Cloud Ruler Temple

"You seem handy with a sword." said Brother Jauffre, as we headed towards the stables. "How are your skills in horsemanship?"

"Wow," I replied, "uh, zero. We heard about horses when I was a child, but we don't have horses in Morrowind. Lots of guars, but no horses."

Jauffre chuckled. "Well, you'll find these creatures tend to be loyal, and much more gentle." he replied. "Oh, and a lot more comfortable to ride as well."


Jauffre gave me some pointers on how to mount these strange creatures, get them to go, run, turn, and of course, stop. It took a little getting used to, but in a few minutes, I was up on top of this gentle creature. It snorted a greeting, nodded it's head in an agreeable manner. With a gentle kick of my heels we were finally headed off to the north, up the backroad behind the city of Chorrol.


We had not travelled for very long before we encountered our first troll lurking along the side of the road, looking for a quick meal. My horse snorted a warning before I ever noticed it. I stopped our party, dismounted, and with a little help from Jauffre and Martin, ended the troll's desire for having us for dinner.

Aside from the occasional wolf, bear, and troll in the woods, it was a remarkably peaceful ride through the woods. The horses kept up a lively pace, seeming to know exactly where we were headed.

We finally the road turned from north to east, and continued this way for an hour or so. Eventually we connected with a road going north, with the sign pointing towards Bruma.

I had been to Bruma before, as part of my quest to gain recommendations from every Mages Guild in Cyrodiil. I remembered that this road could be quite dangerous.

I was right - we encountered several brown bears, two wolves, and even two more trolls.


We continued traveling north, entering the region of the Jerall Mountains. The air was becoming much colder, and there was new snow on the ground nearly everywhere I looked.


We arrived at Bruma, but Brother Joffree hinted that I veer to the right, going along the side of the wall to the north gate. There, Joffree pointed to a little-used trail heading still further north, towards the mountains that border Cyrodiil and Skyrim.


The trail north eventually lead to a very steep, winding trail up the side of a mountain. I could see the watchtowers from the side of the road.

I knew we were nearing our goal. I was just glad that the only things we met on our way were mostly bears and wolves. I wasn't in the mood for any daedra right now.


We dismounted in front of a huge set of doors. I was almost about to knock on the them when I suddenly heard a loud noise, like a huge lock being unbolted. With a loud groan, the doors swung open, and we were greeted by Cryus, one of the warriors of the temple. "Grandmaster, is this...?" he said.

"Yes, Cyrus." replied Jauffre. "This is the Emperor's son, Martin Septim."

Cyrus did a most graceful bow to Martin. "My lord!" he exclaimed, "Welcome to Cloud Ruler Temple! We have not had the honor of an Emperor's visit in many years."


Martin seemed a bit overwhelmed by all the attention. "Ah, well, thank you." he finally replied.

Jauffre, trying to be encouraging, continued "Come. Your Blades are waiting to greet you."

We made our way up what seemed to be a million steps, as if we were actually walking up into the clouds.


An entire contingent of Blades were waiting for Martin once we reached the top of the stairs.

Jauffre addressed the entire group, calling them to attention. "Blades! Dark times are upon us. The Emperor and his sons were slain on our watch. The Empire is in chaos." He looked directly at Martin, continuing "But there is yet hope. Here is Martin Septim, true son of Uriel Septim!"

The entire group of Blades took out their swords, cheering "Hail, Dragonborn! Hail, Martin Septim! Hail!"


Jauffre turned to Martin, saying "Your Highness. The Blades are at your command. You will be safe here until you can take up your throne."

Martin, the quiet priest of Akatosh, was clearly not used to this kind of attention. He was a man of humility, now finding himself the center of everyone's attention, and was clearly uncomfortable with it. Knowing that his Blades waiting for words of encouragement from him, decided to say the first thing that came to his mind. "Jauffre. All of you." he said, "I'm not used to giving speeches. But I wanted you to know that I appreciate your welcome here. I hope to prove myself worthy of your loyalty in the coming days." He thought for a moment, trying to say more, but all he could come up with was "That's it. Thank you."

"Well, then," added Jauffre, "Thank you, Martin." He then turned to the other men and dismissed them.


Martin saw me standing near the stairs, not sure if I was going to stay, or if I was going to leave for my own destiny (whatever that was).

"Not much of a speech, was it?" he asked. "Didn't seem to bother them, though. The Blades saluting me, hailing me as Martin Septim."

"Well, you are the Emperor's only remaining son." I replied. "You are now the best hope they have have restoring the Empire."

"Well, I don't mean to sound ungrateful." he said. "I know I would be dead by now if it weren't for you. Thank you. But everyone expects me to suddenly know what to do. How to behave. They want an Emperor to tell them what to do. And I haven't the faintest idea."


"Well," I replied, "we need to get the Amulet back."

