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Meet the Character

Author: 
Anonymous

The 'books' herein were all posted under the Meet the Character section of Elder Scrolls Online's official website. 

This month's Tribunal Temple Profile shines a bright light on our own high priest in the service of Lord Vivec—Archcanon Tarvus! Yours truly, Seventy-sixth Adjuvant Drumara, sat down to interview the busy cleric in his well-appointed office in the Hall of Wisdom, in the Temple Canton adjacent to Vivec's Palace.

 

Adjuvant Drumara: Thank you for agreeing to talk with me, Archcanon. The faithful who regularly read our weekly missives have been asking to learn more about the Dunmer who keeps the Temple and the city running smoothly.

Archcanon Tarvus: Lord Vivec and the Tribunal keep the wheels turning. I am merely their servant.

Adjuvant Drumara: Modest, as always! How did you find your way to a life of religious service?

Archcanon Tarvus: I grew up in House Indoril, so while a role in the Temple wasn't guaranteed, it was certainly strongly encouraged. I found that the words of the Warrior-Poet moved me, and I quickly gravitated toward serving Lord Vivec. Here's a secret few people know—I almost dedicated myself to the Buoyant Armigers. The call to adventure appealed to my younger self, and I even fancied myself something of a poet. Lord Vivec, however, had other plans for me.

Adjuvant Drumara: So it's true that Lord Vivec himself recruited you into his priesthood?

Archcanon Tarvus: Let's not make the story more significant than the reality. I was a young acolyte, training for a life of service in the Temple. When the time came to choose a path, Lord Vivec talked to me and suggested I would do better in the priesthood than as a swashbuckling Armiger or a militaristic Ordinator. I meditated on my choice and discovered, deep in my heart, that I agreed with him.

Adjuvant Drumara: And then you demonstrated a real talent for both spiritual and administrative labors, rising to become the youngest canon ever to attain the rank of archcanon?

Archcanon Tarvus: Young? I suppose so. But that was so long ago. I worked hard, constantly demonstrating my devotion to Vivec, the Three, and the people of Morrowind. That Lord Vivec saw fit to reward me with this honor and this responsibility, well, you'd have to ask him why I of all the canons was ultimately selected to replace my predecessor. I am just grateful for the opportunity to help my Lord and serve my Temple.

Adjuvant Drumara: Your sermons on the dangers of outlanders in Vvardenfell can be quite stirring. Do you think our land really faces a threat from those who come with different cultures and beliefs?

Archcanon Tarvus: For a minor priest and functionary, you tend to ask leading questions. My views on outlanders, however, are quite well known and completely consistent. No one other than the Dark Elves can claim such a unique relationship as we have with our Living Gods. That gives us a perspective and outlook on life that is, in fact, superior to every other culture in Tamriel. We are stronger when we are pure, when our culture isn't polluted by the thoughts and ideas of the lesser peoples. But other than that, I have nothing against the occasional outlander visiting our fair and beautiful island of Vvardenfell. “To challenge the strange allows us to know our strength," as the Warrior-Poet has written.

Adjuvant Drumara: One of your closest aides, Canon Llevule Andrano, has been quoted as saying that you “carry the burden of Lord Vivec and the entire palace atop your shoulders." Do you agree with his assessment?

Archcanon Tarvus: Is it a burden to serve the Warrior-Poet? Is it an obligation to make sure the business of the palace and the Temple and the city progresses smoothly and without stumble? I do what I do for my love of the Tribunal and its people. That is not a burden, Adjuvant Drumara, that is a rare and singular privilege! I do my best to instill that same attitude in all of the priests that serve under my administration. You would do well to remember that, as I am quite certain you fit into that category.

Adjuvant Drumara: Of course, Archcanon Tarvus. I simply asked so that I could quote you accurately. May I ask one more question before we conclude this interview?

Archcanon Tarvus: If you must.

Adjuvant Drumara: How is the work on Vivec City coming along?

Archcanon Tarvus: Construction on Lord Vivec's metropolis proceeds just as the Warrior-Poet has commanded. The cantons take shape like islands in the bay. The ziggurats rise as though to touch Baar Dau itself. It is already a masterpiece, and it is not yet nearly half done! Vivec City is already the envy of every other nation in Tamriel. Imagine the accolades we shall receive as it nears completion! Now, if we're done here, I have the business of Lord Vivec to get back to.

 

FROM THE PRIVATE JOURNALS OF GREEN-VENOM-TONGUE

Turdas

Astara Caerellius, Matron of our Sanctuary, definitely carries the weight of responsibility upon her shoulders. You can see it in her eyes, in the deep creases of her face. She really needs to take better care of herself. On certain days, she looks every bit as old as she is. She could still gut me like a fish, hollow me out, and turn my empty skin into a backpack, but that doesn't change the fact that she isn't getting any younger. I wonder if I should recommend a lotion to help with that? A combination of troll fat, river mud, and Alik'r spices certainly keeps my scales supple and shiny.

 

Fredas

I've been trying to better understand our Matron, but in many ways she remains a mystery to me. She holds herself apart and above the Brothers and Sisters that operate out of this Sanctuary, even as she worries and frets over each assassin she sends on a contract. She is definitely cold and calculating, an accomplished killer with a reputation for completing contracts faster and more efficiently than anyone else of her age category. She's probably lost a step or two, but I have no doubt her blade remains sharp and her aim deadly. Why does she insist on projecting such a hard shell, I wonder, when it's obvious she's as soft as yolk on the inside? I want to ask her, but the last time I broached the subject she threatened to cut out my tongue and hang it on the Black Door if I didn't stop bothering her with personal questions.

 

Morndus

I spent part of the day following the Matron around the Sanctuary, hoping to glean more insights into her motivations and character. Even a cold-blooded killer can be curious, after all.

Astara took her morning meal in the mess, as she is wont to do. She had a large bowl of wine-soaked corn cake and chunks of wheel-barrow cheese. Interesting how she would spear a bit of cake or cheese with her knife, examine it carefully, and then plop it into her mouth. She chewed each mouthful eleven times—never more, never less—swallowed, then belched enthusiastically before diving in for more. She finished all but a sliver of cake and a wedge of cheese and departed just as Tanek and Cimbar entered. I was tempted to stay behind to see what the assassins were going to eat, but that would have conflicted with my observations of the Matron. Perhaps tomorrow.

I quietly followed the Matron into the library, where she continued her morning ritual of reading from “The Five Tenets" and then, when she assumed no one was watching, she picked up one of her beloved bawdy tales. I couldn't see which it was today. Probably “Investigator Vale" or “Tales of the Pirate Empress" if I had to guess. She does seem to enjoy a rollicking bodice ripper whenever she can get her hands on one. At that point, without even turning to look, she hurled a dagger. It buried itself in the wall beside my head, less than a claw's length from my right ear.

And so concluded my observations of Matron Astara for the day.

 

To my fellow workers at the Knotty Pine Timber Mill,

Happy New Life Festival to you all! I'm sorry that I cannot be with you to raise a mug to the coming year. I have arranged for a fine barrel of mead to be delivered to the mill upon the solstice. Please take care to shut down the waterwheel and lock the blade in position before opening the barrel. We do not want a repeat of last year's unfortunate accident, though I'm pleased that Viktos has learned to manage quite well with just the one foot.

As always, I have made my annual pilgrimage to Eastmarch for a happy reunion with my festival friends, an occasion that always brings me great joy. This year is special, as I have been asked to help officiate at the Festival! This is not an easy task, as there are always those who oppose joy and celebration of any kind.

Already a local politician, Housecarl Mudgeon, has begun posting notices around Windhelm, criticizing the festival, and claiming that “the engagement of so much effort and expense for so much frivolity and hedonistic behavior in a time of such great peril is an affront to the teachings of Jhunal and Stuhn." This is precisely the kind of pig-headed nonsense that can fall like a wet blanket upon this wonderful festival of life, light, and love!

He's not getting much support, thank Mara. In fact, many of the merchants owe such a large portion of their annual income to the festival, I hear that some are offering discounts to those who tear down the bills and present them for immediate incineration.

Enjoy the mead, and know that I will be raising my own tankard in toast to all of our good fortunes for the coming year.

May your splinters be few and painless!

Breda

(Recovered from the corpse of Lieutenant Gavo Haderus)

I take up the quill with a heavy heart. My friend and comrade, Captain Midara, is dead. He had managed to evade capture for more than a month, but it seems the Clannfear finally sniffed him out. Even the oppressive stink of the sewers can't throw them off.

This is, of course, just another in a long line of tragedies. The city lies in ruins, its people are enslaved or sacrificed, and the Legion is shattered beyond repair. By last count, only two officers remain: myself and Captain Anatolius Caudex.

