TES2 Daggerfall Chronicles Introduction

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This narrative appears in The Daggerfall Chronicles © 1996 Bethesda Softworks.

The Narrative claims that it was Gortwog who killed Lysandus, while Lysandus' ghost and Gortwog both point out Woodborn as the real murderer.

Ted Peterson, designer on Daggerfall, says, "It's been over [twenty five] years and my memory of DF's byzantine plotline is a little dusty and rusty, but this is definitely a mistake of the Chronicles. Didn't Lysandus himself say it was Woodborne who did it? I know there's a lot of gray area in TES, but if you can't trust a dead guy to tell you who killed him, who can you trust?"

The second half of this summary features heavy spoilers.

Introduction to the Region

Iliac Bay has had a lengthy and violent history, dating back long before Tiber Septim assumed the emperorship of Tamriel and brought relative order to the land. The current citystates of Daggerfall, Sentinel, and Wayrest have long been the seats of power in the region. Most recently Daggerfall has assumed the role of the mightiest of the three- after a land disagreement with Sentinel prompted a two-year battle over nothing more than Betony, a fishing village at the edge of the Abecean Sea. The village had long been independent of either citystate, and when Lord Mogref for monetary reasons agreed to vassal himself and his village to King Lysandus and Queen Mynisera of Daggerfall– the King of Sentinel, Camaron, objected. On the advice of his warlords, he declared war on Daggerfall, claiming that Lysandus was illegally taking as vassal a village that had been rightfully Sentinel’s. He cited a two hundred year old agreement.

Several members of both courts urged their sovereigns not to enter into the war. In Daggerfall, the court sorceress Medora (who was also the king's lover), and Nulfaga, the queen mother and a renowned mystic and necromancer herself, both foretold doom for Lysandus and Daggerfall if he warred with Sentinel. In the wilds outside Sentinel, King Camaron was warned against the battle by the Oracle, a blind old woman who served as an impartial court advisor. Yet neither king would budge, and the war began with a sea battle off the Daggerfall Bluffs. The victor was Daggerfall, thanks to the bravery and leadership of Lord Bridwell, the captain of the Daggerfall military. The next large-scale battle, north of Daggerfall in the Glenpoint Foothills, also went to Daggerfall (It was in this battle that the Sentinel Warlord K'avar received his disfiguring injury, the result of a fireball cast by a Dark Elf mercenary nightblade.) Daggerfall was ebullient: but Medora and Nulfaga were even more adamant that the war must not continue. Nulfaga, who was not a particularly popular person in court anyhow, retired to her castle in the Wrothgarian Mountains, leaving Skakmat, her dragon familiar, behind to report to her.

Nulfaga's action caused Lysandus to reconsider the war, and at the notorious Treaty of Gradkeep, he met with Camaron and attempted to negotiate an end to the hostilities. The meeting initially was civil. The Daggerfall priest Vanech considered Betony to be the holy land of Kynareth, the goddess-protector of Daggerfall. Any attempts to give up the land were blasphemous to him. When the time came to sign the agreement (in which Sentinel and Daggerfall were to be joint lieges of Betony), Vanech substituted a fake treaty designed to cause offense to Lysandus. Lord Bridwell (according to legend) shattered the truce and its writing table with a stroke of his battle axe, and the room disrupted into chaos. Camaron, discovering the priest's treachery, pursued Vanech and slew the priest. Lord and Lady Graddock, the sovereigns of Reich Gradkeep, the site of the treaty, attempted to restore order to the chaotic room, but to no avail. Bodyguards of the monarchs and squadrons of soldiers, witnesses and participants in the truce alike, clashed in the palace. The courtyards, ballrooms, and hallways of the palace were soaked in blood.

Lord and Lady Graddock and the heir to their throne, Lady Mara were among the casualties as the battle raged in the streets as well as the palace of Reich Gradkeep. The town was devastated, not only from the battle itself, but from the looters who took advantage of the chaos to raid the local merchants. In time, the generals took control of their respective armies and each retired to camp- Daggerfall in the Ravennian Forest and Sentinel in the Yeorth Burrowland. The flowering meadowland of Cryngaine Field separated them.

