Solstheim is a harsh place. It's where I grew up, but it's not the land of my ancestors. I'm Nerevar the second, named after my grandfather. No doubt you've heard of him. He saved Morrowind from the Sharmat Dagoth Ur and was finally killed defending the remnants of the land of my ancestors from the Argonians. Thanks to them, and Red Mountain's eruption, my people can no longer live in Morrowind proper.
Being named after him, most folk, mainly the older Dunmer, expect me to be like him- some great hero. But I'm not. I can barely cast a spell, or swing a sword, and I fainted the last time my grandmothers made me try on some of my grandfather's old armour. Sure, my grandmothers prophesy greatness in my future, but they're just old women, nostalgic over the past. After all, I'm no great battlemage like my grandfather, I'm the pitiful son of an ebony miner. All I really want to do is join the Temple and help the poor, even if I don't care too much about the 'venerate your ancestors' bit. Of course, being to compared to one of your ancestors all day every day, Morndas to Sundas, does that to you. I did, however, like the stories about the gods of Almsivi, even if my attempts to be like Lord Vivec failed.
Every time I applied, however, the Archcanon would decline it directly. I would get a politely worded letter saying "The Tribunal Temple has no use for your services at this time, please try again in future. Almsivi watch over you." After the third such letter I went to the Temple directly to meet with the Archcanon. I slipped out of the tower early in the morning trying to evade detection by my grandmothers. The temple was empty save for a few acolytes and a handful of Ordinators, most of whom were beginning to show age- the younger generation has very little faith.
My grandmothers thought that was a good thing, claiming Lord Vivec promised my grandfather the Dunmer would return to the traditional worship of the good Daedra and our ancestors. The Ordinators, however, blamed lack of faith for the destruction of Vivec City, and the subsequent eruption of Red Mountain. Today's Ordinators are mostly ones left over from Morrowind, the ones that were stationed away from Vivec at the time of Baar Dau's descent. As such, the youngest true Ordinator is nearly four hundred years old- excluding the new initiates.
I approached the nearest attendant, who was arranging coda flowers in front of a statue of Vivec. "Excuse me, is the archcanon free?"I asked politely. The attendant looked around, saw it was me and scooted away from me slightly. "He is." he responded, and gestured for an Ordinator. Two came over and I was led, like a criminal to his office. He looked at me and waved them away.
"I see you are no longer satisfied with the letters, then?" He asked, once we were alone save for a single Ordinator. "I just want to ask why, sera. Why have I been declined when there a few enough people in the Temple as it is?" I replied. The Archcanon sighed and picked up a piece of paper that I soon realized was about me. "Nerevar Menas, correct? Supposed grandson of the Nerevarine." I nodded. "That's me, sera. Although there's no supposed about it, I am related to him." I replied. The Archcanon shook his head. "Before the destruction of Morrowind, do you have any idea how many women came to the temple claiming their offspring was of the Nerevarine?"
It was my turn to shake my head. "But sir, my grandmother lived with him. Is it not more likely that I am descended from the Nerevarine than the others?" The Archcanon slammed his fist on his desk. "No! For all the Temple cares you are the grandson of Lady Menas and an Ashlander! The Nerevarine never married, so the Temple does not recognize any heirs of him." The Archanon calmed slightly. "Also, there was another man who spent a lot of time at the tower. A Telvanni Mage-lord named Aryon. Official Temple sources say he is most likely your actual grandfather."
I felt slightly offended, so I changed the topic. "I'm more interested in why I have been denied entry into the Temple, sera." I said, trying to remain polite. "Well, there are many reasons. Firstly, is that you have been raised by heretic Daedra worshippers, who not only flagrantly worship bad Daedra, but also keep vital religious relics from the Temple, such as the Nerevarine's remains." I crossed my arms. "So it's my background? You are concerned about their influence on my faith? Or are you trying to leverage me into stealing my ancestor's remains from my own kin?"
The archcanon sighed. "Yes, yes, and no. The temple does not condone theft, even from heretics. We admire your commitment, as well as your kinship with your ancestors, but we must not be seen to be lenient on Daedra worshippers. Putting you in a temple position would be detrimental to the faith of the people. Some of the older members feel even allowing you to enter the building is an affront to Almsivi, but I reassured them that it's a sign that Daedra worshippers can change their ways."
His words reflected the general feeling around the town about my grandmothers. I loved them dearly, and even though I sometimes missed my parents in Raven Rock, they'd always taken good care of me. They kept my grandfather's remains from the Temple because they said the Tribunal were false gods, and Lord Vivec had gone back on his promise to my grandfather. The entire town however, believed them to be evil, batty old Necromancers, and feared them.
