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Remember Me

Author: 
Anonymous

A tunnel. A cave? Dark, damp, and warm. Scale-Song ran toward the hazy light, hearing his footsteps echo in the narrow passage, sinking deeper into the mud. "How can I sink in this?" he asked aloud. "I am of parents born in Black Marsh."

When he could no longer move, Scale-Song bowed his head, listening to the moisture dripping from the roots twisted above him. Soon, it would be over. He would return to the Hist. How embarrassing, though, for an Argonian to suffocate in mud.

His eyes opened suddenly. He'd had the same dream every night for weeks. Each night, he felt he was nearly at the cave's exit. Everything would be made clear once he reached it. And each morning, Scale-Song awoke, no closer to understanding the meaning of the imagery.

"Clearly, the Hist speaks to you," said his egg-brother Gash-Tail. "Tonight, ask what it wants. Talk to it." "I'll try," said Scale-Song, "but I never remember it's a dream until I'm awake."

Gash-Tail reached into an earthenware jar on the shelf beside him. He handed Scale-Song a thick roll of leaves tied with twine. "Burn this," he said. "The incense may clear your mind. If the Hist wants you, you must listen."

Scale-Song nodded. Advice like this was precisely why he sought Gash-Tail's help. For the first time in a long while, he couldn't wait for night to fall.

The burnt incense filled his hut with thick gray smoke that coiled heavily along the ground like fog. Scale-Song hadn't expected it to smell so horribly. Still, he watched the smoke spread slowly throughout the room, his eyelids growing heavier and heavier.

A cave. A tunnel? Smoke drifted along the muddy floor. Scale-Song stopped running and reached out a hand toward the smoke. Talk. Ask. Speak.

"Are you trying to tell me something?" he asked aloud.

"I am dead."

"Dead? Who are you?"

The smoke coalesced into a shimmering figure, hooded and cloaked. Its tail twitched. "I am dead," the figure said. "Without it, all that I am will be lost forever. Find it. Remember."

"It? What is it?"

Scale-Song followed the figure through the dark passage. His feet no longer sank into the mire, as in all the other dreams. They walked in silence. Scale-Song was alert, but untroubled.

It seemed like hours before the pair reached the tunnel's exit. The shimmering figure sighed deeply, pointing toward a shriveled tree.

"A Hist," said Scale-Song, surprised. "Is this it? Dead ... but how?"

"Remember," said the figure, unfurling into the wind, but not before it pressed a Mnemic Egg into Scale-Song's hands.

 

The True Balance

Author: 
Anonymous

"We must warn Awas. The Kothringi are nearly upon us!"

The two Argonians exchanged glances, the movement of their dark eyes a mere flicker of light in the shadows.
"I'll go," hissed Sanax, and slipped into the murky waters.

Juunei followed her slow progress. Fires burned at the swamp's edge, creating a thick smoke only Argonian eyes could pierce.

Or so he thought. Axes glinted and slashed. Juunei heard a strangled cry, then nothing. Who knew the clumsy dryskins could move so silently?

Juunei swore an oath and eyed the dirt path to the xanmeer. It was longer and exposed. But he had to warn Awas.

They chased Juunei down the path, slashing and stabbing, but they made little noise. He was in sight of the xanmeer's stone edifice when something grabbed his tail, pulling him to the ground.

A Kothringi thug raised her dirty axe to finish him off. He cried out. Then a hurled Kothringi knife buried itself in the thug's throat.

Awas emerged from the muck. She retrieved the knife and helped Juunei to his feet.

"How did you know?" gasped Juunei, nodding at the Kothringi knife.

"A lesson from the dreams of the Hist," murmured Awas. "To truly understand a foe, fight them with their own weapons."

Juunei stared at Awas, then grabbed the dead Kothringi's axe. They hurried to the xanmeer.

Varieties of Faith: The Argonians

Author: 
Brother Mikhael Karkuxor of the Imperial College

Except for a few of the most assimilated, Argonians worship neither Aedra nor Daedra. They do not have "religion" as it is known elsewhere in Tamriel. They are known to venerate the Hist Trees of Black Marsh, but they do not appear to have prayers, priests, or temples.

Argonians also venerate Sithis, the primordial Shadow/Chaos that existed before the gods were born. Unlike most citizens of Tamriel, they do not regard Sithis as "evil." In fact, Argonians born under the sign of the Shadow are taken at birth and presented to the Dark Brotherhood, which in Black Marsh is considered an integral part of society.

Argonians Among Us

Author: 
Sil Rothril

Argonians are scaled and of limited intelligence, and they are part of our everyday lives. In Morrowind and its surrounding regions, they're seen in every city and every town. They bring us our meals, they dress our children … but who are they, really?

