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Star Gazer

Well-Known Member
Entry 76:

Mysterious forces and powers fill the island to its brim, and such powers seem to be at war with each other.
Days ago, I slept in the Retching Netch, but woke at a strange stone-shrine just outside of the city among other sleepers. It felt as if I was asleep both for a moment and for an eternity. I was stirred to lucidity by a Dunmer man dressed in a golden robe speaking loudly to himself, studying the effects of the stone’s curse over its victims. Upon investigation, I also spied Erik, chipping away at the stonework in service to the unknown force. I grabbed him and shook him until he awoke from his delirium, at which point we both turned and spoke to the robed elf.

The Dunmer man revealed himself to be a Telvanni wizard by the name of Neloth. We spoke to him for some time as he explained the influence of the stones dotted around the island.

I brought the mer back into town and purchased food and drink for us at the inn. I inquired Neloth of Miraak, and although the wizard was unable to remember who the man was, he did inform us that Miraak’s temple, the one we had previously heard of, lies in the center of the island. He also took much pleasure in Erik’s questioning, taking opportunity to explain to the boy the traditions of his homeland of Morrowind and the unfortunate disasters that have recently befallen it; the Argonian invasion and the constant eruptions of Red Mountain which have wiped out many of their cities, including the fabled City of Vivec. He also spoke of a man dubbed the Nerevarine, a cultural hero who defeated a villain by the name of Dagoth-Ur, who, along with the Tribunal of Almalexia, Sotha-Sil, and Vivec, attained a sort of godhood by the power of Lorkhan’s heart. (I note that this form of ‘apotheosis’ is of a different variety than that supposedly attained by the Nordic Talos, as these men weren’t elevated to equality with the Aedra as Tiber Septim was, but rather were empowered over natural forces and their mortal lifetimes, being worshipped as god-kings over their respective cities.) Truly Morrowind’s history is full of fascinating history of great theological implication, and perhaps I will seek Neloth’s help again in the future to hear more. For the time being, however, we took our leave of the wizard and headed North to the temple.

As we approached the massive structure, we passed the skeletons of innumerable dovah. Indeed this was the site of some great war between man and dragon, and as we got closer, we could hear the chanting of a horde of Dunmer, mindlessly sculpting and building up the foundations for a large temple around a stone very similar to that just outside of Raven Rock.

We scoured the temple with the help of one Frea of the Skaal, whom we met just outside. She is a noble warrior and lent much aid as we were assailed by a host of draugr and cultists which wielded strange and unknown spells. (I must also take note of the weapon that Frea favors, a war-axe crafted from some strange ice material. When asked, she answered that it was of Stalhrim make, yet was unwilling to tell me any more.) As we pushed into the temple, we learned fragments of Miraak’s history, once being a dragon priest of great renown, yet turning against the dragons somehow, defying his draconic overlords, and when it was revealed that he was Dragonborn, the dov attacked him en-masse at his temple. Though he slew many, another priest of the dragon-cult bested him, seemingly killing him.

Delving into the deepest corridors of the temple which was revealed to be, at one time long ago, a large Nordic settlement, Erik noted that the architecture had changed from a nordic style to that of a strange and foreign craft. He was right, and I praised his keen eye- we noted strange statues of crustacean creatures and wall-carvings.

Soon after this discovery, I noted a strange sensation- a whispering in my mind which went unheard by Frea or Erik. The experience was very similar to that which I felt on the Falmer’s Path of Enlightenment, by which I was led to the ancient tablet, and also the same sickening sense I received betwixt the brass walls of the Dwemer lockbox which stored the Oghma Infinium. I led the party feverishly forward, down through the bone-laden caverns, finally into a circular room floored by a metal grate, highly unusual to Nordic settlements. Inside the room was a single stone plinth holding aloft a mysterious Book. My heart raced, for I knew that before me lied a source of most-valuable knowledge.

Erik reached his hand out towards the book and I shouted for him to relent, and he pulled back, stepping aside to allow me through. I took hold of the book and broke it open- I began to read, and was reminded of my deal with Hermaeus Mora- my agency in retrieving the Oghma in return for information regarding the Creator. It was at this moment that I realized he had upheld his side of the bargain.

The book in question was titled “Waking Dreams,” which is telling in and of itself. I began reading, and as the author took up in writing a description of those who come across what he called the “True Enquiry,” I slipped out of consciousness. My vision blurred, I rubbed my eyes, yet as I opened them I found myself somewhere else entirely- not in Miraak’s temple, but in a strange realm. I understood the location not to be that of Mundus, bearing faint resemblances to my experience with the ‘Dreamstride’ in Nightcaller Temple. I deduced that I was in some corner of Oblivion. They sky above was green, down from which like hanging moss descended innumerable tentacles. I recognized them as belonging to old Mora.

Before me stood many tentacled figures, a dragon, and a man who turned to me and spoke. I was unable to take up my journal to recount exactly what he said. He recognized me as Dragonborn like himself, yet ridiculed me for doing little with my power. I knew then that this was Miraak. He commanded the tentacled beings to banish me from the realm, and I watched as he commanded something to the massive dragon, who afterwards he mounted like a horse, taking flight.

As I was barraged by the grotesque monstrosities, I squinted through the pain and fog, and in the distance I saw it, the climax of the Book itself; a grand Tower reaching thousands of feet out of the water, cutting into the sickly clouds above.

I awoke again in the small room, being tended to by Frea and Erik. I was very faint, but was brought to my feet and led through a tunneling cave which eventually spat us out near a snowy waterfall. Frea guided us to the village of her people where we briefly spoke to one of the elders. I was then brought into a large hall of Nordic style. They laid down furs for me and it was there that I fell into a deep slumber.

It was the dawn of that morning (this morning, rather) that I woke in that same hall to the smell of cooking meat. I exited the lodge and found the full host of the Skaal gathered around the butcher’s post roasting horker, stag, and other game over small fires. Frea greeted me and took me to their chief elder, Storn Crag-Strider. We spoke at length as I recounted the details of our journey from Skyrim to track down Miraak, our excursion in the temple, the discovery of the Book, and the revelation of Miraak. Storn explained the history of Miraak; that he was indeed Dragonborn, yet was not truly killed as I had come to assume, but rather that he was taken away by the power of Herma-Mora. According to the old man, the war between Miraak’s priests and the Dragon-Cult was so calamitous that Solstheim, once attached to the Skyrim mainland, shifted away into the Sea of Ghosts where it lies today.

The shaman also explained the compulsive power of the stone-shrines that enchant men in their sleep. The stones, once devoted to and empowered by the All-Maker, according to Storn, were twisted by Miraak to bend the wills of mortals on Solstheim to erect his temples. Storn begged me to destroy the stones, and recounted that the source of Miraak’s power; that force that enables him to command the earthen stones themselves, resides on the far north of the island, guarded by draugr. He explained that some kind of wall held Miraak’s secrets. I knew this to be a word-wall.

I have retired into my small and temporary station in the Great Hall, in which I picked up a book titled The Guardian and the Traitor. In it, the author confirms Storn’s claim that “Herma-Mora snatches the Traitor away just as the Guardian is about to strike the killing blow,” yet the writer also takes an interesting position on the All-Maker- that he is, in some way, connected to (or perhaps embodied by) the Alduin of the Nordic pantheon. Perhaps I will speak to Storn about this.

We will spend the remainder of the day here in the Skaal village, and tomorrow we travel north to uncover this word of power.

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