|Posted on June 20, 2014 at 5:35 PM|
I had no idea what to say about what Caius had told me. He had told me what my father nor my stepmother (who turned out now, to also be my aunt) and that - for some reason - the Emperor knew about this and thought I might fulfill the Nerevarine Prophecies.
"What happened to my father after that?" I asked. That had never been made clear to me.
"He tried to use Necromancy to revive his wife and son," Caius said, "didn't work and no one was particularly happy about it, either. Necromancy is illegal in Morrowind - especially here in Vvardenfell."
I felt as if someone had punched me in the stomach. So that was why my father didn't like magic.
"Here," Caius said, handing me a few pieces of paper. "These are some notes and letters that should explain everything to you. One of them is the decoded package that was given to me when you arrived. Read it later, Ulina. It should explain everything."
I didn't want to read it later. I wanted to read it now. I wanted to know why I was so important to the Emperor for me to be sent all the way to Vvardenfell to stop a threat when I knew so little. However, I did as Caius said and stuffed the paper into my packpack.
"As you'll see in the decoded message, the Emperor and his counselors say you have the 'appearance' of satisfying the conditions of the prophecy," Caius continued. "Do you really satisfy the prophecy? Are you really the prophesied Nerevarine?"
I then knew, from the tone in Caius's voice, that he thought the theory was just as stupid as I did. Even if I didn't know who my real parents were anymore, that didn't mean I was the Nerevarine. I was sure Julan was.
"At first, I thought we were just supposed to create a persuasive impostor," Caius admitted, "now I don't know what to think. But I am sure of one thing. This is not just primitive superstition, and we will treat it seriously, just as his Majesty commands."
I honestly didn't know how to respond. I thought the Emperor was insane. Pulling our random prisoners from prison - and then expecting them to stop Dagoth Ur?
"So. Zainsubani says Sul-Matuul and Nibani Maesa at Urshilaku camp are the heads of the Nerevarine cult," Caius said. "So I'm sending you to speak with them. Tell them your story, and have them test you against the Nerevarine prophecies. As heads of the Nerevarine cult, they can best judge whether you satisfy the prophecies. When you've spoken with them, report back to me."
Caius gave me more gold, and then told me to get other supplies at Fort Moonmoth, and marked the Fort's location on my map. I said goodbye, then left Caius's small house. It has already started raining, I thought sadly. Julan probably wouldn't be happy that I left him out here in the rain.
Julan was sitting on the stairs leading to the upstairs apartment, doing his best to keep out of the ran. He already looks upset, I thought. I had no idea what I was going to say.
"OK, I'm back," I said, "and we're going up north, so - Julan, what's going on?"
"Nothing," he said, "except for the fact that you're a faithless, traitorous N'WAH!"
When he said those words, I felt frozen to the spot. How does he -?
But Julan continued, his face twisted into an expression filled with rage.
"You SCUM. You LIAR," he spat. "I thought I could trust you, I had even IDIOT that I am started to think I might... gah! Forget that now, NOW you have betrayed me in the WORST possible way!"
"Julan," I finally had the courage to speak. I had the feeling I knew what he was talking about, but wanted to make sure. Just in case I brought it up and then he would really be hurt. "Just what is this about?"
"I knew something was up!" Julan yelled, "so I used our telepathy rings to listen in on your and Cosades's conversation!"
I narrowed my eyes.
"So, you heard the whole thing, did you?" I asked, my tone coming out much colder than I intended. "So, go on. You think you know oh so much about me that you decided to spy on me -"
"WHAT!?" If Julan was angry before, he was certainly outraged now. "You accuse me of spying? You're the godsdamned spy, Ulina! Mephala…I know that now. I know you're an Imperial spy! Of all people, I never thought you would spy for my most hated enemies. And that's not even the worst of it!"
Now I was angry! He had been spying on our conversation and now he was trying to pass judgment. Who did Julan think he was, king of the world?
"What is the worst, then?" I yelled, feeling blood rush to my face as I did so. I saw Julan sigh heavily and then shook his head.
"You're trying to pass yourself off as the Nerevarine!" He shouted. "YOU! AN OUTLANDER! How dare you mock me, and not just me, my people, my religion and my entire CULTURE!"
"Oh, you think this is easy for me?" I demanded, insulted by the fact that he was implying that I did find it easy; as if I knew the Emperor's idea all along. "You think I had a say in this?"
