|Posted on June 20, 2014 at 7:25 PM|
The way back to Balmora was an easier trip, understandably so considering I had been cured. Though I couldn't stop staring at the wildlife; it felt as if I was seeing how beautiful Vvardenfell was for the first time. The creatures were walking along the road peacefully, interesting flora was flowing through the breeze and when it got darker, I thought I saw fireflies.
"It's so pretty," I remarked.
"Though you've seen it before," Julan pointed out.
"Corprus make you appreciate the little things in life," I replied, then we continued onwards towards Balmora.
Caius was pleased when he saw I had been cured of Corprus, even though he didn't show it as much as Julan had.
"Thank you for your report, Ulina, I'm very happy you've been cured," he said. "Unfortunately, I've had a bit of bad news."
"Bad news?" I asked. I had a very bad feeling then.
"I've been recalled to the Imperial City," Caius replied. "You'll be promoted to Operative, and will head the Blades here in Vvardenfell until I return. I've only waited here to give you your final orders before I go."
I shook my head. "Promoted...to Operative?"
"That's right," the Imperial said. "That makes you the ranking Blades agent here in Vvardenfell district. As far as I know. There may be other Blades agents here I don't know about. It wouldn't surprise me. I may be gone a while, and you'll have expenses."
I didn't have to say anything. I was now very much used to Caius handing me bags of gold by now. He had been doing that for months.
"Here's some gold," he said. "And you can use the house until I return."
He also grabbed a pile of neatly folded black clothes, and handed them to me.
"And I won't be needing these blacks or the ring while I'm in Cyrodiil. Maybe they'll come in handy. Take good care of them, Ulina."
It's all happening so fast! He can't leave now. I can't do this all on my own!
"Why are you being recalled?" I demanded. "I mean, maybe you can stop it."
Caius shook his head.
"Internal politics...some concern about my sugar. I thought about refusing the recall, but they have members of my family back in the capital. I'm afraid it may have something to do with the problems with the succession. As the Emperor's health declines, factions are maneuvering for advantage. I may be gone a while - that's why you're promoted to Operative, Therayn."
It was suddenly all business again.
"But don't you worry about that," he continued. "Continue pursuing the Nerevarine prophecies, as the Emperor commands. First, go to the Hall of Wisdom and Justice, and get Mehra Milo to help you find the lost prophecies. She's being watched; if something has gone wrong, find her private quarters; she'll leave you a message there under the code word -"
"'Amaya,' I know," I said.
"Right," Caius nodded. "Then take the lost prophecies to Nibani Maesa. From that point, you'll have to follow her directions, and follow the prophecies. Good luck, Ulina."
That was when Caius cast a recall spell and disappeared from the room.
Vivec was the next destination for me. I had only been here once before and I was starting to hate it. The city was like a maze and it took and hour for me and Julan to finally reach the Temple district, with the Ministry of Truth floating overhead and the Ordinators giving us extremely nasty looks.
"Just wait," Julan said, "if any of them start coming up to us and saying 'we're watching you, scum,' then I'm going to have to punch them in the face."
"Julan!" I snapped, nodding towards a group of Ordinators who were still giving us nasty looks.
Julan shook his head. "What N'wahs."
The library where we met Mehra last time was almost empty, and there was no sign of her.
"We haven't seen her since last night," one of the librarians said nervously, trying and failing to ignore Julan's angry look. "She might be in her quarters, though."
So Mehra's quarters we went. The doors were locked, and I had to do my best to pick the lock while Julan was distracting the Ordinators. After breaking several handmade lockpicks, I managed to get the door open. The room looked neat and tidy, even though there was no sign of Mehra here at all. There was a not on the desk, however, and I picked it up and began to read it in a hurry.
Sorry I missed you. I had to run some old documents over to the Inquisitor at the Ministry of Truth, and I'm likely to be tied up there for a while. Why don't you meet me there as soon as you can? Then we can leave together as soon as I'm done. And Amaya, don't forget to bring me the two Divine Intervention scrolls you borrowed. Or, if you used them, buy a couple of new ones for me. I think I'm going to need them soon. Janand Maulinie at the Mages Guild in the Foreign Quarter keeps them in stock.
Alvela Saram is the guard at the entrance; just tell her you're looking for me, and she'll let you in.
Your faithful friend,
PS: I left a couple of Levitate potions here for you, just in case. I couldn't remember if you knew the spell or not, so I drew a couple from stock.
