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The Butcher of Bravil

Author: 
Captain Jena Apinia

The Journal of Captain Jena Apinia

I've been called a lot of things during my career. I've received accolades from my friends and allies, been branded with curses and other foul descriptors by my enemies, but no title has been more hurtful and undeserved than the one I carry with me now - the one I'll most likely carry with me to my grave. They call me "the Butcher of Bravil."

The war in Cyrodiil was in full swing when suddenly a new danger appeared to threaten Imperial City. My soldiers were enjoying a much-deserved break from battle when chains fell from the sky. Some claimed one of the alliances had called upon strange and deadly magic to harass Imperial City, while others were sure that one Daedric Prince or another was behind this latest indignation. For my part, I didn't care if it was Queen Ayrenn or Molag Bal. I just knew I had to get the soldiers under my charge away from there as quickly as possible.

The goal before me was simple: Survive. Not die trying to defend the Imperial City from an enemy we didn't understand. It was to live, to fight another day when victory was more assured. Some call me coward for running as I did, but I saved a full legion's worth of soldiers with my actions. Of course, fleeing from the city as quickly as we did, we were ill prepared for surviving in the wilds beyond the city walls. We needed to regroup, resupply, and determine a prudent course of action. With these things in mind, I ordered my legion to head south and away from the city.

Bravil is a squalid little town south of the Imperial City, located on the banks of the Niben Bay. To say that Bravil is a poor town is an understatement. The people there would be happy to be risen to that economic level. They lived in wooden shacks stacked one atop the other, like skeevers in a burrow. They didn't have much, but what they did have was desperately needed by me and my legion. It was their duty to aid us, for the welfare and glory of the Empire. I explained that quite succinctly to Bravil's mayor.

And Bravil's mayor graciously refused my request. "The food stores we have, pitiful though they may be, are vital to the survival of Bravil and its people," he explained. "Surely you understand why I must say no, Captain, and humbly ask that you and your soldiers move on."

To say that the man infuriated me is like saying that the Skald King is only a slightly drunk fool. But I understood his dilemma. If I took the town's food supply, he'd have to watch as half his citizens slowly died of starvation as the cold of winter settled over the town and the surrounding area. The solution was simple, though it grieved me to give the order. My soldiers would have to eliminate half the town's population. That would give the remaining citizens a chance to scrounge up enough food to make it through the winter.

Here I thought I was helping these pathetic creatures, but did they thank us? No. The rest of the town rose up against us. In the end, we were forced to slaughter a good deal more than hal - including the mayor, whom I hold responsible for this entire situation. We gathered up the supplies - as well as a number of valuable items to help finance our efforts - and took our leave of Bravil.

It was a few days later, when we approached another small settlement, that I discovered that word of what happened at Bravil had begun to spread, and the story had grown all out of proportion. They were calling me "the Butcher of Bravil," regarding me as a sort of villain who went out of her way to kill innocent civilians. They know nothing about war and the hard decisions that a commander must make in the field. Would they rather my soldiers starved? How would we protect them and defend Cyrodiil then? It also came to my attention that Queen Ayrenn had sent one of her damned Eyes to track me down, recover the items we acquired, and make me pay for my so-called war crime.

I sent the bulk of my legion back to rendezvous with the rest of the army outside the Imperial City. Meanwhile, I took a small squad and made for the Gold Coast. I would face the Queen's Eye in a place of my own choosing. Then we'll see whose justice actually prevails.

Chancellor Abnur Tharn Answers Your Questions (2)

Author: 
Anonymous

August 10, 2015

“To the most esteemed Chancellor Abnur Tharn,

With the recent legalization and advocacy of the necromantic arts within Cyrodiil as well as the institutionalization of The Order of the Black Worm, will prospective students of necromancy be provided an opportunity to study at the Imperial City? Furthermore, after this business of the so called 'Three Banners War' is over, how will a new Emperor be chosen to replace the glorious Empress Regent, Clivia Tharn?

