Tirvril – 03: Black-Thorn’d Roses

Dearest Mylindra,

I scratch this out with haste while I walk through Daggerfall, on my way to an inn called the Rosy Lion – I have begun the pursuit of Truth!

As I’m certain you remember, I had found that note with the list of three items upon it.  I chose to follow it in logical order, starting with the first item – Three Blood Oranges.  I left Roy’s body and headed for the Grocer in the Market Square, owned by a rather roguish man, hair tied back in a tight bun, clothing a bit tattered.  His name was Christoph Lamant, and he looked rather confused when I mentioned three blood oranges.  Once I explained how I came upon the note, he made explained that the dead man, who’s name is – was – Roy, was a King’s Intelligence Agent!

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Immediately I thought it to be another mention of Copper and her Ring of Dagger’s, but unfortunately this turned out to be a mention of King Casamir’s intelligence, the leader of Daggerfall, rather than King Emeric’s intelligence, High King of all of High Rock.  A lesser intelligence, but still an intelligence, eh?

Christoph also informed me that Roy – or perhaps the people Roy was spying upon, that part was unclear – may have been involved in Dark Magic.  Yes, I know what you are thinking and I am as well!  Molag Bal!  How is he involved in all of this??  I am beginning to suspect that our good Cleric Talborad may have struck upon something, though nothing yet proves the Chancellor’s involvement.

When I asked further questions about dark magic, Christoph refused to involve himself further and asked me to leave.  I moved on to the next item on the list: a Crescent Emblem Cloak – oh, how that description itself gave me shivers!  It is the perfect item to lead with in the article – make a note of that, for I am bound to forget.

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Where was I…ah yes, the cloak!  The tailor’s stall stands in the same market as the grocer, staffed by a hairy gentlemen in a lilac tunic, very pleasant and welcoming, named Kareem.  When I walked up to him he suggested I choose something in silk – though flattered, I asked outright for “a crescent emblem cloak.”

His eyes, Mylindra!  They revealed all I needed to know!  This man knew exactly what I was talking about.  He grew afraid, head swiveling, and leaned in closer.

“Where’s Roy?”

I explained what had happened, and Kareem seemed genuinely upset.  He asked after the dog, and I realized, with a touch of surprise, I had completely forgotten about the loyal hound.  I had no answer for him.

While I didn’t get an actual cloak, I received something even better – confirmation that I am dealing with the world of dark magic!  But after a cryptic statement about “information channels” that lit my mind afire with possibilities, Kareem closed his mouth and his shop.

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Next on the list – Black Roses with Thorns.  Off to the florist.  A lovely young woman named Diane, very astute and professional yet warm and friendly.  She wore a long green dress with an intricate design down the front in silver.

Her face, Mylindra, when I asked for black thorn roses…it paled, slacked a little, her eyes wide.

“You’ll get yourself killed.”  This she told me a little while later, after demanding to know why Roy was not in front of her and how I had learned the code word..  Yes, the code word!  Apparently Roy used these three traders to get word to the Captain of the guard and the King’s Intelligence about certain goings-on in the dark magic world – and “roses with black thorns” was one of the most dire of warnings!

“If I die in the pursuit of Truth, I die gladly,” I replied in what I thought to be a very gallant tone.  Diane just sighed.  I went on, “Roy and I are quite similar. We both believe certain information should be made available to certain people.  The only difference is that I believe “certain people” to be “everyone.”

To this Diane studied me for a moment, then said,

“Go see Captain Aresin.  He’s commander of the guard here in Daggerfall.”

See Mylindra?  I know you have little faith in the belief that the truth is always best and “will set you free” and other such clichés, but they are true!  I am more certain than ever that this is a story that will set the world alight – following the trail of information truly is exciting!

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The tranquil Western bridge. You can just make out the Castle to the right, those tall spires

I immediately set off for Castle Daggerfall, which soars above the city to the North.  To get to the staircase leading to the castle, you must cross a most tranquil and beautiful bridge.  It crosses a shallow river, and is on the opposite side of the city from where I discovered poor Roy’s body.

It began to rain as I crossed the bridge.  I pulled my cowl closer about my face, tucking my parchments inside my shirt.  Just as I had secured my pen in my pocket, a strange mist popped into existence directly in front of me, coalesced to a solid form, and stood up, all within a single moment!!

