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Lost in Translation

Author: 
Anonymous

Ritemaster Iachesis

While the Golden Knight recovers, we must make preparations for breaching the Daedric barrier. Since I can't remember where that particular pathway goes, we'll have to be ready for any contingency.

I also need to tell you about another memory.

Player

You remembered something else?

Ritemaster Iachesis

My memories return slowly, a little at a time. While you searched for the knight, a memory came back to me. A woman's voice, barely a whisper. Beautiful but speaking in a language I can't understand. Repeating the same words over and over.

Player

What do you think the memory means?

Ritemaster Iachesis

I suspect that the language is ancient. It may actually predate the languages of Tamriel. I feel that the memory is connected to the barrier in the Dreaming Cave and where I hid the Heart.

My friend, we need to discover the meaning of these words.

Player

I'll help you in any way that I can.

Ritemaster Iachesis

I hoped you'd say that. I sent Oriandra to my study to review my memory and see if she could translate the ancient words. I even suggested a scholar she could contact. An expert in ancient languages and obscure dialects.

Go. Check on her progress.

Player

You have no idea what language the voice is speaking in?

Ritemaster Iachesis

No. I just feel that the words contain the key to where I hid the Heart of Transparent Law. I do know the language is not native to Tamriel. Or to anywhere on Nirn, for that matter. It feels ancient, alien. I hope the expert recognizes it.

Player

Who is this expert?

Ritemaster Iachesis

Forte, the Grand Maestro of the House of Reveries. We've shared research in the past and he thinks the language could be related to tablets he once studied in Ebon Stadmont.

Now go and see if Oriandra has made any progress by reviewing my memory.

Player

The player headed for Oriandra. She was still in Sotha Sil's study, examining a paid of books floating before her.

Oriandra

Not derived from Ayleid, though I see a possible correlation to Daedric linguistic patterns …

Who? Oh! Don't you know not to interrupt a sage when she's deep in concentration?

I suppose the Ritemaster sent you to see how my research was coming along? I've listened to his memory over and over, and I examined every relevant tome I could find.

Player

Have you been able to identify the unknown language?

Oriandra

Not yet. The master of the House of Reveries sent me his work. It relates to a similar language seen in the ruins of Ebon Stadmont, but I only understand a little of it.

I wish Leythen was still one of us. He was our language expert.

Player

Leythen's an expert on ancient languages?

Oriandra

Ancient languages and battle magic, to name just a few. Leythen betrayed us and I don't trust him, but I've reached a dead end. We need help and he's the best option I can think of.

Take the notes and show them to Leythen. What do we have to lose?

Player

I'll take the notes and talk to Leythen.

Oriandra

I'll let the Ritemaster know what I proposed. He may not like it, but he's always telling us to utilize every available resource. I think this qualifies.

You'll find Leythen in Valsirenn's study. See if you can convince him to translate the words.

Player

Shouldn't Valsirenn ask Leythen for this favor?

Oriandra

Only if you want to guarantee that Leythen refuses to help us. Haven't you seen them since they were reunited? Val wants to kill him and Leythen hates her with a passion.

They used to be so in love. Now it breaks my heart to see them like this.

Player

Do you really expect Leythen to help us?

Oriandra

I have no idea, but it's worth a try. I know Leythen and the Ritemaster were friends. I don't believe Leythen would purposely try to harm Iachesis.

On the other hand, if Leythen thinks that helping us will help his cause, he'll jump at the chance.

Player

Why do you think Leythen joined forces with Mephala?

Oriandra

I suppose it had something to do with his daughter. Ealdaawe was a beautiful girl. Smart, sweet, and full of energy. She brightened the entire island!

When she fell ill, Leythen and Valsirenn grew apart. It was how they dealt with the tragedy.

Player

The Psijic Order couldn't save her?

Oriandra

Don't you think we tried? The Ritemaster, Valsirenn, the entire Conclave. But nothing helped. She grew weaker and weaker. And then she was gone.

Val threw herself into her work after that. Leythen just grew more distant.

I'll let the Ritemaster know what I proposed. He may not like it, but he's always telling us to utilize every available resource. I think this qualifies.

You'll find Leythen in Valsirenn's study. See if you can convince him to translate the words.

Player

They bid the Psijic farewell. First, they picked up the notes on the language of Ebon Stadmon, and then went back downstairs to find Leythen. When they arrived in Valsirenn's study, she and Leythen were arguing.

Earl Leythen

Interesting. You weren't this attentive when our daughter actually needed you.

Valsirenn

Leythen, I—arrgh! I need to go check on the knight anyway.

Earl Leythen

Val, wait …. Damn it.

