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The Saga of Uncus


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                                                                                                                                    Prologue

this will be the story of Uncus the Wood Elf carried over from the soon to disappear Bethesda forums.

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I am Uncus, I am  Bosimer. I hale from the province of Valenwood. My purpose in life and service to my people is that of hunter and scout, my duty is to feed and protect my people as best I can. I was raised by my grand parents whilst my mother and father fulfilled the task which is now mine. My grand parents began to train me at a very young age. The father of my mother who was a great healer and shaman almost as soon as I could walk took me with him into the woods and taught me the herbs and plants that  are useful in field craft and basic herbalism.. He also taught me where to find edible grubs and insects which can be a valuable source of protein in the wilds. When I reach the age of seven years the mother of my father began my training as an Archer and scout, at first the training was light carefully building the strength I would latter need to draw the bows my people use. At the same time she also showed me how to move silently on any terrain and climb almost any obstacle. As I aged my strength, skill and agility grew until I rarely missed my target with a bow and could move silently through the forest like a shadow. And all this time my fathers farther taught me all he knew of flint napping and wood craft even a little simple smithing. Then there was the mother of my mother who was secretly my favourite  kept me fed clothed and healthy she taught me the simple things without which a person can not survive. How to cook how to make and mend my cloths, how to cure hides and preserve meat and other foods. Then there was the best thing she taught me, the stories of my people the people of the wolf, how we were led by the White wolf Amakkie  from the land of ice to the woods and parklands we now live in. Also how the twin brothers fought for leader ship of our tribe until "White Elk Woman" cast them both down for nearly destroying the people with their waring. All these things and many more I was taught so that now I can take on the tasks of my parents and they can return to teach the children of our tribe and maybe one day my own children who will grow to take my place and the circle will be round. This is who I am and who I have become, and now I have been chosen for a special task by the council of elders. My people have lived long in this land and become many and the game is less and the farmers ground less productive. We need to find new land where we can start new clans on new lands thus giving all the chance of life. This is why I tomorrow travel to the coast to take ship on a journey to search out these lands we need to expand and survive.

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Posted (edited)

 Please do not reply to this post on this thread, I will open a separate thread for comments on this thread. The reason for this is that in this thread the story can be read and followed uninterrupted and comments can be made on the second thread.

The comment thread can be found here      Comments on the Saga of Uncus - General Discussion - AFK Mods

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Posted (edited)

for those who might be interested you can see the original thread so you can see what too expect.  The story of Uncus | Community Forums for Bethesda.net

The comments thread is now open for use. this is a screen capture from the original thread on Beth Net, it gives a little more information about how this story was told and the mods used to create it. I run a total of 56 mods at the moment to create this stories screen shot illustrations. If any one is interested I can post a full list, just PM me.

 

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                                                                                 Chapter the First

 

 

Three weeks out on the ocean and the weather had been kind a stiff SS/E wind propelled us along the coast which was veering N/WW, the captain named Cato an Imperial in the employ of the Imperial Mail & Packet service was satisfied with our progress we may even make port a day early if this blow keeps up. The ship was a small but trim schooner of 4 tons, she carried mail and naval despatches along the coast from Anvil round to Solitude. A journey that with favourable winds would take about a month and a half. There were four more crew A gigantic Nord called Aryne almost twice my height but always quick to laugh and we diced in his off watch hours and swapped stories of our home lands. Some times he would sing songs of heroes and monsters of old, one song intrigued me especially, it was called "The Dragonborn cometh". He said it was about a time when Dragons ruled the world and the hero born of dragon blood who saved the world by banishing the ruler of all the dragons Alduin. We also have a story like this except in our stories it is the white wolf that vanquishes the dragon. Aryne's watch mate was Brin a compact but agile Breton, Aryne's great strength was employed at the steering ore whilst Brin tended the sails. The second watch consisted of Aelwyne the second steersman and Hakiem the top man. A jovial pair as most seaman are if you must spend months and sometimes years together on a small ship you had better get on with your shipmates. Aelwyne was Nord also although not quite of the stature of Aryne but still a head taller than me. Hakiem a dusky Redgaurd was even more agile than Brin. Then there were two Khjiit deck hands who assisted turn on turn with the less skilled tasks of sailing the ship. The two Khjiit were hired for the voyage then payed off on its completion, then two other deck hands would be hired for the next trip. the ports had many such men nearly all young. By taking ship with different ships and crews they learnt the trade of able then master seaman and eventually they would gain more permanent employment as full crew members.  The terms and duration of their contract would be negotiated when the signed on. Sometimes on longer journeys these casual hands may be offered a full contract if they show proper skill and aptitude, especially if there have been deaths or injuries to the permanent crew.

 

             I had settled into a  habit of training to keep my skills sharp and my strength strong. Sometimes one of the crew would train with me and we would learn from each other, those that fight with blade or bow are always willing to learn extra skills to keep themselves alive. Hakiem was a competent archer who hit what he loosed at more often than he missed. He used a the recurve layered bow his people favour  both on foot and from a horse or camel. the advantage of these bows was that they could be shorter but still be as powerful as my long war bow. we tried each others bow and both found the others bow strange at first but we both agreed that for draw and accuracy they where comparable. both types had their advantages the main being the the layer bow could have  a higher draw to length ratio for a similar draw weight too my bow, which was around two hundred pounds. Making it ideal for mounted use where as my bow would be far to long for this purpose.  My bow on the other hand was quicker to make and used less resources, although the skill involved to make it was comparable. I had once tried the enormous two handed axe Aryne used with ease, I could lift it and even make a wild swing with it but there was no control and I fell over much to Arnya's amusement. He extended a ham of a hand and helped me up. When he had finally gained control of himself and had stopped laughing, well almost stopped. He explained that yes great strength helped but control came from subtle shifts in balance and direction which were much more about skill and intelligence.

 

               An other two weeks have passed, Cato thinks at best it will take a week to a week and a half to reach  our destination the Solitude Imperial Navy Dock yard. After disembarking I must first report to the the imperial legate who will supply maps of the area's that have been agreed as possible settlements for new clans to be established. then I must pay my respects to the high kings representatives for forms sake. I shall be glad to get those duties over as soon as possible, politicians and government officials are not my preferred companions.  Then I can get to the important part of my mission, the search for sites where settlement can be placed. Our needs are simple, a river valley to place our permanent settlements and farms open wooded highlands for foraging alchemical and medicinal plants, and nuts and berries along with other edible fruits of the forest. then of course our mobile hunting camps. If there are mineral deposits that would be convenient but not necessary as there are other sources near by to trade for any metal we might need in the future. My people do not use as much metal as other races we consider it unnecessary. We are expert makers of fine, stone, bone and wood tools. The materials needed are readily available and often easier to gather. We do how ever prize metal weapons, most able bodied members of our tribes and clans own steel seaxe's and tomahawks along side their wooden war bows, the only exception to steel weapons are our arrows they are fitted with stone heads chipped and polished to the equal of anything made by the other races.

                     I awoke one morning a few days after the incident with Aryne's Axe to the movement of the ship it had subtly changed and so awakened me. I swung out of my hammock and stood on the deck stretching my muscles in preparation for my morning exercises. Looking around I saw Hakiem and Aelwyne asleep in their hammocks having just come off watch. One of the Khjiit was preparing the breakfast the other being not present probably had duties on deck. I never learned the names of the Khjiit they kept to them selves when not on duty. to be honest I think they were a little wary of me our two peoples are not always on the best of terms. When I had come out onto the deck I noticed by the position of the sun that we were on a more westerly course away from the coast.  Walking aft I greeted Cato and wished him the luck of the day. He replied in kind then informed me that they where moving away from the coast to avoid some rocks and reefs. I asked him about the change in the ships movements, he said that the swells had become some what more choppy and that it could be a sign that the strength of the wind might increase. Which was another good reason to gain some sea way from a lee shore. He also pointed out towards the south that there were small clouds scudding in advance of the wind. There seemed little to be worried about unless the weather to the south soured. I went to the midships aft of the mast and began my exercises stretching and moving through the figures designed to teach my body to move in certain ways during combat so I would do it automatically without thought, leaving my mind free to study my opponents movements and trying to counter them before he made them. It is a tedious but nessercery routine all warriors go through in some form or other. Later in the afternoon I would practice with my bow at the time the crew took their midday meal to limit the chance of miss haps.

