aedra are likely dead. Anu and Padomay are locked outside of time and influence by their own scandal, unable to act. None of these are worthy of praise or worship. There is a greater order to which they are subservient, I know it. A greater Being to which they cannot disobey. I cannot know him as a beast, and I cannot know him as a murderer, as I have been. I will walk out of this tomb a liberated mer, free from the influence of Hircine.

The twin sons Anu and Padomay have a Master. I vow to know him.
 
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Star Gazer

Well-Known Member
Entry 11:

It has been about a week since my last entry. I was not expecting the time of recovery that slaying the Beast within would require. After meditating on the beastblood in Ysgramor’s tomb, I stumbled upon the shield of mighty Ysgramor himself. With shield in one hand and Skyforge steel in the other, I cast the witch’s head into the flame and slew the wolf which emerged from my spirit. Even while fighting, I felt drained and wondered if I had somehow injured myself. I hardly remember anything after the fight. I stumbled towards Winterhold and awoke in a bed in the Frozen Hearth Inn two days later.

I slept deeply for the first time in months, but it felt like it had been years. So sweet was the rest that I had found in that straw bed that I would only leave its warmth to order more food and drink from the bartender, Dagur, who over the week I spent in Winterhold I had become well acquainted, speaking endlessly about the once-great city and her denizens. Finally emerging from my room, I began mingling outward through the tavern, then the rest of the small hold capital.

My time in the Companions was so hectic that I feel as if I had lost sight of my goal when I joined- doing good deeds for the people. I made some good friends in this city, doing simple good for simple men, stimulating the local trade, serving the Jarl in humility, and bringing honor and peace to a man who had lost his love and purpose in life; he has regained stability, but may he find his way.

I have slowly begun to regain focus after the Kodlak incident, my mind being freed from the claw of Hircine. While I did not have time at the moment to grieve his death, I have had ample time here in this peaceful town. When I brought battle to the Glenmoril Coven, the witches shouted at me “You belong to Hircine now!” At the moment, I and the rest of the Circle certainly did. Now, Kodlak is in the hands of whatever other force had sway over his soul, hopefully our quest to send him to Sovngarde with his predecessors was successful, but on Mundus who can say for certain.

Perhaps I should not be so pessimistic- while I have my reservations about modern theories of the afterlife, he was certainly freed from the grip of the Prince of the Hunt, and that is a good thing. I spent some time thinking about this Harbinger question; whether or not I will return to Jorrvaskr. The Companions are without a suitable model, and the members of the Circle are still under the cursed blood. What would be most noble, I believe, would be to lead them back onto the path of honor, from which it seems they have strayed long ago. In their devotion to Hircine, their attitude towards honor had changed. While they joined the ranks of the Companions in search of heroic deeds, the blood of the wolf inspired its leadership drive the band to mercenary and dishonorable undertakings, beating locals into submission over petty personal squabbles, or, as I have begun to realize, fueling their blood-feud with the Silver Hand. I will not write too much on this now, I do not want to propagate falsehood, but this is a topic which I will explore at some time. Perhaps there are members of the Silver Hand which live on, and perhaps there may still yet be peace.
 

Star Gazer

Well-Known Member
Entry 12:

Having regained my strength, I brought out my armor and swords once again and laid them out on my bed in the Frozen Hearth. They still smelled beastly, and thus, I took a moment to clean them with a solution I bought from Birna. Donning them once again, I took some time to do some light sword-work in the Hold on behalf of the Jarl, being sure to do nothing which was of moral question. Shaking the weariness from my arms, I have noticed that without the beastblood I am much weaker. I have been working to increase my strength, and although I will probably never reach the heights of power that I had attained in beasthood, I will make up for it in cunning, wisdom, and strength of heart.

