Green Serpent Testimonials

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Author (in-game): Minerva Calo

By Minerva Calo, Associate Chronicler

Practically everyone in Tamriel has heard of the Rose—that infamous prison deep in the murk of Black Marsh. At the height of their power, the Akaviri Potentate operated countless prisons and penal colonies all across Tamriel. Most fell into ruin after the death of Versidue-Shaie and his kin, but some remain in operation as private facilities. Few present greater hardships than the prison island of Amenos.

Many inmates sentenced to this stifling, open-air prison fall ill and die or succumb to some other predator or natural hazard on the island within years, months, or even weeks of their banishment. Some, however, survive—perhaps even flourish—within the prison jungle. I speak of the Green Serpents primarily, a gang of prisoners who effectively control huge swaths of the island. With the high king’s sanction, I gained entry into the jungle to record Green Serpent testimonials for posterity. While some told stories of lost loved ones and dreams deferred, the vast majority regaled me with tales of brutality so horrid I hesitate to commit them to paper. Even so, my profession demands it. Fair warning, dear reader: these stories are not for the faint of heart.

We begin with “Ratcatcher,” a lean and bedraggled Wood Elf who spoke only in whispers. “I killed a Spinner,” he said. “Aye, a Spinner. Guzzard was tellin’ tales, eh? False ones. Tales about my great uncle Nirtharing—a tree-hopper what never did a thing to anybody! Sure, he cut a branch or two in his time. Who hasn’t? Mer’s got to make a living. But this Spinner? This Spinner sang songs about him felling whole grahts—spitting on the Green all the while! So, I says to myself, I’ll stop his lying songs. So, I cut him a Valenwood smile. Ear to bloody ear. I’d do it again, too. In the beat of hummingbird’s heart!”

Later, I spoke to a surprisingly articulate High Elf named “Tall Amanel.” (I later discovered that she had killed “Short Amanel” some time back with a rusted harpoon.) Tall Amanel’s tale started simply enough, but it took some alarming turns toward the end. “I’m what they call an aprax,” she explained in measured tones. “That’s a High Elf who breaks the law on Summerset. Typically, they just exile you. Break your calian—a precious heirloom we all keep—and send you off to the forest or the sewers, or wherever else apraxics and hulkynds and ousters settle. I spent some time in exile. Thinking, you see. Thinking about all the privileges we were denied on account of victimless crimes and the poor choices of our youth. So, I resolved to set things right. I crept into the Ascendant Curate’s cloisters on a cool Hearthfire night and quietly locked the doors. Wedged them too, for good measure. Then I set the fire. A fine little blaze that purged the whole building. No one got out. I made sure of it. I turned myself in to the jurisreeves soon after. Turns out, if you burn a dozen members of the religious establishment to a cinder, they do more than shatter your calian. Just as well. I hated that place.”

Finally, I sat down for a chat with a sandy-haired Breton called “Split-Willow”—a mage of no small renown in the gang. He spoke with a chilly candor that frightened me far more than the bluster of other inmates. It turns out I was right to worry. He spared no time in getting to the grisly details of his crimes. “I eat people,” he said. “Not in that farcical way Wood Elves supposedly do. (That’s nonsense, by the way. I’ve met more Wood Elves than I can count, and not one of them has ever joined me at table.) At any rate, I’m a follower of Namira. Her dictates and passions are clear. I feel no shame. I take great pleasure in it, and her gifts are proof of my wisdom. Would you like to know what race tastes best?” I tried to protest, but he continued. “It’s High Elves. All that pride and complacency makes them sweet. Far sweeter than Khajiit, believe it or not. Here, I believe I have some for you to try.” At that, I ran away as fast of my feet could carry me. I set sail soon after.

I have little to add save for this: if you ever find yourself in front of a judge awaiting a verdict, pray that they show you mercy and send you somewhere other than Amenos. It’s a vile place, best left forgotten.”

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