The books in this section are...

Of Jephre

Fools' Ebony, Part the Oneth

Fools' Ebony, Part the Twoth

Fools' Ebony, Part the Threeth

Fools' Ebony, Part the Fourth

Fools' Ebony, Part the Fiveth

Etiquette With Rulers

Invocation of Azura

The Arrowshot Woman(my favroite)

Banker's Bet (funniest story i ever heard)

The War of Betony

The Alik'r

barbed_wire

Of Jephre

Anonymous

Of Jephre When the elven folk walked the land alone and sang songs of power amongst the trees and stars, Jephre the Singer walked with them. Jephre gave heed to the nature of the forests and delighted in the gurgling streams and brooks. It was Jephre who taught the birds to sing their songs of the seasons and He that taught the streams the tinkling ethereal tune. The very trees are said to have moved close to hear him sing on the warm summer nights of those elder days. It was in this time that the first great ballads of the elves were made, crafted from the songs that Jephre taught to the sylvan youth who frolicked to his lively tunes and ballads of nature and the unspoiled forest. In truth, He is worshipped as god of song and forest. In Valenwood, Jephre is considered one of the Major Sylvan gods with temples and altars in the deep woodland places. Elven tradition holds that children with a gift for song have been blessed by Jephre himself. Legend has it he blessed the Wood Elves with a natural affinity for nature and particularly the forest. Most Wood Elven Rangers worship Jephre. It was his great eagerness for natural beauty that led him to the Isle of Sumurset. He taught the great sea birds to sing and molded the crash of wave against beach into a song of whispers and power It is said by the high elves that Jephre hears and sees all within distance of water, whether it be beach, brook, stream or fall. It is further said that the very birds keep watch for Jephre, in repayment for the songs he taught them. It is fruther said he blessed the high elves with a beauty to match the beauty of their island home. The dark elves have a legend that Jephre walked the earth before the first day, and in the light of the stars weaved a song so beautiful that the very stars moved to its sway. Some of the stars to this very day still wink and blink in memory of the song of night and darkness. Due to his influence most if not all Elven Bards pay homage to Jephre. The natural order of things is the basis for Jephre's temples in Valenwood and the Sumurset Isle. The one thing Jephre will not tolerate is the harmful manipulation of the natural order of things. Fools' Ebony, Part the Oneth

Frincheps

Fools' Ebony, Part the Oneth Dramatis Personae Prologue The Adventurer, A Dark Elf Rascal Komon, A Priest of Akatosh Lheban, Another Priest of Akatosh Epilogue Stete, A Priest of Julianos Raic, Another Priest of Julianos Shub, A Mage Shub, A Different Mage of the Same Name Nephron, A Somewhat Sleazy Merchant 5 Armorers Ortho Crunn, Husband of Millie A Lusty Contessa Millie, Innkeep and Philosopher Gurnsey, Bovine Wench Assorted Wenches and barbed_wire