Sincerely, Othelion Ralnor"

Chancellor Abnur Tharn says, “After the expulsion of the treacherous Mages Guild from the Imperial City, the Empire of Cyrodiil needed to endorse a more inclusive and responsible caretaker of the magical arts, so the Arcane University was turned over to the stewardship of the Fellowship of Anchorites, sometimes jocularly known as the Order of the Black Worm. Unfortunately, since the University has been occupied by invading Daedra, we haven't had time to assess their new policies, and must hold judgment in abeyance.

“Once these parvenu Alliances have been beaten back to their provinces, as they always are, the Empire will return to its normal practices: prospective Emperors will arise in times of need, and those who are worthy will be recognized by the Elder Council and ascend to the Ruby Throne. But until such a time of need arises, there will be no need to 'replace' our Empress Regent, who is beloved by her subjects, and who reigns by divine right."

 

“To the illustrious Abnur Tharn, Chancellor of the Elder Council and Lord of Nibenay,
Fair and humble greetings from another son of Nibenay, and much gratitude for your attention in these trying times. Many of us here in Cyrodiil know of your efforts to save the Empire, and pray for your success. Anyway, to business. I have always been fascinated with Imperial culture and the ways of government. I know that you have served as Chancellor for many years, but it is the role of Imperial Battlemage that intrigues me most. I have seen documents recording several different Imperials family names holding the post at different times in history, implying that it isn't an inherited post, but nothing as to how one is selected. Hence, my question: how is the Imperial Battlemage chosen, and in what capacity do they serve the Empire?

My prayers, and the prayers of all Cyrod are with you, Chancellor. May Akatosh keep you safe and Reman see you victorious." – Aurelius Aelius of Leyawiin, Episcopate of the Cult of Reman, sometime Freedom Fighter

Chancellor Abnur Tharn says, “An excellent question, my dear Episcopate, and one that requires a somewhat discursive answer, as the phrase 'Imperial Battlemage' has more than one meaning. Early in the annals of the Empire, the distinction between mages and warriors was more pronounced than it is today. The idea of combining a wizard with an armored warrior was innovative at first, and the original Imperial Battlemages were an elite unit separate from the Imperial Legions. They were further exalted under the Reman Emperors, who granted the title 'Imperial Battlemage' to the unit's leader, and made him an advisor to the Elder Council. Nowadays, when every cohort includes a cadre of spellcasters, 'Imperial Battlemage' just refers to a legion's war-caster troops. But to a student of Imperial history such as I, the name still carries weight, and I wear the title 'Imperial Battlemage' with pride!"

 

“Esteemed Chancellor Abnur Tharn,

My Lord Abnur Tharn, I pray this message reaches you. Due to recent events I imagine we will need all the Divine help we can get to place this letter into your hands.

As a deserter from the Imperial Legion I now live in High Rock, away from my friends and family trapped in the Heartland. Can you tell this homesick soldier what the state of living is for those still in Cyrodiil? Due to the obvious instability (and madness) of the central government, have local leaders stepped up to keep their people safe and fed?

Signed, Flonius Oaken-Hull"

Chancellor Abnur Tharn says, “Have local leaders stepped up to protect our people? More so than you, deserter. Conditions in Cyrodiil, particularly in the vicinity of the Imperial City, will remain difficult until such time as our invaders are inevitably repulsed. That time is delayed, and the suffering of the Cyrods is prolonged, so long as deserters like yourself value safety over your Imperial duty. Return now, Flonius Oaken-Hull, help your fellow citizens, and the terms of your punishment for desertion will be … mitigated. Probably."

 

"Chancellor Abnur Tharn, I presume. You appear rather blue and translucent to me, but that's an effect of viewing you through the memospore. Otherwise, you resemble your official portrait fairly closely. I have a question for you pertaining to the Imperial cultural identity. You are famously a Nibenese nationalist who will wax poetic about the superior nature of the Nibenese, and their various accomplishments, especially when it pertains to your own noble lineage. I was born a Breton, though I later changed my name to an Imperial one, so I can understand this pride in bloodlines and heritage. It's prevalent among my native people as well.