Radiating out from Winterhold, I met a priestess of Azura at the Daedric shrine, which Dagur tells me was built by the Dunmer. She told me that my coming had been seen by Azura (of course it had) and that I was to be her champion. As usual, another helpless Daedra seeks to be provided for. The priestess asked me to find Azura’s star. I asked old Enthir back at the Hearth about it, and he was extremely helpful, having worked with the star previously. He explained to me that the last owner of the Star was driven insane by the demon Azura, who uses the star as a seat of influence. I could have guessed as much. These are twisted creatures, and even their artifacts are not to be trusted. I plan on recovering the Star and returning to Winterhold to work with Nelacar to expel the demon and potentially the spirit of that psychotic wizard from the gem.

On my search, I traveled west to Dawnstar and took a moment to investigate the museum I had received an advertisement for, but never had the time to see. It seems that the owner is seeking another such Daedric artifact which was separated into three pieces an age ago. He asked me to retrieve the pieces, and I told him I would think about it, desiring to seek guidance on such an undertaking. My time in Dawnstar revealed that they have been plagued by nightmares for some time. I spoke to the local priest of Mara, Erandur, who was working tirelessly to solve this problem. He explained that, as usual, it was due to demonic meddling from the tower up the hill. We went, slew the priests of the foul Vaermina (whose name reveals her vermin-like nature) and surprisingly, Erandur revealed that he had the power to destroy these artifacts as he eviscerated her staff, and therefore her presence in Dawnstar.

Erandur is a complicated Dunmer, once being a priest for this foul demon, now having pledged himself to the aedric Mara to atone for his past life. In cleansing the tower of Vermina’s influence, he showed some hesitation, but in sharing with him my own experience with the Daedra, he was emboldened to complete our task and destroy such an evil presence. I divulged about my hunt for Azura’s Star, but withheld my purposes for the artifact. He has much respect for Azura, which is understandable considering his heritage. I also mentioned the pieces of the Dagonic artifact, and he informed me that such an artifact, like Vaermina’s, can be destroyed. He offered to accompany me on my hunt for the artifacts, which I gladly accepted.

As he is unaware of my plan to cross Azura, I expect a disagreement down the line. I hope to explain to him during our time on the road why the expulsion of Azura from the Star is the best course of action.

All this work and research on the Daedric artifacts makes me question my own use of such devices, such as the Masque of Clavicles Vile which I took as a gift and have utilized to great effect in town and wilderness alike. I now realize that Daedra are never to be trusted, and after we destroy the blade of Mehrunes Dagon, I would like to entrust Erandur with the destruction of the Masque, along with the artifacts of Hircine, Meridia, and Malacath which I have accumulated throughout my travels.

I will do everything in my power to free this land of demonic influence. I desire to bring honor to the Master of all Things, and hope that he will one day become manifest to me.
 

Star Gazer

Well-Known Member
Entry 13:

My hunt for the artifacts has led me to Markarth, where Erandur and I will stay for a night or two before we make the trek to what the guards call “Dead Crone Rock.” These Forsworn are vicious; physically, they have not put up much of a fight, as they mostly live off of a diet of vegetables and cheese, scraping out a meager existence in the hills- magically, however, they are formidable. The few witches we encountered had frozen us to the bone with ice magic, pelting us with relentless cold. The power of the Thu’um has helped me close the distance, but I must constantly remind myself of my weakness without the bestial form. I get the sense that these hills have much to teach me.

My time in Markarth was short and strange. I spoke to Calcelmo the local wizard and expert on the Dwemer, and I did some work for him in exchange for access to the Nchuand-Zel excavation site and museum. I also had the displeasure of meeting a woman in the Hall of the Dead who claimed to be a servant of Namira. I was reaching for my sword when she offered to let me into their group if I helped them reclaim their cave from the undead. One glance at Erandur told me everything I needed. I stayed my hand and offered to help her cleanse their previous lair of draugr. I spoke to Erandur afterwards; we both get the sense that they are going to try to trap us; we plan to go forward with vigilance, hoping to be led to the congregation, where we will slaughter all of the cannibalistic demon worshippers to preserve the honor of Markarth’s dead.

