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Star Gazer

Well-Known Member
Entry 38:

Nightmares plague my sleep. While I am still attempting to rest off this illness, I am hardly able to close my eyes before horrible visions encircle me. I cannot bear to even record the atrocities which my mind concocted, but every vision ends the same- standing before the altar of Molag Bal in Markarth. I have been contenting myself and calming my nerves with canis-root tea, which I have been purchasing from Sharamph the medicine-woman. I have found it to be a reprieve for my aching head as well.

At sunset, I was finally able to withstand the heat and light, and I enjoyed another successful night of research. I met my spider friend again and was working on calming him after repeated antagonization to great success when I saw a skeever peering at me from the brush which then approached quickly and angrily. Perhaps I had come too close to her nest. I cast my spell at her with both hands and she became little different than a domesticated canine, strutting around carelessly. I strolled the countryside and forests seeing the effects of pacification on many such animals, I had even successfully calmed a wolf who was stalking me from some small distance, after which, I approached and pet him. Laughing, I rushed off before my spell would wear off. (as none of my illusions have lasted for any great duration)

I returned to the settlement again before dawn and entered the hall. Orcs within the settlements are notoriously early risers, valuing hard work and productivity, yet I arrived early enough to catch many still asleep. I approached the cot on which I had been staying, and as I was removing my boots I caught a glimpse of the woman who was sleeping on the cot next to mine. I felt a great desire for her and my blood boiled within me, however I attempted to quiet myself. What I felt rang similar to passionate, romantic attraction and I was caught off-guard, not having felt such an emotion since my Aris passed in Valenwood years ago. I attempted again to enter my cot and sleep, but my mouth watered, knowing she was only feet away from me. I heeded the words of my father, “move a muscle, change your mind,” and rose, exiting the hall, choosing rather to face the ferocity of the sunrise. As expected, the light caused irritation to my skin and eyes and I went directly to Sharamph. I explained my illness and that I had been suffering for two nights from such symptoms. She asked if I have had any encounters with vampires or their minions, which I affirmed. She mixed me a simple potion, handed it to me, and said with a gruff sternness typical of Orsimer women, “Sanguinare Vampiris.” I recognized the name immediately and downed the concoction. She informed me I should be better by evening. Even moments after drinking the potion, my headache subsided.

I thanked her and asked her what I owed her. “This one is free, blood-kin,” she said. As always, I am inspired and amazed by orcish hospitality.

I feel that my time in the wilderness has been extremely helpful in clearing my mind with simple study and works. I plan to travel to Whiterun in the morning to share my discoveries of Orsimer bone smithing with Eorlund and hopefully we will be able to unlock the mysteries of molding the bones of the dragons in weaponry. From there, I plan to return to Winterhold and pursue my studies in illusion magics and assist with their inquiries on the orb.

Star Gazer

Well-Known Member
Entry 39:

The trip to Whiterun was joyfully fruitful, as Eorlund and I were able to extract the secret method of dragon-bone forging. I arrived late, supping and sleeping at Breezehome, which has until this day been under the watchful eye of Lydia the housecarl. With the sunrise, I strolled up to Jorrvaskr and greeted the Companions. They greeted me, though with some hesitancy as I had been gone for months- again. I asked to speak with Vilkas- Aela, with a scowl, informed me that he was downstairs in his quarters. I found him in his room hunched over his desk writing in a journal. He stood and, to my surprise, met me with a brotherly embrace. He informed me that he and Farkas had been cured of the beast blood. I must confess here that I did shed a single happy tear at this news. I asked of Aela, and he confirmed my suspicion that she desires to retain Hircine’s gift and that she resents my influence on he and his brother. We spoke of this dissension for a moment, and while I am firmly against her choice, Vilkas spoke sternly to me. After our conversation, I did my best to record what he said; “You, Tsoren, are a free spirit. You come and go as you please. While such freedom is good and fitting of a Companion, you have not been present to welcome new members, act as arbiter of these disagreements, or shepherd the Companions on the path of honor. While you are out for months at a time, Aela checks in here and performs her duties every few days. Aela is also a free spirit, like yourself. I would advise you not to question the honor of her choices, and we will not question the honor of yours.”

His words stung, but they were true. I had not been present whatsoever to discern the direction or deeds of our faction due to the tragedy at Markarth and my other sundry busy-ness, Aela on the other hand had acted faithfully as a member of the Circle, present for every decision; a true member of the family.

I fundamentally abhor her choice of strength over honor, and I believe that it is contrary to what the Companions have always stood for. I am not, however, a Nord, and thus the conversation of the “honors of Sovngarde” versus the “thrill of the Hunt” should be between that great People. Likewise, while I respect the Companions’ decision to broaden their ranks to include individuals from every race, I believe that the position of Harbinger should be held by an Ysgramorian. I spoke thus to Vilkas, and told him that his constancy and skill would make for a greater Harbinger than I. He was silent, and I departed.

I went upstairs and asked Farkas’ help to take all my materials of smithy craft and haul them up to the Skyforge. This took many trips, hauling the bones up from the Plains District to the forge, where Eorlund piled them neatly. By the end we were both exhausted, as the bones are of great weight. Farkas thanked me for a good workout and turned to leave, but I stopped him. I shook his hand and congratulated him on being cured. He said something along the lines of “For the first time in forever, I’ve been sleeping like a baby. I’m gonna do that now.” I laughed and let him return to the Hall.

Eorlund took a long look at the mound of bones and clapped his hands together. “I trust you have a plan,” he asked me, to which I affirmed. My study of ancient materials has given me perspective on their manipulation. It took a long time to come to this realization, but the Orsimer smiths in the Reach gave me the raw materials of understanding to craft such an idea. Just as the Eldergleam in the East could be tapped by no normal metal, but required a tool of more ancient make, and just like the souls of the dragons cannot be commanded by any force except through the influence of a soul more ancient than theirs, the manipulation of the bones of the dragons; the trunk and branches of the draconic tree, can only be influenced by a power of similar form- the Thu’um. This excited the old smith and he heated up the forge.

We placed the aged bones and scales in the fire, and I implemented the Voice in their forging. Placed in the fire alone, the bones would hardly feel warm. With the whispering of the ancient Tongue, however, the materials bent and warped, obeying that word “YOL,” fire, as if it were a command of old. At their softening, Eorlund placed them on the anvil and hammered them into shape. He moved them into the trough to quench them, and as they hissed in the water, I whispered again an ancient phrase “FO KRAH,” frost cold. We went a few rounds of forging, shaping, and quenching before we finally finished with a beautiful longsword blade. Eorlund grabbed a few ingots of ebony to cast the hilt and guard, but I grabbed his wrist before he could throw them into the flame. I requested that he use Skyforge steel in the process. He smiled at my request and acquiesced. At this point, it was late and our strength was utterly spent. We departed for the night.

I returned the next morning and met with Eorlund again. He presented me with the finished sword which I fastened at my waist with a leather strap. “Hardly befitting of such a blade,” he said. I laughed and told him I may have a spare sheath back at Breezehome. I descended to Jorrvaskr and called a general meeting, gathering everyone in the courtyard outside. It was there that I named Vilkas Harbinger, just as Kodlak had bestowed the honor to me. Along with the title came ownership of the axe Wuuthrad, which hangs in the hall, and will be present, along with the remaining heads of the Glenmoril Coven, should the curse of lycanthropy rear its ugly maw again, or should Aela choose to release the burden of the beast. I rejoiced with them that day in a great feast as we sang songs of the Harbingers of yore. I rested there that night.

In the morning, we ate a hardy breakfast, and I intended to leave Whiterun and head North when Vilkas stopped me at the door, handing me an elegant long-sword sheath with an eagle at its crest. “We members of the Circle had Eorlund craft this for you. It is crafted with a piece of each of the armors that we had worn when we traveled together to Ysgramor’s tomb. Wherever you go, I hope that you will always consider yourself a Companion.” Taking this great gift and fitting it, I thanked him and left with great joy. I write this now in Breezehome as Lydia packs my bag for the journey back to the College. I look forward to resuming my studies and roam the halls of the Arcaneum once again.

Star Gazer

Well-Known Member
Entry 40:

I write presently from the Arcaneum. Much has happened since my last entry, and I will hasten to record here what I can remember of the past week.

I returned to Winterhold via the Western passage through the mountains, having tracked down yet another dragon to the Mount Anthor word wall. At the College I sought out Drevis and told him of all that I had learned with regard to the illusion school, with which he was very impressed. He deemed me ready for a particular spell; Pacify. He told me that very few who study the school of illusion do so for the pursuit of peace, however it can be achieved degree by degree. It seems I was right to focus on the small with regard to my study of illusion, as the student of the illusion school practices his art by orders of magnitude, moving up the chain of being with man and mer being its pinnacle. I was greatly encouraged by our conversation and began practicing the pacify spell on groups of insects, as I had done in the woods of the Reach.

I aided Tolfdir in further study of the orb, and I served as the runner between him and Urag the librarian, bringing tome after tome in attempts to decipher the runic inscriptions on the orb itself. After a day or two, I was approached by Ancano, who summoned me to Savos Aren’s quarters. It was there that I was met by the Psijic Order once again; that tribe of immensely powerful mages which puts our College to shame. This monk told me to seek the Augur of Dunlain, however when I spoke to Aren about it, he told me not to pursue the matter any further. I returned to my quarters and spent a few days performing various tasks around the college grounds and in service of my colleagues. Ono particular study on one of Brelyna’s new spells, I asked if she had ever heard of the Augur. She said she had not, but that it was likely that Mirabelle would know. I sought her out and inquired about this mysterious being. It took some convincing, but finally she explained “The Midden,” and its usefulness for all kinds of “out of the way study.” (I believe she spoke cryptically so as to avoid responsibility for any harm that might befall me) I thanked her and was on my way.

I walked the cavernous labyrinth of the blood-soaked Midden. It was clear that some nefarious dealings had occurred there throughout the years. I utilized this time for peaceful practice of the pacify spell, and found that while it worked on creatures like the ice wraiths, I was unable to cast it on the undead, despite both sharing white souls. More research on the “soul-status” of such creatures is required- what makes a soul white or black? Can I assume that the souls of the draugr are not those ancient souls of old who pledged themselves to their draconic overlords, but are rather some substitutionary soul?

