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Fantos Epilion's Journal


Entry 42
I thought the Anvil Mages Guild would require no effort to join. The town is run by pirates! Even so, the magister insists I show a "rigorous mind," whatever that means.

Entry 43
I thought the magister was being literal, so I delivered a fresh minotaur brain to the guild hall. I'm no fool; I thought to wrap it in three layers of waxed paper. I don't see why it caused such a fuss.

Entry 44
Finally, a breakthrough! The magister has no practical knowledge of the dreugh, which means I have the least to prove on the topic. A simple report on claw variation should suffice.

Entry 45
The magister realized I have no practical knowledge of the dreugh, either. I now have a book about dreugh mating practices and a directive: "Find an alchemical use for grom." What in Oblivion is grom?

Entry 46
I read the book. Grom is shell of a dreugh which it has eaten and then regurgitated after mating. "Fibrous balls," according to the book. "Foul-smelling." There are no known uses for grom, alchemical or otherwise.

I'm beginning to think the magister doesn't much like me.

Entry 47
I've made camp at a dreugh mating ground on the coast north of Anvil. The creatures are docile unless provoked, which allows me to observe them and collect as much grom as I need.

Joyous day.

Entry 48
I thought I knew tedium. Now, my life consists of waiting for dreugh to mate.

Entry 49
I've spotted my first ball of grom!

This is what passes for excitement, now.

Entry 50
The old book wasn't lying. There is no alchemical use for grom, unless it's "ruin a variety of expensive alchemical ingredients," or "permanently stain mortar and pestle."

But I won't let the magister show me up.

Entry 51

I can confirm grom is inedible. Boiling just makes the smell worse.

Entry 52
Boiling was the key! As it cooled, the fibrous pulp hardened into the same shell. I realized that, in this state, I could form and shape the pulp. I was able to fashion a simple potion flask that took a stopper well.

Potion flasks that won't smash if you drop them? There's your alchemical application, magister.

Of course, I've run out of grom. In order to reproduce my results, I need more dreugh to reproduce.

Entry 53
More tedium. Why can't the dreugh mate faster?

Entry 54
I can make the dreugh mate faster! While dumping an alchemical concoction into the sea, a nearby dreugh seemed to perk up and rub its claws together. It immediately sought out another dreugh and paced about, circling it. More activity than I've yet seen from these creatures.

I'll cook up another batch and sprinkle it along the beach tonight.

Entry 55
The dreugh seem agitated. Now they all pace, but the mating still isn't happening any faster.

Tonight I'll increase the batch's potency by a factor of eight. If that doesn't get them over their lethargy, I don't know what will!

Notes on the Dreugh


Sorry if these notes are a little disorganized, professor. I didn't want to trim anything out that you might find useful.

— Two distinct species: land dreugh and water dreugh.
— Both were once common throughout Vvardenfell, Ebonheart, and the surrounding waters. They've been driven out over the last few centuries and only exist now in isolated pockets.
— Some accounts assert there are two varieties of land dreugh, while others maintain these are but the male and female versions of one kind of creature.
— Legends tell of "civilized" land dreugh colonies which supposedly raised herds of mudcrabs as food stock.
— These colonies were also purported to have built stone cairn houses and structures.
— No evidence of such advanced dreugh behavior exists today.
— Dreugh are omnivores and have been witnessed consuming mer flesh.
— Dreugh are capable of channeling some form of shock energy through their bodies. Most scholars agree this is a natural adaptation and not magical in nature.
— The land dreugh carapace is naturally sturdy and can deflect most attacks from common weapons.
— No known language or communication abilities.
— Nesting habits are not well-documented, but we do know the land dreugh encase their egg broods in mud. Nothing is known about water dreugh nesting or egg-laying behavior.
— Some fisherfolk are known to gather land dreugh eggs from the creatures' mud-nests, though it is obviously a rather dangerous occupation.

If this is enough information, I'll begin the netch research tomorrow.

Revolting Life Cycle of the Dreugh

Fronto Maecilius

Contrary to local myths about the origins of this base species, the dreugh migrate from the Abecean Sea into the lakes and inlets that feed into the Iliac Bay. In addition to their mass of clawlike limbs, pincers, and scuttling feet protruding from a human-torso-sized skeletal frame, the dreugh wear armored hides and secrete shell wax that are prized in some quarters. They are aquatic scavengers, spending much of their time in deep ocean water. Local fishermen tell of altercations with this species (such as when the dreugh cut fishermen's nets to steal fish), but dreugh are mostly mild-mannered, except during karvinasim, their period of transformation.