                    As I unstring my bow to preserve its strength Cato Came out of his private cebine under the steering deck, he had an uncomfortable look on his face. He climbed the steps up to the steering deck and stood staring aft towards the south. then he exchanged a few words with Aryne, then ordered Brin to shorten sail and trim to the wind. Brin sent one of the two Khjiit aloft to reef the sail slightly whilst he set the braces turning the sail more to the wind thus putting less strain on both the sail and the mast. The wind had been freshening since this morning and the clouds to the south where building though not looking too dangerous to my eyes. I did have the impression that Cato was having some concerns but he was not communicating them to me or the crew yet. the swells were now not so choppy but were getting higher. After the meal the watch was changed Aryne exchanged his station with Aelwyne after informing him about the course we were following then went down to his meal and some rest along with Brin who gave the sailing instruction to Hakiem. The two Khjiit stayed on deck strengthen the rigging with some extra braces on the sails and mast stays. it seemed that Cato was preparing the ship in the event that the weather got heavier. I was hoping that these were only precoitional measures, I had got used to the motions of the sea and was now no longer sea sick but was not relishing the thought of having to weather a storm. I decided to ask Cato if there was any reason to be concerned, he informed me that it was to early to be sure but it was prudent to take precautions for safeties sake. The weather could at this moment go either way. sometimes these things blew themselves out after a time but if the wind got stronger further measures may be nessercery. So I went and sat against the mast and busied myself with carving an amulet of Amakkie from a piece of ivory I had bought with me. As the afternoon wore on the wind stayed as it was but the clouds to the south had begun to pile even higher and looked to be closer than this morning. They also appeared darker with a faint glow on their under side, which may or may not of been lightening. Cato ordered all loose equipment to be secured and had life lines rigged for naar aft along the length of the ship. Things were beginning to look serious now so I went to my place in the focsle and packed and secured my belongings. Cato now informed me that even if a storm came we had a good chance of weathering it as we had plenty of sea room from the shore, the only danger could come if we chanced upon an unseen and unknown reef or island. As evening came closer both watches were set to changing to a smaller sail and rigging but not yet deploying a sea anchor. the purpose of the sea anchor would be to help keep the wind on our aft quarter to guard against turning broadside to the wind and thus being swamped. A few hours later the wind was now howling through the rigging and we were traveling at a much faster speed than we had made before on this voyage. We now soon started to hear thunder booming behind us an could now see lightening dancing across the sea in front of the storm front. Cato ordered the sea anchor to be deployed and the sail taken in another two reefs. It was becoming now obvious that the storm would catch us, both Aryne and Aelwyne were at the steer board doing their best to keep us running before the storm the other four crew members tended the sail making small adjustments to best use the wind to help keep us on the right course. Cato stood on the steering deck offering encouragement and giving orders when needed. for a time it looked like we would be able to ride out the storm but the wind began to veer more to seaward with the danger that we would encounter some unknown obstacle so far from shore the area was less well known. Following the direction the wind dictated we manged to keep the ship on a relatively even keel. then Cato's face became ashen directly ahead a large area of the sky was dark showing no stars some obstacle was blocking our view. this could mean only one thing a large island was dead ahead of us. Cato ordered the sail reset and altered our course slightly to the lee of the island in an attempt to avoid disaster. we could not turn too far into the wind or we would be swamped. we tried to head for the stars on the windward side hoping to miss the island but soon we heard the sound of waves violently breaking on a shore or some rock out crop. We were moving at an alarming rate and it would be touch and go if we made it but we did seem to be heading more towards the stars showing next to the island. Then disaster struck just as it seemed we would be saved, we were bearing down onto a low string of skerries with rocks in between. Cato ordered the sea anchor cut loose and the helm hard over in an attempt to ground the ship onto a small strand before we struck the rocks. But luck was not on our side a large and malevolent wave bore us up and then threw us down on the rocks. the ship broke in two and we tumbled across the deck into the sea, I felt my self sinking to the depths, I kicked off my moccasin boots and struck out to what I hoped was the surface. then something grabbed my hair and Aryne pulled me out of the water onto one of the skerries, I had never been so glad in all my life that I wore my hair long. It was then I saw that Aryne's other arm was broken the bone sticking out of his upper arm and was bleeding profusely I still had a woven leather belt which I tied above the wound in attempt to staunch the bleeding. He looked to be in much pain but like all Nords he made light of it. We wedged ourselves between the rocks in an effort to protect us from as much of the storm as possible. Arlyne that great friend he had become bled to death in the night slipping quietly away gripping his knife in his hand. Then finally I succumbed to the exhaustion and slipped into sleep.

 

                                                                                                         

   And so ends the  first Chapter of the

          Saga of Uncus

 

 

 

 

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                                       Chapter the Second

 

I had spent the night clinging to the rocks on the skerry next to the shifting wreck of our ship. After a time the rain stopped and the wind dropped to a stiff breeze and with the dawn the heavy dark clouds dispersed. The sea was also returning to a more natural swell, the immense waves of last night were thankfully a thing of the past. I laid my friend Aryne in a more comfortable position, although he was dead I could not accept the grotesque heap the storm had made of him. I knelt next to him and said to him "I am sorry that your voyage has ended but hoped that your soul is well on the way to Sovngarde. your fight is lost but you fought valiantly to the end. I will remember you and tell of your deeds and how you saved me from the sea to those I talk to around the campfires of my tribe. So keeping your memory alive as my friend". I then asked if he would allow me the use of the knife he still clutched in his hand for brother you will need it no more in this world and it will help to keep me alive. I then carefully took the knife from his dead grasp and tucked it in the empty sheath on my belt. Sadly I stood up and inspected my own battered and bruised body, apart from being sore and stiff in every bone in my body the damage proved to be superficial. looking around I found a number of barrels that had been washed out of the ships hold, in them I found some apples that were still edible and some flour that had been spoiled by the sea.

 

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As I looked at the ship with her broken back I saw Cato lying in the water next to his ship as if he did not wish to leave her, wading towards him I could see that he also had not survived the night I dragged him onto the skerry and laid him next to Aryne. Diving into the sea and swimming into the wreck turned out to be a waste of time as the cargo in the hold had been lost to the sea when the ship was ripped in two by the storm. One at a time I carried my two dead comrades to the shore and buried them under a stone cairn in the hopes that they would not be eaten by scavengers

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 Having fulfilled my obligations to my friends I took stock of my possessions which did not amount to much, two knives, the other I had found on Cato's body, a water skin, a pair of ragged breeks and a pair of boots also taken from Cato. On the rocky beach across from the skerry where I had buried my companions was a small cave and looking up the cliff was a tower that seemed to be of Dwenmer construction. Perhaps I would find some one there to tell me where I was and how to get in touch with the nearest Imperial official so that I could report the wreck of their packet ship, and inform them where I had buried the bodies of the crew members I had found. Of the other five crew members there had been no sign. Also I would need assistance in proceeding with my mission and gaining passage to Solitude.

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I now had to decide would I scale the cliff or would I see if the cave led any where, I elected to explore the cave first as that seemed the easiest option. Entering the cave the first thing I saw were some iron ore deposits and on the floor of the cave I picked up a fist size piece of flint I put it in the belt pouch that had also been on Cato's body. Growing in the cave there were several types of mushroom I collected these and also put them in the pouch. there was a hole in the ceiling that let in light allowing me to see ahead a skeever watching me approach. I took out Aryne's knife and waved it at the creature and he skittered away into the shadows, skeevers usually flee unless cornered then they can be quite viscous in their own defence.

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  • 2 weeks later...