In lighter news, I came away from the excavation site with a good haul of dwemer metal, which I plan to smelt down and turn into weapons. I spoke with the local blacksmith, Ghorza. Turns out she is from one of the Orsimer settlements, having worked the orcish forge for years, and now serving the city. I performed a favor for her and she agreed to “show me how an orc learns to smith.” She showed me a few techniques for the heating and cooling sequences which I took to heart. Ghorza and I both have a passion for blade smithing, and we both have a lot to learn. I will learn what I can from her as we work this dwemer metal.

I’ve been staying in the Silver-Blood Inn, where I am writing this now. Erandur and I have agreed to wake up before dawn tomorrow to slay the draugr in the Cannibal’s cave and then head West to confront Drascua the hag about her piece of the Razor. If all goes well, we will be back in the city before sunset.
 

Star Gazer

Well-Known Member
Entry 14:

I lie awake at midnight, stirred from sleep by a dream. In the visions of the night I saw a great bridge made of bone. On the other end of the bridge was a great hall made of solid stone reaching into the sky. Flames crept up from the ground, burning the bridge to dust. I thought to myself “surely the hall will withstand the blaze,” but to my horror, the grinding flames charred the stone walls and I watched as the entire keep crumbled in on itself. I then heard the screams of one-thousand men, and in that cacophony of voices I heard the old man Kodlak. I awoke from my dream in a cold sweat. I will ask Eorlund what it might mean, or perhaps if I return to Mortal, Jarl Idgrod will be able to tell me.
 

Star Gazer

Well-Known Member
Entry 15:

It's been another few days, and I have only taken scarce notes during our travels, so here is my attempt to compile them.

I ended up traveling with Erandur to the cannibal’s lair, using a priest of Arkay as the bait. Turns out a good few of Markarth’s store owners were in attendance of the cannibalistic "grand feast." From what I can remember, the dog breeder, the butcher, and unfortunately the general-store owner were all present. As the priest of Arkay laid on the sacrificial slab, I drew my blades and slew Eola, their leader. The rest of the cannibals rallied with knife and spell, but Erandur held them off while the priest was able to rise and join us in the fray. They were easy prey, and we soundly put an end to their dishonorable practice.

In our pursuit of the pommel of Mehrune's Razore, we traveled to Dead Crone Rock, where we encountered more Forsworn. We cut them down as we ascended the rugged mountain. We confronted Drascua, who turned out to be a hagraven, who we slew, taking the piece of the Razor. More forsworn came flooding down from the hills, so we fled back to Markarth.

I worked with Ghorza the blacksmith to create dwarven weapons, which we took to Calcelmo's lab to enchant. We took them back to the smithy, who bought them at a good price. I feel I have learned everything I could from her, and she told me of the Orsimer settlement, Dushnikh Yal, to the East. On our way to Cracked Tusk Keep in Falkreath to retrieve the final pieces of the daedric blade, we visited the settlement, who, to my surprise, recognized me by name and allowed us to use their mine and forge. It turns out that word from Largashbur had reached them about the work that I had done there in freeing them from Malacath's curse. Their blacksmith, Gharol, was especially helpful and turned out to be an experienced armorer, whom I paid a good sum to help me make better use of my armor. I tried my hand at orcish smithing with the orichalcum we had mined. Gharol gave me helpful advice.

Arriving at Cracked Tusk Keep, I discovered that it was inhabited by young orsimer, of great similarity to those of Bilegulch mine. If I were still under the influence of Hircine, I may have attacked with claw and fang, seeking the glory of recovering the blade piece for destruction, and justice for whatever evil they had done. In this case, despite the opinions of the Companions, I found that the most honorable route was not of blood and blade, but of simplicity and subterfuge. Utilizing the last of my invisibility potions, I snuck in and out, retrieving the shards without alerting a soul.
I cannot help but feel like a thief. The shards must be recovered, but I cannot stand to shed more orsimer blood. Is this truly the path of peace? It was the only thing I could do after the treatment they had received from Falkreath.