The Battle of Cryngaine Field

One week later, after each had an opportunity to send for reinforcements and plan their strategies, the armies of Daggerfall and Sentinel met in the Battle of Cryngaine Field. In the heat of the battle, a sudden unnatural fog spread over Cryngaine Field, blinding the combatants. The source of the fog was Skakmat, who under Nulfaga's orders was attempting to halt the battle in which Lysandus was to be slain. When the mist eventually lifted, it was discovered that an arrow had pierced Lysandus' heart, apparently fired blindly by one of Sentinel's archers.

Daggerfall did not waste time in mourning. Young prince Gothryd, who had shown great bravery in battle and was very popular among the troops, was crowned King of Daggerfall just behind the battle lines and he ordered the army onward. Perhaps it was the sight of the brave young warrior- turned- king appearing on the battlefield in full regalia that inspired the Daggerfall army. Regardless, the battle quickly turned in their favor. Lord Bridwell slew King Camaron, and the Sentinelian forces panicked. Lord Oresme of Sentinel formally surrendered to Daggerfall giving up all rights to Betony. He later committed suicide on the march back to Sentinel.

Peace was a difficult process for the cities and towns on both sides of Iliac Bay. As part of the formal peace treaty King Gothryd asked for the hand of Princess Aubk-i, only daughter of the late King Camaron and Queen Akorithi. The request was intended to restore friendship between the kingdoms. And it was partially successful, though many in the royal court of Sentinel viewed the princess as more a prisoner of war than a bond to Daggerfall.

The only surviving member of the ruling family of Reich Gradkeep was a sickly infant, so the councilors of state appealed to Lord Auberon FIyte, a cousin of Lord Graddock to rule the town in regency. Lord Flyte was a strong, almost dictatorial ruler, which was just what Reich Gradkeep needed to restore order. The respect and gratefulness his subjects showed him was so overwhelming, that when the infant ruler-to-be died, they not only elevated Auberon from regent to ruler of the town, they agreed to rename the town in honor of his family. Reich Gradkeep became Anticlere, named after his ancestral house.

Lady Doryanna Flyte had been instrumental in her husband's success. The talent in which she exhibited brilliance was in coercing counselors and merchants alike to agree to Lord Flyte's sometimes imperious demands. But Lord Flyte was not one to acknowledge dependence - he treated Lady Flyte with the same disdain he had for all. This was to change when he contracted Guedoilic Plague from an Argonian ambassador. The once strong and healthy king became sickly and weak, and retired to his bedchamber. He refused to admit his infirmity, but had to grant Lady Flyte the power to use his seal and hold audience in his stead. She assumed the mantel of leadership eagerly, and set about replacing the elderly counselors with the type of advisors she preferred – young handsome men she could bully and tryst with. Lord Flyte could not believe that his wife could be unfaithful, so confident was he of his power over her. The Mayor of Anticlere, a middle-aged moralist, disapproved of Lady Flyte, but feared the repercussions of telling Lord Flyte, even when he began hearing rumors that she was consorting with the imprisoned guildmaster of the Anticlere thieves. There were even rumors, never heard by Lord Mayor Perwright, that Lady Flyte helped the guildmaster escape almost nightly and went on midnight raids in highways surrounding Anticlere, thieving in disguise from passersby.

Wayrest had remained neutral throughout the hostilities for a number of reasons. King Eadwyre and Queen Barenziah, the joint-rulers of the city-state, had internal problems to deal with. They were elderly, had to choose an heir, and none of their possible choices were attractive to all. Princess Elysana was Eadwyre's daughter from his deceased wife, Carolyna, and though none could doubt her sweetness of temper, many doubted her intelligence. Prince Helseth, son of Barenziah and her late husband, Symmachus, was nearly the opposite, rather rash and ugly in his temperament but certainly capable, though many resented the idea of a dark elf presiding over a Breton kingdom. Princess Morgiah, Helseth's sister, was not truly a contender for the throne (even she denied any ambition for it), and opinion was sharply divided over her – some saw her as noble-minded and supportive of her brother and the kingdom, while others had precisely the opposite view.