Cads of the Taverns Soldiers Dwarves Giants Daggerfall and Environs in the Doldrums of the 3rd Era Part The Oneth - Concerning Priests and Nackles As related at length by two Priests of Akatosh to the Adventurer, who at the time was not having an adventure, and had nothing better to do. In which some (probably unwanted) light is shed upon the Priesthood and its members, and upon an old peasant myth of some ÷significance, especially common in High Rock. And in which the mysterious Fools' Ebony appears, that strange material that could bring either drastic cultural change for the many, or just great profit for a few, or death for a bunch, or have no result whatsoever. Early in the month of Frostfall. The Dead Daedra Inn. Enter Prologue Prologue: Our poor players will try and remember their lines and not trip over our meager set. I beg you, the audience, not to heckle, badger, or throw rotten foodstuffs. You will only make this short play last longer. The Guild of Playwrites, Actors, and Dramatists wish any of you who are sensitive or allergic to rambling dialogue, wooden acting, incomprehensible exposition, or unsatisfying endings that leave one confused and unhappy to exit the theatre immediately. Your gold will, alas, not be refunded. As a saving grace, this series of vignettes contains gratuitous references to all pleasures of the flesh. You may enjoy it. Ah, here comes our hero, the roguish Dark Elf called the Adventurer. It is time for Prologue to trip merrily away. Exit Prologue Enter the Adventurer Adventurer: What an odd conversation I just heard between those two mages. It is best not to speak of such matters next to privy hedges. Enter 2 Priests of Akatosh (Lheban, Komon) Lheban: Mind if we join you, fellow? ... Good, need some company ourselves. I am named Lheban, my fellow priest here is Komon. We both serve Akatosh, all in our own ways, of course ... Adventurer: Make yourselves at home, it's not my bench. But I thought that priests ... didn't go to ... er ... places like this, Inns. I mean ... unless on duty? Lheban: Oh, we're not on duty. Got to regenerate our internal vital energies, so we can go on blessing and curing ... Komon: We often come here, hike up our robes, kick up our heels, as it were. Fill up with some bottled energy ... ÷ (Komon snickers) Lheban: Looking for those in need of comfort and blessing, of course ... Komon: Oh, yes, Oh yes ... like that young girl outside the other evening ... (Lheban kicks Komon) Komon: ... and anyway our High Priest told us to get lost... Lheban: He means told us to get some air. We've been having visions, you see ... Komon: Yes, sort of weird, really ... and we hadn't even been taking any of that ... (Lheban kicks Komon) Lheban: Both of us been having the same visions -- real odd. Adventurer: Do tell, I'm not going anywhere in a hurry. Lheban: Well, we've both been hearing sort of ... words ... for a start. Like 'Sir Nich' or 'Sain Nack' ... Adventurer: You said 'Nick' or 'Nack'? Just a minute ... let me have a swig from your bottle, Brother ... Ah! That's better - high-class stuff you fellows drink! Yes, I recall - some story or old legend about an elf, name of Nuckle, I think -- from Morrowind? Lheban: You know, maybe you're on to something there -- there is a old legend around these parts, comes from deep in High Rock I think ... hmmmm ... Nackles, that's it! Adventurer: Nackles, eh! Seems that several Dark Elves use that name ... particularly the ... more peculiar ones... Komon: Yes, I guess that the bad ones are into all that weapons magicka stuff ... very nasty fellows ... Lheban: (to Komon) Komon! This fellow's got pointy ÷ears and red eyes ... Komon: Pardon me, friend ... it's sort of dark, and I didn't ... uh ... Adventurer: Oh, that's fine. These are strange times. You know, live and let live -- or die -- as the case may be. Now ... suppose you tell me about this Nackles myth? Here, let me help you with that bottle ... Ah! Thanks. Lheban: Er ... sure, if you want to put it that way ... Here, have another swig! Sure, we've got the time, and I recall it clearly now. Komon: Yes, we've a couple hours 'til that little blonde shows up at her lamp ... (Lheban kicks Komon) Lheban: (to Komon) Quiet! Remember, we had to tell the High Priest her address, so she won't be around for a while! (to all) Very well, here's the story, best as I can recall it. This is a tale the peasants up in High Rock tell their kids to scare them into being good for a while, I guess. They tell it, let me see ... either on Tales and Tallows, or is it Witches' Festival? -- just before the kids are sent out to the barn or pigsty to sleep. ÷ Komon: Nasty cruel peasants! But then, I'd send them all out to the midden ... Lheban: Really, Komon! Remember, those poor souls need our compassion and blessing, we are their salvation! Komon: Now who's in Old High Mucky-Mucks' study? Lheban: Er ... anyway. It goes a bit like this. If the kids have been real good during the year -- filched enough in the market, mucked out the stables every day, not gone playing with goblins, left the sheep alone, and so on. If they have been real good, they've nothing to worry about. But if they haven't been real good then there is this nasty, horrid Dark Elf spirit called Nackles. Doesn't look like your typical Dark Elf -- thinner, taller. Pasty white face, long as your arm. Walks like his knees and elbows bend the wrong way. Snickers like when you drag your fingernails across slate. Wears a tight black suit (not Khajiit, more like a formal suit with buttons) but too tight and small. He visits the bad girls and -- Komon: Why are you talking about Old High Mucky again, ÷Lheban? (Komon hiccoughs) (Lheban kicks Komon) Lheban: You really must excuse Komon here: overwork, you know. Too many curings and conversions ... Anyway, Old Nasty Nackles is supposed to wander under our Tamriel, in dirty deep dark dwarven tunnels. Everywhere under the lands, if you can believe that! Rides in a rusty squeaky old mine cart, on old mine tracks ... Adventurer: I saw some of those in Fang Lair once, down in Hammerfell a long long while ago ... Komon: (to Lheban) What the Sheogorath was he doing in Fang Lair!? Lheban: (to Komon) Hush! If he's who I think he is, you do not want to know! (to all) Um, yes. Well, Nackles gets pulled all around these deep tunnels by goblins -- not your usual dirty yellow ones, but nasty black things. Anyway, they pull Nackles round and through these dark tunnels, and then, late at night, he stops below each and every bad child's hovel or house or castle -- makes no difference. Then he slides up the drainage pipes ... Komon: Creeps up cracks ... crawls through holes ... Lheban: Oozes up oubliettes ... Komon: Climbs giggling up garderobes ... Lheban: Right into the kid's place! Then, if the kid's only been sort of bad, Nackles will just mess things up in general, so the kid gets blamed. Make greasy dirty marks everywhere (more than usual, anyway), break some things, steal some things, so on and so forth. Maybe take the sugar sweets, leave some lumps of fools' ebony instead ... Adventurer: Fools' Ebony - what's that? Heard mention of that, oh, a few hours ago ... Some Mages ... Lheban: You did now? Interesting ... Very ... Well, lets talk of that in a bit ... just let me finish this Nackles thing. Where was I -- Oh yes ... Now, if the little brat has been real bad -- then all the little brat's toys get taken. The copper dagger, the wooden sword, the little whip, and so on. All the usual favorite kids things. Komon: Whips? I like those. (Komon hiccoughs) (Lheban kicks Komon) Lheban: Now if that little brat has been very, very bad then Nackles grabs the brat. Pops him or her in his dirty great sack. Hauls the sack off down the holes and cracks, down to his rusty old mine cart! And away they go! Komon: Hope he leaves some bad little girls behind. (Lheban kicks Komon) Lheban: Er ... so we can save them, of course, friend ... Well. Sometimes, so I've heard tell, the brat never comes back. No great loss, I guess, peasants just breed another. Komon: Know 'bout that, I do, I do ... (Lheban pinches Komon's nose) Lheban: But, as the story goes round here anyway, often the brat is just put to work, digging out lumps of Fools' Ebony, shoveling dirt, bagging it. Extending the tunnels of ÷the Nackles. After a while, Brat is pushed back up to where it came from. Seems that Brat might think it's spent a year down there, but only a day has passed up top ... Brat comes back real thin and dirty though, covered in black mess ... You know, come to think of it -- on the day past Witches' Festival, I've often seen some little brats, scrawny, real dirty black mess on them, looking terrified, too. Parents drag them into Temples to get blessed and cured, if they have the gold. By the Beard of Sheogorath, the wailing and noise! Enough to drive a priest to ... er ... well, never mind ... that's our problem ... Komon: Nah ... it's a problem with our suppliers, I tell you ... (Lheben throws Komon through a screen) Lheban: Anyway, that's the short of it, this Nackles legend up around here. I recall now, it's widespread all over Tamriel ... and knowing the place, probably more than a grain of truth in the tale, much, much more ... Adventurer: So, I guess some of the ... er, darker Dark Elves sort of identify with this Nackles. Take on the persona, so to ÷say ... Lheban: Yeah, that sort of sums it up, I guess ... though we don't see those types hauling off brats in sacks, now do we? Komon: Nah, that's wot we does, girly brats anyway, isn't it not? (Komon hiccoughs) (Lheben breaks a bottle over Komon's head) (Komon falls unconscious) Adventurer: Thats a very interesting tale, gentlemen. Say, let me repay you with another bottle -- what's that you're drinking? Ah, thought so - Innkeep! More holy wine for these holy men! Lheban: A blessing on you for that kind gesture, friend. Adventurer: I thank you, I sure could use one or three ... Anyway, this 'Fools' Ebony', I've heard mutters and murmurs about that of late -- mostly eavesdropping ... pardon me ... listening ... to Mages and the like. What's with this stuff? Here, have another swig ... good! Lheban: Well, we're not supposed to tell outsiders ... but then, you seem to know something already. And if you have been hearing Mage gossip ... Why, maybe we can do some business. Profit all round! Well ... for the Akatosh Chantry, of course, and your fee, good Sir. Adventurer: More and more interesting -- tell on, I pray you. (Komon staggers to feet) (Komon hiccoughs) Komon: Time for me to go convert that little lamppost girl ... no, no, no - not last nights one, but the blonde ... (Exit Komon) (Female squeals from offstage) Lheban: Friend, you'll have to excuse Komon. He's a bit ... you know strange ... Got these ... Adventurer: Oh, that's all right, we've all got our own ... (Exeunt Lheben and the Adventurer) (Enter Epilogue) Epilogue: Our apologies for the quality of this drama so far. If those of you still present will wait for a few minutes while our bard plays "Silence Implies Consent," we will change the set for the next act, Part the Twoth. Please don't forget to tip your wench. Do you believe there's such a thing as Fools' Ebony? Maybe we'll find out in Part the Twoth. Or maybe not. (Flourish) (Exit Epilogue) End of Part the Oneth, Being Mostly barbed_wire

