Ashlands to Akavir

by M'jai

December 2006

Lastest Revision: September 2012

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Credits and Author's Notes:

1. Bethesda – creator of the Elder Scrolls world setting, the game Oblivion, and all relative NPC characters, and Main Quest plot references.

2. Wizards of the Coast – owners of Forgotten Realms world setting, and all relative NPC characters, and event references. What I've presented regarding the Demonweb is inspired by "The Harrowing" from Dungeon magazine #84, rather than any more recent publications regarding this setting.

3. Cutthroat Mods – creator of the "Partners" mod for the game Morrowind, and the original Talvalo companion, upon which my own Talvalo was based.

4. Talkie Toaster's "Companion Share and Recruit" mod for the game Oblivion, in which Elaren Phaeras, Korg mag-Uruk, Therana Relas, and Durain Sharl are from the four generals that can be recruited as companions.

5. Mairiel is a character developed by a dear friend for one of our D&D games. I take no credit for her creation and reference her only for the role she once played in Daerazal's past.

6. The poem Daerazal recites is based on an original poem credited to Mystyp Folksong. The drinking song that Talvalo sings is something I found on the Internet ages ago, but I do not know who to give credit to for it. I did not create the original references.

7. The Akaviri island in this story is from a mod designed by me for my PC in the game Oblivion. Kielanai, Daerazal, and Chizrae are based on altmer and drow concepts from the above listed game worlds, but all other individual characters are my own creations, unless otherwise noted.

I make no claim on characters, settings, or plot elements that were not created by me.

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Introduction:

This story is a sequel to my Morrowind/ Forgotten Realms cross-over fan-fic Menzoberranzan to Morrowind. However, I am trying to write it as a stand-alone, so that reading the Morrowind story is optional.

To hard-core fans of Elder Scrolls: I am well-versed in the lore of the Elder Scrolls world, but since this it is a cross-over and based on player-created mods, there is a limit to its lore-friendly logic. One logic flaw concerns the Nerevarine. NPC's and in-game literature refer to the Nerevarine as "him", but by making "him" the player character, Bethesda opened the door to a million possible Nerevarines created by the players. My Nerevarine in the game was a female dark elf (more specifically, a Drow, rather than a Dunmer). This creates a dilemma for some mod and fanfic writers wanting to work with the Nerevarine because they either have to be vague or choose to work with their own familiar PC. I have chosen to stick with my familiar version of "her". Another logic flaw comes in any references I may make to Japanese language or culture. Japan is not part of Akavir any more than katanas could be Akaviri, or any Earth-origin language could serve as the official language of Tamriel. But since Akavir is based on Asian lore, and Japan is the only part of Asia in which I have lived, Japan will be my reference point for my own imagined portion of Akavir. Also, I realize there is controversy in ES lore about humans in Akavir because of the way certain passages are worded in the in-game books regarding the Tsaesci's treatment of humanity. One race can "devour" another physically or culturally … or both. I have chosen to walk a path between the two.

For hard-core fans of Forgotten Realms: I used to write Underdark games on-line, but it's been a few years ago. At one time, I could say I was well-versed in Underdark lore, as well, but my memory is fuzzy and outdated now. I will try to be accurate up to the point where I last read the novels (through the Spider Queen War).

For Everyone else: if you love either of these game worlds, or enjoy light or dark elves in literature, you might enjoy this story. There are major game spoilers throughout this story. Consider yourself warned. Dialog and action, however, will not be exact. This is partly due to the difficulty of trying to tell a linear story based on a non-linear game, and partly due to me not wanting to give a line-by-line recount of it so that I can create something new. I do have to retell parts of the main quest in order to get past it, but my focus is the side-story going on around and beyond it. Now, on with the show ...

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Chapter 1: Akaviri Kojima: Threshold

Warm mist rose from the bodies on the floor around her in the cold stillness of the morning air. The blade of her katana was newly stained with blood. The willowy half-Altmer bard had fought her way into that old farmhouse as if she were a Nord-blooded warrior. She was left stunned and exhausted at how difficult it had been - not at all like defending oneself from a mere wolf attack. Taking one last look around, Kielanai sheathed her razor-sharp weapon and walked back into the crisp autumn sunshine that was slowly attempting to bring the small island back to life.

