"We likes it, my preciousssssss"

I hadn't put on my belt of night-eye, so I had to wait a moment for my eyes to adjust to the dim light.

Ahead of me, I could see a huge stone statue, surrounded by luminous mushrooms, which were responsible for what little light would be found in this cave.   


As I approached, the light grew brighter.

It was a statue to Azura. It had been her voice I heard in my head when I first tried to open the door to this cavern.   


Though the mushrooms provided light, there was something glowing even brighter in her hands.

I approached cautiously, not knowing what would happen.

As I came closer, I became aware of a number of mummified bodies circling this statue.

I gazed closer at her hands.  


It was a very small object, spinning in the air.

I looked closer, and as I came within a short distance, the object came to a stop.


My jaw nearly hit the floor.

It was nothing less than the ring of legend: Moon-and-Star.

I reached out to touch it, then hesitated. This ring, according to the legend, gave it's owner great powers of persuasion, among other things, but in order to ensure only General Nerevar was the one wearing it, it was also enchanted to kill anyone else.

Still, I thought, I had been sent here as part of the Third Trial to retrieve it.

I thought about it for a few moments, realizing that Laurenna would come looking for me in the morning if I wasn't successful.

Still, I had to know. I had to be sure. This whole crazy mess with the spy mission here, the story of legends, the attempts on my life by Dagoth Ur, my bout with an incurable disease was just too much to endure without knowing for sure if I was truly Nervar's reborn spirit.

I held my breath, reached out, and putting my hands under the ring. It fell gently into my hands.

Suddenly, everything went dark. I thought, at first, I had died. Then, just as suddenly, I had a vision. It was Azura, and she addressed me directly.   

"Nerevar Reborn, Incarnate:
Your first three trials are finished.
Now, two new trials lie before you.
Seek the Ashlander Ashkhans, and the Great House Councils.
Four tribes must name you Nerevarine.
Three houses must name you Hortator.
My servant Nibani Maesa shall be your guide.
And when you are Hortator and Nerevarine,
when you've stood before the False God
and freed the heart from its prison,
heal my people and restore Morrowind.
Do this for me and with my blessing."    


I opened my eyes to find the ring in the open palms of my hands. It had not killed me. It recognized me, and that was why I was still alive.

I suddenly noticed that in front of each mummy, it's spirit now stood forth to honor the chosen one.

There was Conoon Chodala, a former ashkhan who lead his people against the Akaviri and the Imperial solders of Cyrodiil. He had quested into the strongholds of Red Mountain. Craving glory, he found only death.

There was Hort Ledd, who said he died 400 years ago during the last days of turmoil and unrest after the Empire came to Morrowind. Though he had been marked by the stars, he said he was no hero, other than in his own mind.

Idrenie Nerothan also had a story to tell. Living in the late years of the Tribunate, she had also helped repel the Akavire invaders. She only learned of the Nerevarine and the evils of Dagoth Ur while taking refuge with nearby Ashlanders. She said she died trying to look Kogoruhn.

Erur-Dan said he saw Morrowind fall to the empire. His motivation was hatred and vengeance against the Imperials and the Tribunal for what he felt was their betrayals. He said he eventually turned to Red Mountain, where he grew old and died fighting the blight and monsters there.

Ane Teria had a different tail to tell. She had been a crusader of the Temple, contributed to writings that would later be suppressed by the Temple, writing now referred to as apographa. She had followed the Tribunal without question, never believing in the Nerevarine prophecies until it was too late for her.

Finally, Peakstar. I had heard of her, heard that the Temple had been looking for her, and that they wanted to arrest her for crimes against the Temple.

"Welcome, Incarnate, Moon-and-Star Reborn, Hortator, Nerevarine, Mourner of the Tribe Unmourned, Redeemer of the False Gods." she gave me a sad look, such sorrow I had never seen in a person, alive or dead, before. "I am Peakstar. I was not the one. But I wait and hope. Ask, and I shall answer, if wisdom guides me."

"Not the one?" I asked

"Yes," she replied. "I am a failed Incarnate. So are all these who remain here with me in the Cavern of the Incarnate. I survived the blight, but I fell in battle with an Ash Vampire. I could not master the arts of war. Nor could I learn the ways of the Great Houses. They would not have accepted me as Hortator. "

"Is there anything  helpful you can give me to guide me further?" I asked.