I was furious; I could just imagine poor Mehra hastily writing the letter while Ordinators were banging on her door, waiting to drag her away.
"Julan!" I asked. "We don't have any Divine Intervention Scrolls, do we?"
"No," he said. "But...why?"
I handed him the note, and Julan read through it hastily.
"Damn those Ordinators! We need to get her out of there!"
The Mage's Guild had not two but three scrolls for the journey, and I spent a great deal of the gold Caius gave me to buy them before he left for Cyrodiil. Then, when we arrived back at the Temple District, Julan and I used the Levitation potions Mehra left.
"This place looks a lot smaller from up here," Julan remarked.
Up ahead, there was a tall Dunmer woman dressed in Ordinator garb. She had a stern look on her face. I guessed she was Alvela.
"I'm sorry, but no Pilgrims are allowed into the Ministry of truth at this time," she began, "I'm afraid I'll have to ask you to - wait, you're not here to see anyone, are you?"
"I'm Ulina Therayn," I said.
Alvela's expression softened. "Mehra said you might be coming." She then handed me a very large key. "I'll say you subdued me with magic and stole my key. It opens all three exterior doors - the upper back door is best. You'll need other keys for other doors inside."
"Where can we find them?" I asked.
Alvela looked nervous now. Under any other circumstances I would have laughed; a frightened Ordinator was a hilarious thing.
"Search for the keys in desks; no one carries keys while on duty," she explained. "Mehra is in Prison Keep in the cell on the far right. Mehra said you'd bring scrolls to get out."
"I have," I said, nodding down towards the small pack I had around my waist. Alvela nodded.
"Some of us are sympathetic to the Dissident priests, but kill an Ordinator, and you'll lose that sympathy," she said. I saw Julan scowl. "Now get going."
The inside of the Ministry of Truth was cold and dark, and I swore I accidentally stepped on a large bug, and let out a sound of disgust, then tried my best to be quiet. There were sure to be Ordinators nearby, and the thought of one of them catching us scared me to death.
The first key was in a small enclosed office on a large desk. Julan quickly grabbed it and we went to the next room, where two female Ordinators were sitting at a round, wooden table drinking what I thought was Sujamma. Shouldn't they know better than to drink on the job? I thought, but said nothing.
The Prison Keep was at the very end of the hallway we had entered, with Ordinators going back and forth. Pretty soon, one of them was sure to catch us. I turned to Julan and lowered my voice to a whisper.
"OK, you need to find a place to hide," I said, "and I'll sneak in and get Mehra. I'll summon you by Telepathy when I'm ready for you."
The Prison Keep was filled with people I didn't want to have anything to do with; murderers, thieves and there were also those who had whispered conversations about them being the Nerevarine. I forced myself to turn away and find Mehra, who was in the same cell Alvela directed me too.
"Ulina!" She cried in surprise. "I didn't expect to see you here so soon."
I smiled at her, then rubbed Julan's ring that was on my finger.
"I'm going to take a guess and say it's time for me to go to you, right?" His voice inside my head said.
"Yes," I responded, then Julan appeared. Mehra shook her head and said, "however the both of you managed to get in past the Ordinators without getting caught I don't know. Anyways, I need a Divine Intervention Scroll."
I fumbled through my pack and then handed her a scroll. Mehra thanked me and then began talking in hushed tones.
"Now, listen," Mehra said. "Here's my plan. Give me a Divine Intervention scroll. I'll meet you at the secret Dissident priests monastery at Holamayan. For safety, we'll travel separately..."
Then she'll have to be careful.
"When you get out of here, look for a woman named Blatta Hateria on the East Docks of Ebonheart," Mehra continued. "Tell her I sent you, and that you want to 'go fishing.' She'll bring you to Holamayan by boat. I'll meet you there, and we'll get the lost prophecies from Gilvas Barelo, the leader of the Dissident priests. And magic conceals the Holamayan entrance - speak to Vevrana Aryon, a monk at the dock at Holamayan, about the hidden entrance."
With that, Mehra disappeared. Julan looked grim.
"So, just how are going to get out of here again?" He asked.
I rolled my eyes. "Here, a scroll. We'll meet in Ebonheart."
Ebonheart was the largest Imperial town in Vvardenfell, and it was close to the water. Most of the large, stone buildings reminded me of the buildings in the Imperial City. The Dragon statue in the middle of the city didn't help matters, either. And of course, Julan hated it because of it's Imperial influence.
