The Priestess and The Black Star
I sat perplexed looking across at The Priestess Irdi Sul, as she leaned back in her chair, gazing at me with those intense crimson eyes, a half smile on her face, her eyebrows slightly raised, waiting I expect for me to say something. I sat silently, averting her gaze, and thankfully, Ambarys entered the room with dinner.
“Ah Ambarys, impeccable timing, our Imperial friend I feel is in need of some Dunmer fare, and some more wine, perhaps some Surilie Brothers?” The Priestess said as the owner of the New Grisis Cornerclub laid out the table with a platter of Crab Meat, prepared Dunmer style and spiced, Roasted Ash Yam and bread. “I am not a Wine Merchant My Lady, and don’t stock Cyrodiilic Wine, perhaps some Sujamma would suffice?” Ambarys Rendar offered as he gave me some cutlery and a look of “say something Sere?”
“Sujamma would be excellent,” I coughed out, and this got a nod of approval from Ambarys and a laugh from the Priestess. “Very well Adonato, however you may regret it later on.” Said she, while serving some of the food in front of us, onto my plate, and a little less for herself.
“My Lady,” I began, “Am I to believe that you turned a Priest of The Sixth House, to become your servant, merely by touching and healing him with enchantments?” “It would have seemed so Adonato.” Irdi Sul replied. “I was quite confident that I had.”
We ate in silence for some time, Ambarys returned with two bottles of Greef, a Sujamma popular in parts of Morrowind and we toasted the benevolence of The Queen of the Night Sky, with a nip each before the Priestess continued her tale.
“I bid Naryu Varian and Assaba-Bentus farewell, as the sun rose above us, the dawn passing, Naryu, heading back to make good her intention to pacify her Morag Tong Masters, while Assaba-Bentus was to return to his tribal Camp, and meet up with me at the Monastery in 4 nights time.” Said The Priestess “Thus began the 8th Dawn of my journey, and I was now alone with Othreloth as we made our way out of Molag Amur and down towards Azura’s Coast.”
“I was curious Adonato, as to why Othreloth had not used his Majic against us, the previous evening,” The Priestess said to me “It was odd, given that my two companions were able to overcome the Ascendant Sleepers before they had time to conjure even a breath, he had time moments into the melee, to cast a number of spells at Assaba-Bentus or myself, and yet he only cast the one spell, at me, that caused no effect, or so I thought.” Said Irdi Sul. “I engaged him in conversation, and he would reply that he was attempting to track Naryu Varian, and this led to him failing in his strategy, to even cast a spell, other than the one he managed at the final moment before his submission.”
The Priestess then described to me how as they trekked down out of the rocky hardened lava, Othreloth continuing to talk of how much he was looking forward to seeing the Holamayan Monetary, and how grateful he was for her use of Almalexia’s Blessing and kindness when her companions meant him nothing but harm.
He reminisced with her about their times together at the Academy, Shad Astula. Othreloth talked continuously, not stopping as they crossed the difficult terrain that caused the Priestess some discomfort to traverse. As they made their way out of Molag Amur, and into the easier terrain of Azura’s Coast, the beauty of the coastline shone before her. Tall green trees, a sudden burst of undergrowth and the singing of native birds greeted them. It was a beautiful contrast to where they had come from, and it surprised her.
Irdi Sul said she began to feel short of breath and had to use her own healing spells to keep up with him, as he marched ahead of her in his excitement. “I began to struggle to keep up with him, and when I asked him to slow for a moment, his mood changed somewhat, and he urged me to continue, that we would stop and rest once we reached the coast.” The Priestess said. This she told me continued for some time, and well into the day. “Eventually, I could not continue, and stopped and sat on a rocky outcrop, the ocean in view. Othreloth, noticing I was not behind him, trekked back to where I sat, looking unconcerned”, said she.
“So, Sul, you have lost your golden glow, you do not feel well.” Othreloth said this to her, not as a question, the Priestess said she realised, “The curse that I inflicted has begun to worm its way into your blood, limiting your ability, you will soon feel the fell extent of Corprus Disease Sul, and you will die.”
The Priestess said she looked at him as he laughed, and he stood up straight and raised his arms in triumph. “The Great Azura, bestowed upon you gifts that were to transform you into a rival for Almalexia and save your people?” he said, mocking her in his mirth, while she told me she could only watch as he began dancing about, shouting now, his face contorted and vile in appearance “And yet here you are, alone, on the coastline, so named after the Daedric Prince Azura, dying of a curse from the Sixth House, the true saviours of Morrowind.“ His eyes gleaming red, burning into her as he clapped his hands together to reemphasize his point.
“You have cursed me with a disease? I said to him, not believing that it was possible.” Said Irdi Sul. “How insolent you still are Sul, and yes, it is a disease with no cure.” Othreloth replied.
