Chapter I: Introduction
My travels through the kingdoms of High Rock linger as some of the more eventful journeys that I have experienced, in a life not entirely devoid of fascination. These realms, so tranquil and pastoral on the surface, forever prove to be dens of tension and conflict. I must confess to some surprise as I began to perceive the true capabilities of the people of the realms. Furthermore, I also look forward to see what will change when the young prince of Daggerfall takes up the throne of that nation.
I took the local bretons - my kin - as they are taken in the libraries of the University of Gwylim and the Crystal Tower - as a somewhat ambitious people, eager to prove their worth, and with the burning initiative to not work serious change, but improve their lives. A peaceful people, thought I, making an unfortunate vulnerable target for the bands of highwaymen and orcs prowling the lands.
And the orcs! Of course, it is well known that they are ignorant barbarians, who care more for slaughtering, strong drink and a warm bed than they do for any higher purpose in life.
Even the keen eyes of an old sage and traveller, I learned, can be opened to the light of new knowledge.
My journey started by boat from Wayrest to Daggerfall. I do not recall what I expected when I first came here in my youth so many years ago - most certainly, some minor harbour with an assortment of ramshackle buildings, perhaps protected by an old wall. Nothing back then prepared me for the towering alabaster spires of Wayrest, soaring skyward as if to challenge the sun itself. Nothing appears to have changed.
And the port of Wayrest, as my ship drew closer, became revealed as a deep, secure facility, with large and robust docks, a solid breakwater, and an activity to rival that of the midsummer fairs in Daggerfall. My vessel drew alongside the quay, and a hand of eager workers made her fast, helping an old traveller down a teetering gangplank. (I could have made it myself, but they were being so very helpful.)
The most surprising thing about the port was the vigor and apparent seacraft of a people neighbouring my own, non-seafaring kin. Although not everyone in Wayrest was into building large vessels of their own, and preferred to work on land, they took pains to see that visitors were treated to splendid accommodations. The inns were clean and the service friendly. (I recommend the Salty Cod - ask for Brienna.)
As for Daggerfall, much can be said of the miracle of the city's construction, which was only slightly diminished when I learned that its oldest works are relics from an older time, some suspected to be from the time when the city was founded in 1E 246, but I'm not too sure about that. As I journeyed across the realms, to Shornhelm, my final destination, I never saw another structure that could hope to rival the splendors of Daggerfall.
The king of Wayrest himself, I do not recall his name, did not have the time to visit with an old scholar penning a guide to his realm. I suspect the loss was his more than mine. (I'll delete that line later; it really is beneath my dignity.)
To get to Shornhelm I employed a variety of transportation, most of which I would not recommend to the modern traveller. A rowboat, a tiny vessel, carried me from Daggerfall to Aldcroft and proved to be a nightmarish craft, more suited for torture than transportation. However the fault is mine for trying something different.
I managed the traverse from Glenumbra to Rivenspire aboard a farmers sturdy wagon - it was thankfully loaded with hay, and proved most comfortable. Shornhelm came closer to my preconception of the majority of the kingdoms of High Rock than did Wayrest or Daggerfall. Sure enough, it was an impoverished kingdom when compared the lucrative trade empire Wayrest seems to have; unstable and unclean. The period between planting and harvest, when I had the misfortune of paying my visit, is a time of drunken debauchery that would put some of the taverns of Windhelm to shame. (Never drink the dark mead of Shornhelm on an empty stomach!)
From Shornhelm, my journeys took me back down the road through Stormhaven. (I feel the need to exclude this part of the journey for now.) From there I at last travelled east to Evermore. I found these land to be relatively quiet and peaceful, where the men were happy with their lot in life, and so was the case of the women. The rain, if anything, was the only disappointment in my journeys in Bangkorai. From here, my journey took me north-east, to the realms of Farrun and Jehenna.
- From the Journals of Harlwystyr the Wanderer
, Through the Realms of Tamriel, published in 2E 188.