Something Divine

I made my way back to Cloud Ruler Temple and reported my success to Jauffre. "I'm definitely pleased with these results." he said. "The guards of Bruma will be able to close these new gates without too much trouble."

I looked over at Martin. "He seems tired." I said.

"He's exhausted." replied Jauffre. I had to take the books away from him just to get him to sleep for a few hours. However, I believe he's making some progress."

Martin perked up, hearing his name mentioned. "Shakula, a moment of your time, please." he said, waving me over.

Jauffre smiled, stating "I'll got get a bite to eat, and leave you to two alone for a bit."


"You asked to see me?" I said, sitting across the table from him.

"Yes." he replied. "I have to tell you that I have figured out another item needed for the ritual to open the portal to Camoran's Paradise. The second item is the counterpart to the first, which is the blood of a Divine." He pointed to some odd symbols on the book I had brought to him. "This was a terrible puzzle to me. You see, unlike the Daedra Lords, the gods have no artifacts, and do not physically manifest themselves in our world. The question I could not answer was 'How does one obtain the blood of a god?'"

I gave him a blank stare. I had no idea of how to answer. Martin smiled, seeing I was as confused as he had been.

"Jauffre solved it." he continued. "The blood of Tiber Septim himself who became one of the Divines. This is a secret remembered only by the Blades, passed down from one Grandmaster to the next. Go speak with Jauffre. He should tell you the tale himself. He'll also tell you where to find what we need.


I found Jauffre and told him what Martin had discovered. Instead of joy, his face became somewhat somber. "So, Martin wants you to recover the Armor of Tiber Septim?" he responded. "I wish there was another way."

"Why?" I asked. "What's wrong? Is it lost?"

"Oh, definitely not lost." he replied. "We Blades know exactly where it is: the Shrine of Tiber Septim, in the catacombs beneath the ruin of Sancre Tor." His eyes looked down at the floor, as if ashamed of the place. "It was a holy place, once." he continued. "But Sancre Tor became evil long ago. No one has returned from the Shrine of Tibeer Septim for many lifetimes."


"I'm not afraid." I replied, knowing what was at stake. "What evil lurks there?"

"I do not know." he said. "The catacombs of Sancre Tor were sealed by the first Grandmaster of the Blades. The four mightiest Blades of Tiber Septim's day, Alain, Valdemar, Rielus, and Casner, went to Sancre Tor and never returned."

"What about the armor?" I asked.

"An ancient relic of the first Emperor," he replied, "who became the divine Talos, who happens to be the patron of our Order. After the Battle of Sancre Tor, Tiber Septim gave his armor to the Blades in honor of our role in his victory. The Blades built a shrine in the catacombs of Sancre Tor, on the spot where Tiber Septim received the blessing of Akatosh. The Armor has been there ever since. Before evil came to Sancre Tor, this shrine was a place of pilgrimage for all Blades. But no one has visited the shrine and lived to tell the tale in centuries."

Jauffre walked over to a locked cabinet, opening it with a spell. After fumbling around with a few things inside, he closed the door, locking it with another spell. He handed a rather large key to me that he had hidden inside the cabinet. "Here is the key to Sancre Tor's outer door." he said, dropping the key into my hands. He put his hand on my shoulder. "I fear I am sending you to your death," he continued, "but we have no other choice. You must proceed."

"Is there anything else I should know?" I asked.

"Not about this place." he replied, "Other than my recommendation that you stay sharp, and keep your blade sharper. There is one other thing I would ask of you, should you succeed in this mission."

"Of course." I replied.

"As you know, the guards of Bruma should be able to close any new gates in the area." he stated. "My concern is that while the daedra of Oblivion are innumerable: the guardsmen of Bruma are not. We need to gather what allies we can before Bruma is hopelessly besieged. If the Mythic Dawn manages to open a Great Gate here, the city will need a stronger garrison for there to be any hope of defending it. You should speak to the rulers of the other cities of Cyrodiil, as well as the Elder Council. Ask them to said aid to Bruma before it is too late."

"Where would I start?" I asked.