Valsirenn stormed off, and Leythen was left alone, clearly regretting his words. The player approached.

By the Spinner's holy webs, when did I become an insufferable arse? Valsirenn didn't deserve that. Ealdaawe was her daughter, too.

Why am I talking to you about this? I know it isn't because I like you, because I really don't.

Player

I understand you're good with languages.

Earl Leythen

Is this some new attempt at interrogation? If so, I'm not familiar with the technique.

Very well, I'll play along. Yes, I am a master linguist, specializing in ancient and obscure languages. Why do you ask?

Player

The Ritemaster heard these words, but we can't translate them. They may point to the tower crystal.

Earl Leythen

Intriguing. I've never seen this dialect before. I can translate it, but I need more to work with. I need to examine the original tablets found at Ebon Stadmont.

That will never happen, of course. You do remember I'm a prisoner here, don't you?

Player

I can go to Ebon Stadmont. What do you need to complete the translation?

Earl Leythen

According to those notes, the writing is carved into a massive stone. I doubt you'd be able to carry it back here.

All right, you've piqued my interest. Use this rune when you reach Ebon Stadmont and I'll be able to see what you see.

Player

What's going on between you and Valsirenn?

Earl Leythen

I don't see how that's relevant to our interactions. Not in the least. Still, my words were spiteful, meant to hurt her. There was no need for me to open old wounds.

But why does this concern you? I'm your enemy. Are you too dense to see that?

(While these two lines appear mutually exclusive, they can actually both be selected during this conversation if the player chooses to select "what's going on between you and Valsirenn" twice.)

Player

[Persuade] What happened to you and Val was horrible. I'm just trying to help.

Earl Leythen

You and Iachesis, always sticking your noses into places they don't belong. I suppose I can appreciate that, but kindness won't help you in the coming war.

Very well. I'll tell you this. Val loved our daughter and our daughter loved Val.

Player

So why do you hate each other?

Earl Leythen

Hate? I—I'm not sure what emotions I feel right now. But when my daughter was dying, when she was crying for her mother's comfort, Val wasn't there. She was buried in her work, too busy or too frightened to spend those final moments with Ealdaawe.

Player

I know you're our enemy. I need to understand you in order to remain one step ahead of you.

Earl Leythen

Interesting. Honesty and a shrewd tactic. I can appreciate that.

Still, my business is my own. I'm not looking for a friend or to rejoin the Psijics. I'll help you because the Court needs to find the tower crystal as much as you do.

Player

What does the rune you gave me do exactly?

Earl Leythen

Nothing nefarious, if that's what you're asking.

Just enter the forest, find the obscure language, and use the rune so I can see what you see. It won't do anything beyond that, I assure you.

Player

The player takes Leythen's stone to a stream near Ebon Stadmont, where they summon a ghostly form of the Altmer.

Earl Leythen

Ah, the rune is working perfectly! It's almost as if I'm standing right next to you.

I can feel the powerful magic that permeates this place. I sense a Daedric influence, but something that's far older than my Prince Mephala.

Player

What should I be looking for?

Earl Leythen

The Maestro's notes said the ancient words were etched into a massive stone. I expect you'll need to travel deeper into the forest to find the exact location.

I can't translate the words the Ritemaster heard until you find that stone.

(If the player has not previously completed Ebon Stadmont)

Player

How do I find this massive stone covered in the ancient writing?

Earl Leythen

I'm not your tour guide! Just pick a direction and start walking.

Wait a moment. The Maestro's notes. There was a passage that might help. Something about crows. Maybe that will be enough to guide you.

(If the player has previously completed Ebon Stadmont)

Player

I've been here before, but without a guide there's no way through the maze.

Earl Leythen

Just retrace your steps. You likely walked past the massive stone and didn't even realize it.

Wait a moment. The Maestro's notes had a passage about crows and a path. Just refer to the book and hope for the best, I guess.

Player

I'll find the stone.

Earl Leythen

Refer to the book and use the rune again when you locate the ancient writing.

Player

The player heads inside the labyrinthine forest of Ebon Stadmont. Inside, they fight off welwa and other creatures. They consult the notes and determined that they must pass through the gates in the order the Maestro described: arch with two crows first, then one crow, and finally the arch with three crows. When they did that, they arrived at a new section of the forest, filled with Daedra and containing an ancient edifice. Sensing that this was the place, the player again summoned Leythen.

Earl Leythen

Have you found the inscription?

Hmm, not yet, but the inscription is nearby. I sense something else, though. Nocturnal's presence.

The Grand Maestro mentioned Daedra, but I never imagined they'd belong to one of the patrons of the Court of Bedlam. This changes everything. Now I'm really interested in helping you translate the Ritemaster's memory.

