UJON, Book Sixteen, Part One - Letters and Bretons


    Editor’s note the following letter, being over two centuries old, was faded in certain places, occasionally to the point of illegibility, however our experts have agreed that this is a fair rendering of the text.


    12th Hearthfire, 3E433, Bruma




    You would hate this place! Snow everywhere, hardly any Mer, Chapel of T---s… Still, I find myself feeling strangely at home here. Perhaps my companion has something to do with it. She is a Nord and I think the locals are friendlier to the pair of us because of that. We’re staying in the Mages’ Guild quarters, I am collecting recommendations to join the Arcane University, seems like it could come in useful.


    Linni, there is so much I am unable to tell you in this letter. I am afraid to write some of it down. It just sounds so… preposterous. The least bizarre part – please refrain from telling Mother and Father – is that I found myself in prison a few weeks ago. I was only there briefly, though, have no fear.


    Are those Gates opening in Summerset? There have been several spotted here in Cyrodiil, the first one was in Kvatch. The whole city, destroyed overnight – hardly anyone made it out alive. There are rumours of Daedra worship back home, as well. Might be wise to hold off on your Summoning practice for now? I know, I know, you know what you’re doing, but… just be careful, Linni?


    Well, I had best go for now – I have an appointment with one of the Guild members about my recommendation. I am supposed to track down a missing member, but between you and me, I used a detect life spell and I know full well he has been here all evening. I shall be interested to see what the Mer I am due to meet has to say about that…


    Love you, Linni – give little Lani many kisses from me.





    18th Sun’s Dusk, Riverwood


    Very strange having Aunt Estoril’s letters back. Thankfully I don’t think whoever went through them was very thorough, they seemingly assumed everything in the bundle was from Grandmother to me. Glad to have those back, as well, of course, but they are more… ordinary. An elderly She-Elf writing formal notes to her granddaughter who will soon be leaving the country for a new position in Foreign Parts, and the couple of letters that somehow managed to make it here in the two weeks I was at the Embassy before being sent to Darkwater. She must have sent them before I left, I suppose.


    But, well, Aunt Estoril’s letters… I mean, she wasn’t Dragonborn or anything, but she was mixed up in the Oblivion Crisis. I find myself even more fascinated by trying to read between the lines of them than I did when I used to sneak away and read them as an Elfling. I wonder what Äelberon would make of them. Grandmother gave them to me, to take with me – at the time I thought she just wanted them safely out of her home, but now I’m not so sure. Maybe she saw something in those cards of hers?


    In any case, I am now in Riverwood. Made it to Riften in one piece, snuck through the Flagon (although I’m almost positive Delvin knew I was there… I could swear he winked at me!) and found my way to the room with all the locks – sure enough, it was this Esbern’s hidey hole. Had to fight past a few Thalmor – nobody I knew – to get out, and then encountered Shavari, of all people, as we were preparing to leave the city. Strangely, attacking a Thane of the Rift at sunset does not win you friends among the guard. I wouldn’t say we were ever friends, but we used to get along well enough. Rumarin stayed behind to keep an eye on Caranye and Malborn, and one of the guards insisted on escorting the carriage as far as the turn before Ivarstead. We got to Riverwood around midnight, I think, and Delphine and Esbern were gone by the time I woke – apparently they will contact me “when the time is right”. So, a leisurely stroll to Whiterun this morning, make sure young Erik has had his training and his armour fitted, and then the carriage back to Riften. Hopefully Karliah will actually be there.



    5th Frostfall, 3E433, Anvil




    Hopefully this letter will reach you more quickly than my last one – I know not how you managed to reply, but thank you! And yes, you were right, I did more than just hear about that Gate. You always can see right through me. I had little choice, though, or at least, I did not let myself wonder if I did. It was not just me. my Nord friend was with me. It was revolting in there, but we made it through. Thankfully most of the Daedra we faced were weak. Probably weaker than the ones you ran across in those ruins on Vvardenfell. They are getting stronger, though. So far I have only encountered four or five more Gates, in the wilds, but near roads. I could not leave them open, Linni. I know you would understand that feeling.


    I am now a fully-fledged member of the Mages’ Guild! Along with one or two other little organisations. Aside from that, I have been being very sensible and safe. Most of my time has been spent with my nose in a book, or traipsing around between the cities looking for alchemical ingredients, particularly a rather strange green plant known as nirnroot. I think my research is almost complete, however, and I may have to go into greater danger before the moons are full. Would you, perhaps, speak to your priest friend, ask him to say a blessing for me? If you can tear your eyes away from his backside, that is…


    I’ve enclosed a little something for Lani, made by the finest seamstress (Altmer, of course) in the Imperial City. Love you, sister.





