The group known as the Marked.
<Message left upon a beautiful, soft-brown leafed Darosa tree, with curving branches of darker brown, healthy leaves.>
31st of Frostfall, 4E 250
I didn't know Ninian would be under the table. That was unexpected. Much of it was, pulled the Ethos Blade after all. I digress; the plan.
After Jancella had me buy a Guar for her, she rode off to the Telvanni, had forgotten she was trained with them. I asked those Marked boys what their plan was, and after much deliberation, they came up with nothing. So I went to a party at the Olde Moor Estate. Obviously this was to speak to Lorelei before the Marked got to her, probably frightening her. She was always rather timid back in north High Rock, in our trading days, as you'd remember.
Digression again! First Centurion Varen Aquius escorted them in, late, but the rest of us happened to fail to notice. I'm a hit at parties, kept everyone's attention and their smiles bright. They seemed preoccupied and didn't speak much, but Lorelei and I kept the table talking.
Other nobles there:
Vix Carengar – Argonian with some rather ill-fitting clothes, decorative Malachite gloves and boots, and a badge for the status of Warden. Black Marsh Emissary. If he was a spy, he was a bad one. He was adorable though, you'd have laughed. Ah that laugh.
Casimir Soro – Total manipulator, he was boisterous and brutish. Commanded the East Empire Company in Morrowind. He was rather good at commercial pursuits, but not fit to lead the trade.
Sulla Darn – Spy, total spy. Pegged him the second I greeted him. The aware eyes and the laugh slightly too loud. He was a kid too, shame.
Daia Vanos - Ah. Daia. Thank Azura's ass she doesnt recognize me. That spear would've been in my face instead. She's changed, l'veh.
We talked of Ninian quite a bit. (rather gauche that she was under the table..)
I verbally sparred with Soro.
Lorelei asked of you.
Del brought up the (remains of, in my opinion) Third Empire.
The meal was cleared away, gold bowl and an Ancestor Pyramid brought in, I didn't eat of course, just appeared to. Learnt that in High Rock with both of you, and that fetcher of a king.
I'll just quote her on this, she said it sufficiently ominously.
"Now, Ninian, I'm sure you'll appreciate this… as a native I mean. (Referring to Ninian being with the Morag Tong, and loving poison) You see, I communed with my grandfather, Helseth here. He showed me how to make a poison just right for my purposes, rather tasteful. and its antidote. No spell can stop it, only the antidote in that bowl of Sujamma. Quite the death, from what I'm told. Eager to see it."
Changed. Like I said..
Vix softly interjected with his soft, yet gravelly voice "Have you poisoned someone at this table, sera?"
"Very good, Vix! Though it would be easier to tell you who I have not poisoned. I have not poisoned any who are truly loyal to me, not coming here under false names, plotting a religious uprising, or selling secrets. I have not poisoned anyone who is not spying for the house of Telvanni, the house of Redoran, the house of Indoril, the house of Dres."
Everyone was stunned, not a single word between them all. Strange of them, actually. Did they know as well?
She poisoned the cups and cutlery, she claimed, not the food. Even I was poisoned. Most were frozen in fear, Vix was just shaking. Guards were now around the perimeter of the wall. Even Nexius, the only one who could be considered loyal, was scared. Could he trust Lorelei to not make a mistake, rather, to care if she did?
"The poison acts quickly" she spoke melodically as she checked a Telvanni Time-Teller (I do love those things, would collect them) "One minute now, these are the last words you'll hear, if disloyal to me: Take the antidote and live."
Apparently they're all completely fine with dying after gorging themselves, the distant kids. With seconds to spare, Sulla Darn, the Cheydinhal spy, leapt up and drank with his hands, panting and screaming 'she-witch' at Lorelei. She won, the poison hidden instead in the bowl which served as judge, jury, and a terribly grotesque executioner, was somewhat of a masterpiece. If you like that sort of thing. I believe its messy and needlessly destructive.
Then that inexplicable mark. Of the two guards left in the room, one seemed to be suspicious and listening to rumors. Upon seeing the Mark of the Profound on Nexius, he charged! He was just a boy, not even in the Legion, I believe. Unless they let in boys now. Cue the disaster worse than Esbern at Falinesti. And Esbern burned down the forest. (This could have also been just an excuse to attack, planned by Lorelei?? Their weapons were, in fact, already brandished. Weer was making thinly-veiled threats.
