Escape from Prison (Part 1)
"A tongue shriller than all the music calls me."
                            ---- Emperor Uriel Septim, just before his death

 Some individuals are born to be heroes. Others, such as myself, have never wished for glory or adventure. Sometimes, however, the gods, or just random chance, wish otherwise for us.

My parents are from the city of Ald'ruhn, in the province of Morrowind. It is a dusty place, subject to dust storms coming from Red Mountain. For years we lived in it's shadow, always mindful of the diseased and blighted creatures found in that area, always worried about Dagoth Ur, at least until the Nerevarine managed to destroy the Heart of Lorkhan. Of course, in doing this, he also destroyed the source of power for the Tribunal - those living gods that had demanded so much of our attention, Sotha Sil, Almalexia, and of course, Vivic.

Shortly after the Nerevarine's battle with Dagoth Ur at Red Mountain, my parents took my brother and I to the city of Mournhold, which is the capital of Morrowind. It was there that we had the most unique opportunity of a lifetime: we were able to speak with the Nerevarine himself, Eldorf the Wise.

Eldorf the Wise was not what I expected. He was an older man, much like my grandfather. He was happy to tell the tale of how he came from the province of High Rock, just an ordinary person, and was sent to Morrowind originally as a spy for the Emperor. Through a series of strange and unusual circumstances, he found himself chosen by Azura herself to fulfil the Nerevarine Prophecy, destroy Dagoth Ur, and show the Tribunal to be the false gods many of us Dunmer people thought them to be. He said that even though he never wanted to be any kind of a hero, he understood the importance of the challenge presented to him, stood up to it, met the challenge and won.

 

We found out a few years after this meeting that Almalexia, in a strange act of insanity, killed Sotha Sil, the reclusive member of The Tribunal. She was later killed in a battle against The Nerevarine himself.

By this time, I had turned 18 years of age, and my hair turned white. Everyone said it was a sign that perhaps I should learn the ways of the Wise Women, but all I ever wanted to do was open a simple clothing shop in Ald'ruhn. It was not to be, however. One of the Imperial guards took a liking to me - too much of a liking, for my taste. As he tried to force his attentions on me, I stabbed him in the shoulder with a small dagger. He howled like a wounded kagouti and ran back to his fort.

During my birthday celebration, he returned with a group of solders to arrest me for trying to assassinate him. We all knew the charges were false, but this guy apparently had connections in high places.

Since an Imperial guide was involved, I was sentenced to spend 20 years in the Imperial City prison.

 

So, today, on my 20th birthday, I find myself with an extra ration of rat meat, and a gentle ray of sunlight coming in through my lone window.

I have heard no news from my family in Morrowind, a few rumors about unrest in the Empire, but little else.

 

The guy in the cell across from me is saying that he should have the guards bring me to his cell for a little fun.

He keeps telling me that I should have some fun before I die in here. I feel his heart is as black as the walls of this dungeon. He truly sounds like someone who actually belongs in this prison.

A little bird has decided to come sit in a shrub by my window and sing for a little while.

At least the bird is a pleasant change.

 

Suddenly, I hear people coming down the steps in a hurry, hushed voices mentioning something about someone's sons being attacked, and a response of "No, they're dead, I feel it.".

 

Several guards appear at my cell door, ordering me to back up against the far wall.

"Stay right there, convict! Move, and we won't hesitate to kill you!" He meant it, too.

 

As they enter, I saw a man the most regal robes I had ever seen. As he entered my cell behind his guards, he looked at me, stopped, then stared, as if seeing a ghost from a bad dream, a look of recognition, seeing a face from either a recent meeting, or something out of the distant past.

"You." he exclaims, "I know your face. You are the one from my dreams!" He looked sad for a moment, as if knowing something terrible was to happen. "Then, the stars were right, and this is the day." he continued. "Gods give me strength."

He was obviously someone important, and I was just a lowly Dunmer girl locked in prison, yet, there was a strange connection being established here that I did not fully understand.

 

"Who are you?" I asked. The guards gave me a look of astonishment, as if I should have recognized this person. The old man smiled, replying "I am your emperor, Uriel Septim. By the grace of the gods, I serve Tamriel as her ruler."

The response hit me like a fist to the face. I was in the presence of the most powerful person in the Empire. He allowed the information to sink in, then added, "You are a citizen of Tamriel, and you, too, shall serve her in your own way."