After satisfying myself that the skeever would not bother me further I continued. There seemed to be a faint glow of light ahead of me so I walked towards it and turning a bend in the tunnel I came to an upwards slope with an exit from the tunnel that led from the beach. Once outside in the daylight I looked over a small sheltered bay with a large rocky islet protecting the bay from the worst of the sea's  power.  Left and right of the islet were two channels giving access to the bay which compared with the sea outside was as flat and smooth as a duck pond. Despite this there was the mast of a sunken ship out in the middle of the bay. On the shore side of the bay was a quay with three jetties jutting out into the bay with a small building built in the same Dwenmer style as the watch tower I had already seen from the beach outside the bay, also on top of the rocky islet was yet another building of the same design that appeared to be a light house. I could also see a large ruin the looked as if it was a great gate way or entrance to the interior of the islands central mountain. At some point in the past there must have been a rock slide that had engulfed the gate way. An old stone paved  road led to my right up a slope and into a wooded hillside, on a flat rock shelf just before the road entered the woods stood a very large statue of a robed figure looking for all the world like a brooding sentinel. to my left the road followed the bay to a viaduct that connected to the islet and some stone steps that climbed up to the light house. Running in front of me and behind the dock was another road that disappeared behind a curve in the land scape. Although the buildings were in serviceable condition there was no sign that any living inhabitants had been here in a very long time.

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Judging the small building on the dockside the most likely to offer a refuge should ( as I suspected ) there prove to be no other inhabitants on this island. It was a short walk down to the dock. For the most part the building, dock and jetties were in a good state of repair, I inspected the out side first the roof and walls seemed sound and weather proof. As a bonus I managed to catch a brace of crabs in a rock pool next to my new shelter, that took care of my next meal. I would soon need to find a source of fresh water, this problem was solved in a rather novel fashion. It appeared the water, at least in the bay was fresh enough to drink. my only explanation for this that I could think of was that there was some vast subterranean source under the mountain with springs in the bay that kept the water there fresh and clean. Looking inside the dwelling showed one large room with a hearth opposite the door way. the furniture consisted of one table two barrels an some broken crates. Some old books and dirty rags where scattered around the room, I gathered them up and stacked them next to the hearth if nothing else they would make good tinder to start a fire with. At the end of one of the jetties was some random clutter which included a metal bowl which would do to boil my crab dinner in. I had been able to make a serviceable flint axe using two good size rocks I had found on the beach and a strong branch that had been washed up after the storm. I had first determined which rock would become hammer stone and which would be crafted into an axe blade. The first blow is always the most important if that fails to give the right result another blank needs to be found for another try. After carefully examining the stone to be worked I gave a firm but not too hard blow with the hammer across a fault line a thin shard of flint was struck away, the same on the opposite face produced a similar result. I now had the basic shape, With care and precision the final shape was crafted, then the branch was split at one end and axe blade wedged in the split then using some of the rags I had found the split end of the branch was bound up and secured the whole together. once that task was complete the flakes struck of the flint core where gathered up as they would be useful for other tasks later.

As there was plenty of day light left I set off to see if anything of value could be found at the watch tower or the light house. Climbing the steps to the light house revealed a magnificent view to the north along the coast. At the watch tower the trip was a little more profitable. I found some fire wood already chopped a pick axe and a bed roll. Walking back to the harbour I reflected that the things I had found so far where for the most part relatively in good repair and the wood looked as if it had not been cut very long ago. This suggested that although the island appeared to have been uninhabited for quite some time, from time to time the island was visited by accident or design. This was an interesting thought, was there any one else still on the island and would they be friendly. secondly had they left anything behind that would be of use to me. This was a situation which needed to be explored with caution, until I knew more I would need to be carful not to advertise my presence before I knew more. I gathered the driest wood I could find so that my fire would be as inconspicuous as possible with little smoke and as soon as my crab supper was cooked the fire was extinguished. As the sun set over the island I rolled up in my bed roll and prepared for my first nights sleep in my new, and I hoped, home.

I awoke the next morning as the sun rose from behind the rocky islet opposite the harbour. Today I would need to arrange more permanent measures to ensure my survival. Top of my list was to explore inland to see if there where any game animals and useful edible plants and herbs. I would need to find a strait growth sapling of about 3 to five years of growth to make a bow which would much improve my chances of a successful hunt. Arrows might be more of a challenge to manufacture they would need to be strait and strong enough to survive the shock of impact on their targets. I followed the paved road into the woods behind the bay. As I neared the large statue that stood next to the road I turned off the road to investigate the strange figure. As I approached I saw an inscription on the base of the statue It mentioned the god under the mountain, this meant nothing to me was it some un-known Dwenmer cult based on this island before the great disappearance.

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Also I found a satchel with a note in side, it mentioned that an archaeological expedition had come to the island to investigate the Dwenmer ruins. Could this be the cause of the resent traces of  activity I had noticed since being marooned here. where they still here or were they long gone, there was no way to know they might still be here or have left before the storm. I determined to investigate the sunken ship in the harbour at my earliest opportunity. in the mean time I continued to explore the woods for more resources for my survival. As I followed the road I noticed another building on the slope above the road, on inspection it proved to have been the victim of a rock slide. Perhaps from the same event as the slide that blocked the main entrance behind the harbour. Yet again I found evidence of recent activity, outside the building I found a chopping block and a steel woodsman's axe. the axe looked almost new so could not have been here for Too long. The building its self was of no use the roof had partially caved in and contained little of value.  hefting the axe on my shoulder I returned to the road and followed it further It now began to be less apparent the stones being less frequent but the path was still visible and easy to follow. I heard the howl of a wolf calling to its pack mates and soon it was answered. I stopped and pulled back into cover, soon in a clearing the pack returned the call and a lone wolf trotted into the clearing to reunite with its tribe. I was sure they knew I was watching them but they seemed content to leave me alone as long as I did not interfere with them. I hoped that I could maintain this truce there appeared to be enough prey for us both. I was anxious to maintain this situation as the wolf is the totem animal of my people and there is a taboo on the killing of these noble beasts. Although it is permitted to kill a wolf in self defence, those that have resort to this action are deemed to have failed to control the situation properly. I made a wide detour around the clearing where the pack had gathered and they seemed content to ignore me for the time being.  On the back slope of the valley I had entered I found a young yew tree of the right age and form so I felled it with my new axe then removed the branches so I could transport it more easily to my base camp. As I returned to the harbour I noticed the wolves had moved on, probably to a resting place deeper into the woods. It was as if they had never been there until I inspected in the glade and found their tracks. I could count three or four juveniles judging by the size of their prints, probably yearlings from last years litter of pups. Then there were two further sets of prints I assumed were from the parents one set smaller than the second was probably the female bigger than the tracks of the pups but not big enough to be a male. the last set of tracks had to be from the male they were at least half as big as the rest, he must be a magnificent beast to behold. But now I must return to my camp as the sun began to set in the west at my back casting my elongated shadow on the path in front of me.

 

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Last night after returning to my camp I had built a fire in the hearth and after cleaning them baked and ate the two mud crabs I had caught earlier that day, along with some small potatoes also baked in the hearth I had had a satisfying meal before retiring to my  bed roll for a good nights sleep. 

Awaking refreshed I got up and went out side to greet the day, I spread my arms wide and facing the sun I welcomed it back from its journey through the night to bring yet again the holly light of day to the world. I stood a moment longer breathing deeply to clear my head and awaken my senses after my nights sleep. It was now time to begin the tasks of the day, I had last night decided to investigate the ship sunk in the harbour today. So I stripped to my breach clout and dived from the pier into the sea surfacing I shook my head and swam to the mast I could see sticking out of the water. Clinging to the rigging, that surprisingly was in quite good condition, I took several deep breaths letting them out slowly to expand my lungs then one last breath filling my lungs to their maximum capacity I swam down the mast to the ship below. Next to the mast was a small deck cabin which I entered looking around I saw a small lock box, I noted its position then went down a companion way to the deck below. My lungs where now beginning to protest at their inactivity I let a little air escape my mouth to lessen the pressure. On this deck furniture and the crews belongings floated under the deck above, whilst heavier objects rested on the deck under me. I saw one or two things that might be of use to me but my lungs were now close to bursting so I left the wreck an returned to the surface. Hanging from the rigging again I regained my breath and rested for a time, I reflected that I would need a a container to bring anything of use to the surface then I remembered the satchel I had found yesterday which would do for small objects but for the lock box and other larger heavier things I would need a container of some kind. After my initial inspection I decided to swim back to shore and break my fast then plan how I would carry out my salvage operation. Whilst eating two of the apples I still had and drinking a cup of pine tea which I had made by dropping a heated stone into my water skin then adding some pine needles. I reasoned that if I stripped the exposed mast of its rigging I would have enough rope to hoist heavier objects to the surface and place them on a small raft I could haul them to the shore. So my first task would be to build the raft, bring it to the mast head and use it as a working platform to strip the mast of its running rigging but leaving the fixed rigging to support the mast so I could still use it as a crane. I did however have another task which might be more urgent, I still had to fashion a bow and some arrows for protection and to allow me to hunt more efficiently. The salvage mission now became a task for another day.

