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Doomed Explorer's Journal


For seven days, I have wandered the halls of this ruin. By the end of the second, I found myself hopelessly lost. By the end of the fifth, I ran out of food. Now, as the sun sets on a full week of quiet misery, I cannot coax even a single drop of water from my canteen. It seems I will die in this place, surrounded by ghosts and prodigious stone gates.

These magic doors, how they mock me! Each whispers promises of escape, but in crossing their threshold, I find no sunlight—only a bright void, then older, still-darker vaults. This Ayleid masonry is so stark. So solemn. While I shall die in the open, I nonetheless feel like I'm already entombed. Buried in a massive stone coffin.

I do not die alone. The veil is thin here. So thin! I heard only whispers at first—Argonian whimpers, and Ayleid voices adrift on the wind. But by the third day, I saw them with my waking eyes: Ayleid ghosts, in all their garish splendor. They did not see me or react to my presence. They only went about their business, reenacting the events of their ancient lives. Some of these vignettes surprise me with their sheer banality. Others, however, feel rich with forgotten truth and arcane menace. Something terrible happened here—to the Argonians at first, then the Ayleids later. Something in (or perhaps beneath) this ruin insists that I watch these events play out; insists that I apprehend the gravity of their consequences. Some force demands that I understand. This is why I die, I think. I fail to understand, and so I must remain.

If anyone finds this journal, pay careful heed to these ghosts. They tell the tale of some great Argonian prize. I only wish I had the insight to learn the deeper truths hidden within their words.

Enough writing for now, I suppose. I see yet another gate nearby. Perhaps this one will lead me home. I just need to gather my strength. A few moments rest is all I need.