To the meat of the inquiry: The Longhouse Emperors never really fit in, did they? They were seen as alien usurpers at worst, and as uncouth provincials at the best of times. Do you think it's possible that an Emperor of, say, civilized Bretonic or Nordic blood would integrate any better into Imperial society? Both of these peoples have been vassals of the Cyrodiilic Empire in the past. I do believe the Bretons were first brought into the fold by the militant but far-sighted Hestra back in the First Era, although the...excesses of the Alessian Priesthood later caused them to secede.

Would a Breton who has more fully embraced Imperial culture and values be seen any differently? Is there any hope that such a monarch and his descendants could form a lasting dynasty in time? I ask this because I admittedly am a Battlemage fighting for the Daggerfall Covenant, and it has occurred to me that my liege King Emeric may face tough opposition from the Elder Council were we to successfully seize the Imperial City. What course of action would you suggest, hypothetically, for a foreign-born monarch to be well received by both the common folk and the nobility of Cyrodiil?" – Legate Cyclenophus of the Bretonic Imperial Restoration Society

Chancellor Abnur Tharn says, “What is the Empire of Cyrodiil, really? It is the Empire of Humanity, and has welcomed all men and women into its embrace since its beginning in St. Alessia's Slave Rebellion, which fought for all the tribes enslaved by the Heartland Elves. Under Alessia's banner, Colovian fought beside Nede, Nord fought beside Nibenese, and the accursed Ayleids were overthrown. White-Gold Tower, the hub of Tamriel, came into human hands, and so it has been ever since.

“Historically the folk of Nibenay, the most sophisticated and subtle of our human societies, have provided the lion's share of Emperors to the Ruby Throne, but there have also been Emperors of Colovian or Nord extraction, some of whom made very creditable rulers. The Empire has always welcomed new peoples under the Red Diamond, regardless of background. After the crossbred Breton folk finally threw off the yoke of their Elven masters, did not Empress Hestra reach out to beckon them to join us? Even such latecomers to Tamriel as the Redguards were admitted to the Imperial brotherhood when Hammerfell was made an official province.

“So I say to, yes, Cyclenophus, yes—even a noble Breton like your Warchieftain Emeric could conceivably, under conditions that are unlikely but by no means beyond the realms of possibility, be found worthy to ascend the throne of Cyrodiil. It would help if he followed your lead, noble legate, and showed a becoming respect by adopting a less harsh-sounding and more Imperial name—perhaps Emeritus, or Emicio. Perhaps you could persuade him to it?"

 

“Chancellor Tharn,

Before Mannimarco's recent departure from the City, what role did the King of Worms play in post-Soulburst Imperial politics? Your daughter Clivia has de jure regency following Emperor Varen's disappearance, but it is commonly claimed that Mannimarco is, in fact, the one who sits the Ruby Throne. Additionally, how does Clivia mean to reassert her right to rule, given that the Alliances sent forth a new pretender almost daily?" – Legoless, Doyen of the United Explorers of Scholarly Pursuits

Chancellor Abnur Tharn says, “Alas, Sir Doyen, you are ill-informed, but you are probably not to blame—the Alliance spy services put so much effort into disparaging and discrediting our recent governing nobility that it should come as no surprise that credulous folk believe their lies. Take, for example, your use of the title 'King of Worms' regarding Mannimarco. Really, man, just think for a moment: who would actually call himself 'King of Worms'? That should have been a clear indication that whatever followed was going to be slander and character assassination.

“In point of fact, Lord Mannimarco has never been more than an advisor to the throne. Though valued for his wisdom and experience, he is ineligible on several counts for actual rule in Cyrodiil. Furthermore, in the current temporary disarray, his whereabouts are unknown. Doubtless, like everyone else in this troubled time, he is simply doing his best to help his people get through it.

