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Elder Scrolls Online - Meet the Character


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

Your exalted highness, Euraxia Tharn, Queen of Rimmen

I have been observing your brother—excuse me, half-brother—Abnur Tharn these past few weeks, just as you requested. You did not exaggerate. Everything you said about him is absolutely true.

First, a little history so you know I actually did my due diligence. Your despised half-brother was born in 2E 418, which makes him exceedingly long lived at the ripe old age of 164. Makes me wish I had taken up magic when I was setting out to find my way in the world. Ah, well.

As the aristocratic and overbearing patriarch of the Tharn family and the Imperial Overlord of Nibenay, Abnur has led a storied life. His early years remain something of a mystery, though I assume that much of his first 40 or so years on Nirn were taken up with the usual education and experiences of someone of high noble birth, as well as his training in various arcane arts. We know he excelled at battle magic, but he only really stepped onto the stage of history when he became an advisor to the succession of kings and emperors who attempted to hold the Cyrodilic Empire together in the turbulent decades following the murder of the last Akaviri Potentate. By 2E 465, he was granted the title of Grand Chancellor of the Elder Council, and for the next 117 years, Abnur provided continuity and consistency. He retained that position until the most-recent collapse of the Imperial government. He continues to demonstrate a fierce loyalty to both the Empire and the idea of the Empire, though I expect that stems more from a sense of self-importance than any real love of king and country.

As I’m sure you’re aware, your half-brother has an extensive family, consisting of at least sixteen children, seven wives, and a number of siblings, including your royal majesty. Ever a smarmy dealmaker, he even helped place Varen Aquilarios on the Ruby Throne in exchange for Varen’s agreement to marry his daughter, Clivia. As one of Varen’s most-trusted Five Companions, Abnur joined Lyris Titanborn, Sai Sahan, and Mannimarco in Varen’s quest to recover the lost Amulet of Kings. While I haven’t been able to confirm it, I suspect that Abnur and the Five Companions had a hand in the dreaded Soulburst and the subsequent disappearance of Varen Aquilarios about four years back.

Your half-brother is a wily old wizard and consummate politician. He was the de facto power behind the Ruby Throne for most of the time he served as the head of the Elder Council. His management of your family’s affairs has expanded the wealth and power of the Tharn name by leaps and bounds, though I’m sure you could do better in his stead. He speaks with a natural authority (I would say pompous) and often directs verbal jabs and barbs at those he considers to be his inferior—and that happens to be almost everybody. He believes himself to be the smartest person in the room, and he is often the most ruthless (present company notwithstanding). I admit it: Abnur Tharn isn’t someone I’d ever turn my back on. Not for even an instant.

Abnur Tharn represents the best and worst aspects of an Empire that no longer exists. He is vain, proud, and set in his ways. He thinks he knows best and goes to great lengths to make sure that everyone in his general vicinity completely understands this. He can be relentless and persuasive, alternately cajoling and threatening in equal measure. Beneath his aristocratic polish lies an ever-present undercurrent of menace. He remains a wily old tiger of a man—elegant, subtle, and dangerous. I can see why you have no love for your half-brother. I think the man would drive me to thoughts of murder in very short order. Unfortunately, as good as I am, I have no illusions about being able to stand for long against a battlemage of Abnur’s caliber. Even at his advanced age, he’s only now showing signs of slowing down, and I have no doubt that he remains a force to be reckoned with. However, therein lies the path to getting exactly what your majesty most desires.

Abnur loves having a mystery or problem to solve. Long years of devising strategies and advising emperors on all sorts of topics, I suppose. If you give him something to figure out, he will grab onto it like a dog with a bone and not release it until the situation is resolved. It’s a part of his nature. Provide a tempting mystery, point your half-brother at the problem you need dealt with, and stand back and watch him go. Add to that his burning desire to end the Three Banners War and reunite the Empire, and everything you need falls nicely into place. I have no doubt he will perform exactly as you expect and accomplish precisely what you need him to do.

Of course, if he later determines that you were the one who tricked him, well, please make sure my payment is sent with all due speed.

Arctus Cove, Imperial Spymaster-at-Large

The House of Reveries includes of some of Summerset's most talented actors, musicians, and artists, but few stand out like the mysterious Alchemy. Read about the newest addition to the performing troupe in this latest Meet the Character.

Dearest Grand Maestro Forte,

I would first like to thank you ever so much for placing Alchemy within my troupe. What a true delight she has been to me! Her passion for performance is simply unmistakable. She throws herself into every lesson with a certain fearlessness, whether it be fencing, singing, even juggling! Every day she seems to master a new craft, and every day she shines just a little bit brighter.

The House of Reveries has always been renowned for our wonderful performers, and I have a feeling that Alchemy will soon be known as one of our greatest. Though her skills as an actress are still developing, her stage presence is undeniable. You and I both well know there are some things you simply cannot teach. The way that Alchemy draws in a crowd and keeps them on the edge of their seats, well, it seems to come as naturally to her as breathing.

She's simply dazzling, Forte, there's no other way to state it.

Still, I worry about our poor darling. There's a sadness in her eyes sometimes, and slump within her shoulders. At first, I thought the pressure was getting to her, but now I'm not so sure. If anything, she seems to delve further within her work to forget something. Or someone, perhaps? Of course, I would never delve within a troupe member's background, but you know how I worry. And so, however much I hate to part with my newfound favorite, I believe a change of pace is called for.

With a heavy heart, I must recommend Alchemy return to Rellenthil in order to benefit from your most excellent tutelage. Perhaps you can find a way to heal the sorrow which seems to dull her eyes. In any case, as one of the few who know of her past, she may at least find you a steady confidant for whatever ails her.

I also know that you've lately struggled to secure a mentor for our troupe's Hopefuls. May I suggest our lovely lady take up that role? She has a good eye for talent, and a good heart for those who struggle. In any case, I've always found aiding others to help ease the burdens of my heart. Perhaps she will as well.

Yours lovingly,

Maestro Engima

The witches of the Reach are equal parts powerful and terrifying—to monsters and Nords alike! Learn about the monster-hunting rebel Arana in this Markarth Meet the Character! 

Taken from the correspondence of Jano Vestalis, Imperial Cartographer

Even with the Despot’s explicit sanction, traveling beyond the walls of Markarth remains a dangerous proposition. Wild beasts and wilder Reachfolk lurk in every cave and copse, lusting for blood and slaughter. Alas, a cartographer’s work requires frequent excursions. Stout guards are a must, but a knowledgeable guide is no less important. Even now, a year into my stay, Reach clan politics continue to be a mystery to me. Without local knowledge, a tense encounter can swiftly turn deadly.

Just a few weeks ago, my coterie and I were charting the hills southeast of the city. One of my guards noticed a Reachfolk watching us from across a shallow ravine. Within moments, the number of observers grew from one, to four, to twelve. Eventually, the hooting started, followed by the banging of elk-skin drums. My escort drew their weapons and stood back-to-back—a gesture that inspired louder shouts and more urgent drumming. As the witchmen drew nearer, I grew more and more certain that I would soon be dead. Just then, it all stopped. The frantic cacophony retreated to a whisper, and a woman emerged from behind a handful of the hulking barbarians.

She was tall, painted, and bedecked in feathers, skins, and bones. Despite her savage attire, she walked with a sovereign’s poise, utterly unafraid of my sword-brandishing associates. My guide rushed forward and bowed—a gesture of reverence I had never seen him perform before. The two exchanged words in the Reach-tongue, occasionally pointing to me and my fellows. At last, the woman placed her hand on my guide’s head and approached.

She stood there staring at us for a long while before finally saying, “Show me your teeth.” I wasted no time, opening my mouth wide and leaning forward to give her a clear view. Many of my guards did likewise, with varying levels of enthusiasm. Unfortunately, one refused—a proud Nord named Harulf. One of the woman’s warriors stepped forward and roared, “Arana says open your mouth, reeker!” Still, the Nord refused. As the Reach warrior drew his bone-sword, the woman, Arana, raised her hand to quiet him. She gestured for us all to move and we eagerly agreed, leaving Harulf to face the Reach witch alone.

As she approached, she began muttering something in a language none of us understood. She rattled a bag of bones in her hand, all the while drawing closer to our Nord companion. As her muttering grew louder, I saw his face begin to twist. His lips quivered and his eyes went wide with terror. Suddenly, his mouth opened with a jolt. Arana peered inside, smiled, and relaxed her mysterious grip on him.

“Thank you for indulging me,” she said. Despite the grim scene we witnessed, I couldn’t help but share the Reachfolk’s awe. Even with her grand appearance, she struck me as utterly without pretense. A witch, certainly, and a powerful one at that. But in her eyes I found a sort of breezy wisdom—the kind of strength one finds in well-worn heroes who have met and conquered foes we could scarcely dream of.

As she returned to her war band, she issued one final admonition: “Vampires and werewolves stalk these hills.” She turned to look at us and her face hardened. “But not for much longer.” With that, Arana and the Reachfolk vanished into the wilds like phantoms—gone as quickly as they arrived.

“Who was that?” I asked.

“Arana, leader of the witch-rebels,” my guide responded.

I needed no additional inspiration. I departed the Reach the very next day.

If you choose to stay in the Reach, I suggest you give the wilds a wide berth. If there are indeed vampires and werewolves in those hills, I believe Arana and her band of hunters will give them a proper war. And few people make war like the witches of the Reach.

Learn about one of the interesting characters you'll meet in ESO: Morrowind with our latest Meet the Character, featuring the uncompromising cleric Archcanon Tarvus.

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.

Is it truly possible to rule the Reachfolk? Only one has the strength and the will to even try. Learn about the indomitable “Despot of Markarth,” Ard Caddach, in our latest Meet the Character.

A letter from Helvar Tarperian, agent of Councilor Itinia.

Honored Councilor Itinia,

I can now report that I delivered your missive to Caddach of the Blackdrake clan, the Despot of Markarth. As my lady anticipated, the gift of a coffer full of jewels bought me the opportunity to present your proposal to the ruler of Markarth. Unfortunately, Ard Caddach is not inclined to consider any involvement in our current troubles. When I relate the final conversation I had with the Despot of Markarth, I think my lady will agree that there is little more I can do here.

As my lady instructed, I presented your gift and your letter to Caddach in the throne room of Understone Keep. Caddach is a physically imposing man, a hale warlord of early middle age with a black beard and keen dark eyes. He dresses in the motley hide, leather, and bone favored by the Reachfolk, and wears a large broadsword at his hip even in his own throne room—an altogether fierce and barbaric display, made only more intimidating by his habitual glower. “Well?” he demanded when I approached the throne. “Who are you and what Imperial nonsense do you bring to my keep?”

“Councilor Itinia of the Elder Council sends her greetings,” I began. “She has a proposal to lay before you, which she details in this letter. Shall I read it to you, my lord?”

“Do you think me too uneducated to read it for myself?” he asked me. “Leave your letter and away with you.” In fact, I had not heard that Caddach was literate—so many Reachfolk are not. I thought it best not to mention this, though. I think I was fortunate he did not tear up my lady’s missive in my face.

Caddach did not send for me for eight days, and I despaired of ever gaining an audience. But finally one of his Stonehands (so his personal guard is known) came to bring me to him. To my surprise I was led not to the throne room of Understone Keep, but to the high ramparts of ancient Dwarven stonework that protect the city. Here I found Caddach standing on the walltop, the letter I had delivered tucked into his belt. A bitterly cold wind blew down from the snowy mountains to the north, and it was all I could do to keep my teeth from chattering aloud.

“My lord Blackdrake,” I said, bowing.

“So this Itinia thinks to make me Emperor, does she?” Caddach asked. It seemed he’d acquainted himself with the contents of my lady’s missive after all.

“Yes, my lord,” I replied. “The Empress Regent has been missing for months. The Ruby Throne cannot be left empty. Cyrodiil needs you, my lord. All of Tamriel needs you. Only you can bring an end to this War of Three Banners.”

“Cyrodiil needs me?” Caddach laughed loudly. “I’ve no need for Cyrodiil, that I can tell you. They’d murder me within a year if I tried to sit on that great Ruby Throne of yours.”

“But you are the last of the Blackdrakes, the closest blood relation to the preceding dynasty,” I protested. “Who else has a better claim to the throne?”

“The last of the Blackdrakes? Let me show you the last of the Blackdrakes,” Caddach answered. Then he suddenly grasped my arm and yanked me right up to the edge of the high wall on which we stood. I flailed for balance, kept from falling to my death only by his iron grip. He pointed at the dark stone far below us.

“There lie the Blackdrakes!” he snarled at me. “My uncles, my cousins, all of them I could catch, broken and dead at the foot of this wall. I had them thrown down from this very spot because they were fools eager to make themselves puppets for your great lords and high houses. Your mistress doesn’t want a new Longhouse Emperor. She wants a pet Reachman she can train to do her bidding.

“You tell Councilor Itinia that I am Caddach, the Ard of Markarth! Aye, called Despot by people like you! I have no clan, and the hard stone under my feet is throne enough for me. But if I ever come to Cyrodiil again it will be at the head of another Reach horde. Is that what your Lady Itinia wants?”

I confess I did not know how to answer Ard Caddach’s question. I clung to his arm and said something like, “No! Yes! I don’t know!” before Caddach dragged me back from the edge, sparing me. I concluded that our discussion was over and fled for my life.

I hope this letter finds its way swiftly to my lady’s hands. I shall await your instructions here in Markarth and stay out of Caddach’s sight until I hear from you. But in all candor, I must say that I cannot see a way to broach this question again with Caddach. The Despot of Markarth is not a man to be provoked twice.

Your dedicated servant,

Helvar Tarperian

Few can match the malevolent intellect and ingenuity of the mad alchemist Arkasis, and all should fear his diabolical creations. Learn about this sinister scientist in our latest Meet the Character!

From the recent publication, Investigator Vale Does Not Cry Wolf: The Truth Behind the Hounds of Black Moor, by Adandora, Chronicler-at-Large

The Hounds of Black Moor, one of the earliest Investigator Vale novels in the series, is considered instrumental in its widespread popularity. However, purists often criticize it as taking too many creative liberties and lacking the firm basis in reality that characterizes many of Vale’s latter and more acclaimed adventures. Well, I’m here to tell you that those accusations are unfounded. It upholds the Vale series’ reputation for being recountings of “true-to-life” adventures.

During my research into the origins of the series, which I thoroughly outline in The Real Investigator Vale, I uncovered accounts of mysterious disappearances that bore striking similarities to those described in the novel. Intrigued, I packed my travel bag and departed for Whiterun with all due haste.

The events in question occurred around 2E 577, when the city was terrorized by the baying of crazed outsiders and the howling of wolves that preceded nightly disappearances. Tensions within the city rose to a boiling point when a member of the Battle-Born family was found naked, covered in blood, and surrounded by dead livestock on the Gray-Mane estate. Accusations of lycanthropy and calls for executions nearly brought the situation to a head before a visiting stranger offered to investigate the matter and received the jarl’s blessing.

Now, if you’re familiar with the book (or don’t mind having the ending revealed, if you aren’t), Investigator Vale navigates the complicated dispute of two fictitious families under much the same circumstances. She, through her usual expert deductions, discovers that none of the alleged shapeshifters and crazed outsiders who came tearing through town like beasts suffered from the disease of lycanthropy, but they all had the same stains on their teeth. After much intrigue, deceit, and attempted murder, the cunning Vale catches the young court alchemist, Morhjartyr, in the act of poisoning the jarl with a beastly concoction that changed them into a terrifying werewolf. She chases her fugitive suspect back to his hideaway in Black Moor Keep, all while the ravenous jarl nips at her heels. All this culminates in a dramatic conclusion atop the keep’s battlements, where Vale baits the overconfident Morhjartyr into a trap that knocks both him and the ravenous jarl from the high walls. Neither were ever seen again.

Much of this fateful encounter is not verifiable, but through exhaustive questioning and scouring of the local records, I uncovered that the unnamed stranger resolved the feud between the Battle-Borns and Gray-Manes, finding neither family at fault. Both the jarl and court alchemist vanished under mysterious circumstances during the upheaval, leading some to claim they co-conspired against the two powerful families. That remains purely conjecture, but it did not stop the newly ascended jarl from declaring Arkasis, the young alchemist, a menace of the highest order.

