THE NEREVARINE PROPHECIES
Laurenna and I entered the yurt of Nibani Macsa, the tribe's wise woman.
We both bowed respectfully, and she motioned for us to sit and enjoy a cup of tea with her.
"So, this is your wife?" she asked. "She is very lovely. From Lokken, you say? Is that far from here?"
"Yes," I replied, "near Solstheim Island, to the east."
"Ah," she said, "we have heard of Solstheim, a terrible place, I hear. But enough small talk." she continued. "They have told me about you, outlander, or, shall I say, Clanfriend. You are hard-headed. And ignorant." She smiled. "But perhaps it is not your fault. My lord Ashkhan says you will ask me about the Nerevarine prophecies. He also says I will test you against the Nerevarine prophecies. I must do as my lord ashkhan says." She put her tea on a small wooden table and motioned me to approach her. "Ask your questions," she said, "and I will test you."
"Before I ask you about this," I started, "I must tell you of several disturbing dreams that my wife and I have had."
"Of course." she replied. "Please tell me of these dreams."
I told her of the strange dreams that Laurenna and I had been having recently, and the fact that they had been happening in several towns in Vvardenfell. She seemed only partially interested until I told her of the last dream I had. Laurenna spoke up, saying "You never told me of that dream. I didn't have one like that."
The wise woman frowned, locking in on the last dream I mentioned. "This is a strange dream, indeed." she said. "The Sharmat, Dagoth Ur, speaks to you, in the voice of prophecy. He curses the three betrayers, the three false gods, Vivic, Almalexia, and Sotha Sil. He calls you to drive the outlanders from Morrowind. This is a very strong dream, very cunning, a dream to stir hearts. This is a very good lie. He called you Nerevar. And the dream of the Nerevarine is very strong, and very dangerous, for you, and for all my people."
"This is very disturbing to me." I said. "I am not used to being personally addressed in my dreams."
"That is apparently his way." she replied. "What is it about the prophecies you wish to ask?"
I asked her to tell me what the prophecies were, and how they may be related to me. A side glance at Laurenna showed a look of amazement on her face.
"There are many of these prophecies," Nibani Macsa replied, "and they suggest many things. Aspect and uncertain parents. The moon-and-star. Sleepers. Seven Curses. The curses' bane. The prophecy of the Stranger. The prophecy of the Seven Visions. The lost prophecies. Ask me of these things, and I will answer.
I asked her what was meant by 'aspect and uncertain parents'. It was true that I had parents, but it was also true that I was separated from them at the tender age of 5. It was also true that I did not know my real family name, and told her that "Dragonmeal" was a joke name given to me during my lengthly years in the Imperial prison.
"If what you say is true," she replied, "you are indeed born on a certain day of uncertain parents. This is part of the prophecy. But many have the same birthday, and many are not sure of their parents. It is interesting, but it does not make you the Nerevarine."
I asked her about the story behind Moon-and-Star. I had heard about this artifact from Dunmer people in several cities, but wanted to make sure I understood the story behind it correctly.
"Ah, you are wise to ask about this." she said. "Legend says that Indoril Nerevar's family standard bore the moon and star, that Nerevar's armor and weapons bore this sign as well. Some say that he bore a moon-and-star birthmark. Some say he has a magic ring, marked with a moon-and-star. Others say he was born under a moon-and-star. In any case, I think the moon-and-star is the mark of the Nerevarine, and you do not have this mark, so you are not the Nerevarine."
"What about the times these people come up to me, in Balmora, to be specific, and yelling at me about Dagoth Ur, and such? They call themselves sleepers."
Nibani gave a slight look of concern over this information, then said, "Rumors say that in the towns, mad cultists called 'sleepers' are attacking people, saying that Dagoth Ur has awakened, and will drive the outlanders from Morrowind. Perhaps it is just a coincidence, but I think it is a sign of the Nerevarine. Not necessarily a sign that you are the Nerevarine. Perhaps the time of the Nerevarine has come, and you have come at the same time. This is not passing a test, but it may mean you have some part to play in the coming of the Nerevarine."
"What are these so-called Seven Curses?" I asked.
"It is another Ashlander prophecy of the Nerevarine." she replied. "It is called 'The Seven Curses of the Sharmat.' But I do not know it, and I know no one who does. It may be lost. Such things happen, you know. A wise woman dies, or forgets, or a clan is wiped out. Perhaps someone knows, but is keeping it secret. Perhaps it is in one of those many books of your settled peoples. I have heard that the Dissident priests of the Temple may have such books."
I decided that I would ask Caius about these priests and this 'lost book' when I returned to Balmora. "What about this prophecy about 'The Stranger'?
She smiled. "This is the best known of the prophecies. We call it "The Stranger". I will recite it for you."