 

"Right now, I'm not interesting in serving much of anything." I replied. "I was falsely accused of a crime. So then, why am I in jail?" I figured since I had the top man of power in my own little cell, how could it hurt to ask? He thought it over for a moment, then replied "Perhaps the gods have placed you here so that we may meet." He smiled at me in the same way a father does to a daughter. "As for what you have done, it does not matter. That is not what you will be remembered for."

"I don't want to be 'remembered' for anything. I haven't done anything wrong." I replied. "So, what should I do?"

"You will find your own path." he replied, "Take care - there will be blood and death before the end."

Blood? Death? Here? In my cell? I'm not involved in any war, any battle, any dispute.

 

"I'm not sure what is happening here...." I started, but he raised his hand to stop me. "Assassins attacked my sons, and I am next." he replied, answering my question. "My blades are leading me out of the city through a secret escape route, which just happens to lead through your cell."

"I'm not involved in this battle." I said. "I go my own way."

"So do we all." he replied, "But what path can be avoided whose end is fixed by the almighty gods?"

 

I started to say what I thought about that last statement, but the guard interrupted me, indicating that they had to keep moving. Renault, the female guard, pushed against one of the stones in the wall, and a huge panel opened up, revealing a passage out of the cell.

The group left, allowing the door to remain open. I saw them fade into the dark passage.

 

I hesitated for a moment, then made a decision to follow. Perhaps if I stayed just far enough behind, I could escape this dungeon and make my way back to Morrowind.

How was I to know that the gods and fate had something different in store for me.

 

I made my way down the dark passage, following it's twists and turns at times with nothing but my sense of touch. Just up ahead, I could see a larger room with dark, shadowy figures milling about.

 

Suddenly, I could hear the drawing of swords, shouting, steel hitting steel. I ran ahead and found the Emperor standing by, his own sword drawn. Ahead, his blades were doing battle with a group of assassins. One of the blades fell, dead of a mortal wound. It was Renault, the female guard, the one that first opened the secret passage in my cell. The two assassins were dispatched by the remaining guards.

"Captain Renault?" asked the Emperor.

One of the guards knelt to feel if she had a pulse. He bowed for a moment, then shook his head. "She's dead." he replied. "I'm sorry, sire, but we have to keep moving."

Baurus, one of the guards turned to me and said, "You stay here, prisoner. Don't try to follow us."

With that, the Emperor and remaining guards left through a door, closed it, and locked it behind themselves, trapping me behind. The only other direction was back to my cell. Or so I thought.

 

Just to my left, a brick fell out of the wall. I looked, and saw another pair of eyes looking back at me. Rats! I hate rats.

Quickly, I looked back the way I came, thinking I might run back to my cell, then realized the rats would follow me there, and I had no idea how many of them there might be. What could I do?

Just then, I remembered Captain Renault's body. Quickly, I ran to the fallen Blade, and took her sword, just as the remaining few bricks fell out of the wall. Two huge rats jumped in, saw me, and leapt in my direction. I swung the blade and hit one of the rats, but the other evaded my attack, giving me a bite in my shoulder. The first rat, wounded, and now very angry with me, turned for another attack, but this time I dealt it a deadly blow. The second rat, wanting another bite of me, made a second attack, but this time also felt the taste of sharp steel, falling to the ground next to it's brother.

I did a healing spell on myself that my father taught me years ago. It was a weak spell, but it was enough to mend the wounds given to me.

Now, there was a new hole in the wall, but where would it lead? Gathering up my courage, I decided to find out of this was a possible means of escape. In this chamber, I found a bow and some arrows on the corpse of a dead hero. I decided to try them out. I was never very good with arrows. I managed to hit a bucket, but I was glad it wasn't trying to attack me.

 

Now, how to get out of here. Searching around, I came across the body of a dead goblin. Searching the body, I found a key which opened the door to the next chamber.

 

Venturing deeper into the caverns, I found more goblins. I hear they'll get you if you don't watch out! Damn, I hate those things. Scary, violent, and not much good for anything. Still, I somehow managed to make my way to a huge underground chamber where I encountered a goblin shaman. I managed to bring forth a fireball spell, killing the creature. Throughout the caverns, I found various items, such as old, rusty weapons, shields, even some armor. I tried it for a little while, but it was too heavy for me. I decided to use some leather armor instead, as it was much lighter, allowing me to carry more of these items.

 

To be continued...................

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