"Of course." he said. "The Amulet of Kings. So we...I...can take it to the Temple of the One and light the Dragonfires. And stop the Oblivion invasion."

"And you will be the Emperor." I replied.

"Emperor." Martin said, still taking in how much responsibility he was being asked to take. "That's an idea that will take some getting used to. In any case, we need to ge the Amulet first. Perhaps Jauffre will know what the next step will be."

"What is it about this Amulet?" I asked. "Why is it so vital to all that is going on?"

Martin thought for a moment, thinking about what had happened, and what I had told him about the Emperor, the Jaws of Oblivion, and the need to relight the Dragonfires in the Temple of the One. "All practitioners of daedric magic are familiar with the almost impenetrable barrier between our world and Oblivion. What the Emperor told you implies that the Amulet is the key to perserving that barrier. What I saw at Kvatch...everything I know about daedric magic says that such stable portals are impossible."

"You mean like when I summon a creature from Oblivion, right?" I asked.

"Yes." he replied. "You bring the creature here, but the spell wears off as the portal keeping it in this world eventually fails. The summoned creature vanishes back into Oblivion. Yet these gates to Oblivion existed. The old rules no longer apply. Kvatch is only the beginning of what Mehrunes Dagon will do. If the Amulet is truly the key to restoring the barriers between our world and Oblivion, you must waste no time in recovering it."

"How do you know all of this?" I asked.

Looking a little more humble, Martin replied "Well, I haven't always been a priest. In my youth, I followed a different path. I know more than I want to about the seductive power of daedric magic. Let's just leave it at that."

It was clear there was something there, a skeleton in his closet, that was best left there, alone and undisturbed.

"What makes these gates stable?" I asked. "In closing them, I had to remove a special stone at the top of a flow of magika."

"Something has changed to make these stable portals to Oblivion possible." he replied. "Jauffre believes that the death of the Emperor and the darkening of the Dragonfires is the key."

"Dont' worry." I said. "I think you'll be safe here. We'll think of some way to get the Amulet back."

Martin smiled. I gave him a hug, forgetting that he was to be the next Emperor of all of Tamriel. Like me, he had come from humble beginnings, only to have the weight of this entire situation thrust upon his shoulders. I wasn't sure who had the more dangerous part of this mission. I could walk away, now that Martin was safe. Martin, on the other hand was going to be in danger no matter what path he took, simply because of his heritage.

Martin walked quietly into the Temple building. I watched him walk to the door, go inside, and close the door behind him. And suddenly, I felt like I didn't really know what to do next. Martin was here. The Blades would protect him as well as anyone could. Perhaps it was time to find my way back to Morrowind. But no. Ald'Ruhn had been destroyed by the same fate as Kvatch. No survivors. I had no home to go back to.

I heard Jauffre call my name. "Shakula. Could I speak with you for a moment?


"Yes, Brother Jauffre." I replied. "What can I do for you."

Jauffre smiled. The kind of smile a father has for a child who has achieved much in their short life. "You have proven yourself a loyal servent of the Empire," he said, "as worthy as any of the Blades to stand by Martin's side during this crisis. As Grandmaster of the Blades, I would be honored to accept you into our order. Will you join us?"

I was floored. To be given such an honor...and all I did was close an Oblivion Gate.

"I have no home to return to, Brother Jauffre." I replied. "My home, it is rumored, was also destroyed in the same manner as Kvatch. I would be honored to join The Blades."

Jauffre put his hand on my shoulder. "Then it is my honor to welcome you into our ranks as a Knight Brother of the Blades." he said. "Here," he added, "take this sword. May it serve you well."

I thanked him. "Martin believes we must now search for the Amulet of Kings." I said.

"You're right." he replied. "We must try to recover the Amulet before the enemy takes it out of our reach. You should go back to the Imperial City. Baurus may have learned something about the assassins."

"That's good." I replied. "I also have to visit the Arcane University for further training. Based on what has happened, I may need it. Where will I find Baurus?"

"He stays at Luther Broad's Boarding House in the Elven Gardens district of the Imperial City. The Amulet of Kings is the key to everything now. Once we have it back, Martin can use it to light the Dragonfires in the Temple of the One, and reseal the barriers between Oblivion and our world."


I walked over to the watchtower, taking in the view for a few moments, realizing that I was about to make a major change in my life, perhaps never seeing my homeland again, perhaps dying on this quest.

I wondered just what I had gotten myself into.


I regained myself after a few minutes, made my way down the million steps to the huge open doors of Cloud Ruler Temple. My horse was there, patiently waiting for me. He snorted a hello and I gave him a friendly pat.

"We're going to have to run." I said. "I hope you are a fast horse."

He perked up his ears, as if understanding the urgency of this mission. Everything was riding on finding this one artifact, this one jewel, the one Amulet that could solve all of our problems. And finding it was riding on my shoulders.






COMING UP: Another Gate

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