The Xal-Gosleigh Letters

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Author (out of game): ,
Author (in-game): Xal, Gosleigh

These posts were made on the official forums between April 5th and April 20th, 2002.

This series of letters was posted on The Official Forums by Ted “Tedders” Peterson (Gosleigh) and Michael Kirkbride (Xal). Tedders said: “Actually, the original plan was for us to do a short story series together as people writing letters back and forth — that was the concept behind the in-game book The Charwich-Koniinge Letters, but we never got organized enough to pull it off.”

Gosleigh’s letter – 5th Rain Hand
5 Rain’s Hand Nicrythe Tower, Artaeum, Sumurset.My Dear Xal,What a day. What a ghastly, ghastly day.I got up before dawn to see the sun rise over the mist banks, and inspect my garden (someone has been sampling the best leaves from my orlinber vines, and I don’t know whether the thief be man, mer, beast, or spirit. At least the burglar left tracks behind this time, and apparently it has a tail. Unfortunately, that scarcely narrows things down.) Stichael Direnni met me at the arbor gates, and the expression on his face, while not necessarily disgruntled, was far from gruntled.I don’t know if I told you about the latest debates in our particular college, but the lines have been drawn between my students and those of that ridiculous cretin, that slave to pre-Camoran dogma, “Master” Balec Frel. Direnni was somewhat caught in between and tried to remain neutral, for which I respected him, but Frel did everything he could to lure him into his camp. Not surprisingly, Direnni saw through all the flattery, but today I’ve learned the depths of Frel’s mendacity. Worse yet, Direnni believed him.Of course I was outraged by the suggestion that I would have plagiarized my friend’s work and left in flash, literally.Back in my tower room, I felt the chill of a mid-morning breeze (you know how drafty these three thousand year old towers can be better than anyone) and I set about making a fire. I decide to use as kindling some papers that were lying around and as I was shoving them into the fireplace, who should knock on the door but Direnni and Frel? They assumed the absolute worst when they noticed that the papers that were in the fireplace were copies of Direnni’s thesis about Oblivion being Being, that I was attempting to mask my “crime.” Preposterous. Over the course of the day, I convinced Direnni, at least, of my relative innocence, but clearly the fight is heating up.When I returned home to read your latest letter, I realized that I must have accidentally dropped it into the fire in my haste for warmth.Would you mind writing back and telling me what you had to say? It sounded very interesting from the few scraps I was able to retrieve from the coals.Yours, Master Gosleigh Horlington.
Xal’s letter – Day of the Counted Hours

Day of the Counted Hours
The Ruins of Kemel-Ze
Port Telvanis

Ach, Gosleigh, what you may have cost us both! Burnt or not, what was written was written in tibrol-oil, annointed by the Mephalites, and you know what that means. All of Nicrythe will have to be warded against poetronachs. I send my luck.

Here is the brunt of it (my fellow Maruhkati have been summoned to the Cacophany at Sil and we leave at dawn):

Divayth Fyr, who you may recall from our days at Gwylim, has the whole of the Inner Sea interested in the varied guises of PSJJJJ again. One of his cohorts, who signs only ‘B’, has pulled all manner of pamphlets to the fore in an effort to get at the heart of the matter. And, though they know it not, the Aurbis is trembling as they near themselves to truth. (Incidentally, I have petitioned the Murder House for a Dram simulacrum, sixth-measure, in case Fyr or ‘B’– a Borgite, perhaps?– come too close to waking the Sleepers.)

Though the Selective and Artaeum diverge on many matters of the Endeavour, I implore you to release to me the Scroll of Adompha; at the very least, have one of your scribes make me a copy (with all the requisite Direnni text-protections) and send it at haste.

After I return to Kemel-Ze, I shall send another letter detailing my purpose, but do not let its absence hinder your favor. As forward compensation, perhaps you might take a visit to Master Frel on your way to the archives, and see what Eastern demon I have sent to visit his face.