Regardless, I was finally met with the Augur, a being of pure magicka who told me of the Staff of Magnus, and that the answer to our questions lies with it. He divulged to me that Ancano had also come looking for answers. Interestingly, he referred to the orb as the “Eye of Magnus,” which was of special interest to me. “If this is truly an Aedric artifact,” I said to him, “questions must be raised about the influence that such an implement might have on the minds of those who study here.” His response was unhelpful for the moment; “All questions will be answered in time.” I had Erandur in mind as I progressed further, wondering if his powers of expulsion could extend to an item of such power as the Eye.

I returned to Mirabelle, who praised my inquisitiveness and immediately recognized the “Staff of Magnus” as a resting within the realm of interest of the Empirical Synod. I headed off to seek this group, and after a series of interactions involving a Dwemer ruin, the location of the Staff was revealed to me. The staff resided within Labyrinthian, that great Nordic ruin that I had discovered only a month or two prior.

Upon returning to the College, tragedy struck. A series of events, catalyzed by none other than Ancano, resulted in the death of Arch-Mage Savos Aren and Master Wizard Mirabelle Ervine. Before her death, Mirabelle entrusted me with a nordic artifact that had something to do with Labyrinthian and tasked me with the retrieval of the Staff. Ancano had magically barricaded himself within the College, and was plaguing the city of Winterhold with creatures similar to the Ice Wraiths in the Midden. As I left, Tolfdir led the other wizards in protecting the city.

After a few days travel, I arrived in Labyrinthian, finding that the nordic artifact was in actuality the key to entering the great ruin. I faced many challenged there, and learned that it was once the great city Bromjunaar, once being a prominent stronghold of the Dragon Cult, an answer to my questions surrounding the visages of the Dragon Priests within the small sanctuary just outside. I pressed deep into the ruin, slashing through countless skeletons, draugr, ghosts, and many other twisted creatures, cutting a path to a final sanctuary where I encountered Morokei the reigning Dragon Priest of the undead city. He wielded a great staff which drained me of my magical power, but by strength of arm I cut him down, taking his mask and discovering that the staff was indeed the Staff of Magnus, bearing similar runic markings to that of the Eye.

As I left the ruin, I was approached by a Thalmor agent who identified himself as Estormo, in league with Ancano. He blasted me with a strong current of lightning magic, and I mustered all of my energy to cast a simple pacify spell. To my distress, the spell failed, leaving me unfocused and off-guard. With the power of the Voice, I was able to slip away for a moment and draw my sword, yet as Estormo guarded the only entrance and was attacking me fiercely, I was forced to slay him. I returned victorious to the College, where Tolfdir and I laid siege to Ancano’s magical embankments, forcing our way into the Hall of the Elements where he was performing some strange ritual on the Eye, granting him great power. Utilizing the Staff of Magnus, we were able to render the Eye inert and apprehend the Altmer. Tragically, he struck out against us and I was forced to kill him in defense of Tolfdir.

Afterwards, we were met with the Psijic Order again, who took the Eye. We are currently unsure of their intentions with the artifact, however there was little we could do about it as they dwarfed us in strength.

As always, the pursuit of power ends only in disappointment and tragedy as we then gathered to mourn the loss of not only Skyrim’s greatest mind, Savos Aren, but also the administrative head of the College, Mirabelle Ervine. Arcane and Estormo did not have to die, but their arrogance drove them to further unnecessary violence. I grieve their deaths as I grieve those innocents who died at their hands.

Presently, we are in a state of unrest. Tolfdir was named Master Wizard, but the position of Arch-Mage is currently empty. In a conversation with the old man, he mentioned that my name came up at the masters’ meeting, which came as a total shock to me. He explained that the position was one of great responsibility- not of administration but of protection, and that the Arch-Mage had the solemn duty of neutralizing magical threats throughout the nation, as they have done for countless years.

I understand that I have endeared myself to the professors here, and that they acknowledge my prowess; I do appreciate the sentiment. In the coming days, I hope to learn more about the College; its history and traditions, and uncover what the position of Arch-Mage might entail. I am hoping that by the end of the week, I will have spoken to the wizards who think me capable, and find out why they think I am suited for the position.

I am already devoted to the protection of the common man, and I do not seek the political power that comes with a position such as this. As this opportunity has come so soon after my stepping down from the position of Harbinger, I may have to meditate on the responsibility of leadership before I am able to accept or deny the call. Perhaps the question I must answer is this- will this help or hinder my quest to know the Shepherd?

Star Gazer

Well-Known Member
Entry 41:

I have spoken with each of the master wizards separately who affirmed that the council had indeed considered me as a candidate for Arch-Mage. Upon further questioning, they discussed with me what was brought up in their assembly, that I was uniquely suited for the defense against magical threats in Skyrim, and that this fact alone pushed me to the top of the list. Again, the denizens of Skyrim value strength above all things; a value I had once attributed to the Nords, but seems at this point universal. Strength won me the position of Harbinger, in which I was found lacking, and strength has now positioned me in another leadership position, and I believe it wise to pass this opportunity by. I am not sure if I am leadership material like Kodlak was or like Vilkas is now, and I don’t think I am a suitable replacement for Savos Aren, whose knowledge and understanding was established and crystallized by decades of magical study.

I spoke with Tolfdir again, telling him I was not interested, and I was grateful for his understanding. He asked me if I had any recommendations for nominees, and I simply told him that it may be best to consult the Augur of Dunlain for such decisions, as his opinion serves as one free from the influence of tragedy and grief as ours are.

Apart from this Arch-Mage business, I have been contenting myself with more college research, which has sent me far and broad across the country. Interestingly, J’Zargo insisted that he come with me to keep notes on my dealings. I was, at first perturbed by his company, but I have come to value companionship on the road, especially as I feel no need to protect the Khajiit; he knows what he was signing up for and he is suitably competent in the destruction school, which makes him a wise choice. If it were Onmund or Brelyna, I would have outright refused, especially after what happened with Orthorn in that nasty business with the Fellglow Magi. Many a mage has lost his life in pursuit of knowledge, and I personally cannot afford more lives lost on my already fragile conscience.

Our travels brought us from East to West, seeking out dwemer artifacts, hunting down lost staves, and uncovering ancient tomes. The roads have been rife with vampires, and I have decided to always carry around a few potions to eliminate the risk of contracting Sanguinare Vampires again. To J’Zargo’s dismay, we were also set upon multiple times by werewolves on the road. The first couple of times, he was completely out of his depth, but he soon learned that it is better to be cautious than careless with these lycanthropic types. Due to my history with the beast-blood, I know the kinds of openings they are looking for. In a scrap with werewolves, it is best to feign weakness, as their senses (dulled as they are by rage and hunger) will spiral them into careless savagery, which is easily punished by a wise blade-stroke.

I have since said my farewells to J’Zargo for now, as I plan to travel to Fort Dawnguard on the morrow to offer my assistance to them yet again. Hopefully we can curb the vampiric population and possibly gather more noble men and women to the cause.

Star Gazer

Well-Known Member
Entry 42:

On my way to Fort Dawnguard, I was attacked by a heavily armored Khajiit, wielding ebony mace and axe. I disarmed him and knocked him to his knees, commanding him not to move as I prepared my pacify spell, which has received much practice since my failure regarding Estormo. Almost to my surprise, it worked and the cat calmed down. I asked him why he had attacked me, and he said he was out here in the wilderness on business, but thought I looked like easy coin. I asked what business he was undertaking, and he told me that there was a bounty placed in the Bee and Barb in Riften to retrieve a particular magical staff from the ruined city of Forelhost in the mountains nearby. I told him to return to Riften and not to attack any travelers on his way, and he complied. I noted down the location of the ruin.

I arrived at Fort Dawnguard to find that Isran and the other members were in combat with a group of vampires which had discovered the location of the fort. We slew them and I captured the soul of the leader in the Black Star for later use. I spoke with Isran about what had happened at Dimhollow, and he became very grim. I gave a description of the scroll that the vampire woman was holding, which he identified as an Elder Scroll, a timeless artifact of immense power. He employed me in the recruitment of two of his old colleagues to help bolster their numbers.

After a small meal and a nights rest, I headed out but was distracted by the thought of the Nordic ruin in the mountains. I tracked down its whereabouts and discovered the large mountain city, which as I found out was once a great battleground and served as the last bastion for the Dragon Cult. Traversing the city, I learned some of the Cult’s beliefs; that the gods were once dragons, and that one day, upon their return, the divines would also return to Nirn and exalt them. Whatever they thought, it obviously did not happen. I expelled the ghosts and undead from the crypt and found a Dragon Priest in the grand chamber. These lich types can be tricky, but a man or mer who is quick on his feet can beat them down before they can cause too much trouble. I removed his mask and put it in my bag. With the other masks safely stored in my quarters at the College, this marks my seventh. If I can find the final visage, I might be able to unlock the secrets of Labyrinthian’s sanctuary.

My errand for Isran led me to Ivarstead, where I once again gazed up at the Throat of the World from its base. I was enjoying the evening air and the breeze traveling with the creek when I was met with a fair voice behind me, “Keep looking up like that you’ll end up with a crook in your neck.” I turned to acknowledge the voice, and found that it came from a Bosmer like myself. “You are correct, fair elf,” said I, “It is more profitable to keep ones eyes down. Some would tell you to set your eyes on that which is grand, but I have found that there is gracefulness in that which is lowly.” He smiled at me and so elegantly responded “Sure. You’ll never find your lost coin in the clouds; things like that usually find their way to the ground.” I laughed. His name is Gwilin, a hired hand at the local lumber mill. I invited him for a drink, and he told me that he would take me up on my offer next time, as he was still finishing up his work, and had some other errands that evening.

My travels tomorrow will take me to the Reach, but I plan on stopping in Whiterun to offload some items with Lydia. My conversation with Gwilin has put a spring in my step, and I look forward to the trip ahead.

Star Gazer

Well-Known Member
Entry 43:

When law fails to uphold justice, what is man or mer to do? Behold I am at unrest due to the dishonorable and questionable position of the guards in the City of Stone. A woman, killed in the town square, yet they care not to investigate the murder further.

I arrived in Markarth by means of Bjorlam’s carriage. It was not twenty minutes before I was wishing to be back on the road. It seems Markarth is always filled of trouble and strife, and I run into problems every time I arrive. After the murder, I aligned myself with a man who called himself Eltrys. We did what we could to inquire about the events, and I used my friendship with Kleppr the barman to gain some helpful insights about the victim, Margaret, who was serving the Empire to leverage ownership of Cidhna Mine for whatever reason. The morning after this discovery, I was approached by armed guards who commanded that I relent in my quest to find justice for Margaret. All I could do was comply, I am not looking to be thrown into Cidhna Mine myself.