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Over the last few days since I found myself cast up on this island I have been gathering the materials I will need to fashion a bow strong and powerful enough to hunt any animal from a skeever to a mammoth ( if any are here on this island). Other things I had collected where a large supply of flints to make tools for carving the bow and arrows and flint arrow heads. Then there was the bee nest I had found hanging from a tree, I had lit a smoky fire from damp wood and green  grass under it to sedate the bees inside. Next I had blocked all the  entrance holes except one using clay and submerged the nest in water allowing the nest to fill with water then blocked the last hole and left it for a few days until I was sure any bees still inside would be dead. When I split the nest I was able to harvest honey to sweeten my tea and bees wax to strengthen the bow string I would make from my own plaited hair.  Lastly I had collected several hard wood logs, again with as strait a grain as possible and slightly longer than the distance from my right ear to the fist of my out stretched left arm , these I would split and carve into arrows. 

 

I started by making four roughly triangular wooden blanks by first splitting the Yew stave in half using the axe to start the split and then driving hard wood wedges in to the ever widening split . Then repeating the process twice more to split the two halves into four quarters. Then lastly removing the outer layers of bark and the soft layer of the outer most wood. Inspecting the staves I selected the most knot free specimen with the straightest grain.  I now began to carve my chosen stave into a roughly D shaped pole the flat side where the soft wood was and the hard wood on the inside. During the initial carving the stave was also carved to a slight curve for the basic shape, then after finding and marking the middle I determined where the thicker grip of the bow would be. This would be the stable platform from which the arms of the bow would bend. Now was the time to begin tapering the arms to the outer end of the stave. This was first done using a knife I had modified by blunting the tip and wrapping it with cloth and leather to form a draw knife. Once the general shape had been determined it was time to fine tune the draw of the bow, I had made a crude vice from a sturdy tree close to my hut by first chopping it of at a convenient height and carving a slot, I could clamp the bow in the slot and secure it with wedges. Now that the bow stave was securely clamped I could gently bend the arms one at a time to check that they bent evenly and not more in one place making a hinge in stead of a steady even curve. Using razor sharp flint scrapers wood was removed from the inside of the curve where needed until the arms bent in a gentle even curve. It was now time to finish the bow taking fine sand and a piece of leather the bow was sanded smooth to remove all irregularities that could turn into weaknesses that could cause the bow to break. I then removed the pan that was heating the fat from my recent kills Mixing in charcoal from my fire a made a black past which I worked into the wood of the bow to keep it supple and protect it from dampness. Now it only remained to attach the string and test the bow, I carefully drew the bow to half tension watching the arms as I did this, They formed a perfectly smooth even curve. I now drew even further to full a full draw with the string touching the lobe of my right ear and held it momentarily then relaxed the bow and checked it for any signs of damage or weakness, all seemed to be in order. It was now time to test fire an arrow in ernest, selecting one of the arrows I had been making in the evenings before I slept, I nocked the arrow and drew evenly and loosed the arrow at maximal draw. The arrow winged a distance of 100 yards and quivered in the tree I had aimed at. I tried several more arrows all with similar results, now I would need to practice with my new bow and learn its soul and become one with it so that most of my arrows would fly true. Tomorrow I would hunt with my bow and shoot until we would become one and until I could shoot without thought and know my shot would hit its mark.

 

Today I test my new bow and hunt for food and hides and all the other useful parts of the animals that would allow me to take their lives to prolong my own.  I had awoken before the dawn and meditated to contact the spirit of that which I wished to hunt that our spirits should join and when the spirit of my prey would leave its own body and strengthen mine and allow it to live on until I sung its spirit to the world above among the campfires of the dead. In this way I would honour the creature that gave me life and thank it for its gift. I then I ate a hand full of wild berries and some grilled skeever meat washed down with some fresh water from my newly filled water skins. I then took my new bow and pointed with it to the four directions blessing it in the name of White Elk Woman keeper of the beasts. This may seem excessive to one not of my people, but to us the first hunt with a new bow is a powerful undertaking at this time the bow receives its spirit as all things have a spirit even a stone laying in a river bed. If these ceremonies are conducted in a right way the bow will receive a helpful spirit but if done incorrectly it will receive a contrary spirit. By this time the sun was just beginning to rise and I welcomed it as I did every day break thanking it for its return. Now that my spiritual duties where complete I gathered my bow and a bundle of arrows in a cloth quiver I had made the evening before Then set off to the wooded vale behind my camp. I moved silently in the early morning shadows under the trees, sniffing the wind for scent of my prey, also listening for sound of movement and watching for sight of it. I was moving through the trees on the sloping side of the valley to give myself a height advantage and a longer field of vision. I could hear some movement further ahead but could not yet identify what was making the noise. Judging the location I moved a little higher and into deeper shadow, it was then that I heard the distinctive coughing bark of a deer this was the prey I was looking for. Now I must move to a position that allowed me a clear shot without being discovered. I moved closer until I looked down on a small group of deer. One of which was grazing apart from the rest, I stalked around behind his left hind quarter, it was a young buck. I aimed for the area behind his shoulder blade hoping to hit at just the right angle to pierce his heart and make his death quick and almost painless. I followed the flight of my arrow and watched it penetrate exactly where I had aimed for, The deer made a whistling exhalation of breath as its front legs collapsed and he rolled over his right shoulder onto the ground. The arrow had hit its mark perfectly and death was almost instantaneous, I was very pleased with this my bow seemed to have received a helpful soul and the deer had been killed before the animal even realized its fate. I now took my flint hunting knife and started to process the kill.

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Now that I had a successful kill and had gathered all that I needed bundled in the hide I would now return to my camp to process all into useful articles. The hide I stretched on a tanning rack to dry after I had treated it by rubbing the brain fluid of the animal into the hide, there is usually enough brain fluid for an animal to have its hide treated by its own brain fluid. The hide would now be supple and water resistant when the process is complete. The long bones could be used for many things one of which would be a bone hunting knife handle for a flint blade. From the sinews I will make a few spare bow strings and thinner twine to stitch a new shirt and breeks, and if there is enough leather left a large satchel to carry my daily needs as I explore my island further. It is still early in the season but the buck had already started to grow its antlers, there would be enough material to make horn tines for my bow so the bow string can be more securely attached and a few nocks for my arrows.

 

                                                                 And so ends the second chapter of the

                                 Saga of Uncus

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  • 2 weeks later...

                       Chapter the Third

 

It has been four weeks, or is it five, I do not know anymore so much has happened. In some ways I enjoy the solitude it allows me to think on things of the past and the things I must still achieve. The first thing I must do is get off this island and complete my task entrusted to me by the elders of my people, but there are other duties I owe my people. I have lived for three and twenty summers it is time I joined with a woman and provided children to ensure the continuation of my people and to replace me and my woman as we become too old to for fill our tasks for the people. There have been women I have been attracted to before but I have not found the one that will by our joining make us both whole. Also I find myself missing the campfire gatherings with my friends and fellow hunters and the great celebrations in our settlement with all my people to mark the important events of the year, summer and winter solstice, the time of planting and the time of harvest and many more. Judging by the positions of the stars and the moon it will soon be time for the great meeting of all the peoples of our nation at the sacred place where the sun rises between the two mountains where White Elk Woman imprisoned the terrible twins, Raven the trickster and Spider the one who ensnares the unwary. There they must stay until the Dragons return and the great battle must be fought and all must choose their side. I suppose I am just lonely, I must work even harder to escape this place pleasant as it is. Not all is doom and gloom I have achieved much, I now have new clothes from the hides I have cured, and I have preserved food for my travels of exploration. Some food I have dried some thanks to the discovery of a salt mine I have been able to salt in brine. At least my bodily needs are taken care of I am clothed and have weapons to hunt and if nessercery defend myself with, and ample food that I my explore with out the need to hunt for some time. I have made myself a flute which I play to lift my spirits, and sometimes sing the songs of my people in the evenings. Soon after I had finished setting up my base in the harbour masters cottage I went to investigate the great Dwenmer Gateway in the mountain side. The main entrance proved to be totally blocked by a rock fall, there was a stairway leading to a tower with a locked door, I had no way to pick the lock, a skill I am not proficient at at the best of times and it proved to stout too be broken in with the means at my disposal.

