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The Bleeding Temple

Author: 
Xui'al

While scouting the Temple District, the Vestige encounters the Drake of Blades.

Drake of Blades: You didn’t come to pray, did you? The Temple District is no place for pilgrims - not anymore. I’m sorry if I seem distracted. I lost something.

Vestige: What did you lose?

Drake of Blades: Who. When the anchors fell, I made contact with a priest named Egnatius. He’s old... with very distracting teeth, but wiser than most. I’m certain he can help us stop whatever Molag Bal has planned for the city. Unfortunately, he’s been captured.

Vestige: Do you know where they took him?

Drake of Blades: Not yet. Molag Bal obvious knows his value. They don’t keep him in one place for long. Daedra have been torturing the city’s clergy near the shrines to the Eight. We should split up and free those priests. Hopefully Egnatius will be among them.

Vestige: I’ll search the shrines to the Eight and rescue any priests I find there.

Drake of Blades: Meet me in the rectory when you’re finished - it should be safe there. Now stay low. You don’t want to be strung up like the rest of these dolts. We’re just going to find Egnatius and get out of here, right? We’re agreed....? Just nod.

Vestige: Are you all right?

Drake of Blades: Yes, of course I am. Is this really relevant? We have work to do.

Vestige: Why are you so anxious?

Drake of Blades: I don’t see that it’s any of your business. But this is obviously going to be an issue... This place makes me uncomfortable. The Temple District, I mean. Well, I should clarify - the people here make me uncomfortable. Religious people.

Vestige: Why?

Drake of Blades: It’s the expectation. Everyone is supposed to act differently here. I don’t know how to do that. Out in the world, life is messy. But not here. Before the invasion, it was so clean and everyone was so polite. It’s all pretense. I hate it.

Vestige: Do you follow the Divines?

Drake of Blades: No. No one does - not really. The Nine Doctrines provide very clear instructions. They’re concise. Simple. But I kill, and spy, and steal. It’s my profession. I could act like I keep to their commands, but that would be lying - and I hate lies.

Vestige: But don’t the Dragonguard veneration Akatosh?

Drake of Blades: Veneration is not the same thing as obedience. Look, every moment we spent squabbling about theology is another eternity of torture for those priests. Let’s just get back to the task at hand, yes? Yes.

Vestige: What can you tell me about Egnatius?

Drake of Blades: I already told you about his teeth, didn’t I? Sorry. Egnatius is very wise. Confused, but wise.

Vestige: Confused, how?

Drake of Blades: He’s a priest. Religion is all about elevating what you can’t see over what you can. It’s absurd. Even so, he’s a genius - or near to it. Had the ear of some Imperial councilors before Mannimarco hedged him out.

Vestige: And you think he can help us?

Drake of Blades: I know he can. I wouldn’t waste time and resources on him otherwise. I don’t make a practice of saving useless people. You know that. That came out wrong. All people are sort of useful... I guess. I don’t know. I’m just trying to be polite.

The Vestige rescues clergy in the hope of finding Egnatius. Egnatius is not amongst them, but one of them mentions that he is being held in the Temple of the One. The Vestige meets with the Drake of Blades in the refectory to inform her of this.

Drake of Blades: It’s about time. You didn’t find him either? Damn. We may be too late.

Vestige: One of the priests told me that the Daedra took Egnatius to the Temple of the One.

Drake of Blades: Well, that complicates things. Do you know how many Daedra are guarding the Temple? It’s somewhere between “a lot” and “too many”. Unfortunately, we don’t have much of a choice. People don’t last long in there. We have to strike now.

Vestige: What’s the plan?

Drake of Blades: “Plan.” No, I don’t think we have time for that. We’ll have to improvise. This is where I’m supposed to be encouraging, isn’t it? I’m sorry. I’ll create a distraction. You slip in during the confusion, slay Egnatius’ captors, and escape. Simple.

Vestige: And after that?

Drake of Blades: Make sure Egnatius makes it to safety, extract any information you can, then meet me back at the alliance base. He definitely knows something. I’d help question him if I was, you know... not me. So it goes. Good luck.

Vestige: All right, I’ll rescue Egnatius and meet you back at the alliance base.

The Vestige proceeds to the Temple of the One, where Egnatius is imprisoned. The Dremora Xotos Vel is slaughtering captives in an effort to make Egnatius talk. The Vestige defeats Xotos Vel and a Daedric Titan which smashes through the roof to join the fight.

Father Egnatius: You escaped! Thank the Eight! The Daedra know about this place. We shouldn’t linger.

Vestige: Are you all right?

Father Egnatius: Yes... yes, I’m all right. Just need to catch my breath. You have my deepest, deepest thanks. I only wish more could have been saced.

Vestige: The Drake of Blades told me that you might know something of Molag Bal’s plans.

Father Egnatius: The Drake sent you? Mara bless her. In truth, I don’t know much. Molag Bal’s inquisitor, Xotos Vel, was asking all kinds of questions about a scroll we recently discovered. I told her I didn’t know anything. She wasn’t convinced. Eight forgive me.

Vestige: So you do know something about the scroll she was asking about?

Father Egnatius: Yes. And no. I found it tucked between some of Marukh’s polemics, just before the invasion. I’ve spent the better part of thirty years in those archives, friend. To find this scroll just days before the anchors fell... it can’t be coincidence.

Vestige: What was written on the scroll?

Father Egnatius: Arcane references, ancient symbols... It’s not an Elder Scroll, mind you. It’s nothing so majestic. But there is power in the text, of that I am certain.  Alas, I had to part with it. But don’t worry - it is in good hands.

Vestige: Do you think you could read it if you saw it again?

Father Egnatius: Given time, yes. At the risk of sounding vain, I doubt there are any other priests in the city who can unlock its power. It’s in the gaps, you see? The syntax. The text beneath the text. The Eight guided me to this scroll. I must find out why.

Vestige: Fair enough. Get to safety. We’ll see about getting you this scroll.

The Vestige returns to the sewers, where the Drake of Blades is waiting..

Drake of Blades: You freed Egnatius, yes. I’d hate to think I was coursed down like a hare for nothing.

Vestige: Egnatius is safe. He said that Molag Bal is looking for information on a scroll he found.

Drake of Blades: Well, with or without the scroll. Egnatius is an asset. He speaks a dozen dead languages, can read a dozen more. He knows the city better than I do. He’s also remarkably spry for an old person. We’ll find a use for him.