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Harlwystyr's Notes on Daggerfall, Through the Realms of Tamriel


Started by Harlwystyr
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Chapter I: Introduction
Chapter II: Wayrest
Chapter III: Daggerfall
Chapter IV: Shornhelm
Chapter V: Evermore
Chapter VI: Farrun
Chapter VII: Jehenna

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The ship that carried me across the Iliac Bay - the Daughter of Waves - proved to be a wonderful improvement over the land-bound means of transportation, and even better than the ship that initially had carried me from Hammerfell to High Rock. Once the captain realised that my gold was forthcoming, in exchange for each additional nicety he could provide, the accommodations improved regularly.

The bed was a mountain of soft feathers layered in silk. The captain's own attendants waited upon me during the day, and entertained me at night. These redguard women were exotic and tanned like the majority from Sentinel. Several played the peculiar wailing pipes of the Alik'r Desert with great skill, and a pair of them danced in such a way that this old heart's rhythm was dangerously accelerated.

It was almost with regret that I stepped onto the docks of a small village to the east of the capital. The grandness of these ancient walls that can be seen to the west has already been described in numerous other works, so I'll spare it another entry in history on my part. The regions outside the city itself are fascinating, however. Like other regions I've visited in High Rock, they boast castles or keeps. That, coupled with two or three high, round towers stood upon prominent hills a mile or so inland. In the event of a formidable raid, the population of the area would retreat to these towers, leaving their community undefended until help could arrive.

When I got to Daggerfall, I settled into a comfortable inn, the Roaring Brawler and enjoyed a tasty, if plain, meal of potatoes and mutton. It was late afternoon, but the place had already begun some fascinating conversation, when a local duke himself arrived, pledging in a booming voice to make my visit a memorable one. He ordered the barkeep to produce huge mugs of the special ale reserved for the nobility and the guests of the king, and we began to form a lasting friendship.

Duke Ulthor Daleigh is almost like a nord, and looks like he might have received the body of a bear through an error of birth. His arms are thicker than legs of a stout man and are covered by thick, black hair. His face disappears behind a huge black beard; flowing hair of the same colour tumbles across his shoulders and far down his back.

The duke spoke of considerable pride of his mountain home to the north-west. His conversation was interspersed with derogatory references to those overly "civilised" lands to the east, such as Wayrest. Occasionally he mentioned the men of Rivenspire, never failing to spit contemptuously onto the floor following each such phrase.

But then he would turn again to the wonders of his own land. The green farmlands owned by the Daleigh family took on a mystical air of fertile beauty in the duke's words. He told me of the pests of the harpies, who surged around the hills about his land, and of the dangerous predators who troubled the unwary traveller. He spoke of the goblins and orcs as though they were demons, fully worth the cost and trouble of a campaign to remove them.

None of the people of Daggerfall spoke in such a warlike manner as Duke Ulthor. I felt that I talked with one who truly believed that the only true measure of a man was the test of steel and blood. He spoke of his battles he had fought and won. The orcs had come from the Wrothgarian Mountains in the north-east several times during his lifetime. Always they had been driven away after a series of bloody engagements. Once, the duke reluctantly admitted, he had accepted the aid of a neighbouring duke, Tristan Pencastle and a company of footmen to help banish the enemy; I sensed that, beneath his gruffness, Duke Ulthor was truly grateful this aid.

Eventually I was invited to join the duke on a hunting expedition into the wilder highlands of his lands, and I readily accepted. Not only did I genuinely enjoy his company, but the wild nature of northern Daggerfall and Daenia was something I had not seen for many years, and it had begun to intrigue me considerably once again.

We left on the morrow, a bright and chill dawn that highlighted the emerald green of the land around us. The duke, his head huntsmen, a number of retainers, and I galloped forth from the city in a caravan of sturdy war chariots, six vehicles strong. Each was pulled by a pair of powerful chargers. The whole expedition was preceded by a score or more of great hounds.

Two hound masters followed the pack astride a pair of nimble gray mares that seemed willing to follow the hounds through any obstacle.

The forests directly north of the capital were some of the most idyllic locales I have visited among all of the realms of High Rock. To the east lingered the coast, where the water could be seen a winding ribbon of silver in the distance, and deeper blue further out. We rode on a primitive path - I wouldn't really call it a road - of rutted dirt, but the chariots had no difficulty rolling along.