Akaviri Kojima had been shrouded in mystery for as long as anyone who knew of it could remember. People who went there never came back. Halfway between the land of the humans and the land of the elves, swallowed by the Abecean Sea, this remote piece of land oddly mirrored her own half-bred heritage. Born to an Akaviri father and an Altmer mother, Kielanai had once been lost at sea, too. But always in her mind, this faraway place was home. Now, she had found her way back just before dawn, after a lifetime of not knowing how to retrace her steps.

Kielanai pushed a sea-water soaked strand of long, silver hair behind one small, sharp ear and cast her aqua-colored eyes toward the sun sluggishly rising over the red-tiled roof of the island's grand estate on the hill. She rubbed a chill from her golden arms and stumbled across the stone-paved road toward the small skiff beached near the dock. Seagulls cried out and dragonflies buzzed past her. Their day was just beginning. Hers was finally - thankfully - over.

She trembled feeling hot and then cold with waves of nausea until they overpowered her, bringing her to her knees among the rushes. There, she was violently sick for a moment. Victory did not come without a price upon the conscience, but at least now her soul could be at peace.

Dragging herself from the sand back to her feet, she climbed into the skiff and rowed it back to its mother ship, a large pirate galleon anchored a safe distance from the beach. The ship, like the island, was now hers - a trophy won from tricking them into giving her passage back to the place of her birth. Climbing the ropes to the upper deck, she hauled the skiff back into its hooks and secured its ropes.

Heading into the captain's cabin, she paused in the shadows and listened carefully to the creaking old wood to determine whether it was merely the waves lapping against the side of the ship, or someone hiding in the lower quarters, waiting for a chance to stab her in the back. Trembling and drawing her katana again, she headed down the trap door to the mid-deck and followed along the cramped hall toward a small room with a few dingy bunks.

"Gwenyth?" she spoke as she approached the room she had safely hidden the other woman in.

A long time ago, the Breton alchemist had come to the island for the first time, by invitation from Kielanai's mother, to collect a few rare ingredients from her garden. Kielanai's father was rumored to have been a pirate among pirates, secretly intercepting other Akaviri vessels for the Empire, like his father before him in hopes of avoiding all-out war again, ... or so Gwenyth had heard. Apparently the rumors were true because one dark-flagged fleet caught up to them the night of her visit.

When the raid occurred, Kielanai's mother had shoved her daughter into Gwenyth's hands and begged her to take her away before the pirates found her. Gwenyth, a very independent lady in her own right, had not wanted to be stuck with a child she didn't know, who couldn't even speak her language. But when she saw what kind of pirates had invaded the island - half-man, half-snake creatures that feasted upon their prisoners - Gwenyth grabbed the child's hand and ran without looking back.

Their small boat capsized after nearly suffering a direct hit from the pirates' battlemage's spells, but Gwenyth fought to keep the small child with her during her entire struggle to reach shore once more. She had waited in Anvil for days, trying to nurse the nearly drowned child back to health, but when no one from her family came for her, she knew to expect the worst. Gwenyth quietly wrapped the child in blankets and hired an escort to see them safely back to her home in Weye, where she fixed a small cot in the attic for her. She had been tolerating Kielanai's company ever since.

Some days, the half-elf's energetic, accident-prone, chatty nature was almost more than the aging Breton alchemist could handle, but Kielanai knew she would not have survived beyond childhood, if not for the reluctant human. For that reason, she hated to disappoint her.

Kielanai sheathed her sword and paused apologetically before kneeling by the bedside. "Gwenyth, we're here. We're home. But ... I've done something horrible," she whispered in confession. "I know you taught me to stay away from the path of revenge. You have always told me there is no honor in stooping to spite. And I've always tried to be kind, but ... what is the benefit of running from those who would hurt us, if not to someday overcome them?"

She lay her bruised cheek on the bed's edge, like she used to do when she needed comfort as a child. "I'm sorry it made you angry when I left. I was going to explain when I returned to Weye. If you had just waited until I came back ..." She closed her eyes and tried to release her heavy thoughts along with her tears.

"My hunch was right. He showed me the way back to Akaviri Kojima. And then ... when the time was right ... I killed him." Kielanai buried her face in her hands to cry. "I killed all of them," she whispered. "I couldn't stop myself once I ..." She lowered her bloodied hands and looked at their stark truth, fearing that what she heard about the Dark Brotherhood visiting her in her sleep after murdering someone might be true.

