14th Sun's Height, 2E600
"... you'll do... unbind..."
A pause, and then from further away, now clearer as her mind began to focus and take in more of the sounds of her surroundings. "... try not to kill one another..."
"... I may be of some service to you."
Stifling a cough, the small bosmer carefully moved her hands; her wrists were still aching from having been bound but now accompanied by the feeling of being free, no longer held together by manacles that were still restraining the others. Her hand tightened around the metal key in her hands. Ah. Though the room was still dark, now that her eyes had adjusted to the low light she could see there was more than a couple of more in here with her. Who they were didn't matter to the wood elf; clearly they were all enemies of whoever brought them here, and the enemy of one's enemy would hopefully be an ally, if not a friend.
Moving as quickly and as quietly as her body allowed her, Nimriell Briarwood found she didn't have to traverse far at all before her hand gently brushed against whoever was being held next to her. Patting at the person until she reached their binding, she quickly unlocked the bindings holding them. Her hand brushed against fur. Khajiit? Her nose was still wrinkling against the fading scent from the censer, but a strong nose might still get affected. Hopefully they had the sense not to breathe in too deeply.
"Careful," she muttered under her breath as she made sure the person could stand. "We are probably still in danger- this one's going to release the others here." The words of whomever had set her free came back and she hastily added, “This one urges you to see all here as allies.” For now. Wherever they were, they would need to work together if they wished to leave this forsaken place alive, of that she was certain.
Fortunately, it did not take too long for the nimble wood elf to unlock the others in the room. From what she counted, there seemed to be five others besides her. Would they be enough to face whatever had brought them here? She frowned, crouching next to the last individual she had unlocked- it seemed they were still groggy, eyes only half open. No times for niceties, she patted the person’s face somewhat roughly until she could see they were lucid.
“You’re finally awake. Come now, we need to hurry.”
By now, Do’Karth was coming to his senses, his head was pounding as the competing concoctions of whatever was in the vial the stranger had roused him with and the censer seemed to wildly disagree with each other. When the chains were freed, the Khajiit knelt, rubbing his irritated wrists and focusing on his breathing to clear his head. He was aware of the others in the room, and had been during their time together… people from various different races and presumably alliances, he thought, wondering if he was out from behind one blade and thrust into another.
When he felt confident enough to find his footing, he did so, his toes pressing into the cool cobblestone underfoot as he blinked away what felt like a never-ending nightmare. Without a word, he followed the directions their rescuer had given them, the scent telling Do’Karth it was a Dunmer, and he opened up the side chamber to find his gear, lest someone else arm themselves before he had the chance.
Janus had been somewhat stirred from his stupor, his first instinct to look for attackers showed him none. There were only strangers to him, and to each other. His eyes still hung on each one, though his mouth uttered no words as he followed the Khajiit to wherever he was going. He found his steps still unsure, like he was walking with another man’s legs.
His gear- and most importantly his sword- had to be here somewhere. He’d be damned if he let anyone else wear it at their hip, much less this Khajiit. They said no words between them though their paths seemed to be the same. He had to be a warrior, the thickness of his limbs and the mind to go straight for his things spoke of it. Whether that was a point of trust or contention was yet to be seen.
Over in the corner, the blue eyes of a Nord opened lazily, and a groggy yawn left her mouth uncontrollably. Joy stared at the painted gloom of the walls and from the chilling stroke of colour, her confusion became too much. Casting a glance down at her legs, one violet and the other teal; she was still in her tights. Following that she noticed that the sleeve of her doublet was torn at the elbow. “What…?” Any words cast into the prison still remained unheard to her ears as she brought herself shakily to all fours.
“Did I drink?” Joy mumbled to herself, trying to remember. There was a dull ache in her head and she fumbled around to feel the back of her skull. Her fingers found a stinging, swollen lump. “Ow.” The clattering of stars that blinked over her eyes thereafter was the stark wake up she needed to realise this situation wasn’t what it seemed.