In the novel, Morhjartyr is never seen again and many presumed that he would return in a future entry as a formidable nemesis for the savvy Vale, but thus far the young alchemist has not reappeared in the author’s works. However, the young fugitive, Arkasis, as it turns out, had more of a story to tell. I followed that name to three holds across the Skyrim, each with their own local legend of a mad alchemist who had been caught conducting unspeakable experiments on unwilling test subjects. These tests ranged from the lurid to the bizarre, involving strange alchemical substances and terrible transformations. Each time, this mad alchemist evaded justice and began anew, growing bolder in his work until he inevitably exposed his own misdeeds. To this day, he continues to elude capture. I believe these mad alchemists are all the same person—none other than the infamous Arkasis of Whiterun.

From all these sundry (and sometimes sordid) sources, I pieced together a picture of Arkasis from the flotsam of truth floating in the sea of fiction that surrounds him. First, he is in fact a man—a Nord like Morhjartyr, to be exact—who is rapidly approaching middle age. Of an unusually large stature, which I speculate is the result of profuse alchemical enhancement, Arkasis is described as a reclusive academic. He possesses a domineering and superior attitude toward others, seeing no one as his equal, yet he always seeks out sycophants to admire his own brilliance. This need for recognition always leads to his nefarious schemes coming to light. I can say, after hearing the tales told by the torch-wielding mob that chased him from their hold, that his experiments consist of ingenious designs with a blood-curdling disregard for suffering.

Coincidentally, the events described in the Hounds of Black Moor and those that plagued Whiterun itself happen to coincide with an unexpected delay in the travels of one Lady Arabelle Davaux, bound for Vvardenfell. I suspect that the reason we haven’t seen the return of Morhjartyr in the Investigator Vale series stems from the fact that the author never uncovered what became of him herself. If you’re reading this, Lady Arabelle, and wish to finally admit that you are the author and inspiration behind Vale, I would be absolutely willing to share what I’ve learned about the heinous crimes of one Arkasis, the Mad Alchemist. And all for the small price of that admission and a mention in your acknowledgements. Until then, the secrets of Morhjartyr—and Arkasis the Mad Alchemist—remain safe with me!


In last week's Meet the Character, you were able to gather some information about Green-Venom-Tongue. This week the Argonian himself will allow you to get some insights about Astara Caerellius, the Matron of the Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary at the Gold Coast. Read his observations of the mysterious Matron and her activities.

From the private journals of Green-Venom-Tongue


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.


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.


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.


Discover Bastian Hallix, one of the two new Companions you can recruit during your adventures in the upcoming Blackwood Chapter.

To Larz-Tul:

Greetings, root-brother. I am writing to warn you about a problem. A mage named Bastian Hallix is asking questions about gambling dens in Leyawiin’s harbor districts. He represents the Silvelles, a noble trading house of Daggerfall, and he believes that some egg-kin of the family—a fellow named Quistley Silvelle—may have visited businesses under your control. I doubt that Bastian Hallix knows or cares who runs things in Leyawiin, but he intends to follow this Quistley’s trail wherever it might lead. It seems likely that, sooner or later, he will wind up at the door to your hut.

Normally, I would not worry myself about your nest. You know best how to manage your own business. But this Bastian Hallix is a talented battlemage, handy with both staff and sword, and he is nothing if not determined. He is the sort of dryskin who kicks down or blows up any obstacle you put in his path, as I learned the hard way. Earlier today, Bastian Hallix’s search for Quistley Silvelle led him to me. I have nothing to do with any missing Silvelles, but I don’t stand for anyone prying into my affairs. I sent three of my blades to waylay him when he returned to his inn. Hallix roasted poor Neriemus with a fire bolt, knocked Janetia senseless with a single blow from his staff, and then disarmed Claws-in-Shadow and stabbed him with his own sword.

After that xulunaht, I decided to look into what he wanted and how to get rid of him.

My spies learned that Bastian Hallix’s egg-sire was Lord Martel Hallix of Daggerfall. Lord Hallix angered High King Emeric many years ago—how, my sources did not say—and the house was stripped of its lands and titles. Bastian was fostered with the Silvelle family and grew up under their roof. He works for the family as a roving troubleshooter, looking after their interests wherever they do business. He acts like more of a hired specialist than a lord’s son, but be careful with him. The Silvelles have gold, and we don’t want to stumble into a fight with them.

You will know Bastian when you see him. He is a fit, red-headed mage of thirty years or so, and he appears to exist in a constant state of annoyance—I don’t think he’s happy being sent to fetch a wayward Silvelle. Don’t be misled by his hemming and hawing. He acts like he lacks confidence and fears confrontation, but it turns out he is more about actions than words.

Fortunately, he is also a trusting sort. When he returned to me after my crew ambushed him, I had little trouble convincing him I had nothing to do with it and sent him on his way. Feed him a likely story, and you should be able to keep him out of your mud pit. For a time, anyway.

Hallix has the persistence of a hungry haj mota. Make it a good story, and make sure it sends him far away from Blackwood. That’s my advice. Use it as you may.

Pungent Adder

In a special edition of “Meet the Character" this week, you'll learn more about Breda, the well-liked female Nord sawmill worker chosen to officiate this year's New Life Festival.

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!


In our ongoing "Meet the Character" series, we learn a little more about another individual you'll meet in your journeys through the Imperial City: the seasoned Imperial military figure, Captain Caudex.

(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.


Zeira copied the letters as you requested, down to the last detail. I would say you could pass these off for the originals, but the wand is mightier than the quill and this is the Tharns we’re talking about. Most of the Empress Regent’s letters were old news. If I had to guess why they paid so much to recover them from Imperial City, I’d say it has something to do with this Renald character. I’m sure they’d be willing to pay to know his whereabouts should that information come our way.



Your father is about to embark on a foolish, desperate mission to save the Empire. Though I have said as much to the Emperor, he insists that this errand is necessary for the stability of his domain. Regardless, his restlessness on the subject poses a real threat to his ability to govern. I must spare you the details of this journey, but if the puddle-scrying High Elf’s plan works, your first child will inherit the whole of Tamriel. I trust you will keep the Elder Council in check while I’m traipsing across the countryside with a divining rod like some Bravil yokel. It’s best that I do not expose the details here, but I will remain in touch.”


“As I feared, despite our efforts to remain inconspicuous, a group like ours attracts attention. We might have been more successful had we hitched Lyris to a cart. And if the swordmaster weren’t allergic to wearing a shirt. As it stands, a group of riders started shadowing our trail at least four days ago. We only barely noticed them, so it could have been far longer. If you do not receive word from me a week from the date of this letter, assume the worst and notify the legions to begin a search.”


“The riders surrounded us in Pale Pass, which I can’t help but find ironic considering they were Akaviri, or at least making every effort to look the part. I almost laughed at the bandits putting on such an act until I noticed the make of their armor. It was a style I had not seen for more than a century: that of Reman’s Dragonguard. I didn’t recognize any of their number, but their leader gave me a look that said he knew exactly who we were. His heritage was evident in his eyes and hair. Too evident, I might say. Many Imperials with Akaviri ancestry are only barely indistinguishable from pure Cyrodilic stock. He invited us to parlay, though it was obvious that the request was a formality. Varen wisely acquiesced.

He introduced himself as Chevalier Renald, an obvious pseudonym I’d never heard before. I suspected he wanted to know why the Emperor and Chancellor were blundering through the wilderness escorted by a handful of oddities. I did not expect him to reveal a frightening foreknowledge of our quest. He knew precisely what Varen sought. What he wanted to know was why. I could see that Varen strugged with the decision to deceive the so-called Dragonguard, so I stepped in by offering a half-truth: that Varen sought to relight the Dragonfires and restore the Empire.

Renald fixed me with a hard gaze that almost mesmerized, and I’ll admit it took all my composure to maintain an impassive visage. I don’t believe I came under any spell, but it seemed as if he looked straight into my soul. If he saw through my deception, he did not say so. Instead, he offered to assist Varen in locating our prize. Renald and Varen clasped arms and swore an accord on their honor. I know such gestures hold meaning to the likes of Varen and Sai Sahan, but I remain skeptical of its value to this Chevalier Renald.

Clivia, I want you to learn more about this man and his company, discreetly. The only way he could have known about the Companions’ mission is if he had connections far too close to the Emperor for my liking.”

Welcome back to our ongoing Meet the Character series! In our final entry for Orsinium, you'll meet Orc clan chieftain Bazrag gro-Fharun.

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

Interested in learning more about one of the Iron Wheel's chief inspectors? Meet our second character in this weekly series, Chief Inspector Rhanbiq, who you'll undoubtedly run into while playing Thieves Guild.

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.

Welcome back to our ongoing Meet the Character series! In our final entry for the Imperial City, you'll meet the commanding Empress Regent Clivia Tharn.

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.

Should you assault the fortifications of Moon Hunter Keep, you'll need help from somebody on the inside. Learn about Commander Varian, one of the Order of the Silver Dawn's most devoted soldiers, with our newest Meet the Character!

Captain Abitius,

Once again, I must strongly urge you to reconsider this order. While I understand the threat that the Moon Hunter Pack presents to Tamriel, I also understand that we do not have the resources to take them on alone. We cannot let our pride in the Silver Dawn allow good soldiers to die.

However, knowing you, my pleas will fall on deaf ears. As such, I am sending Commander Varian along with this letter. Even knowing the heavy odds against us, he has agreed to undertake this mission. Varian is a good man, loyal to the Silver Dawn and meticulous in his practices. You will find no soldier more worthy or willing to lead a squad into Moon Hunter Keep.

Commander Varian was stationed in the keep before Vykosa's attack, only missing the massacre by a few days due to another assignment. Honestly, a part of me believes he feels a sense of guilt about the whole affair. I know many of those who died were under his command at the time. I sincerely hope he does not allow this past tragedy cloud his judgment.

By the Eight, I wish for nothing more than to strike against Moon Hunter Keep and to end their reign of terror. But I know that, should we go through with this plan of action, we're sending many fine soldiers to their deaths. Including Commander Varian, one of the best men I have ever had the privilege to fight alongside.

Again, I urge you to reconsider this plan of action. There must be another way.

-Captain Murzazir

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,


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

Join us as we meet one of the new characters you'll encounter while playing through the Imperial City DLC game pack main story. In this Meet the Character, you'll learn a little about the mysterious woman who calls herself the “Drake of Blades."

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.


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,


Housecarl to Thane Eerika Skjoralmor

A true adventurer at heart, Eveli Sharp-Arrow is a talented archer, capable warrior, and enthusiastic companion. Learn about the Wood Elf scout in this Meet the Character.

Farrul Lupus,

I admit I was surprised when your letter arrived, old friend. I haven’t heard from you since before Emperor Leovic bled out on his own throne. To be frank, I thought you were dead.

As to the matter of your request, yes, I do know of an adventurer who would be perfect for the task as you described it. I will say that you were purposely vague on many of the pertinent details, but I got the general idea. I suggest you contact Eveli Sharp-Arrow and offer her the job.

Let me tell you about Eveli Sharp-Arrow. She’s a Wood Elf, born and raised in Valenwood. She has very little experience in the wider world, but her heart’s that of a true adventurer. I’ve been watching her with great interest since coming here after the fall of the Longhouse Emperors. Even though it’s no longer my stock in trade, I can’t help looking for and evaluating talent. And although she’s young and untested, Eveli possesses an excess of talent.

First, Eveli comes from a long line of Wood Elf hunters, scouts, and warriors. All of that tradition and training is evident in the way she carries herself: with confidence and determination. She’s an expert with the bow, her weapon of choice, and I’ve seen her loose a dozen arrows in rapid succession, each shaft hitting its mark. In a land of skilled archers, this young woman stands above them all as a master despite her tender age.

Second, Eveli reads every book she can get her hands on. Novels, histories, lineages—she devours them all. She particularly loves adventure stories and mysteries, however, and tells anyone who will listen that her personal hero is the fictitious Investigator Vale. Since part of your task involved the retrieval of an ancient tome, this aspect of her personality will serve you well.

Third, I’m not the only one to have noticed young Eveli’s special talents. The Eyes of the Queen have been watching her as well, though I doubt they realize that they’ve been recognized. I’m much better at spycraft than this particular agent of Queen Ayrenn. I recommend you contact Eveli immediately and offer her the adventure she craves before you lose her to the Aldmeri Dominion. As I believe I’ve made clear, she’s the ideal candidate for the job you need handled.

Eveli Sharp-Arrow is eager to prove herself and find adventure. She has a big heart and the courage of a dozen Elves, but her naiveté and inexperience can be used to manipulate her in ways that would not be possible with a more seasoned operative. She has the skill and bravery to get the job done, and she’s determined to make a name for herself. What could be more perfect for your purposes?

I’ve seen her do some amazing things here in Valenwood. That bow of hers … it’s like an extension of her body. She can empty a quiver in a few seconds, with each loosed arrow finding the exact target she aimed for. She’s bright and cheerful to a fault, has the curiosity of a Khajiit, and loves to quote Wood Elf wisdom to anyone who will listen. It’s all part of her charm.

So, Farrul, Eveli Sharp-Arrow is exactly who you need. Trust me when I say this. This young Wood Elf will accomplish everything you need and then some. Have I ever failed you before?

Auditia Lentulus, Former Spymaster to the Longhouse Emperors

Welcome back to our ongoing Meet the Character series! In this entry, you'll learn more about the ambitious young Wood Elf, Eveli Sharp-Arrow, another one of the colorful new characters you'll encounter in the Orsinium DLC game pack.


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

Taken from the works of Talen-Nakal, Bright-Throat Storyteller

A hatchling once asked me, “Deelith, what is the strangest creature in Murkmire?” She looked up at me with moons-wide eyes, expecting a tale of some stark-white haj mota or a two-headed wamasu.

I twitched my tail and replied, “Little-heart, you already know this creature well—the strangest in Murkmire.”

She scrunched her snout and flicked her tongue incredulously. “That cannot be, deelith. My feet have carried me no farther than Lilmoth. I have never tasted the water of the Deepmire, or swum in the eddies of the Ree-An-Wo. What could I possibly have seen that is so unusual?”

“Have you never stepped inside Lilmoth’s old-time house?” I said. She had, of course. Everyone knows this place and its great piles of old, useless things. “Have you not met the soft-skin who lives there?”

“Famia?” she snorted—as if the very idea was a wasp in her nose. “But she is just a smiling, crazy person.”

I shook my head. “Not crazy, little-heart, but strange all the same. You ask why she is the oddest creature of all? Consider the turtle.

“The turtle walks slowly and wears armor on her back. Her soul is cautious, just as her body is cautious. The hoop viper sleeps in the tree, striking when it suits him. His soul is fickle and slippery, just like his body. Every bird, beast, and person in Murkmire acts according to their nature—except for Famia.”

The hatchling’s questioning-spine quivered and she leaned forward, sniffing out the truth in my words. “But many soft-skins come to our lands looking for old statues and useless treasures. She collects broken pottery and dusty jewelry, just as they do.”

“True,” I replied. “But you must consider why. Many soft-skins come to rob us of our land, our secrets, and even our lives. Others come to ‘educate’ us—convinced, as they are, that we are fish-brained savages in need of their pity and guidance. To both the robber and the missionary, we are inferior. Our goods and traditions are novelties. Not so, for Famia.”

I lifted the hatchling onto my lap and placed a hand over her left eye. “Famia sees with a chameleon’s eyes, little-heart. One gazes down the dry-path. It seeks musty ruins, and old xanmeer vaults. Always examining, preserving, and cataloguing. Never seeing.”

The hatchling giggled and squirmed in my lap as I uncovered her left eye and pressed my palm over her right. “The other eye stares ever downriver. It sees the truth of our people. It looks upon our works, and songs, and traditions as glorious and beautiful. It yearns to know the will of the Hist, as we do.”

“And despite all this,” I said, as I placed her back at my feet. “Despite her forked soul and unbalanced eyes, Famia lives joyfully. She dances on life’s shore with one foot in the water and the other in the sand. A child of neither, and a child of both.”

I looked into the little hatchling’s eyes, and I saw the first flickers of understanding. “So, do you see how strange she is now?”

