It was pretty late when we arrived back in Balmora. I knew we were nearly home when I could hear the stiltstrider cooing in the distance.

It was still pretty overcast, but at least it had stopped raining. We both needed a rest and a bath, not necessarily in that order.  


I found Sharn gra-Muzgob in the lower section of the Mage's Guild offices. She was just finishing up some work she had been doing during the day and was getting ready for bed when we arrived.

"Oh, you have brought me the skull I asked for. How nice of you. Very well then," she continued, "I will give you the notes on the Nerevarine cult that you asked for."

I thanked her and we headed out the door.

Before we left the building, I glanced over the notes I had been given. The cult, it seems was following prophecies of a Nerevar reborn to honor ancient promises made to the tribes, to reestablish the traditions of the Prophet Veloth, to cast down the false gods of the Tribunal Temple, and to drive all outlanders from Morrowind. I thought for a moment, "Wait a minute, I also happen to be an outlander in this land!"

Both the Temple and the Empire outlaw the cult.  This would make sense, since the cult was in direct conflict with the Empire, having taken over the province so long ago against the wishes of the local people here.

Because of the fact that followers are punished for their beliefs, it's kept pretty much under wraps and is nearly impossible to determine just how wide-spread this cult is among the Ashlander tribes.

Now, checking the history that Hasphat had given to me concerning the battle of Red Mountain, it seems that there was some unfinished business that General Nerevar had to do, and the Ashlanders believe he will return to restore the glories of ancient Resdayn (that was the name of the province before it was taken over and occupied by the Imperial forces). The Ashlanders believe the great houses and the temple have abandoned the pure teachings of the Prophet Veloth, forsaking ancestor worship for the false gods of the Tribunal and embracing the comforts of civilization that corrupted the High Elves. The Temple, on the other hand, venerates Saint Nerevar, but rejects the disgusting notion that the False Incarnate will walk the earth like a ghoul.

The Temple honors Nervar as a saint, and consider him the greatest Dunmer general, First Councilor, as well as a companion of Vivec, Almalexia, and Sotha Sil, who united the Dunmer Houses to destroy the evil Dwemer, the treacherous House Dagoth (the so-called "sixth house") and their Western allies at the battle of Red Mountain.

I thought about this piece of history for a moment, and remembered that I still needed to find the book on this subject.

The notes went on to day that Nerevar (according to the Ashlanders) promised to honor the Ancient Spirits and the Tribal law, and that he will come again to honor that promise. The Ashlanders believe this means destroying the false Temple and driving the Imperial invaders from Vvardenfell.

There was also a reference to the fact that the village wise women and shamans take careful notes of dreams and visions, passing the tribe's legacies of vision and prophecy to their successors.

The Temple and Western faiths are, however suspicious of such things and regard them as primitive superstition.

One of the common version of this prophecy was called "The Stranger", and in this particular set of verses two observations were notable:

  1. There was a phrase in it stating "Journeyed far 'neath moon and star", and most people believe that this is just a way to suggest a very long journey, however, Nerevar was known to possess a magical ring, named either "Moon-and-Star" or "One-Clan-Under-Moon-and-Star", upon which he had sworn his promise to honor the ancient traditions and land rights.
  2. Second, the references to "seven curses" must certainly refer to the lost prophetic verses known to the Ashlanders as the SEVEN CURSES,  as noted in "The Stranger":

When earth is sundered, and skies choked black,
And sleepers serve the seven curses,
To the hearth there comes a stranger
Journeyed far 'neath moon and star.

Though stark-born to sire uncertain
His aspect marks his certain fate.
Wicked stalk him, righteous curse him.
Prophets speak, but all deny.

Many trials make manifest
The stranger's fate, the curses' bane.
Many touchstones try the stranger
Many fall, but one remains.

I could see from the notes that this was going much deeper than I had originally though it would. According to these notes, there were a number of Ashlander elders complaining that some of these prophecies had been lost due to either carelessness on the part of earlier generations of wise women and village ashkhans (leaders), and some scholars wondered if these prophecies might have been deliberately forgotten or even suppressed.

Three prophecies in particular are said to have been lost: (1) The Lost Phophecies, (2) The Seven Curses; and (3) Seven Visions of Seven Trials of the Incarnate.

I wondered why someone would name a book "The Lost Prophecies" to begin with if they hadn't been lost yet. The other two books maybe someday be found, perhaps in some forgotten account written by some literate traveler, or perhaps kept in the memories of isolated Ashlander tribes, or even in the secret traditions of the wise women and shamans.  