Gosleigh’s letter – 6th Rain’s Hand

6th Rain’s Hand
Nicrythe Tower,

My dear Xal,

How dramatic things are in Morrowind. I had scarcely shot off my letter, and within but a few hours, I had your reply. Imagine how much more efficient the Empire would run if they had our sort of delivery service. Why Uriel Septim VII would have some idea of the sort of … well, we can certainly get to that at a later date.

So, what I burnt was anointed by the Mephalites. They do make such a bother about things, don’t they? I wouldn’t be at all surprised if someone had to be sacrificed to the sixth spirit, old Black Hands the Spinner herself. Is the Morag Tong still in operation? We lose touch of such things down our way.

You needn’t tell me about this “B.” Despite the attempts of our agent, Sheogorath (the lad who took the name of the daedra to inspire fear, though he hardly lives up to it), he continues to delve. I can see the use of the Scroll, but it seems – and you must excuse my, oh let me say it, Psijic protectionism on this – a little bit much. I mean to say, honestly. Really. Seriously. What is the worst that can happen?

I know I shouldn’t say that. But I do.

Half-way through this letter, I paid a visit on Master Balec Frel, and was informed that he had gone out for the evening. Inquiring further, I found he had been eaten. Though he would not be the first of the Psijics to be eaten by a hound of Oblivion and survived, I must admit a weight has been lifted from my shoulders.

Perhaps in lieu of the Scroll of Adompha, you will accept in my sincere appreciation, this, a very, very rare recipe for a potion which will cause whatever person is to the immediate left of you to be cured of lycanthropy, regardless of their years under its spell. I can see how this might not be of much value in Morrowind, where lycanthropy is more rare than a sexually normal Telvanni mage, but it took considerable expertise, and not a little bit of luck, to perfect it.

Oh, and if you have an opportunity while in Kemel-Ze, would you be so kind as to ask a question about the Kothringi for me to that … you know who I’m talking about it, but her name escapes me … she’s kind of big, and ugly … and she smells like death? … anyhow, if you could ask her to reply to the letter I sent her a fortnight ago about whether the Kothringi and the Argonians had, well, certain relations, that would be very helpful. Primary sources, of course.

And now, I’m off to bed. I wonder why they call them Seducers …

Yours ever,

Gosleigh’s letter – 9th Rain’s Hand

9 Rain’s Hand
Nicrythe Tower,

My Dear Xal,

Please reply back at your earliest convenience.

I sent the potion, and I understand it wasn’t quite what you were asking for, but if you have read my letters and understand the frailty of my position politically, you would understand that it would be very dangerous for me to ship items like the Scroll of Adompha to Morrowind Mephalites at this time. I hope you are merely furious at me and that’s why you haven’t written back, but I have heard, well, frankly, I’ve heard rumors of strange goings on in Morrowind of which I hope, for your sake, you are not a part. I fear though, knowing you, that you are involved.

Life on Artaeum has not been without its drama either.

A scandal erupted in my own college where one of my students (a Nord, a very sweet girl but given to brooding as so many of her kind are far from their chilly home) sought to explain the difference between possession and mind control by demonstrating them both. Chaos obviously ensued until I, Master Direnni, and Master il-Anselma were able to soothe the angry ancestral spirits.

An extremely ugly statue of Iachesis was destroyed (no great loss), but the part of my garden where I had all the marshmerrow and trama root you were so good to send me last springtide (and some Hammerfedlian poppies I had bought myself in Runcibae) and has been laid waste, utterly. And the blooms were growing so well too, even in our climate (if “climate” is really a meaningful word in Artaeum) it truly broke my heart.

It also made me reconsider your request.

I have set one of my more discreet scribes to copying the Scroll for you, and I was hoping that in return, you might send me some marshmerrow seeds or rootlings and some trama cuttings for my garden, knowing how plentiful such weeds at out your way. Please reply back with all haste. At the end of next month, it will be too late for me to begin a new harvest.

