It was quite late when we left the Cavern of the Incarnate. As we passed by the old Dwemer ruin, we decided to stay the night there.  After doing away with a number of old machines that wanted to do away with us, the rest of the evening was quite enjoyable (except for the constant creeking noises). The next morning, we stopped by the Dunmer stronghold of Valenyaryon. There, I told Laurenna to wait for me. I used my recall spell to end up in Caldera, sold off a few of the heavier items we had collected, used the castle spell scroll to go to Solstheim castle.  There, I dumped a bunch of the alchemy ingredients that had been collected, changed robes and got some other clothes to wear as well.  I also added a bunch of restore health and magicka potions to my collection, then recalled back to Caldera where Folms Meril teleported me back to Valenyaryon.

From there, we headed back to the Urshilaku Camp. Laurenna and I also encountered a large number of blighted creatures along the way, more than the usual number one would expect.    


"Nibani Maesa," I said, "I have wonderful news for you."

She looked at me with the eyes of a child seeing a most wonderful gift.

"Tell me what you saw and heard in the Cavern." she said.

I told her all that transpired, the vision of Azura, her words, and the appearance of the failed incarnates, those who were not "the one."

"It is as I have seen in my dream!" she shouted. "It is a true dream, send from Azura to guide me!".

"What is to be done now?" I asked

"It once seemed a dream." she stated. "Now it seems real. You have passed the Third Trial. Now, you must pass the Fourth and Fifth trials. They are much the same."

"What is involved in the Fourth Trial?" I asked.


"Each Ashlander tribe, each Great House on Vvardenfell must choose you as war leader to unite the Dunmer against Dagoth Ur's terrible menace. Each tribe must name you 'Nerevarine'. Each Great House must name you 'Hortator'. You have come for guidance, and I will give it to you."

"The Fourth Trial is this: 'A stranger's voice unites the Houses. Three Halls call him Hortator.' Once you have been named Hortator by each of the three Great Houses of Vvardenfell, come to me for further guidance, for you will have then passed the Fourth Trial."


I thanked the Wise Woman for her council. She also suggested that I speak with the tribe's Ashkhan, Sul-Matuul. As usual, I found him in his tent.

He asked if I wished to be named Nerevarine by his tribe. I almost said 'yes' but he cautioned me. He said that once such a title is given, I may encounter trouble with the guards and the Temple in some of the towns. It was his council that I first deal with the Three Great Houses first, and once that task was completed successfully, I should then receive his tribe's designation. It was wise council, and decided to agree to this suggestion.

"The Fourth Trial is to join the three Great Houses of Vvardenfell under one Hortator, or war leader." he said. "I know little of the ways of the Great Houses, but first, I would try the Redoran, for they are warriors, hard-willed, but straightforward. Then I'd try the Hlaalu, for though they are weak and spoiled, they are cunning and crafty. I would save the Telvanni for last. Anyone who is not afraid of a 2,000-year-old wizard is a fool."

I was told that I should go to Ald'ruhn, the chief town of the Redoran. The council there meets under the shell of a giant Emperor crab. He also told me that they love the Temple and Vivic, they cannot love me. Temple warriors hate the Nerevarine prophecies, and would kill me if they see me.    


The Hlaalu councilors would be found in Balmora.

"The Hlaalu are soft and cowardly, sly and greedy." he said, "Their traders are liars and cheats. Look behind the words they speak for the truths they are hiding."

I indicated my understanding.  He continued.

"I am told that wizards who speak for the Telvanni councilors may be found in a strange building in Sadrith Mora."

"Yes, I am familiar with this rather elaborate mushroom." I said.

"From what I am told," he said, "The councilors themselves are ageless sorcerers living in the towers scattered over Vvardenfell. I know nothing about them, except that they are old, terrible, and evil."

"Well, not all of them." I said, smiling. "Do not worry," I added, "I will do my best to be diplomatic with all of them."

"I believe you will be successful." he replied.   


We said our good-byes, packed up the tent, and started the long trek back to the south.

The first stop would be Maar Gan, then continue on south to Ald'ruhn.

I heard Laurenna behind me musing. "It sounds like you have a lot on your plate." she said.

"It certainly does look that way, doesn't it?" I replied.  


The way to Maar Gan was cluttered with various creatures, most of them suffering from disease and blight, contracted from the various ash storms in the area.

We finally made it to Maar Gan and took the stilt strider back to Ald'ruhn.

Once we arrived, we decided to head to the Mage's Guild offices first. As Archmage (and as a member of the guild), I was given access to an empty room we could use as a base of operations.    


Once settled in our room, and Laurenna had stored her heavy armor, I decided to head off to the Council chambers. I was eager to get started, and there was still plenty of day left to do it in.

As I turned to leave, I heard a very angry shout. "Eldorf Dragonmeal. You are NOT going to an imporant meeting dressed in those rags." There was a very strong hand on the back of my robe that pulled me right back into the room.

"Laurenna, I feel humility...." I never finished the sentence.

"Absolutely not." she said. "They're businessmen. Where's your good suit?"

I sighed one of those sighs a child does when mom wants to dress them up.

After looking through a few things, she came up with my good suit, made sure everything was tidy, straight, and proper-looking.

"I feel like a monkey." I said.

"Nonsense, you look spiffy." she replied. "Now, get out there and get those guys to fall in line." and with that, she pushed me out the door with a smack on my rear. I was halfway down the hall when she stuck her head out of the door to add "....and bring home some ashyams for dinner, ok?"

A mage's work is never done.   


I headed towards the shell of the emperor crab in the heart of the settlement. This creature had died hundreds of years ago, but it's shell had been hollowed out by the people here, creating homes out of the many chambers within the shell.


I looked at the job ahead of me. each of these chambers held a council member, each of which had their own personality and political agenda. And this was just the first Great House.

I still hated this outfit. I found robes much easier to get around in, but Laurenna was probably right to have me dress for the occassion. 

I took a deep breath, and headed down the walkway to the first of these chambers. Somehow, I felt myself wishing it were full of creatures to kill. At least, then I'd know what I was doing.  

















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