The civil law is enacted at the local level by the Jarl of each hold, and they answer and are held accountable only to the High King. After the king’s death, however, it seems things have gotten out of hand here, and I suppose that it may have something to do with some deal involving the prison here. Eltrys presumes the Reachmen have something to do with it, and I believe he may be onto something, but I question their motives, as the Forsworn rarely stoop to the level of politics and conspiracy, preferring, as I have seen, to solve their problems with blade and spell. I am unsure how to proceed here, and it may genuinely be best to leave the issue be.

While I must abide by the local law, honoring the judicial system that gives the land peace and justice, I am bound more truly by the Broader Ethic, as I have previously written, to do good and seek the honor of man and mer and to bring glory to the Master of All Things. If I have to break a law at the more rudimentary level to obey that which is greater, I have no choice to pursue justice at the expense of the local system.

I poked my head into the abandoned home which houses the altar of Molag Bal- it has been left untouched, as far as I can tell. While I am unsure of how to rid Markarth of its evil influence, I believe our efforts against the vampiric threat may be sufficient in curbing that demon’s power in the land.

I completed my errand for Isran, and was reacquainted with Serana the vampire. We now begin our search for what is known as a “Moth Priest,” who is able to read and decipher the scroll that Serana carries. We believe that if we can uncover the secrets of this “prophecy” as she calls it, we will be able to beat Lord Harkon to the goal and thwart his plans.

Bjorlam has been ferrying us to and fro, and while I first thought him a nuisance, I have begun to appreciate his insights. I spend more time with this man than anyone else, and thus I have divulged details about my work at the College with him. I told him of how I turned down the offer of Arch-Mage, and he thought it quite funny. I’m not sure he believed me. “Now that’s quite an honor,” he told me, “I would at least have wrote them a letter thanking them for the thought,” he added. I have now begun to do exactly that, I hope to express my thanks and possibly offer to them my thoughts on the College’s next steps.

Star Gazer

Well-Known Member
To the learned men and women, to the council of master mages, to the teachers and mentors at my beloved and esteemed College of Winterhold.

It was only months ago that I first walked your halls and was introduced to each of you, yet I have learned what feels to be a lifetime’s amount of lessons, and like you have felt a lifetime’s amount of grief. As I mourn with you the deaths of Savos Aren and Mirabelle Ervine, I also rejoice in the graceful resolution to the issue involving the Eye of Magnus, and I applaud the courageous deeds of each of you as we frustrated the plans of the Thalmor and prevented great harm from befalling Skyrim and more particularly the humble yet noble city of Winterhold.

Firstly, I would like to thank you for your great consideration in elevating me to candidacy for the position of Arch-Mage. It is an honor that I could not have imagined only a few months prior. At this point, however, I must graciously decline, not only because I do not see myself excelling in such a role, but because I feel that others would do better and thrive in the position, able to lead our majestic College for years to come.

Secondly, I would take this opportunity to offer the application of my services to those within the College and those outside of our ranks, all who call themselves wielders of mystical art. While the Arch-Mage, whoever may take on such a responsibility, must be a man of aptitude and magical might, I offer my services as Counselor and Professor of Magickal Ethics; a position which, as I am told my our current Master Wizard, has been vacant for some time.

Based on my previous experiences, I cannot say that I am uniquely suited for leadership, however I hope that the wisdom of my counsel may prove useful for up-and-coming magi, prospective students, and anxious inquirers. Please consider this my application for the role.

Further, I have been informed by one of the apprentices that there has been trouble near the Northern ice-fields of Daedric variety, and as this is also within my realm of interest and study, I volunteer to investigate and resolve the issue, not wishing that any of our students or professors should be lost to the malice or deception of these demons.

While other business has my current attention I will be traveling for some days, however I will return soon to greet you again and speak to you personally of these issues.
With sincerity,

Star Gazer

Well-Known Member
To Bjorlam,
Thank you for your advice in reaching out to my superiors in written form. Attached is a small story I have written for you, considering your love for rustic poetry

There was once a Tramp on a mountain plain
Who worked stalls of sickly horses.
He lived in service to a mighty king
Who one day faced evil forces.

The opposing Chief stood in regal fare
And rode his war-beast rightly
This great siege lasted several months
And Chief pestered the Good King nightly

“Good King,” said he, “do give us ear.”
“Hear what we challenge thee”
“Bring forth your strongest horse and rider,
And see who finds victory.”

“The winner hence, yes let him be
The owner of the plain,
Let the loser flee and find new land
But the winner shall remain.”

One look at their horses, it was sure
Impossible it would be;
To win a bout of jousting
With a stall of horses sickly.

The Good King sighed and bowed his head
“We’re done for and I know!”
Then goodly Tramp stepped forth and said
“Let I the gauntlet throw.”

“Evil Chief,” cried he “do hear me now,
And heed my proclamation;
Choose any steed you like,
Only let us choose location.”

The Chief did think a moment thus
And in pride he made his choice
Thinking that victory was sure
He raised his foolish voice:

“Be it in the forest, or be it in the plain
Be it in the desert or be it in the vale,
Bring your steeds to even lands end,
Our tribes still shall prevail!”

Good Tramp grinned as he made his choice;
“The Crumbles in the Reach.”
Good King could see the horses,
And could not muster speech.

Good King offered spur and blinder
He gave Tramp shield and heavy lance,
“Nay,” said Tramp, “I need no luck,
Victory is not left up to chance.”

“Whence does our vict’ry come?” Asked King
And Tramp responded from the pasture;
“The horses hear their Chieftains call
But they obey the Greater Master.”

Rode they out into the Crumbles;
Loose rock and mudslide cruel,
The Chief rode out on masterful steed,
But Tramp, he rode a mule.

“Charge!” Cried the men to Chief and Tramp
The Chief’s horse bolted trod by trod
Heavied by the armor,
And with blinders he was shod

The great War-Beast, with eyes like fire
With snort and breath like flame
Tripped that day amidst the gopher hole
And with broken leg lay lame.

The mule held proud Tramp aloft,
While looking humbly at the ground.
Tramp cut the fallen Chief asunder
And with victory he was crowned.

Thus the peasantry to this day
Say when they see a mule,
“Let us be like the Great Tramp,
For in meekness we shall rule.”

Star Gazer

Well-Known Member
Entry 44:

There was a man I met while traversing the underside of Riften (not in the Ratways, but the storefronts that line the waterways) who regaled me of the habits of rats and their populations. While I cannot remember his name at present, he was clearly a professional on the issue, having handled everything from small mice to enlarged brooding skeevers; it mattered not, he told me, they all behave similarly. Rats prefer to hunt at night, and when they do, they prefer to keep to the low corners of buildings, out of sight. If possible, they will remain undetected for years, feeding on crumbs and other detritus in between buildings or within the very walls thereof. When the population grows too large, however, their habits will change. Out of desperation, or perhaps confidence in their great numbers, they will begin to venture out during the day, straying from their dark corners and alleys, foraging in plain view for mankind to witness. “When you see a rat out in the open on a clear and sunny day, that’s when you know you got a problem.” He told me.

Just like the rat, the vampire has grown overzealous in his hubris; Serana and I were attacked on two separate occasions in broad daylight by vampiric fiends in the Eastmarch region on the way to the College. This fact alone has driven me to further certainty that my time, as of now, is best spent curbing their ranks and driving them back into the shadows. The vampire clans, in like manner, are filled with purpose and certainty as they seek to fulfill this “prophecy” of the Scrolls, as if their victory is for certain. While I cannot pretend to understand the nature of these Elder Scrolls, they do not seem to me to have the same relationship with time as, say, the demon Azura has, who is able to look at the temporal line past, present, and future occurrences with certainty. While Azura is able to witness the flow of time, she is unable to change it; rather she is a slave to it, knowing what is to come, indeed even her inevitable demise. The Scrolls, on the other hand, are able to see multiple future realities, and align themselves to the likely potential of a single future.

Work has been done with regards to anomalies like the “Dragon Breaks,” such as the popular compilation; Where Were You When the Dragon Broke?, which offers some insight into the temporal mysteries of multiple simultaneous yet contradictory past realities. The Scrolls seem to work similarly, yet in the other direction- a “Dragon Break” in a future sense, perhaps, yet each potential reality foreseen by the Scrolls will not be equally realized, thereby not embodying a truly prophetic element.

Our inquiries regarding the Scrolls brought us to Urag, who agreed to send a correspondence to the White-Gold Tower to request the services of a Moth Priest in deciphering the Scroll. As it will likely take some weeks to receive a response, I spoke with Serana to inform her that I will be staying here at the College. I was surprised that she agreed to stay with me. I arranged for a room to be prepared for her within the Hall of Attainment. She confided in me that she was impressed by the Arcaneum and the College’s allowance for necromancy.

I spoke with Master Tolfdir about the letter than I had sent the Council. He explained that they read it aloud to the pleasure of the wizards present, and that a letter of summons was arranged to be sent to me which I never received. This summons was administered so that I might be present among the Council regarding my application to the position of Counsellor and Professor of Magickal Ethics, which they have considered. It was agreed upon that a vote will be held, which I will attend two days hence, which will decide whether I will fill the role or not. I look forward to being present.

For now, however, I will patiently submit myself to research while I await the meeting, and further, while we await a response from the Tower regarding the Moth Priests’ services.

Star Gazer

Well-Known Member
Entry 45:

The Council’s vote was decided; I was given the position of Counsellor and Professor of Magickal Ethics and was officially allowed to publish works on the topic henceforth, my research being fully funded and backed by the College, as they state that my previous services have sufficiently vetted me for the position, and agree that I am uniquely suited for the task. We have yet to receive word from the White-Gold Tower, but I fully intend to begin work on my first instructory publication while we wait.

Serana is beginning to flourish here, easily gaining the professors favor by offering a number of small samples of her Volkihar blood for research. A few of the apprentices raised objections with regard to her vampirism shortly after our arrival, which I entertained, bringing the question to leadership. Tolfdir issued a final verdict; that a state of Vampirism, while controversial in its connection to the Black Arts and to the service of evil, is not explicitly forbidden; yet her actions while on College grounds will be held with closer scrutiny as she is not a formal member, yet she still may enjoy many of the benefits thereof as an honored guest.