"Well, find what Martin needs first." he replied. "If you succeed, and I have faith that you will, I would suggest starting with the Elder Council. If they agree, they'll be able to draw troops from each city, and even the guilds. If their response is unfavorable, at least speak the Count or Countess of each city. I would hope the Elder Council will understand the urgency and aid us in this battle. If they do, it would certainly save you a lot of traveling around the province. Perhaps the Hero of Kvatach can do more to help them understand the importance of this aid even more than Martin himself could. Get some sleep and start in the morning, ok?"

Jauffre put his hand on my shoulder and gave me a reassuring smile. He knew he was putting a huge responsibility on me, but I could tell he had faith in my abilities. I was determined not to let him down.


I took Jauffre's advice and collapsed into one of the sleeping mats in the next room. It was anything but a restful sleep. I kept thinking about the reference to a "Great Gate" being opened in Bruma. Jauffre surmised that based on the rumors he had heard about what happened in my home city of Ald'Ruhn and Kvatach, he believed this is what happened in each of those cities. Bruma would be next. Knowing that made it very hard to sleep.

I woke a few hours later, grabbed a quick bite to eat, then headed down the mountainside towards Bruma, then westward, bound for the area that Jauffre told me held the location of Sancre Tor.


I followed the Orange Road towards Chorral, then went off road, directly into the forest.

There was life everywhere here. Birds flew by, unaware of the problems we men and mer were facing. Here and there, a small animal would scurry away, making a rustling sound among the fallen leaves of the forest floor, causing my horse to perk his ears up.

There was always danger in the forest: bears and mountain lions were common here, while minotaurs and trolls were often found along the roads.


I found myself near a beautiful waterfall. I cast a spell to detect any life nearby. Except for a few birds and snails, the area was clear of anything that might be dangerous.

I decided to take a few minutes for myself. I found a quiet spot for my horse to nibble on the grass while I undressed and jumped into the cold, refreshing water.


I swam over to the waterfall, finally able to wash the smell of dungeons, caves, and the stench of Oblivion out of my hair.

For the first time in a very, very long time, I was able to hear nothing but the roar of the water rushing down, drowning out the sound of everything else in the world.


I just rested there, letting the falling water fall on my back, pounding on me like the fist of a powerful massuse, I swore that if I survived to the end of this mission and succeeded in helping Martin take the Imperial Throne, I would build a house on the shore and do this every single morning for the rest of my life.

I thought about Martin. My mission was important, yes, but to think of what it would be like to be the target of an assassin, always having to look over your shoulder, wondering who would be waiting for you around each and every corner, well, all I could do was feel pity for him. And in doing so, my own mission no longer seemed so terrible, compared to the danger he was always going to find himself in.

The day was moving on, and I decided that I had better get moving before I lost the daylight. Sancre Tor would be dangerous enough during the day. I didn't want things jumping out at me in the darkness as well. I swam back to my horse, who snorted a greeting to me as I dragged myself out of the water. I got dressed and we continued our journey on to Sancre Tor.


I continued going west, encountering a pathway that lead to a small bridge over that same waterfall where I had stopped previously. A warning snort from my horse caused us to stop. A minotaur was lurking up ahead. Using the spell Cloak of Shadows, I was able to sneak up on it, and blasted it with a spell of God's Fire. With the danger now past, we were able to continue down this trail until I could see the top of a fort. I dismounted and made sure there was nothing nearby that could harm the horse.


I went as quietly as I could into the fort's outter walls. Based on the description that Jauffre had given me, I had arrived at Sancre Tor.

Already, I could hear ... things ... roaming around, looking for trouble. I peered around a tree, spotting several creatures waiting for me, including two kinds of liches and several skeleton warriors.


I managed to sneak up on the liches, summoning creatures to do battle for me while I stayed safely in the shadows. It took several summoned skeleton warriors to deal with the several other skeletons roaming around the grounds. Every time I though I had cleared the area of the living dead, another one appeared from a corner I hadn't checked yet.


After 30 minutes of checking the area, I finally decided the area was clear. I didn't want to go into this place, win my prize, only to come out to a surprise I might not be prepared for.

Now that the area was secured, I was ready to head into the inner catacombs of Sancre Tor.










COMING UP: Freeing Ghosts

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