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I did find an inscription by the main entrance which showed a chart of the island and some sea routes to the main land, if the scale was to be relied upon it would take a week or so to sail to the mainland. I would need to find a way to transcribe the chart, I would need it if I could find or make a craft to carry me away. The most notable thing though was that the inscription was multi lingual, I recognised the Elven tong and the human common as well as several I did not recognize

                                                                           

 

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This was the the same day I discovered the salt mine, but I get ahead of myself. I had found a satchel with among other things a note written by a mage explorer named Ancastyr the Forgetful who had arrived on the island to explore the Dwenmer ruins. It just so happened that as I followed the road along the bay I came to a fork leading off to the left and ahead I saw some kind of shrine that was guarded by a Dwenmer sphere automaton, after I had dealt with the sphere by peppering it with arrows from a safe vantage point I discovered the body of said Ancastyr. He appeared to have been a victim of the sphere, I found on the body a strange Dwenmer object and a journal. The object a small sphere had strange markings I did not recognize and was warm to the touch as if some power source was locked inside. Reading the journal I discovered that the expedition consisted of three mage antiquarians and a number of mercenaries and sailors. The body though ripe was not to badly decomposed suggesting that it had not been there to long a month or so I would imagine This would mean that they arrived shortly before the storm that stranded me here. So there was a possibility that there were other people on the island after all, but they were stranded as was I. I had already found a ships log on the wreck in the bay that proved the ship was theirs. Also the bodies of two of the crew had been trapped bellow decks who I buried on the same beach I had buried Cato and Arlyne. In the journal Ancastyr mentioned the salt mine which turned out to be directly bellow the shrine in a large cave. One other thing I read in the journal was that Ancastyr agreed with me the the small sphere contained a power source, the fool had placed it in the inert Dwenmer sphere which had obviously promptly killed him.

 

The last week or so I have cleared the rubble and rubbish around the harbour cottage. On the flat area next to the cottage I found the remains of a small smelter and an old anvil. The smelter I was able to repair it would appear that the smelter had not been fully built before the wooden structure on that side of the building had collapsed. It was just a matter of clearing the debris and finishing the task of building the smelter all the parts were there they just needed fitting together. I could now do a limited amount of smithing. I am no master smith but I can do a little basic work an axe head or a seax blade would be within my skill as would crafting nails and other simple but useful items. I had seen iron deposits when I came ashore all those weeks ago. I would need to mine the ore and pound it into dust to be smelted into iron ingots, if that went well I might try folding charcoal into the iron to see if I could make low grade steel which would hold an edge longer than plain iron. My base camp was as comfortable as I could make it, being a hunter and a scout my needs were few. I had stockpiled food preserved in various ways that would last for a time. It was time to extend my knowledge of my island home, as I was beginning to feel at home here. The loneliness I had felt a few weeks ago was not so much of a problem so long as I kept myself occupied and did not dwell on the subject.

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I had also taken to observing the wolf pack over in the next valley. Although we had no direct contact we had an understanding, as long as I remained at a distance and did not act in a threatening way they tolerated my presence. After a time I began to recognize individual pack member by their characters and distinguishing appearance. The dominant male was a powerful looking creature who could enforce his will by a look or a stance never realy having to resort to physical force.  The mate of the alpha was a little more jealous of her position and enforced her dominance over the younger pack members with bared teeth and the occasional nip. The three yearlings had a loose hierarchy but for the most part followed their elders example. There was one amongst them that, however strange that may sound, always seemed to have a smile on his snout. He would always be the one to instigate a game of tag or tug of war with a piece of hide from the last kill. some times he would sneak up on his other two sibling when they were snoozing in the sun and pounce on one of them them run away before his victim knew what had happened and left his hapless brother or sister surprised and confused as to what exactly had happened. It was in fact a pleasing pass time on warm afternoons when it was too hot to work or hunt. I had noticed that the alfa female was pregnant the second week after I arrived so it was no real surprised to notice that she was not with the rest of the pack but the pack were all sitting or laying around the entrance to the den I had seen the female excavate under the roots of a fallen tree. The male would leave with two of the younger wolves to hunt, always leaving one pack member on sentry duty, and returning latter with small game or part of a larger kill to feed those left at the den. after a few weeks the mother appeared at the mouth of the den with one of the cubs carrying it by its loose neck skin and placed it on the ground she then turned and wined to the remaining cubs encouraging them to come out and join their nest mate. When the four bundles of fur were all outside the the male came up and sniffed each in turn to learn and remember their scent, he then sat next to his consort and looked to one side signalling the junior pack members to come and meet their new pack members. Once the introductions were over the yearlings returned to their own affairs and the proud parent surveyed the pastoral scene before them. I would dearly love to be allowed to take one of the cubs to raise as a companion but that I am sure would be too much to presume of our fragile acquaintance.

 

                                                                          

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In the mean time I pounded the iron ore to a course grit with a heavy rock I had found near the  entrance to the Dwenmer ruin. I had made a small crucible from clay in which I hoped to melt the ore into usable iron. At the same time I had also made two clay moulds in which I hoped to cast my ingots. This was the second day after lighting the charcoal mound, none the less I went to check to see if the baking process was working properly. All seemed to be going well, here and there smoke seeped through the mound and the mound its self was warm to the touch. Almost too hot to touch for any length of time.. I checked to see if the small air holes around the base of the mound and at its summit where still open allowing a small draught of air to flow thus supplying enough air for a slow but hot burn. Tomorrow the third day I would expect the burn to be complete and  I would then have a supply of charcoal for my crafting needs.. the smoke was already less white and beginning to turn blue indicating that the moister in the wood was almost gone by tomorrow it should be ready. I looked around but the mist was almost as thick as it had been yesterday at midday the sun sent shafts of light shining through the fog but visibility remained limited. I retired to my cottage where the heat of my cooking fire kept the cold and damp at bay, the stew bubbling slowly in the cooking pot spread a pleasant smell in the cottage. after tasting it I added a small pinch of salt, then turned to add a hand full of dried wild flower petals to the water sack hanging next to the hearth. Using two hardwood sticks I picked up one of the smooth round stones heating in the hearth and dropped it into to water sack heating the water in a gush of steam releasing the flavour of the wild flowers. I pored the tea into my drinking bowl and added some pine sap for sweetening tasting the refreshing brew reminded me of earlier times when with my adolescent friends we sat tending the charcoal mounds in the hills above our permanent settlements. I smiled remembering how we competed by telling stories of werewolves and ghost and other denizen's of the night and sipping our tea or if we were lucky some more fortifying brew that only made the stories the more strange and unlikely. the joys and follies of youth seemed now long ago but still on a night like this comforting. The stew was now ready and I scooped a generous portion out of the cooking pot. For a while I was busy with the pleasure of eating my meal, if nothing else this island had an abundance of herbs and vegetables to allow for a diverse menu. Now my meal was finished I picked up the flute I had made from the long bone of an Elk, and played music that both reminded me of home and helped refresh my spirits. After a while I layed my flute to rest and sliped into sleep tomorrow the charcoal should be ready and I could begin my smithing experiments.

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Today was the day, today I would attempt to make a little iron from the relatively large amounts of ore I had gathered. It would all depend on the purity of the ore and how much metal lay trapped within the stone I had removed from the rock face. today would be a day of experiments, there are two ways to make steel known to me one is to beat the iron flat then when still hot sprinkle ground carborundum or charcoal on it then fold the iron back on its self then repeat until enough strength had been added to the new metal. Or the additive could be mixed in at the smelting stage. both methods call for a level of experience and skill I did not possess. Although I was familiar with the theory my practical experience left much to be desired. My biggest problem was my lack of the proper tools to be an effective smith, luckily for me there where many usable things to be salvaged from the wreck in the harbour. As with most ships of any size there where usually one or two crew members who where skilled craftsmen as well as seamen. I had been able to salvage some basic smithing and carpentry tools. this would mean that I would not need to first make my tools before moving on to other creations. I had decided to try both methods steel manufacture the folding method was the most time consuming but the direct adding of the ingredients at the smelting stage was quicker but less controllable. Too much additive and the metal would become too stiff and brittle, but not enough it would be difficult to grind or keep a sharp edge to a blade.