"I don't give a damn!" Julan screamed. "Of course you have a say! You're standing there, preparing to go to the Urshilaku and con them into accepting you as the fulfilment of the prophecies! It's the most offensive and ridiculous thing I've ever heard!"
I did have to agree with Julan there; the whole thing was offensive and ridiculous to me too, just for different reasons. Not that I really wanted to admit it to him right now.
"I am not going to 'con the Urshilaku,'" I seethed, cruelly imitating Julan's angry tone of voice. "I'm going to them so they can test me, you idiotic s'wit. Then, we'll see what they think. Stop acting like I'm some idiotic Outlander - like I haven't been paying attention to anything over the past few months!"
Julan said nothing, just bit his lip and glared at me.
"I had no idea that Caius would send me to do this, Julan," I continued, "no idea what he'd say about my parents -"
Oh! I had brought up my parents!
"Oh?" Julan raised his eyebrows, "What about your parents?"
"They…I don't even know if they were my real parents anymore," I blurted. There was no other way to put it.
Julan gave me a scornful look. "And why should I believe a word you say anymore?" He snapped. "I just... can't believe you could do this to me!"
"Oh, it's always about you, is it?" I snarked. "How do you think I feel?"
Julan's eyes widened. "You? How do you - stop changing the subject, Ulina! You lied to me! Gods, you must have been laughing all along. How could you lie about something so important to me?"
"Maybe because I knew you would act this way!" I shouted, loudly enough for several of the streets inhabitants turned to stare at us. That was when I made a silent prayer and hoped that no one had heard me and Julan yelling about the Nerevarine.
"What?" Julan demanded, "are you saying I'm overreacting? You betrayed me and I will never forgive you."
He sat these last words with such anger that it made me feeling like shaking and bursting into tears, but I didn't. There was no way I was going to burst into tears in front of Julan right now.
"Just go, Julan," I said to him. "If you're never going to forgive me, feel free to walk away."
I turned to walk down the stone steps in front of us, but Julan viciously grabbed ahold of my arm.
"No," He snapped. "You're not getting rid of me of me that easily. You think I'm going to sit back and let you mislead my people?"
I narrowed my eyes. "Oh, really? And you think they'll listen to you? You're an exile as well as a complete s'wit."
"Go on, twist the knife. You've already buried it in my back. Yes, I'm an outcast, yes no one will listen to a word I say, but I have to try. I can't let you do this. You'll have to kill me."
"Maybe I will!" I shrieked. I may as well have been a banshee.
Julan suddenly stepped back several feet - as if I had cast a terrible destruction spell on him.
"Just try it, Ulina," he spat, "I dare you."
I didn't move.
"That's what I thought," Julan snorted in disgust as he said those words, "you may have betrayed me; but I will not let you betray all of Morrowind to the Empire!"
At that moment, I felt as if the falling rain was fitting to how I felt.
Julan and I didn't say another word to each other while we traveled from Balmora to Fort Moonmoth, where I got the potions and supplies and then got the Silt Strider to Maar Gan. Julan not only refused to talk to me, but also refused to carry and of my things. When we were on the Silt Strider, he sat as far away from me as physically possible. While we were on the Silt Strider, I opened the notes I had been given by Caius, the first being the decoded letter.
To Spymaster Caius Cosades, Knight-Errant of the Imperial Order of Blades, Director of Imperial Intelligence in Vvardenfell District, Eastern Provinces,
I have the honor to acquaint you with his Majesty's wishes concerning Ulina Therayn, an individual of no rank or consequence.
Therayn has been released from prison by his Majesty's authority and sent to you with this missive. Therayn is to be entered as a Novice in the Imperial Order of the Blades, and is to serve under your absolute authority as you shall see fit, except insofar as his Majesty's particular wishes are concerned.
His Majesty's particular wishes are as follows.
A local superstition holds that an orphan and outcast, a youth born on a certain day to uncertain parents, shall unite all the tribes of the Dunmer, drive out the invaders of Morrowind, and shall reestablish the ancient laws and customs of the Dark Elven nations. This orphan and outcast is called in legend the "Nerevarine," and is supposed to be a reincarnation of the long-dead Dunmer General and First Councilor, Lord Indoril Nerevar.
Therayn has the appearance of meeting the conditions of this local superstition. Therefore it is his Majesty's desire that Therayn shall, insofar as is possible, satisfy the conditions of this ancient prophecy, and shall become the Nerevarine.