I remain baffled by Caudex's success in the Nobles District. While we scurry through drainpipes and sleep in puddles of our own filth, he holds the forum. The forum! Right there in plain view of Divine and Daedra alike. I guess I shouldn't be surprised. In my heart, I've always known he'd be the last soldier standing. Sergeant Shatabi calls him the “Zhazza-Ra." That's ta'agra for “The Crazy General." I suppose he does suffer from a kind of madness. His love for the Empire is just … relentless. It's the kind of zeal that would burst the heart of lesser men. He would bleed on the Diamond to keep it red.

I'm reminded of our time in Fort Warden—before the provincials took it from us. The Covenant made a practice of shooting any officer that strayed into view. Most of us took to wearing standard infantry uniforms to avoid attention. But not Caudex. Every morning he'd polish his breastplate, comb the crest of his helm, and patrol the walls in utter defiance. He was shot three times, but never failed to make his rounds. We pleaded with him to stop. He just shook his head.

“These rebels must learn that the Empire is invincible," he said. “So we must be invincible."

Not long afterward, we were ordered to abandon the keep. Caudex was the last to leave.

It's funny. Even though I write this from inside the city walls, it feels like Fort Warden all over again. Enemies on all sides, officers in hiding, and Caudex defiant. I know that the city is lost. I know that the Legion is sundered. But in my heart I can't help but believe—so long as Caudex lives, the Empire is invincible.

 

 

Royal Communique: For the Eyes of High King Emeric

Your Majesty,

While taking in the sights of the work in progress known as Orsinium, I encountered another Orc we both know from Kurog's time in Wayrest. Do you remember Bazrag gro-Fharun? I'm sure you do! He was as quiet as Kurog was loud, but just as deadly with a sword or axe. This one-time friend and ally of King Kurog is now a clan chieftain. But despite their history, Bazrag refuses to accept Kurog's rule. He's a stubborn old hardliner, and perhaps the most prominent of the chiefs who still haven't given Kurog their full support. When Bazrag followed Kurog on his mercenary adventures, he battled across Tamriel at Kurog's side. Now he takes his role as clan chief very seriously, always keeping the needs of Wrothgar and the Orcs clearly at the forefront of all his endeavors.

Chief Bazrag considers the old customs and traditions to be sacrosanct. He's a firm believer in Malacath and the Blood Code. A proud and accomplished Orc, he wants to see the rise of a new Orc empire as much as Kurog does. However, Bazrag thinks the process will take generations and can't be hurried along—no matter how many cities Kurog decides to raise. To his mind, patience and adherence to tradition are the keys to uniting the clans and rebuilding Orsinium. Anything else is the addled dream of a reckless fool that threatens the glimmer of hope he sees for his people's future.

Gruff and serious, Chief Bazrag refuses to accept a new god or a new approach to life for the Orsimer. The old ways have served the Orcs well, Bazrag believes, and abandoning them for Trinimac and his ideas about truth, honor, and unity is anathema. In fact, I've heard Bazrag proclaim that the Trinimac movement is nothing more than a plot by the High Elves to spread their own religion to Wrothgar. I'm sure he's just being paranoid, but I have noticed an increasing number of High Elves arriving in Orsinium.

My king, as a chief and opponent of Kurog, Bazrag needs to be handled very carefully. If King Kurog has an equal among the clan chiefs, it is Bazrag gro-Fharun. He has the support of the chiefs still opposed to Kurog's plans. He never displays the slightest bit of fear when confronting Kurog. And his stern and regal bearing keeps the traditionalist Orcs flocked around his banner. He's definitely a force to be reckoned with among those who initiate events and inspire influence in Wrothgar.

Zephrine Frey, Royal Chronicler of Wayrest

 

Dossier: Chief Inspector Rhanbiq

by Talsim, Master of Secrets for Her Majesty, the Queen of Taneth

Per your request, I examined the recent matter concerning Magnifica Falorah's sudden interest in Abah's Landing. It seems there was a breach of her family tomb, and she has employed the Iron Wheel to find and punish those responsible. This is in no way a threat to your Majesty; in fact, it would seem Falorah is taking pains to preclude any embarrassment to the crown itself by preventing official entanglements with the merchant lords of Abah's Landing.

For your edification, I have prepared a brief dossier on Chief Inspector Rhanbiq, the man beholden to complete Falorah's task.

Rhanbiq is one of the Iron Wheel's few chief inspectors, and by all accounts earned the title through unassailable duty and competence rather than family name or political connections. We place Rhanbiq in the middle to latter half of his fourth decade. He has no known living relatives and has never married. He cannot be bribed, he has no known vices, and numerous (but unconfirmed) reports indicate he is a private but devout adherent of Stendarr. His martial capabilities are passable, at best. As one of his colleagues says, “the only weapon Rhanbiq wields is his mind—but he keeps it razor sharp."

We have learned the chief inspector is not native to Taneth. He transferred here two decades ago from the Sentinel branch of the Bailiffs Guild, which has always been a pale shadow of the Taneth branch in terms of capability and expertise. He quickly flourished under the tutelage of then-Inspector Braswila, and was personally involved in some rather high-profile investigations:

  • The Red Leathers slaving band. It was a young Rhanbiq who first discovered the Red Leathers were posing as caravan guards, and his subsequent actions led to the capture of the entire slaving band. Though he never uncovered the involvement of Lady Varmond, I understand your Majesty's previous Master of Secrets dealt with her discreetly and permanently.
  • The murder of Chief Inspector Braswila. Though his fellows believed him obsessed, he refused to accept that her brother had killed his mentor in a dispute over inheritance. It was only through his tenacious pursuit that he discovered and exposed a cult of Namira. It seems Braswila herself had nearly uncovered its existence, prompting the cult to dispatch her. Only Rhanbiq's timely intervention spared her brother from the headsman's axe.
  • The blackmail of Magnifico Gendis. Per your Majesty's instructions, I will avoid speaking to the details of your cousin-in-law's troubles. Suffice it to say, it was Rhanbiq's revelation of the Altmer spy ring which brought the matter to my predecessor's attention.
     

When the Bailiffs Guild effectively collapsed during the Imperial troubles, Rhanbiq argued passionately to retain the structure of the Taneth branch for what I can only deem as idealistic interests. I have provided an excerpt:

“We cannot disband. We should not disband! We are not the watchmen wielding the cudgel of a bounty paid to make a problem simply go away. We are the desert falcon watching from on high, providing justice—true justice—to the people of Taneth. If we dare call ourselves the Iron Wheel, let us turn ever onward until the Bailiffs Guild restores itself!"

In my opinion, a passionate idealist can be far more dangerous to the crown than a hundred Lady Varmonds. It is therefore my recommendation to avoid further investigation into Magnifica Falorah's affairs while the Iron Wheel is in her employ. Though ludicrous to think the crown had any cause to invade her family tomb, Chief Inspector Rhanbiq is like a clothier who plucks at every loose strand before him until he unravels the entire jacket. Best not to dangle any thread.

My Dear Sister Clivia

From Unpublished Notes for “Life of a Cyrod Daughter," by Magus-General Septima Tharn

Back when we were all studying different parts of Father's curriculum for world domination, a corner of the White-Gold Tower library was set up as a classroom for me, my sisters, and our tutors. I had a natural talent for spell-work, and by the age of thirteen I was already quite advanced in the family tradition of Battlemagic. However, I always had trouble with combat teleportation, and I remember one day I was working on trying to 'port a rat from one desk to another, when I was distracted by an argument between Clivia and Euraxia. Euraxia was about six years old at this point, and Clivia was seven and a half, but she already wore that haughty majesty that would serve her so well later in life. They were playing the basic version of my father's boardgame, “Imperial War-Chess," and Clivia had just moved her Guar Cavalry from Morrowind to Nibenay over the Velothi Mountains to take Euraxia's Rimmen Mercenaries—an illegal move, as the speed of cavalry is halved over difficult terrain. Euraxia protested loudly at this violation of the rules, calling Clivia a big cheater. Clivia just slapped her and told her not to be such a baby. This only made Euraxia madder—she drew herself up to her full height and declared that one day, when she was Queen of Rimmen, Clivia would get hers, and then she knocked Clivia's cavalry piece off the board. In response Clivia simply kicked the board hard from below, sending the game, pieces and all, showering over her younger sister's head. “Queens don't scare me," she said coldly. “Because I'm going to be EMPRESS, and then you'll ALL bow your heads."

She turned to me, unprovoked, and added, “And that goes for you, too, Big Ugly. Learn every spell in the library. Just see what good it does you." Then she stood, every lovely hair still in place, turned and marched out of the room. Wailing, Euraxia went after her, begging forgiveness.

