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In Defense of Prince Hubalajad

Author: 
Lady Cinnabar of Taneth

If you know anything about Yokudan history, you're aware of the role Prince Hubalajad played—or did not play—in the early days following the initial Ra Gada colonization. We know "Prince Hew" as a comic figure, share tales of his thick-headed approach to impossible problems, and jest about his aggressive opulence. A shrine to Zeht floods as a sign of the god's displeasure? Build a more extravagant one further downstream! An oft-repeated Taneth expression for wasting money is "laying foundation with Hubalajad's coin."

Yet, what is truly known of the Luckless Prince? The only references available are third-hand documents, at best. The many apocryphal tales muddy the issue, drawing us further and further away from the actual man. Therefore, we must look to the land of Hew's Bane itself to draw our own conclusions. What if, for only a moment, we approach what are commonly accepted as his many failures on their own terms?

We know Hubalajad must have arrived in the barren land of what was then called "Khefrem's Boot" with a sizable amount of soldiers and artisans. Without local quarries, and with no reliable overland route from the north, they needed to import a mass amount of cut stone by sea. The natural protected harbor in what would become Abah's Landing was undoubtedly their first stop. A steady flow of laden barges would prove tempting to pirates, so Hubalajad's first necessity was to construct No Shira Citadel, an imposing fortress overlooking the Abecean.

It is true No Shira was soon undermined by seasonal flooding. But in response, Hubalajad appealed to Zeht with a shrine. When subsequent flooding washed out the first shrine, he did order the construction of another, yet more elaborate shrine—but from an examination of the stonework, the new one was upstream of the last. Seen in this light, "Prince Hew's thick-headedness" was in fact persistent resolve. Appealing to the Yokudan god of agriculture is not the act of an arrogant or thoughtless man.

All the while, Abah's Landing grew from a soldier's camp and shantytown to a sprawling city. Despite the many hardships of this frontier life, Hubalajad constructed a great palace—a symbol that this land was his home, and that he was just as committed as the locals to thriving. Stone went to the great walls of Abah's Landing, showing that its contents deserved as much protection as the Yokudan ships.

For a moment I ask you to set aside the multiple tombs, the impressive Princes Gate that opened a northern passage to Ra Gada territory, and the Yokudan statue just south of the Abah's Landing harbor that most erroneously believe was an idealized image of Hubalajad himself. The very act of constructing a citadel and a walled city at the same time, with the same pool of resources, would require a sharp mind for logistical matters. If it was not Hubalajad himself, he knew enough to surround himself with someone who could. This is hardly the style of a witless buffoon.

The scale of Hubalajad's setbacks do not, in this author's opinion, justify the tales of endless folly. Was it a whispering campaign from jealous rivals who decried the resources he poured into an inhospitable land? A blemished reputation for not recognizing his half-uncle was a necromancer? Did he invoke the ire of a Yokudan god, or perhaps a Daedric Prince? Though we may never truly know, we should keep one thing in mind about Hubalajad: before his arrival, no Man or Mer left a mark on this land. Today, the only structures surviving two millennia were those constructed by "Prince Hew."

Messages from Hews Bane 2

Author: 
Lady Cinnabar of Taneth

If you know anything about Yokudan history, you're aware of the role Prince Hubalajad played—or did not play—in the early days following the initial Ra Gada colonization. We know “Prince Hew" as a comic figure, share tales of his thick-headed approach to impossible problems, and jest about his aggressive opulence. A shrine to Zeht floods as a sign of the god's displeasure? Build a more extravagant one further downstream! An oft-repeated Taneth expression for wasting money is “laying foundation with Hubalajad's coin."

Yet, what is truly known of the Luckless Prince? The only references available are third-hand documents, at best. The many apocryphal tales muddy the issue, drawing us further and further away from the actual man. Therefore, we must look to the land of Hew's Bane itself to draw our own conclusions. What if, for only a moment, we approach what are commonly accepted as his many failures on their own terms?

We know Hubalajad must have arrived in the barren land of what was then called “Khefrem's Boot" with a sizable amount of soldiers and artisans. Without local quarries, and with no reliable overland route from the north, they needed to import a mass amount of cut stone by sea. The natural protected harbor in what would become Abah's Landing was undoubtedly their first stop. A steady flow of laden barges would prove tempting to pirates, so Hubalajad's first necessity was to construct No Shira Citadel, an imposing fortress overlooking the Abecean.

It is true No Shira was soon undermined by seasonal flooding. But in response, Hubalajad appealed to Zeht with a shrine. When subsequent flooding washed out the first shrine, he did order the construction of another, yet more elaborate shrine—but from an examination of the stonework, the new one was upstream of the last. Seen in this light, “Prince Hew's thick-headedness" was in fact persistent resolve. Appealing to the Yokudan god of agriculture is not the act of an arrogant or thoughtless man.