Fools' Ebony, Part the Twoth

Frincheps

Fools' Ebony Part the Twoth Dramatis Personae Prologue The Adventurer, A Dark Elf Rascal Komon, A Priest of Akatosh Lheban, Another Priest of Akatosh Epilogue Stete, A Priest of Julianos Raic, Another Priest of Julianos Shub, A Mage Shub, A Different Mage of the Same Name Nephron, A Somewhat Sleazy Merchant 5 Armorers Ortho Crunn, Husband of Millie A Lusty Contessa Millie, Innkeep and Philosopher Gurnsey, Bovine Wench Assorted Wenches and Cads of the Taverns Soldiers Dwarves Giants Part The Twoth - Bearing Mostly on Fools' Ebony and Temples Same place, same Inn, A bottle or two later. Enter Prologue, the Adventurer, and Lheben ÷ Prologue: Little has occured so far in our comedic drama. The Adventurer, our Dark Elf rascal, has bought drinks for two priests of Akatosh. All have drunk considerably. One of the priests has rushed off in pursuit of his lamp girl. And, unless I've forgotten something or something happened when I was paying attention to something else, that's a complete synopsis of Part the Oneth. Ah, here come two more priests. Humble Prologue must depart. (Enter Raic and Stete) Raic: Evening Lheban! Evening stranger. My fellow priest here is Stete, I am Raic. We are honored to serve Julianos. Adventurer: What is this, anyway - Priests night out? And ... I thought that your Temples - Akatosh, Julianos, the rest ... I thought them all cut-throat competitors. In theology and gold, if you will forgive my bluntness. Yet you all seem the best of friends ..? Come to think of it, didn't I have words with Stete earlier, you said you were of the Temple of Stendarr? Raic: A common misconception, friend ... Lheban: ... but one that we ... encourage ... Raic: Really, we all work together closely, move between the Temples as needs dictate ... Lheban: ... exchange information ... Raic: ... share funds ... Stete: ... swap our sisters ... (Lheben kicks Stete) (Enter Prologue) Prologue: Sorry to interrupt the merry slapstick, but I neglected to mention earlier that the Fools' Gold saga -- if that is the word -- contains gratuitous reference to priestly misdeeds and sexual excess. I hope those of you in the audience of peevish, prudish, sullen, frumpy, or grumpy demeanors are not offended. Now then, on with the entertainment. (Exit Prologue) Lheban: ... and all that ... Raic: But it helps in our ... holy work, if we are perceived as separate and, uh, competitive... ÷ Lheban: Mind you, there are one or two, er ... religious organizations ... well, sort of ... that we do not have anything to do with ... Raic: Nothing at all, nothing at all ... animals, just animals ... Adventurer: Such as ..? Lheban: Weeell -- the Dark Brotherhood for one ... nasty bunch of thugs ... and then there's the Afterdark Society ... (aside to Raic) This fellow, seems a decent sort of chap ... seems to know something about Mages and Fools' Ebony ... Raic: (aside to Lheban) Really now ... how ÷interesting... (to all) Hey fellow, have another bottle -- this will bless you throat. My, my, yes indeed it will... Adventurer: Thanks Raic, don't mind a bit ... Lheban: But let me continue -- I was explaining about this Fools' Ebony to you ... Raic: Yes, Fools' Ebony ... Lheban: Well. Fools' Ebony now. Well, you know about ordinary Ebony, how it's rare, only some dwarven clans dig it and sell it. And not too many, these days and times ... Stete: How's that popular song go ..? (singing) Where have all the Old Dwarves gone, Long time ago ... (Lheben throws Innkeep at Stete) (Raic breaks chair on Innkeep and Stete) (Innkeep loses consciousness) Lheban: There's a pile of real ebony up in the Wrothgarians somewhere north, I hear tell. You know how that dullish black ebony gets worked over by Mages, by some skilled armorers, made into all kinds of potent weapons, amulets, belts, what have you. All fetch a huge price, when you can find any. And how the best was made long ago, by those old dwarves ... (Stete rises to his feet) (Lheban kicks Stete back down) (The Adventurer loosens his tunic) Lheban: Oh my! Oh, my apologies, friend, Sir! I see you have -- what's that? An ebony torc? Oh my, and an ebony katana! Oh My! Oh My, My! So, of course, you know all that, sir. Adventurer: Oh, that's all right, you didn't know. Here, have another bottle ... Lheban: Many thanks, kind Sir. Well, then you know how every adventurer, even snotty kids, all the dungeon-delvers, are always looking for ebony artifacts, weapons, whatnot. But what you may not know, some of the more experienced delvers hunt for raw ebony lodes, piles, dwarven leavings. That stuff, the raw ebony, is far more valuable. Adventurer: The raw unshaped material that provides work ... and power ... for so few? Apparently just loaded with negative magicka? Raic: Right, right! Lheban: Yes, right so! Quite so! Well, Fools' Ebony now. Looks just about like the ÷ű real raw stuff. Runs in veins in the deep rocks. Feels the same, smells almost the same. But the big difference: it's not real ebony. No power at all. If you pick some up, it gets you hands a bit dirty. Softer too, by all accounts. But sort of shiny too. But who can tell all that, deep in some old mine, maybe a ghoul breathing down your neck! So it's just grab and run, I guess, down in those nasty holes. So the fools, the kids, the crazy delvers, are always hauling up a bag, a sack, of Fools' Ebony. And getting laughed at by the merchants, dealers, mages, us ... hence the Fools' part. Stuff just gets thrown into the Bay ... Adventurer: Yeah, that's sort of what I ... er ... heard from some Mages. But I heard something else, too ... Lheban: And just what was that, friend ... if you want to tell us, of course ... Sir. Adventurer: Oh, of course! I think that we can come to ... er ... an arrangement? Lheban and Raic (Together): Certainly, Oh Yes! Adventurer: So, yeah, so these mages -- Shub and Shub, ÷ they are always called Shub, aren't they? -- anyway, these old guys were saying how this Fools' Ebony can burn. Not magically, but like an ordinary piece of wood. But the flame lasts far longer, gives off lots more heat, makes no smoke to speak of, no noise ... very interesting ... Mages were saying as how the alchemists want it, to heat the retorts and flasks ... How the Mages Guild wants it, to make and sell ... er ... fake amulets and the like ... rotten trick that! And especially the Armorers, they want it bad, for their forges, I guess. And the Alchemists, for their alembics ... Lheban: Precisely my information! Now... gets cold up here in the winter, doesn't it? And everyone is cutting down all those trees, making siege engines, boats, all that evil war machinery! All those rich royals and merchants got to heat their great big piles of homes. So their Contessas can run around in next to nothing, instead of furs... Stete: ... just like my sister ... (Lheben bites Stete's arm) (Stete shreiks and falls ÷unconscious) Adventurer: All those armorers got to keep their hearths and furnaces running... Lheban: ... All the Mages got to keep their familiars warm ... Raic: ... All those royals got to keep the contessas running ... Lheban: ... All those peasants got to keep their animals warm ... Adventurer: And To Sheogorath with the wife and kids, right? Ha! And, I guess, its sort of hard for you Priests to give blessings and cures, when your fingers are all cold and stiff ..? Makes getting corks out a tad hard, to say nothing of opening those little twists of parchment ..? Raic: You speak truly, indeed! Lheban: A man of wisdom, indeed! Yes! Adventurer: So, where do we find this Fools' Ebony -- in quantity? Lheban: You put your finger (you have six, I note -- oh, excuse me, Sir) on the crux of the matter. I have heard rumors, just rumors, mind you, that there are huge enormous veins of this stuff, at one place on the surface, far up in the Wrothgarians. Bad, bad place to go. But, if you can get there and back, cartloads of the stuff! Adventurer: Thats just what I overheard from those Mages -- far up there in the Wrothgarians -- orcs, dragonlings, daedra, Sheogorath only knows what ... Those Mages seemed to know the spot though. Mages wanted someone to ... Raic: You didn't ... talk ... to the Mages. I mean, you haven't ... Adventurer: Oh no. They didn't even know I was there ... (aside) Not yet, anyway... Lheban: Good, good - can't trust those Mages, you know ... old fossils would turn their own mothers into sludge-toads, just for a bit of gold! Gold-mad, power-mad, Mad-mad, the whole rotten lot of them! But then they don't have mothers! Raic: Excellent. Seems to me, friend -- or, can we call you partner? Yes? Excellent. Seems to me, partner, that my brother priests and you should do some digging and poking around -- see if we can get to those veins, those deposits, eh! Adventurer: Yes indeed, partners! But it would cost a fair pile of gold to get up there -- weapons, spells, women, clothing, carts and horses, women, food, potions ... Best go well-prepared, up there. Lheban: No problem, partner. Our Temples have ... certain resources, such that if we were guaranteed ... sole access, sole knowledge of the location, then we could finance someone ... someone with the requisite skills, such as yourself? Just by happenstance, I am Keeper of the Books ... you see the opportunity? Adventurer: Oh yes! Oh yes! Well -- lets split a last bottle, and shake on an agreement? Lheban: Indeed, let us! We first need information -- who knows about the site up there, where it is, how to reach it ... Why don't we meet back here in, say, a week, to the hour. And see what we can learn, meanwhile? Raic: We need to find a merchant, too. Someone who can handle it for us ... warehouses, distribution ... Lheban: And keep a shut mouth! Adventurer: I'll make some inquiries about merchants ... got a contact or two ... Trouble is -- well, you know how these things go -- few golds here, few there, before you know it you've bribed half the town, or so it seems. Now, as luck would have it, I don't have much -- got swindled by a wretched Mage, some town south of here, and lost most of my belongings in a shipwreck ... Lheban: Ah Yes! You need some ... seed money as it were. Raic: (To Lheban) Let me lift old Stete's purse, he made a lot renting out his sister last week ... Lheban: Thank you, Raic. Here, about 100 gold -- enough ? Adventurer: Oh yes, more than enough for a start, Gentlemen. Good, good, good ... so we have a deal? Adventurer: Yes! It's agreed. One week! (Exit Lheban, Raic dragging Stete) (Exit the Adventurer) ÷(Enter Epilogue) Epilogue: Ah, things are happening now, I doubt it not. Patrons, I request that you recall that this is a work of fiction created by one of the finest writers of the asylum, Frincheps, Archprince of All Sumurset. There is no such thing as Fools' Ebony. Furthermore, Ebony is not mined as the priests have described the process. Grasp that please. If you can still enjoy the play as a rude work of fiction, stay with us for Part the Threeth. If you can't, farewell. And don't forget to tip the wenches. And so endeth Part the Twoth barbed_wire

