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The Songs of the Tribe Unmourned

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

Author - Morvil


 

I recall the day the first Blight Storm ravaged Vvardenfell. I remember the confusion and the pain felt by the people of this great island, and the music that followed.

It was the 20th of Second Seed, I remember the date clearly. The Ash was thick upon the Northern Lands of the Island, and I was forced to abandon my guar the day previously, as it had been too bogged down in the ash and mud. It broke my heart to leave it there, but I knew that I needed to put bread on the table.

With a ragged dishcloth upon my face and my hand in front of my eyes, I rested upon a jagged boulder, as it rose like an impaled spear through the rocky earth. My bag grew lighter still, as my provisions grew less and less. All I had left was my mother’s sujamma, a family recipe distilled in ages past, and a single piece of scrib jerky. I stomached the tough meat, washing it down with the only thing I could enjoy on this road. I would have to get to Dagon Fel within the next week, and I wasn’t getting any closer sitting there.

But that was when I felt it. The Ash had grown much more course than it had been but a second ago, and flew at a much faster pace. I gazed into the sky, as the grim darkness turned into a crimson red storm. It was as if the sky had opened up and the blood of the aurbis had split into the air. I scrambled to my feet, as the ash slid off the thick netch-hide cloak. I held onto the jagged rock for support, but the speed of the wind had thrown me off balance.

In those moments of confusion and terror, I saw it. A large brick structure not so far from where I was standing. It could have been a mirage, but at that point I cared little. I hauled my sack over my shoulder, and tread forward. The crimson ash flew through the air faster and faster, until I could barely stand without being pushed into the ash. A hill stood between me and shelter, and any attempt to traverse the surface lead to me being forced backwards into the thick layers of ash, that had built up to my knees.

My hand gripped a protruding rock that had stuck from out of the ash, and I clung for dear life. And that was when I heard it. The song that I had heard since I was a young boy, and the song that my mother had sung to me as a young Mer. But this was in the form of deafening chimes, emanating from the building I saw before me. This had to be my mind playing tricks on me. No other Mer I knew growing up knew that song!

I looked for a way to pull myself up onto the ledge the building was placed on, and that was when I saw it. Feet, legs, and a hand. A fellow Dunmer was standing atop the jagged rock, with his hand out towards me. Though I could not see his face, I was certain it was salvation! The dishcloth around my mouth had fallen down the dark chasm that had been filled with Ash, as I pulled myself up with the help of the Mer. I staggered forward, away from the ledge, then looked back to my saviour.

And that was the first time I tasted the Ash of the Blight Storms. My mouth gaped as I stared upon my saviour, a Mer wearing nothing but a loincloth. Yet that was not what surprised me the most, no. I gazed upon it in pure terror. It looked like an ordinary Dunmer, yet it’s facial cavity had collapsed completely. It was missing eyes, a nose, and all that was left was just an abyss where his face must have been. It reached his hand out once more, yet I did not take it. It came towards me, hand out as if to reassure me all I saw was not real. Yet the chimes continued, and I did not let it touch me.

I swung my bag into the creatures corrupted head, as it staggered backwards. The little combat training I had was from my father, who had been taken by the Temple Ordinators years prior. What little I had in muscle mass I made up for in terror, as I kicked and screamed against the might of the faceless Mer. It picked up a club that had been resting upon the rock it had seemingly been sat upon, as it swung towards me. Yet never once he aimed for the head or any vital parts, only for a way to incapacitate me. As the ash from the storm filled my lungs, as I choked and screamed, I reached out and grabbed one of the jagged stones protruding from the ground. The creature gripped my upper torso, as I struggled my right arm free.

Slamming the jagged stone into the creature’s side, I freed myself from it’s infernal grasp. Staggering forward, the Adrenaline took over my body as I tackled the wounded creature to the ground. Seeing it’s weapon resting above the layers of ash, I grabbed the spiked club by the hilt and sent the force of the ALMSIVI itself down upon its cranium. Its skull shattered upon the ash, as blood trickled out from its carcass. What little skull it had left had been spread across the ash of Vvardenfell.

Grabbing my bag from the ground, I looked out into the ash to attempt to find another shelter away from the horrifying place that had been set out before me. Hopeless, I gazed back at the brick structure behind me to see a horrifying copy of what I had seen before, yet a writhing tendril emerged from the collapsed facial cavity. Attempting to sprint away, I tripped and tumbled down the hill. What happened next was a blur, yet I remember vividly the dream that followed.

I was wandering down a dark hallway, with banners showing a symbol I hadn’t seen since childhood. I came across the living room I had dwelt in when I was but a young boy in Vos, and sitting there was my Mother and a very strange looking Mer. He had a Golden Mask on, with three pillars emerging from the peak of his helm. He was garbed in fine silks and furs, with a the symbol on the banners emblazoned on his cloak. He stood up, placing his hands on my shoulders. I turned and saw the creatures that had attacked me outside the brick building, yet I was oddly soothed by their presence. The song grew louder. The song my mother sang to me. The song of House Dagoth. It was then I woke up, resting on the ash. The sky was clear and my guar, who I had abandoned days prior, sat next to me. I sat back in the ash, and sighed.
 

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

This piece was written for our 20th anniversary fan art contest! It is strictly property of its original creator - you may not modify, publish, or redistribute it without explicit permission from the artist.