    18th Sun’s Dusk


    Nerussa was due back… he checked the note again, as though he hadn’t memorised it, hadn’t already checked a hundred times… “a few hours after sunset.” It wasn’t that the old man was clearly mad as a bag of chickens, Rumarin was fairly used to that sort of thing. He didn’t think he was dangerous, himself. No, the problem was that, well, Nerussa was now, officially, known to the Thalmor, and it was entirely possible they would have come for her in the night…


    Not, he supposed, that she really needed his protection, or at least, not that – if she couldn’t protect herself – he’d likely be much use. He sighed. Ran his hands through his hair and pulled his hood up. The little house was comfortable, cosy… and too damn full of people. Three Elves, a Breton and a Nord, all under strict instruction to stay inside.


    Well, no. Technically, she hadn’t told him to stay in Honeyside. He grinned. He was going to practice being stealthy! He wasn’t going to tell anyone that, Rumarin was not about to let it get around that he might, from time to time, put effort into things. But Riften was a good place to practice that sort of thing. Everyone always looked a bit suspicious, so it was easy enough to blend in. He glanced over at the kitchen area, where Iona and Caranwe seemed to be getting on surprisingly well – or perhaps not that surprisingly, really – and slunk out the back door.


    He was wearing a rather dull set of robes, by his standards. Hardly any purple on them, for a start, and only the merest suggestion of embroidery around the cuffs. He’d bought them from Brand-Shei, in the market, along with a few bottles of mazte to cheer the captives up. He glanced over at the docks, which were quiet, for once – most of the work on them was done in daylight hours, at least the legal work, and the smugglers wouldn’t be showing up until the moons had set. He rubbed his gloved hands together, braced himself and – he had to admit, he was a little sad nobody had been there to see it – vaulted over the balcony’s rail, across to the dock gate, and landed – rather gracefully, he thought – on the walkway outside the alchemy shop.


    “You can take the Mer out of the troupe, and all that…” he muttered to himself, and moved into the shadows. Nerussa made sneaking around look so effortless, she just sort of knew where to stand, how to hold herself, so as not to attract attention. He’d not been that much less skilled than her when they’d met – a good adventurer knows when to stay out of trouble, and all that, or at least, an adventurer who wants to see their next birthday does. And Rumarin liked birthdays.


    There was cake on birthdays. And sometimes there were birthday kisses.


    He found himself by the entrance to the Ratway. Eurgh, no reason to go in there if he didn’t have to. He was debating whether to call practice over for the day and head to the Bee and Barb to wait for Nerussa – even he was struggling to justify practicing for such a short amount of time, though – when he heard… Well, he wasn’t entirely sure what he heard. It seemed to be coming from the Orphanage, on the other side of the canal. There was definitely screaming but also… well, it sounded rather like children singing…


    He inched carefully up the steps and was almost knocked flying at the top of them by a very, very fast… white-haired little girl? No, he steadied her, hands on her shoulders, and looking at her properly, she was clearly an adult, just… tiny. And very, very unhappy not to still be running.


    “The name’s Rumarin, blade-binder and… close friend of the Dragonborn,” he said, in his most disarming manner. “I’m sure there’s probably room for one more waif and/or stray in Honeyside, and you look like you need to be somewhere that isn’t exactly here.”



    18th Sun’s Dusk, Honeyside.


    Well, I wasn’t exactly surprised to find the vault had been ransacked, but I can’t for the life of me think how he managed it – the vault has a lock that can only be opened if two mechanisms are worked simultaneously, and they’re too far apart for Mercer to have picked one while using the key on the other. And I don’t think any of my Guild-mates are good enough actors to fake the shock and anger when the vault was opened.


    Apparently, Mercer hasn’t been back since Snow Veil – I had rather expected he would have come to “warn” them about Karliah and me, but I think Delvin was rather hinting that, while nobody suspected Mercer of anything until tonight, nobody liked him very much either, and, well, apparently at least some of them do like me. Ha, I sound like a damn elfling, excited to have made friends… So, the plan is that I try to find my way in to Mercer’s home and look for anything that might help us figure out where he is. It’s getting on for midnight, now, the Bee and Barb will be throwing out, soon. Once things quiet down, I’ll slip out and have a look around the back of the place.


    In the meantime, we seem to have yet another person staying here – thank goodness for all those beds in the basement, apparently the previous Thane had umpteen brats. Some Breton girl, trying not to sound as aristocratic as she obviously is. I think she will be gone by morning. She’s trying to seem tough, but there’s a look about her… Reminds me of me when I first arrived in Skyrim. No, that’s not quite right. Me, if I hadn’t met Arissa, or Rumarin, if I hadn’t had… If I wasn’t… Well. What I am. Sometimes I wonder if it was always in me – everything I’ve read, even the term itself, suggests that’s the case, but I’m not sure. Ugh, I must be getting sleepy. That won’t be good in Riftweald Manor, I wonder if Rumarin’s got any mazte left.




1 Comment   |   Karver the Lorc likes this.
  • Karver the Lorc
    Karver the Lorc   ·  May 4, 2018
    Loved the references to J'Skar, Nirnroot research and bloody Gates everywhere. Brings so much nostalgia for me. The letters were overrally a very pleasant read, and the events are progressing now. Curious to see how it mixes up now. :)