We headed North and finally arrived at Ilinalta's Deep, the hideout of Malyn Varen and his group of defecting wizards. As they were participating in the dark arts, passing countless skulls and twitching corpses, I felt no need to pursue diplomacy. They were exceedingly powerful in their use of frost magic and necromancy, and due to poor communication between Erandur and I, we almost became one of their undead servants, or worse. We discovered Malyn Varen dead but perhaps successful in his efforts to capture his soul within the Star, which is now in many pieces. I will take it back to Nelacar, hopefully he will be able to repair it and we can banish Varen from within. Reading Varen's grimoire was especially interesting, as it was subtitled "An Achievement of Magic over Daedra." Despite the wizard's madness, it seems he was onto something, and the pursuit of magic may be more useful than I initially suspected. Perhaps I will pursue mystical study in the future.

We have just arrived in Whiterun for a short break, but I hope to catch up with Eorlund. I'd like to avoid any members of the Circle, and hope the old master blacksmith can keep my visit a secret.
 

Star Gazer

Well-Known Member
Entry 16:

Our visit to Whiterun, which was meant to only last a night, was extended, and we ended up spending five days within the walls. Erandur had never been to the city before, and so he went site-seeing, trading, and conversing with the priests and priestesses of Kynareth at the temple. He also spoke with old Andurs in the Hall of the Dead. It seems he had a good time. I pursued conversation with Eorlund, who revealed that the Skyforge seemed more alive than ever, emboldened with the ashes of Kodlak, and he was eager to work it. I am unsure of the validity of this nordic tradition, but I must confess that the flames did seem to burn hotter, and every now and then I would see odd rainbow hues in the embers. Inspired by his reverence for the Forge, I humbly asked him to teach me everything he knew about the craft, which he mocked me for, but eventually accepted. As is his way. I could have expected such treatment, and I smile now just thinking of it.

It cost me every penny I had, but with enough resources pooled together from Warmaiden's in the Plains District, along with what we could scrounge from Belethor and Eorlund's personal stock, we were able to work for days as he extensively taught me the secrets of the forge. With the new understanding which he revealed to me, the dwemer metal seemed to bend more easily and steel seemed to respond to the sound of my voice. At the end of our training (and my wallet), we crafted a beautiful set of armor from the ebony ingots that Erandur and I had uncovered from our travels, along with that which I had dug from Red-Belly Mine.

I have never felt safer than I do in this ebony frame. If I am not careful, as I learned from Gharol the armorer in Dushnikh-Yal, that sense of safety will be my downfall. I will continue to pursue wisdom in battle, and hopefully I will regain some of the competence I had while under Hircine.

In the evenings, I have been speaking extensively with Erandur about Mara, Dibella, and Azura, the "Love Trio," as he commonly calls them. I have refrained from revealing my plans for the Star, but soon I must. Erandur commented on Malyn Varen's foolishness to think he could go against the will of Azura. He recounted a story called Azura and the Box, which is a traditional tale about a Dwemer who humiliated Azura in a very public manner, who killed him that very night. While his effort was to prove that every defiance is met with death, we also mused for a moment about Azura's capacity for shame, and that the wit of mer was able to cause the Prince to stumble.

As he speaks of Azura; while I understand that he esteems the Prince greatly, there is also a fear and hesitation that I sense in him. I prodded for a moment into his feelings towards the Prince of Dusk and Dawn, and he revealed that he feared going against her, as she is easily the most egotistical and bitter force in existence when she is vexed. Such is the bitterness that cursed the Chimer, twisting them into the Dunmer. "Surely you don't esteem your race lower than the Chimer," I asked, to which he responded, "Of course I do. That curse elevated the suffering of existence that was kindled by Lorkhan in ages past."
I shed a single tear in consideration of Erandur's (and by extension, the Dunmer's) poisonous and tragic relationship to Azura who is one of their chief deities. It is almost reminiscent of the relationships between the orcs and Malacath. Over the weeks, I have begun to see Erandur somewhat as kin. We are both traveling; searching for redemption and enlightenment. We seek glory in the destruction of Daedric influence over common man and mer, and it would be tragic if we were cursed in similar manner to Varen or the Dunmer.
I would hate for a disagreement about Dusk and Dawn to bring an end to our bond. As we make possibly our final journey to Dawnstar and Winterhold, I am going to try to prepare an explanation to my dear friend, and present it to him in writing.
 