I first tried the the method where by the additive is added in the smelting as this if successful would give a quick result and answers to the effectiveness of my method. So I placed a large amount of ground ore and a small amount of ground charcoal in the crucible and started to pump the bellows to raise the temperature of the smelters hearth. After a time, but slower than I had expected, the crucible began to glow a dull red colour. I continued to rhythmically pump the bellows to maintain the temperature but not force it high enough to melt the crucible its self. So pumping and carefully watching the mixture begin to melt waited to see if the metal was ready to flow into the ingot mold. I could see it pool in the bottom of the crucible but not yet begin to flow. This took a further two fingers of time before I could pore the metal into the mold. Once this was done I pushed the mold to one side to cool. Now I would try the second method and began to smelt pure iron. although pure is a subjective word as there are always some impurities in the ore that are not burnt away in the smelting process. Not having to wait for the charcoal to combine with the iron this was a little quicker. Pushing the second mold to one side I returned to the first, it had now cooled enough to be worked. It still glowed a bright cherry red so I grasped it with a pair of tongs and began beating it into a billet of steel four fingers wide and as thick as my thumb and three hand lengths long. I had decided to make a tomahawk from this billet, I continued to work the piece until I was satisfied with the shape and form. The next thing to do was to fold the billet around the beak of the anvil precisely in the middle. All this time working the steel till its colour began to fade then reheating it to an even cherry red and then working it further. As the two ends came together I started to beat both sides towards each other but carful not to loose the eye at the fold point as that would be where the haft would be. I now also began heating only the two touching halves of the blade beating them together as a solid joined whole. Now only heating the last third of the blade forming under my hammer I began to flatten it towards a rough edge slightly flaring and curving the leading edge. The blades form was now finished it need only one more heating then quenching in cold water to harden the outside and the edge then the blade could be sharpened on the grindstone and finished with a whet stone. When it was fully cooled and polished I would fit the heft and I would have a fast deadly weapon to add to my arsenal.

 The second ingot would be beaten into a bare as long as my forearm to the tip of my fingers, after beating it flat and folding in the charcoal dust thirty or forty times it would be beaten into a square bar and left to cool naturally until tomorrow, when I would attempt to forge a short seaxe. but first I would eat rest and sleep.

 

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It is now three days since I started my metallurgic experiments, my tomahawk now has handle decorated with hawks feathers to give it the speed of a swooping raptor. With the second iron ingot I was able to fabricate a usable seax I now have all the weapons I will need to hunt and defend myself effectively. The fog has now lifted so I can now go to the salt deposit I found some time ago and replenish my supply. Traveling north along the coast I managed to bag two mud crabs for my evening meal, one of my favourite delicacies. On my way I passed the ruin of the Dwenmer sphere sentinel I destroyed when I discovered poor Ancastyr's body and the strange shrine. As I climbed down the cliff to the salt deposit I reflected it might be a good idea to make a leather rope to make my descent and ascent less tiresome. After filling my pouch with salt I climbed back to the shrine and checked the cairn I had made for Ancastyr. it was undisturbed so I walked back to the main path, on a whim I decided to continue north instead of returning to the harbour. The day was still young and I had seen another tower above the cliffs maybe there would be something useful there. I crossed a bridge over fast flowing stream and made my way uphill to the tower, turning to the door of the tower to my surprise I saw the body of an enormous white wolf laying by the door. I cautiously approached the beast, feeling its chest I could barely feel a heart beat and its breathing was shallow and erratic. I could not see any obvious wound but he, for it was a male, continued to slip away. One final breath that sounded like a sigh of relief and he passed to the spirit world. As I gazed at the noble looking beast I had the impression of great age as if his spirit had walked the world since the first times when all was new. I had a strange feeling that I could not explain, both of great peace but also coming conflict. It troubled me something of great power was at work here, was I just a witness or would power call on me to act in some way. I decided that this was no ordinary beast of the woods and deserved the words and song My people use to send the dead to the  camp fires of the dead amongst the stars of the night. When I had finished I piled stones over the body to protect it, then continued on my way. Crossing the summit a stairway led down the opposite incline, I could hear the thunder of a water fall ahead at the bottom of the stairs I came into a gorge with a river cascading through it and over multiple water falls. At the head of the gorge between two water falls and along the sides of the gorge were a number of Dwenmer buildings in various states of repair. and laying were it had fallen another of the robed statues with the usual inscription about the god under the mountain. There were many mysteries on this island but few obvious answers.

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I crossed the gorge by way of a stone bridge and then following the road I came to a tent camp. There had been heated fight between what turned out to be members of the expedition I had read about and a group of Falmer. This was a disturbing development, I so far not seen any Falmer but it was not unusual to find them living in old Dwenmer  ruins. The Falmer were to be pitied betrayed and enslaved by the Dwenmer, the once noble Snow Elves who once ruled in what is now Skyrim. The Falmer are a degenerated shadow of their ancestors and attack any one not of their own kind. They seldom venter above ground in the daylight but can be met at night near their subterranean homes, which means I shall have to be extra carful during the hours of darkness. Inspecting the aftermath of the battle I found two dead Falmer and a further two dead expedition members. I was fast becoming a carer of the dead on this island including the five expedition members and my two drowned shipmates I had buried seven souls and not forgetting the wolf made eight. The expedition had lost almost half their number already.

 

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The Falmer were obviously a real danger once they discovered strangers on their territory. staying largely close to my camp had proved a good strategy. Thus far they had not noticed my presence but how long would that last. With no usable entrances to the Dwenmer city that must be inside the mountain near to my cottage the Falmer had not yet discovered me. Here in this area with its plentiful Dwenmer ruins the danger of discovery must be much higher. I quickly scouted the camp and the close vicinity, other than the personal belongings of the expedition members the only thing of real use was another journal. Which confirmed that the ship in the harbour was theirs and it had been sunk by the reckless behaviour of two of the party member that had panicked following a previous Dwenmer attack. Following the natural slope of the land towards the sea I came across a glade with a clear pond in the middle, the air tingled with power. the cause were the remains of three slain Sprigan they must have been killed by the expedition members as there were no Falmer tracks but many human and Khajiit and others not native to this island. This was though not the strangest thing to be found, laying half in and half out of the pond was an inert Dwenmer centurion construct. There seemed to be no obvious damage it was as if the automaton had simply been turned off. I was thankful that it was not active as such a construct would be far more dangerous and difficult to kill than the sphere sentry I had already disabled. The shadows were getting longer and I did not wish to be caught outside by the Falmer at night. Their blindness would not hamper them in the dark where as I would be at a disadvantage. The Falmer emitted a clicking noise to navigate using the echo to judge distances and direction of targets. It was of such a pitch as to be all but undetectable by most except in confined places or narrow gorges, and then only if one was lucky to be in the right place to catch the sound. I decided not to return through the gorge but to travel over the ridge behind the gorge and hopefully dropping down to the bay on the other side. I was hoping that there were no more exits from the city near the ridge, nearing the summit of the ridge I heard the sound of falling rocks on the back slope of the ridge. I froze turning only my head trying to determine who or what had caused the rocks to tumble. I was still in the shadow of the ridge so I would be hidden, I hoped. The thinly wooded slope was dimly light by the two moons at quarter phase, scanning the opposite slope I at last made out a stone stairway descending through a narrow cleft in the rock face. Tracing the steps with my eyes I followed them up until they vanished into the shadow of some trees then slightly higher they became visible once more leading to a large door in the rock face. It was then that I caught the faint clicking sound as I saw three Falmer descending the steps Two carried bows and walking between them a third wearing a strange headdress and carry in a staff with a cold blue light at its tip. I guessed that his third individual was some kind of magic user and the leader of the group. I remained perfectly still almost not breathing and praying that my scent would not reach their sensitive noses. The leader was waving his fist in the face of one of the archers who cringed away, probably this was the culprit who had dislodged the stones I had heard and was now being admonished by his superior. I watched as they moved further away down towards the tents. When they were completely out of sight I stayed still for another four fingers of time before continuing on my way, it had been a close thing but for the clumsiness of the hapless archer I may well have been discovered. The going became easier now I was descending the other side of the ridge towards my cottage

 

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I was glad to be home and hopefully safe. Now fully aware of the potential danger I decided to scout the land around my sanctuary to determine where there were doorways and gates close by that led into the city. This would mean that I would have to enter each entrance I found to be sure it was a true entrance and not one that was blocked by a rock fall or other obstacle further inside the mountain. I determined to start with the door that had nearly been my down fall and then look for more as I travelled across the area. The upper gorge had no entrances only watch towers. I did see in the cliff face a door with a platform in front of it but no access from below. Also bellow the great water fall on the sea ward side of the stone bridge was another entrance near the coast both of which would need investigating. I realy hoped I would be able to keep hidden from the Falmer I had no wish to kill them. They were after all distant relatives of my people and deserved pity for their plight after being blinded and enslaved by the Dwenmer, and then abandoned by them after the great disappearance. The Falmer finding themselves alone but with no knowledge of how to use the Dwenmer artefacts degenerated into the tormented beings they now were trusting none and attacking all not of their own. And who could blame them they had once been the Snow Elves of what is now Skyrim their land stolen by the invading Nords.