Her lips curled into a Saxhleel smile, and she nodded. “I do, deelith. Perhaps strangeness is not so bad.”

Welcome back to our ongoing Meet the Character series! In this entry, you'll learn more about the revered Father Engatius, another one of the new characters you'll encounter in the Imperial City.

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

Scholar, investigator, and vampire, Fennorian travels Tamriel in search of its hidden knowledge and lore. Learn about this young member of House Ravenwatch in our latest Meet the Character!

Concerning the Vampire Scholar, Fennorian

By Zephrine Frey, Chronicler of Wayrest

My work for King Emeric takes me to many unusual places, such as Castle Ravenwatch. I was there the night Count Verandis Ravenwatch brought home a new ward. The vampire scholar, Fennorian. Oh, right. Forgive me. I forget that not everyone is privy to the darkest secrets of the kingdom. This isn’t public knowledge, but Verandis is a vampire. In fact, each member of House Ravenwatch is a vampire. Don’t be concerned. They’re good vampires. And the count and the king have a relationship. They’re friends of a sort, I suppose you could say. They share a mutual respect, at the very least, but I believe it goes deeper than that.

Anyway, I was at Castle Ravenwatch, waiting to deliver a message to Count Verandis. He wasn’t in residence, but his wards expected him shortly and happily let me wait. The storm that battered the castle throughout the day only intensified as darkness fell. The wards, Adusa-daro the Khajiit, and Gwendis the Wood Elf, were enjoying a late supper with their blood-servant, Kalin. We were having a nice enough talk, but it was all I could do not to leap up and make them take their fangs out of that poor man. He offered his blood willingly, I had to keep telling myself. And they weren’t draining him dry. Finally, the doors to the great hall flew wide, revealing Count Verandis in the open entryway.

The count stood tall and regal, lightning flashing behind him as thunder boomed. He wasn’t alone. Standing beside him, dripping wet and looking like a lost puppy, was a skinny High Elf with a dazed expression.

“Look what the count dragged in,” purred Adusa.

“Looks yummy,” Gwendis added. “Is that for us?”

“Mind your manners, child,” Verandis said with his usual mixture of austerity and affection as he led his companion into the hall, “and say hello to your new brother, Fennorian.”

Physically, Fennorian appeared closer in age to Gwendis than to Adusa. As he dried by the fire, I couldn’t help but notice his long, unruly hair, his smoldering gaze, and his serious expression. I’m old enough to be the young man’s grand—er, older sister—but I’m still passionate enough to recognize allure when I see it. The fact that Fennorian was unaware of his effect on those around him made him even more desirable. Which may have been one of the reasons I went out of my way to visit the castle whenever I was near Rivenspire after that.

The next few times I visited the castle, Fennorian was always in residence. We talked while he conducted alchemical experiments or studied a stack of scrolls or tomes from the count’s extensive library. He served as researcher for the rest of House Ravenwatch, who busily performed the count’s work throughout the land. The Ravenwatch, you see, in addition to being a prominent noble family, has also dedicated itself to dealing with hostile vampire clans, rogue bloodfiends, and other similar threats to the realm. For the time being, at least, the count preferred to keep Fennorian close to home. The brooding scholar had yet to go into the field, and that was starting to make him even more subdued.

I never got Fennorian to tell me much about where he came from or how Verandis found him. If anything, the topic made him uncomfortable, so I didn’t press the issue. I don’t think Verandis sired him, but I do get the impression that they are related in some way. Given how old the count actually is, I’m assuming that Fennorian is a distant descendant of some sort. Whatever the truth of all that, the young man and the count clearly share a special bond. Verandis is his father in every way that counts, and Fennorian is his son. Beyond that, I’m just guessing, but I believe that whatever situation drew them together was terrible for Fennorian. Why else would he refuse to talk about it?

During my most recent visit to the castle, the place was alive with activity. Adusa and Gwendis were preparing to depart for a mission of their own, while Fennorian ran back and forth between half a dozen alchemical workstations. He added something to one, removed something from another, and then combined the contents of a beaker from a third with a vial from a fourth. A puff of blue smoke arose from the vial, which caused a slight smile to briefly illuminate the vampire scholar’s face. He turned and handed the vial to a member of the Shornhelm Guard. “Take this to the healers. That should take care of the epidemic.” Once again, the young vampire impressed me with his quick thinking and scientific approach to every problem. With a lull in the action, I decided to get to the business that brought me to the castle.

“Adusa-daro,” I said, addressing the eldest of Verandis’s wards, “may I speak with the count? I come with an urgent matter on behalf of the king.”

The Khajiit shook her head. “Count Verandis is … unavailable. How can this one assist you?”

Verandis not in residence wasn’t unusual, and I had dealt with Adusa in the past. I quickly explained the situation. Scouts near Bangkorai Garrison spotted a group of Nord mercenaries that call themselves the Draugrkin sneaking around nearby caverns. King Emeric wanted Count Verandis to look into the matter. Adusa thought for a moment, then nodded as an idea came to mind.

“Adusa and Gwendis have their own task to complete,” she said, “but this one thinks Fennorian is ready to leave the castle for a short time.”

Fennorian appeared as surprised as Gwendis at this proclamation. He began to protest, but Adusa silenced him with a slight gesture. She looked at him, waiting, until he lowered his own gaze and said, “Yes, sister. I understand. I’m ready.”

I watched as the trio headed off, Adusa and Gwendis to whatever Ravenwatch crisis required their attention, Fennorian with his pack full of books and alchemical supplies to investigate the Draugrkin. I just hoped that Verandis had trained him as well as he did his other wards. I had a feeling there was more to the Draugrkin than either I or King Emeric suspected.

In our ongoing Meet the Character series, we learn a little more about an important figure you'll meet on your travels to Orsinium: Forge-Mother Alga, King Kurog's mother and wise elder matron of her son's royal court.

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

You have heard about members of the Dark Brotherhood at the Gold Coast as well as the leader of the Church of Akatosh in Kvatch. Now, we will provide you with background information about Provincial Governor Fortunata ap Dugal herself. Learn more about her remarkable rise to the position she holds today.

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

Join us as we introduce one of the new characters you'll encounter while playing through the main story of the Dark Brotherhood DLC game pack. In this Meet the Character entry, you'll learn about Green-Venom-Tongue, one of the deadliest members of the Dark Brotherhood that you'll join forces with when you visit the Gold Coast.


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


Skilled hunter. Devoted daughter. Learn about the Hanu and her path to Hircine's March of Sacrifices in our first Wolfhunter Meet the Character!

Mistress Dratha - Magister of the House Telvanni

I do not often host Ashlanders, but that is just the task I found myself doing today. A young woman by the name of Hanu arrived in Tel Mora, demanding to speak to me. Out of mere curiosity, I allowed her request.

Hanu's question was quickly and simply asked; how could she enter Hircine's Hunting Grounds?

I, of course, first suggested a life of hearty worship of the Daedric Prince, followed by a heroic death. She shook her head, obviously frustrated. Her wish was to enter the Daedric realm alive, and leave in just the same fashion. An intriguing request, but one I had difficulty understanding. Of all the realms in Oblivion, what did the Hunting Grounds have to offer an Aslander who did not devote themselves to Hircine?

Finally, Hanu began to wax sentimental. Her cool façade crumbled as she spoke upon the matter of saving her father's spirit. A shame. She seemed like such a levelheaded young woman. Still, her vast knowledge of Daedrology intrigued me all the same.

I agreed to help, on the basis that Hanu would share her knowledge once she had returned. The firsthand observation of a Daedric realm is something I could not possibly pass up. And to that end, how lucky was it that I should have just reviewed Pelagius Habor's dissertation on the Great Hunt?

All I needed was a fresh wolf corpse. Dissecting its stomach allowed me to read its innards, revealing the location of the next Great Hunt. And, once again, how fortunate for Hanu that such a hunt was to occur in only a few weeks' time. It almost seemed as if some divine presence was easing her path.

Still, I'll not hold my breath; very few return from Hircine's March of Sacrifices.

A relentless warrior and implacable ruler, High King Svargrim governs Western Skyrim with the unyielding fortitude and ferocity you’d expect from a true king of the Nords. Learn about the Wolf of Solitude in this latest Meet the Character.

The Wolf of Solitude

By Pjetr the Skald, of the Bards College

Thick of mane and fierce of heart, like the white wolves of Haafingar, High King Svargrim stalks the halls of his Blue Palace with restless intensity. Ever watchful. Ever wary. Like the descendants of Svartr who came before him, Svargrim is a king beset by enemies on all sides. Yet none of his noble line have faced such daunting odds during their reigns as our noble Wolf of Solitude.

Not two years into his reign, Kruntharth the Sea Giant’s armada sailed from regions unknown toward our unspoiled shores, no doubt seeking to pillage our prosperous kingdom. Some would-be kings might have cowered behind their high walls while those monsters despoiled the countryside, but not the Wolf! He sailed a fleet of our bravest warriors out to drive the foul Giants back from whence they came or to send them to the unforgiving depths.

It’s said that Svargrim stood eye-to-eye with Kruntharth from atop the high mast as the monstrous warrior demanded tribute of our king and kingdom for his mercy. But did our high king yield? Nay! He leapt from the crow's nest and tore open the throat of that Giant like a wolf preying upon a mammoth. So inspired were Svargrim’s soldiers that they followed suit, swinging onto the deck of Kruntharth’s floating fortress and casting the giants into the sea!

Let us not forget the Great Troll Rut of 2E 565 (as if it were even possible), when the unseasonable warmth inspired broods of the creatures to rampage across the western holds while locked in unspeakably horrid acts. The Wolf split up twenty of the unholy couplings himself, and further divided those forty creatures with his sword! To this day, trolls tend to avoid the area closest to the walls of Solitude the way chubloons avoid sabre cat dens.

You can be certain that when the Akaviri came to Skyrim searching for conquest, they took one look at our fearsome king on our palisades and sailed straight east for easier prey. And though they were brought low by the machinations of Dark Elves, Mud Lizards, and the so-called Skald Prince—who diminishes our noble craft by mere association—they made short work of Windhelm and the falsely crowned High Queen of the East, Mabjaarn Flame-Hair.

If only Emperor Moricar the Middling had taken heed before committing his legions to our borders in a vain attempt to subjugate Skyrim from his cushioned seat on the Ruby Throne. Though his cowardice spared him the same embarrassing death as his predecessor, the howls of the Wolf routing his army in single battle no doubt carried all the way to the White-Gold Tower and haunted his dreams to the end of his days!

And who was it that saved the western holds from the Witchman throng stampeding out from Cyrodiil after the Longhouse Emperors finally fell? Thousands of those mongrels came clawing and biting into our lands like cornered, rabid dogs, but our noble Wolf strode out and showed them whose fangs were sharpest. When have you seen more than a handful of Reachfolk in our lands since?

Take heart, Nords of the West. Though troubles assail us from east and west, south and north, you have nothing to fear from that motley pact of Elves, lizards, and iceheels, or the unwashed hordes of the Despot of Markarth. The Wolf of Solitude keeps a tireless vigil atop his tower. Our enemies will find no safe haven in our wondrous realm.

By Tsojei, Reel-Ka Warrior of the Dead-Water Tribe

There we stood, calf-deep in ooze and blood. I looked left to see Kuseem drowning in voriplasm. He died well, but could not utter his final death-curse. He just made a gurgling sound, like a guar with its throat cut. His face, once sharp and covered in bright red war-paint, sloughed off his skull like a wet rag. All in one piece. Dissolving in a pool of green slime, right before my eyes.

On my right, Tlek fought like a tailless wamasu, filled with righteous Naga fury--desperate to kill what she could before blood-loss and fatigue claimed her life at last.

Slime-covered ghouls approached from all sides. I crushed and cleaved, just as my root-mother, and her root-mother before her, had done. But my weapon, becoming coated in corrosive slime, sagged and cracked, growing weaker with every strike. Weaker and weaker. Just like Tlek. Just like me.

As I prepared to charge headlong into the Dread-Father’s arms one last time, I heard a hiss and a roar behind me. It was Jaxsik-Orrn. In that moment, I knew we would survive.

She set upon the voriplasms with such rage and strength that even I, her egg-brother, felt a hatchling’s fear well up in my throat-sac. Grave-stakes that the dead-not-dead wielded like clubs crashed against her armor, shattering in a spray of splinters and blood. Voriplasms lashed at her legs, leaving ragged wounds on her calves and thighs. But no injury, large or small, slowed Jaxsik-Orrn’s assault.

In the end, nothing remained of our enemies but broken bones and clumps of slowly fading ooze. Despite her seeping wounds, my sister lurched toward what remained of Kuseem, knife in hand. “Fight on, root-brother,” she whispered reverently, before prying what remained of his head from his ragged corpse.

“Stake the rest,” she rasped. Tlek and I did as we were told—pressing Kuseem’s grave-stake deep into his chest and pinning him to the thick mud under the water.

My egg-sister lowered her head and pressed her fist to her chest. “Glory in dying,” she hissed.

“Glory in death,” we replied.

In those days, Jaxsik-Orrn was just a hunter like us. But as we stood there, covered in blood, we saw her true heart--the heart of a war-captain. A hero. And one day, a legend.

Tamriel's lost ruins and temples tempt more than just brave adventurers and treasure hunters. Enterprising scholars and academics also have a keen interest in lost sites and buried secrets. Read about one such scholar in our latest Meet the Character!

Headmistress Guillon,

I endorse, and this comes with no hesitation on my part, Jorvuld Davaux's proposed exploration of Scalecaller Peak. While I share your concerns about the hazards of such an expedition, I also can think of no one more suited to uncover the secrets of Zaan the Scalecaller. Davaux is one of the most resourceful and rational academics we have at our disposal. If anyone can accomplish this task, it is him.

I also understand your hesitation in the importance of such a short-lived Dragon Priest, a hesitation shared by many academics throughout history. However, Davaux's observations are correct. It is well documented that Zaan's connection to her dragon Thurvokun was unusually robust, though the nature of this connection has been little speculated upon. To think that this may lead to a better understanding of the connection between Dragon Priests and their Dragon Lords is an exciting prospect, and well worth the funding that Davaux has requested.

For years, Davaux has given his all to this institution, asking little in return. You'll find none more passionate about the mysteries of Dragon Priests, or more hard working to uncover those mysteries. It would be an absolute travesty to deny him funding at this point. Let him go, I say. Let's see what he's truly capable of. I don't believe we'll regret it.

Yours Sincerely,

Professor Chamrond


As for your inquiry towards the nature of Davaux's markedly Nordish given name, I believe this part of his family's customs. His mother Torrelda, who I had the great pleasure of working alongside several years ago, often spoke of her strong lineage of Nord scholars. I can only speculate that Davaux is named after Jorvuld the Reserved, a commander known for his rational thinking and defensive tactics; traits that did not make him a particularly popular within the Nord community.

Khamira, Aide to the Speaker of the Mane

A Report for the Proxy Queen By Penewen, Advisor to the Court

As instructed, I opened a file on Lord Gharesh-ri’s aide, Khamira. I am not averse to investigating our allies, especially those individuals who report to high-ranking officials, such as the Speaker of the Mane, and have the freedom to move throughout the alliance unhindered.

Interestingly, I was not able to dig into Khamira’s past much beyond her relatively recent promotion to aide and agent for the Speaker of the Mane. She has no obvious familial connections that I could ascertain, despite her noble bearing. Prior to her appointment, she appeared in Gharesh-ri’s company from time to time, vaguely introduced as his ward and apprentice. It is clear that Gharesh-ri took a personal hand in her training and education, molding her into the role she now fills. By all accounts, she’s incredibly capable and the Speaker has come to depend on her unique skills and abilities.

As an aide to the Speaker of the Mane, Khamira serves as a sort of confidential advisor, personal assistant, and secretary for Lord Gharesh-ri. However, Khamira isn’t confined to constantly remaining at the Speaker’s side. She also acts as his agent, traveling throughout Elsweyr and beyond to help conduct the business of the Khajiit’s spiritual leader, the Mane. My intelligence indicates that she acts as the Speaker’s voice, delivering messages and decrees with the weight of his authority. She has worked as a diplomat, a courier, and—dare I say it—a spy. Just as we pay attention to happenings that could be of interest to the queen and the Dominion, it shouldn’t surprise us that the Speaker of the Mane does the same for the Khajiit.