Serana is indeed under the influence of Molag Bal, yet she is sympathetic to my hatred of him. She has explained to me that she does not worship the demon, but views the powers granted by such a condition to be a gift. At this point, in private, I revealed to her my history with the Companions, that I had served as a member of the Circle when lycanthropy was effectively mandatory. It granted strength, yet I was emotionally and spiritually compromised- as she currently is. I was able to draw connections between the bloodthirstiness and greedy bitterness of the “gifts” that both Hircine and Molag Bal offer, and I believe I made a strong case against being under the hand of such an evil being. She said she would consider our conversation, which gives me hope.

I do not sense the same stubbornness in her that I see in Aela. While Aela, Nord of Nords as she is, sees value in strength alone, Serana sees the virtue of clarity of mind and relishes the sunrise. In our time here at the College, I have taken small moments to enlighten her of my philosophy of that which is small, explaining that even the leaf, whose veins supply life-giving nutrients to every cell, points to the existence of what she and I have begun to call “The Branch,” that being the source of all existence, consciousness, and morality which courses throughout all planes of Aurbis.

Star Gazer

Well-Known Member
Entry 46:

Currently, Serana and I are resting and laying low in Windhelm’s Candlehearth Hall. I have much to write, and I will pick up where I left my last entry. I had been writing some preliminary drafts for my first book commissioned by the College when news finally arrived from Cyrodil concerning the Cult of the Ancestor Moth. Urag spoke to me briefly and handed me the letter sealed with the official White-Gold insignia which we, along with Serana, opened together. The parchment revealed to us that a Priest had truly already been traveling through Skyrim in the Haafingar Hold on similar Scroll-related business, and was meant to have returned this past week, but did not. The Tower sent their condolences to us, but they are unwilling to send another priest until their lingering member returns home.

“Seems like this priest is going to cause you some trouble.” Urag said to me. It was true; if this priest was captured or killed, it would mean the further delay of an interpreter for the Scroll. I discussed with Serana, however I requested that we tarry in Winterhold a day or two more at most, as I have endeavored to finish the first few chapters of my book before we depart. To my delight, she begrudgingly agreed, however I made it clear to her that I dare not strain our relationship over such a trivial matter.

I finished the introductory chapters with considerable contributions from Urag and Tolfdir, who revealed to me the outdated nature of the College’s ethical guidelines up until this point, noting that they have needed reform for some time, which I am, of course, pleased to provide.

That night, I was startled awake by a sound in the dark. I was reminded of the time, as a young man, when Aris and I were awoken by rogues as we slept openly in Valenwood’s forests- vulnerable and afraid. I sat up with a start and scrambled, grasping for my sword, which to my dismay was resting on a table in the corner of the room.

“Who goes there?” I cried. I produced a flame spell in my hand, (a simple convection spell taught to me by Arniel Gane) which revealed the figure in the doorway, a child, a girl, who could not have been older than thirteen. I relaxed in my bed and asked what she was doing here. “I’m sorry to wake you mister, but I’m lost,” said she to my exasperation, “and I’m looking for my parents.” Bewildered, I explained that she was in the College of Winterhold, whose gates remain closed to visitors unless we have reason to make exception. She pleaded of me; “Please mister, would you walk me over the scary bridge back to my parents at the inn?”

In the moment, noticing her frailty and the paleness of her skin, I thought it honorable to ensure her safety and take her the short distance back to the Frozen Hearth Inn. I planned to ask Dagur about such strange visitors and check the status of our gate, which by all means should have kept this child outside. I was glad, on the other hand, that the gate had failed so that I might aid her. I rose and draped myself with my fur cloak, not deeming it needful to don my armor or sword, guiding the girl outside where I lit a torch and led our short expedition back to the city.

I will here attempt to put into writing the contents of our conversation.
“What is your name?” I asked
“My friends call me ‘B.’ My parents and I moved nearby only a few months ago,” she replied, but continued; “My mother tells me not to speak to strangers, but I was very scared. When I woke you, I was hoping I had not accidentally spoken to someone mean, like from the Dark Brotherhood.”
Her comment caught me off guard. “Why would you be worried of the Dark Brotherhood?” I asked.
“I hear they are an evil group of grown-ups who kill people for fun. I wish someone would beat them up and make them leave Skyrim so me and mother don’t have to worry.”
“Luckily for you, we don’t have to worry about the Dark Brotherhood anymore,” I told her.
“Why is that?” She asked.
“The Brotherhood is no longer in Skyrim. It seems somebody beat you there and has already vanquished them.”
There was silence for a moment; the only thing audible was the blasting wind over the winding path. Wearing relatively little in this treacherous weather, and seemingly very cold, I put my cloak over her. She pressed herself close at my side for warmth as we passed the narrowest portion of the passage, worn down with time.
It was at this point that the girl spoke again.
“It was you.” She said, more as a statement than a question.
Seeing the need to affirm her, I submitted “I can personally assure you, the Dark Brotherhood is no more.”
I felt a searing pain in my flank. I have felt the same pain often enough to know I had been stabbed, and relatively deeply. I looked down and watched as the girl’s pale hand released an ebony dagger of which only the hilt was visible, protruding from my abdomen. I fell to one knee, raising one hand towards her and placing the other on my wound, desperately preparing a healing spell.
“Mother is in mourning over her children. You will join them in the Void,” she said bitterly. She kicked me with surprising strength, causing me to lose my balance and fall sideways off of the bridge. I watched her turn and walk away as I fell for what seemed like an eternity towards the jagged rocks and shallow water. With the last efforts of consciousness, I invoked the Voice entrusted to me by the Graybeards, “Wuld Nah,” launching my body in the direction of the deeper waters.

I was unsure how long it had been, hours or days, when I awoke looking up at cloudy skies. I looked down, seeing that the godsblood blade was gone, as was my robe; rather, I was wrapped with heavy furs, which I pulled off of myself to inspect my injury. To my surprise, I found that the area was padded with cloth and wrapped with some kind of twine.

“You might want to get back under those furs, elf,” spoke a voice. Turning, I saw a massive Nord clad in similar furs sitting only a few feet away. Finally looking around, I discovered that we were stationed upon a small island about thirty yards from shore. There was a small tent established near the embers of a fire, behind which I noticed a small yet sturdy-looking vessel boasting a single sail.

“Who can I thank for my rescue?” asked I, weakly, to which he simply reacted “Bjorn,” and handing me the cruelly twisted dagger, asked “This yours?” I am disgusted even recounting its shape and make; it was truly designed for causing as much internal damage as possible, coiled and twisted; an expertly crafted assassin’s blade. I declined the knife, which he tossed into his tent. “I am leaving soon. Heading over to the mainland” He said, “I found you bleeding, wrapped in seaweed. Took you to this island so the wolves wouldn’t get you. If you expect to come with, help me pack up.” I complied, rising tentatively. “Your wound should be alright. I gave you a good dose of magic and herb to keep you from splitting open again.” I asked if he was a healer, to which he laughed and responded, “Imagine that. Mighty Bjorn the humble healer.”

I packed up his items and struggled onto the boat. I am sure he noticed my stumbling onto the craft, but he made no offer to help. I was not upset, nor do I even think it rude. It revealed to me exactly the nature of the man who saved me. The vessel itself was immaculately crafted; a testament to a master shipwright. I asked Bjorn where he was from. “I was born and raised among the Skaal, in a small village on the island of Solstheim. They are a virtuous, but quiet people. I now travel to Skyrim for glory.”

I had previously read of the Skaal from a book called Aevar Stone-Singer, which I found among a bandit hideout months ago. “Is it true that your people worships the All-Maker?” I asked, to which he replied “Yes of course.” This interaction led to a long conversation regarding the Maker of all things. It seems that he and I share many beliefs, yet the Skaal widely disregard the Aedra or Daedra, adhering to a sort of dualism between “All-Maker” and “The Adversary.” I had many questions, but Bjorn had little patience for them. He seemed tentative about sharing many details, as if he were ashamed. I guided him to station his boat beneath the arch leading from Winterhold to the College, from which I fell. I brought him up to the Frozen Hearth, and instructed Dagur to allow his tenance as long as he desired, promising the old innkeeper payment in a few days time. I also asked of the young “B.,” and if he had any other strange guests recently, which he denied. I took my leave of Bjorn, but begged him to stay for a few days so that we might continue our conversations.

I returned to the College, where I reunited with Serana. She informed me that I had been gone for two days, and considered heading West to locate the Priest, but decided to wait and search for me. “If you intended to leave you would have at least taken your sword. You love that thing like it’s your child,” she said. I told her what had happened, and she told me, “When you make enemies like that, it’s only a matter of time before they find you. Someone with such fierce competition needs to keep moving, no matter what books they want to write.” I agreed with her. Going forward, I need to be more vigilant with my time.

That night, I packed up my things and placed them on the bed. I went to visit Colette one final time, who inspected the scar on my side. She said the treatment was primitive, but would hold and that I had no need to fear as long as I don’t let any little girls attack me again. Seems Serana had let that fact slip; I forgot she had already made friends with the higher-ups here, likely at my expense. I returned to my room, where I found Tolfdir and Serana having a discussion. She told me that they both believe that the girl who attacked me was likely a vampire; and they also believe that my heroism and naivety will get me killed one day. Tolfdir handed me a tome, “Detect Dead,” which I pored through quickly. As I had already read it’s sister work, “Detect Life,” (given as payment for some mercenary work a year ago) the spell came quite easily to me. I cast detect life in my right hand thus that Tolfdir’s aura appeared in my vision. I cast detect dead in my left, and Serana appeared. I thanked Tolfdir, grabbed my bag, and we left the College. “You better not use that spell against me.” Serana said, “I had to convince the old man to part with it. I did you a favor. Besides, you know what happens to vampire hunters who can’t tell a vampire from a little girl? Well, they call him bad at his job; they also call him dead.”

I ducked back into the Frozen Hearth to check on Bjorn, thinking perhaps that he could travel with us. Dagur told me that he had actually departed shortly after arriving the previous night, but left something for me. The old innkeeper handed me an item wrapped in a small burlap cloth. Opening it, I found the twisted ebony knife inside, along with a little scrawled note which read, “Very few smiths can craft with Shor’s blood. Take it and see if you can find its maker. He might point you to your attacker.” I indeed took the knife, but made every effort not to make skin-contact with it, despite Serana’s accusations of superstition.

We plan on departing for Whiterun in the morning and staying a night or two there before continuing further west to Haafingar, where hopefully we can track down our missing Moth Priest. Perhaps Eorlund might recognize the smithing of the blade.