Sait's mind throbbed against his skull like waking water; dull and aching, and muddied too far to see through. Trying to recall those last instants before unconsciousness was like trying to grab smoke - each failed swipe spreading the memory thinner. He remembered that he had fought. That he'd tried for peace, and when his soothing spells failed, he'd settled for Sadia's steel.
Stirring fitfully, and struggling against nothing thanks to Nimriell, Sait finally opened his eyes. Groggy still, but unbound and distressingly unarmed, he braced himself against the cool stone of the floor and rose to meet his fellow captors. They were already on the move, and so too would he be - in seconds, he had decided he was keen to show this place the sole of his foot.
He followed their lead. It sounded like somebody was moving equipment in that next room - the tell-tale tumbling of metal against wood - and so he followed that. In doing so, he crossed somebody occluded by the dark, kneeling by another, and deduced that she was their saviour. That other figure, that strange voice, was surely the stuff of a nightmare. He whispered his gratitude in passing, his voice like the sea.
"Sen Alezer'i, friend."
Bolorma, the furthest one in the cell and the last one to regain consciousness, was also the groggiest. Her eyelids felt like lead and her brain might as well be the swamps of Argonia. Someone patted her cheeks, but all Bolorma wanted to do was go back to sleep. That was the fume's advice, sleep. Did she hear other people shuffling around? Was it morning already?
"Five more minutes…" The Orc pleaded with whoever had woken her. She really didn't want to deal with reality right now.
At last, Janus had found it. His sword, though where his armor was, he’d no idea. Perhaps looted from him while he was unconscious, those bastards not wanting to try and take it while he was awake. It proved to him the measure of these men, they built halls like these and wore those robes like they were of great import. Only went to show that the loudest men were often the most empty. He wrapped the belt around himself and kept it snug, buckling it as he stepped out of the room. He froze as he heard a language he hadn’t in quite some time, looking to one of their compatriots and settling on him being the one to speak it.
Of a sudden, the threadbare cloth between everyone’s eyes and Janus’ tattoos seemed too little a defense. He gave the other man a wide berth and hoped he said nothing to him as they passed each other. Another of them was still struggling for lucidity on the floor. A woman, making nervous quips to no one. He stepped up to her and offered a wide hand, “Up you get, we’re leaving.”
He didn’t know why and he didn’t know who, but he wasn’t about to ask questions about his regained freedom… if it was freedom. You didn’t break into a place like this and set free a dangerous man like Janus- or potentially any of them- out of charity.
Carefully, Joy came to her feet, and to her senses. The big man was steady enough for her movement to not even sway him. Her hand felt dwarfed by his own. She offered him a smile in the dark for his gesture, “thank you Sir,” she said. As lost as she felt here, and as fearful too, she had not forgotten her manners.
The Nord woman practically tip-toed forwards from him, squinting across at the side chamber, and the activity there, the strangers hovering in the doorway. “I don’t suppose you happened to see a Lyre in there? And a Lute? Bag with stars on it?” Joy asked hopefully, biting at the corner of her lip. She didn’t expect that they would be there, she could barely remember what was even on her person when… Whatever happened, happened.
“Would this be it?” Do’Karth asked, holding the aforementioned bag with one hand and offering it to Joy. He’d realized most of the people here were likely citizens; other than the familiar Bosmer and the Imperial he eyed skeptically, there didn’t seem to be soldiers or warriors among them. There didn’t seem to be any reason for any of it, Do’Karth reflected with a frown, his maul resting on his shoulder, the snarling senche face staring up at the void of the ceiling.
His amber eyes glanced towards the side chamber, where unspeakable horrors had been committed, where their rescuer happened to go. Perhaps that was an encounter that could wait a few more moments, he decided, sorting through the crate that had his belongings put into it with more care than the prisoners were contained. He found his breastplate and began to strap it on with practiced hands.
“Is everyone okay?” Do’Karth asked out loud, deciding that if there were enemies among them, a truce was only sensible considering the much graver threat that had nearly enveloped them all. “This one is called Do’Karth. If you need assistance, he will lend his strength until we are free of this place.”