Player

What do you mean? What's this have to do with Nocturnal?

Earl Leythen

An excellent question. But we won't learn anything if you continue to stand here and talk to my projection. Get moving and find that inscribed stone.

Player

Proceeding to the very end of the vale, the two of them finally discover what must be the inscription. Leythen approaches and begins to study it, but his image flickers on and of.

Earl Leythen

The ancient inscription! You found it!

Something isn't right. I feel—

Our connection ... breaking up! It's Nocturnal's earl—

He then disappears entirely, and in his place appears a different apparition — the Earl of Nocturnal.

Earl Tundilwen

Now that Leythen's gone, we can talk freely.

These words of power, they aren't meant for mortal eyes.

As an earl in the Court of Bedlam, believe me when I say that Leythen isn't being totally honest with you.

Player

As an earl in the Court of Bedlam, why should I believe a word you say?

Earl Tundilwen

I wish to maintain the balance of power among the Daedric triad. If Leythen translates this language and passes the secret on to his mistress, Mephala, she'll gain an advantage that could threaten my Prince, Nocturnal.

Player

It sounds like the triad of Daedric Princes isn't as united as we thought.

Earl Tundilwen

Speculate all you want. I'm here to present you with a gift. Nocturnal wants me to provide you with the meaning of the ancient words.

It's in all our best interests for the Ritemaster to remember where he hid the Heart of Transparent Law.

Player

So what do the words mean?

Earl Tundilwen

The phrase the Ritemaster remembers. The one that repeats itself over and over. It's a spell to retrieve something hidden.

When the time is right, he just needs to repeat the phrase and the Heart's hiding place will be revealed.

Player

Why doesn't Nocturnal retrieve the Heart herself?

Earl Tundilwen

My mistress doesn't explain herself to me, and she certainly won't explain herself to you.

I assume, though, since the Heart was hidden by the Ritemaster, then only the Ritemaster can retrieve it.

Player

You knew exactly when and where to contact me. How?

Earl Tundilwen

Artaeum is only as isolated as it allows itself to be. First the abyssal pearl allowed the Sea Sload and Mephala to invade the Psijic island. Then you took Leythen, an earl in the Court of Bedlam, prisoner.

We know your moves before you make them.

Player

What does the triad of Daedric Princes hope to achieve?

Earl Tundilwen

Our Princes plan to do away with the laws imposed by other powers. They want to remake Nirn, reshape it to better suit their every inclination.

Of course to do this, all obstacles must be cast aside—including the other Daedric Princes.

Player

And what does the Court of Bedlam get out of all this?

Earl Tundilwen

The Court isn't evil. We wouldn't be a part of something that didn't add to the greater good. When our Princes are done, war and sickness will be eradicated. There will be true peace.

And godhood for the Court, as befits beings of our stature.

Player

How did you get involved in all this?

Earl Tundilwen

I am a Dark Elf, a child of Morrowind who lost her way. Anger and despair almost overwhelmed me until Nocturnal reached out to comfort me.

The Night Mistress filled me with new purpose and gave me something greater than myself to believe in.

Player

But you're not a High Elf like the other members of the Court of Bedlam.

Earl Tundilwen

While it's true that the Court consists primarily of High Elves who believe their birthright is the key to godhood, I am not so naive.

Nocturnal selected me as her earl. She taught me that loyalty is the path to ascension. And my loyalty is strong.

Player

Before she disappears, the player attempts to talk with her some more.

Earl Tundilwen

Tell the Ritemaster. It's a spell of retrieval.

She disappears, and Leythen is able to re-materialize a short while later.

Earl Leythen

Finally! I've reestablished my connection to the rune.

Tell me what Nocturnal's earl said to you.

I can't believe Nocturnal's earl interfered like that. We're supposed to be allies! Why would she want to stop me from reading that ancient inscription?

Player

Nocturnal's earl said that the ancient phrase is a spell.

Earl Leythen

A spell? Interesting. And somehow connected to the Ritemaster's forgotten hiding place.

I wonder why Nocturnal decided to share this information? She isn't usually the most forthcoming of the Court's esteemed Princes.

Player

Nocturnal's earl also indicated that you've been informing the Court about our plans.

Earl Leythen

Right. I told them to interrupt my research before I could unravel an ancient and powerful language.

Look, you should come back to Ceporah Tower now. The Ritemaster wants to hear everything my associate shared with you. And frankly, so do I.

Player

I'll return to Artaeum as soon as I can.

Earl Leythen

I just wish I could have spent a few moments studying that inscription.

Player

The player travels back to Artaeum. They find the Ritemaster, Leythen, and Oriandra in the tower's library. The Ritemaster does not seem pleased.