Khamira is well spoken and highly educated. Her cadence has none of the usual Khajiiti structure or mannerisms, and she rarely if ever employs contractions when she speaks. A love of adventure drives Khamira, and when she isn’t traveling for the Speaker she can be found exploring ancient ruins and other places of historic interest—especially places that have a connection or significance to the Khajiiti people. She has a passion for the history and legends of her people, and should probably be considered an expert in the field despite her lack of credentials as a scholar.

My research indicates that she has a fierce and devoted love for her homeland. Elsweyr—particularly Northern Elsweyr, also known as Anequina—seems to be near and dear to her heart, and she carries a sense of responsibility that goes beyond both her position and her relatively young age. She demonstrates a similar respect and admiration for Lord Gharesh-ri, which he reciprocates in kind. He treats her, in some regards, as the daughter he never had, though the role she fills came to her through her own hard work and capabilities. He may have groomed her for the job, but he clearly expects her to excel at it. Despite his fondness for and connection to the young Khajiit, he has no qualms about making her work and requiring her results to be nothing short of perfect.

One other thing of note that I mention only because the mystery intrigues me. Khamira wears a pendant of some sort on a chain around her neck. While she rarely displays the jewelry openly, she never seems to go without it. I haven’t been able to get a complete description of the pendant, but it appears to feature the two moons revered by the Khajiit, Jone and Jode. This matches her interest in her heritage, but I can’t help wonder if there’s more to this adornment than simple decoration. I will continue to look into this young Khajiit as time and opportunity permit.

In the meantime, I think I can say with all confidence that Khamira, as an agent of the Speaker of the Mane, deserves watching. As long as she continues to serve the Khajiiti people, the Mane, and the Dominion, she represents an asset we should encourage and cultivate. If any of those aspects ever change, we should revisit this discussion, for I could see Khamira maturing into either a valued ally or a dangerous enemy if the interests of the Khajiiti people were to hang in the balance.

Advisor Penewen

Join us as we meet one of the new characters you'll encounter while playing through the Orsinium DLC game pack story. In this Meet the Character entry, you'll learn a little about Kurog gro-Orsinium the warrior-king, reigning monarch of the Orcs.

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

From the unpublished biographies of the Ayleid Kings by the late Tjurhane Fyrre, courtesy of the University of Gwilym.

Garlas Malatar and its ruler, King Narilmor, had long been regarded within the Ayleid Empire as the beacons of the west, both figuratively and literally. Narilmor was a devout follower of Meridia who dedicated his life and his city to her veneration. At the height of his reign, he was regarded as a favorite of the Daedric Prince, second only to Umaril the Unfeathered. There is considerable evidence supporting this claim, but the proof positive was the great beacon that shone above Garlas Malatar fueled by the unquenchable light of Meridia. It was known as the Guiding Light, and while it may have paled in comparison to the magnitude of the White-Gold Tower, it was an unmistakable landmark visible from great distances. The account of one Ayleid captain claimed he could sail from Yokuda to Garlas Malatar by its light alone.

Under King Narilmor’s reign, Garlas Malatar prospered as a cosmopolitan port city and trade hub for the Ayleid Empire. Unlike many kingdoms of the era, the “Cavern of the High Wood” welcomed its neighbors within its formidable walls, so long as Meridian law was obeyed. To deviate from Narilmor’s code of conduct was a high crime and punished harshly, but the king was thought of as a fair ruler who maintained order without favoritism or exception. The most notorious example of Narilmor’s strict judgment was the execution of a neighboring ruler who did not show Meridia adequate deference during a diplomatic visit to the city. Despite his hardline approach, Narilmor was beloved by his subjects, who enjoyed wealth and abundance across all strata of their society, and respected by his peers for his honorable agreements and the equitable terms of his treaties. Both would sour on him in the final years of his rule.

After the fall of the White-Gold Tower, which marked the end of the Ayleid Empire, King Narilmor withdrew from the world outside his kingdom and Garlas Malatar closed its gates to all outsiders. While the remaining Ayleid kingdoms brokered alliances and waged wars in the vain hope that the Alessian rebellion could be held back, Narilmor only paid lip-service to his former allies and lent neither aid nor asylum in their hour of need. Many an Ayleid army perished cursing his name.

What happened within Garlas Malatar during those troubled times remains a mystery, as the site has remained sealed since the Alessians sacked the city. What little correspondence escaped the walls spoke of growing unrest, and the ruthless quashing of dissent. Some accounts of the siege that lead to the city’s downfall claim that Men never set foot inside Garlas Malatar before it collapsed into ruin. If true, it would mean that the city was buried by conflict from within, or a final act of sabotage. Whatever the truth may be, on that day the Guiding Light and the rule of King Narilmor were extinguished, never to be seen again.

Enigmatic, cunning, and influential, Lady Belain is the chief advisor to Ard Caddach. Learn more about this ambitious advisor in our final Markarth Meet the Character!

From a report by Lady Nilene Devieren, Royal Envoy to the Reach

In the first week of Hearth Fire, I traveled to Markarth to negotiate with the Despot, Ard Caddach, on the question of Reachfolk raids along High Rock’s borders. Upon arrival, I learned that before I would be permitted to state High King Emeric’s case to the Despot, I would first need to persuade his chief advisor, the Lady Belain, to arrange a meeting. Fortunately, Lady Belain had no objection to hearing me out.

Before I relate the details of our discussion, let me explain Lady Belain’s position in Markarth. As the Despot’s close confidante, she is never far from his side. Oddly enough, no one I spoke to in the Reach knew exactly when or how she came to wield such influence. From what I could ascertain, she first appeared during the period when Caddach ruled the city as Imperial Governor under Emperor Moricar. Many foreigners came to Markarth in those days; Lady Belain represented herself as a Breton noble from an obscure family, with certain scholarly and arcane interests in the Reach. She established a household in Markarth’s heights, bringing with her a small number of closemouthed servants and importing luxurious furnishings from distant lands.

Soon after she settled in the city, Lady Belain began advising Caddach on both arcane questions and diplomatic matters. She quickly gained a reputation for her wily political instincts, using soft words and subtlety to temper the Despot’s sternness. The people of Markarth called her Caddach’s “keep-witch.” Now, witches are greatly respected by the Reachfolk, but in Lady Belain’s case, the term is not entirely complimentary. I learned that “keep-witches” are seen as overly political. In the eyes of most Reachfolk, witches should deal with the elements and the spirits; witches who stand close to a throne are not to be trusted.

My conversation with Lady Belain began with the usual pleasantries. Lady Belain asked about my journey and if I was comfortable in the quarters I had secured in Markarth. In truth, I was surprised to find myself discussing such matters. In my previous visits to Markarth, no Reachfolk had expressed even the least solicitude for my comforts, yet here I sat sipping tea with a lady of high breeding.

When the time came, I turned the conversation to the High King’s message. “I thank you for your welcome, my lady, but I must now bring up the business of my visit,” I began. “The depredations of the Bloodthorn Cult in Glenumbra and the Dark Witnesses in Mournoth are simply intolerable. The High King wishes peace along his borders, but when Reachfolk raid our towns and burn our farms, there can be no peace. They say you have Ard Caddach’s ear. Can you not convince him to rein in the clans that are running wild before they draw us into a war neither of us want?”

Lady Belain weighed my question for a long moment. I observed that she had an unusual manner to her; young enough to be regarded as a great beauty, yet her eyes seemed to hold an unsettling depth of wisdom and experience. “The Bloodthorns and the Dark Witnesses are indeed a problem,” she finally answered. “But the ard will not command them to do as your high king bids. Caddach cannot be seen to act as Emeric’s lapdog.”

“My lady, I must at least make the attempt,” I protested. “You must be able to do something.”

Again Belain regarded me with those dark, deep eyes. “If Emeric were to strike a hard blow against the clans that badger your border,” she said, “they will appeal to Ard Caddach for help. This will put him in a position to offer them protection from you. That will give him a hold on them.”

I frowned, not sure I understood her correctly. “You’re telling us to attack your own people?”

“I am telling you to do nothing,” Lady Belain answered. “I merely say what will happen if you strike a blow in your own behalf.”

“That is not much help. I came here because High King Emeric hopes to avoid a fight.”

“Oh, but we are not talking of this season’s troubles,” Lady Belain said. “We are talking of ending these troubles for years to come. If that is your king’s wish, then he will find that strengthening Ard Caddach’s hand is the wisest strategy he can pursue. Instead of dealing with a dozen intractable clans, he can deal with one king in the Reach. Helping Ard Caddach is in your own best interest.”

I considered that point, and I must say, it seemed so reasonable, so attractive, that my mission almost ended right there. I saw myself returning to Wayrest to explain the cleverness of Lady Belain’s plan, basking in the praise I would certainly receive for bringing it to the high king. But some stubborn seed of doubt lingered in my mind.

“It may be as you say, my lady,” I managed, “but I am charged with taking my king’s words to the Despot of Markarth. I cannot leave without doing that.”

Lady Belain’s eyes flashed, and I sensed that it would not be wise to anger her. Something perilous moved behind that gentle countenance, I felt sure of it. But even as I shrank in my seat, she smiled coolly at me. “Well, you must do what you must,” she said. “I will see to it that you meet Ard Caddach. He will grumble, dismiss your concerns, and in the end give you no answer. Afterward, come back to me. I will help you find a way to explain it to your high king.”

Troubled by her words, I took my leave soon after. Two days later, my conversation with the Despot of Markarth went exactly as Lady Belain had foretold. But instead of returning to the keep-witch, I decided to set down this report and seal it.

I find that I am not sure what mind I’ll be in after I speak with Lady Belain again.

Mystery surrounds the reclusive vampire Lady Thorn, hidden away within her castle atop the mountains of Western Skyrim. Discover the secrets of this ancient noble in our latest Meet the Character!

A Summary and a Warning

By Fennorian of House Ravenwatch

First, please accept my apologies for the delayed response to your inquiry, dear Gwendis. I know that in the past we may not have always seen eye to eye on our responsibilities to House Ravenwatch, but please believe that I would never intentionally slight or disrespect you. Even when our arguments become heated, I never forget that you are my sister. Our mutual dedication to Lord Verandis’s cause transcends any minor bickering between the two of us.

Speaking of our house’s mission, the reason for my delay is related. Your letter requesting information on Lady Thorn arrived just after I set out to Bangkorai. Rumors of a previously unknown ancient gravesite reached my ears and I decided it worthy of investigation. I must tell you of the incredible adventure I had within—I met a woman there who reminded me of you in many ways—but that can wait for a future conversation. Suffice it to say, I may now understand your attraction to and excitement for field research.

Upon returning to Ravenwatch Castle, I immediately set to work digging up any references to Lady Thorn that I could find. Your ignorance of her is well justified. Very little regarding that name appears in the Vampiric Index that Verandis established. A surprise, considering her title of “Lady” implies a connection to aristocracy. I began to wonder if she were merely a tale the rural Nords tell each other while waiting for hunks of horker meat to boil. She would not be the first phantom we chased after.

But then I recalled your description of her castle on Skyrim’s western border near the Reach. In your letter, you wrote that its design appeared vampiric. Or, as you put it, “it has all those awful pointy bits that our people like to put on things.” Although I agree with you about the tediousness of vampiric architecture, it did provide a clue to learning more about Lady Thorn’s past.

You see, I don’t believe that Lady Thorn was the original occupant of that castle. Records from Solitude indicate that a clan of vampires appropriately calling themselves the Snowbrood constructed the castle sometime around the seventh century of the First Era. I cannot pinpoint the exact date because, as you know, the Nords do not practice fastidious record keeping. However, they do mention the Snowbrood built the castle using local slave labor. They frequently raided local villages at night, capturing people strong enough for labor. Apparently, the clan would work them to near death, then drain them of blood and return the corpse to their home village, sometimes propping the body up at a dinner table or bed in a grim mockery of life.

You might agree that this type of flashy evil does not align with what we know of Lady Thorn. Her reclusiveness is the one trait that we have any certainty about. But I found more. After the Snowbrood completed the castle, the raids slowed but did not cease. The locals would not hear from the vampires for years, sometimes decades, and then another attack would come. They describe the raids as purposeless—viciousness for its own sake. Afterward, the Snowbrood would once again go quiet.

Then, in 1E 1030, an Altmer woman arrived in the area. The stories describe her as dignified, refined, and slightly snobbish. One Nord writes, “Just as the last beam of light fell under the horizon, this Elf woman appears on horseback. She was pretty, as far as Elves go. I don’t know that I’d ever seen clothing as fine as hers, nor may I ever again. She wasn’t dressed for the cold, that’s for sure. But I never saw it bother her.”

“As she came up to the night-fire of my guard post, I heard her call out and request a meeting with our jarl. Her tone sounded like a demand, despite her polite words. I had me a bit of a chuckle and replied that our little village hadn’t quite earned a jarl yet. She huffed a bit then asked for whoever runs the town. Well, obviously I can’t just go fetch him for any old passerby, so I asked her business. That’s when she tells us that she can wipe out the Snowbrood. You can bet for sure I ran and grabbed Thornir then.”

I reviewed several accounts from the handful of small villages that surrounded what’s now called Castle Thorn, and they all roughly match in the details. This mysterious Altmer arrives at sundown and requests a meeting with the leading decision-makers. In those meetings, she claims the ability to wipe out the Snowbrood and end the raids. In exchange she requests ownership of the castle in perpetuity. Since the Nords want nothing to do with the accursed place, they all agree to her terms. Afterward, she tells the villagers that once smoke rises from the castle, the may feel safe. The Snowbrood would be no more.

Only one report exists of the last time someone saw her outside the castle. I include it in full below:

“I watched the Elf woman on her horse head toward the gate that blocks the pass up the mountain. The others told me to leave her alone, but I’d never seen an Elf before and she acted so strange. I followed behind her at a distance, hoping she didn’t see me. As we got closer to the castle, she stopped and looked directly at me. No idea how she knew I was there—I’m known as the best creeper in the village. But when I saw her face, something had changed. Her eyes turned black and her skin gray. All she said to me was, ‘Your curiosity satisfied is not worth your life, little one.’ Then she rode off up the hill.”

“I stayed there catching my breath for a bit. I mean, she just looked so scary. That’s when I heard the screams from the castle. They’d rise up through the air, and then cut off suddenly. From where I stood, I could tell the screaming came from different parts of the castle. Like she was moving through it room by room. After a while it went silent. Then the smoke appeared, just as she said it would. But she didn’t mention that it would smell. It reminded me of when the hunters bring back a mammoth and we gather around the cook pit and eat as much as we can. Anyway, I ran home and never saw the Elf lady again.”

Gwendis, if this story is genuinely about Lady Thorn, I believe it should cause you great concern. This vampire eliminated an entire clan of vicious horrors entirely by herself. The strength she must wield could overwhelm the entire House Ravenwatch, let alone just one member. Perhaps we should take her reticence for social interaction as a sign to leave her alone.

I can imagine your eye roll. I would never ask that you not pursue an investigation. However, please heed my warning. I couldn’t bear to lose one of our family.

With sincerity and devotion,

Your brother, Fennorian

When it suits her, the Dremora Lyranth can be a powerful, if prickly, ally. Learn more about the “Dread Lady” in this Meet the Character!

Brothers and Sisters Seeking Wisdom,

Hear ye and be inspired! I have heard the word of the Dread Lady, and I bring enlightenment from my lovely and powerful mistress!

As the humble prophet of Lyranth, a Dremora of great guile and cunning, know that my words hold truth and revelation. Like me, you too can bask in the Dread Lady’s aura and gain wisdom beyond measure. All you have to do is believe!

Let me tell you about the Dread Lady. Bear in mind, I am too lowly to speak of my mistress in anything more than euphemisms and hushed tones. Lyranth is the darkness in the dead of night, the arcane fire burning in Oblivion. She has served Molag Bal and walked her own path. She has strode upon the broken rocks of Coldharbour and explored the farthest reaches of the Void. She is unique among her kind, for she has a burning curiosity and an unlikely interest in the happenings of little mortals, such as ourselves. No other Daedra is her equal, and I am blessed that she has chosen me to bring her thoughts and words to the world at large.