"Relax," I said to him, "we won't be here for long."
An older, Imperial woman was standing by the docks, and smiled when she saw us approaching. I only had to take a guess to know who it was.
"Are you Blatta Hateria?" I asked.
She nodded. "You must be the ones I was told about. Ulina and Julan, right?"
"Yes," I answered quickly. Blatta nodded towards the boat behind her. "I suppose you want to go fishing now, right?"
Fishing it was.
It was dusk when we arrived at Holamayan, the sky darkening. I thought I could make out the distinct shape of Secunda and Masser hanging in the sky, and perhaps a few stars. However, it was not exactly late yet, and this was good news, because I was told that we had only until twilight before Holamayan was closed to me and Julan. So we hurried, the sand spraying everywhere. I felt grains of it fall into my shoes. Despite the months I had spent in Vvardenfell, I still wasn't used to sand.
The doors to Holamayan were still open (thankfully) and we opened them, the doors closing behind us. Holamayan was a large library from the looks of things, filled with dissident priests who were reading from large books or talking in hushed tones. I decided it was probably best to be quiet. The next room was relatively empty. Mehra was there though, with an older Dunmer man who was hold a bunch of papers in his hands.
"Ulina and Julan, is it?" The man asked. I nodded. "I'm Master Gilvas Barelo, the abbot of Holamayan Monastery. Thank you for helping Mehra Milo. She says you are interested in 'lost prophecies.' I believe we can help you."
"You can?" I asked. Gilvas Barelo handed me the pieces of paper.
"I have reviewed the Apographa, and have found two passages of particular interest," Gilvas said. "We've made copies of these passages to give you. Many are familiar with the two Nerevarine prophecies current among the Ashlanders called 'The Stranger' and 'The Seven Vision'. We have two other prophecies, 'The Lost Prophecy' and 'The Seven Curses', that may offer additional insights into the riddles surrounding the coming of the Incarnate, the ones that I handed to you. Read them later."
Why is it that whenever someone tells me to read it later, I want to read it now? I thought.
"Perhaps these are the Lost Prophecies that your friend Nibani Maesa told you about," he continued. "We have also prepared a document for you called 'Kagrenac's Tools'. You can get it in the morning. The document will explain to you, and to others, the terrible secret that the Temple conceals about the true history of the Tribunal and the corrupt nature of their divine powers. It is to conceal this secret that the Temple persecutes the Nerevarine and the Dissident Priests. This persecution must stop. We must be united against the true enemy, Dagoth Ur. And if you are the Nerevarine, you must lead us against him."
The night was wearing on, and Julan was starting to get tired. He said as much. One of the young female priests lead us to an unused guest room with two beds. I pushed them together when she was out of sight, and then went to the bathroom next door to change. When I went back to the bedroom I saw Julan reading through the notes Gilvas had given me.
"The Nerevarine is prophesied to be an Outlander?" he asked. "That's ridiculous."
"Excuse me?" Was my response.
He turned towards me, and I couldn't help but look into his scarlet eyes that were currently filled with endearing irritation. "I'm sorry, but it looks like these lost prophecies were a waste of our times, Ulina."
I snatched the notes out of his hands and scanned the notes, scanning what I had yet to read.
From seventh sign of eleventh generation,
Neither Hound nor Guar, nor Seed nor Harrow,
But Dragon-born and far-star-marked,
Outlander Incarnate beneath Red Mountain,
Blessed Guest counters seven curses,
Star-blessed hand wields thrice-cursed blade,
To reap the harvest of the unmourned house.
"Well, I was hoping to get more out of them," Julan sighed then put a hand in his hair, "but it looks like they were lost for a reason. Just more stupid poetry that makes no sense."
"You're saying this because it says the Incarnate will be an Outlander, aren't you?" I asked. Julan obviously still thought he would be. I should have realized that.
"Ulina, it's a prophecy; it's their job to be vague about everything."
"No offense, Julan, but I thought it sounded clear enough," I said, pulling back the covers and sitting on the bed beside him.
"Well it's stupid; of course the Incarnate isn't going to be an Outlander. And you shouldn't forget what we're doing here—you're only pretending to be the Nerevarine to help me—we agreed to that!"
We agreed to no such thing.
"I'm sure all this attention is flattering to you, Ulina, but just keep in mind what's important, OK?"
That was when I turned the lights off. I was tired and didn't want to hear another words of it.