Star Gazer

Well-Known Member
For Erandur,

There was once a great Kingdom which was reigned by The King.
He was ultimately Kind; intimately caring for the needs of his people.
He was ultimately Just; correct in all his dealings.
He was ultimately Powerful; using his right hand to maintain order, and his left hand to affect change.
He was ultimately Wise, needing only one Coin to maintain the Kingdom every year.
Good was rewarded.
Evil was banished.

The King had many sons and daughters.
Most notable among these were three daughters, the fairest of anything under the sun.
The first was known as Compassion
The second was known as Beauty
The third was known as Self-Love
They would travel to many Cities within the Kingdom to present themselves and to be beheld.
The first would pass through, then the second, then the third.

One day, Compassion had passed to the City’s adoration, and Beauty did the same.
Eager to be seen, Self-Love hurried to pass by, but the City’s eyes still beheld Beauty.
Outraged, Self-Love took the eyes of the City, blinding them.
“If you will not behold my own fairness, you will behold nothing.”

At the beginning of the following year, The King went to the City to collect one Coin.
Being unable to see, the City could not pay, groping blindly and finding nothing to give.
Outraged, The King said “Who has done this thing to you?
Deliver him to me so that he might be banished from the Kingdom.”
“Your own daughter,” said they “has done this thing, losing her temper and punishing us.”

The king brought Compassion, Beauty, and Self-Love before his court and spoke to them;
“Am I not Lovely?
Am I not Fair?
Am I not Sightly as the blowing Spring air?”
The daughters said “Yes father.”
“My children resemble me. Each of you step forward.”
Compassion was examined;
“Behold me, I am Compassionate,” said The king.
Beauty was examined;
“Behold me, I am Beautiful,” said The King.
Self-Love was examined;
“Behold me, I Love Myself,” said The King, “for I am worthy of love and adoration.” (Indeed, he was.)

He lingered on Self-Love.
“The loveliness you love in yourself is not Love
The fairness that you love in yourself is not Fair
The sightliness that you love in yourself is indeed blind and stumbling impair.
Therefore you do not resemble me; you define yourself by what is not yours.
Begone pretender, out of my Sight.”

Thus, the king took Self-Love’s eyes and banished her from the Kingdom.

The next year, the Lover of Compassion and his Brother were sporting a hunt.
They were outside of the Kingdom’s walls when they approached a poor woman in rags.
“Please sirs,” she says, “if you score game, bring me the meat that I might eat.
I cannot find food for myself, as I have no eyes.”

The men went on their way, finding plentiful food in the forest.
Lover went to bring the meat to the poor woman, but his Brother stopped him.
“Lover,” said he, “She has been judged by the king.
The meat of these woods belongs to the Kingdom, but she has been banished.”

Lover thought for a moment, coming to a conclusion.
Lover opened his mouth to speak to his Brother.
“Brother,” said he, “You are wiser in your judgments than I.
Let us pass her by and return to the Kingdom so that we might eat and that she might starve.”

“Over this great Kingdom reigns The King.
For The King is ultimately Kind; providing all things to those who are within his Kingdom.
For The King is ultimately Just; correct in all his judgments, retaining the worthy and expelling the unworthy.
For The King is ultimately Powerful; able to provide for and protect all who are under his care.
For The King is ultimately Wise, accepting little and multiplying it, able to give in abundance.
Truly that which is Good is rewarded.
Truly that which is Evil is banished.”



Truly, my cherished friend, you have trodden the path with me.
Regardless of your response, I esteem you highly.
As we travel, I ask that you meditate on this parable.
After all is said and done, I will deliver the following items to you at your vigil in Dawnstar;
-The Masque of the one called Cheater
-The Hammer of the one called Cursed
-The Ring of the one called Starved
-The Sword of the one called Powerless
 

Star Gazer

Well-Known Member
Entry 17:

As we left Breezehome and headed out the gates of Whiterun, I handed Erandur my letter, and asked that he deeply consider the things I have written. I have seen it most wise to express myself to him by means of parable and dark saying, as he is well versed in the interpretation of such a message. I believe this is the correct course of action, and is one that he will most likely appreciate. On the road, he pored over the parchment endlessly, discerning its meaning. He made no comment on the topic.