“As for the Alliance pretenders, they are beneath contempt. As ephemeral as moths, they flare for a moment in the candle flame and are gone, soon to be forgotten. Their widows and widowers may remember their names, but Cyrodiil will not."

 

“Hail Chancellor, while many harbor ill feelings about your involvement in the Planemeld I feel more sympathetic toward your situation, you were tricked and in the shock that resulted upon you learning this you chose the most logical path of survival, who are we to criticize when none of us have faced such a dilemma? I ask you this: considering the state of flux within Cyrodiil at this time, and the lack of Imperial leadership; who cares for the interests of the Imperials of Cyrodiil? Their land is disputed on all sides by foreigners, the few Imperial soldiers that remain do so in small groups spread thin and seemingly not in contact with each other, nobody stands by the gates of the Imperial City, attempting to regain access. The only organized effort I have witnessed from the once proud people of Cyrodiil comes from your niece, who wages war in Bangkori against the fearsome and united Daggerfall Covenant. Does Septima hold the interests of those in Cyrodiil at heart as she wages war, or does your daughter, Clivia? And if Clivia is in fact ruling as Empress-Regent where is she, and how does she contact her people to co-ordinate anything? Your family seems to hold what is left of Imperial power Chancellor Tharn, I wonder whether you feel confident they can keep it, and bring your people back from the brink of despair.

With Regards, Asrien Lagerborn, scholar of Kerbol's Hollow"

Chancellor Abnur Tharn says, “As Dark Anchors fall, Daedra swarm, and provincials strut and posture in the Heartland of Cyrodiil, all may appear to be chaos and ruin. But so long as the Empire exists as an idea in the heart of humanity, so long as true men and women refuse to accept the shackles of Elven overlords or Daedric Princes, the Empire of Cyrodiil can never truly fall. Rest assured, the Empress Regent and her loyal Elder Council are taking active steps to ensure that no trespasser in Cyrodiil, from Alliance or Oblivion, shall long profit from their invasion. Measures are being adopted that will once more bring the Empire to the fore. The course of history tends inevitably toward a Tamriel under the Red Diamond, with all mortals beholden to the wise decrees that issue from the White-Gold Tower. Such is our future, for I have seen it."

 

“Chancellor Tharn,

I am writing to you on behalf of the Mages Guild today to inquire on our fallout with the Empire, the legalization of Necromancy, and the future of our order in the Imperial City.

First off, what was your stance on the affair of our expulsion at the time? I imagine that you played a major role in it due to your associations with the King of Worms. Speaking of the Order of the Black Worm, how did the general public react to Necromancy suddenly being made legal, a practice condemned for many years in history? I understand Arch-Mage Vanus Galerion was always strongly opposed to the practice, and I cannot imagine that he had any kind words for you on that, which leads to my final question for you. Should the Mages Guild reestablish itself in the Arcane University, an order strongly opposed to Necromancy, do you think that the Black Arts will once again be declared an illegal practice?

Thank you for your time today, and I sincerely hope that you have learned from your mistakes in the past on allying with Mannimarco, otherwise we will have to come for you.

Wizard Solinar, Daggerfall Mages Guild"

Chancellor Abnur Tharn says, “Once again I am confronted with ignorance and misunderstanding, and must make an effort to educate a benighted provincial who has fallen prey to libelous propaganda. Urgencies impend, but I must be patient, for a wise ruler leads by example.

“The Mages Guild of Cyrodiil was implicated in the event some call 'the Soulburst,' allegations that were substantiated after due process of investigation. The organization's legal standing under the Guilds Act was revoked, and stewardship of the Arcane University was awarded to Mannimarco's Fellowship of Anchorites—on a probationary basis, of course. Lord Mannimarco is a broad-minded wizard who declared an intention to nullify some of the arbitrary strictures formerly imposed by the Mages Guild. I believe some Colovians objected to this liberalization, but frankly, such arcane matters don't have much to do with the pursuit of good governance in a time of turmoil, so I paid little attention. As to what the Mages Guild might do should they somehow redeem themselves and return to a position of responsibility in Cyrodiil, you are in a better position to address that than I."