Ritemaster Iachesis

Oriandra, you should have consulted me beforehand.

Earl Leythen

She saw an opportunity and she took it, Iachesis.

Ritemaster Iachesis

Silence, Leythen! Need I put you in chains to remind you of your status here?

Oriandra

I'm sorry, Ritemaster. We should have asked permission. It won't happen again.

She leaves, and the Ritemaster addresses the player.

Ritemaster Iachesis

This escapade of yours could have been disastrous. What were you and Oriandra thinking, trusting Leythen to help us translate the ancient language?

Now nothing you discovered can be trusted. We're back to square one!

Player

Nocturnal's earl says the words you remember are a spell that will reveal the Heart's location.

Ritemaster Iachesis

I observed what I could through Leythen's connection, but it seems to me that the Court of Bedlam is just trying to confuse us.

What do you think? Should we trust Nocturnal's earl or not?

Player

We need to be cautious. I wouldn't take anything the Court of Bedlam tells us at face value.

Ritemaster Iachesis

Then we're no better off than we were, except now we have the Golden Knight.

Let's proceed and hope for the best. Perhaps I'll remember more after we use the portal. Go outside and retrieve Darien, then meet me in the Dreaming Cave.

Player

They want you to find the Heart of Transparent Law. I think the earl told me the truth.

Ritemaster Iachesis

As much as it pains me, I must concur. We'll just have to make sure that once we recover the Heart, it isn't allowed to fall into the hands of the Court of Bedlam or their Princes.

Darien's outside. Talk to him, then meet me in the Dreaming Cave.

Player

I'll go and talk to Darien.

Ritemaster Iachesis

No matter whether Nocturnal's earl spoke truth or lies, we need to recover the Heart of Transparent Law. I'm sure I hid it somewhere beyond the Daedric barrier.

Was there anything else before you go and check on Darien?

Player

Do you remember anything else about this supposed spell?

Ritemaster Iachesis

I remember I tried to resist the Sea Sload's compulsion and was able to maintain a sliver of control. But as for a revelation spell, where would I acquire something in such an obscure language? And whose voice do I hear echoing in my mind?

Player

You don't remember anything else?

Ritemaster Iachesis

I remember … I remember using what control I still possessed to foil K'Tora's plans. I recall forging a bargain with someone … someone I have no memory of.

I remember that it was the only way to assure the Heart's safety.

Player

Maybe we should leave the Heart of Transparent Law hidden away.

Ritemaster Iachesis

That, my friend, would be a mistake. Summerset's ancient defenses have withered since the Transparent Law crystal was broken and the Heart removed.

Every moment the Crystal Tower remains incomplete, another protection falls away.

Player

But what if this is all just an elaborate trap to get you to reveal the hiding place?

Ritemaster Iachesis

I'm sure that it is. But in that certainty we gain an advantage. You'll be at my side when we locate the Heart. And you'll be there to help me defend it from the Court of Bedlam and their Princes.

Player

The player chose to talk to Leythen before going after Darien.

Earl Leythen

Our trip into the cursed wood wasn't a total failure. I had a brief moment to examine the inscription before Nocturnal's earl usurped our connection.

I think I know what some of the words from the Ritemaster's memory mean.

Player

Did you tell the Ritemaster?

Earl Leythen

Not yet. He's been in a harsh mood. Besides, I've only been able to make a partial translation.

Player

So what do the words you translated mean?

Earl Leythen

The phrase contains eight distinct words, repeated over and over. I've been able to translate three of them. In. Heart. Unsealed.

Do with that information what you will.

Player

Cryptic. The player left the library and headed outside to talk with Darien. They found him and Valsirenn a short distance away from the tower. Darien was doing shirtless pushups while Valsirenn watched.

Valsirenn

Your wounds, they're just … gone!

Darien Gautier

I've always healed fast, Val. I can call you Val, right?

Give me a moment. I'd like to chat with our friend.

Valsirenn

Of course. Then go to the Dreaming Cave. The Ritemaster's ready to begin.

Darien Gautier

I wanted to thank you again for getting me out of Mephala's realm. It wasn't anything like I originally imagined.

Oh, and I wanted to let you know that I was able to repair the Dawnbreaker. The sword's power should allow us to breach the barrier.

Player

Looks like you're fully recovered.

Darien Gautier

No thanks to the Psijic healers! I thought they were going to slice me open to try to figure out what makes me … well, me!

I'm glad you stopped by, though. I wanted to talk to you. In private.

Player

What do you want to talk about?

Darien Gautier

This might sound like a strange question. In fact, depending on how you answer it, it is a strange question.