“Mm.” Janus grunted in response to the Khajiit. He’d heard stories about them, and not a lot of them good. Shifty eyes and quick hands, no sense of personal ownership. He didn’t trust him. If Janus offered his name, he wondered if he’d steal that too.
“I’m Joy,” answered the redhead with a soft wave of her hand as she took hold of her bag — instruments fixed in place across the back strap. The weight was familiar, as was its jingle as it exchanged hands.
Sait followed the suit of others, although he did so without urgency. This wasn't due to his otherwise being calm or placid, though; it was only that the motors in his head were drawing all the power from those which moved his feet.
He was full of fear, of course - but nonetheless fascinated, brimming already with half-theories and formulations. Even as he took Sadia back in hand- her ivory handle full of the same cold that had seeped into his bones- his mind was not on the relief of reunion. It was on the mystery of his missing moments, the terrible glistering o'erhead, and the boundless possibilities of it all.
By this time Nimriell had also followed the others to the room where their belongings were said to be stored, having made sure that the last person she had freed was able to understand her words and was up. She found her things quickly enough, and even better, her bow and quiver of arrows. With those in hand, she focused on the others still in the room. It seemed everyone was as confused as she was, but thankfully no one seemed to be trying to kill one another. That being said, it was no small relief when she heard the other Khajiit speak to confirm that indeed, he was a khajiit; if the issue of enmity amongst alliances rose up, as foolish as it would be in the current situation, she hoped that he would be on her side.
“This one is fine, thank Baan Dar…”
Wait, did he say his name was Do'Karth?!
Nimriell swerved to look up at the Khajiit, silver eyes widening when she realized she did recognize him.
Janus shook his head at the cat, then looked to the knife-ear that talked like one. Already he was lamenting his company. A knife-ear, a cat, even an enemy that might recognize his tattoos and cut his throat while he was sleeping. The bard was okay enough. He wanted to be out of this place, but could only settle for being out of this room. While he was here, he wanted answers, and the only one who could give them to him was the person that freed them. He followed to where he went, face a thin mask of ambiguity over the currents of anger and confusion, distrust and a need for vengeance. Getting even. Even if he didn’t want to, his father always told him there was a principle about these things.
“You.” Janus growled, inclining his head towards the stranger in the adjacent chamber, “You want something from us. Hurry up and tell us what it is.”
The armoured figure was busy studying the fallen Imperial and prodding around a cavity in the man's chest. He stopped his work for a moment, the slits on his helm turning towards Janus for a moment before returning to his grizzly project.
"I am aware you humans live exceptionally short, candle-length lives, but must you always be so impatient and droll?" The man replied with a minor hint of annoyance. "Pull up a chair, would you? I cannot abide idlers gawking over me while I work."
Scraping across the floor filled the chamber, and a chair bumped into Janus' leg, dragged towards him by the ever so helpful scamp.
"Screech?" it gargled.
With a pair of tongs, the figure tore out a blackened crystal with a faint purple glow from deep within from the chest cavity of the Imperial, studying it for a moment before sticking it into a bottle. He continued to rummage in the body.
After a moment, realizing Janus was still gawking idly, the figure sighed. "If you must know, it happened to be a surprise that you all still lived. This is the forth little house of unpleasantries I've come across, and the first where the occupants were still breathing."
He let that sink in for a moment as he continued his work, plucking another crystal shard free and containing it. "But since you are kindly offering a transactional proposition, I have a modest proposal for you. In exchange for rescuing you from a fate assuredly worse than death, I would like you to go to the source of this distasteful enterprise and have a few polite words with the man responsible."
He paused, visor turning to look to Janus. "And by polite words I mean vanquish his miserable life. I figured I needed to clarify since you seem rather incapable of inferring hidden meanings to phrases."
“How much?” Janus asked. “Get good at something and you should never do it for free. How much?”
"Oh, good. For a moment I was concerned I was conversing with someone with a modicum of intellect and inquisitiveness. Forgive me, it is has been some time since I had to speak of tongue of the insipid knuckle dragger, but I will endeavor to do my best. Ahem."