All the while, Abah's Landing grew from a soldier's camp and shantytown to a sprawling city. Despite the many hardships of this frontier life, Hubalajad constructed a great palace—a symbol that this land was his home, and that he was just as committed as the locals to thriving. Stone went to the great walls of Abah's Landing, showing that its contents deserved as much protection as the Yokudan ships.

For a moment I ask you to set aside the multiple tombs, the impressive Princes Gate that opened a northern passage to Ra Gada territory, and the Yokudan statue just south of the Abah's Landing harbor that most erroneously believe was an idealized image of Hubalajad himself. The very act of constructing a citadel and a walled city at the same time, with the same pool of resources, would require a sharp mind for logistical matters. If it was not Hubalajad himself, he knew enough to surround himself with someone who could. This is hardly the style of a witless buffoon.

The scale of Hubalajad's setbacks do not, in this author's opinion, justify the tales of endless folly. Was it a whispering campaign from jealous rivals who decried the resources he poured into an inhospitable land? A blemished reputation for not recognizing his half-uncle was a necromancer? Did he invoke the ire of a Yokudan god, or perhaps a Daedric Prince? Though we may never truly know, we should keep one thing in mind about Hubalajad: before his arrival, no Man or Mer left a mark on this land. Today, the only structures surviving two millennia were those constructed by “Prince Hew."

Nedes of the Deathlands

Author: 
Argus Mender

Is it possible then that everything they taught us as children was wrong? That buried beneath rock and sand, hidden from view by the monuments of conquering Yokudans, is more than just the detritus of a barbaric and underdeveloped people?

This is the claim Sali'ma at-Muhay makes in his latest work of scholarship on the Nedes and their presence in Hammerfell, and he presents some compelling new evidence to support this claim. In studying the mage towers in Elinhir closely, he has concluded that these towers are not of the right age to be of Yokudan fabrication, nor do they use the same stone-crafting techniques employed by the Ayleids. In some regards, they resemble Dwemer handiwork, but only in a crude way. From this, at-Muhay concludes that these towers were not a lost form of high Yokudan architecture transplanted from the Yokudan homeland, but are in fact, the remnants of a Nedic civilization.

If at-Muhay's conclusions are right, then the Nedes were much more organized and advanced than historians have previously thought. Elinhir's towers could only have been crafted by an advanced culture adept at stonework.

These towers have been occupied since the Blackcaster mages established their academy in Elinhir—so why is at-Muhay the first to propose this startling theory?

This author posits that historians are not without their blind spots, and that the Nedes are certainly among the biggest. The reasons for this are many:

In the first, the Nedic people had a history of falling prey to conquering armies. The Dwemer, the Ayleids, and the Yokudans all proclaimed themselves masters of the Eastern Hammerfell Nedes at some point. It was in the interests of these conquering peoples to justify their conquests by proclaiming the Nedes a backward people worthy only of enslavement.

In the second, the Nedes as a distinctive people disappear from the historical record shortly after Ra Gada, and by then the records that exist are few and scattered. By the time the first Yokudans set foot on the shores of Hammerfell, the Nedic culture was already fading, and the people were scattered and broken. Most of the Nedes had long since migrated and intermingled with the other races of Tamriel, virtually fading from existence.

It's vital that we take this new theory about the Nedes seriously. I suspect that the remote region of Craglorn will bear much fruit for future researchers interested in exploring the extent of Nedic civilization, as it has undergone the least change in the time since the last Nedes disappeared.
 

Castles and Coffers Volume III: Hel Ra Citadel

Author: 
Anonymous

Imperial historians, most notably Dubicius of the Colovian Highlands, speculate that Hel Ra Citadel was constructed sometime during the second Yokudan "Warrior Wave" as it swept into the Alik'r desert of western Tamriel. Most believe, as is obvious from its title, that it was built to protect the nearby Yokudan city, the name of which has been lost to sand and time. But the Yokudans did not name the Citadel; modern Tamriel did. The structure could have long predated the city it protects. It could have been a foothold for one or both invasions, it could have been one of many forts now lost, or even a fortressed training ground. In myth, sword saint training for maintaining "sword magic" was notoriously rigorous, and even an invasion force would require a space for that. Some say that where the Citadel now stands was first a Nedic fort, that the Yokudans conquered it, built on top of it.

According to the Imperials, all anybody knows for certain is that the Citadel has been sealed since the Yokudan retreat. No one has ever been inside. There are claims and stories, of course, all false. Imperial records state the Empire has failed to enter, and expeditions by the Redguard themselves have failed to bypass the Citadel's front door. Be it through spellcraft, or a trick of its construction, no army or siege engine has ever been able to defeat those walls. What treasures, what ancient secrets could await inside? Will the Citadel's gates ever open?