Shortly, we had a tent or two of professional Imperial Legionaires ready to charge in the Dining Hub, a Breton Assassin named Ferrus Brutush, and a Knight of Stendarr or two messing things up. The queen was out due to Del's scroll spell, but we could not be between a worse Rock and Wereboar. The battlemage was shredding those who went outside, and I even was surrounded by three of them.
Cal, Del, Weer, Daia, injured direly. Cal and Del were barely standing, one had their stomach split open. Glad Nex' has some Resto', or those guts would've been the new dinner. Maybe for you. Teasing.
The Assassin died and Weer, seconds from death, managed to step on a Distortion Rune of mine. (Remember Wadarsha? Those old days.) Meaning I had to reveal my aptitude for spells to them, first misstep. My letter to a Shellfolk who Cal loved hopefully built some trust, and finally Ninian's gift came and saved us… Her Silt Strider, Genesis.
Hey, they always freaked you out, Firi, but b'vek theyre unparelleled as mounts.
Genesis is ebony-plated.
1st/2nd of Sun's Dusk, 4E 250
After 'Terrible Mess, the first,' came something worse. Much worse.
And it's Boethiah's artifact. Yeah.
A terrible, terrible hideout picked by Del, the s'wit, allowed the worshippers to get such a drop on us that we had barely seconds to ready ourselves before being shunted to Attribution's Share for Gauntlet Day.
Nexius, realizing before all of us what was happening, threw the white hot amulet to the ground and repeated pounded it with his Elder Scroll. I used old Ethos on the Amulet, not even it could penetrate the barrier. He rose and erupted with fury towards Ninian, vociferating all the woes which have been brought on by her missteps. "I SHOULD DAMN YOU TO THE VOID FOR ALL YOU'VE DONE, THANK AKATOSH MY NIECE IS NOT HERE TO WITNESS THIS OR THERE WOULD BE NOT A FRAGMENT OF YOUR ENERGY LEFT ON THIS DIMENSION OF REALITY"
As my mentor used to say: "Beware the anger of a patient man." He didn't come up with the saying but he claimed to.
And damn. Hope no one touches Nexius' niece, even if she is pretty, they'll be eviscerated by a cupcake.
It sort of went like this:
A deep very slightly female voice echoed into our souls, deathly purple light slowly enveloping the whole burial chambers. "This mortal must be inconceivable unintelligent. I imprint that Amulet, fool! It belongs to my sweet Snake Mount (another name for Attribution's Share). You will now perish in our exultant arena, in a glorious conflict for a god's favor… and the title of Boethiah's Champion!"
The morpholiphic anchor, formed as and of the amulet, allowed our souls, our essences, our consciousnesses, and our equipment to be transferred. The world morphed like the rippling surface of water, and suddenly a violent crash of lightning blinded us. Our eyes adjusted to a new landscape.
Active storm clouds, with at least three lightning flashes a second, and a larch volcano. The second was made to resemble Red Mountain, and outshine it (typical Daedra). It was continuously erupting infinitely hot lava. It displayed two forced battling for supremacy, and notice. Boethiah's World-Which-Is-Her.
An arena formed of rickety bridges and a cooled flowing lava floor was ready for us. Two damnable Dremora, and a dozen of the worshippers that brought us here. The latter always die first on Gauntlet day, I'm assuming.
The spindly, crouching, fifteen foot tall skeleton with a tail as long as he is tall was in an alcove far, far above. Cackling as its lungs and stomach undulated, they were visible, it shrieked "Skkkiiiiiiiirmish for my Prince's fffickle favvvvor, mortals! You have but fifteen seconds.." This was Hunger, a powerful servant of Boethiah.
The Imprint of Boethiah was around his back leg, the Amulet's Imprint. Cal, the only conjurer, figured it out and stripped all armor to climb her way to the top, bridge after bridge. Meanwhile, we all were fighting, one versus one, sometimes more, at a time. T'was rather confusing to explain without diagrams and I doubt those would transfer to Hircine's Grounds. If that is where you are. And not destroyed.
Back to the story. I had to fight a bloody, ferocious, demonic Dremora. I had to use something of yours, with the one trick you'd always loved and hated. Needed to save Lorelei, as she was next in the grouping for none but I, or Morrowind would never find any peace. If that is the right goal, like I'd know.
Nexius actually didn't die, or even fare badly. Less than a month ago he would've been repulsed at the sight of a sword, let alone combat. S'nir, although having not talked at all since before meeting the Altmer, climbed onto wooden bridges and was picking off every target that became available to hit. Sheared off a Boethiah worshippers leg.