Star Gazer

Well-Known Member
Entry 47:

We arrived in Whiterun after dark due to Serena’s insistence that we travel later in the day to minimize her time spent in the sun, entering Breezehome to offload the loot of our travels; mostly trinkets of vampiric or dwemeri origin. We spent the next day at leisure in the city. Serana mostly stayed inside, but visited Arcadia’s shop and may have ventured into the Hall of the Dead at some point.

I brought the ebony knife to the Skyforge to seek Eorlund’s counsel. To my surprise, he identified it’s make immediately, recognizing the method of its craft as belonging to a previous apprentice of his, about whom he showed much hesitation in sharing. I was only able to coax out the details of this apprentice after I accounted to him the circumstances surrounding my attempted assassination. He revealed to me that, years ago, he took on as an apprentice a certain member of the Companions by the name of Arnbjorn. Over the years, this Nord was also elevated to a position within the Circle, receiving the beastblood. He was a faithful member, but fell in love with a woman from Falkreath and adopted strange practices. One day, he killed another Companion, an offense worthy of exile, but was wounded and disappeared into the night, presumedly dead. “It was only after we had heard the testimonies of werewolf sightings and mangled corpses in the forests to the West that we knew he was still alive.”

I was reminded of my encounter with some such blacksmith of beastly countenance during my raid on the Dark Brotherhood’s sanctuary. “Did he show preference to the great-axe?” I asked. Surprised, the old man answered “Yes he did. By the way you speak, I assume you have met him. I would ask; how is he?”

I told him that Arnbjorn was indeed dead, and with the most unexpected touch of sympathy, he responded, “We all make our own choices, and follow our own paths. Indeed, he chose his.”

This solidifies my presumptions that “B.” was indeed connected in some way to the Brotherhood, and perhaps was once a member, receiving from this Arnbjorn the blade which I now hold. The implications of the attack have weighed on me heavily, hinting to me that the Dark Brotherhood has not been entirely eradicated, or that there is at least some form of dedication to the Night Mother remaining in Skyrim. Whether there is a second sanctuary, I am unsure; I have heard of no such thing, however I found the Falkreath sanctuary empty as I scoured it a second time some weeks ago as an aside while on business for Enthir. At this point, I am unsure of who to inquire regarding the location of this remnant, however I likely have some time before they realize their attempt at my life had failed.

I thanked Eorlund for his time and service and took my leave. Descending the steps, I heard a loud crash from the courtyard behind Jorrvaskr, accompanied by a yell I did not recognize. I trotted behind the Hall and witnessed a great sight; behold, it was Bjorn, the Nord I had met at the shores of Winterhold only two nights prior; barechested, restraining Farkas in a headlock. I laughed at the absurdity of the situation, accepting a selection of meat from Tilda and taking a seat at a table next to Vilkas as we observed the remainder of the match.

I marveled at Bjorn’s musculature. Even for a Nord, his physique was marvelous, as if sculpted from marble by one of the great Altmer masters. This strength, once veiled underneath many layers of furs, was fully revealed in that courtyard. Vilkas told me that the man appeared yesterday afternoon, already having proven himself of great service to Whiterun, dropping the heads of a dozen wanted bandits at the feet of the Jarl before darkening our hall’s door. What I was witnessing was his test of initiation.

We watched as Farkas was finally pinned and forced to tap in submission. Bjorn did not notice his opponent’s forfeit, at which point Vilkas arose and called for the match to end, applauding Bjorn for his skill and handing him a goblet of mead, which he downed and returned just as quickly, laughing.

We all entered the main hall, where I finally found a moment to speak to Bjorn once again. “You again, elf!” He said, asking, “what are you doing among the Companions?” I explained that I was indeed a member of the Circle, to which he responded mockingly “I didn’t realize this Hall submitted itself to the leadership of elves, or even stoop to let one dine at its table,” to which I quoted the great Harbingers of old, “Even an elf can be born with the heart of a Nord sometimes.” At this tension, the clamor in the Hall died down significantly, at which point Bjorn spoke again, “If that were true, there would have been no war in antiquity between man and elf. When the mannish ancestors came knocking at your elfish gates for shelter, not only did you deny our entrance, you declared war against us. Indeed you still do. I was told Skyrim was land of the Nords, and I hoped it was so. Search history- you will find no case of elfish hospitality. I defy any man in this hall to challenge me otherwise.”

At this point Athis, fiery Dunmer as he is, launched himself at the brute but was held back by Torvar. Even while restrained, the Ashlander shouted, “You truly were born with the heart of an elf, as the only one lacking ‘mannish hospitality’ is yourself!” Bjorn began pushing through the Companions with fire in his eyes, disregarding the pleas of every man until Aela stepped in his path, at which point he came to a full stop. She spoke something softly to him, and he relented. It was only among the crowd that I realized how massive he truly was, easily a head and shoulders among the tallest of our ranks. Aela escorted him downstairs, which I took note of; they seemed to recognize each other or had already spoken prior to his initiation. At his exit, there was finally peace.

I took a seat with Farkas for a moment, who was still regaining his breath from the sparring match with the giant. I explained to him that even after relinquishing the beast blood, I continue to be amazed at his incomprehensible strength. I assured him, however, that while strength of arm profits a little, an honorable heart is the strength and engine of a true Companion. He thanked me, and I left.

I trust the opinion of Vilkas on the issue of Bjorn’s initiation, but I am intrigued by Aela’s relationship to him. When I myself was first initiated, I was raised through the ranks and given the Blood by virtue of strength alone. Such cannot be the case again. Bjorn is a wild Nord; young, with much to learn.

I write presently from Breezehome, we leave tomorrow afternoon, possibly arriving in Dragon Bridge after sundown. I will refrain from writing until we locate our Moth Priest, alive or dead.

Star Gazer

Well-Known Member
Entry 48:

The Moth Priest lives! Before we even arrived in Dragon Bridge, we discovered the site of some small battle between imperial and vampire, yet no survivors were present. Following a trail of blood led us to a small vampiric hideout, and within this den was our man, seemingly tortured by the undead vermin and under the sway of some great illusion magic. We made short work of his captors, and I was able to dispel the illusion over the monk, tending his wounds with restoration magicks as Serana cut down the remnants of the horde.

The man’s name is Dexion Evicus, who outlined that he was attacked one the road and brought here to become a Thrall of the Volkihar Clan. After some explanation on my part, he agreed to travel with us to Fort Dawnguard. At our arrival, he was provided food and drink and a quarters where he was to stay the night. Isran was present for the reading of the Scroll, which recounted the vampiric prophecy, yet did not detail the means by which this prophecy would be fulfilled. Luckily, however, Dexion was able to decipher that two other Scrolls were related to the one which he held, but was unsure of their residence.

I wrote a letter, which I sent from Riften via courier to the White-Gold Tower, notifying them that we had rescued their missing priest. I also informed them that he was staying with in Eastmarch to perform a reading of our Scroll, and requested that he stay until we are able to recover and decipher the other two texts about which he spoke.

Serana and I departed for Winterhold, where we currently reside. Having spoken to Urag again, he gave me some helpful references on the Elder Scrolls, one of which was written by a scholar by the name of Septum’s Signus, who Urag says traveled North into the ice-fields before my apprenticeship the better part of a year ago. If anyone may know where to find an Elder Scroll, it would be him.

We intend to scour the fields at Sundown, which gives me ample time to continue the writing of my ethical opus.

Star Gazer

Well-Known Member
Entry 49:

The journey to meet with Septimus Signus was profitable. In short, we retrieved the Elder Scroll and successfully brought it back to the College, within which, from my desk in the Arcaneum, I now write. While I tremble to record what has transpired over the past five days, I will do my best to legitimately and truthfully record the events for my later reference. The Scroll rests on the table before me, and I open it not for fear of blindness, yet I am drawn to the thought of the runic inscriptions and astrological symbols contained within. I will remain patient, however, as many an uninitiated mind has been shattered at its viewing.

After a perilous journey through the ice-fields, we finally found it- a small wooden door leading into a hollow iceberg in the Sea of Ghosts. At our first meeting with Septimus, his madness was immediately apparent, yet he exhibited deep understanding of the Scrolls and the machinations of the Dwemer. Within his icy chamber rested a massive cube made of dwemeri metal, seemingly impossibly locked, with which the mage was enamored and obsessed. Every question that we brought regarding the Scrolls was answered with reference to the Cube, but finally, through much prodding, Septimus revealed the whereabouts of one of the two known Scrolls within Skyrim, “at the very boundary of Alftand, then beyond.” He explained that the Scroll would help us in our journey, yet that it also held the key to unlocking the Cube, giving us the dwarven tonal key to access the Scroll, along with what he called a “Lexicon,” a mysterious artifact that the dwemer used to store information.

This was my third expedition to the Alftand ruin, the first to obtain mass amounts of metal scrap, and the second on errand for Arniel Gane. This particular journey took three full days from our departing Septimus until our return. At the furthest reaches of the city of Alftand, similar to the ruins near Riften and Markarth, there was stationed a mysterious lock, into which we placed the tonal key, revealing the passage into what I can only assume is “Fal’Zhardum Din,” that “Blackest Kingdom Reaches,” mentioned in the third volume of Thelwe Ghelein’s series of research novels; Dwemer Inquiries.

Despite our expectations of a peaceful road-system, we were thrust into a massive cave and met with colonies of angry Falmer, along with their chaurus. Fighting our way into the main city, to our horror we discovered that the Falmer were keeping slaves of man, mer, and beast folk. Despite my best efforts to focus on their Falmer captors and maintain peace with the servants, we were overrun by the ragged men and women, their minds warped by years of brutal service and the poisonings of their cruel masters. We did what we could, by means of illusion magic, to keep the peace, and kept on our way. Our journey in Fal’Zhardum Din also provided interesting insights on the study of soul-gems, as the geodes grew naturally there out of the rock formations, as if bubbling up from the fissures in the ground. A geologist might argue that the gems themselves surface from deep within Mundus’ core; an assertion that would challenge the reigning theory, that soul-gems are native to Molag-Bal’s Coldharbour. I must admit, my conscience did weigh gently on me in my previous studies of enchanting and soul-magic, however this new discovery assuages my fears, and my continual use of white soul gems for the purposes of capturing the lesser souls of animals remains, as far as I can tell, morally pure. My use of the Black Star to fuel my protective charms and relics remains in question, however I am assured that the Star’s connection to Azura has been severed, and my use of the artifact in the collection of grand black souls has been restricted to that only of the vampiric blood, assuring that the only personage who is harmed by this endeavor is Molag-Bal himself, but I digress.