During karvinasim, dreugh walk upon the land, favoring shoreline marshes and rivers close to the open water. Hatchlings are closely guarded, and broodmothers are extremely territorial, reacting to invaders with both speed and hostility. This leads credence to the notion that karvinasim heightens the dreugh's martial instincts: Indeed, after witnessing the evisceration of our lead geographer Pulcherius Pomptinus, our raiding party thought twice before capturing and culling further specimens.

After a year of land walking, the dreugh return to the water. As they submerge, they undergo a final transformation known as "meff," where they devour their land skin and air organs—the body parts they no longer need—and then vomit the congealed remains as small fibrous balls that are approximately a foot in diameter. These disgusting and foul-smelling spheres are known as "grom" and are found in clusters around lakes. So far, our apothecaries have discovered no virtues in grom, aside from inducing queasiness in some of the more weak-stomached members of this contingent.

2920, Sun's Dawn, Book 2

Carlovac Townway

Sun's Dawn

Book Two of 2920
The Last Year of the First Era

Carlovac Townway

3 Sun's Dawn, 2920
The Isle of Artaeum, Summurset

Sotha Sil watched the initiates float one by one up to the oassom tree, taking a fruit or a flower from its high branches before dropping back to the ground with varying degrees of grace. He took a moment while nodding his head in approval to admire the day. The whitewashed statue of Syrabane, which the great mage was said to have posed for in ancient days, stood at the precipice of the cliff overlooking the bay. Pale purple proscato flowers waves to and fro in the gentle breeze. Beyond, ocean, and the misty border between Artaeum and the main island of Summurset.

"By and large, acceptable," he proclaimed as the last student dropped her fruit in his hand. With a wave of his hand, the fruit and flowers were back in the tree. With another wave, the students had formed into position in a semicircle around the sorcerer. He pulled a small fibrous ball, about a foot in diameter from his white robes.

"What is this?"

The students understood this test. It asked them to cast a spell of identification on the mysterious object. Each initiate closed his or her eyes and imagined the ball in the realm of the universal Truth. Its energy had a unique resonance as all physical and spiritual matter does, a negative aspect, a duplicate version, relative paths, true meaning, a song in the cosmos, a texture in the fabric of space, a facet of being that has always existed and always will exist.

"A ball," said a young Nord named Welleg, which brought giggles from some of the younger initiates, but a frown from most, including Sotha Sil.

"If you must be stupid, at least be amusing," growled the sorcerer, and then looked at a young, dark-haired Altmer lass who looked confused. "Lilatha, do you know?"

"It's grom," said Lilatha, uncertainly. "What the dreugh meff after they've k-k-kr-krevinasim."

"Karvinasim, but very good, nonetheless," said Sotha Sil. "Now, tell me, what does that mean?"

"I don't know," admitted Lilatha. The rest of the students also shook their heads.

"There are layers to understanding all things," said Sotha Sil. "The common man looks at an object and fits it into a place in his way of thinking. Those skilled in the Old Ways, in the way of the Psijic, in Mysticism, can see an object and identify it by its proper role. But one more layer is needed to be peeled back to achieve understanding. You must identify the object by its role and its truth and interpret that meaning. In this case, this ball is indeed grom, which is a substance created by the dreugh, an underwater race in the north and western parts of the continent. For one year of their life, they undergo karvinasim when they walk upon the land. Following that, they return to the water and meff, or devour the skin and organs they needed for land-dwelling. Then they vomit it up into little balls like this. Grom. Dreugh vomit."

The students looked at the ball a little queasily. Sotha Sil always loved this lesson.

4 Sun's Dawn, 2920
The Imperial City, Cyrodiil

"Spies," muttered the Emperor, sitting in his bath, staring at a lump on his foot. "All around me, traitors and spies."

His mistress Rijja washed his back, her legs wrapped around his waist. She knew after all these many years when to be sensual and when to be sexual. When he was in a mood like this, it was best to be calmly, soothingly, seductively sensual. And not to say a word unless he asked her a direct question.

Which he did: "What do you think when a fellow steps on his Imperial Majesty's foot and says 'I'm sorry, Your Imperial Majesty'? Don't you think 'Pardon me, Your Imperial Majesty' is more appropriate? 'I'm sorry,' well that almost sounds like the bastard Argonian was sorry I am his Imperial Majesty. That he hopes we lose the war with Morrowind, that's what it sounds like."