Eadwyre and Barenziah were also concerned about the threat of the orcs to the north of Wayrest and the pirates in the Iliac Bay. They were unwilling to send any soldiers to fight in the Betony War, leaving Wayrest itself undefended. They were, after all, above worrying about who held liege over Betony, as any who wished to enter the Bjoulsae River for trade had to pay tax to them. But the orcs to the north, under King Gortworg, were trying to annex the area as the ninth province of Tamriel, Orsinium, and willing to destroy any who opposed them. The pirates had become more troublesome of late, but this ended immediately after the Betony War. The island of Balfiera, which had been their haven, was immediately declared haunted because Medora, prior to the battle of Gyngaine Field, had retired to her castle there to wait for Lysandus' return. Queen Mynisera, discovering her affair with Lysandus, had banished her from court. Medora had attempted to conjure Lysandus' spirit, but had been unsuccessful. Trying greater and greater conjurations, she had succeeded in resurrecting the dead all over the island, but her lover was still lost to her.

The cause for Medora's distress was apparent to the court of Daggerfall. Lysandus had come back as a spectre and was screaming from the court to the streets of Daggerfall for revenge. He brought with him a host of devils that plagued the citizens and nobility. The bravest of the guardsmen attempted to attack these devils, and their souls soon joined the unholy army. King Gothryd went from being an extremely popular king to a distrusted one, as rumors began that he may have killed his own father in the chaos of the Battle of Cryngaine Field. Mynisera now the Queen-Mother, was also considered a suspect - some even suspected that she was in love with Lord Bridwell (which was true) and had conspired with him to assassinate the king.

The Real Story

The real story is that when Medora was banished from court, Lysandus decided that he'd rather spend the rest of his life with her in anonymity than reign as king of Daggerfall (he never was particularly ambitious). He made a deal with his son, Gothryd, who wanted his father to be happy. An impersonator would ride into the battle dressed in the royal battle armor and would feign death. This impersonator is an impoverished nobleman from just outside Wayrest, who was allied with Lord Woodborne, the commander of the Wayrest military. Just before the battle of Cryngaine Field, a group from Wayrest, led by the commander, arrived at the Daggerfall camp and left after two hours of discussion. The noble put on the king's armor, and the king donned the noble's robes. Woodborne then lead the king off before the battle to Tamarilyne Point to join his beloved Medora on the isle of Balfiera.

The battle goes as planned. When the fog arrives, Gothryd shoots the noble impersonating his father and kills him. When the fog lifts, the “king” is found and carried to the Royal Healer and Gothryd. The full royal funeral is held for the impersonator in the royal suit of armor.

Along the way to Tamarilyne Point, the real Lysandus and Woodborne are discussing the king's retirement. Woodborne is enormously ambitious and hopes that his romance with Princess Elysana will make him the new king of Wayrest. If Prince Helseth takes the throne, Woodborne is planning on opposing him by any means necessary. He had tried months before to get Lysandus' word that Daggerfall would assist him, but was rebuffed. The Minat orcs, one of the more powerful tribes, had agreed to ally themselves with him provided he helped them in their claims to start Orsinium. Woodborne asks Lysandus what he would do if he gets bored at Balfiera Isle, and Lysandus says he'd sneak back to Daggerfall and give Gothryd advice. A member of the Minat orcs meets the troop, and Woodborne tells Lysandus that it is an emergency and follows the orc, taking one advisor (someone who doesn't like him and doesn't speak orcish) with him as an alibi. The rest of the troop takes Lysandus off to the Point. Woodborne tells the orc chieftain, Gortworg, to send a group to kill Lysandus. They meet Lysandus at the point, massacre the troops who are caught unaware, as they think the Minat orcs are their friends. The orcs sink all the ships and put Lysandus' body in a silver casket in a catacomb near Tamarilyne Point so Woodborne can produce it if Gothryd proves to be as uncooperative as his father.

Irony: a blessing is placed on the suit of armor before it is ceremonially cremated, giving the king eternal rest and stopping the curse. Medora would have done the same if Lysandus had been with her when he died. The orcs were not so nice. They hacked him up - no blessing given.

Enter the PC

The PC has been sent to Daggerfall at the request of the Emperor, who is concerned about the events in Daggerfall. King Lysandus had been a great ally of the Emperor's, a loyalist to the Empire in an area where few kingdoms thought of a higher authority than their own. The Emperor gives the PC two quests: to liberate the soul of the king, as the Emperor cannot bear that his old friend is in torment, and to find a letter from the Emperor to the queen. The specific contents of the letter are unimportant, only some old reminiscences that the Emperor feels would be an embarrassment if they passed to strangers' hands.