Fools' Ebony, Part the Fourth

Frincheps

Fools' Ebony Part The Fourth Dramatis Personae Prologue The Adventurer, A Dark Elf Rascal Komon, A Priest of Akatosh Lheban, Another Priest of Akatosh Epilogue Stete, A Priest of Julianos Raic, Another Priest of Julianos Shub, A Mage Shub, A Different Mage of the Same Name Nephron, A Somewhat Sleazy Merchant 5 Armorers Ortho Crunn, Husband of Millie A Lusty Contessa Millie, Innkeep and Philosopher Gurnsey, Bovine Wench Assorted Wenches and Cads of the Taverns Soldiers Dwarves Giants Part The Fourth - Mercantile Dealings, The Armorers Involve Themselves. After some general discussion and verbal dancing around, finally the topic of Fools' Ebony is explored ... Somewhere near the market, in the back of a store called "Nephron's General Mercantile". The day after. (Enter Prologue, the Adventurer, and Nephron) Prologue: Whilst the actors playing the Adventurer and the merchant Nephron dramatically move their mouths to pantomime a conversation, it is on poor Prologue's shoulders to update the audience on the play's actions in its first three acts. The Adventurer, a rogue of a Dark Elf, has been hired two different groups -- four inebriated priests and two greedy mages -- to delay the other group, and find the lost cache of Fools' Ebony in the Wrothgarian Mountains. Now, picture this clownishly decorated set as the back room at a prosperous merchant's shop. And before the Adventurer and Nephron develop lockjaw, Prologue will leave you thus. Adventurer: So you see, friend Nephron, just what an opportunity we have here. We have this new commodity, for which you agree there will be a huge demand. Nephron: Especially from the Royals -- once one of them has something new, they all want it, of course. Adventurer: And do not forget the Armorers for their forges, and the Alchemists for their retorts and whatnots... Nephron: You seem to have the Mages lined up nicely, got their location, memorized the access map, and so on - you know, we merchants have had a suspicion for quite some time that those old twits had some deep dark secret of interest to us... Now, the priests - the School of Julianos we already work well with, hand and glove, you might say. But of course we shall cut them out of the major profits -- maybe let them distribute some to their flocks? And their Temples make good, how can I say? -- storehouses? But the Akatosh Chantry is a problem, always running off and doing things on their own initiative, no cooperation, just crazy people ... we really need to do something about them, to ... er ... ensure their cooperation ... Adventurer: I have a suggestion that might help ... you recall how old Komon left and apparently dragged off some little blonde lamppost girl ... just suppose, that just by chance, in his state of ... befuddlement ... he dragged off someone important by mistake..? Might be a lot of trouble for the Chantry, if word got out? Nephron: Hmmm. Indeed ... there's this silly little blonde Royal who's all excited by the 'real life' down in these parts of town. Disguises herself (or so she thinks), comes on down here and plays at being poor. Stupid little twit ... Komon is still in hiding with his blonde, right? Adventurer: Yes, in that 'retreat' the Priests have, down near the waterfront. Nephron: Oh yes, I know that place - often sell them some 'spiritual powders' and so on ... Good ... you see, just imagine what would happen if Komon, by mistake, had grabbed this slumming little Contessa ... Akatosh Chantry would have no end of trouble from the palace if something nasty happened to her ... and then we could move in, offer to 'help' the Chantry during their hard times ... Hmmm. Yes! Leave it to me, I shall contact a few of my ... er ... business associates, as it were ... make some arrangements. Adventurer: And I'll keep up chatting with the priests, get them to support our little business venture? Nephron: Right! And I should introduce you to some of the more senior members of our Brotherhood ... excuse me, Guild. Let me contact you in a few days, when everything is all set. You are here every ÷evening? Adventurer: Yes, not particularly safe outside after dark these days. Nephron: I see. We shall have to arrange some ... protection for you. Well, in a few days, then. (Exit Nephron, inconspicuously) (Enter Five Armorers) (Armorers and the Adventurer fight) (The Adventurer falls) (The Armorers tie the Adventurer up and then wake him up) Armorer 1: OK, fellow. Lets not spriggen-foot around! We know about this Fools' Ebony thing. And about the Mages who apparently discovered the location. And we have been watching you dance around with the Priests, the Mages, the Merchants. Just about everyone with two ű feet! Armorer 2: And how you are really working with Nephron. Armorer 3: And how you are double-crossing the Priests and Mages ... Armorer 2: You and Nephron are really doing a good job on the Akatosh Chantry, we must admit. Armorer 1: But now, we want that Fool's Ebony supply. We need it to increase our production, our quality -- and our prices. We can work with Nephron and his gang, we need warehouses and distribution anyway. Armorer 4: We could torture it out of you ... Armorer 3: We could let the Priests know about your plans -- they would throw you to the Afterdark Society in a flash! Armorer 5: We could let the Mages know -- they would send you to Oblivion for a very, very long time! Armorer 1: But we would rather you 'joined' our Guild. We cannot afford to leave Daggerfall for some hairy wilderness trip. Too much demand these days, for our sevices. Armorer 2: But we can send a group of our apprentices along to keep you company. Armorer 4: Our apprentices usually test all our products ... and will be just itching to test out there. Adventurer: Gentlemen, gentlemen! Please - I really was going to give the whole deal to you, once I had gotten gold from everyone else. (Armorer 5 slaps the Adventurer with a hot poker) Ohhh ... well, I thought of it... Armorer 5: Sure! And I'm a Nymph! Adventurer: Yes, Yes, Yes, you are very persuasive. I would welcome an ... er ... escort and guard of such tough gentlemen. Be very handy out there. Armorer 1: Good. Thought you would see it our way! Some of our other members are presently having a little ... chat with Nephron. We can handle him. And from now on, two of our bigger apprentices will always be close at hand. Protection, of course -- this town can be quite dangerous at night ... Armorer 3: So continue with your arrangements, work with Nephron. You can always leave word about your departure date with any weapons shop. And about any problems you may have ... Adventurer: Certainly, gentlemen. Yes, you are indeed very persuasive. I shall keep you up to date. And, er...thanks for the protection. (Enter Ortho, the very large apprentice) (The Adventurer is untied) (Exeunt Five Armorers) Adventurer: Hello, who are you? Ortho: Me am Ortho! Adventurer: My ... protection? Ortho: Me am Ortho! Adventurer: You look very familiar to me for some reason. Have you every been to Morrowind? Ortho: Me am Ortho! Adventurer: Fine then. (aside) My old man used to say the very worst thing that can happen to a fellow is an evening spent in the company of an earnest politician. This, I think, is a close second. (Exeunt the Adventurer and Ortho) (Enter Epilogue) Epilogue: Our play has six parts, and we've just finished the fourth. It's interesting I think that the Lusty Contessa has not made an appearance yet. You don't suppose our playwrite forgot he put her in the Dramatis Personae, do you? Well, you'll only know if you come back for The Fools' Ebony, Part the Fiveth. And if your neighbor decides not to return, don't tell him what happened. We actors have to make a living too, you know. Don't forget to tip your wenches while we change the scene. (Exit Epilogue) So Endeth Part The Fourth barbed_wire