Her hands curled into fists, and she became angry all over again for a moment. "But they deserved to die! When the gods and the laws do not deliver justice ... how else can we defend ourselves?" Tears continued to well in her aqua-colored eyes. "Did I do the right thing? I just don't know anymore. Please tell me I've done the right thing. I mean, ... they probably hurt other people, too, right? But they didn't know who I really was. They trusted me."

Her hands reached for the small white urn under the bed where she knelt, and she drew it to her chest, still pained at her recent loss. "Obaasan, how I wish you could tell me what to do now. Should I turn myself in? Should I say nothing? I'd listen to you this time - without running away."

Kielanai sat in overwhelming uncertainty, wiping the tears from her cheeks. Then, after a long moment, ... she knew. She knew what Gwenyth would say if she were still alive. Memories can serve as consequences, too, Child. Don't give your memories an excuse to haunt you. The old Breton human was sometimes more elven in personality than she would ever care to admit.

The tall, slender half-elf stood, clutching the urn close to her. Making her way back through the tight confines of the mid-deck, she left the dark interior of the ship for the brightness of the sun and rowed back to shore. After hopping out of the skiff, she sloshed her way through the cattails to the dry beach once more, careful to avoid the area where she had lost any remnant of last night's meager dinner. There in the white sand, she dropped to her knees once more and set the urn down firmly before bowing her palms and forehead to the ground before it.

"Obaasan, you honored my family's wishes to protect my life; therefore, you are also my family. I will use the life that you gave me to rebuild their legacy ... and yours. All of you live on through me ... so that I may pirate the pirates like my father, and grandfather before me." She sat back on her heels and stared at the urn for another moment before trying to smile through her sadness. "And then I will tell stories about it around the hearth fires in all the taverns across the Empire," she added, though she imagined the stodgy old Breton would have protested that last line in her vow.

After a moment, though, her brows dipped in concern as she continued to think aloud. "That Akaviri pirate gang has been on this island for most of my life now. They probably have connections to other gangs ... maybe even connections with gangs back in Akavir. And if there's one thing the Empire doesn't need right now, it's trouble from Akavir. When I return to Weye to gather my things for the move here, I will speak with the captain of the guard. If he arrests me again ... so be it. But maybe they will grant me a pardon when he learns who they were. Maybe Martin would ..."

She stopped herself before following that train of thought too far. Martin had his own problems, and she had a promise to keep to him first. This whole incident with the pirates had pulled her away from a more important task - finding the Amulet of Kings so that he could be restored to the throne of his birthright.

Confident with her decision, but dreading her gruesome clean-up task, Kielanai stood and walked back toward the farmhouse to begin gathering the old wood and thatch for a funeral pyre for the bodies left in her infuriated, desperate wake. As she rounded the back of the farmhouse, though, a pretty little bridge over a pond caught her eye. "Hmm?" She frowned slightly. "I don't remember that being there when I was a child."

Carrying her armful of lumber with her, she headed down the grassy slope to the bridge and crossed it toward a big rock facing Valenwood when an invisible force at the end suddenly repelled her. The push was so strong that it caused her to drop all her kindling, and she nearly landed flat on her back. Stunned by the discovery, she ignored the logs rolling down the arc of the boardwalk into the water and drew close to the force once more to press her hands against it. It was like a wall. Closer inspection revealed a shimmer in the wood grain - pearl powder and fragments. Gwenyth's alchemy training had come in handy for recognizing enchantments after all.

Puzzled, she pressed the invisible force field once more, then drew her hand back again. "A bridge to nowhere ..." That hardly seemed likely, but there was no way to unlock the mystery now. Everyone who had ever lived on the island was dead, except herself.

The golden-skinned half-elf sighed to herself in frustration, then set about retrieving her kindling. She had to clear the bodies, so she could rebuild. She had a new home to repair.

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Throughout the remainder of the Gold Coast's mild winter and into the spring thaw, the half-Altmer worked hard to transform the dilapidated condition of the Akaviri farmhouse, stable, bath houses, and hill estate. She dubbed the pirate ship with a new name - the Crystal Maiden - and worked to clean it up with a few renovations as well.

She returned to Gwenyth's cottage to gather all of her personal belongings and anything that her adopted mother left behind of value. Then, she packed it on her old, half-blinded, dapple-gray horse, Mirabel, from the stable and took her baby cougar, Mouzer, back from a neighbor's care.