All around us, to the low rim of the valley to the right and left, were fields of lush green grass, sprinkled with red, yellow, and blue flowers of a million varieties. Butterflies and bees flitted about the vast fields, and small mammals scurried for cover upon the approach of our party. I was impressed to notice the discipline of the hounds, who did not veer from their path to pursue any of the minor game.

We passed through a loosely populated area on the third day of the trip, enjoying the hospitality of the Howling Wolf Inn. This tiny community seemed at first glance a craven and impoverished collection of barns and hovels, but as we spent time there I came to realise the people were proud and very self-sufficient, caring little for the impression their squalid living quarters made upon visitors.

As we began to move north-west into the duke's lands, we finally had our opportunity to hunt, as the hounds scented a herd of the great red deer of Glenumbra. For a day we gave the dogs their heads, and they led hound masters and hunters upon a merry chase across the fields. Occasionally the chariots had to take a round-about route to follow the horses and dogs, but I was impressed by the difficult terrain that the two-wheeled carts could negotiate. We eventually brought the prey to ground, and the dogs cleanly killed two bucks and a large doe. The huntsmen cleaned the quarry which, to my amazement, the dogs had not worried, and the hunt was declared a success.

That night, around the bright circle of a campfire, we heard a chilling cry that uluated down the valleys. This seemed to put Duke Ulthor in a pensive mood, as he reflected upon the origin of the sound.

"'Tis the maiden of the Direnni, it is," he announced. "Crying for the lost souls of her children." Upon my gentle questioning, he elaborated. The elven maid, according to legend, dwells in a beautiful castle up in the highest mountains of the kingdom. Her castle is surrounded by enchanted fruit, fruit so blessed that none who eat of it need ever fear disease or death. The castle is separated from the surrounding mountains by wide chasms. Here the maid lived in peace, raising many fine sons.

But the sons grew restless in their isolated home, and they built a drawbridge of glass to extend to a nearby mountain. Then the sons left the castle, over the drawbridge, to explore the world.

But they found that as soon as they left the castle, it disappeared behind them, and they could see neither bridge nor castle, even on the clearest of days. And so they wandered the world. They were fine, strong men, and soon found employment in the armies of man that fought back and forth among the surrounding lands. One by one, they died in battle, until only one - the oldest - remained alive.

Despairing for the grief that had come upon his family, he made a final effort to return to the home of his mother. At last, in the height of a winter storm, he saw the castle before him, with long bridge of glass leading towards it. Rejoicing, he set across the drawbridge, but it was slippery with ice, and he could not retain his footing. He slipped, and tumbled to his death upon the jagged rocks below.

Now, the duke explained, on days of wondrous summer warmth or savage winter cold, the mother mourns her children in a long, keening wail that carried plainly to the fields beyond the mountains. No mortal, it is said, has ever seen the castle or its slender bridge. But perhaps one day, say the legends, a young man or woman who is a descendant of the maid in the castle will scale the mountains, see the castle, and cross the drawbridge to relieve the suffering of the mother who has grown old with the pain of her sorrow.

From the looks of the retainers, who had listened, enraptured, to the duke's tale, I felt certain that each was wondering if he might be the descendant who would discover the castle and bring proof to the tale. I myself was strangely touched. When the strange cry was repeated later in the night, I found myself wondering about the poor mother. Legend or no, I devoutly hoped that she would one day find her peace.

Our party, more thoughtful than a day earlier, headed back to the capital where I still had supplies to buy, and on the following day I ventured to the docks, where I was able to persuade a humble fisherman to bring me to Aldcroft in his trusty rowboat for a small sum of money. With a mixture of relief and regret, I bid farewell to the kingdom of my birth and began my journeys in the north.

- From the Journals of Harlwystyr the Wanderer, Through the Realms of Tamriel, published in 2E 188.
This post was last modified: February 9th 2014, 07:49 AM by Harlwystyr
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Theodore
Post #139652
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A great addition, nicely done.


Member of the Twilight Seers of Aquilas Domini
Foriel Barkwing- Bosmer Archer
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Amaund Storm-Quencher- Breton Mage
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Post #139727
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Thank you - although there are no orcs in it, as you wanted :P
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Post #139736
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The only bad part.


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Hehehe.
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