 

"Hmm? Oh, did my astral projection go through? Well then, dearest Chancellor, I hope you still aren't hiding-er, I mean I hope you're still under heavy guard to prevent you from becoming prey to the many horrors that reside within the Imperial City. Never mind the fact that your daughter and several of your friends and family are risking their lives to free the Ruby Isles from the influence of Molag Bal, but...like a swarm of Vvardenfell echkin I erect the spine of irritation and digress. I really do hope you're alright old...friend? No, associate – that's a much more neutral word! Anyway Tharn, I had a question that needs answering and since you're the only person still alive that may know the answer then I decided to risk contacting you. I have heard rumors that my associates at the Imperial Geographical Society and the Imperial Census have been forced to scatter to the wind now that their headquarters in the Imperial City have been destroyed. Because of this, I fear for the 'proper' collection and recordation of the many arts, literature, and ideas that will spring forth from this troubled time. Without such sanctioned groups working to store away present knowledge, how do you and the rest of the Elder Council believe our descendants in the coming eras will view these troubled times we live in?" – Eis Vuur Warden, Wayward and Contract Scholar

Chancellor Abnur Tharn says, “In fact, this is no trivial problem! Your question is astute, especially from an Argonian. (You were tutored by an Imperial, weren't you? I've always said that, given the right mentor, even the children of Black Marsh can be taught useful skills.) Reliable records are essential to a government's fair and efficient administration of the law. The wanton destruction of archives and scriptoriums by the invading Alliances may, in the end, be their most heinous crime. And the Daedra are even worse! Though citizens may be slaughtered, in time a new generation will rise to replace them—but history, once lost, is gone forever. How will taxes be accurately assessed when there are no documents to tell us who owns what? How will the Cyrods of the future be taught about their glorious antecedents if no one knows of their trials and triumphs? Why, a thousand years from now, even my own wise and heroic leadership may be forgotten, or at least not properly appreciated in its entirety. Paper and parchment are so very vulnerable. (Hmm. Stone statues? Graven tablets? Journals hurled forward through time? There must be a solution….)"

 

“Dear Chancellor,
I'm interested in your opinion on the ways soul gems are currently handled and on the way humanoid souls are caught.
The Mages Guild has already expressed criticism in this respect, but it doesn't feel able to do something about it.
Is it the handling of humanoid souls something currently accepted because of politics, or are we to expect an Imperial ban if the good relations between the Imperial Throne and the Realm of Oblivion should come to an end.
At the moment I have to assume that the current state is a concession to Molag Bal and his followers.
In times past it was only possible to bind humanoid souls in special black soul gems which, as I heard, are much better suited to harvest the full potential of humanoid souls, while the knowledge to use them was available only to more educated magicians and mystics.
With respect, Alessia Tharn, wandering magician"

Chancellor Abnur Tharn says, “With respect, 'Alessia Tharn,' these arcane matters have nothing to do with law or governance, and are far beyond the competence of a simple politician like myself. However, it is my understanding that these Black Soul Gems one hears of are a recent invention—though who is responsible for their creation and spread among the wizardry of Tamriel is beyond me. Until recent times, the trapping and binding of souls into prepared crystals was a hit or miss proposition, uncertain and not well understood. Yet now it seems any hedge wizard who obtains a Black Soul Gem can accomplish it. It seems to me that this is a matter that must be sorted out by a consensus among Tamriel's magical community, though I don't know who might manage that since the Mages Guild has fallen into disrepute."