That was Clivia: ever the regal one, with everyone always falling all over themselves to win the crumbs of her favor. Imperious, beautiful, statuesque even, she had a dazzling smile, but she only bestowed it on one who'd paid for it somehow—or was going to. She had no talent to be a Battlemage, she lacked Euraxia's instinctive grasp of power politics, she never learned Father's trick of demanding a good man's loyalty, and yet she was the one Abnur groomed for the Ruby Throne. Because Clivia had the inborn aura of command: people simply wanted to do her bidding, and when she gave an order, it felt wrong to disobey.

How did she do it? I never did figure that out. There was no magic involved, so far as I could tell. It was just her nature. When Prince Leovic came back triumphant from his first campaign against the border raiders, our family was there in the Great Hall with the other councilors and great nobles to receive him. His father, Emperor Moricar, praised the prince and decreed that he could name his reward. Prince Leovic didn't hesitate: he walked right up to us and said, “Your Majesty, I want the Chancellor's daughter." And though Abnur Tharn had many daughters, we knew which one he meant.

You'll meet plenty of new and interesting characters when exploring the Clockwork City, but none so mysterious as the Telvanni mage, Divayth Fyr. Learn more about the powerful sorcerer with our first Meet the Character for the Clockwork City DLC game pack!

Taken from the correspondence of Sojourner Lilatha, sorcerer of the Psijic Order.

Esteemed Ritemaster Iachesis,

I apologize for the lateness of this missive. My wanderings took me far beyond the boundaries of civilization, where the fabric of the Mundus grows thin indeed. I only recently returned to the land of Summerset.

I encountered a fellow traveler on my journeys through the veil, Ritemaster—the Telvanni sorcerer, Divayth Fyr.

I'm sorry to report that his temperament has not improved. When Divayth left our isle of Artaeum, he was a sharp-elbowed upstart. In the intervening millennia, his power and vanity have grown a thousand-fold. Thankfully, his ambitions remain very narrow. He does not desire wealth or influence in his Great House Telvanni. He has no interest in accumulating followers or expanding his holdings beyond Tel Fyr. He seeks forbidden knowledge, and little else. This of course poses its own dangers. Forbidden knowledge is forbidden for a reason, after all.

We found each other on the Isle of Dranil Kir. I went to the island to investigate an ancient Psijic scrying device. When I entered the ruins, I found Divayth Fyr engaging in some profane Daedric ritual. I interrupted it, of course—not wanting to be devoured by whatever fellcreature he intended to pull from the void. He was far from pleased.

After a bout of cursing, he explained his intentions (in the most patronizing terms possible). Apparently, he intended to open a rift to a pocket dimension using a bizarre Dwarven device. I asked him why. He made a sour face and sighed. “Why do we do anything, my dear Lilatha? To prove that we can, of course."

He went on to ask me about a Daedric artifact he's keen to acquire. Well, not “ask," exactly. Fyr would never ask for help outright. No, he twisted his words to make it clear he was doing me a favor by bringing me into his confidence. I told him I hadn't heard anything, and urged him to conduct his Daedric experiments elsewhere.

In truth, I do know about this artifact, and Divayth is smart enough to know I was lying. I urge you to keep a close eye on him, Ritemaster. Divayth is not nefarious, but his motives remain too murky for my taste. Trifling with Daedric artifacts is a dangerous proposition, even for mages as powerful as Fyr. Perhaps one day he will temper that power with humility. I'm not optimistic.

Yours in magic,

Lilatha

The Minotaur chieftain Domihaus the Bloody-Horned threatens all of the Jerall Mountains. Learn more about this monstrous villain from the Horns of the Reach DLC game pack with our newest Meet the Character.

Sons. Daughters. Gather your kin. The time has come for our scattered clan to reunite, for soon we shall have a home. Your father followed the hag mother's signs. For thirty days and thirty nights I traced a path of crow-pecked carcasses through the highland crags, seeking the story their picked and broken bones would tell. Under the light of the full moons the Hunt-Father revealed to me his blessed beast.

Twice my height and thrice as broad, this great brute needed no cunning to best any mortal man. His eyes regarded my approach, reflecting their keen edge in the moonlight. His gaze was more curious than wary, and that made for the two of us. The hag mother had crooned of a beast who would impale the twin moons upon its horns, but impressive as this Minotaur was, it seemed a feat beyond a creature of flesh and blood. I began to question whether I had I picked the path true, or read the rooks wrongly.

My doubts were tossed aside as the beast drew himself to his full height and I glimpsed what the hag mother espied in her fevered dreams: the beast's horns aligned with the twin moons at their zenith in the night sky. It was then I knew I'd found the Hunt-Father's favored. Triumphant, I bared my throat to the sign of the speared moons, threw my arms wide, and howled. The cry was caught short as the great beast seized my throat with his massive hand, but I did not flinch. If the Hunt-Father desired my sacrifice that night, I would have been blessed to meet my end at the hands of his chosen beast.

Without effort he tore the talisman I wore from my neck and regarded the ruddy stone carving with recognition.

“Keptu" he uttered. Though the word meant nothing to me, the omen was a good one.

I watched in silence as the beast lowered itself to the cold stone and began a wordless chant that called to the mountain. The stone began to shift, and where once there was only flat rock a basin began to form. He tore his palm on the point his horns and let his blood flow into the shallow bowl, then he bade me do the same. As our blood mingled in the shallow pool, the heat of the wounds grew as pale and dim as the moonlight.

He held out the talisman of our ancestors, dwarfed in his massive fist, and squeezed. With a snort and the muffled crunch of stone he scattered its dust across the pool. The echo of crumbling rock returned to us a hundred fold, but it was not carried on the wind. The mountain's reply rumbled from deep within its belly, stirring like a long hibernating beast woken by the cry of its lost cub. The feeling in my bones was the land, our land, calling us home.

Hear me now, as I echo the call of the land, my wayward sons and daughters! Heed me and follow the Horned Lord's favored son to the den of our ancestors! From this day forward we are the Dreadhorn, and our brothers in hoof and horn are one with our clan. From this day forward we will retake all that has been poached from our lands and hunt the Nords who've spent their years siring a soft brood fattened on undeserved spoils. All their weakness will be trampled under the hooves of Domihaus the Bloody-Horned and our ways will shape these lands once again!

-Snatched from the crows of Gherig Bullblood, Patriarch of the Dreadhorn Clan

Attn: General Nesh-Tan

As per your request, I have compiled a report on all matters related to this masked woman, the “Drake of Blades." I must admit, it is far from exhaustive. Even my most gifted scouts could only keep pace with her for a few minutes at a time before losing her to the shadows. And even in those cases, I suspect she wanted to be seen for some reason—perhaps to lead us away from an ambush, or draw our attention to something noteworthy. I am confident that she means us no harm, and I thank the Three for that. If she did want us gone, I suspect we'd all be dead many times over.

Judging by her height and complexion, I'd say she's probably Imperial. But we've never observed her wearing anything other than a weathered Akaviri panoply, so any connection to the Legion seems unlikely. So far as we can tell, she has no companions in the city. We have reason to believe she has made contact with our enemies in the Covenant and the Dominion, but those meetings have been infrequent and cursory. So, in short, we can't say with certainty who she actually works for. Our best guess is some clandestine offshoot of the former Dragonguard.

What worries me the most is her temperament. There is something about how she carries herself that makes the troops nervous. She often appears agitated—pacing or walking in circles. Other times she will sit, almost catatonic, for an hour or more before giving us the slip. This would be less troubling if she wasn't so … I guess “murderous" is the word? We've found hanged cultists and severed heads in almost every district of the city—left as a warning for Molag Bal's troops, and perhaps us as well.

In the weeks we've been stalking her, we've only had one actual meeting. One of my junior pathfinders, Elam, bumbled into an old tea-house full of Dremora. They seemed poised to burn him alive before the Drake arrived. She slew the lot of them in three strokes of her sword. Split one of their heads like melon and cut the other three in half. Elam stammered out a faint “thank you." She stood there staring at us for a moment, like she was struck dumb. Eventually she called him an “idiot" and disappeared out the back door.

My counsel is this: give her a wide berth. Accept what aid she offers, but don't get in her way.

Blood for the Pact,

Lieutenant Drathyn

 

Want to know about some of the characters you'll interact with in the Horns of the Reach DLC game pack? Check out our first Meet the Character for this new adventure and learn about the Jarl of Falkreath's daughter, Eerika Skjoralmor.

Kark,

You asked me once how I came to serve a whelp half my age. You meant it as an insult and I never gave you a reply in words, so I'll tell it to you now. While there's still time.