Fools' Ebony, Part the Fiveth

Frincheps

Fools' Ebony Part The Fiveth Dramatis Personae Prologue The Adventurer, A Dark Elf Rascal Komon, A Priest of Akatosh Lheban, Another Priest of Akatosh Epilogue Stete, A Priest of Julianos Raic, Another Priest of Julianos Shub, A Mage Shub, A Different Mage of the Same Name Nephron, A Somewhat Sleazy Merchant 5 Armorers Ortho Crunn, Husband of Millie A Lusty Contessa Millie, Innkeep and Philosopher Gurnsey, Bovine Wench Assorted Wenches and Cads of the Taverns Soldiers Dwarves Giants Part The Fiveth - Back With The Priests, Final Plans, and a Killing or Two is Reported... Nearer the middle of the Month of Frostfall, The Inn of the Pink Nymph. (Enter Prologue, the Adventurer, Ortho, Nephron, the Five Armorers, and ÷Prologue) Prologue: Our roguish Dark Elf, the Adventurer has plummeted before our stunned eyes, from the king of the spider web of intrigue to a pathetic, crawling lump of Argonian excrement. In the quest for Fools' Ebony, that substance that all would kill for, the Adventurer attempted to play Mage against Priest with the help of the merchant Nephron. Alas, that is to say, alackaday, the five armorers have trapped Nephron and the Adventurer and taken over their scheme. The hulking Ortho now watches the Adventurer's every move. But I get the feeling -- to be honest, don't you? -- that beneath the Adventurer's defeated quivering jelly lurks a jungle cat of such cunning and resource to shatter all his enemies when the time is right. Of course, I could be wrong. Ah, I see one of the priests of Akatosh who believes himself a friend of the Adventurer. I, Prologue must away. (Exit Prologue) (Enter Lheban, a Priest of Akatosh.) Lheban: Evening there, mind if I join you? Adventurer: Well ... since you already have - no. And where is our esteemed brother Komon this chill evening? Lheban: You mean you haven't heard -- Oh, I guess you have been busy with the ... preparations? Adventurer: Right, right, very busy... Lheban: Then let me tell you -- Oh, what a bad business. What trouble ... Oh Dear ... Well ... you doubtless recall that poor Komon had this ... er ... problem -- overwork of course! Adventurer: Oh yes -- you fellows do work exceeding hard, seems to me. Lheban: Well ... recall how Komon left, somewhat erratically as it were, and ... er ... made off with that young blondie under the lamppost outside? Well -- in his ... er ... state of confusion -- he grabbed the wrong blondie - Oh My, indeed the wrong one ... Adventurer: They all look pretty much the same to me, but of course, I do not look too hard! Lheban: Oh My! Well, to cut a short tale to the bone, old Komon grabbed a Contessa, who had thought to 'disguise herself.' Oh Dear! Adventurer: Well -- did she get away? Did they catch Komon? What happened? Lheban: Well, old Komon, tipsy as he was, was quick as spit in a gale. Eluded all pursuit, took the lady to a small private ... retreat house that we have. Oh Dear Me! Well, the City Guards, Palace guards, half a dozen Royals, all caught up with Komon 3 days later. One day too late for the poor Contessa -- I hear that they had a hard time locating all the ... er ... bits and pieces. Komon was there, passed out cold. And another body, some common blond lamppost girl. And by now he is cold -- permanently, most likely at the bottom of the Bay. Adventurer: Oh well. Serves the Contessa right, coming down to this area. But I suppose that there are repercussions?

Etiquette With Rulers

Erystera Ligen

Etiquette With Rulers Because the rules are so complex and the stakes are so high, many people blanche at the thought of speaking with a noble with a title. For starters, it is important to address them correctly, for just as no one likes to be misnamed, no one likes to be mistitled. The problem is that in High Rock, traditions of the peerage differ slightly from region to region. The base rules follow: There are eight kingdoms in High Rock in the following regions: Northpoint, Daggerfall, Shornhelm, Camlorn, Farrun, Evermore, Wayrest, and Jehanna. If a woman is ruling one of these areas, she is called the Queen. The husband of a Queen and the wife of a King is not necessarily of equal rank -- they may not be Kings and Queens themselves. Their children are Princes and Princesses. Their grandchildren are also Princes and Princesses. If a male ruler dies, his wife takes the title Dowager Queen, providing there is not a Dowager Queen already. Like all rules, there are exceptions. One noted exception took place recently in Daggerfall, when King Lysandus died. In most regions, his wife Mynisera would not have become Dowager Queen of ÷Daggerfall, because Lysandus' mother, the widow Nulfaga, still lived. In Daggerfall, however, it is permissable for there to be two persons with the same title. Thus, both Nulfaga and Mynisera have the title Dowager Queen. If a female ruler, who does not share rank with her husband, dies, there is no male equivalent to the word Dowager. Widowers of Queens usually take another title, either a lesser family title or one given by their children. There have been a few men in the history of High Rock who have fallen from being addressed as King to being addressed as Mister at the death of their wife. Other regions are ruled by Dukes and Duchesses, Marquises (or Marquesses) and Marquises (or Marchionesses), Counts and Countesses, Viscounts or Viscountesses, Barons or Baronesses, and Lords or Ladies. This list is theoretically listed from highest to lowest rank, but the ruler of a territory outranks all other nobles, regardless of title. Dwynnen, for example, is a Barony, and the Baron or Baroness of Dwynnen outrank any other noble in that territory, even Dukes and Counts. In theory, (again, this may not be the case according to local custom) the eldest son or daughter of a noble takes their parents highest family title below their parents. Thus, the Duke of Northmoor, who is also the Marquis of Calder, had a daughter who became the Marchioness of Calder. Kings and Queens are always addressed as "Your Majesty" in conversation; Dukes and Duchesses, "Your Grace". All other rulers may be addressed with their title and name, or Lord or Lady and their name. A few hints may be needed to determine exactly who rules a territory. You may rely on people on the streets to make reference to their ruler, but that may not be enough. After all, if the gossip involved Lord Bemmish and Viscountess Byrd, neither or both could be the ruler of the territoy. I have found that a more predictable method is to pay some attention to the names of taverns and shops in a region. By tradition, many of these are called "The Duke's Fox" or "The Lady's Provisions." This, more often than not, is the name of the ruler. If the shop's name is "Lady Annisa's Provisions" or "Lord Boxworth's Fox," that is probably the name of a local titled merchant, not the ruler. A store with ÷a unnamed ruler's title has probably been around for some time, and does not bother to change its name with the new name of the ruler. In speaking with any person, a ruler or not, it is best to know what sort of a person they are first. Rulers tend to stand on ceremony, and prefer that people addressing them speak politely and deferentially. There are, of course, acceptions to this, particularly among younger rulers, or rulers new to their positions. They may prefer a bolder, slangy style. If you are unsure, or unsure of your ability to adopt the vocubulary of either an aristocrat or a criminal, choose to speak as plainly and directly as possible. You will seldom charm someone by plain talk, but you will also not alienate by mangled politesse or dated slang. Alienating a ruler, I need not tell you, can be the last mistake one can make. barbed_wire

