The Elder Scrolls

The Gift of Azura

The vessel sways back and forth violently. There is lightning and heavy rain striking the deck. It is a dark night as the ship carries a cargo of slaves from the island of Vvardenfell to the mainland of Morrowind. Down below, in the storage area, some slaves sit silently in their dread while others talk, or cry. No one was sleeping tonight as they all felt the looming dread of the slave market before them.

One mer in particular seems to be in the center of them. Lit by the single lantern in the entire cargo bay. His beard is grey and his eyes are white. The skin of the dunmer was aged. Upon hearing a young group of mer speaking of home, and of an alleged Nerevarine, he began to talk.

“No one knows what happened that day on Red Mountain.” He said aloud, surprising the young mer to his side. Several shift and begin to look at him, listening.

“The Temple tells one story…The Ashlanders tell another. The Temple doesn’t want us talking about it. Might get the Ordinators sent on you and end up in the water between St. Olms and Delyn."

Most of the mer in the hold are looking at him now, somewhat distressed over his words yet they listen with rapt attention. The vessel continues to rock heavily side to side.

“There is another story though. A dark story. A deep story. A story of betrayal that cries in the bones of mother Morrowind. You can hear it in your sleep, when you dream of home. It’s like letting the comfort of an old memory take over.”

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There is a heavy crash against the side of the boat. The wood creaks and there is a commotion on the deck up above. There is shouting, lots of it. Some of the slaves jump in fright yet most continue listening to the old mer.

Without missing a beat, he continues. “The dreams are images of old Resdayn. The land is harsh

and the sky crimson, choked with ash. The people are golden and filled with life. There is a young mer, a King, training to be a warrior and a friend with a fascination for knowledge. They are happy.”

“There are images of war.” The old mer says. “and of metal clashing against fire. The air is ablaze with ash and magick. A terrifying beauty.” There is a pause as he stares blankly towards the edge of the ship. After a moment of silence, he says “But then the dream always turns to deep anger. Feelings of a friend cast down into the dirt, as Witness to the usurping of the King. Of Rebels stealing divinity from the Prisoner at the heart of Nirn. It ends with a blinding light that turns to shadow, sadness, pain, and regret.”

The mer look around nervously, not knowing what this all means. Most are only familiar with the basics of what the temple doctrine says. They’ve heard nothing of these tales or dreams.

“No one knows exactly what happened all those years ago.” He continues. “We know only that

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our Lord Nerevar never returned whilst three new Gods walked in his place.”

“But there is one other thing that is clear, painfully clear, and that is on that day an entire people were changed forever. The Chimer were marked grey with ash and their eyes turned as red as the fire of the caldera. Some say this is a curse and I say nay, it is a boon. This is Azura protecting us.”

Many of the slaves continue to look upon the old mer in confusion. They are unsure of what they are hearing. It seems likes the mad ramblings of a senile old priest and yet…it strikes something in their core. An old feeling that they had long forgotten.

There is another crash against the hull of the vessel, louder then the first, and many of the mer begin to panic. In their fear they attempt to stand but are pulled back to floor as their heavy iron chains weigh them down, a stark reminder of their fate.

The old mer seemingly unphased by the increasing anxiety of the situation continues on. “Tell me my fellow mer, who else could have lived, and prospered, on such a wretched landscape as that of Morrowind? Our crimson eyes shield our vision from the harsh ashen storms and our darkened skin protects from the smoldering heat.”

“Thanks to Azura we became a new people. A resilient and proud society of strong mer. She foresaw the future of our people and took mercy, and gifted us these miracles to ensure our survival. The trials of Azura are the fires of change that shape us!”

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The old mer is yelling now, trying to overpower the sounds of the chaos around him. “We will be saved brothers and sisters!”

There is another crash and this time it sounds like it is coming from every direction at once. Water begins pouring in from multiple directions. The mer lose focus as the ship itself continues to break apart. There is nothing but chaos as the shattered body of the vessel sinks into the cold depths of the sea.

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