He stood, posture erect and a crystal in his hand. "Ahem. You kill bad man so you no get caught again and end up like this poor man." He approached, offering the shard to Janus. "How did I do? It physically pains me to lower myself to your level, but we Telvanni are nothing if not a tenacious lot who use whatever tools are at our disposal.”
"This shard will illuminate why you were captured in the first place, unless you were behaving like a guar that got into a confiscated skooma shipment. Hold it and you will see my aura illuminate around me, and everyone else in that room. Go ahead, take it; you seem like the sort of person who enjoys gimmicky baubles." The Dunmer said, offering the shard between two fingers.
He should’ve known it was another knife-ear. Always prattling on about who was more superior. That was the thing about mortals, long-lived or short, making yourself feel better than everyone in the room offered a slight comfort. “The aurora, the men that took us. They’re connected.” Janus shrugged, snatching the shard and watching the knife-ear glow like he’d said, “So? For someone with so much time, you like to spend it flapping your gums. If you want me to kill a man, tell me everything I need to know.”
"To understand a problem, you need to study and research it. Pieces of a very large puzzle, you see. One of which is the auroras; they are visible even far South and at all times of day. Curious, no? Even more curious is that they are most intense over Cyrodiil. Tell me, what do you make of that?" The Telvanni asked.
Janus nodded, “It’s here.” He looked up at the roof of this place, through which was the sky and the auroras, no doubt still swimming in the winds, “The source is here. Or there.”
Janus paused, he could’ve been anywhere. His last memory was at the tavern in Anvil before they took him. He could’ve been taken anywhere at this point depending on how long he’d been out. “Where the hells are we?”
The Dunmer nodded. "From limited information, an astute observation, but not entirely correct. You are currently in Morrowind, about a half-day walk from Balmora, to be specific. The reason I was able to reach this place quickly enough to release you was I've been trying to understand this phenomenon and was able to collect some evidence that allowed me to repurpose some Dwemer sensors I had procured to activate and alert me when an energy burst caused by the ritualistic sacrifices of people like us are released." He sighed. "It's a lot less taxing to create a portal when the site is figuratively in your backyard than trying to pinpoint a hole in the ground across the continent."
He gestured to the body. "This man's sacrifice is what saved your own. He deserves a proper burial, far from this place. If nothing else, at least see to that, would you?" The Telvanni asked, his tone softer. "As for your observations, from what I've been able to understand is the auroras aren't perpetual or uniform in strength. They have sites like this for when they begin to wane and use the sacrifices to provide more energy to maintain the spell and intensity." He crossed his arms.
"It's some kind of soul magic, that I am fairly confident of, but it has the familiar taint of necromancy, however faint. I cannot make full sense of it yet, but I am finding threads to pull."
“May your memory be a blessing,” Joy said quietly. She had approached the man on the table slowly, there was some fright in her step but the expression of the Imperial drew her in to him and she took hold of his hand. The immediate coldness of it was almost off putting but she carried on. “You will be missed by those who loved you.” The Nord couldn’t have explained what the Dunmer was doing, and it was a shocking sight to her eyes. Even without what he was occupying himself with, there was a distinctly ominous air that fell around the place, hiding behind each shadow. This man had no one. All she could feel now was the regret for that.
“Morrowind?” Joy asked eventually, “I… Can’t remember where I was… Wasn’t Morrowind…”
“Well, we’re here now.” Janus said, taking in the arrival of the woman, Joy. He turned his attention back to the Telvanni, “Do you have a first lead for us then? Can’t find the man you want killed if we don’t know where to go after this.”
“How strange I should find myself here,” said Joy with a flicker of a bitter smile. She couldn’t find much of a word else, so took instead to positioning the Imperial neatly. She couldn’t bear to see him splayed out much longer. The gore of his wounds didn’t seem to bother her, it was the expression that did, and so with care she closed his mouth and eyes. Her mind worked delicately too to craft him a story — something she could hold onto. Perhaps he was a hero of his country. She gripped the thought.