Do you—do you remember me? I'm not talking about here in Summerset. I mean—from someplace else.

(If the player has not previously met Darien)

Player

Not that I can recall. The first time I saw you was when you were wearing your golden armor.

Darien Gautier

You don't remember me? I was afraid of that. Meridia told me that time worked differently in Oblivion, but I didn't believe her. What's happened to me hasn't happened to you yet.

That doesn't matter now. What matters is I found you.

Player

Why does it matter that you found me?

Darien Gautier

Meridia told me about the triad of Daedric Princes. And she told me about you. Even sent me to help you defeat them.

Of course, she conveniently forgot to tell me how to do that, and she's stopped responding to my requests. Has me a little worried.

Player

Why are you telling me this?

Darien Gautier

Not everyone gets a choice about the battles they fight. My Prince ... she's all right, but she's not big on free will.

I wanted you to know that you aren't beholden to a higher power. You can decide what you want to fight for.

(If the player has previously met Darien, but not completed the main quest of ESO)

Player

Of course I remember you. We've been through a lot together.

Darien Gautier

That's a relief! Meridia tried to tell me that time worked differently in Oblivion. I got kind of bored half way through. She said something about ebbs and flows.

I'm just glad to be out of the Colored Rooms now.

Player

When were you in Meridia's realm?

Darien Gautier

Wait, I haven't made my heroic sacrifice yet? Everyone's not really sad that I'm gone? But that was the best part!

You know what, never mind. Just hear me out. Meridia sent me here to find you. To help you stop the triad of Daedric Princes.

Player

So how do we stop the Daedric Princes?

Darien Gautier

To be honest, she never got around to telling me that. And I haven't been able to contact her, which has me a little concerned. I remember she mentioned that I was a vessel, but who knows what that could mean?

I guess we breach that barrier.

(If the player has completed the main quest of ESO)

Player

Of course I remember you. I thought we lost you in Coldharbour.

Darien Gautier

Yeah, it was terrible. One moment I'm fighting Molag Bal and the next I'm stuck in the Colored Rooms without any kind of explanation.

I tried everything I could think of to get out of there, but nothing worked until Meridia gave me this mission.

Player

So you didn't die?

Darien Gautier

I thought I did. After the big flash of light, I remember floating. Then there was more light. Meridia was there. She told me I was in her realm.

Other than her lectures, it was pretty boring. Come to think of it, those were pretty boring, too.

Player

You said Meridia gave you a mission?

Darien Gautier

Oh yeah. She said I was supposed to help you stop the Daedric Princes. To keep them from reaching the Crystal Tower. Problem is, she didn't tell me how we're supposed to do that. And now I can't seem to reach her.

Hate to admit it, but I'm worried.

Player

Let's go get the Heart back.

Darien Gautier

Fixing the Dawnbreaker was surprisingly easy, by the way. Especially considering that I never repaired a Daedric artifact before.

Player

Before we go to the Dreaming Cave, can I ask you a few questions?

Darien Gautier

Questions? Not like a test or anything, though, right?

Tests give me a rash. But sure, yeah, what would you like to know?

Player

You're not Breton, are you?

Darien Gautier

I wish I knew the answer to that. I remember my father well enough. He was a Breton, but I never met my mother. In fact, now that I think about it, my entire childhood is kind of a blur.

I never questioned that. I'm not really sure why.

Player

Did Meridia tell you anything?

Darien Gautier

Meridia only ever told me I was her vessel. I can't say I remember volunteering for that job, though.

I have her magic inside me. I've had it all my life. I can feel it. But why? I have so many questions.

Player

Such as?

Darien Gautier

Who I am? What I am? Why the amazing good looks and roguish charm if I'm just here to stomp on Meridia's enemies? I mean, I guess if I was a Prince, I'd want a dashing champion, so I can't blame her for that.

Player

Do you always walk around strangers half dressed?

Darien Gautier

Hey, I got stabbed a bunch, remember? You can't examine battle wounds with your armor on.

Besides, this sea air is good for the skin. Ask anyone.

(Although these options read like they are mutually exclusive, the player can return to this choice and select both if they click through the dialog again.

Player

You should keep your clothes on.

Darien Gautier

Ouch. That hurts. I've worked hard for this body, you know. Well, I think I did. My memories have been hazy of late.

Player

[Persuade] I could get used to this.

Darien Gautier

I'll try not to distract you too much until after we've saved this world.

After that? I don't have any plans if you don't.

Player

Satisfied with the knight's answers, the two of them head down to the Dreaming Cave where Iachesis and Valsirenn are waiting for them.

Darien Gautier

Wait! Don't start without me!

Player

Before heading out, the player wants to speak with those present.