She closed her eyes, as if seeing the words form in her mind.
When earth is sundered, and skies choked black,
Though stark-born to sire uncertain,
Many trials make manifest,
"I remembered seeing something about that in a nightmare I had the night I arrived in Vvardenfell." I said. "I could not read all the words in my head, but I remember those last two lines. I never realized how significant they were until now. What about these Seven Trials?"
Nibani again closed her eyes and searched her mind for the words, then recited them:
The First Trial:
The Second Trial:
The Third Trial:
The Fourth Trial:
The Fifth Trial:
The Sixth Trial:
The Seventh Trial:
She paused for a moment, allowing all that she had said to sink in. I glanced at Laurenna, and her face was pretty much glazed over at all this information at once. I supposed mine had the same look as well.
The wise woman continued, "What does this prophecy mean? It tells us who the Nerevarine will be, and the trials he must undergo before he fulfills his destiny. Some parts I understand. Some parts I do not. I will answer your questions as best as I can, but I cannot pretend to understand all."
"What does the first trial mean, about the birthsign?" I asked.
On a certain day to uncertain parents
I thought over this piece of the puzzle for a moment. My own birthsign was "The Atronach", with a Prime Aspect of Masser (the larger of the two moons of Tamriel). The effect was to give me twice as much intelligence as normal, and the ability to absorb magic effects directed towards me, adding to my own ability to use magic. But this advantage came with a curse - I could never regain magicka by resting, as most people did, which is why I had to rely on either absorbing spells or using potions to restore this power.
"The second trial?" I asked.
Neither blight nor age can harm him.
"What is the meaning of the Third Trial?" I asked.
In caverns dark Azura's eye sees
She seemed very adamant about that, so I did not press the issue. "What about the Fourth Trial?" I asked. "What exactly is a 'Hortator'? I have never heard of such a thing."
A stranger's voice unites the Houses.
"Is there anything like that concerning the 4 tribes here?" I asked.
A stranger's hand unites the Velothi.
"This 'tribe unmourned." I asked. "What tribe does that refer to?"
He honors blood of the tribe unmourned.
"The Seventh Trial involves something about false gods." I said, "Who does this refer to?"
His mercy frees the cursed false gods,
I had heard that one of the Tribunal, Vivic lived in the city that bore his name, and that the other two lived in Mournhold, the capital city of Morrowind province. I had been to Mournhold briefly, but did not get a chance to delve too deeply into that city as of yet.
We both took a break for a moment, letting all this information sink in. Laurenna brought us both more tea, fascinated by all this talk about the Nerevarine, and my possible involvement in it.
"What does all this prophecy mean?" she said, as she sipped her tea. "It tells us who the Nerevarine will be, and the trials he must undergo before he fulfills his destiny. Some parts I understand. Some parts I do not."
I nodded my understanding, realizing that some of these stories were hundreds of years old, the true meaning of which may have been lost over time.
I told her of the time that Laurenna and I had been accosted by some mad person, rambling on about Dagoth Ur awakening, and so on." The wise woman gave a look of concern.
"Rumors say that in the towns, mad cultists called 'sleepers' are attacking people, saying that Dagoth Ur has awakened, and will drive the outlanders from Morrowind. Perhaps it is just a coincidence. But I think it is a sign of the Nerevarine. Not necessarily a sign that you are the Nerevarine. Perhaps the time of the Nerevarine has come, and you might have arrived at the same time. This is not passing a test, but it may mean you have some part to play in the coming of the Nerevarine."
I looked at Laurenna, and she looked back at me in disbelief. Well, it might have been true - maybe I had simply arrived at the same time their hero had arrived.
"Excuse me, Nibani," I said, "but you had mentioned some lost prophecies. Could you elaborate a little more on this?"
"There are several prophecies that have been lost." she said. "The Seven Curses, and others. Some are forgotten, some hidden, some deliberately lost. You see, we wise women are the memory of the Velothi people, but it is a faulty memory, and we are mortal. When we die, our knowledge dies with us. That is something that cannot be helped."
She took a sip of tea, then continued, "But, we hear that the Dissident Priests of the Temple study our Nerevarine prophecies, and record them in books. Such written words never die. You must go to them and ask for these books, and bring what you find to me."
"Yes, of course, I will do what I can to help." I replied. "You had mentioned something about 'One Destiny.' earlier. What destiny would that be?
He speaks the law for Veloth's people.
I felt, after all this conversation, that I had to ask just one final question. "Wise Woman Nibani, I must know - Do I pass the test?"
She thought about it for a moment, choosing her words carefully. She took a sip of tea, put her cup down, looked me straight in the eye, and gave me an answer.