That night I had a strange dream, I awoke in the depths of the night  A cool draught coming in through the open door and there standing in the doorway was the great white wolf I had buried yesterday or at least his twin. He scratched the floor with his claws and whined softly at me and turned to leave then turned back lowering the front of his body in that way his kind invite their brothers and sisters to play then he skipped a few paces away then returned to repeat the invitation again for that is what it appeared to be. I rose from my sleeping robes and walked towards him, strangely I felt no fear, I held out my hand palm upwards as I would if greeting a strange dog. The wolf sniffed it and nudged it with his nose then moved a few steps away then returned to stare at me and then left again. This time I followed him At first his pace was the same as my walking pace then he began to speed up to a a fast trot Then he began to stretch out in that steady mile eating loop that wolves use when running down their prey. I noticed suddenly this was not the woods of the island but an old and ancient place far older than the trees I was used to. we ran and ran how far I could not tell but I felt no fatigue and just kept on following with no idea where we were going. Then ahead I saw a bright light as we came closer it became ever brighter. Then we burst into a clearing filled with the brightest light I have ever seen, then I was alone and not running any more and then I was falling but I was falling slowly drifting like a feather settling to the ground as a bird has just flown away shedding some of its loose feathers. And then I awoke in truth as from a dream to the sun shining in through the open door. The open door I was sure I had shut last night before sleeping.

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  • 3 weeks later...

After my strange dream I wondered if I was after all loosing my mind, it had seemed so real but that could not be. I had seen no landscape so far on this island that resembled that in my dream. Although this island was large it was not so large as to be able to hide such a place. I tried to forget the dream but it remained in a small corner of my mind just on the edge of remembrance. Shaking my head I went out on to the dock and welcomed the returning sun as it bought the next day into the world. I repeated the words of my daily ritual and prepared my self for the day to come. When I had finished my breakfast I gathered some supplies and left the dock on my way towards the gorge. It did not take long to discover that none of the doors or buildings had direct access to the Dwenmer city ruins within the mountain. There remained the entrance by the sea to investigate but after observing a couple of Falmer and another of the Falmer magic users guarding that entrance I decide to try another day to investigate there. Falmer above ground and active in day light is an unusual occurrence, They where probably on high alert after finding the expedition camp site so close to their home.

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I went to check the camp site but it appeared that no one had been back since the attack. Walking past the centurion by the Sprigan pond I looked over the cliff to the sea and saw a large ship beached on the strand. It had obviously been there a long time I could see from the cliff that it was much over grown and in very bad repair. Never the less I determined to investigate there may be some thing of use even now. Following a narrow cut in the cliff down to the beach I spotted a few crabs scuttling off into the surf at my approach, laying under an over hang beneath the cliff lay several skeletons. The ship was another victim of the rocky coast of this island and proved to be beyond repair as well as rotten the ship had been gradually breaking up in the years that it had Laine there. Under the over hang a pile of crates and barrels lay randomly stacked. they where completely empty and laying around the site a large number of broken or empty bottles lay abandoned. trapped on the beach and possibly injured the survivors had eaten their supplies and consoled themselves with the last of their grog. I found a ships log that at first was filled in in the normal way but as I read the entries became more rambling and confused. The later entries spoke of approaching madness and despair. There was one intriguing entry towards the end that spoke of a hidden treasure and cryptic instructions on where to find it. By counting skulls it appeared that only three had survived the wreck, I gathered what bones I could find And built yet another cairn for the victims of this island. I wondered how long it would be before I too became also a victim.

Returning to the cliff top I began to travel the old road to I knew not where, but I felt the need to at least have some idea where the Falmer where most likely to be so I could avoid them. Now it was day light it was easy to find the stairway leading to the hidden door way of a few nights ago. The door opened quite easily a sign that it was often used, inside I came to two passages taking first the one to the left I cautiously move on until I reached another door. Listening I could hear the sound of rushing water on opening the door I came out on the platform between the two waterfalls. The view was magnificent, after a last look I re-entered the complex and went on to the second passage. Descending a stone stair case and following a few changes of direction I came to a second inner door. This door also opened easily and before me was an indoor lake and a view of many impressive Dwenmer buildings many built into the rock and in different states of repair. In the distance I saw a few Falmer moving around but to far away to be a direct danger.

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The cavern was filled with giant mushrooms that gave off a ethereal light, not that the Falmer needed it but it made my observations all the more convenient. Hanging from the ceiling of the cavern was a large dimly yellow glowing sphere like some burnt out sun. On the shore across the underground lake an enormous tower rose from the floor and through the ceiling, I wondered if it continued to an exit higher up the mountain.. Having seen enough I climbed back to the exit door and re-joined the road and continued on my way. The next few hours passed uneventfully, until breasting an incline of the road my eyes fell upon a small body of water and my ears picked up the unmistakable song of Nairn root plants in and around the pond a stone pier pointed out to the centre of the pond and at its end another large statue with an inscription to the god under the mountain and how he would wash away the enemies in the waters. now a days journey from my base I was glad to discover another stone cottage. I would be able to spend a night secure and relatively safe thanks to the Dwenmer. Settling in for the night I was lulled to sleep by the song of the Nairn root plant.

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I awoke from my sleep, I had heard something but did not yet know what. My senses had been aroused to warn me of possible danger my subconscious mind must have registered some noise or smell. I glanced at my cooking fire it was still out I had doused it last night after cooking my meal. I still heard nothing but I knew enough to trust my feelings, I would have to investigate. I took my bow and some arrows before carefully cracking the door to test the wind, taking a breath through my nose I detected the metallic tang of blood. It was faint thus not close but I would at least have to cast around a small distance to be sure that no immediate danger threatened. There was little moon light Secunda was at quarter phase and Masser was but a sliver, also there was intermittent cloud blown by the wind alternately covering the moons then allowing for a brief moment some illumination. I followed the broken stone wall that followed the cliff edge, its shadow afforded me some cover. To my left the lake with its statue looking towards the sea was flat and calm. I saw no sign that there had been any disturbance from that quarter. Then I stopped, listening I thought I could hear something ahead but it was still indistinct. My eyes where now more accustomed to the darkness, it had helped that there had been no light in my cottage. The clouds began to clear allowing more light from the moons meagre though it was it did improve my vision of the landscape. Ahead was the old road then a gentle slope up to the crags of the mountain. I scanned the slope looking for movement, the smell of blood was stronger now I must be getting closer. If not animals it almost had to be Falmer, The mages and mercenaries if still alive would be making much more noise. Then I caught movement on the open grassy slope, now knowing where to look I concentrated on the spot trying to make sense of what I was looking at. The wind was blowing diagonally towards me so I chanced to move a little closer. I had been right I could now see two of them crouched on the slope doing something near the ground. It then dawned on me that they where dressing an elk they where a hunting party. I marvelled at their skill to shoot a fleeing animal with only the help of their clicking and smell. To me it seemed impossible but to them it was of course every day and nothing special.  It was obvious that isolated on this island they had no need to be cautious on the surface, unlike their brothers and sisters on the main land. thus they where more often to be seen, although I suspected that the majority of their time was spent underground still. There had been no evidence of permeant habitation any where above ground so far. One last event drove home to me just how dangerous these Falmer where, a fox was circling the dressing sight hoping to scavenge a meal. The animal must of got closer than the Falmer wanted and one of them stood drew his bow and shot the fox all in one smooth movement. It certainly matched my own skill if it did not exceed it, My respect for these exiles grew, I also wondered if their fall from civilization was as low as most would believe. I was yet again saddened that we could not meet as equals and the cousins that we where, we could learn so much from each other.