The bard gave one last lute and dance performance at the Wawnet Inn for her local friends and notified them of her move to Anvil. Telling them about Akaviri Kojima would have been pointless, and telling them about her encounter with the pirates might be dangerous. She did, however, keep her promise about notifying the guards.

The new captain of the guard nearly did have her arrested again, but when she dropped the name of the heir to the throne and stated that she had been specially commissioned by Martin to aid with the current Oblivion crisis, they checked her credentials with the Blades and released her. Not a word of thanks was given for taking down the pirates, but she wasn't about to press her luck. Kielanai prayed for clear weather and took one last look at her old home before leaving again for her new one.

Coming home to the stone dragons scattered about the island made her feel reborn. This was a landmark in her life, and she knew it. Fate and fortune had been on her side, and she would do what she could to return the favor.

This would be a fine place for Mirabel to graze away her remaining days. The stables neighbored a sheep fold, and the pirates had apparently confiscated some livestock from somewhere because she doubted those were the same animals she had grown up with. Nevertheless, their wool would come in handy come next winter.

Mouzer stalked grasshoppers in the high grass while the elf moved her belongings from ship to shore and unpacked. And in the cool of the starry evening, she rested on one of the outdoor benches and watched the deer forage for spring morsels. Those deer had survived on the island ever since she could remember. Training Mouzer to leave them alone might prove difficult in the future, but for now the baby cougar was content to chase grasshoppers.

With the ground warming toward mid-spring, Kielanai knew she had missed the best opportunity to break ground for her garden, but the few fruit trees in the orchard behind the estate could provide summer food for her until Gwenyth's seeds could supply her with a vegetable harvest. And the rice harvest from the paddy beyond the stables would be ready by fall. If worse came to worst ... there was always the deer or the sheep, but she hated to consider that option.

Slowly, but surely, the old, run-down place began to look like those distant memories that she cherished. Between the carpentry work and tending the new seedlings, Kielanai had no time for entertaining company on the island. But she often took her skiff to the Anvil docks to buy supplies or perform at the local tavern and inn.

One middle-aged Altmer mage in particular took an interest in her when he learned that she was Gwenyth's adopted daughter. Elaren and Gwenyth had been friends in the Mage Guild, and he was saddened to hear of her passing, so he offered to aid Kielanai with any alchemy or enchantment questions when she needed help. She told him of the mysterious bridge on her island, and he even ventured to inspect it himself once, but Elaren came to the same conclusion she had. There was no way of unlocking the protective ward without knowing more about it.

Other than the bridge, Kielanai's life gradually began to fall into place. Her mind began to dull to the plight of the amulet she was supposed to have been seeking for Martin. The Blades were competent body guards. Surely they would find it before she could anyway. She was just a bard. She was better off tending her new herbs, restoring her family home, and singing and dancing in taverns. Though she intended to travel again once her garden could survive without her for a time, she never wanted to set foot near another Oblivion Gate again as long as she lived. Her last experience inside of one had frightened her to death.

"This is my paradise," she told Mouzer one night when they sat alone under the cherry blossoms near the small garden waterfall. "My threshold to a new life. And this time ... no one will take it from me."

The baby cougar purred like a Dwemer engine in agreement as she scratched his ears.

))((

One day during the last days of spring, Elaren was in his own garden behind his manor when he heard the rusted gate near the vegetable patch swing open. The Altmer mage lifted his attention from his carrots to his unexpected guest and saw a dark elf in light black and silver armor approaching him. It was nothing unusual for dark elves to pay him a visit, considering the Mage Guild was full of them, but this one he didn't know. More than that, this had to be the darkest dark elf he had ever seen, so he knew there was something different about this visit.

"Are you Elaren Phaeras?" the dark elf asked, coming to a stop at the edge of the garden.

"Yes, as a matter of fact I am. What can I help you with, Sir?"

"I'm looking for a bard named Kielanai - an Altmer with mixed Akaviri blood. I was told she came from the village of Weye outside of Imperial City, but they said she had moved to Anvil. When I asked for her whereabouts at the local inn, they said you could probably tell me where to find her."

Elaren dusted the dirt from his gloves and carefully stepped around his carrots to stand before the stranger. His eyes briefly inspected the dark elf's armor and the long sword at his hip - namely to see if they had been recently bloodied. Though the dark elf was a smaller stature than himself, he was clearly a fighter of some kind and wore a serious, somewhat unfriendly expression. "I might know where to find her ... depending on what sort of business you have with the lass."