Darien Gautier

I'm getting sick and tired of barriers and Daedric interference and … well, Daedra in general.

Talk to the Ritemaster and let's get this started already.

Valsirenn

The Ritemaster plans to lead this expedition personally. I'm glad to have him along, but I'm concerned whenever he puts himself at risk.

Ritemaster Iachesis

We're as prepared as we can be without knowing exactly where this pathway leads. I've even set wards that will help protect me from the Daedric Princes.

Remember, though, our primary goal is to recover the Heart of Transparent Law.

Player

How do we activate the portal?

Ritemaster Iachesis

The Golden Knight must wield the reforged Dawnbreaker to breach the barrier. Then we simply step through the portal and see where it takes us.

I expect we may call upon your fighting skills before all is said and done. Are you ready to proceed?

Player

I'm ready.

Ritemaster Iachesis

Sir Darien, deal with this barrier, if you please.

Darien Gautier

My pleasure!

Darien lifts up Dawnbreaker and it emanates with a golden light, banishing the black goo blocking the portal.

Ritemaster Iachesis

The way is open. Let's go!

Darien Gautier

One of these days we're going to meet up in a tavern and there won't be any Daedra or monsters or evil necromancers trying to destroy the world and kill us all.

One of these days ….

Player

Iachesis, Valserinn, and the player all step into the portal, with Darien heading in last. When they arrive at the other side, they find themselves in a dark forest with a purple sky streaked with meteors. Crows and Shrike Daedra can be seen in the distance. Iachesis is bent over, breathing heavily.

Ritemaster Iachesis

I'll be all right, Valsirenn. Manipulating the Dreaming Cave always exhausts me.

Valsirenn

We'll take it slow. Let the others clear the path for us.

Player

Before heading further into the realm, the player speaks with their companions.

Darien Gautier

The old wizard doesn't look so good. I think the trip into Oblivion took a lot out of him.

But we're here, right? Can't he just say the magic words so we can find the Heart and get out of here? No, I suppose not. That would be too simple.

Valsirenn

It took considerable effort for the Ritemaster to open this pathway through the Dreaming Cave.

I'll help him along while you and Darien clear the path ahead.

Ritemaster Iachesis

I expected the pathway to lead to some obscure corner of Oblivion, but this is Nocturnal's realm!

I wish I could remember what compelled me to hide the Heart here.

Player

You hid the Heart of Transparent Law in Nocturnal's realm?

Ritemaster Iachesis

The Heart is here. I'm positive. Now that I think about it, this location has a familiar feel. I've been here before. I just need to remember where I placed the stolen crystal.

Player

How do we find the Heart?

Ritemaster Iachesis

Take Darien and scout the path ahead. Look for any signs that might indicate where I hid the Heart. Valsirenn will assist me and we'll follow behind you.

As much as it pains me to admit, my many years are finally catching up with me.

Player

Darien and I will scout ahead.

Ritemaster Iachesis

Be prepared for anything. This is Nocturnal's realm, after all.

Don't expect the courtesy that Nocturnal's earl showed you earlier to extend to this place. We're intruders in Evergloam. The denizens won't take kindly to our presence.

Player

Darien and the player proceed forward, following a path through the forest and killing various Shrikes throughout. Darien has a few things to say:

Darien Gautier

Nocturnal's minions aren't exactly modest, are they? Not that I'm complaining.

First Mephala and now Nocturnal. I'm really getting good at stumbling into the realms of hostile Daedric Princes!

Let's do what we have to do and get out of here.

They crest a hill where several crows sit. One of the crows talk to them:

Blackfeather Crow

The featherless one walks the path once more. But where is the pretty crystal he carried last time?

Darien Gautier

Did that bird just talk? You heard that, right?

Ritemaster Iachesis

Pay the crows no mind. They're nothing but an annoyance.

Player

Before proceeding, the player again checks in with their companions.

Valsirenn

I'm worried about Iachesis. He's still as weary as the moment when we first entered this damned realm.

Ritemaster Iachesis

The crows serve as Nocturnal's eyes. She watches us through these annoying little creatures.

There's nothing to do about it except to keep moving forward until we find the hiding place.

Player

What did the crow mean by "the featherless one walks the path once more"?

Ritemaster Iachesis

I remember carrying the Heart of Transparent Law along this path and up toward the mountain above. I remember Nocturnal's creatures moved aside to let me pass. Obviously, they aren't as accommodating as last time I was here.

Player

Should we keep going?

Ritemaster Iachesis

I don't see any alternative, do you? Perhaps more memories from when I was last here will return as we continue along the path.

Clear the way ahead, if you please.