Of course, those words must be disguised so as not to worry the locals. I find that most folk see anything related to Daedra as evil and dangerous. Nothing could be further from the truth!

Well, my Dread Lady is somewhat dangerous. I can’t deny that. I saw her snap the neck of a mortal, but he did make the mistake of sneezing as he walked past her. She hates such mortal foibles as normal bodily functions. Makes her twitch, from what I’ve seen. But evil? Who are we to put labels on the moral behavior of beings that are greater than ourselves? I’ve seen Lyranth bend down to pat a kitten on the head, then watched as she turned and gutted a Dark Elf in the street just because the mood struck her. Is that evil? I’ll let you decide.

The Dread Lady, unlike others of her kind (though in reality, there are no others of her kind), won’t necessarily slay a mortal upon first meeting one. She is curious about us, as I’ve said, and willing to talk. At least until she grows bored with the conversation. I find it best to keep my interactions with her short and to the point. She can be unkind when she becomes bored. She also permits mortals to assist her in her great works from time to time. While so far I have served only as her prophet and messenger, I know for a fact that other mortals have actually adventured with her, both here on Nirn and on distant Oblivion planes.

Lyranth also finds amusement in the actions of mortals. She presents herself as aloof and fickle, but I believe that through her interactions with us “little mortals,” she has become singular among the beings of Oblivion. And that is why I adore her and bring you her words. But I find her humor to be infectious, even when it cuts me to the bone. I find her observations enlightening, even when they expose my most egregious flaws.

Some call her an outcast. Others say she is the last of her clan. That she seeks revenge on those who banished or destroyed the clan she belonged to. I am no expert on the clans and cultures of Daedric society, but if someone was responsible for such a tragedy, I pity the fool when the Dread Lady finally gets her hands on them.

If you ever are blessed with the Dread Lady’s presence, heed my advice: Never ask her why. She finds the mortal need to know the reason for every action to be tiresome at best and insulting at worst. You never want to insult the Dread Lady. Nothing good ever comes of that.

Rogatus Cinna, Prophet of the Dread Lady

Honorable, kind, and as tough as a horker’s hide, there’s no one in Tamriel quite like Lyris Titanborn, and as you investigate Skyrim’s Dark Heart, you’ll find no greater ally than the daughter of giants. Learn about the colossal companion you’ll encounter in the upcoming Greymoor Chapter!


As always, your service to the realm does you proud. I know my father asked a lot of you when he sent you to Western Skyrim, but you can be certain that additional help is on the way. We’re sending the very best of us to take charge of the situation there. The threat posed by the Icereach Coven is just too great to risk anything less. So, know that Lyris Titanborn will meet you in Solitude in short order.

I assume you have heard the name, Lyris Titanborn. It seems to me that everyone has. She may even be more famous than my father, the Skald-King of Windhelm! In case you don’t know the fair and powerful half-giant, let me tell you the tale. My father has been working on surprising her with a hero’s ballad, and I’ve listened to him recite it a thousand times. Truth be told, it isn’t half bad.

There was a Nord name Gjalder, in whose veins the blood of Giants flowed. When he met and fell in love with Alyr Golden-Hair, he never thought their love would result in her death. She died giving birth to their considerably large daughter, Lyris. Gjalder raised his daughter in Eastern Skyrim. Heartbroken, he nonetheless loved Lyris and taught her honor, compassion, and courage. As Lyris grew tall and strong—taller and stronger than anyone in her village—her father imagined a place for her as a warrior of Skyrim, maybe even as a swordthane to a jarl! Lyris, however, had other ideas.

At the age of fifteen, already taller than even the largest Nord adult, she packed her few belongings and grabbed the axe her father had given her. She decided that Cyrodiil would put her strength to the test and that the Empire would give her the training she craved. When she arrived, she enlisted in the Imperial Legion. Imagine the ridicule and harassment she had to endure. The stares. In many cases, outright fear. But endure it she did, rising through the ranks and honing herself into the fearsome warrior we know today.

At some point along the way, she met Varen Aquilarios and got caught up in his revolution. His bodyguard and a trusted adviser, she helped him take the Ruby Throne and become emperor. Then, as one of Varen’s Five Companions, she participated in many famous and infamous adventures—including the fiasco that began the Planemeld. Note that the blame for that falls squarely on the shoulders of mages. And Lyris returned to help put a stop to the chaos, as I’m sure you’ve heard.

Some say she’s in love with the Redguard Dragonguard, Sai Sahan. Perhaps. I do know that she helped rebuild the Abbey of Blades for a time. Something drew her back to her homeland, though, and eventually Lyris made her way home to Skyrim. When she arrived in Windhelm, she marched right into the Palace of Kings and offered her axe to my father, Jorunn the Skald-King. My father can be downright annoying, as you well know. He gave Lyris a hard time, asking if he could trust her. If she really was the legendary Lyris Titanborn and not some Daedric imposter. I could see her grow more furious with every accusation Jorunn threw at her. Just when I thought the two were going to come to blows right there in the newly renovated throne room, they both burst out laughing. I’m still not sure what happened, but she’s been a loyal agent of the Skald-King ever since.

What else do you need to know about Lyris Titanborn? She’s been to Coldharbour and back, so never count her out. When the danger reaches levels so terrible as to block out the sky, know that Lyris and her axe will still be standing strong, ready to face it head on. There’s no one I’d rather march into battle with than the half-giant of Skyrim. She’s the one who first determined the extent of the threat posed by the Icereach Coven. And she’ll help you finish the investigation and convince Svargrim, the pretender high king of Solitude, to take the threat seriously and take action. Even he wouldn’t be so foolish as to ignore our warning and turn away our help.

Lyris Titanborn is on her way, Brondold. Gather what intelligence you can and be ready to assist her when she arrives. Kyne’s breath at your back, my friend.

Irnskar, Prince of Windhelm

Learn about Mirri Elendis, one of the two new Companions you can recruit with the Blackwood Chapter.

Hall Steward Delte Nethri,

Hail and well met, comrade! Regarding your recent request for an expert on Daedric matters of a sensitive nature, might I recommend Mirri Elendis? Even as a relatively young Dark Elf, she has already made a reputation for herself in Mournhold and the surrounding countryside. I have no doubt that she could be a help to you in Vivec City or wherever the Fighters Guild requires assistance.

Mirri comes from a minor Dark Elf family that has a somewhat checkered reputation for recovering ancient relics, especially items tied to Daedra and the Daedric Princes. Her father was a former Hlaalu merchant who wasn’t above trading some of the antiquities they acquired for gold or favors, while her mother was more of a procurer of said curiosities, delving into ruins with audacity and aplomb. I can confirm that Mirri definitely takes after the maternal side of the family.

Mirri’s work for us here in Mournhold has been a blessing, even if the Ordinators sometimes look askew at her methods. Not only has she been an asset in our study and subsequent drive to deal with the Dark Anchors that litter the landscape far and wide, she has also been invaluable when it comes to certain missions we have been charged with by the Tribunal Temple. I don’t know how it is for you in the city of the Living God, Vivec, but our guildhall’s proximity to Mother Almalexia encourages her to utilize us as though we were another arm of her Ordinators. It pays well, so who am I to complain?

Luckily, Mirri holds the Tribunal in high esteem, and though she is nowhere near what any of us would call orthodox, she possesses a driving interest in the Anticipations and how they relate to the Living Gods. So, tracking down relics related to the Anticipations for the Tribunal has solidified her position as a worthy consultant in all matters concerning the Daedra. She isn’t a worshiper of the Daedra, if that’s your concern. But she analyzes them the way a kwama miner studies every aspect of the insects they keep and the eggs those creatures lay. As Mirri likes to say, “You can’t fetching deal with an enraged alit unless you know what made it fetching mad in the first place.” For that reason, she has dedicated herself to knowing all she can about Daedra and Daedric relics.

Now, I don’t want you to get the wrong idea. Mirri is competent and hard-working, but she’s in no way easy to deal with. She despises authority figures and constantly skirts along the edge of trouble with the local law. She bends the rules nearly to the breaking point, but she gets things done. When she doesn’t get her way, her mood turns darker than the bottom of Malacath’s black boot. And the only thing fouler than her mood is her mouth—she curses like a Sea Elf pirate! I remember the first time she graced our hall with her presence, Mirri felt that Soris Rothan had insulted her in some way. She unleashed a barrage of profanities upon the poor sod that ended by proclaiming him “a scrib sucking s’wit with lips an alit wouldn’t kiss!” We laughed for nearly an hour over that!

I wouldn’t want a guildhall full of Mirri Elendis’s, but I wouldn’t trade the one I’ve been using for all the scrib jerky in Morrowind. And you know I love my scrib jerky! If you need a Daedric consultant to delve into the ruins and tombs that decorate the Vvardenfell wilderness, or if you have a mission that requires Daedric expertise in Blackwood or anywhere else in Tamriel, you won’t find a better hire than Mirri Elendis. On that, you have my word.

Belderi Llenim, Armsman, Mournhold Guildhall


Learn about Mother Ciannait, a fearfully powerful witch and master of the Icereach Coven, coming soon with the Harrowstorm DLC!

Memorandum for Second Legion High Command
Summary of Battle: As dictated by Optio Cornelia Midara
Sun’s Dusk 26, 2E 577
With deepest regret, I must inform the Legate that our pursuit of the Icereach Coven has failed. Recent battles north and west of Falkreath resulted in major casualties, diminishing both fighting capacity and morale. In light of these developments, I have ordered an immediate withdrawal of all remaining legionaries to the Jerall crossing to await further orders. I strongly recommend that the Legate delay any additional deployments north of the Jeralls until the coven threat moves farther north.
Initial reports indicated that the Icereach Coven served the Reach-Emperor Leovic as advisors only. Their leader, a witch called Mother Ciannait, disproved that belief in horrific fashion.
During our first assault on the coven, we expected only modest resistance. We had harried them for over a week, across the highlands and into the Jerall Mountains in heavy snow. When we descended into Falkreath, we expected an exhausted enemy. What we found was a slaughter.
Mother Ciannait and her coterie of hags had taken refuge among the graves west of the town, summoning hordes of desiccated Nords and empowering them with vile enchantments. Amidst the howling winds and biting sleet we heard Ciannait’s voice boom through the pines—oddly matronly, but also filled with arcane menace. Many legionaries fell under her influence and fled the field, shrieking and tearing at their armor, as if covered in a swarm of stinging insects. Others screamed in pain as the witches heated their metal cuirasses white-hot, like metal drawn from a forge.
I caught only a fleeting glimpse of her, lit by bursting flames and blasts of lightning. She wore a twisted wicker mask and the elements roared and danced around her like shrieking lunatics. I see her still when I close my eyes.
I pray the Legate will forgive these florid descriptions. I only mean to express the full effect of what we witnessed so we can exercise all due caution in the future. Should the Legate wish it, I will marshal my remaining legionaries and continue the chase. But I fear Mother Ciannait will make us pay an even higher price if we meet her again. I pray the Legate will allow us to return to Cyrodiil soon. This matter of the Icereach Coven is better left to the Nords.

From the Journal of Centurion Jagus, Royal Strategist to the Queen

I have made myself indispensable to Her Exalted Majesty, Queen Euraxia by becoming her resident expert on Dragons. Yes, Dragons! Amazing, isn’t it, that the creatures of legend have turned out to be real. As the Royal Strategist, I had my doubts about what we would find in the Halls of Colossus. I admit, I refused to believe Queen Euraxia and Zumog Phoom when they insisted that their research indicated what the ancient ruins contained. Once the Dragons emerged, however, I made it my goal to study the magnificent creatures and advise Her Majesty on how best to negotiate with them.

Which brings me to the very nature of these great beasts. I must record my thoughts about Mulaamnir, the powerful Dragon who has mostly interacted with Queen Euraxia and me since they arrived in Northern Elsweyr. Mulaamnir is a massive creature, surely among the largest of his kind. He refers to the other Dragons that emerged from the Halls at his side as his “brothers,” but I have yet to ascertain if this refers to an actual familial connection or to a sense of companionship created after their long association.

Mulaamnir, a massive Dragon adorned in azure scales, answered Queen Euraxia’s summons and spoke in a commanding tone that indicated he represented all of the newly released Dragons. His rumbling voice sent shivers down my spine, I must admit. I find no shame in this admission. Even Her Majesty seemed ill at ease standing before the huge beast. We honestly had no idea if the Dragons would agree to Queen Euraxia’s offer of an alliance or if Mulaamnir would smite us with fire or swallow us whole into his expansive maw. I almost bolted when he referred to us as “little morsels.” But I held my ground and demonstrated my worth to my queen.

Since that first meeting, I have had the honor of interacting with Mulaamnir on Her Majesty’s behalf on multiple occasions. By studying the creature and engaging it in conversation, I have learned and surmised a great many facts concerning Mulaamnir and his brethren. As I mentioned above, this particular group of Dragons work much more closely and communally than the legends and ancient documents I reviewed indicated. The existing records suggest that the ancient Dragons that once ravaged the land were solitary creatures that competed as much with themselves as with others. It is clear from our interactions, however, that this band of Dragons has a strong bond and shared purpose, and that Mulaamnir commands his fellows with an authority not unlike that of Queen Euraxia.

Physically powerful, I witnessed Mulaamnir accomplish extreme feats of strength with terrifying ease. During an engagement between Euraxian forces and the Khajiiti militia, I watched with a mix of fascination and horror as Mulaamnir landed in the middle of the catfolk army and tore into them with teeth and claws, wings and tail. He obliterated them like a whirling scythe cutting through tall, dry grass. More to the point, I could see that he thoroughly enjoyed the mayhem.

The Dragons employ intense breath weapons of various types. For example, I’ve seen Mulaamnir pour fire from his gullet down upon Khajiiti soldiers and civilians alike. I’ve also seen him employ a type of storm magic in much the same way. As I understand it, it just depends upon the particular shout the Dragon uses to call forth the power. I don’t completely understand how this works, but it seems to be some sort of magic. I take it certain Nords and even some of the past emperors were able to utilize this form of magic, but never to the extent of the Dragons.

Mulaamnir possesses a surprising amount of knowledge, especially concerning Khajiiti lore. Well, maybe not so surprising, given his vast age. Though beastlike in form, Mulaamnir and his kin are closer to us in intellect than might be immediately obvious. Perhaps, I dare say, they are our superiors. He has a keen interest in the moons for some reason, but I can’t get him to elaborate or go into detail. For an ally, he keeps his own counsel and isn’t as forthcoming as either I or Queen Euraxia would like. It frustrates her, I know, but I haven’t been able to get the Dragon to open up more than he already has.

* * *

Mulaamnir and his Dragons have been instrumental in our first victories against the Khajiiti rebels who refuse to accept the rule of Queen Euraxia. I just wish I could convince Mulaamnir to lend us more than a single creature at a time. With the combined might of all the Dragons, we could retake control of the entire region in a day! Of course, they seem incapable of or unwilling to discern a difference between our troops and the enemy. They take no care to avoid friendly casualties and seem to revel in destruction, no matter the target. Our control of these creatures is haphazard at best. We see the Dragons as weapons, but until we can fully control them, they remain as much a danger as a boon. We must find a way to get Mulaamnir and his Dragons to obey the chain of command!

* * *

Today’s conversation with Mulaamnir was unsettling. I have grown used to being referred to as a morsel, but the Dragon let slip a significant fact that we were previously unaware of. We were wrong. Mulaamnir isn’t the lead Dragon. He defers to an even more powerful creature called Kaalgrontiid. I must endeavor to learn all I can about this Kaalgrontiid and rethink our approach to working with the Dragons.


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

Were you among the crowd when the Sermon of Akatosh spoke out against the Dark Brotherhood in Kvatch? We invite you to take a close look into the Great Cathedral of Akatosh and gather some background information about its Primate, Artorius Ponticus.

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

Willful and rebellious, Svana prefers the ale and company found within a good Nord tavern to the regal finery of Western Skyrim’s royal court. Learn about this estranged daughter of King Svargrim in this latest Meet the Character.

To my liege, Jorunn the Skald-King,

Forgive my late report. My arrival in Haafingar didn’t go unnoticed and I have had to keep a low profile until the guards lost interest. The folk of Solitude are suspicious of strangers, though I can’t say if this is the usual atmosphere or if something has set them on edge. I’m working out of the Lonely Troll inn until I can settle in with the locals and establish my cover. I’d hoped to blend in more easily, but it seems the place mostly caters to the same clientele. During my time at the bar, I found myself among unexpected company.