I'd returned home from the victory over the Akaviri snakes a warrior of some renown. I pledged my sword to the Jarl, became a man of rank and consequence, and as reward my days were spent pacing the garrison walls. When an escort was needed for the Jarl's wife and young child to join him in Solitude for the crowning of High King Svargrim, I leapt at the chance to leave the hold.

The journey looked to be every bit as dull a duty, until we left Rorikstead and the quiet was disturbed by a tremor. Wary, we brought our caravan to a halt and waited for some clearer sign of danger. A fatal mistake. In our hesitation, we'd stopped in the path of a stampeding herd of mammoths. They exploded from the treeline and tore through us without effort, upending our carts and trampling warriors underfoot. I managed to toss the Jarl's young daughter, Eerika, clear of danger as one injured beast toppled onto us in its death throws, but her mother and I were not so fortunate. I came to, half buried under an avalanche of fur, to the enraged bellowing of a giantess as she swatted away the last of our escort from her herd. She locked eyes with me trapped under her butchered animal and I knew the end was upon me.

As her shadow blotted out the light, I made my peace, not seeing that Eerika had climbed atop the mammoth. I tried to call out, but my warning was drowned out by a howl of anger from that tiny child that stunned even the towering figure before her. Whether it was fear or regret that gave the giantess pause, I cannot say, but she backed down in the face of that fearless whelp. Thanks to Eerika I survived that ill-fated encounter, but her mother was not so fortunate. With my legs crushed, I spent the remainder of our journey in the back of a cart, consoling Eerika as best I knew how, but she didn't need my pity. Her tears were hard as ice. In truth, she weathered the loss better than her father. As the Jarl steadily began to take his council from his cups, it fell on Eerika to carry the burden.

At twelve she strode into the dens of bears to fight the famine of an early winter, by sixteen she chased Orc raiders from our hold with a handful of loyal blades, by nineteen she'd slaughtered the rampaging frost troll Raudhungr and earned her title as Thane by deed, not lineage. There's not a soul in Falkreath that doesn't owe Eerika their thanks and their lives. I am no exception. This hold endures because of the steel in that woman's spirit and we'll need every scrap of it in the days to come.

There's thunder rolling over the mountains, but it's not rain that looms in the distance. The horns of the Reach signal the coming flood and again the tremor of misfortune's approach comes too late. This will likely be the last words you hear from me, so take them to heart when I say there's been no greater honor in my life than to serve Eerika Skjoralmor and there will be no more glorious death to ferry me to Sovngarde than any I meet at her side.

Should we speak again, it'll be her you have to thank.

Your brother,

Torik

Housecarl to Thane Eerika Skjoralmor

Razum-Dar,

This one has done as you have asked. I joined up with the Wood Elf known as Eveli Sharp-Arrow and even now we travel toward the Orc city of Orsinium. To the Wood Elf, this one is nothing more than another adventurer seeking fame and fortune in the wilds of Wrothgar. She has no reason to suspect that I am one of the Eyes of the Queen and a trusted friend of the infamous Razum-Dar. But what you hope I'll discover about this untested novice, I'll never understand.

Let me be blunt. The Wood Elf is practically a child. As far as I can tell, this is her first trip out of Valenwood. She has as much business answering King Kurog's call as a newborn lion has trying to vie for leadership of its pride. This one suspects she won't last an hour once we cross the border into Wrothgar. She'll turn around and run back to Valenwood at the first sign of trouble—or she'll be dead. I don't see any other option.

Eveli Sharp-Arrow reeks of innocence and inexperience. She talks of nothing but going on a grand adventure and becoming a hero. Her naïveté would be cute if she hadn't signed on to help tame one of the wildest and most dangerous regions in all of Tamriel. This one has a mind to just tell her to go home now, before it's too late. But no, I have my orders. I will simply observe and report. But damn you, Razum-Dar! This young woman doesn't deserve to be tested in your fires. I know you expect her to become a weapon, but from what I've seen, she'll crack when her metal is exposed to too much heat!

* * *

This one hasn't changed his mind about the Wood Elf, but what I saw today has given me much to consider. I suppose this is the kind of news you wanted to hear. We're still about a day from the Wrothgarian border, serving as guards for a caravan full of supplies, artisans, and Orc peasants bound for the city of Orsinium. The trip has been uneventful. Until today. We were set upon by Red Rook Bandits who saw us as easy pickings. Before I could react, Eveli leaped to the top of a wagon and launched arrow after arrow into the surprised marauders. Every one of her arrows hit its mark. Almost as quickly as the attack began it was over, the bandits fleeing as fast as their wounded pride could carry them.

The Wood Elf acted bravely, but as soon as the danger passed she turned pale and sat down hard. I think she was actually sickened by putting arrows into live targets! Still, she performed better than I expected. Maybe you're right and there's more to Eveli Sharp-Arrow than I suspect. For now, this one will keep watching—just as the great Razum-Dar has ordered.

Aroz'lai, the Queen's Eye in Wrothgar

Chancellor Tharn,

My patience wears thin--very thin indeed. I have always valued your counsel, such as it is, when it comes to the matters of state, but this business with Father Egnatius cannot be allowed to continue. I have spent years preparing for the arrival of our dark patron, Molag Bal. My worms have woven plots of intrigue that would make even Mephala blush. And yet, this simple priest continues to walk the halls of power, unmolested. This is wholly unacceptable.

It troubles me that you do not see the risk that a man like Egnatius poses. I grant you that he is not a member of the Elder Council, but his shadow looms over every proceeding. Just yesterday I saw him breaking bread with Falco and that paunchy fool, Gulsanius. Egnatius was urging them to reconsider the Memorial construction project—a project that is vital to our interests.

If he were just a common priest, I would have no cause for concern. I have shaken the faith of prophets and driven saints to suicide. Alessia's sheep are easily shorn. Easily slaughtered. But not this Egnatius. No, not Egnatius, with his books and his scrolls and his warm-hearted smiles. He is too well read. He strikes me as a scholar first and a priest second. There is no zealotry left in him—no secret malice for me to twist and shape. It is maddening. I tell you, Tharn, there are few things I hate more than an educated holy-man.

You have cautioned me against spilling his blood before. I know he is well-loved, and his death would be an unwelcome distraction. But faith is unpredictable. In the hands of a learned man, it can spell doom for plots both great and small. I will not allow our great undertaking to die at the hands of a frumpy, balding friar. Remove him from play or I will flay him alive.

– Mannimarco

Letter from Orsinium

Oh, Mother, I miss you terribly! Life as King Kurog's forge-wife isn't awful, but I long to smell the fires of Morkul and feel the heat of the blazing forges on my face. Does that make me an ungrateful wife for the king? I promise I'll try to do better and not bring disgrace to our clan, but sometimes it's all I can do not to steal a royal mount and ride away from this loud and boisterous city!

What am I going on about? Sometimes I think I must sound like one of those spoiled Breton dowry wives, Malacath forbid! In your last letter, you asked me to tell you all about life in the king's court. You seemed especially interested in Forge-Mother Alga, so let me start there. The king's mother represents everything I hope to become as Kurog's forge-wife. She's strong-willed yet caring, firm but diplomatic. I've seen her calm a room full of angry clan chiefs with nothing but a reasoned argument and a couple of pointed revelations designed to subtly break the tension. She really is amazing!

Alga epitomizes the concept of the elder Orc matron. She's positively ancient! But age hasn't slowed her down as far as I can tell. She gets around better than I do with that staff of hers. She never goes anywhere without it. She's strong, sharp-witted, and she might be the smartest Orc I've ever spoken to. She seems to know something about everything and everyone, and she's wise and kind—especially to me and the rest of Kurog's wives. She treats us like the daughters she never had.

Whenever Kurog travels, Forge-Mother Alga remains behind to run the kingdom. Oh, she's delegated certain responsibilities to me and the other wives, but make no mistake—the forge-mother's in charge. Practically every Orc female in Wrothgar owes her a favor, and I've seen her use these connections to get the chieftains to act as she wants them to. She makes it all look so easy, but I know the amount of work she puts in to maintain these important connections.

What else can I say about Forge-Mother Alga? She's a devout Orc, devoted to that newfangled god that everyone in Orsinium is wild about. Trinimac. He's much too weak for my taste, not a proper god like Malacath at all, but you won't catch me saying that when the forge-mother is around. She even brought in a high priestess, a city Orc named Solgra, to oversee the temple and lead the prayers to Trinimac. Her religious views aside, I really do admire the forge-mother and what she stands for. She's helping Kurog fulfill his dream of a united Orc nation, and I'm doing my part to follow her example. She's an inspiration!