Keep going. Valsirenn will make sure we aren't too far behind you.

The Heart is close. I can feel it.

Valsirenn

I've never seen the Ritemaster like this. He's so … diminished. It's this realm. It's doing something to him.

Darien Gautier

Talking birds and half-naked Daedra. Now this is a realm I could get used to!

I mean, except for the birds. And the fact that the half-naked Daedra want to kill us. But hey, it's better than most realms I've been trapped in.

Player

The player and Darien continue onward, slaying Daedra, while Val and Iachesis take up the rear.

Darien Gautier

Remind me to wear lighter armor the next time we have to climb a mountain.

Player

The crew reaches another flock of crows, who again taunt Iachesis.

Blackfeather Crow

The featherless one couldn't resist the Sea Sload, not on his own.

Ritemaster Iachesis

What nonsense is this?

Blackfeather Crow

He doesn't remember! So desperate he was, he leaped at our Mistress's offer!

Ritemaster Iachesis

Speak plainly, crows! Come back here!

Valsirenn

Iachesis, calm down. Their words mean nothing.

Darien Gautier

This is getting stranger and stranger.

I'm not usually the skittish sort, but those crows are starting to creep me out!

Valsirenn

The crows … they implied that the Ritemaster accepted an offer from Nocturnal. Could such a thing be true?

Ritemaster Iachesis

The crows … their words stir the echoes in my mind.

Player

So you did accept an offer from Nocturnal?

Ritemaster Iachesis

I remember fighting the Sea Sload's compulsion with every fiber of my being. And I was … losing. I remember searching for something, anything, to keep me from giving K'Tora the Heart.

Player

Do you remember anything else?

Ritemaster Iachesis

I remember Nocturnal appearing before me. Offering to help me hide the Heart away in a place that no one would ever find it. Then …

Let's keep going. Clear the path ahead while I try to recall the rest of the memory.

My memories … it's like a rush of water, all jumbled and confused.

You keep clearing the path while I try to organize and make sense of my thoughts.

Darien Gautier

Why are the realms of Daedric Princes always so ominous and evil looking? You'd think they'd get bored with all the forlornness and tribulation.

Player

After traveling up another hill, they find themselves at a dead end. There is a portal in front of them.

Darien Gautier

The path ends here.

Ritemaster Iachesis

I remember this.

Valsirenn

Iachesis, what are you saying?

We need to keep going. I don't like where everything is leading, but we need to see this through.

Ritemaster Iachesis

I'm saying I remember taking the Heart through that portal.

My memories … it's like a rush of water, all jumbled and confused.

You keep clearing the path while I try to organize and make sense of my thoughts.

The player and Darien fight off some more Daedra who were protecting the portal.

With every step along this path, my memory grew clearer. This portal, it leads to where I had my fateful meeting with Nocturnal. Where she offered to aid me in my struggle against the Sea Sload K'Tora.

Player

What kind of aid did she offer you?

Ritemaster Iachesis

Nocturnal offered me a spell that would hide the Heart from everyone. The Sea Sload. Nocturnal. Even from me. As soon as I hid it away, my memory of even possessing the crystal faded like a distant dream.

Player

So the Heart is on the other side of this portal?

Ritemaster Iachesis

I assume so. Some of the details still elude me. I remember entering the portal with the Heart, then returning here without it in my hands.

Since I cast the spell with those ancient words, only I can use it again to unseal the hiding place.

Player

What about Nocturnal?

Ritemaster Iachesis

My preparations included numerous wards of protection. They should allow me to resist even the magic of a Daedric Prince, at least for a short amount of time. Through the portal, I remember an ancient ruin.

Head for that and we'll meet you there.

Player

Then open the portal and let's go find the Heart.

Ritemaster Iachesis

Step cautiously. I remember very little about what lies on the other side of this portal.

Step through the portal when you're ready, but be prepared to face our most dangerous battle yet.

Head for the ancient ruin and we'll meet you there.

Player

Stepping through the portal, the gang finds themselves at a temple of sorts. A semicircular wall encloses a round arena, and a statue of Nocturnal stands at the back.

Ritemaster Iachesis

I remember the words, but I don't know exactly what they mean. Once I begin the spell, be ready for anything.

Player

I'm ready. Cast the spell and reveal where the Heart is hidden.

Ritemaster Iachesis

My friends, the Heart of Transparent Law will soon be back in our hands!

Heart, reveal yourself! Gah Noro berrin, vo rah Larow e javeel!

Valsirenn

Iachesis—your chest, it's glowing!

Ritemaster Iachesis

Of course! I put the Heart inside myself. It was the perfect hiding place!

Suddenly, Clavicus Vile appears on one of the pedestals, soon followed by Mephala.