A pair of regulars took notice of the new face and solicited my company. I could tell they were looking for a dupe to pay for their drinks, but a few rounds of mead make for a cheap bribe for information. What I learned was that the briefing on the royal family of Solitude was lacking. Despite the rumors of her disappearance or death, I can assure you, Princess Svana is livelier than ever. She was one of those two regulars who wanted free drinks at the bar.

At first, I thought it was a fraud conjured up for a gullible stranger—a dangerous one, considering the high king’s temperament—but no one else in the establishment even batted an eye when the blustery Orc claimed I was in the presence of royalty. It was simply a matter of fact that the young, fiery-haired woman wearing a smug smirk on her face was the daughter of High King Svargrim.

“We’re the welcoming committee. You’re ‘welcome’ to pay tribute,” she said as she slid her mug in my direction. “Just don’t call me princess.”

I hadn’t planned to make contact with any of the royal family, just lay the groundwork for when Lyris Titanborn arrives. But as far as spying goes, this was an opportunity I couldn’t let pass. I spent the rest of the evening drinking with Svana and her hanger-on, Maugh the Orc, letting them regale me with their antics. I can’t vouch for her skills at the Jarl’s Waltz, but she can dance on a table with a measure of grace I haven’t seen this far from Morrowind. She probably had formal singing lessons at the Bards College, too, though I’m pretty sure Maugh supplied the lyrics.

If I hadn’t let half my drinks spill down my chin, I’d never have been able to keep up with the two of them.

Svana and Maugh were not, in fact, the welcoming committee. Not in any official capacity. Svana has no interest in matters of state or politics, and that hasn’t set well with her family. The princess seems to be estranged from the king and queen, which is why no one has seen her at official functions in years. It would have been too convenient to stumble into a position of confidence with the royal family, but Svana may still prove to be a useful asset. Even if they aren’t speaking, she knows High King Svargrim and Queen Gerhyld better than anyone.

I need to be careful coaxing information out of her. She doesn’t like speaking about her family and it quickly sours her boisterous demeanor. That said, she has a mischievous and rebellious streak that could come in handy if Svargrim refuses to cooperate with us. I believe we can goad her into acting in our interests just to spite her father.

If nothing else, Svana and Maugh have a finger on the pulse of Solitude. They’ve already let slip some things about other strangers that my gut tells me I need to look into. Thank Kyne for Svana’s thirst! I’ll be fast on the trail of the Icereach Coven by the time Lyris arrives, your majesty. I won’t make contact again before then.

For Skyrim!


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]

While Queen Ayrenn unquestionably rules the entirety of the Aldmeri Dominion, she entrusts the High Elf homeland to her beloved cousin, Alwinarwe. Learn about the Proxy Queen in our first Meet the Character for The Elder Scrolls Online: Summerset!

Dearest Cousin,

It comforts me a great deal to know that in my absence, my favorite and most-trusted cousin Alwinarwe watches over Summerset and sits upon the Alinor throne. When I was a little girl, you were someone I looked up to and admired. As my older cousin, you taught me so much and inspired me to not only seek perfection, but to do so in the most creative and enlightened manner as possible. When I returned from my travels, you were one of the first of Summerset's nobles to support me and accept my ascension to the throne. You are regal, beautiful, and cultured in ways I can never match. Is it any wonder I made you my surrogate?

I put a lot upon your fair shoulders, dear Alwinarwe. You must stand in for me at every governmental meeting, ceremony, and public event. And the balls and dinner parties, it must be terribly bothersome to have to smile and wave all the time! Frankly, that's the part of my royal duty that I find most tedious. But where I am hard-pressed to hide my true feelings in such matters, you are the consummate professional, capable of pretending you care even in the most excruciating circumstances. I admire that. I really do.

I have heard it said that you are old-fashioned and set in your ways. That is true, to an extent, but not so much that you are close-minded when it comes to our people and the betterment of Summerset. When I asked you to serve as my regent and take on the mantle of Proxy Queen while I dealt with important matters in other parts of our kingdom, you agreed without hesitation. I know how much work is involved, but you handle your duties with grace and style and hardly a complaint. I couldn't ask for a better representative. Which brings me to the primary purpose of this letter.

I can imagine your stern expression as you read these words. I'm certain you're saying to yourself, “What does Ayrenn want from me now? She always says such nice things right before she asks for the impossible." Oh, cousin, how well you know me!

Alwinarwe, my dearest cousin, I am about to issue a royal decree that directly concerns Summerset Isle. As we have discussed on many occasions, I have finally decided to act upon my inclinations and open our fair and wondrous island to traders, immigrants, and visitors of all descriptions. A copy of the decree is on its way to you in a separate package. I understand that this decision goes against the counsel you have provided me with in the past and probably bends your Altmeri sensibilities nearly to the breaking point, but I need you to stand fast and make sure my wishes are followed to the letter. The Dominion and our place in Tamriel depend on Summerset becoming a free and open land. I know that you will support my wishes and serve me as always in this important endeavor.

I am sending one of my agents, the Eye of the Queen known as Razum-dar, to assist you and act as my eyes and ears among the people. Try not to let past grievances color your perspective. Razum-dar, well, that's just his way. He rarely means anything by it. And he really is good at what he does. Make use of him as you see fit.

So, Alwinarwe, please continue to keep my throne warm and my people safe. Welcome the newcomers with open arms and a friendly smile. We shall all be better because of it.

With all my love, dearest cousin, I remain,


Quen will be one of the first characters you meet in the upcoming Thieves Guild DLC. She'll be your partner in crime through a variety of stories and challenges. Read the following letter to learn more about her background.

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,


Most Illuminated Intendent

Lillandril Illumination Academy

Of all of Queen Ayrenn's agents, none are more loyal, skilled, and devastatingly handsome tha—wait... did.. did he write this himself?—than the dashing Khajiit known as Razum-dar. Learn about the always-surprising Eye of the Queen in our latest ESO: Summerset Meet the Character!

A Report by Justiciar Rolumdel of the Divine Prosecution

At the request of Kinlord Milunthel, I have begun an investigation into one of the recent arrivals to Summerset, a Khajiit who answers to the name of Razum-dar. The suffix has a number of meanings in the Khajiit tongue, including “clever," “capable," and “thief." I have yet to decide which description best fits this arrogant and swaggering “Raz."

For some reason I plan to uncover, the Kinlord seems uncomfortable with the newcomer's presence, even somewhat fearful. On the surface, I saw little reason for this attitude, but once I began to dig, certain truths began to emerge. Razum-dar claims to be a humble traveler. Or a merchant's agent scouting new trade opportunities. Or a courier from Auridon. Or any of another half-dozen different stories he tells when asked about his background and business in Summerset. He arrived in Shimmerene by ship from Auridon and took up residence in the Anchors Aweigh inn. He spends his days wandering the city and talking to everyone and anyone he can get to stand still long enough to interrogate. And make no mistake, he is interrogating them. He just does it in such a way that the average person never notices. From what I was able to observe, I suspect this Razum-dar could talk the wings off a gryphon! If only more of my bailiffs had such skill.

The Khajiit appears unassuming and self-effacing during one encounter with a city guard, then brash and cocksure a moment later while dealing with a merchant hoping to take advantage of an unsophisticated newcomer. To be fair, I was impressed at how he turned the merchant's aggressive sales pitch into a deal that allowed him to acquire the goods he desired at a substantial discount. He disappears into crowds with practiced ease, which I learned the hard way as I followed him toward the monastery before he slipped away. I've tracked hardened criminals more easily than I was able to shadow this puzzling Razum-dar.

Silence and stealth are only two of this enigmatic Khajiit's surprising talents. When he wants to make his presence known, he can command an audience with humor and a smile. I watched with growing unease as a crowd of thugs surrounded him on the docks, quite certain I would have to reveal myself and intervene on Razum-dar's behalf. But before things turned ugly and violent, Raz was joking with the crowd and turning their anger into a fond interaction that had everyone laughing. It was a brilliant performance on the Khajiit's part and it impressed me more than I care to admit.

So what do all these seemingly contradictory talents tell us about the inscrutable Razum-dar? I have two theories, both of which on the surface seem totally outlandish, but allow me to press on. The first concerns something I know quite a bit about—illegal activities. I suspect that Razum-dar might be a criminal mastermind from the mainland who is using the Queen's decree to expand his operation into Summerset. If this turns out to be the case, even the Divine Prosecution would be hard pressed to rein in this elusive crime lord. The second seems equally bizarre as I write these words. Perhaps Razum-dar is one of the fabled warrior guards of the Mane, the leader of Elsweyr. Why a servant of the Mane would travel to Summerset and keep his identity a secret has me stymied, but the various skills displayed by the Khajiit make this theory mostly sound. Why either of these revelations would overly distress the Kinlord, however, I have no idea.

One final theory has just occurred to me. It struck me when one of my bailiffs brought me documents that identified a Khajiit matching Razum-dar's description who had visited Summerset in the past—before the Queen's recent decree. This particular Khajiit was spotted in and around the Royal Palace in Alinor during Queen Ayrenn's last visit to the island, sometimes even at the Queen's side. If that was indeed this Razum-dar, then perhaps he's one of Her Majesty's legendary Eyes of the Queen. In that case, that would make Razum-dar a spy of extreme talent and cunning. If that is the cause of the Kinlord's distress, then perhaps my next investigation should concern him and not this complicated and mysterious newcomer.

Sai Sahan

From the journal of Abnur Tharn

My ongoing search to discover the ultimate fate of the Dragon Kaalgrontiid started with a thorough immersion into the most obscure Khajiiti legends I could find. I traveled from Rawl’kha to Torval, scouring libraries and harassing moon-singers to learn every tale that related, in some smaller or greater way, to the mythic hero, Khunzar-ri. It is through these stories that I hope to reveal the hidden history of the ancient Dragon and gain insight into his goals and any potential secret shelters he may be utilizing. As my research began to point in the direction of Southern Elsweyr, news of an old associate reached me through my usual network of spies and contacts. Sai Sahan is alive and well and apparently operating in Pellitine!

Sai Sahan. I haven’t actually thought about the bearded mammoth in quite some time. We were companions once, allies of a sort in service to Emperor Varen Aquilarios. That seems like a lifetime ago. When I first met the man, he was already known as an accomplished warrior. The Redguard noble was a master sword fighter who rose to lead the Emperor’s Imperial Dragonguard. Before that, though? I need to dredge up ancient memories so that I can best determine how to fully utilize Sai Sahan.

Unyielding and honorable to a fault, Sai Sahan holds duty and dedication above all else. Of course, this leads him to unswervingly serve his betters, which is probably why we got along so well. While he presents a cool and collected exterior to the world at large, the beard that speaks rages beneath the surface, where anger and a barely controlled blood-lust wait to be unleashed. For this reason, the subdued warrior truly comes alive in the heat of battle, where he can set his most destructive urges free. He does have a softer side, however. It becomes evident whenever the half-giant, Lyris Titanborn, enters the picture. He calls her his “Snow Lily,” much to my disgust. She does seem to be the beauty that can calm the storm of death that seethes at the Redguard’s core.

So, where did the silent mountain of excessive muscle come from? He learned the ways of the ancient Yokudan sword-saints growing up in the Valley of Blades. There, he studied at the feet of his mentor, Kasura. He vowed to revive the martial traditions of his ancestors, but his early efforts in this regard failed. Instead, he shaved his head, grew out his massive beard, and became a mercenary. Eventually, he met the Colovian military leader, Varen Aquilarios, serving in the war against the Longhouse Emperors. During the battle to liberate Leyawiin, his own mercenaries turned on him. Paid off by Emperor Leovic, they were charged with delivering the head of the now legendary commander. They failed, obviously, but the story gets kind of outlandish at this point. Supposedly, Sai Sahan cut through the army of traitors as well as Leovic’s defenders, returning to Varen with the scalps of eighty-six enemies and news that Leyawiin was now free.

Now, as I consider strategies for dealing with Kaalgrontiid and the Dragons raging over Elsweyr, one thing remains clear. I must make the most of every weapon in my arsenal. I see no reason not to reconnect with the beard that walks like a man and make use of his formidable fighting skills. To not do so would be reckless. And besides, I’m almost certain he’s forgotten all about what happened the last time we were together.

From the Annals of Vanus Galerion,

I am rarely surprised. Where a less developed intellect encounters the unexpected, I find only the improbable. And yet, there have been moments during my tenure as Arch-Mage that remind me not to let my meritorious status go to my head. My encounter with the Changeling, Selene, ranks high among them. It was at a time when the Mages Guild was still young, relatively speaking, when my order had finally struck out from the Summerset Isles and began to move into continental Tamriel.

I petitioned the Silvenar to allow us entry into the Wood Elf domain. To establish a guildhall within the capitol, no less. To say that Valenwood was resistant to any more outside forces meddling in their affairs would be an understatement, but I was granted an opportunity to prove the value of the guild. Our first contract, as it were: explore the uncharted fen east of Silvenar. It was the only part of the Green that the Wood Elves knew little of, because those who entered the quagmire never returned. While it was obvious that the Silvenar meant to be rid of me, this manner of challenge was exactly what I founded the Mages Guild for.

The region had acquired the moniker “the Web,” both for its overwhelmingly dense vine growth and the belief that those who enter become irrevocably ensnared within. This analogy would prove to be more apt than they could have imagined, for within this morass my expedition became mired in more than mud. I can’t recall how long we spent wading through that lightless forest, but I can tell you now that we never spent a moment of it alone. The eyes of every creature we saw watched us intently, and there wasn’t a sound beyond our own clumsy slogging. It seemed as if everything had stopped to listen to our trespass.

Despite our best efforts navigating the overgrowth, the expedition became lost and separated at every turn until I found myself groping, alone in the dark. Then the world itself turned upside down after something tugged at my leg, ensnaring it. The blood rushed into my ears. Quickly, I conjured a light to identify what had me and was greeted by the glistening fangs of a spider four times my size a hair’s breadth from my face. I will not record the sound I made for posterity, but I admit that it was undignified. The creature bound my arms before I could conjure a spell in response and leaned in toward my neck, but instead of sinking its fangs into my throat it whispered in my ear.

Selene, as I came to know her, demanded to know why we intruded on her domain. Clarly, she was displeased by our visitation, but I noted a sense of curiosity behind her menace that I seized upon. This being was obviously as uncertain of what I was as I was of her. There was much about my expedition that she had never seen from the isolation of her woods. Eventually she let me down and took my form, or rather, that of an Altmer woman sharing my features. I believe she did this as an effort to ease tensions, yet she did not realize how unsettling a gesture it was. Still, we spoke for a long time. From the way Selene spoke of the world, it was apparent that she was a not a being for which time held much meaning.

The Wood Elves hold the belief that Mundus was a teaming mass of chaos when it was first established, and Y’ffre was the first to give order to the world, establishing the laws of nature. Others followed, and Nirn took form. I believe that Selene is not far removed from the time when the Ehlnofey formed the bones of the earth. In fact, I’ll be so bold as to claim that the Changeling was among the earliest creatures on Nirn, and I attribute her formlessness to that. My hypothesis is that she is a remnant of that original chaos taught to control her fluidity. The way that she spoke of her Goddess, Shagrath, leads me to believe that this being was responsible for showing her how to take form. Whether this entity was lost to time or still exists in some form remains a mystery, though I can think of only one being from the birth of the world who possesses an affinity for spiders and that’s concerning.

I eventually persuaded Selene to release me and my subordinates, whom she had cocooned, under the agreement that we never intrude uninvited again, and that we would bargain on her behalf with the Wood Elves who encroach on her territory. Much can be learned from a creature like Selene, and preserving her habitat and good will is paramount to both. When I returned to the capital, I brought these findings before the Silvenar and Green Lady. Both were unsettled by the presence of a Changeling in their forest. A creature that can change its form freely flies in the face of their belief that everything in the Green was given the shape Y’ffre intended, but the possibility that she might well have walked the world alongside the Divine was enough to convince them to respect the boundaries of her domain. So impressed was the Silvenar by my guild’s handling of the situation that he granted me our first charter in Valenwood. I still regard the accord between the Mages Guild, the Elves of the Green, and Selene among the greatest of my successes as Arch-Mage.