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The Falmer who had shot the fox retrieved the animal and slung it over his shoulder, I then watched as they hung the elk on a pole and carried it between them up the slope to a doorway I had yet to discover. A task for the morning, as they disappeared from sight I then returned to my robes to sleep until morning. 

 

On waking the next morning after my morning ritual and breakfast I first inspected the hill  side looking for the door the Falmer had used. The Falmer had gutted the elk removed the organs but left the offal not that much remained the scavengers had cleaned most of the refuse already.  Following the Falmer tracks was an easy task in the daylight, thinking themselves  alone on the island there was no need to hide their trail. The tracks led to the same door I had discovered already on my way here so back tracking I picked up the rest of my gear I first refilled my water skins at the lake, then re-joined the road an followed it further. The weather was pleasant and the journey not difficult so I was enjoying my day although keeping alert  to my surroundings. With the sea on my left and following the road the morning slid past almost unnoticed. The ground was getting more uneven and rocky and to my right the gassy hillside was getting lower the craggy cliff getting ever closer to the road. Around noon I heard a sound I would rather not of heard, the roaring cry of a mountain troll. Should I turn back A troll in its rage is a very formidable opponent, then I spied a ledge along the cliff face high enough to be out of reach of the Troll. He could of course climb up to me, trolls being very agile for their size but I hoped I could kill it as it climbed if nessercery. As I inched my way along the ledge it began to turn towards my right and luckily for me a row of shielding rocks now hid me from view from bellow. I could still hear the troll raging bellow, peering over the rocks I saw the troll fighting a pack of wolves who had cornered him against a rocky cliff. The wolves were having the worst of it two lay dead and the troll seemed likely to win the encounter his vast strength and regenerative abilities made him all but invincible. The wolves realizing they had bitten off more than they could chew began to retreat leaving their dead pack mates behind. The Troll continued to throw rocks after the retreating wolves but was content to let them go.. Picking up one of the dead wolves he began to dismember it and eat the meat. It was then that I realized that the Troll was not sitting on a rock but on a carved stone stair way. raising my viewpoint I saw a large Dwenmer building, the largest I had seen above ground so far . I concluded that if I wished to explore this building .which I did, I would first have to kill the troll. I was already in an advantageous position and I had brewed some strong poison to tip my arrows in just for this sort of eventuality. Trolls can absorb an awful amount of physical damage and regenerate at an alarming rate the poison should how ever give me that slight advantage but hopefully enough to defeat the troll. He was already weakened by his fight with the wolves but that would not last long. I dipped several of my arrows in my poison tincture and began shooting arrows into the troll as fast as I could. It took ten arrows to defeat the troll as he collapsed I waited for the poison to finish him. I waited some time to be sure he was truly dead then descended th the road and approached cautiously. I skinned the troll and took some of his meat and some long bones then left the rest for the local predators. 

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The building looked like a temple of some sort or at least as if it had been important. One stairway led to the building  and another climbed the cliff face and disappeared. The towers where both in a very bad way neither could be entered the inner floors had collapsed and made the entrances impassable. The main stairway led first to a passage through the building on to a terrace with a fine view of the coast some distance up the coast I could see a watch tower that I will investigate next thought when I am finished here.

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In the passage way was another blocked door. Next I climbed to a balcony facing back the way I had come then to a door in the end of the building the on to another balcony on the other side. I entered the door and found a chamber filled with Dwenmer machinery. it was obviously damaged and had long since ceased to work. Through a lens in the ceiling a beam of sun light shone down onto a round table with a crystal sphere in a broken and miss aligned holder. The crystal like the power sphere I had founf intrigued me so I took it from its place and placed in my satchel.

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Seeing little more of use I left and made my way Up the long stair way at the top a platform traversed the face of the cliff then petered out forcing me to climb further along the cliff face. Thankfully it was not too difficult as there where ample ledges and, foot and hand holds to help me on my way. As I progressed I could hear a waterfall ahead which I soon reached, above me was a ruined stairway leading to a platform as I climbed up to investigate I could see two Dwenmer sentinel spheres as I got closer one sprang into life and started buzzing around the platform but could come no closer as the waterfall was in the way. Behind the platform was a Dwenmer door As it was getting late and the sun would soon set I elected to go down to the watch tower and spend the night there and hopefully safe from any Falmer that emerged in the night. The tower door squealed as I opened it a sure sign that it had not been used in a long while. climbing the internal stair well I discovered I was not its only occupant. Laying on the floor was a skeleton long picked clean this was not a recent visitor. There was a mouldy satchel on a table looking inside was a journal recording that my room mate was also a cast away like my self. he or she new of the Falmer and was sheltering in the tower as I was, let us hope that I do not meet the same fate. How long the skeleton had lain here I could not tell it could be but a few years or a hundred or more. Using some Dwenmer struts I barricaded the door and ate a cold meal not wishing to attract attention to my self with a fire. I settled to sleep I would bury my companion in the morning.

 

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This morning when I woke I decided to not bury the bones out side the tower but to arrange them on the bedding that lay inside the tower and sing his spirit to the lands of his ancestors. The remains where much more likely to remain undisturbed here than under a cairn outside being so close to a Dwenmer door and the Falmer. I first went to the roof to welcome the sun to the new day, then returned to lay the un known traveller to rest. I hoped that his spirit could now find its way to what ever place his people went when they died. The task complete I stepped out of the door into the sunshine then walking to the stream I filled my water skins with fresh water before climbing back up to the door way. Scrambling over the rocks I reached a point opposite the door way the stream racing to the sea before me. The water travelled at such a speed it would be impossible to wade across. There was A fallen tree almost bridging the gap but it would be a risky task to traverse the stream by that route but there was no other so I must try. There was only the Dwenmer sphere sentinel to be dealt with first. Like the other sphere I had already encountered I was able to disable it with arrows. Now the path over the tree trunk must be followed to the other side. I slung my bow over my back and crawled across then jumped the last few feet to the platform. Once across I gathered what arrows were still usable and inspected the two spheres that yielded some Dwenmer oil and a few gems, what the gems did in these constructs I had no idea but they where found in all Dwenmer machinery so presumably they had some kind of function. A small flight of steps led up to the door and at its foot was a small table here I found another of the strange spheres. I still had no inkling of their purpose, but I had the feeling they where important so into my bag it went. Passing through the door I entered a tunnel that after a couple of yards began to slope upwards. Here and there lay piles of rubble but not enough to be a problem. At the top the tunnel turned left and then right and started to descend once more and at its end another door.

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At the door I paused debating if I should go any further. I had learn little so far but had travelled quite far into the mountain.  After some thought I decided to try one more door if the Falmer signs became to many I would retreat. The door opened onto a small chamber there where a few musical instruments and some writing materials but nothing of any real use at this stage. On the other side of the room a door led to a new tunnel now with a much higher ceiling, I must be coming to the main part of the complex. keeping as much as possible in the shadows I followed the passage. then I realized why stay in the shadows the Falmer cannot see, it was much more important to be silent and up wind of them so they could not smell or hear me. At the end of the passage was a very large chamber ,cathedral in its proportions. There was a small group of four or five Falmer in the room but they seemed not to have noticed me and left out of one of four exits. Opposite me was another open passage but left and right of me where two doors. As the group left I had a glimpse of the main cavern before the doors closed once more. The chamber looked to be some kind of meeting place or possibly a theatre I thought remembering the musical instruments. there where rows of stone benches each side of the chamber with an isle through centre. Also opposite the entrance to the main cavern was a raised platform that may have been a stage. the door behind the stage opened to an smaller chamber with tables and some more writing materials. The last passage led to a stairway and a small room. The Falmer were using the large chamber as a barrack room with small shelters spaced around the room. I had seen enough and back tracked back to the surface. Coming out back into the sun light I waited until my eyes became accustomed to the light once more.

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