With the Nord woman tending to the fallen, the Dunmer turned his attention back to Janus. “I might have something, but not here. I am unable to ascertain if there’s some manner of magical enchantment to this place or anything that might provide our mutual foes with information, and it is most irritable.” the Telvanni replied tersely. “I will leave it to you to speak to the others and determine your destination and I will create a portal to take you there. You can take your chances and go to Balmora for supplies and see what the locals know, or you may accompany me back to my estate where I will see to it a chartered ship with a trustworthy crew will take you where you need to go and I will provide what tools and information that’s within my power to provide. Just don’t dawdle, yes?”
Having done as much to the body to restore his dignity as she could have, Joy gave one last squeeze of his hand. Now to leave this ghastly room. “Ser?” she spoke out, quietly stepping away from the corpse. As was to be expected, the rest of her fleeting wits were returning the longer she was awake. It could have very easily been her on the table now, and would any of those that woke up with her have tended to her, or wished her safety to Sovngarde? “He can be buried now,” she came to the side of the Telvanni mage and turned her face to meet his eyes. “You saved us, thank you for that.”
The Nord surprised the Telvanni, using a respectful form of Dunmeri address. Perhaps she was a cultural liaison from the Ebonheart Pact?
“Your efforts are appreciated, we will have to see to the proper internment of his body.” he nodded, the featureless helm dipping slightly. “It was a pleasant surprise to find survivors for a change, I must admit. Preserving life has always been one of my aims, as well as thwarting the machinations of insipid mages who make a perversion of my craft. I will give them some credit for ingenuity; there isn’t often magic that I don’t have some passing familiarity with.”
Dismissing the thought with a shrug, he steepled his index fingers and thumbs over entwined hands. “Forgive me, I don’t believe I’ve caught your name.”
“My name is Joy,” she answered softly, before stepping out to join the others.
Having gotten her five minutes of beauty sleep, Bolorma begun to realize something was not right. She still had no idea where she was or what was happening, and she found everything but the robes on her body were gone. There were voices somewhere, so Bolorma followed them, hands on the cold walls as she stumbled through the corridor. She shook her head as she went. Her hair had come loose, and underneath it was a gash and dried blood on her forehead. Wait, she remembered someone had knocked her out, in Leyawiin. Was this still Leyawiin? Definetly not. Bolorma's so not in Leyawiin now.
She shook her head as went; her hair had come loose, and underneath it was a gash and dried blood. Wait, she remembered now. Someone had knocked her out in Leyawiin. Was this Leyawiin? Definitely now. Bolorma was so not in Leyawiin anymore.
Where she was next, however, was a room where her gear had been stowed. Inside this room were three individuals, a Bosmer woman, a bipedal Khajiit, and a Redguard man. She lingered around the doorway for a while, trying to figure out who they were. They were nobody she knew before. Then the Orc entered and scurried around the strangers, grabbing her bag, cloak and staff. She listened to a bit of their conversation, and decided to check the adjacent room. There, Bolorma overheard the conversation between a tall Imperial, a Nord bard, and a supposed Telvanni Dunmer.
After sheathing Sadia, Sait rummaged through his satchel for his notebook, and loosed it with aggressively academic intent. As clarity returned to him, however, so did the lack thereof - he didn't know anything. He didn't know where he was, or why. He didn't even know his fellow captive's names.
"This one is called Do’Karth. If you need assistance, he will lend his strength until we are free of this place."
“This one is called Nimriell,” the bosmer offered, wanting some familiarity amongst them. “Or Green, if that’s easier.”
Serendipity! Sait scrawled as much- Do'Karth. Nimriell; Green.- down in the margins of his book before bundling it away, satisfied that even the smallest amount of research had been conducted. Then, he followed the sound of voices to the doorway that overlooked the ritual chamber, and made himself known as the other onlookers had.
"My name is Sait, and if anybody is in need of a healer, I do a meager impression."
He looked onwards at the grim spectacle being performed in the chamber yonder, and tilted his head back with the click of his tongue. He cared less for the words exchanged than he did for the body broken open between them. One a fellow inmate, the other a fragment of what moments ago Sait presumed a nightmare.