Before I arrived home I expected it to be another lecture about how great my grandfather was, how he was the best thing since Barenziah to happen to the Dunmer, or, alternately, using me as target practice for Grandmother Menas' staff. Despite being blind, she was deadly accurate.
When I got there, however, there was a small satchel on the floor and the old women were huddled together- which was unusual, because, like true Telvanni wizards, they were constantly at each other's throats. If one claimed it was Loredas, another would turn around and insist it was Fredas, regardless of the actual day. I suspect this is one of the reasons they have lived so long, even for Dunmer. They live to bicker with each other.
Grandmother Menas, who is my actual grandmother, was the first to sense me. "Boy! We were just talking about you. Your fate is already predetermined by Azura, so you have no choice in the matter." She said, clattering her staff on the ground as she approached me. "What matter, grandmother?" I asked. Grandmother Menas could be painfully vague about important things, then embarrassingly detailed about things I'd rather not hear about. She cleared her throat, and I knew I was in for the long version of the story.
"Well, as you probably know- I don't remember if I told you or not- your grandfather was not from Morrowind. He was a stranger, an outlander, but like a true Dunmer, he rose up and triumphed! And he did many, many other good things. Especially to his favourite retainer-me. Mmm." Grandmother Menas drifted off, losing herself in thoughts of the past. "You weren't his favourite, you trumped up slattern! You just exploited his weakness, you filthy tart." Grandmother Arelas interjected. "Like you were any better, Arelas! Master, I need help with this incantation..." Grandmother Menas snapped back, rapping her staff on the floor stones.
"For the love of Azura, please stop fighting..." I begged, not wishing to see a wizard brawl between them. They turned to look at me. "I never knew grandfather wasn't Morrowind-born, I thought Morrowind was the land of our ancestors." I continued, trying to keep them distracted and on topic. Grandmother Menas rapped me on the head with her staff. "Silly boy, Morrowind is the ancestral homeland of all Dunmer, Morrowind-born or not."
I had hoped that my grandmothers would stop arguing long enough to get to the point, but I was wrong. "No, we don't know the Nerevarine's ancestors, he was born in the Imperial city." Grandmother Omavel cut in. "Morrowind is the ancestral homeland of all Dunmer. If it was not his ancestral homeland, he would be an Altmer. I would think one such as you would know your history, or has restoration magic rotted your brain?" Grandmother Menas snapped back.
I shrunk away, predicting a storm of heated words and magicka. Thankfully, Grandmother Seleth stepped in. "Can we get on with it? I don't have all eternity, you know, and I'd like to continue my research, maybe get in one final breakthrough before I DIE." Grandmother Menas opened her mouth to say something, but shut it right away. I took my chance. "Why did you wish to see me, Grandmothers?" I asked, politely.
"I was getting to that! You're being sent to Skyrim. Take that bag, and go down to the docks." Grandmother Menas replied. "Why am I being sent away?" My mind quickly went through things I could have done to upset them. The only things I could think of were interrupting one of their rituals to Hircine when I was very young, (Didn't look too much like a summoning ritual to me) trying to join the temple, and futile attempts to sneak out of the tower. It's hard to do much to upset them when they can see the future.
"Because Azura said so, and because we aren't going to be around to hold your hand forever. We're old, Nerevar, and you are a fully grown mer." Grandmother Menas said, and I felt a twinge of sadness. They spoke the truth. I turned to leave, but Grandmother Menas called me back. " Wait, boy. Take this with you. It belonged to your grandfather." She said, pushing a lump of melted metal into my hand. It vaguely looked like a moon and star, but was otherwise unremarkable. "Thank you." I said, without enthusiasm. Another relic of the past, a reminder of something I wasn't.
"Don't lose it, whatever you do. It'll bring you...luck." She insisted. Normally I would have just shoved it back in my grandfather's urn while they weren't looking, but I could feel something strangely special about it. Not an enchantment, but some otherworldly influence. Begrudgingly, I put it in my pocket. I was clearly dismissed, for my grandmothers had now turned their backs on me and were resuming their argument. When I heard the crackling of magicka, I decided it would be a good time to leave. I snuck out, closing the door quietly behind me. Not that they would have noticed anyway.
Outside the tower, it was a clear day, with my grandmother's House Telvanni banner flapping gently in the wind. I sighed. For women that could supposedly see the future, they spent a lot of time lost in the past, with their relics from a dead age. Giving the village one last look, I set off for the Raven Rock docks, and the adventures in Skyrim that awaited.