Invocation of Azura

Sigillah Parate

Invocation of Azura For three hundred years, I have been a priestess of Azura, the Daedric Prince of Moonshadow, Mother of the Rose, and Queen of the Night Sky. Every Hogithum, which we celebrate on the 21st of First Seed, we summon her for guidance and to give up beautiful things to her majesty. She is a cruel but wise mistress. We do not invoke her on any Hogithum troubled by thunder storms, for those nights belong to the Mad One, Sheogorath, even if they do coincide with Hogithum. Azura understands our caution. We may summon her on other dates also, and she quite often responds. The only days we are forbidden to invoke her are those prescribed to one of the other fifteen Princes: the 1st and the 13th of Morning Star, the 2nd and the 16th of Suns Dawn, the 5th of First Seed, the 9th of Rains Hand, the 9th of Second Seed, the 5th of Mid Year, the 10th of Suns Height, the 3rd of Hearth Fire, the 8th and the 13th of Frost Fall, the 2nd and 20th of Suns Dusk, and the 20th of Evening Star. I know who is summoned on the 3rd of Hearth Fire, the 2nd of Suns Dusk, and the 20th of Evening Star, but I am not certain of the others. It is enough that Azura has forbidden those dates. Azura's invocation is a very personal one. I have been the priestess of three other Daedric Princes, but Azura values the quality of her worshippers, the truth behind our adoration of her, and the When I was a Dark Elven maiden of sixteen, I joined my grandmother's coven, worshippers of Molag Bal, the Schemer Prince. Blackmail, extortion, and bribery are as much the weapons of the Witches of Molag Bal as magic is. The Invocation of Molag Bal is held on the 20th of Evening Star, except in stormy weather. This ceremony is seldom missed, but Molag Bal often appears to his cultists in mortal guise on other dates. When my grandmother died in an attempt to poison the heir of Firewatch, I reexamined my faith in the cult. My brother was a warlock of the cult of Boethiah, and from what he told me, the Dark Warrior was closer to my spirit than the treacherous Molag Bal. Boethiah is a warrior Prince who acts more avertly than any other Daedra. After years of skulking and scheming, it felt good to perform acts for my ÷mistress which had immediate consequences. Besides, I liked that Boethiah is a Daedra of the Dark Elves. Our cult would summon her on the day we called the Gauntlet, the 2nd of Suns Dusk. Bloody competitions would be held in her honor, and the duels and battles would continue until nine cultists were killed at the hands of other cultists. Boethiah cared little for her cultists -- she only cared about our blood. I do think I saw her smile when I accidentally slew my brother in a spar. My horror, I think, greatly pleased her. I left the cult soon after that. Boethiah was too impersonal for me, too cold. I wanted a master of greater depth than she. For the next eighteen years of my life, I worshipped no one: I read and researched. It was in an old and profane tome I came upon the name of Nocturnal. Nocturnal the Night Mistress, Nocturnal the Unfathomable. As the book prescribed, I called to her on her holy day, the 3rd of Hearth Fire. At last, I had found the personal mistress I had so long desired. I strove to understand her labyrinthine philosophy, the source of her mysterious pain. Everything about her was dark and shrouded, even the way she spoke and the acts she required of me. It took years for me to understand the simple fact that I could never understand Nocturnal. Her mystery was as essential to her as savagery was to Boethiah or treachery was to Molag Bal. To understand Nocturnal is to negate her, to pull back the curtains in her realm of darkness. As much as I loved her, I recognized the futility of unravelling her enigmas. I turned instead to her sister, Azura. Azura is the only Daedra Prince I have ever worshipped who seems to care about her cultists. Molag Bal wanted my mind, Boethiah wanted my arms, and Nocturnal -- perhaps my curiousity. Azura wants all of that, and our love. Not our abject slavering, but our honest and genuine love in all its forms. It is important to her that our emotions are engaged. And our love must also be directed inward. If we love her and hate ourselves, she feels our pain. I will have no other mistress. barbed_wire

The Arrowshot Woman

Anonymous

The Arrowshot Woman I heard this story on good authority from a good and honest friend, whose friend was witness to the incident. I do truly believe it happened, as fantastical as it may seem. My friend's friend, Terron, was visiting the Elsweyr citystate of Riverhold during a very hot summer and went to the marketplace there. If you have never been to Riverhold, the marketplace is very crowded, much more than in comparably sized city states. People from the countryside flock to the marketplace daily in their wagons and carriages. Terron was passing one such carriage, and noticed that the sole occupant was a woman, seated with her eyes closed and her hands behind her head. An odd sight, to be sure, but he assumed she must be sleeping. Terron continued on. A little while later, after Terron had finished shopping in the marketplace, he passed the same carriage. The same woman was sitting in it. Her eyes were open now, but her hands were still behind her head. ÷ "Are you all right, my lady?" he asked. "An arrow shot me in my head and I'm holding my brains in," came the woman's reply. Terron did not know what to do. He ran into the marketplace and literally bumped into a healer and his knight companion. They were good people and agreed to help. The carriage door had to be torn off its hinges, as the lady had locked it and feared to move to unlock it. What they found when they finally could get into the carriage was this: the woman was holding barley dough on the back of her head with her hands. Apparently, in the heat of the day, a jar of barley dough had exploded with the thwang of an arrowshot and struck the woman in the back of her head. When she reached back to feel what had hit her, she felt the dough and reasoned that she was feeling her brains. barbed_wire

Banker's Bet(funny as hell)

Porbert Lyttumly

Banker's Bet It was a perfectly ordinary day at the main office of the Bank of Daggerfall. Normal transactions took place: deposits were deposited, withdrawals were withdrawn, house mortgages were collected, letters of credit were golded. When a teller named Clyton J. Wifflington saw the little old lady approaching him, dragging two large sacks, each nearly as large as her, he changed his mind. It was not to be a perfectly ordinary day at the Bank of Daggerfall after all. "I would like you to take the thirty million gold pieces I have in these sacks and open me an account," croaked the little old biddy. "Certainly, madam," Wifflington said, eagerly. He counted the gold in the sacks and found that it was thirty million gold exactly. "One moment, sonny," the little old lady chirruped. "Before I open the account, I would like to meet the man I'm trusting it to. I'd like to talk to the president of the bank." Wifflington wanted the president to know that he was the ÷teller who had taken the largest single deposit that year, so eagerly sent word to the president's secretary. As it turned out, the president was equally eager to meet such a wealthy woman, so the old lady was brought to his office that very day. "Pleased to make your acquaintance, milady. I am Gerander P. Baggledon," said the president, Gerander P. Baggledon. "My name," said the little old lady. "Is Petuva Smuthworthy." That was, in fact, her real name. "Thank you for seeing me. I like to conduct my business in a more personal way." "I can certainly appreciate that," said Baggledon chucklingly. "It is an appreciable sum of gold. Would it be rude of me to ask how you came by it?" "Not at all," said Mrs. Smuthworthy. "How came you by it?" asked Baggledon. "I'll let you guess," replied Mrs. Smuthworthy, with a trace of unattractive girlish flirtation. Baggledon was a man of enormous imagination, for a banker. He guessed inheritance and longtime thrift, but Mrs. Smuthworthy coyly shook her head. Perhaps she had sold a large, old mansion? No. In a moment of chumminess, Baggledon asked if the gold came as a result of plunder or thievery. Mrs. Smuthworthy took no offense, but said no. Finally, he admitted defeat. "I'm a gambler," she said. "In arena fights?" he asked, interested. "No, no, dearie. Different things. For example, I'd be willing to wager twenty five thousand gold pieces that at this time tomorrow morning, your testicles will be covered with feathers." Mr. Baggledon was somewhat taken aback by the old woman's words. Could she be mad? Could she be a witch? He eliminated the latter possibility, for he had a sense for such things. If she were mad, she was still a rich madwoman. And he could ÷use twenty five thousand gold pieces. So he took her wager. For the next twenty-four hours, Mr. Baggledon obsessed over his testicles. He checked his pants so often that afternoon, his subordinates feared the worse and suggested that he not touch anything and go home for the rest of the afternoon. He spent the night seated, his pants around his ankles, his beady banker's eyes focused on his scrotum. Every time he started to doze off, his vision was filled with images of Mrs. Smuthworthy plucking feathers from his balls, cackling. Mr. Baggledon arrived at the bank late the next day -- only moments before Mrs. Smethworthy's arrival. Accompanying her was a lean, bespeckled fellow she introduced as a barrister from the court. Her son, it turned out. Young Mr. Smethworthy always accompanied his mother when there was money involved, she explained. "Enough banter," she crowed. "Our bet, dearie?" "My dear, dear madam, I can tell you that your gold will be quite safe at the Bank of Daggerfall. I hope it will not ÷cause you distress to discover that your gold will be safer here than in your own hands. My family jewels are quite, shall we say, featherless. And you owe me a sum equally twenty five thousand gold." Poor Mrs. Smethworthy's face fell when she heard this. "Are you sure?" "Quite, madam." "Not even one feather?" Her voice suggested doubt. Mr. Baggledon could tell she thought he might be lying. "Not one, I fear, madam." "It's not that I don't trust you, Mr. Baggledon, but it is quite a lot of gold. Might I -- would you -- could I possibly see for myself?" As he knew he was soon to be a twenty five thousand gold pieces richer, and he was still a bit punchy from lack of sleep, Mr. Baggledon merely smiled and dropped his breeches to the floor. Mrs. Smethworthy examined his testicles very carefully, under, to the left, to the right. At last, she was satisfied that there was not so much as a down feather anywhere in the region. While she was looking under them one last time, Mr. Baggledon heard a thwacking noise across the office. Young Mr. Smethworthy was banging his head against the stone wall. "What in the Lady's name is wrong with your son, Mrs. Smethworthy?" he asked. "Nothing, dear," she said. "I merely bet him one hundred thousand gold pieces that by this time I would have the president of the Bank of Daggerfall by the balls." barbed_wire

