It was 11 AM the next morning when I finally arrived at the docks of Ebonheart. The weather was most pleasant, and the sound of the waves laping upon the docks was pleasing to the ear.


As I made my way up the steps, I noted the statue of the dragon, Akatosh, the Dragon god of Time, and the first of the nine divines to form in the dawn era. Containing the qualities of endurance, invincibility, and everlasting legitimacy, this image embodied the power of the Empire, the power of the Septim line of emperors of the third era.

I headed up the steps, and took a room at the Six Fishes Inn for the night. The trip had been long, and I hadn't gotten a lot of sleep on the boat, having to change from one ship to another at difference locations along the west coast of Vvardenfell. I wanted to be fresh as a daisy when I made the transition to Mournhold.


I was up bright and early the next morning. I cleaned up a bit, purchased some bread for the trip, filled my waterskins from the well outside, and headed to the castle. Just then, I met an Imperial by the name of Pilus Amatius. He was very happy to see me, being a big hero and all. He wanted to thank me for the destruction of Dagoth Ur and his evil minions at Red Mountain. I politely thanked him for his kindness, then asked if he knew of any rumors going around.

"Yes." he said, "There has been unrest in Cryodiil City."

This was disturbing to me. The Emperor himself had released me from prison to come here and save Vvardenfell from Dagoth Ur. I asked him to elaborate on what he knew.

"Uriel Septim is sick," he said, "and wizards say his heir, Geldall Septium, and the younger Septims, Enman and Ebil, are just dopplegangers placed in the household during Jagar Tharn's tenure as Imperial Battlemage. They say the Guard charged a mob demanding destruction of the false heirs. I hear that lots of folks were killed."

"That is most unfortunate." I replied. I remembered from my time in prison that the guards had mentioned something about Jagar Tharn, that he somehow put Uriel Septim in the plane of Oblivion using the Staff of Chaos, and took over the Empire for a time. The staff had been broken into eight pieces, scattered over the eight provinces. At that time, some unknown hero managed to retrieve all eight pieces, the last one of which, I was told, was found in the Red Mountain area itself. That hero had managed to save the Emperor, and all of Tamriel from war and destruction by exposing Jagar Tharn's evil plan. Now, it appeared that, many years hence, Jagar Tharn might still adversely affect the future of Tamriel.

I thanked him for his time and information, then continued on to the castle. I had my own plot against me that had to be dealt with. The Emperor would have to deal with his own problems.


As I approached the castle entrance, I found Apelles Matius inspecting the guards. He motioned me to approach him. "I see you've returned to Ebonheart." he said, "What can we do for you?"

"I have once again been attacked by members of the Dark Brotherhood." I told him. "This had happened to me nearly a year ago, and it seems they have returned."

He looked concerned. "Perhaps you have been attacked." he said. "That's bad business. It is possible that they had not attacked you until now because they couldn't find you. As I understand, you now own a castle north of Solstheim, correct?"

I admitted that this was correct.

"Hmmm, I don't know who it is that wants you dead," he continued, "and I'll be quite honest: I don't want to know. Dark Brotherhood activity here on Vvardenfell has become almost unheard of, but I know they have a large contingent back on the mainland."

"The mainland?" I asked.

"Yes, in Mournhold itself, actually." he replied. "If you're feeling particularly suicidal, you can check it out for yourself. Of course, it's not easy to get there these days. Even though the Blight seems to be gone, Mournhold is wary of visitors from Vvardenfell. There is one way to get there, however. Speak with Asciene Rane in the castle up there. She can help teleport you to the city."

I thanked him for his time, and headed up to the castle.


I found Asciene Rane just inside the entrance to the Duke's castle.

"Oh, back for that awful business in Mournhold again?" she asked.

"Yes," I replied, "but this time, I think I'm capable of dealing with it."

She had me close my eyes and I heard a swooshing sound around me.


I could suddenly sense the smell of sweet flowers. I opened my eyes and found myself in the Palace reception hall. There, the Argonian Effe-Tei, greeted me.

"It wants something." he hissed, "What does it want?"

I asked him about the latest rumors of things going on.

"Ah, the old king, Athyn Llethan, is dead." he said. "Long live King Hlaalu Helseth. Things are pretty grim here in the City of Light since the troubles with Dagoth Ur. Mournhold is Almalexia's city, and she's become more of a Warrior Queen than a Lady of Mercy. And there's always been hostility between the temple and the Imperial administration, but since Helseth's accession, the tension between Imperial-leaning Dunmer and Almalexia's supporters is much worse."

I asked about any special customs to observe while I was here.

"This one must tell you, do not forget that you cannot levitate in Mournhold." he said. "They say Almalexia doesn't want anyone's head rising higher than hers. If that's how you avoid trouble, it won't work here."

"You mean I can't use it at all here?" I asked.

"Oh, you can use it down in the sewers and ruins of Old Mournhold." he replied. "Almalexia doesn't go there much, and doesn't care."

"What ruins?" I asked. "I thought this was the entire city."