"I will answer when I can, and with what I know. But the visions of Azura are often obscure, for two reasons. One, because the future cannot be known, and choices may always be made. Two, because truth is not clear or simple. Azura's riddles warn us to think long and hard. They force us to search carefully for truth and meaning, and not to rely only on impulse and force."

"What of this ring?" I said. "What am I to do with it?"

"You bear the Moon-and-Star, the ring of Nerevar." she replied. "None may deny; you ARE Nerevar Reborn, the prophesied Incarnate. The Temple will know you as an enemy. Ordinators will mark you for death, and the Tribunal Faithful of the Great Houses will hate and fear you. The doubters of the Tribes will test your strength and doubt your honor. You will be known. You must prepare, and be ready."

"You had referred to me as 'Hortator'." I asked. "I am aware of what the term means, but how am I to proceed?"

"You must go before the Councilors of the Great Houses and satisfy them," she said, "for only the Councils of the Great Houses can name you 'Hortator.' I do not know the settled people of the Great Houses, and can offer you no counsel."

That was ok, since I had previous dealing with the great houses, and was at the top rank for House Telvani already.

She continued: "You must then go before the ashkhans of the Wastes People and satisfy them, for only the ashkhans of the Four Tribes can name you 'Nerevarine.' Speak first with Sul-Matuul of the Urshilaku, and with Wise Woman Nibani Maesa, for of all the Ashlanders, they are wisest in the lore of the Incarnate, and you have already shown Sul-Matuul proof of your worth."

"Dunmer of the Ashlands and Dunmer of the Houses have traditions of a War Leader set over all the tribes in times of need. First, your task is to prove to them their need. Then you must prove that you should be their war leader -- the Nerevarine, for Ashlanders; the Hortator, for the Great Houses. To show them their need, you must tell them about the Tribunal, how they have adopted the profane tools of the Dwarves, how they have betrayed and misled their people -- and give them proofs. You must tell them about Dagoth Ur, and the Sixth House, about their powers and plans, and how the Tribunal no longer has power to contain them."

"I know of Kagrenac's tools." I said, "but can you give me more details on this subject?"

Peakstar responded: "Kagrenac, high priest of the Dwemer, forged enchanted artifacts to steal the power of the gods. Nerevar fought the Dwemer to prevent this blasphemy. But Dagoth Ur took these tools to make himself a god. And the Tribunal took these tools to make themselves gods. Though the Tribunal sought to do good with their power, they are tainted by the same corrupt desires that move Dagoth Ur."

"And the false gods." I asked, "Isn't that a reference to the entire Tribunal?"

She nodded in agreement. "The Tribunal and Dagoth Ur have the unnatural abilities and lifespans of gods. But they gained these things by actions that mock the gods and misuse divine power. They were ambitious and unwise, and the consequences of these ungodly acts threaten all that lives in Morrowind."

"And what of Dagoth Ur?" I asked. "Am I to kill him or make him understand the error of his ways?"

"Pity Dagoth Ur and the Sixth House." she said. "All they do, all they are is foul and evil, but they began in brightness and honor, and the cause of their fall was their loyal service to you, Lord Nerevar. You told Lord Dagoth to guard the profane tools beneath Red Mountain, and thus he was tempted. He did your bidding when he tried to keep these tools from the Tribunal, and so he hates you, who betrayed him, and the Tribunal, who mocked his honor, attacked him, and stole the profane tools for their own use."  


I thanked Peakstar for her council.

I turned to the others in the room, wished them all peace, and that I would endeavor to make this dream come true.

There was such a feeling of relief in the room, of peace, it was almost hard to describe.

I could tell all their hopes and prayers were resting on my shoulders.    


I emerged from the cavern, and apparently, I had only been inside for a few minutes.

I told Laurenna about the ring, and showed it to her. Once told about the story behind it, her jaw hit the ground.

"What do we have to do next?" she asked.

"There is much to do." I said. First, we head back to the tribe's camp and report our findings here. Then, the really, really hard work begins."

Once I told her about uniting all the houses and tribes, she had to give a mild chuckle. "Are you sure they don't also want the moons to spin backwards and have the run rise in the west?"

I chuckled back. Yes, it would have been easier than uniting these groups, but if it were easy, anyone old fool could do it.

I guess I was the old fool.   


It was getting late. Changing back to my black robe and cape, we started on the long trip back to the camp.

I had never known my parents, been in prison for years, and sent here as a spy for the Empire.

Now, I had a sense of purpose, I was charged with a task that only I could perform and complete.

Filled with resolve, I started the trip back to the camp to find out what the next step would be.   



















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