We retrieved the Elder Scroll, amazed by the technological mastery of the Dwemer. The lexicon which Septimus had given me served to transcribe the contents of the Scroll, which may possibly be read without harm to its reader, an amazing feat of the Dwemer in and of itself. The only problem is that I have no means of tapping the lexicon to peer into its contents. Perhaps, I thought, I might learn a thing or two from the mad Septimus.

We rose to the overworld by means of a series of dwemeri lifts, and returned victorious to the outpost in the ice-fields.

I handed the lexicon to Septimus, with which he fiddled, studying the runic inscriptions thereupon. He explained the need for dwemer blood in the unlocking of the Cube, of which there is none by reason of the race’s disappearance, and we discussed how we might possibly trick the mechanism by offering a concoction of other merish bloods.

Finally, I asked what was inside the cube, to which he explained that within this box, crafted by the Dwemer but used by some entity after their disappearance, is hidden “the heart, the essence of a god.” “Surely you can’t mean the heart of Lorkhan,” I asked, which he retorted, “The very same, by insistence of my master!” At this I grew immediately suspicious, and Serana and I locked eyes for a moment in question.

Upon further interrogation, the mad mage yielded, “I am a servant of Hermaeus Mora, Prince of the unknown.” I recognized this name, which in old Atmoran means the “Woodland Man,” a distantly old and mysterious being of Daedric origin, as old, or even older, than Akatosh himself by some accounts. Septimus explained that it took many services to the demon to receive an answer of the heart’s location. I loathe that I had not noticed it before, yet I presume I would have had no way of knowing, that this Septimus is a murderer and conspirator, a servant of wickedness for the sake of power. “The knowledge of the elder scrolls,” he said,” is a passing awareness when compared to the encompassing mind of divinity,” to which I responded, “Be mindful in your ascent to power, Septimus; many a wiser man has fallen to his death from its marble slopes,” yet this little to penetrate his madness.

At this point I left his outpost, only to be stopped by a mysterious force, blocking the exit. Serana and I fell aback, but prepared blade and spell. The force revealed itself to be Herma-Mora, “Guardian of the unseen and knower of the unknown,” and that he needed my agency in the unlocking of the Cube, and taking the mantle of emissary at Septimus’ death upon its opening, which I refused.

It spoke to me a final time, the jist of which I hope to render here in writing; “You do not seek power,” the voice said to me, “you seek knowledge. In this, Tsoren, we are kindred spirits. What you seek, that I seek also. The understanding of, as you have called him, the ‘Shepherd with Two Hands.’ Whom you call ‘the Master of All Things,’ has been called other names and known more personally. Do not think you are the first to pull the string, the first to wonder at his being; there were those before you, recording what they could fathom. In the lockbox does not rest the Heart of Lorkhan, as Septimus believes, but the heart of knowledge itself, which was stolen from me some time ago. It is this that I am willing to trade; knowledge for knowledge, understanding for understanding, text for text; your service and the tome within the machine for the names of your Master, clues for your journey. Consider my offer, I do not expect you will resist for long.”

If I were a younger man, or indeed still under the influence of Hircine, I would have taken this offer immediately. Over the years, however, I have learned to restrain my tongue in commerce, much to the displeasure of swindlers and those who wish to cheat a naive buyer. I will never serve as emissary for the vile Prince, yet his offer is tantalizing. That men have grasped at the being of the Supreme Being surprises me, and that there are those who may have known him better than I is remarkable. Regardless of my answer, I take this as a profound affirmation of what I have come to believe regarding the Et’Ada and the Greater Ethic. I am caught completely off-guard by the posture of Herma-Mora, not presenting himself as some almighty figure, but almost as a peer. I will not be tricked by the deception of the Daedra, yet he seems more humble than the rest. I will give the offer thought, and discern a path forward.

With the Scroll of the Dragon in our grasp, we now consider where we might find the final Scroll. Serana, to my surprise, revealed to me that she once knew of its location, but now it is lost to the ages. Her mother, it seems, was the last to have possession of it, but she has vanished, and the only thing we have now to go off of are vague hints from Serena’s past that might lead us to her. We have endeavored a plan to penetrate the Castle Volkihar from the servants’ quarters, as hints to the location of her location are sure to be found in her study.

We leave on the morrow, and I plan to hire the services of the ferryman in Dawnstar once again; a brave and experienced seaman.
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Star Gazer

Well-Known Member
Entry 50:

Serana and I presently sit upon the ferry (captained by Harlaug, whom we have employed some few times) to the northernmost tip of Skyrim. Our journey to Castle Volkihar brought us first to Dawnstar, and I took the opportunity to stop at Nightcaller Temple to visit Erandur, a friend whom I have not seen in quite some time and miss dreadfully. At my arrival I found him studying a tome, I noticed, regarding St. Alessia, and he rose quickly to embrace me. We sat in the pews of his makeshift chapel and enjoyed a drink. All is fine with him, and to my pleasure, he explained that he had renounced devotion to all spirits except that of Mara. When asked why, he told me that his time with me- the questions that he and I had meditated over for so long during our travels, inspired him to ask which of the Spirits, if any, were worthy of worship. Just as he had shunned Vaermina, he had shunned Azura, likewise he now refuses his worship of even Dibella, with whom, as he had said previously, he was deeply in love.

I asked why he still submits himself to Mara, and he answered that as of late he is serving less less devoted, and more out of a sense of indebtedness, having been saved, as he says, by the Lady at the lowest point in his life. Of course I disagree that this puts him in debt, but he already knows that, and we may breach the topic again someday. In the mean time, he has served as Dawnstar’s defender, but noted to me that there has been an uptick of necromantic activity within the last two months. I assured him that the vampiric menace is being dealt with, and that Serana and I were venturing to put an end to their reign. “Vampires I can handle,” he said, “but this is different.” He went on to list sightings of men clad in dark cultish robes wheeling cart after cart of rubble from a nearby mountain, dumping it into the sea just Northeast of the city. Some of the commoners have complained that they hear screams coming from that area, and the goodly priest told me he had gone to investigate, but found nothing. I told him I would keep an eye open for any disturbances on my travels, as I am often in that area on College business.

We finished our mugs, gleefully remembering our time together; the glories of battle that we brought to the gods’ doorstep. I thanked him again for his help during that season, and recounted the greatness of his work in destroying the Daedric artifacts. He held up a hand, “Some artifacts upon their banishment are truly destroyed; those which were originally crafted by men and adopted by the gods, such as Malacath’s Hammer which was forged originally by the dwarves for his use. Other weapons, however, can only be banished- that is, expelled for a time. They will be back, and we will get to do it all over again,” he explained with a smile. It was at this point that I asked him; “How is it, exactly, that you are able to banish such a weapon?” He answered, as I will do my best to record; “The artifacts which are banishable, those which shift between planes, similar to weapons that are conjured up by mages, are spiritual weapons. They, in a sense, are alive, yet bound to the form of a blade, or hammer, or bow. Bound weapons reside on Nirn for a short time, then return. Daedric artifacts on the other hand are semi-permanent. The Daedra respond most readily to power, which is why the cruelest of the Princes attract the largest numbers of Dremorian followers. When I am banishing a weapon, I am speaking to the spirit within that weapon, casting it out of this plane by the invocation of a more powerful force- that is, in my case, the Lady Mara.”

It made perfect sense to me. Just like the rat is chased away by the feline, and feline by the hound- the lesser spirits of these weapons, bound as they are to beings of higher magnitude, are also driven away by beings of higher magnitude. I shall take note of this, and perhaps if need be I will be able to perform the banishments of my own accord, invoking the name of the Master.

Star Gazer

Well-Known Member
Entry 51:

We arrived at Castle Volkihar, located the servants’ passage, and fought through hordes of death-hounds, gargoyles, and hordes of other undead until finally, by Serana’s guidance, we arrived at the laboratory of her mother, Valerica. We discovered in a journal that her disappearance was planned in accordance to Serana’s imprisonment in Dimhollow Crypt in an effort to prevent Harkon from drawing too much attention to the Volkihar Clan’s presence, thereby destroying them. It was a wise move on her part, but we now stand at the portal to the Soul Cairn in which she hides, and we seek to fulfill the prophecy in our favor, destroying Harkon and thwarting his evil plans.

At my first attempt to enter the Cairn, I was afflicted by terrible pain, a horrible burning sensation that wracked my entire body. Serana dragged me out, and hypothesized that the ‘Ideal Masters’ would not accept a living soul within the Cairn outside of their control. These masters, as Serana says, are mysterious entities who make regular dealings with necromancers, trading souls for power. The Soul Cairn itself is a small fragment of Oblivion, over which the Ideal Masters reign as pseudo-Daedric Princes. Whether or not they are Daedric, or if they are mere men who have garnered control of real-estate and power over Daedric forces, we are not able to say. All that we know is that I cannot get in. Serana posited that as her mother was able to travel freely to and from the Soul Cairn, a vampire in like form may be able to travel thus, not being recognized by the Ideal Masters as a rogue soul. Another option, as she says, is to partially trap my soul within a gem and offer it to the masters as a form of payment for my traversal. I am at an impasse. I begged her for time to decide, and she offered to see if she is able to traverse the portal, and I accepted. She walked in and out of that purple haze with no hindrance, confirming her suspicions. She offered to scout around inside, and after a moments thought, I told her that I believe that to be the best course of action. If she is able to find her mother and retrieve the Scroll, that would be the best-case scenario, but if she is unable, or if doing so would put our mission at considerable risk, I will be obliged to enter that realm. She currently wanders the Soul Cairn, and here I sit like a frightened child.

How is a mer to choose between these two impossible options? To wager his soul to one demon or another? Just as I reject the blood of Hircine’s lycanthropy, I reject the blood of Molag-Bal’s vampirism; he will have no influence over me, I will not allow it in any sense. This deal with the Ideal Masters is equally frightening, however; to offer them my soul in a transactional form, as if it were a down-payment for a parcel of land, it frightens me. I currently write from a high balcony of the castle, my feet dangling over the edge as I capture my truest thoughts. Who takes my soul if I am to die within the Cairn? Where does my soul go if I die outside? Would the Master of All Things shepherd my soul to himself, or am I released to Aetherius or possibly consigned to the Ooze as believed my ancestors? Perhaps I should have considered these things sooner, as I am currently overwhelmed by the concept of losing my soul to wander the Soul Cairn forever.