I reacted by dropping my mouth open and staggering back.  The man – for he was clearly a man now – yelled something I couldn’t understand or was too stunned to hear, and leapt at me.

From my right a short shape disengaged itself and intercepted the attacker – a Banekin!  From the Daedric realms!  Lighting flashed down from the sky, struck the man and nailed him to the cobblestone.  The Banekin skipped and skittered in their typical fashion, quite gleefully if I must be honest.

The man climbed to his feet, wicked dagger in hand.  He had cropped red hair, shaved on one side, and dark tattoos or paint covering his eyes.  I roused my strength and ran into the fray, beating at him with my fists.  I had no thought for my dagger – I must defeat this man immediately, as quickly as possible, before he can summon his strength and strike me!

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The valiant, unnamed hero who came to my aid! As well as my Banekin companion

I and the Banekin pummeled him, but he would not fall.  Just as my strength began to flag, a warrior appeared like Ysgrammor himself had come to my aid!  The gallant hero struck the attacker down with a single blow from his blood-stained axe and, with hardly a pause, continued down the bridge as though nothing had happened.  I called out my thanks to him, but he did not acknowledge me.  Breath heaving a bit more than I would have liked, I turned to the Banekin.  It looked up at me, grinned, and varnished.

I can only assume the Mages Guild has given me a Familiar of some sort to protect me in my travels – for which I am exceedingly grateful!  Without that Banekin I would certainly have died at the first blow from the assassin  – yes, assassin!  For that is what he must have been, sent to kill me for interceding in this matter—

But that is a thought for later.  I proceeded most cautiously to the foot of the castle steps, avoiding the shadows, where Captain Aresin waited.  He stood at the edge of the promontory, looking out over the Market Square.

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At first he tried to usher me away as yet another visitor, but when I explained that I had information from Roy and the exact nature of that information, the Captain immediately engaged me with the exclamation, “Mara’s Hands!” (a new use of the Goddess’ name that I have never heard before – could you enter it in my running list of phrases?  The list is in the top drawer of my desk, please make a new column titled “High Rock – Daggerfall”, thank you).

He made mention of “dark nature magic” – is this Daedric magic, or some other form of magic?  I had no time to ask any questions.  The Captain, as suits his position, is a brusque, serious person, shaved head, narrowed eyes, a gigantic Greatsword slung over his back like a weightless rucksack.  Quite a noble bearing as well, despite the lack of hair.

To summarize, the Captain requested that I assume Roy’s role.  Well, he may not have said those words exactly, but I can read between the syllables.  I am to gather more information for him from a contact at the Rosy Lion Innan Orc, no less!! – and who better to gather information than Tirvril Dathnim, Cyrodill’s most famous information distributor??

Oh, make a note of that name, “information distributor” – perhaps some amalgamation of those words for the future paper of news you had mentioned some months back!

My hand grows tired from writing so quickly – I will give this note to the Mages Guild as soon as I return from the Rosy Lion Inn.

Tirvril 

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Tirvril – 01: A Beginning to a Most Exciting Adventure!

I arrived in Daggerfall, capital of High Rock, sequestered in an old cart that smelled of a carcass left too long in the sun.  My first impression of the city: poor roadwork.  Yet I did not make a sound, tucked between two large sacks filled with grain and covered in rolls of untanned hides.  This was to be the easiest part of my journey.

Yes, I believe that will do nicely as an opening for my first tale from the depths of the wilderness, that vast and unknown swath of land to the far west – High Rock.

Now, it is by no means a backwards place, my dear Mylindra.  Far from it.  I stepped out of that noisome cart into a grand – no, majestic – city of hewn granite, tall spires and bustling markets, all enveloped by rolling hills of countryside.  Night was fast approaching – a soft shroud of deep blue covered the city.  I saw depressingly little of it as I was shuttled unceremoniously through grand oak doors capped in bright steel, catching a scant glimpse of intricate stained glass windows tall as a Giant.

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Despite a sleepless night and the lingering – persistent – odor, I felt so alive as I entered the Mages Hall!  Here I am, in a foreign land, donning the guise of a Mage to bring the Truth of the world to Cyrodil – Mylindra, I know deep in my heart that I have truly found my calling!

Apologies for the excitement, but I cannot convey it through words – this should tell you more than anything the extent of my emotion.