"That's for her ears only, I'm afraid, but I assure you it's not hostile in nature."

"Then, perhaps I could bring her to meet with you here this evening or tomorrow. Do you have a name that I could pass along to her?"

"Daerazal Velve'Xukuth, but I've come to give her a message from a mutual friend who couldn't make the journey himself. I'll leave my travel bag and weapons behind, if you like, but I've come all the way from Morrowind, and the message is of an urgent nature. So, if you don't mind, I'd like to see her as soon as possible." The dark elf removed his shoulder pack and unbelted his sword, offering them both to the Altmer.

"Morrowind ..." Elaren's eye's widened with mild surprise, but then he chuckled lightly. "My heavens! I should have guessed you'd come in from the Ashlands or something." His gaze went to the offered items. "Well, if you were honest enough to offer them as a matter of trust, then I suppose you can be trusted not to harm the poor girl. She's been through an awful mess trying to reclaim her childhood home I'm afraid I must insist on accompanying you to see her, though."

"Fair enough." Daerazal strapped his sword back on and hefted his pack to his shoulder once more.

"Just let me lock up and get my things." Elaren led the way along his front porch to his front door and invited the dark elf inside. Setting his gloves on the table by the entrance, he reached for his staff and keys.

Daerazal glanced around the sunny home's interior, but then stepped outside and reached into the pocket of his pack to retrieve a small pair of wire spectacles that had black, circular lenses and placed them on the bridge of his nose.

The older elf locked his door and turned around to face the dark spectacles with a minor start. "Goodness, what are those things?"

"Dwemer sun shades - a gift from my sister."

"Oh. Remarkable. I've heard many things about the Dwemer and seen some of their artifacts at the Arcane University, but that's a new one to my knowledge. I supposed all those ash storms from Red Mountain could block out enough sunlight that the eyes become unaccustomed to seeing it shine so brightly as it does here on the Gold Coast. It goes to reason, of course, but that shows you how little I know about the Ashlands and its people." Elaren grinned and gestured with his staff for the dark elf to follow. As they walked down the steps and through the small front gate of his manor home, he decided to see what else he could find out about this stranger. "Did you come over land or - "

"Down through the Deshaan Plain, across the Velothi Mountains to Nibenay. Then, from Bravil it was a straight cut through the wilderness across the southern borders of Cyrodiil to Anvil."

"Quite a journey," the gold elf remarked as he led the way down the brick-cobbled street and past the colorful buildings of the coastal city.

"Yes, it was." Daerazal squinted into the sun in spite of his Dwemer shades and glanced up at the seagulls noisily flying overhead in the same direction they were headed.

"Did you arrive today?"

"Yes."

"You must be absolutely exhausted. In fact, I'm surprised you made it here at all. We have a hunter in town that talks of all the wild animals beyond Anvil's walls, and I know there are plenty of goblins in the area. You must be quite the ranger."

Daerazal sighed at the other elf's small talk. "No, I just don't like anything trying to take a chunk out of my hide."

"Did you pass any Oblivion Gates along your way?" Elaren asked with concern as they passed through the dock gates to the city's waterfront district.

"Oblivion Gates?"

"I guess not. Well, that's a good sign then, although people are beginning to say that a few more have been spotted in remote locations. They're ... well, they're portals into Oblivion. Have you not heard the news from Imperial City? The Emperor and his sons were assassinated, and now the pact with the Daedric princes has been broken. The Dragon Fires have been extinguished. They say the Empire is doomed to fall into chaos now. A portal opened right outside of Kvatch and daedra poured out of it completely destroying the place. Not many survivors from what I hear. Now people are afraid it will start happening elsewhere, as well."

"I had heard the news about the Emperor's death, but not the gate."

"It's dreadful - absolutely dreadful. Who knows what's going to happen to us next if someone doesn't find a way to light those Dragon Fires again." Elaren shook his head and led the way down the dock to the lighthouse, but then stopped.

Daerazal looked around and then looked back to the mage. "Does she live in the lighthouse?"

"No. She lives out there." He raised his staff to point to the open water.

Daerazal turned his gaze toward the ocean and became slightly disgusted at the aid this high elf had offered. "If she lives in Valenwood, you could have just said that. I could have taken a ship down the river."