Many, many died, Del even became a physical being inside of one of our Secession leaders, terrible mistake. Thankfully it was only our consciousness and souls there, their bodies are alive… but I'm watching them. Ninian also died, to Nymaril, who appeared for this Gauntlet Day. Cal managed, slightly heroically and self-sacrificing, to destroy the Imprint, and the ties to Boethiah on the Amulet (the quasi-bridge, or the Object-Without-World). Cal isn't as purely focused and selfish. Think she's got a soft heart, like Daia.
Don't tell them I said that.
We were shunted back, falling quickly into utter void, the world vibrating before falling into nothing. Before we slammed, rather unceremoniously, into the dirt and void salt crypt. Face-first for most of them.
Those who lived were physically and mentally unchanged, although very hardened and possibly scarred from the experience. These included:
Daia (she took care of herself… against a Dremora)
Every last other person awoke screaming, panting. The way I understood their frantic explanation was that their world was a muted sepia, all sounds distant as if their head was filled with cotton, and then forced underwater. Their souls were taken, given to Boethiah. Del could fix the colors with a quick illusion, but the flashes of horrors (strongest in Ninian) were present every time they closed there eyes. Del also seemed the most affected, never dealt with Daedra before.
I watched them flinch every time they blinked. Poor sods.
Good news, after a day of recovery, the rebel cell reconvened and we decided we would acquire the signatures of every house and the Queen, then send emissaries to White-Gold. However distasteful we find this Empire, we need them to end this peacefully. Dravis Indoril, a man of Dres, and a Telvanni man commencing the Ritual of Motion, will go as a diplomatic party there within days, to discuss the true compromise to be made. Additionally, we forced the Queen to sign a document denying the Vigilants from Morrowind.
Last notes, small sects of those favoring the Empire's direct control, or the Tribunal's, have been forming cults in some cities. Unknown what this will become, but insofar they appear benevolent.
The Marked are staying in the temple they helped save, and intend to for almost a month, letting Nexius heal their more grievous wounds. Been a tiring week. There is some talk of naming them saints. Most believe this rather ludicrous. Beautiful temple though, shrine to Azura. Their personal plans are more conflicted than a debate between Sotha Sil, Kagrenac, and Julianos. I'd give the Company to see that.
Known issues that could become their focus:
The Dragonborn, his soul, the Seditioner's Amulet. Although purified from Boethiah, her imprint destroyed, his soul is not freed. They do not allow me the amulet. This might not end the greatest.
Arcane University might have knowledge on the reclaiming of the group's souls
Cult of the Ancestor Moth might know more about the mark, and the truth behind the rumors attesting to the Mark begetting the end.
The Mane was reported dead, with much wailing and clipping of fur throughout Senchal, Torval, and more. Khajiiti things.
A hundred damned Vaermina cultists in the No-Quin-Al, but I doubt they wish to go up against Daedra again.
Daedra have not ceased occasionally apparating randomly throughout Skyrim, Morrowind (though we are more equipped to deal with them), Cyrodiil, Black Marsh. Conflicted reports of this happening, and not happening in the slightest, in Alinor. Eleswyr unknown, but The last three and a half provinces seem perfectly safe. Research required, damned if its more to do with the old destinies.
The Dominion slow-sieging Hammerfell, they seem to only be attacking the Forebears. Old animosity.
Na-Rek and his undead army in Black Marsh. Although events are already set in place for that.
There is no High-King of Skyrim.
There is no Emperor of White-Gold, in the Heartlands. Although this might not be a bad thing, factions have argued that the Alessian, Reman, Septim Emperors were there for the good of the people. The Amulet of Kings and the Dragonfires were rules by Akatosh. An Emperor is not required. Does Akatosh care of his people still? Will he abandon them like Auri-El had his Falmer? The predecessor and their Ayleids? It is true that the Akatosh-worshipping priests are slightly more reclusive. Speculations only, of course.
Also, the Akaviri on the Telvanni Isles. Presumed they came here to see the Dragonborn, another reason he could've been waiting to fight for White-Gold. Might be trouble.
We drafted up a treaty, but there are bound to be changes, by the Reclamation church, and the Elder Council. Hopefully better days incoming for Morrowind, although I know not if that would help the people. I promised myself I would do the same for your homeland as well, l'veh. I suppose I have time. I am in my prime. I wish you a Hunt worthy of recognition, trophies to adorn a beautiful Graht-Asp home, like the one we had.
- Moviris Sadras, mer of many
Comment your characters opinion on what is TPM's foremost goal, using the list above or any others.
Ninian believes that the party needs to find more about the mark, but at this time she doesn't care about anything because she found gnesis and is happier than she has been her whole life.