Discover another one of the personalities you'll encounter in ESO: Morrowind with our next Meet the Character, featuring the mysterious Ashlander known as Seryn.

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!

Few guardians of the Unhallowed Grave are as dutiful or zealous as the Pyre Watch’s Shelaria. Learn about this Redguard warrior in our latest Meet the Character!

Taken from the journal of Keroufeh, Lesser Sentinel of the Pyrewatch

Tall Papa give me strength--my back suffered another meeting with the rod today. I fault myself in part, but honestly Shelaria bears the lion’s share of the blame. Why do I always listen to her? Is it not enough that I still eat nothing but thin broth and unleavened bread from our last transgression? When will she learn to heed the words of our betters?
Blademaster Sahmin values secrecy above all things. We all know this. “The Unhallowed Grave’s greatest asset is its obscurity,” he says. It does not appear on any map. No wheezing drunkards utter its name to listening ears. “Our shield is secrecy!” Sahmin cries. Over and over, he growls this admonition: “Do not travel beyond the canyons!” And yet, there we were, saddling our jackals and preparing to ride.
“We cannot be caught flat-footed, Keroufeh!” Shelaria hissed. “If we do not patrol our lands, how are we to know when an enemy approaches?” It seemed reasonable at the time. Now--with broad red stripes across my back--it seems less so.
Shelaria sees threats everywhere. She barely trusts me, and I count myself as her bosom companion. I tried to tell her that the Grave has gone unnoticed for hundreds of years, but she would hear none of it. She insisted that these were unprecedented times. Dragons rise in the south. Chains fall from the sky. Alliances set Cyrodiil ablaze. “We must be prepared!”
The two of us rode the ridge near the Bangkorai Garrison, watching the comings and goings of the Breton traders beyond, then turned south toward Klathzgar to observe the toothless, knife-wielding bandits that often stray too close to the Grave’s hidden entrance. I must admit, it raised my spirits to feel the sweltering wind on my face, and to smell the spices of Hallin’s Stand drift on the breeze. For a moment, the great weight of our oath fell from my shoulders. I felt free. Not Shelaria though. I gazed at her face, hard as flint, and saw nothing but disquiet--like a hound that catches wind of intruder just beyond sight.
I’ve not seen her since we received our punishment, but I fear her anxiety has not diminished. I know her fears are baseless. I know the Unhallowed Grave remains safe. Even so, on some dark nights when the lamps burn low, I cannot help but think that maybe Shelaria is right.

In our last installment of the Thieves Guild Meet the Character series, we'd like to introduce you to Silver-Claw. He is the merchant who runs the Spotless Goods Shipping Concern in Abah's Landing and he's worried about the future.

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,


Sir Cadwell of Codswallop


Razala met the most unusual person while fishing in her favorite spot near Riverhold today. He was a tall, lanky, somewhat gaunt man, dressed in a most outlandish manner. You see, he wore a cook pot upon his head as though it were a helmet! This one approached him cautiously, but he appeared lost in thought, captivated by the flowing river. When he finally noticed me, he said, “Oh, hello. I was just contemplating all the fish in your river. They’re alive, you know. Most disconcerting!” That’s when he introduced himself as “Sir Cadwell of Codswallop, gallant knight, righter of wrongs, and defender of the defenseless!”

Razala examined this Cadwell more closely, noticing his archaic attire interspersed with kitchen implements and utensils that seemed to serve as armor of a sort. His whole appearance was off kilter and out of place. Including the small bantam guar that never left his side. He referred to it as Honor, his faithful steed. This one could not imagine the tiny creature carrying this peculiar fellow anywhere, let alone into battle. Cadwell was thin, but not that thin!

Razala assumed that this was an elaborate hoax or a trap of some kind set up by the Euraxians when Cadwell started to sing the strangest song. “Coldharbour, Coldharbour, how I miss your desolate shores. Coldharbour, my arbour, I dance amid your molds and spores!” It went on for a number of verses, exalting the virtues of the Daedric realm of despair. This one asked him if he were insane and his answer was quite unsettling. “No, not to my knowledge. Last time I checked, I was right here. Can’t you see me? Did I disappear again? That happens from time to time. What was the question again?”

Razala had had enough of obfuscation and the changing of subjects by this point in our conversation. This one demanded to know who Cadwell was and what business he had in Northern Elsweyr. He, in turn, wanted to know how I could stand “living among all these lush grasslands and vibrant colors. I find it quite off-putting, but to each his own, I suppose.” The man made this one want to drive her own claws into her forehead to make him stop! Razala restrained this impulse, however.

And then, like the sun emerging from behind a thick cloud, the infuriating Cadwell finally began to make sense. Mostly. He told Razala the following story:

“I was a gallant knight, a hero of old and a champion of chivalry … or, at least I remember being something or another along those lines. It was a very long time ago. For the last few aeons or so, I’ve been a Soul Shriven in Coldharbour. Actually, I’m probably the oldest Soul Shriven in Coldharbour. I’m certainly the most sane. The rest of the poor wretches, they do look up to me. A sort of role model, you understand.”

This one had no idea what Cadwell was talking about. What was a Soul Shriven? This one had no clue. So Razala got more insistent with her questions. “Tell Razala what a monster from Coldharbour wants in our land,” this one demanded. “Don’t we have enough problems, what with the Euraxians and now the Dragons?”

“Can anyone truly have enough problems?” Cadwell asked innocently. “I have no idea what a Euraxian might be. And as for Dragons … no, no, I’ve got nothing. Haven’t seen one of those lovely creatures in, well, a Dragon’s age. Used to be a lot more of them flying overhead, as I recall. Good times.”

The pot-wearing fool was about to depart, just like that, when Razala unleashed her most penetrating growl. You know the one, brother. You’ve been on the receiving end more than once since Mother brought you home from the healer’s pavilion. Cadwell stopped, turned, and gave me an expression that said, “Was there something else?” This one almost screamed in frustration! “What. Is. Your. Purpose. Here?” Razala made sure to say each word slowly and with the appropriate amount of menace. So as to make this Soul Shriven fool understand Razala was serious, yes?

“My purpose?” Cadwell asked with a series of confused blinks. “Hadn’t we already talked about that? Or was that the next time we met? Portal travel can be very disorienting. Oh very well, let me explain.”

Then Razala waited as Cadwell adjusted the pot upon his head, brushed off his tunic, and stamped the mud from his boots. He began to speak. Then stopped. Reconsidered. Then started again. “What was the question?”

Razala blinked at Cadwell incredulously.

“Oh, I remember!” Cadwell exclaimed. “My purpose. It isn’t anything nefarious, I assure you. You see, I had a dream. A vision. A dream-vision. Perhaps a vision-dream. It led me to this land of sand and sun and cat people. I adore you cat people, by the way! I have come in search of …. Well, I’m not quite sure. But I’ll definitely know it when I see it!”

With that, Cadwell waved his hand and a portal opened right in front of him. An actual hole in the air! His bantam guar, Honor, charged into the glowing portal. Then Cadwell followed, joyfully yelling, “Tally-ho!” With that, the portal winked out of existence and they were both gone, as if they had never been there.

No, brother, Razala wasn’t drinking plum brandy or sweet wine. Not any more than usual, anyway. If you notice a tall, thin man wearing a cooking pot on his head, do not approach him. Do not talk to him. And by the Moons above, do not let him talk to you! Razala thinks his particular brand of insanity might be catching, yes?

Your sister, Razala

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.


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

Interview notes from the Imperial Library’s Office of Estranged Volumes delinquency report at the behest of the Grand Chancellor.

Tharayya? Sure, the Undaunted know her. She’s a treasure hunter with a nose for trouble to rival mine. She’d make a great Trailblazer if she cared to get her hands dirty, but the glory she’s after isn’t the kind bragged about over beers. That woman has ambitions and woe to anyone who gets in her way. Just ask her ex-husband. You’ll find him stuffed in her pocket. He deserved it.

Yes, we’ve crossed paths. I’ve never met anyone so interested in my research. It was really quite flattering! Tharayya and I must have spent a week discussing my theory surrounding the establishment of Arkngthamz-Phng. I’ve known scholars who are less well-versed after decades at the College of Sapiarchs, let alone self-taught! It’s just a pity she’s so … territorial. Oh, well, I don’t wish to speak ill of a professional rival. It’s just that competition for unspoiled ruins can be fierce! Especially with her. And I’m not one for making unfounded claims, but I suspect she stole my notes on the Dwemer of eastern Skyrim.

Who? I don’t know any Tharayyas. What, Stibbons? Can’t you see I’m—you know her? She offered you a bribe? Stibbons! Since when do you fraternize with disreputable women behind my back? I met her? Well, a lady of my standing can’t be expected to keep track of all the would-be dabblers following in my footsteps. I’ve said all there is to say on the matter.
-Lady Clarisse Laurent

We’ve actually encountered Tharayya on several occasions. Bankorai, Anequina, Vvardenfell. She has this uncanny knack for appearing when we’re hot on the trail of a new discovery. Quite persistent. She’s made several attempts to lure me from the service of my lady, but no amount of reward or praise could make me abandon Lady Laurent. Ah, it’s nearly tea time! Excuse me, my lady will be quite cross if I’m late with her afternoon libation.

Vexing woman. We met over drinks in Whiterun of all places. I took a shine to Tharayya at first, good listeners are hard to find, and she couldn’t get enough of the details of my latest adventure. I was going to invite her along on my expedition, but it wasn’t until after I’d paid her tab that she decided to speak up about her marital commitments. That was the last I saw of her, though I am certain she’s the one who shoved me into a crevasse on my way to Saarthal. She’s widowed now, I hear, which someone should look into. Don’t quote me on any of that.
-Narsis Dren

I like her. No nonsense. Tharayya reminds me of me, if I cared about any of the stuff we’re hunting. Or maybe my brother, if he had any common sense. Raynor and I were going to sign on with her for an expedition to find the lost Vault of Mhuvnak. If it were anyone else, I’d say they were chasing fairy tales, but Tharayya’s nothing if not practical. When she’s on to something, it’s because she’s got proof. That fell through though. Personality conflict. Raynor gets too handsy--with the Dwarven stuff. I was tempted to go this one on my own, but I can’t leave my brother to his own devices for long without serious risk of becoming an only child.
-Kireth Vanos

She hit me!
-Raynor Vanos

Uncover more about the Elder Council, the Imperial rulers of Leyawiin, in this new Blackwood Meet the Character!

The Elder Council: Where Are They Now?

By Adandora, Chronicler-at-Large

The Imperial Elder Council. Once the finest collection of politicians and advisers in Tamriel, but noticeably absent since the fall of the Empire and the start of the Three Banners War. Now, rumors of Abnur Tharn’s exploits spring up like mold on cheese, including the latest reports of Tharn sightings in Northern Elsweyr, but this chronicler seeks to learn what happened to the rest of that illustrious band of legislators and why they aren’t doing more to find a resolution to the ongoing war.

While many of the councilors remain missing and assumed dead in the wake of the atrocities that engulfed the Imperial City, this chronicler located a number of prominent members living in the province of Blackwood. In fact, Chief Councilor Lovidicus, second in power only to High Chancellor Tharn, now serves as a member of the Chamber of Legates in Leyawiin.

Councilor Lovidicus, now technically a legate, retains his original title as a matter of longstanding tradition. Since joining the Leyawiin Chamber of Legates, Lovidicus has risen to prominence and serves as the de facto leader of the august body. Like his fellow councilors, Lovidicus fled to Blackwood to escape the war in Cyrodiil. Since that time, he has served the city of Leyawiin admirably and helped bolster the region’s defenses against the ongoing war.

Councilor Abor once oversaw the workings of the Imperial Legion and has a deep and abiding respect for military training and discipline. She was particularly close to Emperor Leovic when he was still alive, but since retreating to a villa outside Leyawiin, she has kept a low profile and considers herself to be retired from public service. I found her to be arrogant and uncooperative, but perhaps that’s just the way Abor treats anyone she considers to be her lesser.

Councilor Faleria, also retired, nevertheless maintains cordial relations with Lovidicus and the Chamber of Legates in Leyawiin. Her former position as the overseer of the Imperial treasury makes her a valuable adviser when it comes to budgeting and taxation. The legates utilize her often, especially at those times of the year when they are preparing the city’s list of deposits and expenditures. She appears to thoroughly enjoy the work and the attention it continues to bring her.

Councilor Sophus, on the other hand, has practically disappeared from public life. Living in a modest villa in the Blackwood countryside with his wife, he refused to talk to me or discuss his time as an Imperial bureaucrat. He practically commanded his dog, Chareo, to attack me. His wife Lunia was slightly more accommodating, but she also preferred that the past remained buried. Perhaps I can convince them to submit to an interview the next time I visit the area.

Councilor Vandacia comes from a distinguished noble family with deep roots in Gideon and the surrounding region. His record as a member of the Imperial Council of Elders is impeccable, and his service stretches back to the time of Emperor Durcorach. Since the collapse of the Empire, he returned to his family holdings in Gideon and continues to take an active hand in the local politics. He is a constant presence at the Gideon courthouse and governor’s mansion, and Governor Keshu—the war hero also known as the Black Fin—seems to appreciate Vandacia’s advice and willingness to share knowledge. He may not be in charge in Gideon, but he certainly wields an unprecedented level of power in the city.

Councilor Jirich, likewise, continues to serve as an advocate of sorts from her manor and offices in Leyawiin. Nobles and commoners alike visit her manor at all hours of the day and night, seeking to secure his assistance in one matter or another. When they have trouble getting an appointment with Countess Caro of Leyawiin or the Chamber of Legates, they beseech Jirich to get them on the docket. When they find themselves overburdened with an abundance of taxes, they turn to Jirich to help them negotiate an equitable payment plan. She has become a fixer of sorts, a role not unlike the one she reportedly had on the Elder Council. Of course, such is the demand that most require a fixer to help them get in to speak with the ultimate fixer, Councilor Jirich.

There you have it, faithful readers. Six of the most prominent of the surviving Elder Council, living and working in Blackwood. Whether the shadow of Emperor Leovic and the Three Banners War still haunts them in the relative safety of the region is a story for another article. Rest assured that this chronicler is already hard at work on it even as you read this.

One of the Psijic Order's most-revered members, Valsirenn's unyielding dedication to her studies is only equaled by her knowledge and command of the Old Ways. Learn about the powerful Psijic sage you'll encounter when exploring Summerset in our latest Meet the Character!

A Report by Oriandra, Acolyte of the Psijic Order

Ritemaster Iachesis,

You tasked me with studying one of our most accomplished sages, the always calm and composed Valsirenn of the Conclave of the Eleven Forces. You said that I could gain insights that would help in my own training and advancement, and after spending numerous weeks either working at Valsirenn's side or observing her from afar, I once again marvel at your ability always to point me in the right direction.

As you know, Valsirenn joined the Psijic Order after you saw potential in the young High Elf. I find it hard to believe that Valsirenn was ever young and inexperienced, but of course we are talking about a time that was more than three hundred years ago. This was when our island home of Artaeum still floated off the coast of Summerset, before the Order made it vanish from the world. From what I was able to learn, Valsirenn represented the best and brightest of her age. She could have chosen any of numerous paths open before her, though it seems she didn't even take the traditional year and a day to consider your offer. Like me many years later, she accepted the invitation to join the Order almost as soon as you extended it.

Valsirenn became a monk of the Old Ways early in her life and grew in power and prestige within the confines of Artaeum and Ceporah Tower. As a Psijic sage, she gravitated toward scholarly pursuits and arcane research, developing into one of the Order's foremost experts on mysticism and esoteric knowledge. She became a teacher who never lost her intellectual curiosity. If anything, it grew in intensity and focus as the years passed. She met the love of her life, Leythen, another sage, here on Artaeum. And, as respect and admiration for her work evolved, she was invited to join the Conclave of the Eleven Forces—the ruling committee of the Psijic Order.