"No ship except her own sails to where Kielanai lives because it doesn't exist on any map. She lives on a private island that she prefers to keep private. How do you feel about water-walking spells? Boats always upset my stomach."

Daerazal looked out over the endless water with doubt. "You expect me to cross that much ocean on magic? How far is it, and how long will the spell last?"

"The spell will last just long enough to reach her shores, I should think."

"You think?" The dark elf wasn't happy with that answer, but he didn't protest as the mage cast the spell over each of them. "Wizards ..." he muttered to himself, but then followed the older elf out onto the water's surface. Hesitating for a moment, he looked down at his boots with worry. Salt water sloshed over his toes and ankles. The surface under his feet felt solid, thin, and slippery - like wet glass. Starting to sweat about it, he made himself tear his gaze away from the water and focus on the mage.

Elaren smiled quietly at the warrior's mistrust of magic. So typical of those not trained in the arts. "If you're afraid of slaughterfish, they usually don't bother leaping out of the water to hunt on the surface."

"Slaughterfish don't scare me. I've seen much worse, believe me."

"Then perhaps it is the depths of the suffocating water itself. We cannot see the bottom, and deep, dark water has too many deadly advantages over a mere sword … or even magic."

"An observation I'd rather not reflect on at the moment," the dark elf groused.

Using the western shoreline of Valenwood as his guide, Elaren estimated the location of the unmarked island. A spot of land eventually appeared in the distance, but the mage continued walking at a leisurely pace, until he reached solid land. "Here we are – Akaviri Kojima."

The dark elf gratefully touched the sand with his fingertips and sighed with relief.

Elaren led the way across the cobbled path at the dock toward the farm house's front door. "As I said before, you'll not find any boats willing to bring you here, so if you need a second trip, you'll have to come back to me or purchase a water-walking scroll for yourself."

Daerazal glanced over his shoulder to the large galleon anchored just off the dock to his right and the large, white dragon statue to his left before turning his attention to their destination - a small, white, plastered building with a blue ceramic-tiled roof beneath the limbs of a giant ginko tree.

Elaren paused on the large, flat door stone next to a bronze dragon lamp and used the carved end of his staff to rap on the old wooden doors. "Kielanai? Are you home?" He used his staff to knock again and waited a moment to hear a response, but received none. "She might be at the other end of the island or in the main estate. I'll go search for her there. You can keep trying here. This is the one she lives in."

))((

Daerazal watched the mage wander through the tall yellow and green grass up the cobbled path toward the large estate at the top of the hill. With its red, ceramic-tiled roof and multiple dragon-gargoyle guardians, it was much more impressive than the little farmhouse. He wondered why she had chosen to live in the smaller home.

Knocking on the door of the farmhouse, he called her name as the mage had. But after a moment of continued silence, he decided to check around the back of the house. He removed his sun shades, though the sun was still painfully bright, and set them down with his pack. Finding the path down to the paddy behind the stable, he followed it and soon saw the half-Altmer wading through the shallow water, checking her rice plants. "Kielanai?" he called to her as he started down the slope to the water's edge.

The bard looked up, startled that someone else was on her island. She became even more startled when she saw that it was someone she didn't know, and that he was armed. Drawing the dagger at her waist, she held it arm's length between herself and the approaching dark elf. "Not a step closer! I've taken on worse than you and lived to tell about it."

He made no move to match her defensive stance or coax her out of hers, but he did step down into the marshy paddy with her. "Are you Kielanai, formerly of Weye?"

"Who are you, and what are you doing on my island without invitation?"

The warrior crossed his open palms over his chest - a sign that he had no intention of drawing a weapon on her. "My name is Daerazal Velve'Xukuth. I've come from Morrowind with an urgent message from a mutual friend – Talvalo Shalonethyr."

Kielanai nearly dropped the blade that she held. "Talvalo? He's in Morrowind now? Why didn't he just deliver the message himself?"

"He's staying home with his son."

Kielanai lowered the arm that held the dagger, but her face still registered her shock. "He has a son?"

"An infant too young to make this kind of journey, but his wife is in danger. He thinks you might be able to help."

"Why me?"

"He says you're half-Akaviri. Do you know how rare it is to find someone with Akaviri blood in Tamriel? Or more importantly, do you remember anything of your former culture?"

She sheathed the dagger and moved in closer to stand before the dark elf. "I don't understand."

"Chizrae disappeared during an excursion to Akavir. He needs your help finding her."