Oh, while I am thinking of it – please do keep these notes to yourself for now.  I do not want the others to read of any exploits or headlines until I have written them down properly in format and line.  There is just so much to think of right now I can hardly write one word for another ten flowing into my mind…

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As I was saying, I am in the Mages Hall in Daggerfall as planned, and already there has been an exciting development!  Valaste, my contact here (she is the Master of Incunabula, otherwise known as Tomes), has requested my aid retrieving a few books from an Ayleid Ruin in exchange for her help.  Now, normally I would politely refuse.  There is so much to be written about this beautiful city in the here and now, the present  day – I have no desire to go wandering about an ancient, cobwebbed relic of an Ayleid ruin (Shor’s Bones, you cannot go ten paces without tripping over one in Cyrodil), but she offered to pay me good coin for each book I retrieve.

As you well know, my finances are less than 1,000 gold after paying the exorbitant fee for riding beneath old hides, as well as an unexpected “tip” to the Gatesman.  And while one day I promise I shall know how to shoot an arrow, at the moment my greatest skill towards food-procurement is writing an advertisement for it.

So of course I agreed.  She seemed pleased – though she is a High Elf with much on her mind, so it was rather difficult to discern any sort of personality.  I do, however, trust her due to her elf-blood.  She has little reason to lie to me, a trait I wish were not true as she told me the ruins will be “dark and dangerous”.  But fear not Mylindra, spellcasting is a family trait so I shall not wander into the depths unarmed.  Though I did stop practicing my spells at the age of 11.  Perhaps I should purchase a dagger before I go.

My mind wanders to the future – I shall bring us back to the recent present.

After giving me a short tour of the Hall, Valaste showed me to my room and directed me to the wardrobe.

The Mages here in Daggerfall wear more than just the ubiquitous plain robes we see in the Imperial City.  Daggefall has a rather dashing outfit with pants – quite ranger-like, I thought – and another with a floor-length robe, much trimming and fancy embroidery.  I chose the Ranger outfit, and feel exceedingly spry in it!  I may be required to run after a source, or perhaps escape a giant spider in that Ayleid Ruin.  As for its efficacy around town, it has a large, deep hood and covers most of my skin. Despite my carrying on about all Races deserving equal treatment, I know this is not the Imperial City.  A Dunmer, particularly with the War, will not be well received no matter his involvement in the Mages Guild.

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I had an Imp paint a likeness, I thought it rather good!

I wish to be anonymous, a mere background figure observing the goings-on and everyday lives of these people so that the world – and you – may know what it is like here, so far from home.

Has Chancellor Tharn approached you yet?  I have no doubt he will request – requisition – no, require -your skills once he discovers where I have gone.  But you must not let him intimidate you, my dear Mylindra.  Though as I write that sentence I realize how silly it sounds – no one can intimidate you.

Regarding that aspect of my trip, I have chosen to publish my works anonymously.  The Chancellor may well suspect it is I writing the tales, but there is no need to hand him the proof.  You are the only one I have taken into confidence about my whereabouts.  The others at ScrollWorks believe I am visiting my sister in Mournhold, as does Lady Derry.  I would never have told you, had you not arrived at my home at the precise moment Cleric Talborad was visiting.  And even then I would not have told you, except for your duplicitous – though admirable – eavesdropping.

And that brings me to my last update for today’s letter – already there has been mention of MB.  Valaste, when I asked about the current goings-on in the city, mentioned a group called the “Ring of Daggers” (a very promising name for a Journal Title!!) led by a woman named Copper.  Apparently they are the enforcers of King Emeric and they possibly have a connection to MB – I must remember to follow up on that lead when I return from the Ruin.

Though I pass no judgement without proof, I am still inclined to think good Cleric Talborad may be paranoid.  The Chancellor is not a kind nor compassionate man, but involvement with MB is simply mad – and the Chancellor is not a stupid man.

Now then!  I must wrap up this letter, dear Mylindra.  Already the light dims, and I intend to walk about town before I bed for the night.  Then in the morning I shall embark for the ruin, and then ask about for this Copper woman, as well as write a bit about the city life…so much to do already, it is so invigorating!

I do wish you were here with me Mylindra, but am happy you are not.  You can bring me news of home.  Write soon, and Valaste will see it gets to me.

Your Loving Friend,

Tirvril