I pass him by every day on my way to the office. I work as... Oh, does it really matter what I work as? It will be more than enough to say that I am one of the scores and scores of humble nine-to-fivers employed by Black-Briar Enterprises, a tiny cog, barely visible in the grand scheme of things, that does its utmost to contribute to the complex process of making the great financial empire tick. To get to the famous Black-Briar business centre - the tall, intimidating structure of concrete and glass dominating the historical centre of Riften City and always featured in every single postcard - I have to take the subway. I have always found it ironic that the heart of our underground network, the pride and joy of Riften City, all sparkling stained glass and impeccably clean tiles, once, many centuries ago, used to be the hideout of the Thieves Guild... But I mustn't talk of that; I am not being politically correct towards the organization which contributed the most to Riften City's rapid growth and staggering development - and to the rise of the Black-Briars.

I easily spot him every time I enter the underground. He always sits in the same spot, whatever the season, whatever the weather, - he is always there, by the subway entrance, a curious, lank figure wrapped in a weather-beaten overcoat, sometimes surrounded by a small crowd of idle onlookers, mostly children and tourists trying persistently to take pictures of him on their cameras and phones. He might look like one of those vagrant musicians who make their living singing in the streets - but I can feel he is different. He and his songs belong to another age, to the era that we now prefer to forget, to those bygone days before the ban on magic and the mass slaughter of the elven race, to the days before the rainforests of Valenwood were cut down to sate the energy needs of the growing human population and before the lizardfolk of Argonia disappeared together with their marshes, to the days when electricity was used only by wizards and the gods' faces were turned towards mortalkind.

When he starts singing, I close my eyes, and forget about the noise of the traffic and the smart gadgets attached to my wrists and belt and stuffed into my pockets and all the weight of the overly vivid, computerized, business-like modern world pressing on my shoulders. I am swept away into the past, and the grim, grey buildings of Riften City crumble away into dust to give way to small wooden houses with the gold of autumn birch leaves raining down on their roofs; the city shrinks in size, and unconquered wilderness presses at it from all directions, full of life and colour... I can see the outlines of ancient barrows blurred in the morning mist, and steam bursting out of the cracked rock towards the vividly blue sky, and the long-since-extinct giants treading solemnly across the tundra, herding their mammoths... I can smell the pines and the snow - crisp and fresh, nothing like the slush we get in this age of ecological disasters and global warming... I can hear the wolves howl on the hilltops, and the dragons screech, descending on their prey...

Sometimes I wonder why he hasn't been apprehended yet; the government gets very touchy when it comes to bringing up the old days, especially in a way that contradicts the official version of history. I learned it the hard way, when both my parents were prosecuted for conducting archeological research in the ruins of Summerset Isle and when a close friend of mine got expelled from the University of Film-Making for wanting to shoot a documentary about the Mages' College that used to be located in Winterhold...

Well, perhaps they think that he is harmless, perhaps they suppose that his songs, these faint echoes of the past, will be lost in the noise of the megapolis, perhaps they don't believe that he could actually very well be the last living descendant of that proud, cruel race that had once sought to rule the whole continent and was decimated by vengeful humans.

But I know, I know he is one of them; he takes great care to hide his eyes, because naturally they would be the first thing to give him away; I expect he can't afford contact lenses to change their colour, and even if he did try to get ones, he'd be reported, so he makes do with letting his hair hang loose over his face and always looking down - but once, just once, I did catch a glimpse of his eyes; their yellow is the yellow of honey and amber, and they glint like the rising sun reflected by an unsheathed blade...

I am in love with an Altmer whose songs are like magic from the days when the sky was split by the voices of dragons calling to each other; I pass him by every day on my way to work, and one day, when he is alone, I will stop to talk to him, perhaps under the pretext of buying him some of that delightful junk food, and then my confused little universe will be changed forever.