The War of Betony

Fav'te

The War of Betony Could there be a better proof of the natural perversity of Bretons than their conduct before, during, and after what history will remember as the War of Betony? By the most depraved of motivations, the most despicable of tactics, and the most ungentlemanly of triumphs, the kingdom of Daggerfall changed the nature of warfare in the Iliac Bay and perhaps over all of Tamriel. In Sentinel, we call the recent carnage the Siege of Betony, but as the book of history is writ by the victors, let us speak instead of the War of Betony. Redguards by their nature are a modest and practical people. We are not phlegmatic like the High Elves, nor cowardly like the Wood Elves and Khajiiti. But what would infuriate and enrage the swaggering, vainglorious Nords and Bretons would not merit a shrug from a Redguard. Had any Breton kingdom possessed the little island of Betony, it would have been covetously guarded. Betony's trade would have been seriously restricted; its religion subjugated; its people bound by active and constant pledges and duties of vassalage. But Betony was not a Breton dominion. Betony was part of the Kingdom of Sentinel. King Lysandus -- may the Old Ones continue to torment his soul for his wickedness! -- saw the prosperous island which is closer to his land than to Sentinel, and his black heart turned to avarice. Through threats, lies, acts of piracy and, finally, invasion, Daggerfall illegally took possession of the Island of Betony. His court sorceress, the Lady Medora, his enchantress mother, and other experienced counselors were horrified by the brutality of his campaign and begged him to abandon his tyrannical act of war. Gradually, all dissentors were removed from court. None but the ignorant and the warmongers remained. Our late king Camaron tried to employ civil diplomacy with Daggerfall, but in the end, he made the former declaration of war. Daggerfall and Sentinel have fought many times in their two thousand years of coexistance, and Camaron knew the black magic and espionage the Bretons considered honest warfare. Never debasing the Sentinel character by duplicating the Breton villainy, Camaron knew best how to combat Lysandus. King Lysandus' knavish battle tactics were even more perfidious than his ancestors', and the war continue to rage until it began to involve more than Sentinel and Daggerfall. Lord Graddock, ruler of Reich Gradkeep, acted as concilator between Sentinel and Daggerfall, and eventually convinced both monarchs to meet and make peace. The ill-fated Treaty of Gradkeep began civilly; the terms of peace were discussed, agreed on, and set to paper. The terms were excessively generous. Camaron had agreed to give up some of his rights to Betony in order to placate the madness of Lysandus and bring peace back to the Iliac Bay. It was not until King Camaron read the Treaty he was about to sign that he realized the outrageous perfidy of the Bretons: the Treaty had actually been purposefully miswritten by the Daggerfall scribe in a desparate and ignominious attempt to trick Camaron into signing a contract different from the one to which he had agreed. The castle of Reich Gradkeep erupted into bloodbath, and the war continued. The Battle of Cryngaine Field was the tragic ending of the senseless war of attrition. The Cryngaine Field is located in between the Yeorth Burrowland and the Ravennian Forest where the armies of Sentinel and Daggerfall respectively made camp after the massacre at Reich Gradkeep. As the battle began, Daggerfall proved that she had some foul daedric magical tricks left by blinding the Redguard army with a wall of mist. Lysandus did not have the opportunity to gloat over his cozenage for long, for the sure arm of a Sentinel archer struck him in the throat even through the thick, swirling fog. Lysandus' son, Gothryd, who had spent the battle in lugubrious relaxation, was crowned without ceremony, and thereupon demanded a duel with King Camaron. Camaron was many years Gothryd's senior, and though a superior warrior, was exhausted from the endless warfare the boy king had been spared. Nevertheless, as a point of honor, our king agreed to the duel. The new king of Daggerfall, by dirty trick and black magic, managed to backstab our king before the duel ever began. Thus, the victor of Cryngaine Field, and the War of Betony, was Daggerfall. Daggerfall's wickedness continued even after her inglorious victory. While the widow queen of Sentinel, Her Majesty Akorithi, mourned and tried to mend her shattered lands, Gothryd demanded the Princess of Sentinel as a hostage of war. To save her homeland, the Princess Aubk-i agreed to leave Sentinel and even marry the murderer of her father. But we true Redguards of Sentinel know where her love and honor lies. The Queen of Daggerfall is the Princess of Sentinel first and foremost. barbed_wire