I'll write again soon,

Your daughter, Tugha

 

Esteemed Count Carolus Aquilarios,

I am once again writing to you on behalf of my master, the Provincial Governor of Anvil and the almost universally accepted ruler of the entirety of the Gold Coast—the beautiful and the beguiling, the brave and the bawdy, the one and the only, Fortunata ap Dugal.

Her Excellency has ordered me to request for this one last time that you finally acquiesce and bow down before her Governorship. Accept her as the true and solitary leader of all she surveys. In return, she promises to allow you to retain some semblance of rulership over Kvatch and your uncle's original holdings, provided you declare your faithfulness and undivided loyalty to the Her Excellence's banner. It is, after all, the right thing to do.

Need I remind you that, unlike yourself, Fortunata was not born to nobility. Everything she has attained she earned through blood and sweat and deception. You must admit, she really is a remarkable woman! It didn't take her long to rise to the top of the Gold Coast Trading Company, securing a place on the ruling council of the shipping magnates and filling the company's coffers with unprecedented amounts of gold. She had a dream and an ambition that went beyond mere business, however. In short order, she used her connections and considerable charms to rally the Red Sails pirates to her side, amassing an armada of merchant vessels and pirate ships united under her white flag emblazoned with a blood-red saber. That was when she earned the title of Pirate Queen.

Thanks to your uncle's ill-timed revolution, Anvil was left nearly defenseless and ripe for conquest—and that's exactly what Fortunata did. She sailed her armada into port, squelched a few half-hearted attempts to repel her approach, and took Anvil Castle as her own. The city leaders saw the value in accepting Fortunata's leadership and quickly set out to garner Her Excellence's favor. That was when she took the title of Provincial Governor.

Now, Her Eminence knows all about your objections to the fact that she has annexed the entire Gold Coast and placed everything southwest of Varen's Wall under her protection. She has done this because she cares and because she has the means and resources to fulfill her promise to the people of the Gold Coast. Why can't you just accept her generosity and stop this continuous bickering? Don't we have real problems to deal with here? The Dark Brotherhood, for example, operates openly throughout our region, flouting our power and threatening everything we all hold dear. I wouldn't be surprised if they're responsible for the recent murders that have plagued both our cities. You can't deal with them. Primate Artorius and his Cathedral can't stop them. Submit to Fortunata's rule and let her do what she does best.

In the end, do you really think you have any other choice?

In Governor Fortunata's name, I remain,

Braccus Klinicus, Master Scribe of Anvil Castle

 

Listener,

Your whispers concerning the Sanctuary in the Gold Coast territory ring true. I am quite certain that events in the area have begun to conspire against the Dark Brotherhood, just as you predicted. As such, I have started to take a closer look at the Brothers and Sisters operating out of the Gold Coast Sanctuary. Of the various assassins available to us, of particular interest to me is our Brother, Green-Venom-Tongue.

Green-Venom-Tongue, an Argonian from Black Marsh, has served the Night Mother and our Dread Father practically since he emerged from his egg. As a ruthless and accomplished killer, Brother Venom takes on many of the choice assignments from the Sanctuary's matron and the resident keeper of contracts. I have even utilized his services a number of times for clients who performed the Black Sacrament. His technique and use of the Blade of Woe does the Brotherhood proud. I have no doubt that he will play an important role as events related to Anvil and Kvatch unfold.

All that being said, Green-Venom-Tongue elicits a number of concerns that you need to be aware of so that anything that occurs later doesn't surprise you. The Gold Coast Sanctuary was not Brother Venom's first home within the Brotherhood. We both know what happened and how Brother Venom was exonerated, but a few doubts and questions still linger regarding that time. He also owes as much allegiance to us as he does to Black Marsh and he often returns there to fulfill his duties as a Shadowscale. This is as it should be, though it means that Brother Venom may not be available to us when we want to utilize his talents. Beyond that, Brother Venom has a few peculiarities that mark him as strange among his more grounded Brethren.

First, Brother Venom remains distant and cut off from the rest of his Brethren. While I am sure this relates to events surrounding his former Sanctuary, it nevertheless serves to make his Brothers and Sisters uncomfortable in his presence. Second, he has an overly curious mind. In fact, I would go so far as to say that his persistent attention and endless stream of questions come off as quite unsettling. He makes his fellow assassins nervous. Third, he carries one or more journals with him wherever he goes, and he constantly jots down notes and makes meticulous records of everything that he observes. He never allows anyone to see what he's written, and he guards his journals with an almost jealous zeal. I would venture to guess that Green-Venom-Tongue isn't completely sane. Then again, who among the Brotherhood truly is?

Despite his distinctive oddities, Green-Venom-Tongue represents an important asset in the Dark Brotherhood's arsenal of weapons. As sharp as the keenest blade and as dangerous as a sudden storm, Brother Venom has risen to the top of my short list of assassins that will help shape and ensure the future of the Gold Coast Sanctuary. I am heading to the area now to supervise events personally—and to check on a potential recruit who may be able to help us as well.

Yours in the Night Mother's cold embrace,

Speaker Terenus

 

Royal Communique: For the Eyes of High King Emeric

Your Majesty,

As requested, I have traveled to the new city of Orsinium to report on the progress of your friend and ally, King Kurog. Contrary to the state of affairs presented to you by Kurog himself during his last visit to Wayrest, the Orcs aren't a united nation and the city is far from complete. Despite Kurog's proclamation of kingship, many of the clans still operate as independent city-states, and some clan chiefs directly oppose Kurog's reign. Regardless, the king continues to promote his agenda of a united Orsimer nation and a rebuilt Orc city. If anyone can succeed at these momentous tasks, it is definitely Kurog gro-Orsinium.

Through all these difficulties, King Kurog remains an imposing figure. He really is the ultimate warrior-king. He's strong and savage in battle, boisterous and fun-loving in private, and utterly ruthless in politics. He has an amazing appetite for life in general, as well as a singular love of food and drink. In some ways, Kurog reminds me of an exuberant child—full of wide-eyed wonder and a sense of humor that ranges from Orcishly crude to remarkably sophisticated. In many ways, he's a true conundrum: carefree and gleeful one moment, brooding and deadly the next.

Kurog believes that the time has come for the Orsimer to change; change their religion, change their traditions. “Our customs served us well in the past, but now they hold us back," the king has said on numerous occasions. “It makes it very difficult to have a civil discourse about anything of substance if someone, sooner or later, is going to reach for something sharp or heavy to promote his or her own point of view."

Is Kurog a worthy ally? Yes, I believe that he is. Will his program to rebuild the Orc city of Orsinium and unite the Orc clans into a single nation succeed? I hesitate to make predictions, but I can tell you with all sincerity—I believe in King Kurog. I believe that when he brings his intellect and his considerable strength of will to bear, he can succeed at whatever he sets out to accomplish. If nothing else, under Kurog's rule, Wrothgar is in for interesting times. Very interesting, indeed!

Zephrine Frey, Royal Chronicler of Wayrest

For our final ESO: Morrowind Meet the Character, we're taking a closer look at the Morag Tong assassin herself, Naryu Virian! Read on below to learn about more about Naryu's work with the Morag Tong and what she might be doing now that she's back in Vvardenfell.

Grandmaster,

I wanted to talk to you face to face, but your auditor refused to grant me entry to your office. She actually ordered me to put my request in writing! When did the business of murder become so regulated, that's what I want to know! I digress. The reason for this letter—I'd like to work with Naryu Virian now that she's returned to Vvardenfell.

Why, you're probably wondering, would an assassin of my rank, standing, and experience within the Morag Tong want to share a writ or two with a relatively new operative who's been busy gallivanting far from the seat of our power in Vvardenfell? Well, that's just it. Naryu has seen the world, from Deshaan to Eastmarch, Mournhold to the Gold Coast, she's racked up more seals on her travel documents than most of the Morag Tong in recent years. Our status and reputation have improved, as you well know, but we're far from the heights of influence we once commanded. Look at Naryu's perspective and experiences abroad. I want to take advantage of the knowledge she's gained to make me better at my job. Just don't tell her I said that. She thinks that offering compliments is a sign of weakness, and I learned long ago never to show that woman any indication of vulnerability.

I'm not one to tell you what you already know, but the reports I've been privy to concerning Naryu's activities read like the adventures of Investigator Vale! Stopping a plague, saving a king, catching a relentless murderer—all the while completing each and every writ and contract assigned to her. That's impressive! Add to that her sardonic wit, her I-don't-give-a-fetch attitude, and the fact that she makes even Morag Tong leathers look good, and is it any wonder they call her “the Beautiful Darkness?"

