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Journal of Septimus Signus, v.1

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Lady N's picture
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Joined: 06/26/2010

Author - Michael Connor

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Journal of Septimus Signus, v. 1, circa 4E 193 ~ found in one of the abandoned rooms in the Hall of Attainment of the College of Winterhold

When I was a little boy, I heard many tales about the great emperor Tiber Septim, how he was both a masterful warrior and a cunning leader. He fought alongside Ysmir and Zurin Arctus, who both eventually betrayed him to further their own agendas (see The Arcturian Heresy for contradictory information on this subject). He conquered men and mer alike, unifying Skyrim for the first time since the Reman dynasty.

He was a hero. But what truly entranced me, as a young lad, were the stories of how Tiber Septim ascended into the ranks of the Divines. As the local Nords would say, he was such a great warrior in life that the aedra honored him with the gift of godhood. I wanted that. I wanted to be just like Tiber Septim, a warrior who becomes a god after their death. This, I knew, was my destiny.

My dream was quickly slaughtered by the harsh reality of my life: I was scrawny and pale, the kind of boy who bullies picked on simply because I was little. Honestly, children everywhere are the same, whether it’s Cyrodiil, High Rock, Skyrim, or Taneth. Actually, I bet Redguard children have been taught the value of honor from a young age, so they don’t get in fights as much (see my second journal for more on my childhood). But that’s neither here nor there.

Boy, did I desperately want to be Talos Stormcrown. So much so, in fact, that when I stretched forth my hand and called upon the storms themselves to defend me from a group of miscreants, I considered the lightning that flowed from my palm like water from a skin to be the very proof that I was Tiber Septim reincarnated. The adults around me, though, were much more level-headed, and immediately recognized the force that had killed the bullies as magic. And they were scared. So, they sent me to the Synod for training.

The Synod don’t care about training young mages, especially when such mages are below the age of majority. So they, in turn, sent me to the College of Winterhold in Skyrim, where I studied under the tutelage of Faralda and Archmage Aren. They taught me how to control and wield my powers, as that was what I desired to do, but the Archmage asked me that whenever I fulfilled whatever personal quest I was on, I return to the College as a scholar, not a student. He said that my interpretations of magical theory were uniquely insightful, and that I should do more to further the magical education of Skyrim instead of serving myself. I, being a young and proud mage, discarded his advice whatsoever (see my third journal for more on my time at the College).

And so I set out to become a powerful spellsword, the likes of which Tamriel had never seen. But after many years of this (see journals four and five for some of my adventures), I still was completely unknown to the general public: I was nowhere near becoming a hero of the caliber of Tiber Septim, and that’s when the question dawned on me. What is it about heroes that makes them so special? It cannot be bravery alone, for hundreds of soldiers are as brave as the mightiest heroes.

Slowly but surely I made the transition from warrior mage to magical scholar as I investigated the qualities of a hero. I made one intriguing discovery: every mortal hero that is known among scholars was a prisoner before they were put through the flames of combat and emerged as someone to look up to (Pelinal Whitestrake doesn’t count). These include the Eternal Champion, the Hero of Daggerfall, the Nerevarine, and, most recently, the Hero of Kvatch. But this had to be just a coincidence. There’s nothing about being a prisoner that is extraordinary.

I explored many alternative routes, from CHIM to mantling (see journal six for my theory on Septim’s apotheosis) to prophecy. While a couple seemed to explain the qualities of a particular hero or two, none of my theories ever supported my entire list of heroic figures. And that’s when I asked a friend I met at college, Urag Gro-Shub, for help.

“Urag, do you know of any factors that have linked all of the heroes in Tamriel’s history?”

“What about CHIM?”

“Doesn’t work, ultimately.”

“The Heart of Lorkhan?”

“No, that’s just the Nerevarine. Whatever you’re thinking, assume I’ve already ruled it out. Now say whatever’s left.”

“The Elder Scrolls?”

Truth be told, I had never considered the Elder Scrolls before, nor did I know much about them. At that point, investigating the Elder Scrolls seemed as good a choice as any, so I decided to head back to Cyrodiil to learn more. I still had a few friends in the Imperial City from my (brief) time in the Synod, and they got me an audience with a Moth Priest.

It was hardly a meeting. The blindfolded priest was in the midst of recovering from the reading of an Elder Scroll, and was confined to his bed to gather his strength. I’m mostly sure that no one else wanted to talk to me, so they saddled the bedridden guy with the interview. At any rate, I talked for a long time. Asked if I could read an Elder Scroll. Of course, the reply was no. An emphatic no. I think I may have pressured him for too long, because he eventually snapped and shouted for another priest to enter.

“Invictus, bring me the book. You know the one. Now!”

I felt kind of bad for Invictus, but those thoughts soon left my mind as he returned with an aged leather bound journal.

“This is a copy of a copy of a copy,” the Moth Priest told me, handing the book to me. “But years of transcription didn’t make it any more unintelligible. It began that way.”

“What is it?”

“It’s proof, Signus. Proof that you’ll never achieve what you’re looking for.”

I opened to the title page. Ruminations on the Elder Scrolls, by Septimus Signus. It was set to be published in a couple decades.

“What is this?” I asked, hands shaking, as I read the words on the page over and over and over again.

“It’s the incoherent ramblings of an aged madman,” the Moth Priest replied. “It appeared behind an Elder Scroll sometime in the First Era, we think, but was discovered in the Second, during the Interregnum. For thousands of years, we didn’t know if it was a prank by an ancient member of our order or something else entirely. But, when you started asking your incessant questions, I knew that it had to be real.”

I read the words on the page. Everything he said was true; I couldn’t understand a word of my own writings. So I threw the book into the fire and left the White-Gold Tower in a haste.

I returned to the College of Winterhold and took Archmage Aren up on his offer. I needed to study the Elder Scrolls, to see if this self-fulfilling prophecy could be averted. I’ve been studying for two decades now, and I think I have a grasp on what the Elder Scrolls are. They’re...notebooks, of a kind, left behind by some super-dimensional being (possibly Lorkhan?) who could alter the past and the present and the future with a stroke of the pen. From what I understand, the Dwemer were on to the same concept...I think they were trying to mantle this being, but were interrupted by their disappearance (or is their disappearance the result of their experiment?). In any case, however, I have yet to lay eyes on an actual Scroll.

I have a lead on one. A man I met the other day, claiming to be a Daedric Prince (would you believe that?) turned me on to an ancient Dwemer ruin on Vvardenfell which might contain an Elder Scroll. I’m going to head there in a few weeks’ time; if I fail, I might try to steal one from the Moth Priests. Those things go missing all the time on their own accord, so I’m sure they won’t give it a second thought.

I’m leaving this journal here, in my room in the Hall of Attainment, to explain my sudden disappearance. Hopefully, I’ll come back, and when I do, I’ll have all the knowledge of an Elder Scroll. Take care, my dear Colette. Don’t become a grumpy old lady if I disappear forever. And no matter what those other mages say, Restoration is a perfectly valid school of magic! Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

S. Signus
 

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