Said Imperial Magistrate Albus:
Never.

Strakes and Futtocks

Author: 
Curly Lainlyn, Master Shipwright

This is important, so pay attention. You already think you know how to build an Alik'r caravel, but the new king over in Sentinel has ordered the shipyards to build all vessels to consistent standards—he thinks that'll make them easier to supply, since all the pieces are standardized, and also that we'll build them faster once we're into a routine. Maybe he's right, I don't know—but I do know that he's the king, and we're spending his gold, so we're going to do it his way.

There's no change to how we lay the keel: we still scarf together sections of lumber with the longest piece in the middle, with the ends using planks cut from angled trunks so the curve is built right into the wood. But here's the new thing: the keel, stem, and stern posts are all rabbeted to secure the strakes and keep them parallel. And the posts aren't self-timber, they're made of inner and outer pieces to reinforce the curve.

We still install the central rib first, then the fore and afters, but now we're going to lay battens across the upper, middle, and lower sections to guide the installation of the remaining ribs. Got that? Then we lay on the strakes as usual, starting with the futtocks, and finish with the inner hull.

Get that all done, and we'll talk about how we're going to approach the rigging and outfitting.

The 26th of First Seed is Upon Us!

Author: 
Anonymous

And you know what that means: the Festival of Blades!

Celebrate the defeat of Malooc's Horde in regal style—right here at the Sisters of the Sands, where our cooks' blades are always festive! Our five-drake prix fixe dinner comes with all the festival fixings:

— Scuttle Fondue with sandwort croutons
— Goatherd and mutton pies, with garnishes of red mushroom and smoked viper
— Horker Loaf on a bed of imported scathecraw
— A bottle of Gold Coast Muscat to wash it down with
— And Caramelized Goat Nibbles for the children!

All this, and we still promise to get you out into the street in plenty of time for the Effigy Dismemberment!

But we can only seat a limited number of revelers, and time is running out, so get your reservations in before it's too late!

Because you don't want to be stuck at home with nothing for the family but mountain jerky or stale toad muffins—not on the Festival of Blades.

See you then!

On the Immortality of Dust

Author: 
Weltan of Sentinel

A sacred flame rises above the fire,
The ghosts of great men and women without names,
Cities long dead rise and fall in the flame,
The Dioscori Song of Revelation,
Bursting walls and deathless rock,
Fiery sand that heals and destroys.
Above the sea Sentinel shines,
Her domes agleam in the Iliac dawn.
Her people throng the bazaars, and find
Their way between man's walls of stone.
But even in the towered town,
Sandals tread tracks in Alik'r sand.
For all those born of Redguard blood
Bring the wastes with them where e'er they go.
The desert grips our hearts and souls,
Its flame within our eyes and ears.
Dust cannot die, and we are dust,
Windblown, ephemeral, eternal, all.

Morgaulle Dechery's Journal

Author: 
Anonymous

It is true that the king had not the strong feelings of the rest of the people of High Rock well in mind; but he was affected by a sudden clarity following his meeting with the envoy. King Joile had lived in so respectable a manner as to elicit the ire of the Redguards, even though he had done every conceivable thing within his power to grant them comfort and courtesy within his presence.

The Ra Gada were no more than a comparatively new and invasive people, who began their residence upon the shores of Tamriel only after rendering their homeland irreparably damaged. These Ra Gada interlopers were received into Hammerfell and began to make short work of their local Orsimer neighbors, presuming so far as to call themselves the Forebears, while in fact the lands had occupancy precursors in the Orsimer, Dwemer, Ayleids, and even the Goblins!

It should be known by now that the Redguards are thusly not the legal inheritors of Hammerfell, nor are they owed any claim upon the territories of Bangkorai. In the society of civilized Evermore, the untoward rage which issued forth from Orsinium was therefore not the only immediate threat, but also too was the concealed blade of the Redguards.

For what people carry upon them at all times blades but those who intend to bear some immediacy in using them against others?

King Joile's reaction toward the Redguard forces within Bangkorai during the conflict proceeded not merely from malice, but from goodness of heart and a desire to bring solid safety and comfort to his peoples across all of High Rock.

The Maidens of the Spirit Sword, who were maidens only in name, were rendered wroth by naught but this protective instinct! It would have quieted their mannish ambitions if they could have seen his noble bearing, the acknowledged eminence of his countenance when not upon the field of battle.