Did you know I helped train Naryu, back in the day? It was a toss-up as to whether or not Varon Davel or I were going to get to mentor her through the final stages of her apprenticeship, but I decided to let Varon have all the fun. I suppose I'm regretting that decision now, so I want to make up for it by getting to work with Naryu. To see her in action. I know this might be a lot to ask for, but when was the last time I requested a favor from our esteemed Grandmaster? True, it was a week ago last Morndas, but what about the time before that? I don't make it a habit is what I'm trying to get across here.

What can we expect of Naryu Virian now that she's back in Vvardenfell? From all indications, only the best. She's a warrior without equal, capable of cleaving her way through an army of cultists or nonchalantly slipping a dagger between the ribs of a single target with relative ease. She knows more ways to disable or kill a person than even I do, and that's saying something. Poison, garrote, knife, arrow, sword, polearm, stew pot, bed sheet, hairpin, even a copy of Lord Vivec's Twenty-Fourth Sermon—she can turn even the most inoffensive bauble into a deadly weapon. I can't wait to see how she handles a writ that targets House Redoran or House Hlaalu! I expect it to be an eye-opening experience, to say the least.

Now, I heard that she's decided to take on an apprentice of her own now that she's back in the bosom of the Morag Tong. Don't let that influence your decision regarding my request. I won't interfere with her teaching duties. If I can't kill it, eat it, or bed it, what do I care? Let her play at being a teacher. But when a particularly intriguing writ comes along, one that requires more than a single assassin to complete, I want to work with Naryu to get the job done. Grant me this minor boon and I promise not to ask for another privilege for at least a month. No, make that two! I just want to bask in the action and adventure that seems to spin around Naryu the way Baar Dau hangs above Vivec City. And, if we can stay close to Balmora, so much the better. The Randy Netch Inn serves a scuttle-encrusted fungal eel every Fredas that's just to die for!

With utmost respect,

Ashur of the Quiet Blade

Faithful of Akatosh,

As another Mid-Year Celebration approaches, this is a good time to reflect on the myriad of blessings provided by the Dragon God of Time. Of all the bountiful and numerous boons Akatosh bestows upon us, none gives us more pride and good cheer than the Primate of our Great Cathedral, the pious and righteous Artorius Ponticus.

The devotion and piety demonstrated by Primate Artorius on any given day barely hints at his humble beginnings. As the fourth son of the wealthy Ancrus family, young Artorius grew up without a clear idea of his place in the world. Service to the Divines was a natural path for Artorius to follow, but he had little interest in a life of spiritual devotion and prayer. Instead, young Artorius found himself drawn to the notorious crime boss, Vodunius Monrius. It wasn't long before he was running messages and performing errands for Vodunius and his lieutenants.

Primate Artorius never hides from his past. He tells us that he was full of “vinegar and fury" in those days, trying to find his place in the world. He was on the verge of either discovering his passion or losing his way when Akatosh intervened. Four members of the City Guard caught him collecting gold from a shop owner—the daily fee charged to protect the merchant from Vodunius's wrath. Instead of tossing Artorius in a dungeon and throwing away the key, however, the Guard sent him to spend a year and a day with the priests of the Divines as penance for his crimes.

Temple life soon became too exhausting for Artorius to maintain his rage. Study, meditation, and prayer were juxtaposed by various chores to maintain the temple and its shrines. Despite every attempt to do otherwise, the young initiate soon became fascinated with the tales and tenets of the Divines. He questioned the priests of each shrine endlessly about the Divine honored there, until Artorius eventually found his fate and pledged his service to the Dragon God of Time.

Of course, you've all heard the story of the “Miracle of the First Shrine," when Akatosh first used Artorius to reveal his will to the faithful. After that fateful event, Artorius received a post here at our Cathedral in Kvatch, where he quickly rose through the ranks and eventually took his place as our beloved Primate. Under his guidance and care, the Cathedral of Akatosh has remained a stabilizing force in our part of the world for most of the last decade. And, as we contemplate our blessings on this Mid-Year Celebration, remember that everything that's good and worthwhile in Kvatch and the Gold Coast comes from Akatosh and his chosen representative, Primate Artorius.

Do not let the pirates of Anvil disturb your tranquility. Do not fear the shadows or the cowardly assassins that hide within them. For Akatosh is the light and the power, and Primate Artorius is his good right hand.

As Akatosh wills it, so shall it be.

Grand Sermonizer Fithia

The experimental machines outside of the Brass Fortress' walls are dangerous, but to those who cross the Clockwork City's Proctor Luciana, the monstrous fabricants of the Radius might not seem so bad! Learn more about this high-ranking Apostle in our new Meet the Character article.

Transcribed words of Grimrald Brassbones:

You really want to know how I wound up in here? Locked away in this cell like a broken fabricant? Two words: Proctor Luciana.

She was an obvious mark: a Clockwork Apostle with a whole office and tick-tocks to spare! I refused the job at first. Too dangerous. But the truth is I'm a thrill-seeker at heart. Sometimes it's a virtue. Sometimes it's a vice. This time it was the latter.

The first rule of thieving is to do your research! I spent months in the Archivox, sifting through old records, trying to find out who the Proctor was and where she came from. Lean offerings, let me tell you. I did learn a bit about her life in Tamriel. She was an Imperial Battlemage—one of Reman Cyrodiil's lieutenants. The histories say she burned a whole regiment of snake-men to cinders at the siege of Pale Pass. It earned her the Tsaesci title, “Xhiado Kas." The Flame Maiden. And that's just the start of it!

According to some old factotum logs, she washed up on the city's “shores" millennia ago. She was dead when she arrived—had to be. I've seen the surgical charts. Her body was torn to ribbons! Sotha Sil put her back together again, but left most of her limbs on the operating table. She's a machine now, you understand? She never breathes, or eats, or tires. She just walks the halls and alleys of the city, looking for opportunities to bring down her hammer. I only tell you this so you understand why I didn't stand and fight.

It all happened on a cool night in the Brass Fortress, just after the celestiodrome went dark. After a perilous climb up the side of the Clockwork Basilica, my mates and I stole into the Proctor's room through the ductworks. Dodging Factotum patrols, snatching up nosy skeevatons … everything was going to plan. She was out on patrol, you see? Wouldn't be back for hours. We were in the clear—or so we thought, anyway.

We tossed the place, prying open mnemo-crates and wall alcoves as fast as we could. At last, we found it: one of the Proctor's custom animo cores. Her battery, see? It was a thing of beauty—wrought in heavy brass, covered in copper filigrees, and filled to the brim with geodic energy. We grinned like overstuffed kagoutis and turned to leave. That's when we saw her.

She was standing there in the doorway, clad in her gleaming brass armor; hammer resting heavy on her shoulder. I put my cognitive compressors into overdrive, trying to assemble a credible excuse for being elbow-deep in her property. Just as I opened my mouth to speak, Murbal reached for his dagger.

It all happened so fast. I remember a burst of white-hot light, then Murbal screaming. I looked over at Anton just in time to see his leg crushed by a hammer-blow. I fell to my knees and threw my arms up over my head, waiting for the cold embrace of oblivion—but it never came. Instead, I felt Luciana's cold metal fingers around my throat as she lifted me to my feet. I opened my eyes to see her glaring at me.

“Seems you and I have a lot to talk about," she said. Then she tossed me in here with you lot.

I'm bound for a few years in storage, I know it. But you still have a chance! Keep your gears clean and your chains taut, lads, because she's always watching. Always.

Provost Varuni Arvel stands as a beacon of faith, a leader within the Clockwork City's Congress of Calibration, and one of the key figures you'll encounter when exploring the Brass Fortress. Learn a little more about her past and rise to the rank of Provost with our next Meet the Character!

AIOS vox-transcript 1066421: Provost Varuni Arvel character evaluation [Session 12]

[begin transcript]

Alienist Arolosea: Greetings, Lector Arvel. Or should I say Provost? Let me be the first to congratulate you on your upcoming promotion!

Varuni Arvel: Thank you! I do have a bit more to do though. Another lecture in the Loqutorium, one cycle in the devotional laboratory, and this evaluation!

Alienist Aralosea: Indeed. No one could accuse you of idleness, that much is certain. Now, to business. Please understand that this is a simple formality. You've proven your dedication to the Clockwork God many times over at this point. But rules are rules, am I right?

Varuni Arvel: That sounds suspiciously like the first question in this evaluation.

Alienist Arolosea: [laughter] Luciana said you were clever. Yes, that is the first question. What are your feelings on rules and regulations?

Varuni Arvel: Well, that's the central paradox of our order, right? Regulations, scholarly dictates, rigid schematics—they form the foundation of the Apostleship. But then, the Tourbillon's sermons tell us to smash the old machines—to reject all laws and restrictions so that our engines can be made clean. So our spirits can grow.

Alienist Arolosea: [inaudible] … seems you favor regulations over disorder.

Varuni Arvel: How is that?