"But much better than that man's."
Nimriell nodded, looking grim. It was S'rendarr's mercy that they had been found by the Dunmer and freed, seeing how none of them had been in their senses enough to fight off whomever had them prisoner. She did spare a small smile in the Redguard's direction, clasping her hand against her heart.
"Well met, Sait. And well met, Do'Karth. This one is pleased to see at least one familiar face." She let out a soft sigh, eyes shifting to Sait once more. She had seen Redguard warriors and pirates before, not healers or scholarly sorts as this one seemed. One the one hand, it was nice to know if someone got hurt, there would be someone to help. On the other hand, did this man, or any of the other new faces have any experiences of such precarious situations?
Sait likewise placed a hand over his heart, and tilted his head forwards in courtesy.
"Well met, Nimriell; Do'Karth. I'm late, I see, to something well beyond my ken! I'll spare asking about what's happening until I'm not so full of thought-fog, but who are these men?"
Nimriell's hand tightened around the key still in her hand as she looked over the others still in the room. She could now see that one of them was an orc. Easiest to pinpoint among them was her acquaintance, the khajiit known as Do’Karth. And lastly was the Redguard talking to her.
"Our rescuer is one of them," she said after a moment, looking up at Sait. "The other one... an unfortunate man who could have been any of us. Apparently we are currently in Morrowind.” She shook her head.
Exactly how long had they been out? She hadn’t been anywhere near the land of the Dunmer when she had been knocked out.
"[I]Morrowind?![I] I've gone in entirely the wrong direction! I've never so much as strayed further East of Riften! Why, this… this… [I]could be an opportunity."[I]
For all Sait knew, they were no further than the other side of the Velothi Mountains - but a border remained a border, and whilst on this side, it he supposed it would be only appropriate to collect the cognitions of the local Mer. He retrieved his notebook again.
Ah, the name was familiar, at least. Nimriell was someone Do’Karth had encountered during one of his assignments to Senchal. He collected his memories. “Nimriell, you were a member of the Shields of Senchal, were you not? Do’Karth is humbled to be in your company once more, although… he wishes in better circumstances.” he said quietly before bowing his head, hand over heart towards Sait.
“It pleases Do’Karth to find one such as yourself to be of kind disposition. There has been a war for most of our lives and it has been an unfortunately rare thing to find a human who does not immediately wish to put this one to the sword, like our rather grumpy Imperial companion, no?” he smiled slightly, looking towards where Janus was talking to the stranger in Telvanni-style armour, which Do’Karth narrowed his eyes towards. He knew all about them.
"Well, friends…" he called Do'Karth and Nimriell, strangers both, such as though it were their names: "I am no partisan. My investment in the war ends in what it does to its witnesses."
He wrestled with the contents of his satchel for a pencil- lest he spill his ink in the dark- and then began to record all he could see. Which, admittedly, was less than would fill the foreword of the inevitable paper he would write on this.
Do’Karth took notice of Sait’s notepad and felt a slight pang of regret before letting it pass and asking. “Are you some sort of scholar? It seems like quite a strange time to be writing, without much light, no less.”
"Ah! Of a kind, I suppose. Though scholars are usually... paid. And, um. Respected. Sometimes both, even. The lucky ones. But otherwise, yes, I suppose you could call me a scholar!"
Far from conspiratorial, Sait proudly bore a page in Do'Karth's direction. A thick body of heavily self-annotated text, written finely but then overwritten several times by post-hoc perusal. An interview transcript, perhaps - somebody's words interpreted and reinterpreted in relation to an elaborate "model of behaviour" organised on the adjacent page. All of it entirely functional, but illegible to the layman beyond the sum of its parts.
"I study people - and their minds. I suppose I'm an aspiring healer in that regard, too. And all of this is pure madness! So naturally, I have to record what I can. Whether what I'm writing is wholly legible will be another story, but it wouldn't be the first time I couldn't afford a candle to write by. I've learned to trust my hands. What of you two? Warriors, I take it?"