We arrived in Dawnstar to deliver the pieces of the Razor to Silus Vesuius, and after a quick bite and a nap at the inn, we were headed to the Shrine of Mehrunes Dagon to repair the blade, as Erandur can only destroy the artifact in its full power. The disgusting Prince thought he could turn us against one another, commanding me to strike Silus down with the repaired Razor. Erandur and I spat at his filthy shrine, to which the demon sounded out “I will crush you,” sending Daedric warriors, who were dreadful but quickly overpowered by our new ebony weapons. Dagon is more of a fool than I had initially assumed, as these warriors held the key to his locked shrine. We entered, of course, and slew the demonic mages within and sacked the place for its valuables.

Silus paid us for our work, but we were happy enough just to destroy another filthy artifact and seat of vile presence.

Just down the hill from the shrine, we were set upon by a small group of bandits, thinking us easy prey. We made short work of them, and discovered that they were making camp at one of the Standing Stones, “The Lord Stone,” by my recognition. Having read The Firmament by Ffoulke, and Watcher of Stones by Gelyph Sig, I considered the possibility that I may be one of the “chosen few” that are able to elect their own star-sign. What this exactly means, I cannot say, and I am hesitant to believe Sig’s notion that those who can elect their sign are able to “change their future,” as time seemingly exists in a predetermined sense.

With these things in mind, I sat for a moment, meditating on the Lord Stone. The constellation depicts a standing man, and is often artistically rendered as an old man, robed, standing peacefully. Of the symbol itself; the man stands firm while under the sway of the pulling cosmos and wheeling heavens. I desire this stalwartness. I touched the stone, and a beam of light shot upwards to the heavens. I immediately felt more grounded, able to resist the forces of arm and mind.

We traveled north to Winterhold, finally arriving in the Frozen Hearth where we spent the night. Erandur asked why we weren’t heading towards the temple of Azura. Silent, I walked with him to Nelacar’s room. The Altmer explained that the Star could be recovered, but we would have to expel Malyn Varen’s “soul” from the gem. He posited that doing so would cut off the artifact’s tie to Azura, truly fulfilling Varen’s quest, the “triumph of magic over Daedra.” I stood, breath held and heart pounding as I waited for Erandur’s response.

He was holding the parchment which I had given him in Whiterun. He said to me, to the gladness of my heart, “Brother, let us pass her by.

And so we did. Nelacar sent me in to deal with Varen, who was protected by a host of Daedra. Their magics were unbearably strong, and while I tried to fight them, they laughed as my blows harmed them little. Draining the last of my health potion, I turned towards the mad mage, and in a desperate last stand, lunged toward him, eviscerating him with my ebony blades as I was pelted with blue and red Daedric fire from unknown realms. As I stood with relentless focus on Varen, the constellation of the Lord Stone shone in my mind’s eye, and with a last plunge, the wizard fell. I shouted with the power of the Voice to keep the Daedra back, giving Nelacar just enough time to extract me from the star. With Varen gone, we were able to banish the Daedra within, as well as its bend towards the Prince of Dusk and Dawn. Nelacar handed me the purified Star as I sat in the Hearth while Dagur brought me food and Erandur tended to my burns with healing magics.

“So Brother, what do you know about this King?”

Erandur asked me.

“Lover of Compassion,” I said, “Let’s search for him together.”
 

