I reported my information back to Tienius Delitian, and he was very pleased with my work, but not pleased about the rumors going around.

"So," he said, "According to a broadside sheet called 'The Common Tongue', King Helseth poisoned many people in the West, so maybe he poisoned Athyn Llethan. Very interesting. I'd like to see a copy of 'The Common Tongue', if you can bring me one. Thank you, you've done well. But now... we lack sources of information in Almalexia's Temple. Could you help me find a Temple informant?"

It never ends with this guy. I asked what this was all about. He sighed, as if it wasn't his job to explain, but explain he did anyway.

"We need a source of information inside Almalexia's Temple." he said. "There are rumors of discontent in the Temple. See if you can find someone in the Temple that's just not happy with things. Listen sympathetically. I really want to find out whether the Temple is willing to accept King Helseth - or whether the Temple plans to act against him."

I almost asked if King Helseth was a loyal supporter of the Temple, but decided it would be a stock "Why do you need to know?" kind of response, so I just told him I'd take care of it.


This was actually the first time I had entered the Temple courtyard. The temple was just in front of me, surrounded by gardens and trees. The sound of birds was everywhere. The grass, trees, and plans everywhere were in perfect condition, trimmed with the most loving care of any garden I had ever seen.

Tienius Delitian had mentioned that he knew only of a rebellious group called the Dissident Priests, and that the Temple had cast them out and persecuted as heretics. He also said there were Temple members who disagree with some of the actions and policies of the Temple, but who keep silent and work for change from within. It was that kind of person that Tienius Delitian wanted me to get in touch with, and use as an informant on Temple affairs.


I checked with a number of people, using all of the powers of persuasion that I had, but the most I could get was "Of course there is discontent in the Temple. There is discontent everywhere. Why shouldn't there be?"

Of course, that didn't help my situation a lot.


One person I spoke to also spoke of the Hands of Almalexia, that they were the personal guard of Almalexia, pledged to honor, protect, and serve her in all ways. He said that their bodies and souls were fortified by divine magic, and their armor and weapons bear fearsome divine enchantments. He said that some say the Hands are the most terrible mortal warriors in the world.

I didn't bother to ask him why THEY weren't sent to Red Mountain to deal with Dagoth Ur. Why muddy the water?


I wasn't getting anywhere fast, so I headed to the Temple entrance, where I met Mehra Helas, who said she was a Healer and Adept of the Temple. She asked for a donation to receive the Blessings of Almalexia. "Our wealth dies with us, my child," she said, "but our good deeds outlive us all."

To be kind, I gave her five gold pieces. She took them and thanked me for my kindness.

"What can you tell me of the Lady of Mercy?" I asked.

"Almalexia's the Mother of us all, healer and protector." she replied. "Always has been. I suppose she doesn't seem that way now. It's the war with Dagoth Ur. It's hard for all of us. She's had to change - to toughen herself and her followers. It's true that sometimes dissenters disappear when they question her doctrines. The Hands of Almalexia are more like inquisitors than knights of loving mercy."

She cast her eyes to the sky, as if looking for something that had been there before, like a beautiful bird that had flown away, and never returned. "And Mournhold doesn't feel much like the City of Love any more." she continued. "But hard times demand hard gods."

She sighed, adding "Almalexia watches over all her children - the sick, the needy, the poor. Well, not actually in person. She used to, in person, you know. But she's made no public appearance for years, so the Temple takes care of her children for her. That's what the money goes for, child."

"How long has it been since she's been seen?" I asked.

"You know about Almsivi, the Living Gods of our Temple? Gods, but at the same time, living folks like you and me. Almalexia, the Lady of Mercy, walked the streets of Mournhold herself, healed the sick, fed the poor - gave them clothes from her own hand. The same with Lord Vivic. Then, about the time the Ghostfence had to be raised, they stopped appearing in public - they needed all Almsivi's power for the Ghostfence, they said. High priests still talk with them, but we don't see them.


"Most of the time," she continued, "We have to deal with Her Hands. They're her personal guards. They used to spend much of their time punishing criminals and protecting the people. Now they spend all their time protecting Almalexia. I suppose that's right. But it makes me uneasy. Sends the wrong signal. Vengeful might, rather than vigilant mercy."

"And what of King Llethan's death?" I asked, pressing for more information on how the temple felt about this.

"May his spirit rest among his ancestors." she replied. "But he was king in name only. The Dunmer do not, and never have, submitted to kings like the Westerners, regardless of what the Empire says."


I thanked Mehra Helas for her information.

I headed to the Temple entrance. I figured if I was going to find anyone discontented with anything, it would most likely be inside the Temple, since I couldn't find anyone outside that fit my needs.


I checked around inside the temple entrance. Granny Varis came over, seeing me checking the place out.

"This temple is clean as Almalexia's conscience, sera, and mind you keep it that way."

I almost burst into laughter, but bit my tongue. I gave her a few complements on how clean the place looked, since she was the care-taker here, then asked about discontent.

"These are difficult times, with much suffering." she replied. "There are enemies all around. Yes, there is discontent. But our faith in Almalexia, Mother of All, heals and sustains us."