Clavicus Vile

Look, Mephala. The mortal hid the Heart inside his own body. How clever!

Darien Gautier

Uh oh. Mephala and Clavicus Vile. This could be bad.

Mephala

But why did Nocturnal keep this from us? No matter. I'll take the crystal now, Ritemaster.

Ritemaster Iachesis

My wards … shall … protect me!

Clavicus Vile

Impressive, for a mortal. But the wards won't hold long against our power!

Clavicus and Mephala begin summoning waves of Daedra as they tear back and forth at Iachesis, sending him through the air between them. Darien is able to use Dawnbreaker to deal significant damage to the Daedra, but it is still a long, hard fight.

Darien Gautier

Dawnbreaker is ready! Just give the command!

Stay back!

Mephala

Stop struggling, mortal. You're only delaying the inevitable.

Valsirenn

Fight, Iachesis! Just hold on!

Darien Gautier

Where do all these Daedra keep coming from?

Command me and I'll use the sword's power!

Mephala

Hold still, mortal, and I'll make this quick.

Ritemaster Iachesis

Val … promise me … you'll lead them … if ….

Valsirenn

Don't even say it, Iachesis! Just keep fighting!

Ritemaster Iachesis

They're … tearing me … apart ….

Clavicus Vile

Mephala, stop that! I've got him! Wait, what's—

A ghostly form of Nocturnal materializes right in front of her statue, between the two Daedra already present. She, too, lashes onto the floating Iachesis.

Mephala

Nocturnal? How dare you interfere!

Nocturnal

Get out of my realm, Princes. You are no longer welcome. The Heart belongs to me. We made a deal, didn't we, mortal?

Mephala and Clavicus are banished from the Evergloam, and Nocturnal alone is left holding Iachesis prisoner.

Valsirenn

Iachesis?

Ritemaster Iachesis

I did what I had to. I hid the Heart, even from you. The only way to retrieve it is to kill me.

Nocturnal

Very well. I accept those terms.

She flexes as Iachesis struggles in her grasp, dark energies erupting from him and eventually exploding him into nothing.

She summons more Daedra to attack the player, Valsirenn, and Darien. As they fight they formulate a plan.

Valsirenn

No!

Darien Gautier

We need to go. Now.

Valsirenn

Ritemaster … damn it! Hang on, I'll get us out of here!

Darien Gautier

Dawnbreaker will protect us! I hope.

Nocturnal

Meridia's vessel. You have no power here.

Darien Gautier

I'll show you power, you monster!

Nocturnal

The sword of light. I'll take that.

Darien Gautier

My sword! I just fixed that!

Nocturnal

The Heart is mine and soon the Crystal Tower will belong to me! I no longer need Mephala or Vile.

Valsirenn

Hold on! I'm getting us out of here!

In a blinding flash of light, Valsirenn transports the three of them back to the Dreaming Cave. There, Oriandra is waiting.

Oriandra

Valsirenn … where's the Ritemaster?

Valsirenn

Nocturnal killed him. We couldn't stop her.

Oriandra

No … that's not possible.

Player

As Oriandra collects herself, the player speaks briefly with their two companions.

Valsirenn

Why did Nocturnal have to kill Iachesis? Because of some damn crystal? I don't understand any of this.

Please, I need a moment to gather my thoughts.

Darien Gautier

Well, that could have gone better. I know it looks bad, but … aw, who am I kidding? It is bad!

I'm sorry Nocturnal killed the old man. And took the Heart. And took my damn sword!

Oriandra

This doesn't make any sense! What happened to the Ritemaster?

Player

Nocturnal killed him. She has the Heart of Transparent Law now.

Oriandra

I don't believe it. The Ritemaster … Iachesis … he's the best of us. Besides, I thought only he could reveal the Heart's hidden location.

Player

He hid the Heart in his own chest. Nocturnal tore it out and killed him.

Oriandra

I knew he was remembering things, but I had no idea he was so desperate. To make a deal with a Daedric Prince? Even to foil the Sea Sload, that was just … foolish. In retrospect, though, I might have done the same.

How do we beat the triad now?

Player

I don't think the triad exists any more. Nocturnal took the Heart for herself.

Oriandra

Nocturnal betrayed the other Princes? That's … actually, that's rather typical, from what I've read.

Without the Heart, without the Ritemaster, what are we supposed to do now?

Player

We have to find another way to stop Nocturnal.

Oriandra

I'm not sure there is another way. With the Heart of Transparent Law, Nocturnal can control the Crystal Tower. And with the Crystal Tower, she can … well, I'm not sure why she wants the tower.

We'll need to consult a few experts about that.