Alienist Arolosea: Your record contains zero citations. No disciplinary notices. No sequential admonitions. Nothing.

Varuni Arvel: With respect, I think that indicates extreme diligence, not a lack of ambition. I've pushed back against scholarly restrictions on several occasions. Just a few cycles ago I conducted a pressure test in the Machine District, despite the travel restrictions.

Alienist Arolosea: But you notified the Proctor before leaving, isn't that correct?

Varuni Arvel: Only to prevent a panic. Luciana is a friend. I would have conducted the test regardless.

Alienist Arolosea: I see. If you don't mind my saying so, I detect some sensitivity on this subject. Does the implication that you favor caution over discovery bother you?

Varuni Arvel: [inaudible]

Alienist Arolosea: Come again?

Varuni Arvel: I think it's a misreading of the facts. I've advanced through the ranks faster than anyone in the history of the city. I've published sixteen dissertations, discovered four heretofore unknown aurbic elements, conducted twelve separate Radial surveys …. You can't accomplish all that without taking risks.

Alienist Arolosea: Then how do you explain this spotless record? Previous provosts received hundreds of disciplinary citations on their path to power.

Varuni Arvel: I guess I'm just better with people.

Alienist Arolosea: By that you mean …?

Varuni Arvel: I try to keep my fellow apostles informed. I value their input. I listen to their advice. Honestly, I think we could all do a much better job of listening to each other. That's something I'd like to change once I receive my promotion.

Alienist Arolosea: Fair enough. It says here that—

[Vox transcript corruption: 12 minutes, 34 seconds lost]

Alienist Arolosea: --see you're very diligent about attending prayer services.

Varuni Arvel: I'm very committed to the faith, yes.

Alienist Arolosea: Care to expand on that?

Varuni Arvel: Lord Seht is my hero. I try to model my life on his example. Attending prayer service brings me closer to him. Helps me focus.

Alienist Arolosea: Interesting. What aspect of Lord Seht's character do you most admire?

Varuni Arvel: [laughter] Where to begin? I admire his wisdom, his architectural prowess, his mastery of virtuous maths …. I could go on, I guess?

Alienist Arolosea: That won't be necessary. Now, what aspects of his character do you most detest?

Varuni Arvel: [long pause] Excuse me?

Alienist Arolosea: What aspects of his character do you find most repellent? What elements of Lord Seht's personality make you uncomfortable?

Varuni Arvel: I don't … [inaudible]

Alienist Arolosea: Does this question make you uncomfortable?

Varuni Arvel: Yes, of course it does.

Alienist Arolosea: Just a moment ago you said you were comfortable with pushing back against regulations and taboos. Should I adjust my notes on that point?

Varuni Arvel: No … no, it's fine. I … [long pause]

Alienist Arolosea: Take your time.

Varuni Arvel: I guess it bothers me that he's never around.

Alienist Arolosea: Go on.

Varuni Arvel: I … I mean, I've been a member of the clockwork apostles for over a century, and I've still never had an opportunity to meet him.

Alienist Arolosea: And that bothers you.

Varuni Arvel: I didn't … I mean, yes, a little. But I would never cite that as a failing on his part. If anything it's my fault for being impatient. He no doubt has important things to do in the Cogitum Centralis. He'll emerge eventually--when he's ready.

Alienist Arolosea: Very well. It appears that our time is up. Thank you for indulging me. We're done!

Varuni Arvel: Good …. Good.

[end transcript]

 

A LETTER FROM THE LILLANDRIL ILLUMINATION ACADEMY

Dear Saroldo,

This is my third and final letter regarding your daughter, Quenneth—or “Quen," as she insists everyone refer to her. I must assume your lack of response to my previous letters is a delay in the packet ships. Piracy in the Abecean is rife this time of year.

We at Lillandril Illumination Academy have always been quite clear on our criteria for Quen's matriculation. It pains me to speak so plainly, but you have reneged on your pecuniary commitment to our institution.

Therefore, I am presented with an unwelcome duty. It is our decision to suspend Quen from Lillandril Illumination Academy, effective immediately.

We did not arrive at this decision lightly. There were a number of contributing factors:

  • The aforementioned lack of financial restitution. As you well know, the academy is not some sail-by-night Breton university. Attendance on credit is strictly disallowed. Were Quen of more noble stock, or had she sought patronage as we assiduously recommended, we could make allowances. Unfortunately she is not, and she did not. To forestall a potential argument, any patron willing to support her at this late stage in her studies would not meet the exacting reputational standards of the academy.
  • A distinct lack of scholastic interest. Quen has always been an above-adequate student. Though her highest marks have generally come from her acrobatic pursuits, she was never known for absconding from her studies—until this semester. Though given a number of demerits and warnings, Quen did not possess a semblance of focus in her classes. As noted by her professor of rhetoric, she was “constantly tired; detached; made no attempt to conceal her emotional state." When approached about the matter, Quen refused counseling. She insisted nothing was amiss.
  • Suspicion of larceny, trespassing, and dissembling to academy staff. I'm not entirely sure how to present this, but three estates in Lillandril were burgled within a single week. The sister of our academy bursar is a watch captain, and mentioned that the Lillandril Guard found no sign of an intruder—no forced doors, unlocked locks, or even footprints near the missing items, "as if someone had flown through the air, directly to the jewelry box." Shortly thereafter, Quen approached the bursar with a partial tuition payment. She claimed you sent it to her directly and asked it be applied to her balance. The bursar remembered the conversation with his sister, and also recalled Quen's performance in the inter-academy gymnastic competition of two semesters prior. Thankfully, he reported the matter immediately. Quen maintained her innocence when confronted, but not to the satisfaction of three interviewing professors. It was only the potential damage to our academy's reputation which forestalled the involvement of the Lillandril Guard.

Should you once more see fit to deliver the works of art you had previously guaranteed, we can discuss Quen's potential return. However, an additional three months of silence will convert Quen's suspension to a permanent expulsion.

On a personal note, I urge you to speak directly with Quen about her future. Though her time at the academy is most likely at a close, she is still a capable young Altmer with a future only somewhat diminished. Perhaps she can find a career in our proud Dominion forces, where she can learn to appreciate the simplicity of following orders. A tradesman's work might suit her unremarkable lineage, such as a warehouse worker or seamstress. Whatever her decision, you should be a part of it. Without guidance she may do something rash, such as join a circus.

Kindest Regards,

Tundellde

Most Illuminated Intendent

Lillandril Illumination Academy

 

A Narrative Report in Four Verses, Prepared for the Grand Marshal and Exalted Bard of the First Order, Medno Oren, and Archcanon Tarvus, Written by Armiger Urnsi, Poet Militant and Knight-Scribe of the Seventh and Twenty-First Stanzas.

Grand Marshal Medno, Archcanon Tarvus,

The savage Ashlanders continue to gather around the great shell of the giant Skar in the area known as Ald'ruhn, setting up camps and settling in for what appears to be a long stay. I counted four tribes in all, come to comingle and participate in whatever heathen ceremonies they engage in to bring good fortune to their clans. I was able to identify the Ahemmusa, Erabenimsun, Urshilaku, and Zainab tribes, including their ashkhans (chiefs) and wise women (seers). One savage in particular stood out during my investigation, a member of the Urshilaku tribe named Seryn.

Seryn holds no official title that I could discern, but she commanded the respect of her tribe as well as that of the other three tribes in attendance. She moves freely from camp to camp, apparently serving as a kind of ambassador for the ashkhan of her tribe. She carries herself with a serene dignity and quiet confidence that puts those she communes with at ease. I was only able to get close enough to listen in on a few of her conversations, but what I heard demonstrated a gift for oration that would make even the Warrior-Poet proud—no blasphemy intended! Her manner and tone clearly indicated that she cared about each person she spent time with, even as she weaved into her narrative probing questions and subtle suggestions that obviously promoted the strategies and policies of her tribal leader without the perception of directives from on high. In my opinion, from what I observed, her diplomatic skills match the best House Hlaalu has to offer.

My observations indicate some sort of familial connection between Seryn and her ashkhan. If I had to hazard a guess, I would say they are either siblings or close cousins. Ashkhan Chodala, a relatively young and extremely robust leader for his tribe, works with Seryn to improve the Ashlander way of life and to negotiate deeper connections among the tribes. This may bear further investigation, as a united Ashlander nation could pose a significant threat to the Great Houses, especially House Redoran and its continuing efforts to expand its influence into that region. Otherwise, Seryn and Chodala demonstrate a deep affection and enduring respect for each other. Deferential to Chodala's rank and standing, she nevertheless acts as her own person, coming across as wise for her age and extremely well spoken.