Argonians originate from the region known as the Black Marsh. A water-soaked and depressing land, it reeks of swamp gas and teems with insects. In their native land, the Argonians squat in fetid pools and worship primitive tribal gods. Their folk magics and simple tribal armies have never proven an adequate defense against men or mer of stout heart.

The swamp was first pacified by the Cyrodilic army in 1E 2811. Those cruel and capricious men only entered the region to end the rule of a human bandit king. After the gauntleted hand of civilization came to the Argonians, their home served primarily as a prison state. The unthinking brutes of Cyrodiil callously released their most violent and unhinged criminals into the marsh.

Almost six hundred years ago, Dark Elves entered the lives of this scaly servant race. As the Second Era dawned, we began working with the Argonians in earnest. Whole tribes were evacuated to the safety and dry climates of Vvardenfell, Stonefalls, and Deshaan. We offered them appropriate foodstuffs and taught them the ways of civilized culture. We fashioned garments to hide their more shameful features and sent them into the world, so they could learn and serve in new environs. In return for the Dark Elves' generosity, we've asked so little of the Argonians in return! And yet, not all denizens of that fetid place feel true appreciation.

Indeed, our time of close collaboration came to an end just a few years ago. A horrific disease known as the Knahaten Flu, brewed in the steamy depths of the marsh, spread across the region. Rumored to be the product of an Argonian tribal shaman, the plague struck all without reptilian ancestry, slaying uncounted numbers. Most tragically, other races began to fear the Argonians as spreaders of the plague. Our efforts to send Argonians on journeys of discovery were rebuffed at every turn.

Today, of course, Argonians stand side-by-side with us in the Ebonheart Pact. Once they were merely our servants, but now, we have elevated this simple reptilian stock. They are strong, proud contributors to our military alliance and cared-for members of our households.

The Argonians among us enrich our lives.

On Argonians

Author: 
Cirantille

In studying the various races of Tamriel, I have found a few strange aberrations. Among the human-shaped, the Argonians may be the most fascinating. They are cold-blooded, in both the physiological and psychological sense, and yet they somehow manage to operate in all climes with the same resilience as mammals. Their preference for sub-tropical and tropical climates notwithstanding, to see an Argonian moving through sub-arctic or arctic regions with the same facility as their mammalian rivals is simply astounding.

While most other Altmeri scholars simply choose to ignore this oddity, I chose to delve into it, and I believe I've discovered its cause. The Argonians maintain their they are connected to a mystical force known as "the Hist." As religious beliefs go, it is not terribly complicated, but I believe it has a physical manifestation as well.

The Hist supposedly emanates from all nature in Tamriel but is particularly strong in "Hist trees"—large, usually ancient, growths found at the center of every sizeable Argonian settlement. These Hist trees contain, the Argonians believe, the collective memories and knowledge of all Argonians.

Whether this is true or not, the sap that flows from a Hist tree contains concentrated magicka. I believe that it is this Hist Sap that gives the Argonians the ability to defy the logical limits of their own physiology and also empowers their shamans or "tree-minders." If we can tap the energy contained within a Hist tree, who knows what we, a race used to manipulating magic, may achieve?

The Lost Communion

Author: 
Anonymous

Before the Hist, nothing existed. The Hist meant everything and provided all.

Jaraleet knew this. Every Argonian knew this, instinctively, from hatching. Why, then, wouldn't the Hist speak to them? Didn't the old stories say the Hist talked to its people?

Day after day, Jaraleet burnt offerings and made sacrifices. He chanted and prayed. He ate little, his efforts concentrated upon renewing the ancient connection between the Hist and its people.

One morning, his wife insisted he eat a full meal. "No matter how much you wish it, you cannot feast upon the Hist itself," she gently chided.

Jaraleet blinked as her words pierced his thinking. "Hist sap!" he cried, touching his forehead to hers with affection.

Though no alchemist, Jaraleet concocted formula after formula. He distilled various ichors, combining each one in varying amounts with Hist sap, tasting them all, making adjustments. He felt the Hist urge him on, demanding he break through its silence.

Finally, Jaraleet drank his master decoction. He savored the thick, sweet syrup coating his tongue. Standing quietly beneath the Hist's outstretched boughs, his eyes glittered with comprehension.

"I am your child and servant," he whispered. And the Hist showed him all things.

The Strange Case of Ja-Reet

Author: 
Anonymous

It is very rare for one of our people to be born away from the Hist. We are, in a very real way, part of the Hist. To be born away from it is to be born without something essential. For most of my life and service as a healer, this has remained a theoretical issue. That is, until Ja-Reet.