She also mentioned that there have been a lot of thefts lately, high-class stuff. She figured it must be someone new in town and someone who's really good at theft.


I checked with a few other people at the entrance, but couldn't obtain any newer information that I already had.

I decided to check out one of the hallways, which headed to the infirmary.


It was in the infirmary that I met Galsa Andrano.

I asked about discontent in the Temple, and I believe I had found what I was looking for.

"I am a faithful believer," she said, "but Almalexia makes me uneasy. For the last 50 years, the Tribunal stopped walking among us, stopped listening and speaking with us. This worried me, and made me sad. Were our gods abandoning us? Were they growing weak? But since Almalexia has lately come among us again, I feel more worry, not less. Her face glows brightly with hope and power, but her words seem dark and bitter."

I figured that because I had destroyed their source of god-like power, it might explain the change.

I mentioned my operation at Red Mountain, and the fact that I had to rescue Mehra Milo from the Ministry of Truth in the city of Vivec, helping her find safe refuge among the Dissident Priests in the eastern coast of Vvardenfell.


"You are a friend of Mehra Milo?" she asked. I nodded in the affirmative. "Then I can speak freely." she continued. "Helseth has murdered King Llethan and stolen his crown. It does not matter that King Llethan was a fool. He was OUR fool. So long as the puppet King was a joke, we all could laugh and ignore him. Helseth is not a fool, and no one is laughing. If Helseth seeks in earnest to be king, then Almalexia and the Temple are sworn in earnest to destroy him."

Yeah, that's discontent, in spades.

I thanked her for her help, and she gave me a hug for helping save Mehra Milo from the Ministry of Truth.


I headed back to the Winged Guar Tavern for a bite to eat and something to drink.

The information I had been told so far was pretty bad for the new king. Lots of circumstantial evidence so far pointing right at the Throne itself.

I took my drink up to the second floor, mainly to stare at the sky, and think about all of this. While I was on the outer porch, I saw a piece of paper on the floor.

It was the broadside sheet I had been looking for - "The Common Tongue" - and the information in it was not healthy for the king, that's for sure.

While most of the information on it was pretty ordinary, one article describes a list of individuals who died under suspicious circumstances when their interests conflicted with those of "a former prince of the West". The reference is clearly King Helseth, King of Morrowind, formerly Prince Helseth of the Kingdom of Wayrest in the province of High Rock.

Interesting, since that's where I happen to be from.


I have a little list. They never would be missed. Appearing at the top, three names, Anhar, Khajiit male, Martyrius Arruntius, Imperial male, and Jusole Aseicle, Breton male. What do these three names have in common? All three, at one time or another, represented an inconvenience to a Western noble prince named Helseth.

Anhar was an agent for Eastern ebony merchants. There was an unfortunate scandal concerning improper contracts offered to Helseth as compensation for his assistance in obtaining ebony import remits from the Imperial Board of Census and Excise. Luckily for Prince Helseth, this scandal blew over when no one could be found to testify. Is it just a coincidence that Anhar's health went into steep decline, just as he was to testify before the Imperial magistrates? He died a natural death, according to the Imperial coroners. Convenient and timely, perhaps, but natural.

Martyrius Arruntius was a city alderman of Wayrest. Prince Helseth's liaison with the alderman's married daughter was potentially embarrassing to the Prince - especially when Martyrius Arruntius forcefully pressed his suit for "predatory adultery" in Wayrest's courts. Many thought it strange that Martyrius Arruntius should suddenly fall ill and die of "exhaustion" on the eve of the trial. The suit was settled out of court, and charges dismissed. The Imperial coroners ruled that Martyrius Arruntius had died a natural death. Convenient and timely, admittedly, but natural.

Jusole Asciele was a diplomatic attaché at the High Rock embassy in Wayrest. Widely rumored to be an intelligence officer, Jusole Asciele was often seen at court, taking a great interest in the affairs of Queen Barenziah and her family. It is said that Wayrest can be a beastly uncomfortable place in high summer. Perhaps the Breton's constitution was ill-suited to the relentless heat and pestilential swarms of the southern Iliac. Jusole Asciele took suddenly ill one evening, and within three days, he was dead. Once again, Imperial coroners ruled that Jusole Asciele had died a natural death. Convenient and timely, yes, but natural.

And these, The Common Tongue notes significantly, are only the A's on the list.

Some have quietly suggested that Prince Helseth was the most accomplished and subtle poisoner in the West. But The Common Tongue has never seen a single scrap of evidence that would prove such an indictment. (Admittedly, the absence of such proof could count as qualifying towards the title of a "most accomplished and subtle poisoner".)

And, further, The Common Tongue does not wish to suggest that King Helseth is a poisoner, or that the recent death of King Athyn Llethan's was a poisoning, and not a natural death. The Common Tongue has never seen a single scrap of evidence that would prove such an indictment. And the Imperial coroners have ruled that Athyn Llethan died a natural death.


I figured I had enough information to return with to Tienius Delitian.

This entire situation started to leave a bad taste in my mouth. I almost wanted to confront him about all of this evidence, including the attack upon myself, but decided to play their game a little further, and see who was at the end of this trail.









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