Valsirenn found time to not only become a driving force in the Psijic Order, an accomplished researcher, and your most-trusted associate, she also developed a loving relationship and started a family with Leythen. As you know, she sometimes leaves the island to conduct research back on Nirn or to complete missions for you or the Conclave. She even allowed me to accompany her a few times, which gave me the opportunity to make contact with other mages back in Tamriel. Sharing information that the Psijic Order doesn't consider confidential has been helpful in my own research, for example.

Now, as much as I have come to admire her, Valsirenn isn't perfect. She often gets so absorbed in her own work that she ignores everything else going on around her. I've seen her spend days on end in one of our libraries or workrooms, forgetting to eat or sleep or even interact with any of her friends or family. I wouldn't say that she's cold, exactly, but I know that some of the Order think of her that way. And her confidence and vast expanse of knowledge can look like pride and arrogance to some, especially to those on the wrong end of one of her lectures or scholarly debates.

What else can I say about Valsirenn of the Psijic Order? She presents herself as calm and composed, always on top of every situation. Although she is significantly older than I am, I have never seen Valsirenn as anything less than a vital, caring, and dedicated member of our exclusive community. Her intellectual prowess and scholarly pursuits are legendary among the Order. She is completely devoted to the Old Ways and her fellow Psijics, though sometimes her seriousness and work-oriented approach can be disconcerting to those who aren't used to her ways.

Valsirenn shows me that learning never stops. And she teaches me not just through her lectures and lessons, but with every action she performs as she goes about her daily routine. I look forward to working with her again in the very near future!

Taken from Green Tower Winery’s business correspondence


Greetings, cousin! How’s business in Hammerfell? Booming, I’m certain. Those Redguards drink like fish, and our wine is the best in Tamriel!

Negotiations here in Murkmire remain fluid. That’s a swamp joke!

You’re not going to like this, but I need more gold. Only a few hundred more. We’re very close to making a final deal with these Argonians—trust me.

I’ve been negotiating with one of the thick-headed lizard-men since I arrived. He goes by the name of Xukas. The locals say he speaks for some tribe or another, but I can’t keep it all straight. Anyway, who cares? You won’t find a less interesting race than the Argonians. All they do is weave baskets, roll around in the mud, and croak at each other.

Xukas must be new to this sort of thing. He asks questions constantly! “How many people work for you?” “How much gold do you have in savings?” “What are your shipping schedules?” It got so tiresome that eventually I just let him look at our business ledger—as if he could even read something that complicated. In any event, he asks less questions now. Thank Zenithar for that!

Now, for all his naiveté when it comes to business matters, he does have a fair eye for pottery. I know we agreed to purchase some of the cheaper Lilmoth-made stirrup jars to transport our wine, but Xukas introduced me to another lizard named Geem-something-or-other, who makes an even cheaper jar that’s just as good. Needless to say, I jumped at the offer and purchased twelve dozen.

Here’s where things get complicated. The pottery that Geem-whatever-his-name-is makes contains trace amounts of washtongue powder—a local mineral that helps in the firing process. It’s harmless for Argonians, but causes all sorts of intestinal issues for civilized people like us. Luckily, Xukas knew yet another Argonian named Neef, or Neep, or something, who makes a really remarkable ash-glaze. Applying it to Geem’s pottery should make it perfectly safe for transporting our wine! I bought as much as I could, but supplies are extremely limited.

Xukas explained that Neep’s ash glaze comes from a very specific marsh plant that only grows on a peninsula north of Alten Meerhleel. He told me the property-owners would probably be willing to trade it to us for next to nothing—they’d just want some old Imperial deeds, or a favor of some variety. We’d have to sign a contract, I think. I still don’t fully grasp all the particulars. Anyway, once we own the deed to the peninsula, we can make as much of the glaze as we want!

In summary, I’ve negotiated circles around this Xukas character, and acquired an entire jar-making operation! Now, as I mentioned, I’ll need something like six hundred gold, a number of old Imperial documents, and some burly laborers to clear brush and beasts from our new land parcel. Make sure they wear sturdy boots. It can get a little wet out there!

Here’s to a new and lucrative business venture!

Your cousin and partner,




You want a king’s ransom in gold for defective pottery, insufficient glaze, and a half-sunken peninsula in a man-eating swamp. Xukas is not the one getting fleeced. Come home immediately. And leave the jars.


It takes a special kind of adventurer to find and explore the darkest depths of Tamriel. And the Undaunted's Yisareh is exactly one such person. Learn about one of the Undaunted's most daring in this new Meet the Character!

We Undaunted are unique beasts. No two the same. A band of misfits if ever there was one, but united by a common desire to overcome new challenges and distinguish ourselves from the pack. A pack that is always growing. We are no longer a loose association of peers, but a continent-spanning guild and the true challenge we face as a collective is meeting the ever-growing demands of our members. Our numbers have feasted glory to the bone, and soon there will not even be marrow left to sate us.

New depths must be plumbed and wildernesses explored for the succor of triumph. The unknown must be conquered so that new perils for the Undaunted to overcome can be found. You may think there is no glory in foraging for this bounty, but to ignore our need is to risk growing complacent and soft. Without the Undaunted pledge we are nothing but paper tigers, and without a foe there can be no pledge.

Our expeditions into new territories are too slow. Too laborious. Too safe. What is needed to sustain us are Undaunted who do not fear to strike out on their own into the fathomless unknown. We must look within our ranks for those who do not simply crave the glory of battle, but find the journey of discovery its own reward. Trailblazers who are canny enough to lead us to the dens of death without becoming trapped in its jaws. Who among you will risk life and limb so that others might claim the spoils of the Undaunted pledge?

At least there's one among you who does not balk at the suggestion. Yisareh stands willing to do what needs to be done, and I can think of no one better to lead this charge. I nominate Yisareh to be the first of our Trailblazers.

Sit down, you louts. Cease your mutterings. The Undaunted have no time for those who are quick to protest and slow to volunteer. Is it her courage you doubt? Because she takes the pledge as readily as any of you. Does the blood staining her hands not carry the same weight because it is not that of her enemies, but her fellows? Many of you owe her thanks for the breath you bellow so carelessly. How short would the stories of your lives be, had she not mended your broken bodies and wrestled your miserable souls from the clutches of the Void? Your victories are her victories.

Is it Yisareh's youth you take offense to? Do you believe the responsibility too great for a member of her rank? Or do you fear she will keep the best bounty for herself? Is this burden greater than that of her mastery over life and death? There are few who wield such power wisely, yet she has never abused her knowledge for selfish reasons. We could use more Undaunted that thought of more than their own glory and took their obligations to our cause more seriously.

Long before she became Undaunted, Yisareh knew what it meant to go where others feared to tread and to be unyielding in her pursuits. I'm certain Maj would be happy to attest to how the study of magic and necromancy are viewed in Sentinel, yet here she stands unbowed and undeterred. Her drive to reveal that which is hidden is what we now need. Are there any among you who still claim otherwise?


We are in accord. Yisareh will lead the way forward for us all.

-- Glirion the Redbeard, at the formation of the Undaunted Trailblazers

From the Journal of Aeliah Renmus

Dear Journal,

I met the most interesting pair of Khajiit today. On the docks. Yes, yes, I know. My father forbade me from going anywhere near that part of the city, but what the General doesn’t know won’t hurt me, right?

Anyway, Za’ji and Caska. They’re pirates! I think. Maybe smugglers? Something not quite legal in any event, I’m pretty sure about that. Za’ji claimed to be a captain and said he had the finest vessel to ever sail the Topal Sea. He called his ship the Perfect Pounce. Isn’t that a glorious name? I hope he’ll let me sail with them some day! I could be a great pirate, provided my father the General ever lets me out of his sight. Za’ji is one of the smaller Khajiit, of the Dagi-raht furstock, from what I’ve learned since my father and his legion took up their post here in Senchal. Za’ji was outgoing, energetic, and rather boastful, but not in an annoying way. I found his claims to be more funny than arrogant. And I’m pretty sure he was a little drunk. I have seen my father’s soldiers guzzle down wine when they were off duty, so I know what I’m talking about.

Caska, on the other hand, is a Senche-raht. One of those big battle cats. She carried herself like she didn’t have a care in the world, but she also radiated confidence and power. I’m certain she ends more fights just by rising to her full height and staring down the crowd, but she also looked like she wasn’t above mixing it up if she had to. In contrast to her captain, her voice was deep and smooth. It made me feel comfortable and safe, but I could see how it could also be used to scare a banekin out of a flower basket, if you take my meaning. She explained in a relatively sparse number of words that she was the Pounce’s first mate. And then matter of factly added, “And I keep Za’ji from doing anything that would get us all killed.” She seemed rather proud about that.

* * *

Dear Journal,

The locals have taken to calling my father’s legion “the Shields of Senchal” now. I guess that means they’ve finally accepted us as part of the community. And I’ve learned how to lose the soldiers the General has assigned to keep an eye on me—at least when I really need to. Like today. I gave the soldiers the slip and snuck aboard the Perfect Pounce for my first real outing since my father packed us up and moved us down here. Captain Za’ji was his usual charismatic self, welcoming me aboard with a bow and a flourish. He really is a charmer! And he’s extremely proud of his ship. The Pounce is a fine vessel, and I admit I fell in love with it as soon as its sails filled and we roared away from the shore. He might be eccentric and a little outlandish, but Za’ji’s captaining skills were evident from the start of our cruise. He orchestrated the actions of his crew the way my father commands his legion, and all those rough and tumble pirates worked together to keep the Pounce on a straight and even keel. It was an impressive display and I hope to sail alongside Za’ji and his crew again. It was exhilarating!

As the Pounce’s bow cut through the waves, Caska was never far from her captain’s side. The big Khajiit didn’t use a lot of words, but then again, she didn’t have to. When Za’ji issued a command, Caska would reinforce it with a subtle nod or a stern look. In the rare instance when Za’ji gave an order that Caska didn’t agree with, she didn’t argue or complain. She simply shook her head and roared a correction. For example, at one point Za’ji grabbed a line and pulled himself up to gaze over the side and ordered, “Hard to port!” Caska shook her head and stated, “Starboard.” Za’ji, without missing a beat and without a hint of anger at being corrected said, “Right. Za’ji’s other port.”

When the ship sailed back into Senchal’s bay and approached the docks, I was sitting with Caska, enjoying her quiet presence. It really felt, well, peaceful, just sitting there next to the big Khajiit. That’s when she surprised me with a question. “What tree do you want to climb, little one,” she asked. Not knowing what she meant, as there wasn’t a single tree in the bay or even near the Senchal docks, I sort of just fumbled for an answer. She put me out of my misery by rephrasing for my non-Khajiit perspective. “What do you plan to do with your life, Aeliah?” I wasn’t sure how to respond. No one had ever asked me that before. Then, without warning, an answer popped into my head. “I want to help people,” I said. “Maybe as a soldier, like my father. Or maybe as a pirate, like you and Za’ji. Something. I want to help and I want to have adventures. It probably sounds silly to you, but that’s what I want to do.” Caska nodded and said, “Sounds reasonable.” Then she put down her head, closed her eyes, and went to sleep.

It was a perfect day!

* * *

Dear Journal,

My father, the General, has decided to make use of me. While I can tell he still doesn’t approve, he asked me to use my connections with Khajiit such as Za’ji and Caska to act as a sort of intermediary between them and the Shields of Senchal. Like an ambassador. He probably asked so he could keep better tabs on my comings and goings, but I kind of felt honored. And by now, Za’ji and Caska have become my very best friends. Oh, they argue all the time, but they’re also loyal to each other. Za’ji respects his crew, cares for their well-being, and keeps his eyes open for the very best adventures. He gets so excited that everyone around him gets excited, too. For all Za’ji’s cunning and good cheer, it’s Caska that keeps the Pounce afloat. She makes sure the ship remains in good repair, orders provisions, and pays the crew. And she keeps them all safe. No one can beat Caska in a fair fight. I’m not sure they could beat her in an unfair one, for that matter. And between the two of them, the Pounce couldn’t be in better hands.

Join us as we meet one of the new characters you'll encounter while playing through the Thieves Guild DLC game pack story. In this Meet the Character entry, you'll learn a little about Zeira, the new leader of the Thieves Guild in Hew's Bane.

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.


Of all of the Usurper Queen’s lieutenants, none are as sinister as the Orc necromancer known as Zumog Phoom. Uncover the secrets behind this lord of the dark arts in our latest Meet the Character!

Zumog Phoom, Dark Lord of the Dead

To: Lord Gharesh-ri, Speaker of the Mane

From: Khamira, Agent of the Speaker

It seems that the Usurper Queen’s inner circle grows larger with every passing day. While it has long been rumored that Euraxia Tharn employed necromancers among her Nibenese mercenaries, I have finally put a name and other details to the dark mage serving as her court wizard. They call him Zumog Phoom.

The Orc necromancer, a self-proclaimed “lord of the dark arts,” reportedly hails from the northernmost climes of Wrothgar. I have found no direct evidence for this assertion, but the wilds beyond Orsinium are unforgiving, and life among the Orc strongholds is bleak, harsh, and brutal. I could see the frozen north giving rise to a vile sorcerer such as Zumog Phoom. He presents a proud and powerful visage, totally loyal to the Usurper Queen yet completely devoted to progressing necromancy in all its forms.

Some information paints Zumog Phoom as a ranking member of the Order of the Black Worm and a former student of Mannimarco, but I cannot corroborate these reports. In any event, he has been at Euraxia’s side since her conquest of Rimmen, adding his dark magic to her own skills and abilities. She values his counsel, keeping the necromancer close and making him an integral part of her strategy and planning sessions. For his part, Zumog Phoom takes advantage of the power and prestige afforded him by Rimmen’s unlawful ruler. This, in turn, has brought a small army of lesser necromancers to Zumog Phoom’s side. Like a torch burning in the darkest dungeon, he draws other death-casters to Euraxia’s banner like moths to a flame. They fear their dark lord, but also covet the power and training he offers.

Worse, while we have faced the occasional zombie or other undead monstrosity operating as part of Euraxia’s forces, rumors of so-called “cadaver forges” have begun circulating among the Euraxian troops. These undead factories have begun churning out skeletal warriors and zombie soldiers to bolster Euraxia’s army. One Euraxian mercenary, unaware that I was spying for the Speaker of the Mane, confessed to me that fighting alongside hordes of dead people gave him nightmares that “all the wine in Rimmen couldn’t chase away.” We have yet to experience the products of these vile places, but evidence of grave robbing throughout the region has become more prominent, especially around Ashen Scar and other mass graves from the worst period of the Knahaten flu outbreak. We must make finding these cadaver forges a priority, along with all of the other priorities currently requiring our attention. Moons, who knew overthrowing an illegal tyrant would be so onerous?

While gathering information in Rimmen, I had the opportunity to listen to a couple of Zumog Phoom’s acolytes discuss their master as they gulped down bottles of Bright Moons sweet wine. It was clear to me from their conversation that they both admire and fear the chief necromancer. They spoke in hushed tones at first, but became louder and more animated as they consumed more and more of the wine. “Zumog Phoom’s Orcish visage certainly adds to his persona,” commented the first acolyte. “I love how he wears his death-enhanced powers like a shroud around his shoulders,” agreed the second. The acolytes repeatedly mentioned how they could feel the aura of death whenever they were in their master’s presence. While the sensation obviously disturbed them, they also seemed eager to acquire that level of power for themselves. Near the end of their conversation, the first acolyte (who was quite inebriated by this point) started on about how Zumog Phoom had a plan that went beyond anything Queen Euraxia could imagine. “I can’t wait to start digging up body parts,” he said. “Think how the master will reward me if I bring him ….” Before he could say more, his companion told him to be quiet. “Every tavern has ears, you know,” she warned, proving she had more tolerance to alcohol than her companion. Pity.

Speaker, we must find a means for dealing with Zumog Phoom and his followers before they provide Euraxia with an unlimited supply of soldiers. The Defense Force cannot repel an army that does not tire and can be ceaselessly replenished. Our best chance lies in locating the undead factories and destroying them before they can be turned up to full capacity.

And if we can kill Zumog Phoom, so much the better.

One way or another, if you wish to help the Khajiit free their homeland, you need to deal with Zumog Phoom and his undead army. In the right hands, his knowledge of the dark arts could be an undeniable boon. Are you planning to face this dread necromancer when ESO: Elsweyr launches? Let us know on Twitter @TESOnline, Instagram, or Facebook.