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Craglorn

Author: 
Anonymous
The towering Dragontail Mountains stand guard over this region’s windswept, desolate wastes.
 
You might be surprised to learn that the meat of the fell runner compares more to a steak than to poultry. It is dark red and marbled with thin, delectable streaks of fat. Just one fell runner can provide a hearty feast for a group of travelers (and then some!), but the meat must be cooked correctly to avoid a tough, stringy mess. 
 
Firstly, cut the meat into thick chunks of at least two fingers’ height, and take great caution to avoid over-cooking. For the best results, the interior should still be red and just warm. Though a light dusting of salt will do in a hurry, I recommend roasting it alongside onion and a sampling of the sweet peppers native to the region. The liver is positively delightful, so make sure to try it!
 
Though it remains unknown exactly what happened to the islands of Yokuda in the First Era, we do know that the Ra Gada, or “warrior wave,” of Yokudans arrived in the south of Hammerfell having fled catastrophic destruction. It did not take long for these fierce warlords to carve out a home in Tamriel with their iconic curved swords, but they made few friends in their initial hostility. 
 
The Anka-Ra were among the most fearsome of the warrior bands of the Ra Gada. Led by the ruthless Emperor Tarish-Zi, their mastery of the blade was renowned among their own people. They cut a bloody swath all the way into Craglorn in their hunger to claim a new home, leaving few survivors. One can only imagine what it was like to face the fury of their blades.
 
They turned their eyes from the redeeming light and grew dim
Without the Protectors they were doomed beyond death
Without the signs, their souls were lost to the coils
They refused to turn their faces skyward and were punished
They were cursed and tormented in their souls
Now the way to ascend was covered by fog
Now clouds obscured the way to the stars
And those with feet touching the stained ground
Those whose feet still walk on blemished Nirn
Would be conquered and driven from the Golden Stair
Call upon them now that we may be saved
Cry out to them, faces upturned to night sky
Mage, Master of deep secrets
Thief, Lord of shaded paths
Warrior, Blade-sire and shield-bearer
 
I remember more of the dream every morning. I am in the Observatory, but it is not the Observatory I know. The halls are unfamiliar, but somehow I know where I am. There is a great pressure upon me—I must escape! I must move forward! The deeper I go, the more disjointed it becomes. The stones of the floor separate. In the gaps I see worlds beyond, landscapes I cannot name.
Eight turns left, eight turns right. The sky opens up and stars collapse into one brilliant point of light. And out of it, the staff, shining with the light of Aetherius. As I reach out to touch it, it drifts further into the black void. Please help me, Mage, please! I have failed...
I’ve not got it down quite yet. Still can’t get the face just right, and none of the pieces I have are well-preserved enough for me to make out the details of the patterns in the leather. The flexibility and colors of some of the bindings seem to indicate a special curing process of some sort. If only I had more examples to research! 
 
I’ve posted a plea on the board at the Crossroads offering to pay for any recovered Yokudan armor. I simply must learn their secrets! How did they make their leather so durable and thick without cracking (even all these years later)? What beasts provided these amazing hides? With their knowledge, I’d be rich!
 
Son,
 
Your mother and I beam with pride on hearing of your acceptance. We knew you would pass the first trial, just as I and your grand-papa before you did so many years ago. If there was ever any doubt, it is now certain you will be a worthy warrior and noble leader when you return from training.
 
I must warn you, though. Do not allow your vision to become clouded with self-congratulation. You are young yet, and you have only passed the easiest of the trials you will face at Rahni’Za. Yes, you stand among the halls of our mighty and formidable ancestors, but you are a mere pup in the shadow of wolves. Keep your mind open and clear, face the challenges set before you with courage and discipline, and devote yourself entirely to your blade. This I command.
 
My belief in you is strong, son. May you become the warrior you are meant to be.
 
“First the constellations fall down, and now creatures out of nightmares run wild! It was worse than any Daedra I ever saw. Shor’s bones, I swear it had the nastiest parts of every monster I’ve ever fought! And here I was thinking those welwa beasties were bad enough. When I stumbled on this thing, it was surrounded by their corpses. I watched the four-legged terror grab one and literally tear it in half. No joke!” 
 
“It didn’t seem to be hunting for food either; it just tossed the bloody bits aside. I must’ve uttered an oath, because it turned toward me and let out a wail that’d shake any of you. I know we Undaunted aren’t supposed to show any fear, but by the Eight, I’ll admit it: I was daunted!”