Though born in slavery, he's done well since the Pact and our emancipation. He even married a Dunmer—the daughter of the Narsis family who owned his parents. While I view such a union with personal distaste, it speaks well of his ability to interact in society despite his obvious disadvantage.

Make no mistake, in Argonian society, he is disadvantaged. He's unable to read social clues, the subtle movements of muscle and tail that most of us take for granted. We occasionally have difficulty reading the emotions of other races. Ja-Reet has that problem even with fellow Argonians. He listens to spoken words, and is insensitive to their tone. Surely being born away from the Hist has deprived him of emotional intuition.

He brought his Elven wife with him to Percolating Mire. She's not welcomed by all, though she draws him out socially, which has been invaluable in trying to learn about how he thinks.

Perhaps proximity to a thriving Hist tree will help Ja-Reet gain the intuition the rest of us take for granted.

Myths and Legends of the Hist

Author: 
Overview of the Hist from an Imperial perspective

Those willing to risk rust chancre, greenspore, and a host of other more debilitating diseases may venture into parts of Black Marsh unmapped by the higher races. The few who can cope with swamp rot, fleshfly bites, and the constant palaver of unseen entities whooping, clicking, or simply lying in the murk waiting to slice teeth across your limbs may reach the innermost swamps. And the hardiest of Imperial explorers, who have no further need to prove their mettle after the following discovery, may gaze upon the Hist tree.

Rumors abound that the Hist tree is the main form of worship among the scaled peoples of these dark swales. Others have hypothesized that the trees are apperceptive, with a deep knowledge and unfathomable secrets from the times before all the races of Man and Mer. Loose translations of recently uncovered Dunmeri texts seem to indicate a ritual among the Argonians, although this may be legend rather than fact.

It is said that when a Saxhleel emerges from juvenescence, it finds a nearby Hist tree to lick sap from its bole. The elements in the sap quicken the hormonal glands, which sprout appropriate organs from which the Argonian's gender can be determined. Immediately afterward, an appropriate mate is found and reproduction occurs. The female soon lays one or more eggs, which are moved to a hatching pool where gestation and spawning takes place.

With recent Imperial expeditions into central Black Marsh ending inconclusively (burial sites were marked on the map Cornix Caeparius provided), and the locals reticent to speak of the mysteries of this fabled tree despite our cajoling, we remain alarmingly ungifted in the realm of Hist tree knowledge.

Head horticulturist Titullinia Petillia of the Imperial Palace Gardens has requested careful handling and collection of sap or seeds from this tree, should one be discovered. It may prove to be a considerable boon to our apothecaries.

The Hist's Fire

Author: 
Pegareem

Many ask us how we find our mates, as though Argonians cannot experience joy the way the mer do.

Though this seems absurd, I myself met my husband in an unusual way. I believe the Hist spoke to both of us, to ensure we would both be where we could not help but meet and fall in love. This despite my innermost belief I'd never marry.

The first stir caught me by surprise. I put away items in the shop, organizing what I could amongst the clutter, when suddenly I heard my own voice in my mind say, "Wait for him."

"For …?" I asked aloud, startled out of my reverie.

Silence.

My quiet sensibility replaced by confusion, I turned abruptly, knocking over the lamp, which flung an arc of burning oil across the room.

Oil landed everywhere, from the piles of fabric, to the litter of papers, and the straw scattered over the floor. In a single moment, a modest light source turned the crowded room into a fire pit.

Coral tongues licked across the dried herbs hanging from the ceiling, and I realized I'd been standing still, slack-jawed, as smoke and heat and flame swirled around.

The hut had never seemed so large as it did then. Dark with smoke, bright with fire, its air filled with a dull, creaking roar. I squinted against the elements, my hand across my mouth, and staggered toward the ever-receding door.

"Anyone in there? Anyone?"

"Me!"

I reached the door as it burst open, causing the flames to surge upwards and out with an almost celebratory leap. A dark hand grabbed mine, pulling me out and away.
"Are you hurt?"

Coughing, I shook my head. "I'm all right. But the store …."

We both turned to look. The fire, so unruly within the confines of the hut, had met its match with the wet thatch roof.

"Thank you for helping me," I said, turning to face my rescuer at last.

Our eyes locked in recognition. The Hist had chosen us for each other, and neither of us would need to wait any longer.

Argonians of Black Marsh

Author: 
Anonymous

Although nearly as ancient as the Mer, the Argonians of Black Marsh are still a primitive people. Shamanistic thinking and tree worship indicates a sub-mer capacity for critical thinking. The crude craftsmanship in these artifacts further points to a limited appreciation for aesthetics, calling into question their possibility of possessing a soul.