We left the Zainab camp full of hope now. Three houses with me, and three Ashlander camps backing me up. Not even the drenching rain could dampen my spirits now.


Our next stop was the Erabenimsun Ashlander Camp, buried deep in the ash-covered mountains of the Molag Amur region. On the map, it was just an hour's walk south of my own stronghold.

By the time we passed the old Falensarano stronghold, the rains had stopped, and the sky seemed content to let us both dry out.


Well, we knew the nice weather couldn't last. Shortly after entering into the Molag Amur region, we were assaulted by one of the most powerful ashstorms we had ever been in.

The winds whipped up dust from everywhere, as if actually trying to prevent us from completing our journey. There was a sense of anger, hatred, fury, and howling in the wind, as if the voices of a thousand tortured souls strove together to create this storm out of spite.


While a normal walk would have only taken a few hours, the wind pushed and swirled around us, seeming to do everything possible to mis-direct us away from our destination. Every possible creature in the area tried attacking us. Each creature suffered form a different form of blight disease. Laurenna was certainly getting her marksmanship skill worked on. I used quite a number of spells on dozen or so Daedric creatures, making sure they never got close enough to do us any harm.

The sky was given an ominous red glow by the constant blight storm.  It was finally around noon that we reached the Erabenimsun campsite    


My first encounter with one of the guards told me that this might just be the most difficult group of all that I'd have to work with.

"Why do you bother us, outlander." he said, his face covered to protect it from the raging ashstorm. "Nerevarine? HA! No one cares about that. You just make us tired. Go away."

I could see this wasn't going to be easy.


Another tribeswoman, Kummu, was a little more friendly about the matter.

"You are the outlander who claims to be the Nerevarine?" she asked. "You'll find no welcome here, I'm afraid."

"Why is that?" I asked.

She looked around to see who was watching her talk to me, as if certain someone was spying on her.

"We know about the prophecies." she replied. "Our ashkhan and gulakhans say they are foolish superstition. There will be trouble if you speak with them."

"What do you suggest we do?" asked Laurenna. "We have come a long way, and this is very important to us, and to all of you as well."

Kummu looked around, taking care to see if anyone was paying too close attention to this conversation. "Perhaps you should speak to our wise woman, Minirai." she said. "She will know what to do about this situation."


We thanked Kummu for her help, and made our way around the camp until we found the yurt of the wise woman, Minirai. 


"Welcome, outlander." said Manirai, as she saw us enter her yurt. "You are the outlander who claims to fulfill the Nerevarine prophecies. Do you seek my counsel?"

"Yes, Manirai." I replied, "I have matters of great importance to discuss with you concerning these prophecies."

"I know of what you want." she replied. "You wish to be named Erabenimsun Nerevarine. It will never happen. At least, not while Ulath-Pal and his war-loving Erabenimsun live."

"Why is that?" I asked. "If it is war they love, then this would be perfect for them."     


"They all hate Outlanders, and are proud and haughty, and will never suffer an Outlander to rule them." she said. "If you would be Nerevarine of this tribe, you must kill Ulath-Pal and his supporters, the gulakhans Ahaz, Ranabi, and Ashu-Ahhe."

Just that?

"Then you must help me make peace-loving gulakhan Han-Ammu our ashkhan." she continued. "He could then name you Nerevarine Erabenimsun."

"Isn't there some other way to convince them? A task of some kind, proving myself to them?" I asked.

"No." she replied. "Under the previous ashkhan, Han-Ammu's father, Airan-Ammu, the Erabenimsun grew bold and arrogant, confident in their strength of arms. Now, Ashkhan Ulath-Pal and his champions have become cruel and violent, and our people live in fear. I am of the peace-loving Erabenimsun, and I wish that Airan-Ammu's son, Han-Ammu, might become our new ashkhan. But we are weak, and Han-Ammu could never challenge Ulath-Pal, let alone all his supporters."

She turned, but before she did, I could see the sadness in her eyes. "We only wish to live and hunt as we have in the past," she said, "and do not wish to anger our neighbors by raiding and warfare. But Ashkhan Ulath-Pal and his supporters and strong and sure of themselves. They have grown rich by raiding and fighting, and will not be ruled by the counsel of their wise woman."

She gave me her counsel, suggesting that while I could defeat Ranabi, and Ashu-Ahhe, but that standing alone against Ulath-Pal and his bodyguard, Ahaz, might not be too healthy a move for me. Her suggestion that I use any hidden resources as a sorcerer or enchanter that I might have at my disposal to defeat them.

It would be good advice.


I thanked Manirai for her counsel and left her yurt.

We made our way over the camp's center.

I could barely see through the dust and ash flying through he air.

Laurenna came behind me, her hand on her broadsword, but I stopped her.

"Eldorf, they'll kill you." she said.

"Actually, that's not going to happen." I said. "However, with all the spells I'll be tossing around, including the use of these leach rings, well, they've got a pretty large blast area. I don't want you joining them in the next world."


"You'd better come out of this alive." she said. "If you get killed, I'm going to be very upset with you."

I smiled and gave her a peck on the cheek.
"Behind every powerful mage...." I thought.

Making sure I had all my necessary spells ready, I walked to the front of the ashkhan's tent, and stepped inside.


"And what are you doing here?" I was asked.

"I am here concerning the matter of the Nerevarine." I replied.    


Ulath-Pal was just plain grumpy, I guess. "Nerevarine prophecies?" he asked. "You? An Outlander?"

"Hard to believe, isn't it?" I replied, showing him the Moon-and-Star ring.

"Hmm, this presents a problem." he replied. "However, this problem has an easy solution."      


I could see in an instant, that his "solution" would be the death of me.

The moment he started charging up a spell, I could hear his bodyguard draw his sword.

I knew I would have to act fast.   


As Ulath-Pal's spell was nearly finished charging up, I quickly shot him with a spell of Medusa's Gaze, freezing him in his tracks.    


I gave his bodyguard the same spell, holding them in place.

I then let both of them have it with a poison bloom spell.

It was all over in a matter of seconds.

Now, there was still the matter of the other two gulakhans. I was hopeful that neither of them would be more trouble than these two had been.





PAGE 115