If these ‘Ideal Masters’ are as entrepreneurial as I am told, perhaps they will accept a deal? What have I to offer?

Star Gazer

Well-Known Member
Entry 52:

Serana returned after some hours within the Soul Cairn. I cannot deny that I was much relieved to see her emerge from that portal. She currently rests as I prepare my descent into the portal. She described the realm to me, the dark blasted wastes through which spirits are doomed to wander eternally, traded like cattle at an auction from necromancer to necromancer and commanded according to the whims of the Ideal Masters. She was able to locate her mother, Valerica, but was unable to reach her, as she was imprisoned within a castle of some kind, guarded by many varieties of vile creatures.

I decided to entertain the Ideal Masters with a deal. As I was mulling over the possibilities, sneaking in as a vampire or offer my soul to the Masters, I was struck by a third option; an exchange. For my unfettered access and traversal of their realm, I will offer them the only thing I can think of that would turn their gaze- the Black Star, that soul gem of immaculate design and potency, able to capture the greatest of souls and purge them without corruption, all the while being freed from its former master, Azura. Serana liked my idea, and returned into the mire to present my offer to these mysterious beings. She returned some minutes later and told me to wait with the Star. I unlatched it from its bag on my pack, where I have kept it for so long, holding it before me. Within a minute or two, we heard a stirring from the bottom of the path leading to the portal. Out from that abyss came two skeletal figures, whose bones seemed to be made of ink, reminiscent of a black soul gem. The first of the skeletal creatures held in one hand a piece of parchment and in the other hand a quill, the second carried in both hands a small twisted chest with open lid. They stepped up to the ledge, equal with Serana and I, and I stepped forward to meet them. The first of the figures handed me the paper and pen, and I read it over carefully.

“For the free and unadulterated passage of the Bosmer, TSOREN, hereby referred to as GUEST, throughout SOUL CAIRN, we IDEAL MASTERS, hereby referred to as HOST, receive full ownership of one BLACK STAR. Should any Daedric influence reside within said BLACK STAR, any promise of safe passage to GUEST will be void. Should HOST become unsatisfied with the presence of GUEST at any point in time, safe passage to GUEST will be void. No soul traverses the plane, entering or leaving, without the full approval of HOST; thus, GUEST will abide by a code of etiquette while traveling through SOUL CAIRN which is codified below;
Do not attempt to release any soul from SOUL CAIRN,
Do not inhibit the servants of SOUL CAIRN from the performance of their duties, including the Bonemen, Mistmen, Wrathmen, Keepers, Watchers, Reapers, Scribes, or any otherwise employed spirit within the plane,
Do not take any item that is not explicitly given as a gift under the supervision of HOST,
Do not attempt to enter the Boneyard by any means.
Failure to abide by this code of etiquette will release any promise of safe passage and render present contract void."

I signed the parchment and placed the Black Star within the twisted chest which the skeletal figure held open, after which, without even a gesture, the two bonemen descended the stairs once again. I walked behind them down the stairs and ventured a hand through the portal. To my relief, there was no pain.

We were both very surprised by the unceremonious encounter, yet I am glad we found a path forward that did not involve the manipulation of my soul in any way.

When Serana returns from her rest we will make our pilgrimage to the infernal keep in which her mother is kept, add her Scroll to our collection, and finally uncover the secrets that are held within them. To enact this plan, we will likely be forced to break the contract we made with the masters, however at that point we will already have secured the Scroll; if we have to fight our way out, we will do what we must.

Star Gazer

Well-Known Member
Entry 53:

I write once again from Valerica’s laboratory as we rest and tend to our wounds after our journey. All three Elder Scrolls lay before us, and on the horizon lies the end of our quest; to decipher their prophetic contents.

We traveled into the portal when Serana had awoken from her rest. We found ourselves standing on soft gray sand surrounded by black towers that jutted out from the ground like broken teeth from infected gums. Mountains of bones lined the horizon. We treaded slowly down the road towards the keep, noticing the non-corporeal souls of men, women, and children along the path. I spoke to a few such spirits, who were unsure of where they were and confused about their fate. One particular spirit, a boy, sat on the ground with his hands on his knees, looking solemnly into the sand. I asked him how he ended up here and he told me that the last thing he remembered was being chased by a strange man through the forest and getting stuck in a thicket. My heart weeps for these lost souls, and I ponder even now about the potential of their redemption.

The journey towards the Keep was eerie and melancholic, and I couldn’t help but feel as if the Ideal Masters were watching our every step, waiting for us to transgress one of their many laws. We passed a great gate and began our ascent of the mountain towards the fortress. Serana told me that within the walls of the castle was the Boneyard, which I had contractually agreed not to enter. As we trekked upward, we were watched on both sides by hundreds of the skeletal creatures we had previously interacted with in the lab. They did not attack us at that time, but I felt no sympathy or humanity within their empty glowing eyes.

Finally, we reached the entrance to the Keep but were stopped by some sort of mystical boundary. It was here that we encountered Valerica, Serana’s mother, who greeted us, affirmed that she did indeed have the Scroll of the Sun, and exposited on the prophecy regarding the end of the Sun’s tyranny. What I learned at the doors to the Keep is presently too revolting to discuss, regarding Molag Bal’s interaction with mankind and his horrible treatment of mortality, namely to Serana, my travel-companion and dear ally. May the Master of All Things cast that demon down to be trod upon and eaten by the beasts of Nirn.

Valerica told us that she would give us the Scroll, but that the magical field was preventing her from doing so. The wall, she explained, was established by the magickal energies from the ‘Keepers’ in order to prevent her from leaving. She also warned us of another Keeper, an undead dragon named Durnehviir.

Thus was the point at which the contract with the Ideal Masters was broken; Serana and I traveled the Soul Cairn for what felt like days before finding the first Keeper at the very pinnacle of a large tower- a massive shadowy being clad in dragon bone armor and armaments. After we slew him, the undead around us began to stir, shaking bony first towards us and following in our footsteps. Upon our travels to destroy the two remaining Keepers, we aided an unfortunate soul, reuniting him with the spirit of his horse which was also lost to the realm. In return, he gave Serana and I the ability to call the horse, Arvak, from this dark realm. As we rode, stray arrows would fly past our heads- it seemed the Bonemen were beginning to realize we had broken our end of the deal, however it was only after the death of the third Keeper that our plan began to fall apart.

As the third ghostly warrior fell, we witnessed the barrier around the castle begin to flicker and then disappear. Moments later, the ground began to rumble and we watched the dark obelisks in the distance crash to the ground. The bones over which we had trod to reach the Keepers began to rattle and seemingly gain sentience. We summoned Arvak and rode furiously back towards the Keep as waves of bones chattered and crashed around us as if the ground had turned into a raging tempestuous sea. Finally reaching Valerica at the Keep, she quickly directed us through the massive iron doors into the Boneyard and barred the door behind us with a large dead branch. For a moment, we had reprieve, but to our horror only seconds later, the massive undead Durnehviir descended from the stormy sky, erupting upon us with ice breath, raising bonemen from the very sands to attack us. Serana and Valerica fended off the skeletons while I slew the drake. Seemingly surprised at my prowess, he yelled and vanished before me as I dealt the final blow.

We were guided by Valerica to a small outpost where she finally handed us the Scroll. We thanked Valerica, and Serana was feverishly trying to convince her to leave with us; an offer which her mother rejected. Valerica still fears Harkon and what he would do to her if he discovered that she had survived. The vampiric patriarch drove away all those who loved him, and only those power-hungry hyenas remain with him in Castle Volkihar.

The armies of the living dead still barraged the door to the Boneyard, preventing our escape, and some small number of them funneled through the gaps in the stones. I shouted to Serana that we had to get back to the portal, but Valerica told us that it was impossible since the Ideal Masters were likely already watching, ready to destroy us at any second, and that Durnehviir was not slain, but immaterialized and may reappear at any moment.

Serana looked at me and said, “This may be our final stand,” which I affirmed and led us in a small petition to the Master who is above all things and who controls all things, even the ideal masters of this realm. “If he is truly the Master of all things,” I said, “time and space are his to command. If he so chooses this as our place to die, then he has willed it. If he chooses that we should live through this trial, however, then our survival is certain.” With these words, Serana seemed to rally. Valerica was visibly hesitant, but remained quiet. I ordered her to open the gate, and she trotted forward, unfastened the branch which barred the door. As Valerica retreated back behind Serana and I, I summoned Arvak once more as the undead began to rattle the doors. After Serana and I had mounted the spectral steed, I let loose the Voice, utilizing the Thu’um to its utmost destruction, blasting the massive iron doors of the Boneyard outward, knocking the pummeling horde back some dozen feet. We rushed forward brandishing spell and blade, cutting through no small number of those wretches before we began to be overwhelmed by their incomprehensible number; being dismounted in a sea of dark bones as a black mist enveloped us. Being struck and jabbed at every side by the undead mass, we finally heard the sound of our salvation- not the shout of a man, nor a mer; but a Dov. A massive shadow passed overhead, and as we lifted our eyes we saw Durnehviir blasting the undead ranks with ice breath and raking his gargantuan claws through the writhing mass as a farmer might plough his land. We watched him rise into the purple aether above and swoop down again, crashing once more through the armies of Bonemen with wings unfurled as if he were a colossal war-axe.

At this great sight, Serana and I were able to carve out a small space for ourselves as our opposition relented, stepping back as the dragon landed before us.

