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Shadowfen

Author: 
Anonymous

A fetid mire, rank and treacherous, with a sordid history of Imperial occupation and the Dunmeri slave trade.

Aside from the right clothing to protect you from the environment, you’ll also need to account for the wildlife. Many creatures in Black Marsh carry disease, and, as the native Argonians are naturally resistant to many such ailments, remedies and treatments are often in short supply, especially in smaller settlements. 
 
Protect yourself from fleshfly bites with a repellent salve, and ensure that you bring plenty of potions to treat blood rot, the droops, and swamp fever. Avoid travel during known breeding seasons for insects and common creatures such as giant snakes, and be very cautious to avoid camping near deep water or anything that appears to be a burrow. As always, it is my advice to travel only with a local guide.
“The best reeds and moss come from deep in the swamp, where most dryskins prefer not to tread. A soft lining of hanging moss gives comfort to my robes; the dried and treated reeds give a thick sturdiness to the soft leather in key areas which need support.
 
The Hist guide my hand as I weave the patterns. I envision soft moonlight over the deep swamps, the safest places for my kind. It is no small effort, but I know that each robe I weave will bring the comfort and protection of our home to my egg-brothers and -sisters, no matter where they must go.”
I am at a loss. All these weeks in study, all the painstaking excavation, the re-excavation after the storms and flooding, the comparison to other ancient temple texts and agonizing over translation, and what do we find? The oldest inscription I have ever encountered, the last recoverable piece of this temple, and what is the engraving? What ancient wisdom from my forefathers? The enlightenment:
 
“By Twice-Sun-Blessed Decree of Chath-Jat, Hist-Speaker and Vanquisher of the Fallow Dryness, He Who Frightened a Bloodplague with Spine Motions Alone:
 
There is to be no running within the temple.”

Something stirs within the Tree. I feel uneasy, as though eyes peer at me from under dark waters. I checked once again for the sapthief beetles that so disturbed the Tree last season, even though this feeling is different, but found no evidence of their return. I stayed among the roots late into the night, unable to sleep with the unsteady vibration in my bones. I have cared for this Hist nearly all my years and have always been able to find the cause of the few troubles it feels. I shall call out to the fellow Tree Minders—perhaps they know more than I.

Hail to Sithis, blood’s drop on blade’s edge.
 
Before you, nothing. Behind you, the Void.
 
Catalyst, agitator, many-fanged maw.
 
Whisper your need to the Scales.

Keep sending them. Add more guards. Every one of them will fall to the mud, throat cut and left to rot. We knew the Pact wouldn’t stop you slaver scum, that you’d try to find ways around the law. If you can find them, so can we. This swamp is my home, but it is far from your dryskin comforts, and you are weak here. We invite you to continue, to keep capturing our egg-brethren and keep sending your caravans. We will end your slave trade one cartfull at a time if we have to.

Logodvild: It was big as a horse, no lie! Right, Ogondar?
 
Ogondar: Two horses if you ask me, two big stallions—even three!
 
Logodvild: Aye! Shor’s bones, I’ll never forget the fright when it reared up from the mud and took a snap at my leg! All a-crackle, and that roar—enough to chill the souls in Sovngarde. I never saw a beast so terrible! What’d they call it?
 
Ogondar: Wamasu! Should’ve named it “Death-lizard” if you ask me. If I hadn’t been there, you’d be dead for sure. Don’t you owe me another round?
 
Logodvild: Barkeep! More ale!