Glinting Talons

Author: 
Ablahar at-Tunal

When the mighty Ra Gada first drove back the Orcs, one sect of warriors employed a fighting style so aggressive, so fierce, that the tales tell of enemies standing stunned, falling to flashing blades in a daze before they realized an attack was upon them. These champions revered Tava as well as Diagna, engraving their blades with the wings of a hawk. The bird's keen sight, accuracy, and rending claws inspired their sword-songs, and references to the sun and light are numerous. Sadly, little remains of their tradition, aside from what I have pieced together from crumbling tablets and monuments deep in the desert.

It is clear that these warriors, the Glinting Talons, wielded a sword in each hand. They are mentioned often in inscriptions dating to the arrival from Yokuda for their great deeds—driving off warbands of Orcs when sorely outnumbered, capturing strongholds in surprise attacks, and many other heroic tales. Of their style, though, very little is known. This partial inscription I located at the site of the Battle of Six Hands is all that has been recovered regarding their way of the blade:

"Face the burdensome sun. Carry its weight face-wise. Submit to the endless edges twinned.
Master these strikes in the morning; cleave the light and leave the foe in darkness:
"Two Blades Become Four
"Lion's Teeth Exposed in Thunder
"Five Arrows Split the Sky
"The Screech of Descent upon Helpless Prey
"Master these strikes in the evening; chase the enemy and burn its flesh."

I can find no other references or descriptions of these strikes, and it saddens me to think that such knowledge of the blade has been lost. I have no greater desire than to restore this lost way of the blade, but the fragments are so few. The mystery compels me to continue my travels in hopes that, perhaps, I will be led by Tava's grace to discover more, and return this shamefully lost knowledge to our people.

The Worthy Ar-Azal, His Deeds

Author: 
Anonymous

From "The History of Histories, As Told to Young Prince Fahara'jad"

Know then, O Prince, that the Phyllocid Dynasty did rule in Hammerfell while e'er the province was incorporate in the Second Empire, and of this line of kings, though some were wise and some were foolish, all were noble. And the last of the line, High King Ar-Azal, was most noble of all, for he it was who, for a time, brought an end to the strife of brother against brother, of Crown against Forebear.

How did this come to be? Hearken, and I shall tell the tale.

Upon the passing of Ja-Fr, the estimable father of the estimable Ar-Azal, the Prince of Hegathe thereupon assumed the Throne of Hegathe, and wore the Diadem of Diagna, and bore the title High King of Hammerfell. And all the nobles of Hammerfell sojourned to Hegathe to pay him obeisance. But the new High King, though so youthful as to be barely bearded, was in no wise a fool, and knew full well that his nobles' show of faithfulness was like unto a cloud, apparent but bereft of substance. For the Forebear nobles liked him not insomuch as Ar-Azal was a Crown, and the Crown nobles mistrusted him insomuch as his father had not crushed the Forebears. And Ar-Azal was in a quandary, for he must needs rule Hammerfell as High King, and yet his support was as weak as a woman who has just given birth.

So the Worthy Ar-Azal gazed from his High Tower upon the azure Abecean, and prayed many prayers, and thought many thoughts. And presently he thought of the Admirable Zaqeeb, his tutor and mentor, a Priestess of Satakal and a sage of renown. And he went to the Temple and spake unto the Admirable Zaqeeb, saying that he could not solve the riddle of how to reconcile the Crowns and the Forebears. And the Admirable Zaqeeb gave him a libation, saying, "Drink this tonight, O King, and dream." And taking the libation, the Worthy Ar-Azal retired in gratitude, and did as he was bade.

And that night the Worthy Ar-Azal dreamed a dream of Satakal the World-Snake, who came to him in the guise of a Snakehead Potentate. And the Potentate did homage unto the High King, for he said it was given only to the Worthy Ar-Azal to solve this riddle. And the answer, he said twice, speaking once with each tongue, was to be found at the Shrine of Tava, he being a Divine who received the veneration of both Forebears and Crowns.

Then Ar-Azal heard the cry of a Goshawk, which bird is sacred to Tava, and he awoke, and it was the dawn of the day. And he made haste to the Shrine of Tava in Hegathe, wherein is the Fresco of the Goshawk, which depicts Tava in his nest with his mate. And lo, where once there was one mate depicted in the nest, now there were two, the second mate agleam in the morning light. And Ar-Azal said, "Truly the Divines have shown me the answer. For has not the greatest Forebear Grandee, Ebrahim of Sentinel, a fair and lissome daughter, Fereshtah? And has not the greatest Crown Grandee, Murahd of Rihad, a fierce and clever daughter, Arlimahera?"

And that concludes, O Prince, my tale of Ar-Azal, your Worthy Great-Grand-Uncle. For I know that you are quick of wit, and will work out for yourself how the High King solved his riddle.