"No, you would be wrong." came the reply. "Mournhold is the Imperial capital of Morrowind province, and the Holy City of Almalexia, one of Morrowind's three Living gods. Modern Mournhold is built upon the ruins of Old Mournhold, which was destroyed by Mehrunes Dagon at the end of the First Era. You can reach the abandoned passages of Old Mournhold through the sewers beneath Mournhold, where you will find treasures in the First Era ruins."

In my history books, I had heard about Mehrunes Dagon. He was responsible for assisting Jagar Tharn in his procurement of the Imperial throne, and had seized control of the Battlespire many years later. He was also responsible for the destruction of Mournhold at the end of the First Era, destroying Ald Sotha, Sotha Sil's (the third member of the Tribunal) birthplace.

He cautioned me about the sewers, advising me that there were creatures there that could kill me before I had drawn a weapon. Good advice, since I didn't bring any with me.

"Almalexia, one of the Living gods, lives in this very city, correct?"

"Yes," he replied, "She is one of the gods worshipped by the Dunmer in the Tribunal Temple. She's known as the Healing Mother and Lady of Mercy, the source of compassion and sympathy, and protector of the poor and weak. She's no tender-hearted powderpuff, though. She's an important symbol of Dunmer independence to those who resent the Empire, and the Hands of Almalexia - her personal guard - enforce a strict adherence to Temple doctrines."

Of course, my very existence as Hero of Vvardenfell contradicts that doctrine.

He advised me that if I needed to return to Vvardenfell, he would be glad to teleport me there.  I thanked him for his assistance.


Just then, I heard the heavy footsteps of a royal guard passing by. I stopped him, and advised him of the attack upon myself by the Dark Brotherhood.

"I remember you from a year ago." came the gruff reply. "I thought you were wet behind the ears then, and I dare say, I doubt you'd be able to take care of yourself now, but what do I know, right? I don't know why you'd want to go looking for those demons, but it's your funeral. Some say they live in the sewers beneath the Great Bazaar."

He went on to mention that he heard about an interesting play going on in the Bazaar, "The Horror of Castle Xyr". He said it was supposed to be pretty good, with a surprise ending.      


He also reminded me about not being able to use levitation spells in the city, but that they'd still work underground.

"I'll let you in on a little secret." he said. "All the power in Mournhold starts with Almalexia at the Temple. Of course, no mere mortal is going to get access to the Lady of Mercy. But Fedris Hler, her steward, is quite approachable. Start with him, win his confidence, and then maybe things will open up for you."

He went on to let me know about Godsreach, where I'd find the Craftsmen's Hall, and the Winged Guar Tavern, where I could also rent a bed for the night, if needed. He also said that the Museum of Artifacts is there, and is always looking for rare items to buy and add to their collection.

I thanked him for his assistance, and he just strutted off, patroling the passage-ways of the palace.


I headed out of the Palace reception area and into the courtyard.

The place was as beautiful as I remembered from my short excursion here from a year ago. It was wonderful, smelling the sweet, clean air of this place. I couldn't understand how it could harbor such an evil group of killers in its underbelly.


An Imperial by the name of Plitinius Mero hailed me, so I walked over to have a chat with him, to see what I could learn about this place.

"The Dark Brotherhood?" he said, in a hushed tone. "Oh, they have a long and interesting history, I tell you. Lots of that history still lies shrouded in mystery. What is certain is that they are deadly and remorseless. Steer clear of them at all costs."

I explained that I had done just that, but they came to me looking for trouble themselves.    


He went on to re-state that the best place to stay was the Winged Guar Tavern, and that trainers, crafters, and merchants were to be found in the Great Bazaar.

"What about Soth Sil?" I asked, not having heard much about him, other than he was the chief architech behind the tools used to give the Tribunal their god-like powers.

"Ah, well, Sotha Sil is one of the three god-kings of Morrowind. While Vivec and Almalexia have traditionally been fairly visible to their followers, Sotha Sill has been more, um, reclusive. He is known as a great mage and scholar, and is said to live in a Clockwork City of his own making."   


With all that information under my belt, I figured I'd better head to Godsreach, and set up housekeeping at the Winged Guar, since I might be here for a while. I certainly didn't want to head into the sewers in my best robe.

I headed to the huge doors of the courtyard. As I approached, they opened up, leading me to the next section of the city.


A most wonderful view greeted me. The place was full of peace, charm, and light.

Ahead of me, a huge statue awaited inspection.


It was a huge statue of Queen Almalexia locked in mortal combat with Mehrunes Dagon.


I found it almost impossible to believe that this statue represented an event that occurred centuries ago, long after the Battle of Red Mountain.


A guard came by, and noticed my look of awe.

"Yes, I can understand your look." he said. "Every time I see it, I am held by it's history, it's power, and it's meaning to us all."

"I suppose that's true." I replied. I asked him which door would lead to Godsreach, and he pointed me in the right direction.

I figured I'd get a room, and then get down to work.





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