The War of Betony

Vulper Newgate

The War of Betony The history of the Iliac Bay, if told in its entirety, would horrify readers more than the most gruesome legend of the Underking. In comparison to the wars of the first and second era, our most recent appeal to arms, the War of Betony pales. The Siege of Orsinium lasted from 1E 950 until 1E 980 without a pause. A thousand years later, the Thrassian Plague coupled with the War of Righteousness slayed over half the population of the Iliac Bay. And yet, the War of Betony fascinates us, and not just because of its immediacy. Ironically, Lord Mogref of Betony was seeking peace when he asked for Daggerfall's protection on the Isle of Betony. The island had long been independant, but as the piracy in the Bay increased, Mogref truly realized Betony's vulnerability. King Lysandus agreed to be Betony's liege, on advice of many, including his archpriest of Kynareth, Lord Vanech. While Betony is a prosperous fishing island and well-placed strategically, the vassalage of Betony was primarily an act of charity. Lysandus knew that if someone did not help Betony, it would fall to the pirates, if not to someone worse. Unfortunately, King Camaron of Sentinel did not agree. Citing a two hundred year old contract, obliquely if not illegally written to suggest that Betony was a "traditional holding" of the Kingdom of Sentinel, Camaron declared war. The majority of his advisors, being warlords in a traditionally bellicose country, supported their king in this. The Chief Counselor, a woman called The Oracle, foresaw death and defeat in the war, but her wisdom was stifled and she was banished from court. Camaron should have listened to her. A few scrimages of the War of Betony went to Sentinel, but the major battles were all won by Daggerfall. King Lysandus, his heir Prince Gothryd, and the general of the army Lord Bridwell were fine leaders and warriors as well, and the Battle of the Bluffs and the Siege of Craghold both went to Daggerfall. The war might have been won with one more victory, but for an unusual domestic incident in King Lysandus' court. The king's mother, the dowager queen Nulfaga, had been uneasy about the war since its beginning, but she now began to have visions of cataclysm. She saw the death of her beloved son ÷should the war continue. Ebullient by his success, King Lysandus refused to listen to her fears until Nulfaga left court. Lysandus then realized how certain she was about his impending death. He began to actively negotiate a peace treaty with Sentinel, using the neutral lordship of Reich Gradkeep as facilitator. The Treaty of Reich Gradkeep was never to be. King Camaron was initially civil, as the losing side of a war is often civil, but when he realized that the proposed treaty would have included a formal declaration that the kingdoms of Sentinel and Daggerfall would share Betony, he flew into a rage. With no thought for the protocol of attacking a neutral peaceable lordship, Camaron order his army to riot through Reich Gradkeep. First the halls of the palace, and then the streets of the capitol ran red with blood. It was only with the support of the Daggerfall army that the chaos was brought under relative control. The Sentinel army fled to the Yeorth Burrowland, and the Daggerfall army chased them as far as the Ravennian Forest before making camp. One week later, after each had a chance to send for ÷reinforcements and plan their strategies, the armies met in the field that separated them, the flowering meadowland called Cryngaine Field. In the heat of the clash, an unnatural fog spread over the field, blinding all combatants. When the mist finally lifted, King Lysandus' body was found, his throat pierced by an unmarked arrow. Daggerfall did not waste any time in mourning; young prince Gothryd, who had shown great bravery in battle and was very popular among the troops, was crowned King of Daggerfall just behind the battle lines, and he ordered the army onward. Perhaps it was the sight of the brave young warrior turned king appearing on the battlefield in full regalia that inspired the Daggerfall army, perhaps the battle would have turned regardless, Sentinel began to panic. King Gothryd met King Camaron before the Redguards had retreated, and the two monarchs fought. Both were excellent warriors, but Gothryd was a more skillful swordsman, and Camaron fell that day. Lord Oresme of Sentinel formally surrendered to Daggerfall, giving up all rights to Betony officially. He later commited suicide on the ship back to Sentinel. ÷ Peace was a difficult process for the cities and towns on both sides of the Iliac Bay. As part of the formal peace treaty, King Gothryd asked for the hand of Princess Aubk-i, only daughter of the late King Camaron and the Queen Regent Akorithi. The request was intended to restore friendship between the kingdoms, and it was partially successful though many in the royal court of Sentinel viewed the princess as more a prisoner of war than a bond to Daggerfall. The only surviving member of the ruling family of Reich Gradkeep was a sickly infant, so the councilors of state appealed to Lord Auberon Flyte, a cousin of Lord Graddock, to rule the lordship in regency. Lord Flyte accepted, and his strong, almost dictatorial style was just what Reich Gradkeep needed to restore order after the bloody Treaty of Reich Gradkeep. His subjects were grateful that when the infant heir died, they not only elevated his wife Doryanna and him from regents to rulers, they agreed to rename the lordship in his honor. Reich Gradkeep became Anticlere, named after his ancestral home. The horrors of the War of Betony still live on, even in ÷Anticlere. Whether Daggerfall and Sentinel will be able to use the marriage of King Gothryd and Princess Aubk-i as a symbol of peace rather than discord is something that only the future can show. -- 14 Suns Dawn 3E 404 barbed_wire

The Alik'r

Enric Milres

The Alik'r I might never have gone to the Alik'r Desert had I not met Weltan in a little tavern in Sentinel. Weltan is a Redguard poet whose verse I had read, but only in translation. He chooses to write in the old language of the Redguards, not in Tamrielic. I once asked him why. "The Tamrielic word for the divinely rich child of rot, silky, pressed sour milk is ... cheese," said Weltan, a huge smile spreading like a tide over his lampblack face. "The Old Redguard word for it is mluo. Tell me, if you were a poet fluent in both languages, which word would you use?" I am a child of the cities, and I would tell him tales of the noise and corruption, wild nights and energy, culture and decadence. He listened with awed appreciation of the city of my birth: white-marbled Imperial City where all the citizenry are convinced of their importance because of the proximity of the Emperor and the lustration of the streets. They say that a beggar on the boulevards of the Imperial City is a man living in a palace. Over spiced ale, I regaled Weltan with descriptions of the swarming marketplace of Riverhold; of dark, brooding Mournhold; of the mold-encrusted villas of Lilmoth; the wonderful, ÷dangerous alleys of Helstrom; the stately avenues of grand old Solitude. For all this, he marvelled, inquired, and commented. "I feel as if I know your home, the Alik'r Desert, from your poems even though I've never been there." I told him. "Oh, but you don't. No poem can express the Alik'r. It may prepare you for a visit far better than the best guide book can. But if you want to know Tamriel and be a true citizen of the planet, you must go and feel the desert yourself." It took me a little over a year to break off engagements, save money (my greatest challenge), and leave the urban life for the Alik'r Desert. I brought several books of Weltan's poems as my travel guide. "A sacred flame rises above the fire, The ghosts of great men and women without names, Cities long dead rise and fall in the flame, The Dioscori Song of Revelation, Bursting walls and deathless rock, Fiery sand that heals and destroys." These first six lines from my friend's "On the Immortality of Dust" prepared me for my first image of the Alik'r Desert, though they hardly do it justice. My poor pen cannot duplicate the severity, grandeur, ephemera and permanence of the Alik'r. All the principalities and boundaries the nations have placed on the land dissolve under the moving sand in the desert. I could never tell if I was in Antiphyllos or Bergama, and few of the inhabitants could tell me. For them, and so it came to me, we were simply in the Alik'r. No. We are part of the Alik'r. That is closer to the philosophy of the desert people. I saw the sacred flame of which Weltan wrote on my first morning in the desert: a vast, red mist that seemed to come from the deep mystery of Tamriel. Long before the noon sun, the mist had disappeared. Then I saw the cities of Weltan. The ruins of the Alik'r rise from the sand by one blast of the unbounded wind and are covered by the next. Nothing in the desert lasts, but nothing dies forever. At daylight, I hid myself in tents, and thought about the central character of the Redguards that would cause them to adopt this savage, eternal land. They are warriors by nature. As a group, there are none better. Nothing for them has worth unless they have struggled for it. No one fought them for the desert, but the Alik'r is a great foe. The battle goes on. It is a war without rancor, a holy war in the sense the phrase should always imply. By night, I could contemplate the land itself in its relative serenity. But the serenity was superficial. The stones themselves burned with a heat and a light that comes not from the sun, nor the moons Jone and Jode. The power of the stones comes from the beat of the heart of Tamriel itself. Two years I spent in the Alik'r. As write this, I am back in Sentinel. We are at war with the kingdom of Daggerfall for the possession of a grass-covered rock that belongs to the water of the Iliac Bay. All my fellow poets, writers, and artists are despondent for the greed and pride that brought these people into battle. It is a low point, a tragedy. In the words of Old Redguard, an ajcea, a spiral down. Yet, I cannot be sorrowful. In the years I spent in the ÷glories of the Alik'r, I have seen the eternal stones that live on while men go dead. I have found my inner eye in the tractless, formless, changeless and changeable land. Inspiration and hope, like the stones of the desert, are eternal though men be not. barbed_wire