 

“Chancellor Tharn as an Argonian mage, this one once had chance to hear you speak before the current problems which engulf the Imperial city and it was obvious to all not only your brilliance but you loyalty to the imperial cause as such it is difficult for this humble Argonian to see how the Imperial city which you controlled now appears to be in ruins and little more than a playground for Molag Bal? Perhaps the more important question is what plans do you have to restore the city and restore your place as chancellor not outlaw?
Ash-Tal Argonian Sorcerer"

Chancellor Abnur Tharn says, “Outlaw? The Elder Council may have temporarily relocated to an undisclosed location, but as the legitimate governing body of the Empire of Cyrodiil, it is we, and only we, who decide who or what is within the law. War has come to the Imperial City before, but eventually the invaders will be repulsed, and as always, the people of the Heartland of Tamriel will rebuild! The fact that a few buildings here and there have been knocked down just shows that those structures were weak and in need of replacement. The strong structures are the ones that survive! The situation may look bleak, but that is when the people of the Nibenay Valley are at their most resilient—and loyal! For our true Cyrods know that their proven leadership is hard at work on their behalf to restore order, not just in the Imperial City, but in all Cyrodiil. And not just in Cyrodiil, but across Tamriel! For eventually, the peoples of Nirn always look to the heart of Tamriel for guidance and reassurance. They know that when the Empire is stable and all are deferential to Imperial will and regulation, peace and prosperity shall reign throughout the provinces, and the days of dissension and disorder will be past. For millennia the White-Gold Tower has stood for the rule of law—Imperial law!—and it always shall!"

Ancient Tome

Author: 
Anonymous

<This ancient tome details a method of creating Daedric anchors that draw Daedra to a given area. It also mentions a method of keying anchors to a runestone.>

<Runestones keyed in this manner can be used to detect and destroy the anchors.>

Anchor Status Report

Author: 
Gelagoth

Arboretum:

The Anchor has been emitting a low creak. Possible causes include weaking of primary chain rivet. Recommend aggressive sacrifice regimen at the site to reinforce mundus viability.

Nobles District:

Anchor connecting strong and holding. Reports of portal flicker remain. Inspection of Coldharbour egress strongly advised.

Market District:

Mortal tampering continues. Received multiple reports of men and mer weilding the power of Molag Bal's blessing. Humbly suggest additional Daedra be deployed to protect the Unholy Seal.

-Chief Enginer Gelagoth

Regarding the Hall

Author: 
Septima Tharn

We've found it: the legendary "Hall of Heroes." It took weeks but my scouts report finding an ancient temple nearly buried in the mountains southeast of Hallin's Stand. If it contains what the ancient mystics believed it to contain, it's the perfect place to remove the pest that has been plaguing our efforts against the Daggerfall Covenant.

I'll be leaving in the morning with a contingent of legionnaires and scholars and whatever archeological tools we can find in this gods-forsaken city.

Glory to Lord Molag Bal,

Magus-General Septima Tharn

 

The Source of Power

Author: 
Anonymous

I can't believe it! We had him! Vanus Galerion, the quintessential mortal mage, wandered right up to our proverbial doorstep, and the idiots at the Black Forge couldn't capture him! Do you know what we could have done with the power raging inside him? We could have powered the forging of the Great Shackle and completed the Planemeld in mere hours instead of months.

Instead, we are forced to continue to utilize the inferior atronachs that Molag Bal's hunters bring us. At least the atronachs aren't smart enough to escape or divide themselves into multiple pieces to foil our every effort.

***
Excellent news! The Planemeld progresses, and we've reached a crucial milestone in our efforts. A planar vortex has formed. This nexus of Planemeld energy is the singular point where Nirn and Coldharbour come together.

Even if by some accident of fortune the invaders are able to disrupt the forging of the Great Shackle, the planar vortex will continue to draw the two worlds together until Nirn is entirely subsumed. It will take longer, of course, but Molag Bal's victory is inevitable—one way or another.

It's unthinkable, but the only way the invaders could overcome the planar vortex is if they could bring to bear the power of another Daedric Prince. And we all know that the only Daedric Prince in Coldharbour is Molag Bal, so our success is guaranteed!

Since those idiots in the forge failed to capture that mage in once piece, we are forced to find alternatives for our power needs. Our Prince will not be denied! Take the atronachs and throw them into the prism. They should provide enough power for now.

Just be careful. If you break the control locks, the prism will overload. Last time that turned the Frost Atronachs into Flame!