Though this prophecy is indeed only an ancient local superstition, his Majesty has taken counsel on this matter with his most expert informants and confidants, and his Majesty is persuaded that the prophecy is genuine and significant, either in its entirety, or in its several parts, and he earnestly demands you treat this matter with the utmost seriousness.
Certain aspects of this ancient superstition are described at the end of this document, and further materials will be forthcoming by courier at the earliest occasion. It will, of course, be necessary that you acquaint yourself better with the details of this ancient superstition from your local sources. Since this matter intimately concerns Therayn, it is expected that you will employ her to gather information on this subject. His Majesty has taken a great personal interest in the legends and prophecies of the Nerevarine, and eagerly awaits reports your reports.
I have the honor to be, Sir, your most Humble and Obedient Servant,
Glabrio Bellienus, Personal Secretary to the Emperor.
I read the letter two or three times, still trying to understand why the Emperor thought I could fulfill these prophecies. It seemed absolutely ridiculous. That the man was insane.
In that moment, I then realized I hated the Emperor; he had sent me here, tore me out of prison and sent me to a strange province all because I 'might' fullfill the Nerevarine prophecies?
And yet, unfortunately, I owed the man everything.
The next piece of paper wasn't anything official; in fact, I could tell it was addressed directly to me.
It was from my father.
I pleaded with the officials, including Phillida, to set you free but they wouldn't have it. Eventually, I sent a letter to the Emperor. He agreed to set you free, but you had to be sent to Vvardenfell.
That wasn't the life I wanted for you or for your sister. I didn't want you to go back there, but it was better than you rotting away in the prisons of the Imperial City, so I accepted.
I know it will be awhile before you get to read this, but I know that given the situation you have been placed in you must be frightened out of your wits. Vvardenfell is a harsh world for those unfamiliar with it; the surroundings are different, the people unwelcoming, etc. I know that I may never see you again, but please, just take care of yourself and try not to get yourself killed. Follow your orders and do as Caius Cosades tells you.
Lastly, there is something you should know; I am not your real father. Llethsea wasn't your real mother, either. But I've taken care of you for almost sixteen years and I feel you are as much my daughter as Eriama is. Also, seeing as I knew you would ask about Eriama were this a real conversation, I have decided to tell you about her. She has run away. I have no idea where she is, but it would be best if she didn't come back given what happened. I only hope and pray that she isn't dead.
My tears streamed onto the piece of paper. How dare they keep this from me too! How dare they! They had no right!
Julan was mad at me, the Emperor believed I could fulfill an ancient prophecy, and my sister! She had run away from my father! I hoped she was safe too.
That was what kept me going through the next few days, the feeling of absolute anger. I was angry at Julan, angry at the Emperor and his advisers, angry at Caius and even angry at my parents for keeping all of this information from me my whole life. They had no right to do that at all.
For three days, Julan and I trudged through Vvardenfell, until we almost reached Khuul, a pathetic little fishing town on the northern coast.
"We're nearing the Urshilaku Camp now," Julan said. These were the first few words he had said to me in three days, aside from the absolutely necessary words like "excuse me" or "sorry."
"I suppose you'll want to speak to their Ashkhan," he continued.
"Of course," I replied, not turning to face him at all.
"So, what will you tell them?" Julan asked bitterly. "They'll just laugh at you, you know, Ulina. You're an outlander, so you could never be the Nerevarine. Why are you even bothering?"
"I'm not even sure myself," I confessed.
"Yeah?" Julan's voice was still bitter, greatly annoying me. "Well I say you're still wasting your time."
"Maybe I am," I replied, "But I'd still appreciate you staying out of it. Don't start yelling that I'm an Imperial."
Even though I couldn't see his face, I could almost hear Julan scowl.
"But you are!"
With every step, I was nearing the Urshilaku camp, and it looked full of life.
"They're going to test me," I said to Julan sharply. "That means if I fail none of this will matter. I won't be able to claim I'm the Nerevarine. But if you start, they'll refuse to even talk to me, and then you'll have no proof I'm a fake."
"I suppose it's a good point…"
"Good," I replied angrily, "I'm so glad you agree. Now keep your damn mouth shut."
"Fine! But I'm not doing it to help you," was Julan's irritated response.
That was when we continued towards the Urshilaku Camp, not saying another word to one another.