"You are not the Nerevarine." she said. I was almost disappointed, until she added. "You are one who may become the Nerevarine. It is a puzzle, and a hard one, but you have found some of the pieces, and you may find more. Do you choose to be the Nerevarine? If so, then seek the lost prophecies among the Dissident priests of the Temple. Find the lost prophecies, bring them to me, and I will be your guide."
She handed me two books she had, and said, "Take these copies of 'The Stranger' and 'The Seven Visions'. Now, I have told you all I know. Go now and think on what I've told you, and do what must be done."
I turned to Laurenna and asked what she thought of all this.
"Well," she said, "you're really something special. But this prophecy stuff, and you being some kind of reincarnated person, I just don't get it."
She put her arms around me and added, "I don't care. I'll back you to the hilt, if necessary."
She smiled, and I gave her a big kiss and a hug.
Laurenna helped me set up the tent we had brought for the night. It was getting late and we had both had a very long walk from Maar Gan. The walk back would be just as long, and we decided to get a start in the morning.
The walk home was uneventful, just the usual attacks of animals and cliffracers along the way.
We got a late start, sleeping in late for once. The other Ashlanders were surprised to see us getting out of our tent so late in the morning.
Once back in Balmora, we made out way back to our home so I could change into something a bit less cumbersome, and then make my report to Caius.
I changed clothes, and Laurenna told me to hurry back from my report. I said I would be back in a flash.
On my way to speak with Caius, a Dunmer by the name of Llandras Belaal came up to me from out of no-where, and shouted "Beneath Red Mountain, Lord Dagoth sleeps. But when he wakes, we all shall rise, and the dust will blow away. Serve your lord, Dagoth Ur! The Sixth House is risen, and Dagoth is its glory!"
I gave him a nasty stare, and he averted his eyes from me, and walked away, shouting at other people in his way.
Caius was, oddly enough, quite coherent and clear-minded when I walked into his bed-and-breakfast.
"Eldorf, old man," he said, "What news do you have for me now?"
I told him about my conversation with Sul-Matuul and Nibani Macsa, the Wise Woman, and all of the things she told me, including the 'pass the test' part. His eyes widened.
"So, you've spoken with them, eh? From what they say, it sounds like you really could be the Nerevarine. That's just incredible, but I'll have to get used to the idea."
I told him about the lost prophecies, and that the Dissident priests might have further information on this subject.
"Let me try to get word to Mehra Milo in the Vivic Library." he said. "Maybe she can find out whether the Dissident Priests have any of those lost prophecies that you're looking for. My guess is that she'll be successful."
He smiled and patted me on the shoulder. I was waiting for him to say he'll gave to get back to me shortly, so I could head for home and a warm meal. Again, I was dead wrong.
"Listen, I know you just got back," he said "but I have a very tough assignment for you. Do you think you're ready for it?
"Well, I'm willing, but cautious." I said, being a little wary of what he had in mind.
"Good." he said, "Cautious is smart. I'm going to give you the mission. However, I'm also going to give you 400 drakes." reaching into a small chest, he handed me 400 coins. "Go outfit yourself with healing potions, new gear, a little training, whatever you think you need most, and if you get in trouble, back off, rest up, and go back fresh. Don't take any chances. I think this will be a tough one."
I was a little apprehensive about this mission, even though I had already fended off 4 dragons.
"What does this mission involve?" I said.
"Here's what happened." he replied. "Fort Buckmoth, up near Ald'ruhn, sent a patrol to Gnaar Mok, hunting smugglers involved with Sixth House connections. They found a Sixth House base, a Sixth House shrine, and a Sixth House priest named Dagoth Gares. I want you to speak with Champion Racsa Pullia at Fort Buckmoth; she'll tell you about the patrol and the base they found. Your orders are: find that Sixth House Base, kill Dagoth Gares, and bring me a full report on this Sixth House base, what they're doing, any plans you find, and so on."
"Well," I said, "it can't be any worse than the last couple of dragons." I had been in a Sixth House base before as part of a job for the Mage's Guild's when Skink-in-trees-shade was giving me work to do.
"One more thing." he added. "I know you've been taking your wife out on some of these missions, and I'm ok with that, up to this point, but not on this mission. It's too dangerous, and I can't have you endangering her life over this. Understand?" he was pretty adamant about it.
"I understand." I said. "I'll head out in the morning."
With that, I headed back to our home and gave Laurenna the bad news about the mission.
"I can't go along?" she said. "No." I replied, "This is directly from the boss. I'm sure you understand.
"Well," she said, "make sure you have your armor on at all times. I expect you back in one piece, and I also expect one heck of a war story when you return."
I smiled and gave her a hug and nibbled on some kwama eggs and bread, then headed off to bed. I felt this was going to be a tough mission, just as Caius said.
Coming up: A Tough Mission