Star Gazer

Well-Known Member
Note:

I thought it needful to record my thoughts on the tragedy that has befallen the Vigilants of Stendarr.
My dealings with them have been relatively scarce. I have, more than once, resorted to violence in self-defense while in the form of the beast from such Vigilants, but since my renunciation of the lycanthropic curse of Hircine, my interactions with them have been nothing but pleasant. From what I can tell, their intentions are admirable, scouring the land in search of Daedra worshippers and influences and destroying them.
While in Dawnstar on business, I overheard a conversation between two guards regarding the Hall of the Vigilants which was positioned at the foot of a nearby mountain. They mentioned that it had recently burned to the ground. Investigating the area, I discovered the culprits of the arson and murder, vampires. While there were dead from both sides present, there were none alive present, so I cannot say who walked away alive. I can say, however, that with the headquarters of the Vigilants destroyed, a major power against the vampire threat has been crippled
Perhaps now is the time to seek out the Dawnguard near Riften. Whether or not they need my help, I believe it my duty to inform them of the loss of the Hall.
 

Star Gazer

Well-Known Member
Entry 18:

Erandur has committed to continue traveling with me, at least until we reach Fort Dawnguard in the southeast. On our way south from the Frozen Hearth in Winterhold, we encountered the bandit clan known as the Seducers, who are in competition with the Saints group in the plains near Whiterun. We slew the Seducers, learning more about their benefactor, but were set upon by small bands of Saints on the way to Windhelm, and even while in the city, another group of Seducers attacked, hunting for Erandur and I, and leaving the dead innocent in their wake. It is high time something is done, and I persuaded Erandur to accompany me as we travel to Solitude to hunt for the man named Thoron after we deliver our message to the vampire hunters.

We honed our weapons with the ebony ingots purchased from various venders across the city, and continued south through the volcanic tundra. We discovered the Eldergleam Sanctuary, finding devotees of Kynareth there. The great tree lifted its branches to nettlebane, fearing whatever power it had over nature. We collected the sap from the tree and were attacked by powerful sprigging. I chopped through their wooden limbs with axe while Erandur beat them down with mace. I must say, the place was beautiful indeed. The tree will be fine, but the powers of Kynareth clearly bent knee to this “older magic” that the priestess spoke about in Whiterun. I wonder what can be known about these powers that hold sway over even the Divines presence.

We reached Riften and we spent some time in the Temple of Mara at Erandur’s request. He was impressed by the priest, Maramal.

We then visited Honorhall Orphanage. Erandur posited the Aretino boy was being a tad dramatic until we saw the conditions of the place. Children were beaten more often than they were fed. We spoke to each of the children and Constance, the orphanage assistant, who was a lovely woman. Each of them spoke of Grelod in a very candid and revealing manner. Our opinion of Grelod “the kind” turned increasingly sour after each child we spoke to. One little girl told us that sometimes the hag would put them in “the room.” I searched the premises, discovering a back closet with a pile of hay and two buckets full of solid and liquid waste. In our recent travels Erandur and I have seen some pretty horrifying things; necromancers sacrificing one another on altars, cannibals devouring the dead, a vampire den so full of human remains that we had to fight the monsters knee-deep in blood-soaked bones. This, however, took the cake. Erandur, the servant of Compassion, was silent.

We spoke to Grelod herself, who yelled at us to get out of the orphanage. We headed towards the door, faces hot. Constance was standing by the exit, and Erandur, to my surprise, demanded to adopt them. All of them. Constance said that while she wishes she could find a home for them, none were up for adoption by Grelod’s discretion. I saw the fury on his face as he looked at me. I nodded. He turned towards Grelod and enveloped her in magical flame. She was dead in an instant. We promptly left and walked towards the gate of Riften. I was fully prepared to pay off whatever bounty we had accrued or spend a stretch in the Riften jail. To our surprise, as we approached the guards at the gate, who were easily in earshot of Grelod’s deathly screams and laughing children, did nothing. I couldn’t see their faces beneath their helmets, but they opened the gate for us.

“Justice, if you can call it that.” I said.

Erandur’s behavior shocked me, but I mentioned nothing of it as we proceeded towards Fort Dawnguard. As I meditated on his actions on the path, I was reminded of the depictions of Mara in the ancient Nordic tombs, where she is not symbolized as the nurturer, but the She-Wolf.
 
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