Next Assignment

I half expected to wake up the following morning with both of them cuddled up to me, but I found myself alone. Seryn was already awake, and fixing breakfast.

"I suppose you deserve some extra sleep," she told me. "Last night was truly something to remember!"

Did she know that my lack of memory was troubling me? I understood why it was, but the gaps were most annoying. Especially as the missing memories should have been very pleasant ones. And because I couldn't explain any of it to Serym.

Seryn prevented me from brooding over that by talking about Azura, as you'd expect her to. It's not every night you get a visist from a Daedric Princess. I realised that was a question. Did I really think she'd make a habit of joining us.

"No," I told Seryn, "but last night you needed the reassurance that she only wanted to share."

"Anyway, the reason it's important that last night was memorable is that it helps you form the memory of this place, so you can recall here whenever you want to," she told me.


"Yes, the same spell that works the wayshrines. They're built the same everywhere, so that you're already familiar with the shrine, and just have to remember the surroundings to travel there again. Home is the easiest place to remember, so you can travel home from anywhere, and don't need to be at a wayshrine to remind you.

"The Mages Guild say that they're working on a spell to reinforce your memory, and then you'll be able to travel back to a nywhere you have been before, without needing wayshrines at all. Some of them can already do something like that, and create their own portals for travel."

"Portals are a bit different, though. Anyone can use them, without knowing what's at the other end," I reminded her.

"Yes, but the creator of the portal needs to know, so it's the same thing for them."

"What will happen to the wayshrines, if they finish work on that spell.?" I pondered.

"Well, they won't need to build any more, at least. The ones we have can get a bit crowded at times, which is why they're usually at the edge of town, and a bit off the road, so it doesn't get blocked. Vivec needs two already and most major towns are thinking of where to put a second."

We left to go shopping, and as we passed the front desk, the clerk handed me a note. It had a large and elaborate seal on the envelope.

"That's Divayth Fyr's seal!" Seryn exclaimed. "Why's he sending you notes?"

"I'll know once I've opened it, I presume. And who's Divayth Fyr?"

"He's the older Mer alive. Probably immortal. He knew the Tribunal before they became gods, and Nerevar, too. He usually keeps himself to himself in his mushroom tower out in the Telvanni Coast region, but he turns up from time to time when he needs something."

I read the first part of the note. Fyr had heard about the incident with Vivec and Barbas, and wanted my assistance in further investigating some other strange turns of events in the Clockwork CIty. I should meet him in Mournhold, as Barilzar wouldn't be my guide this time.

A little voice inside my head told me that Azura wanted me to go, too. I wasn't sure Seryn would agree with her, but surprisingly she had no objections. "If Fyr summons you, it's a good idea to go." she told me.

"How do I get to Mournhold? I don't know any wayshrines on the mainland."

"Then take a boat across from Seyda Neen. You've been there before, and the wayshrine will get you close to the docks."

I asked around in Vivec first, and found out there was a boat direct to Mournhold, without going to Seyda Neen at all. It was a small, slow one, but I wasn't in a hurry. And it took me all the way up the river to the capital, instead of dropping me off at the coast. A rather winding river voyage, as there were several falls on the main flow, and we had to skirt around those along side-channels. I suspected they had been artificially dug out specifically for transporting goods.

I was beginning to distinguish one House style of architecture from another, and the majority of what we passed was Indoril. There were a few obvious exceptions, mainly the Argonian homes built by the ex-slaves who'd settled where they were freed. Some signs of Imperial presence, not surprising on the mainland, but no Redoran bug-houses. I was unsure if I could tell Hlaalu apart from Indoril yet, so some of it may have been theirs, too.

Mourhold is dominated by the Tribunal Temple. It takes up nearly one third of the area, and rises way above the other buildings. Some of that is the higher ground it's built on, but the edifice itself is nothing short of huge!

I was to meet Fyr in that building. I hoped he'd be somewhere close to the main entrance, or I'd never find him.

As soon as I'd stepped off the boat, I was met by an Ordinator. As an outsider, I was expected to register at the city center. Registrar Rivel told me I was expected. Apparently Vivec had sent word that I was coming, and Almalexia herself wanted to speak to me. She'd ordered that I be admitted as a citizen, not just a visitor. So should I talk to her, or Fyr first?

And before I could find either of them, I was waylaid by a Dunmer called Naryu Virian, who appeared to know of my visit, too. Apparently there were members of a Daedric cult, called the Maulborn, trying to infiltrate the city. It wasn't clear why, but she thought I'd be interested in helping her investigate. "Find me at the Flaming Nix, when you're done with Almalexia."

Almalexia was waiting outside the Temple's main door. She floated above the ground in much the same way that Vivec had done above his couch, except for their postures. Vivec's cross-legged pose would not have been appropriate for a women, so Almalexia kept her legs together. That meant that she was significantly higher up, and talking to her up there would be a strain on my neck. So I kept my eyes level as we spoke.

"Vivec appears to know of our situation, as he has sent me his Champion," she began. "Since I wish for my people to love me, not fear me, I am reluctant to take action myself, at least publicly. Sending in a Champion, with my blessing and support, is a much better .... WILL YOU STOP STARING AT MY CHEST!!!"

"Isn't that what you wanted?" I asked, as innocently as possible. "You have it levitated up to eye level, as uncovered as public decency permits, not to mention the subtle glow to draw anyones' attention."

It should have been clear to anyone that she wanted attention. I've already mentioned the glow, and that lack of coverage extended to her whole body. She was showing as much skin as she could manage. I suspected that was because she retained the Chimer golden hue that had been replaced by Dunmer grey in everyone else. The levitation, too was a show of power. It's a spell that requires a lot of magicka, and mortal mages can't sustain it for long.

What I was lacking was the proper deference, of course. She wanted me to admire her, worship her, even. Instead, i was just treating her as an equal, or at least not as special as she wanted to be.

She lowered herself to the ground, so our eyes met naturally, and she continued the conversation. "As I was saying, we have a situation here that needs you. There are cultists in Mournhold, and they've managed to summon Daedra into the temple. I need you to find the source, and eliminate it."

When I agreed, she turned and walked away. This time my eyes weren't on her chest. She'd have drawn less of my attention if she'd levitated again, as her hips wouldn't have moved like that.