The truth is that the letter was to he given by the Emperor to Lady Brisienna Magnessen, sister of the Great Knight of the Blades. She is in disguise at the court of Daggerfall as one of the witches of Popudax, Medora's sorcerer replacement. The Blades are a group of knights who work surreptitiously for the good of the empire all over Tamriel. Their goal is to repair the great iron golem, Numidium, which forcibly pulled the empire together hundreds of years before under the rule of Tiber Septim. The Blades have been joining together the pieces of Numidium ever since it was shattered by the Underking. They have in their hands the Totem, an artifact capable of controlling Numidium. Only one piece remained to energize the golem- the Mantella, the great engine that is the heart of Numidium. The king's mother, Nulfaga, had discovered the location of the Mantella in her astral travels, and informed the Emperor that she would give the location if he would guarantee that by recreating Numidium he would not destroy any of her son's power. The Emperor doesn't like to be strong-armed, so he sends a letter by priest to Brisienna (though officially addressed to Mynisera – a special seal on the envelope was to tip Brisienna that the letter was actually for her.) (He doesn't want to send her a magic message out of fear that Nulfaga would discover it.) He puts whatever pressure necessary to get Nulfaga to tell him the location of the Mantella. The priest is delayed in the war, and delivers the letter not to the old queen Mynisera, but to the new queen Aubk-i. The new queen's lady-in-waiting is, of course, not Brisienna. Instead, the letter passes on to Aubk-i. Queen Aubk-i reads the letter, realizes that it was meant for Mynisera (which of course is wrong, it was meant for Brisienna), and becomes very nervous about her mother-in-law and the Emperor. She files the letter away. Brisienna has meanwhile left the Queen-Mother’s service and is now working for Popudax and has no clue about the events. Aubk-i cannot trust anyone, especially if she learns that Mynisera was (maybe is) sleeping with Lord Bridwell. She certainly isn't going to trust the PC. The lady-in-waiting, noticing that Aubk-i was rattled by a recent letter, reads it, and sells the information (which she does not really understand except that it is important) to the highest bidder. This turns out to be Gortworg, who wants all the dirt he can get on all the royal families of High Rock. He has no idea what the Mantella is and consults the King of Worms, leader of the Necromancers.

Nulfaga is the only one who knows where the Mantella is. And Gortworg, the King of Worms, and the Emperor all know that she knows. The Underking is in a tomb in High Rock, still recovering from using up all his energy to blow up Numidium hundreds of years before. He's getting stronger, but not quite mobile yet. In order to get the Mantella to someone, you have to get its location from Nulfaga, who is loopy. To cure her madness, you must lay Lysandus to rest. To do that, you have kill the man responsible for his death (Woodborne in his heavily defended fortress) and perform a ceremony at the spot where he was killed, over at least one of his bones. (Obviously you have to figure out the whole convoluted mess to do that and to know that there are bones to bless). The Totem disappears from the Blades and pops around from group to group during the course of the game. The forces close in. Once the Mantella is activated, its power races across the bay, bringing the Underking totally to life.

The Six Endings

If you activate Numidium, and hold the Totem, Numidium will crush you dead, go on a rampage and be destroyed by the forces of the Empire, the local kings, the Underking, and the orcs. If the Underking is given the Mantella the animation shows him grasping the gem and sucking all of its energy out, giving himself death at last, and in fact creating an anti-magic zone in a several mile radius around that area. If Gortworg wins, the animation shows Numidium defeating the forces of the Empire and the kings of the Bay before the Underking arrives on the scene - destroying it and himself. Nevertheless, the result is the rise of Orsinium and the further crumbling of the Empire. If the Blades win, Numidium will be created, and defeat the forces of the orcs and the kings of the Bay, uniting the provinces of Tamriel under the Emperor. Nothing much changes in High Rock and Hammerfell- except they're no longer called High Rock and Hammerfell, they're all Tamriel. If one of the kings of the Bay win, all the other forces are defeated by Numidium, before the Underking destroys the golem and himself; with pretty much the same result as Gortworg’s victory for Tamriel, except there is no Orsinium. If the King of Worms wins, he will use the power of the Mantella to make himself a god.

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