“Ah,” Do’Karth replied, turning his head away from the page, rubbing the nape of his neck. “This one never quite learned the words. He recognizes about half of what is on that page. But yes, this one is a warrior in the Mane’s service. He was on a scouting patrol in Cyrodiil when he was taken by Raxus’ forces.”
Having learned enough from the conversation in the other room, Bolorma returned to the first room.
“Warriors? I hope we’re not caught in a war here. Apparently that Dark Elf is a Telvanni; they’re usually trouble.” Bolorma finally spoke. She reckoned the Redguard must be another mage, though he doesn’t seem like a member of the guild, at least not in appearance.
“Here.” She summoned a magelight for Sait. “I’m Bolorma gra-Shulgin, warlock of the Mages Guild.”
Nimriell looked at the Orsimer, a little relieved that she could indeed speak and wasn't catatonic, which wouldn't have surprised her. She and any other soldier would be used to death and corpses, unfortunately, but it wasn't the same for people just trying to live life as normally as they could.
"Nimriell's happy to see you're up and awake," she said, giving the Balorma an acknowledging nod. "This one wouldn't call herself a warrior, perhaps more a soldier? As Do’Karth correctly remembered, this one was part of the Shields of Senchal." She always thought of herself as a Baandari peddler first, truth be told, though she hadn’t actually lived the wandering merchant life for a while. Giving a little shrug, she looked to the adjacent room. "As for the Dunmer, Telvanni or not, he is the one who freed us. This one would like to believe he is not about to lead us into more trouble, rather the opposite."
"Thanks for shaking me awake, uh, Nimrod?" What kind of parent would name their kid that? Bolorma tried to recall the names she just heard. Foreign accents, combined with the lingering drowsiness, made it hard to figure out what each of them was called exactly.
"Anyway, the Telvanni gave the other two some kind of enchanted artifact. You and I should check it out, Sate, or is it Sad?" The Orc gestured confusingly at the Redguard.
"And Docker, right?" Bolorma looked at the Khajiit. "Before careful around the Telvanni; I heard they keep Khajiits as slaves."
"Ugh, I probably just butchered everyone's name." Bolorma shook her head. She mumbled. "Oops."
Do’Karth smiled politely at Bolorma, a most curious Orsimer. He couldn’t help but find her disposition charming, despite her inability to recall names. “Do’Karth, and this one is familiar with the tales of the Telvanni. He never came across them often since they are not members of the Pact, but this one does not feel like being prospected for market value, yes?”
The Telvanni, as if summoned, stepped into the room. “Ah yes, the burning of my ears, the hushed whispers and fear over the great house Telvanni.” he said, his staff clanking against the cobblestone, pale bioluminescent green fungus glowing from within gnarled wood. His other hand was a fist held at the small of his back.
“As you’ve all astutely observed, I am indeed the one who delivered you from being used as a power source for some rather unpleasant bit of spellcraft. My name is Turon Telvayn, master of House Telvanni and the best chance you have at surviving the quite miserable events unfolding both inside and outside of these walls.
“As you might have surmised, you all uniquely special enough to have been selected by these boorish ghouls, but do not let that inflate your egos; although I have not determined the exact mechanications of why we all seem to be inoculated from the effects of the auroras, it does not mean you are some hero destined for greatness or to fulfill some eye-wateringly droll prophecy.” Turon explained, not unlike some college professor introducing some remedial class on restoration magic. “Perhaps it is something as bland as blood type, mental fortitude, or any number of other factors that make people resistant to this enthralling spell, and make no mistake; most of Tamriel isn’t so fortunate. It makes you a target. They will hunt you to the ends of the continent until none of us remain, and as much as I would love to be the soul saviour of Tamriel from the Witch-Emperor’s devious plots, I have neither the inclination nor the efficiency to pull off such a thing in a timely manner. There’s many more people like you out there who need assistance and will perish without it.”