We took the notes home and I read them again while Laurenna changed into a simple white robe we had found. She was very glad to get out of her wet clothes and into something dry. I changed as well, finally getting out of my armor and into something more comfortable.

After checking the notes again, Laurenna brought me something to eat. It was late and I suggested that we sack out for the night and I would deliver the notes to Caius in the morning, to which she very readily agreed.  


The next morning I got up bright and early, and headed to the spymaster's quarters.

He seemed happy with the notes I gave him concerning the Nerevarine cult from Sharn gra-Muzgob.

He surprised me by promoting me to Apprentice of the "Blades", apparently pleased with my work so far.

"This is a lot of information for me to go over, and it'll take a while to see how this information fits in with the Emperor's plans for you." he said. "I will have to write up a report for the Emperor, send it off, and wait for a reply, so take some time off, take care of any personal business you have to attend to, and report back when you're ready for more orders, probably in a few days from now.  



I was glad to have some time off, so I decided to use it by checking out this Illuminated Order key I had found in that tomb near Hla Oad the other day.

Imagine my surprise when I found that the key fits in the door right next to my own quarters in Balmora!     


I walked into the manor, and the first thing I noticed was the fact that, while there were a number of candles and lights around, they cast very little light.

For an Illuminated Order, you'd think they'd be able to brighten the place up a bit.

After stumbling into a dresser and a chair, I decided to use a spell of night eye. While it didn't help all that much, it kept me from stumbling into another chair.  


Just before the night eye spell wore off, I noticed an empty space being a tapestry on the wall, and found a secret passage behind it.

It was a long stairway, lit by dozens of candles that gave off a soft, red glow.

Again, lots of stairs, lots of candles, not much light.     


After what seemed like 5 million stairs, I finally came to the lower chamber and saw a single mage near an altar, busy with some sort of writing.  


I greeted him with a code phrase that was listed in the letter I had found in the tomb that provided the key to this place, and he acknowledged me by name.

"I am Thuvien Demnevanni." he said. "I am glad you have decided to join our order. Because of persecution, we keep our cells small and independent of one another."

After explaining a few things to me about what it is they actually study and do, he gave me an assignment to complete. It seems that there is a khajiit by the name of M'aiq, the Liar, found on an island near Dagon Fel and west of the Daedric temple of Ald Daedroth.


M'aiq lies a lot, telling stories that are total fabrications. The order uses him to spread dis-information about a lot of things, simply to bury true statements among a pack of lies. "The best way to hide truth is usually in plain sight." he said.

I was to deliver a letter filled with lies to M'aiq the Liar and then report back. 


For the "killing two birds with one stone department" this would be very helpful to me.  I still had the heart of the green dragon, and wanted to put it in my lab, and since M'aiq's location was in that same general area as Solstheim castle, I decided to take care of both things at the same time.

I told Laurenna I was going to the castle (which I was) to store the green dragon's heart and get some more of those restore magic potions I had made.

"How long will you be gone?" she asked. "I should return by nightfall." I said. "I can use the castle spell scroll to get there and use the house ring to return back here after I chat with Illwing about the green dragon in Caldera."  


I returned to the Solstheim Castle by spell and went straight to the lab.

I wasn't sure exactly what I was supposed to do with these artifacts, but I thought it best to store them in a safe place, just in case they were needed in the future. 


I went to my room, changed robes, then came back to the lab. I had Felicia gather several ingredients for me, and proceeded to make more of those 'restore magic' potions that I was using so much of.

With the high quality of the equipment I was using, and my experience at doing this, the potions came out pretty well, capable of restoring just about all the magic ability I had.

Based on the number of potions I had been using with these two dragons so far, I figured it would be a good idea to have a large number on hand.     


After putting my alchemy equipment away, I checked the clock. By the gods, time flies when you're having fun! It was nearly 2:30, and I still had to find M'aiq, get back to Illwing in Caldera, and make it home by dinner time to Caldera, or I'd have one angry wife on my hands!  


I made sure I had everything I needed, and went outside - straight into a blizzard!

I could have taken a boat to Dagon Fel, but that would take much too long.

I would have to fly. 


As much as I didn't want to do it here, I changed into a cliffracer and headed east-southeast through a blinding blizzard.

I nearly froze my (very long) tail off. It's no wonder why we never see cliffracers this far north - it's much too cold for them.

So, I was off, to the east of Dagon Fel, to find one of the most famous liars in the empire.