Yours very fondly,

Xal’s letter – Day of the Power/Knowledge

Day of the Power/Knowledge
Deshaan Plain

Dear Gosleigh,

The Cacophany wear gold and hideous masks and their instruments are built into their armor. Most have flute helms that span a foot or more, while the leader plays his ribs like a xylophone with broken bird bones. Their bottom halves all dance the same kind of impetuous, exaggerated march, kicking up dust, scaring off scribs. The natives say this is all that’s left of Sotha Sil. Maybe that’s why there are so many Swooners, silk-webbed women (or painted men) that crawl behind them, crawl or wriggle in the dirt, an entourage of excess in the din. That’s what strikes you most.

What strikes you most is the clamor, their red noise wandering, a boom-boom-blare as they advance through the plain. They say this is a membership drive or a spell or a reenactment. They say this might all be a great joke of Sotha Sil. One Swooner dies or pretends to. The priest beside me, a Mephalite sporting a sigil-halo in lieu of the regular horned abbot’s hat, tells me that these are the last dead leaves of the Velothi south. Seeing that I don’t understand, he tries to correct himself: ‘but the music they make is a skill that has been useful to ALMSIVI many times since. Songs are words reborn.’ By which, I guess, he meant to counteract the common saying, ‘By the word I mean the dead.’

Ach, if only you were here, Gosleigh! Your notions that the Ayleid shaper talents have moved east and into melody are proved correct!

We left earlier than expected. I doubt our correspondence will be as immediate as it has been in the past. Perhaps you have already responded; if so, forgive my delay, as the road through the south mainland is full of listening frames that I dare not compromise. Again, I urge you to procure for me the Adompha scroll, and hope that you will not meet with hindrance.

Begging your patience,

Gosleigh’s letter – 10 Rain’s Hand

10 Rain’s Hand
Nicrythe Tower,

My Dear Xal,

This will probably be the third of the letters you receive in Port Telvanni when you arrive. I received your letter within hours after sending off a copy of the Scroll, which you’ll learn in the first of the letters, was not my initial impulse. It’s too early to say what the repercussions will be sending it to you, but I hope it will help. I will be fascinated to hear how the Nerevarine Prophecies play out, as I understand they will, and very soon. I count on you to keeping me informed about that, whatever you hear.

I’m fascinated by your story about Kemel-Re. Was it a special ceremony you witnessed, a festival, something religious in nature? Is this anything that happens in Vvardenfell as well, or is it a strictly mainland ritual?

On the Ayleids, ah yes. Don’t tell me you saw any of them in Morrowind did you? You might look for a series of books I understand are being published there about the last year of the First Era, which feature an encounter with the Ayleids in the middle of the series, maybe book 4 or 5. I would appreciate it if you would give me a copy if you come across it, together with those roots and seeds I mentioned before.

Now I must finish and send this letter off. I am being called to a meeting of the Masters of Artaeum.


Gosleigh’s letter – 20 Rain’s Hand

20 Rain’s Hand
Nicrythe Tower,

My Dear Xal,

It’s been ten days and I’ve yet to receive any word from you. I’m hoping that you’re not dead. I’m hoping further that the seeds and saplings I asked you to send are en route with a letter. Springtide is turning to Summertide and if I don’t have the plants soon, it will be too late to set them properly.

I’ve instructed my assistant Jolfer to take care of anything I receive over the next couple of days or weeks. I can’t go into the details, but suffice it to say, I will be in the Dreaming Cave. Yes. And to your next question, no, there is no one but me who can go on this. Believe me, Direnni, who is a fool (which is made plainer every day) would take my place if he could.

So you see there is no telling how long I will be gone. I’ve specifically told Jolfer not to open any letters addressed to me (fearing that you might make reference to my recent shipment, which the Council of Artaeum might frown upon), but don’t let that hold you back. I demand as my right as your friend to hear everything about your trip.

Now I must go. They must tattoo me for my trip. I’m sure I’ll look like a perfect ass. The daedra should be very amused.


P.S.: Do you know anything about an imp named Erator? I seem to be getting his mail. Very puzzling fellow.

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