He reached up and removed his helm, exposing his face for the first time. He was unblemished by scar or age, tidy brown hair parted down the middle and a neatly braided beard of much finer quality than the much coarser hair on Do’Karth’s chin. He looked upon the room with silver-coloured eyes, unlike most Dunmer.
"Wew," Bolorma whistled, "pretty boy."
“And so, as I have mentioned to your Imperial compatriot here, I am in need of your assistance. This nightmare will not end for anyone unless the spell is put to rest, and that means even though you survive today, there is no guarantee you will not be promptly recaptured and sacrificed unless you take precautions and put the wheel in motion to stopping this. And so, I leave you with two options; you may return to me back to my island estate off of the coast of Vvardenfell in Telvanni territory where you will be safe from the eyes of the Praetorians and I can arrange transport to your next destination to begin to stop this madness, or I can transport you outside of Balmora where you can enter town and speak to the locals, find supplies, and take your chances. I will support you either way, although I will have to depart company from time to time to pursue my own objectives, such as rescuing other groups such as yourself and obtaining materials and information for resisting these spells.
“I will leave you to decide which course is better for you, and I am painfully aware of the reputation my House has in the eyes of outsiders, but know that you would not be alive to have this conversation after my intervention and on my honour and that of my House you are under my protection so long as we share a common goal.”
Janus was the first to speak, stepping up beside the Dunmer and looking the others over. Whatever opinion of them he had, or they of each other didn’t matter now. It was survival or death, and Janus knew that wasn’t ever a choice at all. “I say we go with him. Hostile land, suspicious people, the more we stay hidden the better.”
It made the most sense, really, to listen to the advice of the man who had freed them. Nimriell cast a glance at the others, curious as to what their thoughts were, though she didn't wait to speak up. "This one agrees with the tall one. Before she was knocked out, there was no one else who had the same thoughts about Raxus as this one, not even her brother. Different though we may be, Nimriell believes staying together and hidden, for the time being, may be the best course for survival."
Sait's eyes (sometimes sated, occasionally sad, but always Sait) gleamed gold in the splendor of Bolorma's magelight as their somber saviour spoke. He wrote without looking, scrawling in long, looping lines the contents of his portents. "If what he says is so, then count me amongst you, my Imperial friend," Sait concurred, in blissful ignorance to Janus' preconceptions.
"My only request is that I be compensated with information. I work with the mad- for the mad- and I think some good can come of this terror. All you learn, Turon, I should like to know!"
“People are going to keep dying,” Joy said from the corner, her arms folded across her chest as she thought about it. “If I can… If I can do anything in my fortunate state then I consider it my duty. I will follow you Ser. Life will not return to us until it is done… I… Want to help.”
The Nord was going to leave it there too, but as parts of herself sparked back to life, she stepped forwards again with a slight look of distress; “whatever we do, we should decide quickly? Who knows how long we’ve been here… What if they send someone back? We’re in danger” She shook her head slowly, taking in the faces of those around her. “And I’m so very hungry,“ Joy said, the distress leaking back through into her tone just slightly. No sooner had she said it, her stomach growled in agreement.
"Very well." Bolorma concurred with the rest. "I think going with pretty boy, uh, I mean, Turon, is our best bet here. We can't afford splitting up until we're better prepared." She examined the Telvanni, which led to the conclusion that he must have a big...brain.
"I'm not sure if fighting an Emperor with the power to mind control entire nations is prudent." Bolorma crossed her arms, then quickly uncrossed them to gesture at Joy. "But she has the right idea; we need to leave now, before anything bad happens here."
"I just hope Dunmer food isn't as bad as they say." Bolorma whispered to Joy.
“I heard that.” Turon said to the Orc, slipping his helmet back on. “And don’t worry; it’s much worse.”
Clenching his fist tightly around his staff, Turon tapped it against the floor and a portal opened in the chamber, bathing the room in inviting daylight. On the other, a massive sea of fungal towers spread across the horizon, with the foreground being dominated by a massive mushroom, built on a base of granite and with a pair of large wooden doors allowing access up a flight of stairs.
“Right then, in you go. Tel Telvayn awaits.”