While Seryn speaks softly, she also carries a hefty staff. I've seen her use it to break up arguments among the savages, defend herself against hostile exiles, and even utilize it to redirect the attention of a charging nix-ox before it could barrel over a group of Ashlander children. Some diplomats are all talk and little action, but Seryn demonstrated a surprisingly effective knack for both during my observations of the gathering tribes. I recommend that we continue to keep track of Seryn and Chodala. I believe that both will play a vital role in the next stage of Ashlander-Great House relations—no matter what form that stage happens to take. I look forward to the next task that you and Lord Vivec set before me. For the Three!

 

A GIFT AND SOME CONCERNS

Dearest Velsa,

It is I, your friend, the most humble and magnanimous Silver-Claw! I do hope you haven't grown too lonely during your well-deserved retirement. Despite your many protestations regarding gifts, I have enclosed a small packet imported directly from Valenwood. I have no idea what “strangler seeds" are, but it seemed exotic enough for your garden. Sadly, the instructions must be in error, for it seems you must “bloodlet thrice daily" so the plant “positively associates your scent." I must admit, Bosmer metaphors are quite beyond me.

If you haven't left your garden recently, I assure you that life in Abah's Landing continues apace. The Iron Wheel no longer marches through the streets, for the merchant lords insisted they decamp from the city. Rumors say Hubalajad Palace was recently occupied by a wealthy new tenant. (Next month's rumors will assuredly speak of a destitute would-be merchant lord evicted from Hubalajad Palace.) Oh, did you hear of the new pirate Commodore demanding tribute from her captains? Should you plan to travel, I would suggest overland routes until she is fully appeased.

Though I know you are far too polite to ask, and I am of course exceptionally embarrassed to inform you, I do not write you entirely to exchange pleasantries. In all honesty I have grave concerns regarding my business.

As you well know, Spotless Goods Shipping Concern has always been the metaphorical feather in my proverbial cap. It is true that I wear no cap due to my naturally flowing mane, and also that I am particularly allergic to feathers, but my point stands. I took Spotless Goods from a back-alley merchant stall to the harbor-side warehouse it is today. I made friends of my rivals, for I never aspired to be the best merchant in Abah's Landing—I simply wish to earn my place at the table. As you know, I have always dutifully paid the right people, whether merchant lord or your former shadowy associates.

Still, the shadows have been exceptionally quiet since the Iron Wheel's arrival. Even the merchant lords whisper of invaders from Taneth. I fear some delicate balance has been upset in the city I love. Remove too many spokes from the wagon wheel, and you break the wagon.

It is probably nothing. How did you put it once? That I have a tendency to “step on my own tail and claim it was a mammoth?"

Yet I see my heretofore most trusted overseers whispering in the warehouse shadows when they think me departed. I notice my invitations to social occasions have sharply declined, as though my fellow merchants seek to distance themselves. From what? I cannot predict. Since your retirement, I cannot trade favors for word from the shadows—and with the Iron Wheel's recent activities, I do not care to provoke their interest. My situation is most worrisome.

This is why it pains me so to remind you of the favor you owe me. A pain worse than freshly plucked whiskers, I pledge to you! If I did not hold the future of Spotless Goods in such high esteem as our friendship, I would never be so crude as to mention it.

But should I find a mammoth standing upon my tail, I fear you are the only person in Abah's Landing who could help me pry it off.

Warmest regards,

—Silver-Claw

Not all of the interesting characters you'll encounter ESO: Morrowind are Dark Elves. Learn more about one such figure in our latest Meet the Character, highlighting the talented Argonian slave known as Sun-in-Shadow.

Eraven,

I received your talent assessment just hours ago, Mouth. Your list of potential hirelings, while impeccably written, suffers from one glaring omission: the lizard slave, Sun-in-Shadow.

These other mages bore me. According to my spies, Saduro does nothing but tinker away in Magister Otheri's laboratory, like some blight-faced, maladjusted Dwarf. And Teris Saryon? Two-hundred years old and still suckling at her uncle Gothren's teat. Pathetic.

This Sun-in-Shadow, though; she intrigues me. What a novelty! An Argonian who can weave spells as well as she pushes a broom? It's just beyond belief. And self-taught, as well? My contacts inside Tel Naga tell me that she reads Nomu's Tome of Unchained Arcana when no one is looking. The Unchained Arcana! I dare say that you still struggle with Nomu's work, Eraven. Honestly, the fact that she can read at all boggles the mind.

Her talent is raw, undoubtedly. Like most novices, she breaks more things than she mends. Otheri tells me that she nearly burned down Tel Naga, casting spells of conflagration to warm soup in the scullery. She also played a role in that unfortunate nix-ox transmutation a few weeks back. But any true mage can see that these blunders are the result of audacity. Ambition. A Telvanni mage needs both in ample measure. I have no patience for the meek. Cowardly mages are like capless mushrooms—unsightly and worthless.

I doubt we have much to worry about when it comes to mixed loyalties. Rumor has it that she is widely disliked by the other slaves. They call her “Lukiul," “smoke-scale," and “Elf-heart." Reinforce this sentiment whenever possible. She must feel isolated. Isolation breeds contempt, and contempt drives excellence. She needs a heart of cold obsidian if she's to be of any use to us.

Now, there is the issue of her racial handicap. You needn't remind me of her limitations. I've known ten generations of Argonians, and even the brightest were little better than well-trained guars. With time and effort, though, she might ascend to retainer. Perhaps even oathman if she fully commits to the craft. Who knows? I'm anxious to find out how far this lizard is willing to go.

Keep an eye on her. She has the magical aptitude, certainly. Whether she has the stomach for Telvanni politics, well, that remains to be seen.

Magister Therana

Wizard-Lord of the Great House Telvanni

Master of Tel Branora

2E 582: Entry 18

I loathe spying upon my friend.

I've known Zeira since she was a young cutpurse. I wasn't part of the guild then, but our paths crossed. At first, she thought I begged for food on the streets. I did nothing to convince her otherwise. She always paid extra for information—gave me more coin than others from the Thieves Guild. Sometimes she'd slip me a roll, or a piece of fresh fruit.

When she learned I posed as a beggar, a merchant, and a fire juggler depending on the day of the week, she wasn't angry—she was beside herself with amusement. Zeira was the first person in on a joke only I had known for years. I made a true friend that day, sitting on the roof of Hew's Mane and sharing a bottle of grog pilfered from a fishing boat.

I remember when she asked me to join the Thieves Guild. I had no interest, for my experience was with the guild Bright Ilmund built. I'd received enough beatings from that bunch to know I should keep away. But when I turned her down, she didn't push, cajole, or otherwise manipulate me into doing what she wanted. I kept waiting for her to do so. I was prepared to vanish, if it came to it.

It never did. Zeira was part of a new assortment of thieves brought in by Nicolas. She lived by the rules the guild follows to this day. She showed me the principles by which she stood—the kind those of us raised in the alleys of Abah's Landing can appreciate. She set an example, and I realized it was a good one. I still remember the smile on her face when I told her I'd changed my mind. I'd never seen her beam before.

Now, I find reasons to stand within earshot. I pretend to inspect my jacket for lint, but steal a glance at her features in my hand mirror. I watch for signs she isn't her old self.

I was lucky to watch Zeira flourish in the guild. A few years after I joined, Nicolas elevated her to the Thieves Council. Velsa couldn't stand her, of course, but I believe she appreciated the verbal sparring partner. Edda warmed to her quickly. Daldur made a point of frowning and scowling, but always weighed her words.

It's no wonder Nicolas relied upon her as the years turned. She was the guildmaster's right hand, but she never let it go to her head. I once asked if she ever thought about taking his place. She laughed and said, “What does running a guild compare to pulling off a heist? I'd rather make us all rich. I'm not the type to stare at papers and plan our next move."

But now, Nicolas is gone. Edda and Daldur are gone. Velsa wants nothing to do with the Thieves Guild. There is no one but Zeira to plan.

All the weight falls on our new guildmaster's shoulders. She must gather the few of us who remain, shelter us from the Iron Wheel, and find a way to restore our honor, such as it is among thieves. She must learn to run the Thieves Guild with Velsa's pragmatism, Edda's spirit, Daldur's boldness, and Nicolas's calculation. She must do things she previously disdained, if she's to lead the rest of us from this dark and lonely place.

For example, if she noticed me acting strangely, she might feel the need to read through my journal.

If she did, I'd want to let her know that she doesn't need to bear all the weight alone. That despite the way he carried himself, Nicolas did have people to confide in. I'd hope she realizes those few who remain have survived and stuck together because of her actions. I'd tell her she was among family, and that all she truly needs to do is keep setting an example.

When I was certain she understood—truly understood—I could stop spying upon my friend.

—Walks-Softly