"What would make you feel better?" asked Rijja. "Would you like him flogged? He is only, as you say, the Battlechief of Soulrest. It would teach him to mind where he's stepping."

"My father would have flogged him. My grandfather would have had him killed," the Emperor grumbled. "But I don't mind if they all step on my feet, provided they respect me. And don't plot against me."

"You must trust someone."

"Only you," smiled the Emperor, turning slightly to give Rijja a kiss. "And my son Juilek, I suppose, though I wish he were a little more cautious."

"And your council, and the Potentate?" asked Rijja.

"A pack of spies and a snake," laughed the Emperor, kissing his mistress again. As they began to make love, he whispered, "As long as you're true, I can handle the world."

13 Sun's Dawn, 2920
Mournhold, Morrowind

Turala stood at the black, bejeweled city gates. A wind howled around her, but she felt nothing.

The Duke had been furious upon hearing his favorite mistress was pregnant and cast her from his sight. She tried again and again to see him, but his guards turned her away. Finally, she returned to her family and told them the truth. If only she had lied and told them she did not know who the father was. A soldier, a wandering adventurer, anyone. But she told them that the father was the Duke, a member of the House Indoril. And they did what she knew they would have to do, as proud members of the House Redoran.

Upon her hand was burned the sign of Expulsion her weeping father had branded on her. But the Duke's cruelty hurt her far more. She looked out the gate and into the wide winter plains. Twisted, sleeping trees and skies without birds. No one in Morrowind would take her in now. She must go far away.

With slow, sad steps, she began her journey.

16 Sun's Dawn, 2920
Senchal, Anequina (modern day Elsweyr)

"What troubles you?" asked Queen Hasaama, noticing her husband's sour mood. At the end of most Lovers' Days he was in an excellent mood, dancing in the ballroom with all the guests, but tonight he retired early. When she found him, he was curled in the bed, frowning.

"That blasted bard's tale about Polydor and Eloisa put me in a rotten state," he growled. "Why did he have to be so depressing?"

"But isn't that the truth of the tale, my dear? Weren't they doomed because of the cruel nature of the world?"

"It doesn't matter what the truth is, he did a rotten job of telling a rotten tale, and I'm not going to let him do it anymore," King Dro'Zel sprang from the bed. His eyes were rheumy with tears. "Where did they say he was from again?"

"I believe Gilverdale in easternmost Valenwood," said the Queen, shaken. "My husband, what are you going to do?"

Dro'Zel was out of the room in a single spring, bounding up the stairs to his tower. If Queen Hasaama knew what her husband was going to do, she did not try to stop him. He had been erratic of late, prone to fits and even occasional seizures. But she never suspected the depths of his madness, and his loathing for the bard and his tale of the wickedness and perversity found in mortal man.

19 Sun's Dawn, 2920
Gilverdale, Valenwood

"Listen to me again," said the old carpenter. "If cell three holds worthless brass, then cell two holds the gold key. If cell one holds the gold key, then cell three hold worthless brass. If cell two holds worthless brass, then cell one holds the gold key."

"I understand," said the lady. "You told me. And so cell one holds the gold key, right?"

"No," said the carpenter. "Let me start from the top."

"Mama?" said the little boy, pulling on his mother's sleeve.

"Just one moment, dear, mother's talking," she said, concentrating on the riddle. "You said 'cell three holds the golden key if cell two holds worthless brass,' right?"

"No," said the carpenter patiently. "Cell three holds worthless brass, if cell two --"

"Mama!" cried the boy. His mother finally looked.

A bright red mist was pouring over the town in a wave, engulfing building after building in its wake. Striding before was a red-skinned giant. The Daedra Molag Bal. He was smiling.

29 Sun's Dawn, 2920
Gilverdale, Valenwood

Almalexia stopped her steed in the vast moor of mud to let him drink from the river. He refused to, even seemed repelled by the water. It struck her as odd: they had been making excellent time from Mournhold, and surely he must be thirsty. She dismounted and joined her retinue.

"Where are we now?" she asked.

One of her ladies pulled out a map. "I thought we were approaching a town called Gilverdale."

Almalexia closed her eyes and opened them again quickly. The vision was too much to bear. As her followers watched, she picked up a piece of brick and a fragment of bone, and clutched them to her heart.

"We must continue on to Artaeum," she said quietly.

The Year continues in First Seed.