To my surprise he spoke to me;
“I have not tasted so great a battle for many many years. I name you Qahnaarin, ‘Vanquisher’ in my tongue. You have certainly earned my respect and alliance. Tell me, why do you trespass this realm?”
“Our quest to preserve peace in the realm of the living brought us here to retrieve an item of immense power,” I answered, “We have succeeded, and seek to return to Nirn.”
The dragon spoke again, “When the terms of your contract were broken, so too was your portal home, your FILOK, your ‘Escape.’ I see that you have been deceived by the dealings of the Ideal Masters as I have. Alone have I struggled against their heavy yoke, unable to defy them, unable to resist. My ages-long meditation of solitude has taught me one thing above all;
‘Though one may be overpowered, two may WAHL-GRAH, ‘withstand.’ Furthermore, a cord of three is not SAHLO-KRENT, as you say, easily broken.’
Together, Qahnaarin, we might flee this cursed dune. Just as any plane of Oblivion, those whose HOFKIIN, whose home, is elsewhere might face banishment, likewise; those who call this place home may be summoned elsewhere. To perform this service, I am willing, but promise me you will do the same for me, Qahnaarin, shout my name in the land of the living that I might return.”
I agreed to do so, after which he spoke a final time,
“Then, Qahnaarin of Nirn, child of Mundus; I hereby banish you from this plane, never to return,” at which point he extended his neck towards me; “KAAN-VING-NIRN”

I felt a sensation strange yet familiar, having experienced it once before. I immediately recognized it as the feeling of displacement, just as I was summoned to a pocket realm of Oblivion during my trial in Labyrinthian in my battle with that particularly powerful Dremora. I opened my eyes and found myself staring at the ceiling of Valericia’s laboratory in Castle Volkihar. After a moment’s time, Serana also appeared, gasping for breath. I believe this was the first moment we had truly laughed together. We placed all three of the Scrolls on the laboratory table and doffed our armor, locking all entrances to the lab, and slumping to the floor. Our journey from Dawnstar to the Castle, through the ruined towers to the laboratory, and through the realm of the Ideal Masters has taken us somewhere between three and four days, and it was then that the exhaustion took over us. I spent whatever remainder of magickal focus to restore the wounds which Serana and I had sustained during our battle, and she immediately fell into a deep sleep. I long to return to the mainland and ride to Breezehome to spend a few days in recovery. Some warm cider sounds to me like a divine solace after everything we have been through these past two weeks.

At the right moment, when we are in the wilderness apart from any civilization, I plan to call Durnehviir to Nirn once again, freeing him from his captivity, thus also enabling Valerica to travel freely within the Soul-Cairn. I plan to seek the Dov’s counsel in formulating a future plan for the scouring of the Cairn, freeing the mortal souls from the Ideal-Masters’ grasp.

Star Gazer

Well-Known Member
Entry 54:

We have traveled from Castle Volkihar to Whiterun, staying there for a day and a half, after which we made progress in the direction of Fort Dawnguard, however we have stopped in Vilemyr Inn in Ivarstead for the night. Serana is sulking in her room, and I have taken to journaling here near the fire, enjoying my pipe and a mug of ale.

After stealing some rest after our journey to the Soul Cairn, we descended to the small port at the servants’ entrance of the Castle, lifting a small dinghy and rowing to the mainland under cover of night. Arvak carried us a good distance inland before we stopped in the wilderness at a decently-sized clearing. Serana stood back as I upheld my end of the deal struck with Durnehviir, invoking the Thu’um and shouting his name. Immediately, he materialized before us and stretched tall with wings outstretched so that he towered above even the trees.

There is something about the language of Dov that I love, and I cannot bear but to present exactly what he said; “Ah! The free air of Vus at last. The skies of Keizaal are mine again! You give me freedom from the Ideal Masters.”
I laughed with joy to see such a sight- a dragon showing gratitude towards a mortal like myself, “Enjoy your freedom, friend,” I said, “and I hope that one day the souls trapped in that realm might find freedom as well one day.”
“There is perhaps a way to scour the Cairn,” said the drake, “but its masters are secretive, and well hidden. Say the word, Qahnaarin, and I will gather what knowledge I can.” I accepted his offer. “Shout my name again in some time, and I will reveal to you what I have found.” Saying this, he took off.

We traveled through the night and arrived in Whiterun as the sun started to rise, falling into bed in Breezehome and only waking when the sun was setting yet again. I made progress on my ethical opus during the night, and was excited to visit Jorrvaskr the next day. The altercation with Bjorn, the giant Skaal, at my last visit fascinated me, and I was eager to see what had become of that situation. I slept for some small hours, waking again at the sunrise. I continually must keep myself rested, as traveling with a vampire grievously wounds one’s cycle of sleep. I walked the short distance to Jorrvaskr and met with Vilkas downstairs. He was speaking to his brother, whom he sent to retrieve Aela at my arrival. They had waited for me (extremely gracious of them I must note) to make a decision regarding Bjorn’s initiation, since, as Vilkas reminded me, the Nord had attempted to stir up dissension between man and mer. I proposed a solution; a final undertaking that I would assign to him in order to become a full-fledged member of the Companions. The other members agreed, especially Aela, who as I expected shows much favor towards the man.

Bjorn met me in my quarters and I briefed him on what he was to accomplish. I informed him of the disturbances north of Dawnstar, and advised that he meet Erandur, my contact in the area. He was confident in this investigation, but his countenance fell when I told him who his shield brother would be. For this final task before membership, he would be traveling and fighting with Athis, the Dunmer whose honor he insulted only a week prior. He stormed off, and I went to find his soon-to-be partner. I told Athis of the mission, and he wasn’t exactly elated at the idea, but stated that he honored my opinion. I informed the elf of possible necromantic activity and gave him a few doses of the ‘cure potion,’ the recipe for which I had learned from the Orsimer during my bout with Sanguinare Vampiris. I loitered in the Hall for some time and met the duo before they left. I told them that I would be back in another week’s time and expected them both to have learned valuable lessons. I am truly excited to see what they will have learned; I expect Bjorn will learn humility on this trip, especially as Athis will likely be taking point while interacting with Erandur. He will become a full member by this time next week, and Athis will have earned much honor for himself in assisting the Nord.

Serana and I left Whiterun that evening and traveled east, finishing that business with the Aetherium pieces which were of great value to the dwemer. The spirit with whom I was working aided me in the crafting of an elegant crown which twinkles like starlight. I can tell it has innate mystical power. What those powers are, only time will tell.

During my time on the road I also pondered again Hermaeus Mora’s offer; of revealing to me the names of the Master of All Things in exchange for my agency in opening Septimus’ box. I am beginning to feel that I lose nothing in the matter, and Mora himself has done nothing to make me assume he is acting nefariously. I dare not trust any Daedra, but the information he holds would prove most invaluable to me…

Star Gazer

Well-Known Member
Entry 55:

Dexion is blind, his vision marred by the reading of the Sun Scroll. Making concession for his inability, he told me of a mystical place called the “Ancestral Glade,” in which one may read an Elder Scroll without incurring injury on himself. He warned me that the reading of the Scrolls was not still without its risks, however if I was able to attract the moths native to the glade, they would guide me in the act of reading. Before we left, Sorine informed me of a man who may be able to help us by the name Florentius, a priest of Arkay with a deep understanding of the restoration school. She said he would be a great boon during our raid on Castle Harkon after we find Auriel’s Bow. I agreed to track him down, and we traveled North at sunset.

The priest’s last known location was with the Vigilants of Stendarr aiding their exploration of the ancient settlement of Ruunvald, yet another nordic ruin. The ruin itself is nestled in the far East mountains of Eastmarch bordering Morrowind, and we approached on a path of loose rocks and dirt from the south. During our journey, we were accosted by a voice up the hill, shouting at me in particular.

“Bloodthirsty dog, leave Skyrim!” He yelled. As I looked towards the voice, I found a Nord in a ragged robe, wearing a pair of silver gauntlets. A small campsite was set up further up the mountain. Serana prepared her destruction magicks, but I stayed her hand. “Why do you call me ‘dog,’” I asked. The man responded “On account of your god, the master of dogs and the evil hunt!” I explained at a distance that I was no servant of Hircine, that I had rejected that evil ilk more than a year ago. Finally, his identity was revealed, “Leave Skyrim, slayer of honorable men, bloodthirsty Companion!” Upon this statement, became clear that the man once served under the Silver Hand and somehow recognized me. “Come down here that we might settle this. I promise my associate will not interfere,” I offered. The man ran up the hill to his tent and drew out a silver greataxe. He rushed down the hill, loosing barbaric yawp as he raised his axe to the sky, catching the light of the moons which once heralded my beastly transformations.

The manner of his swing belonged to a man of great skill and training, but the speed at which he brought down his weapon betrayed him to be one who has not seen battle in some time. I deftly evaded his axe and landed a blow to his side with the pommel of my sword. He swung again- easily deflected- again- missing- again- he sluggishly cleaved overhead and plowed his axe deep into the snow and earth. I kicked his hand from the handle of his trapped weapon, leaving him unarmed. I sheathed my sword.

The man when he had seen us traveling had called me bloodthirsty, a murderer; this is true, I have seen my share of killing and bloodshed. This Nord in particular, by the will of the Master, witnessed mercy that day. I asked the man his name and he told me it was Askel. He explained that a number of Silver Hand fled from their strongholds in Dawnstar Hold after the Companions’ endless raids and have been traveling nomadically, and have now been holed up in the mountains for several months. I honored him and said, “The Silver Hand truly are the descendants of the Atmoran Men. The once-great city of Saarthal now rests empty, uncovered and cleared of Draugr by the College of Winterhold. I will send a message to them explaining that you are cleared for entry. You are its rightful heirs. Establish yourselves there, seek peace and honor.” Askel thanked me as he caught his breath, cleaved his axe from the icy ground, and returned to his camp.

Serana and I arrived finally after a night’s journey to Ruunvald. Indeed, the Vigilants had run into some trouble there, falling under some great mind-control spell of illusive craft which caused them to wander the tunnels and attack us on sight. I worked my own spells against them, temporarily disabling their delusions of rage. We pushed into the central room, finding a hooded figure guarded by two of the mindless Vigilants. I called to Serana to apprehend the two men while I battled the mage. We separated, and I took several direct blows of magical fire before felling the witch. To my fury, when I looked back at Serana, I witnessed the dead bodies of the two Vigilants on the ground, frozen with ice magic and having spilt much blood from deep wounds. I must admit that I lost my temper with Serana in that chamber, the nerve of her to take the lives of such innocent men under the influence of the witch. I told her that perhaps her vampiric blood truly does sway her towards evil. She protested that I had not withdrawn their illusions and that they were still hostile, and I retorted that she was more than capable to apprehend them without taking their lives.

At the witch’s death, the spell was lifted, and the Vigilants brought me to where Florentius was kept. He truly seems mad, claiming to speak directly with Arkay; that distant and weakened force that resides in Aetherius to the exclusion and seeming ignorance of the mortal realm. The priest cannot substantiate why, but argues that he is given remarkable foresight by the voice in his head which tells him of things to come and what he is to do. I suspect Daedric trickery, however this priest is highly sought after by Sorine and Gunmar, and I had already agreed to invite him to Fort Dawnguard.

We returned to Riften and took the carriage to Falkreath, where we now spend the night in Dead Man’s Drink. We will climb the mountain and search for this Ancestor Glade in the morning. I cannot help but be suspicious of Serana after her performance in Ruunvald, but I will allow her to regain her honor in the coming days.

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