The Priestess said she felt dismay at again being deceived by Othreloth. As she sat there, she told me she felt the effect of his curse grow. The Priestess said her legs began to stiffen, her arms cramping. Irdi Sul said she sank from the rock she was sitting on, to the ground, unable to remain upright.
She told me Othreloth stood over her, bathing in the glory of his deceit, telling her that he felt the strength of her charm, and that the healing of his wounds, and the calm spell, had enchanted him, but like all calming spells, the effects were only temporary.
“I will say, the experience was a revelation Sul, your power was all encompassing. If you had chosen to join us, you would have been a force to reckon with. The Sixth House and Dagoth Ur himself would have embraced your Alata Gandral to great effect.” the deceiver, Othreloth said to her, as she lay unable to even meet his gaze now.
“I felt death coming for me Adonato, I lay down, unable to move, only my mind stayed clear. I decided to journey inward, and conserve whatever strength I had left, and ignore the rambling of Othreloth, and focus my majic on continuing to breath. It was all I could do.” Said The Priestess.
She told me Othreloth, knelt down and looked into her eyes, kissed her, and said;
"The Sixth House cannot be restored without war. Enlightenment cannot grow without the risk of upsetting the tradition-bound and complacent herd."
The Priestess said she knew he was gone, when she could no longer hear the irritating inflections of his voice, and that he had assumed victory and left her to spend her final moments alone.
“I felt my limbs swelling Adonato, from my jaw to my toes were wracked and twisted in pain, as if clamped between stone and rock. I prayed to Azura. I kept my faith, as I believed this to be my 2nd Peril. I focused my Magicka, and using it sparingly, did enough to prevent the physical symptoms of the disease from becoming unbearable. I held out hope that I could survive for a day or two, if I stayed true to Azura, and her visions.”
“You must have been in great pain my lady, the curse of Corprus is rumoured to be excruciatingly painful” I said to her, as I poured what was our fifth nip of Greef into our cups. “Yes, but it is no rumour, the pain is like bare skin touching flame, and then being hammered out on an anvil like a sword from the forge. It almost broke me, I spent the first night using all my resolve, exhausted by the next morning, The only vision I had been granted was of a mystic Dunmer, a Mage of legend, known to me as Divayth Fyr. Why would Azura send me visions of a 3,000-year-old wizard? I was on the verge of submitting. Death would have been better than holding out hope and continuing to suffer, waiting for rescue by a Mage no one had seen in centuries.” She said this mournfully, before drinking her nip of Greef in one gulp.
“As the sun rose, I did not believe that another soul would venture to this part of Vvardenfell, and find me, and yet the creature that did was a Breton, and she spoke to me as an old friend. “Irdi Sul, I have found you.” She said to me “What foulness has become you?” she asked, and all I could manage in reply was “Corprus Disease, Fyr, you must find Divayth Fyr.”
“It was Anrel.” I said to her. “Yes Adonato, she had been contacted by my mother, not long after I had begun my pilgrimage.” Said the Priestess, as she opened the second bottle of Sujamma. “While my mother is a compassionate woman, she was not prepared to suffer the shame of her daughter renouncing The Tribunal so publicly, and then running off to Vvardenfell to proclaim it to the faithful in the Ashlands.”
“How did she find you?” I asked her. “Luck, and providence. Anrel, had tracked me to The Erabenimsun yet no one there would provide any detail on where I had gone when I left. The Ashkhan believed me dead, as a victim of his writ with the Morag Tong, and Manirai, said she knew nothing else other than I had left to visit another tribe.”
The Priestess said this, while sipping her Sujamma. “I again owed Assaba-Bentus my life, as he returned to the camp that evening, met with Anrel and told her I was travelling down to the Holamayan Monastery with Othreloth, and she would find me there.”
“It was fortunate you have a mother who cared for you my Lady, and a friend to venture forth to find you in your time of need.” I said to her, the Sujamma now beginning to make my conversations more romantic in nature, and my vision a little cloudy. “My Mother was only thinking of herself, and Anrel, the loyal servant of my Father, bound by honour to help her.” Said The Priestess. “Anrel I believe was there to teach me a lesson, not to save me. Given I was near death, and in dire need of saving, was not to her liking.”
The Priestess told me Anrel picked her up and placed her on her back, ignoring her cries of pain and discomfort. “Do you refer to the Wizard of Tel Fyr Tower in Zafirbel Bay? Should we head there Irdi Sul?” Anrel asked me, said the Priestess. “I whispered back, find Divayth Fyr,” and Anrel, told her it was a day’s walk, and they needed to find a way to sustain her until they arrived.
The Priestess Irdi Sul, told me that Anrel was a skilled warrior, and adept in magic, however her only restoration spell was the Grace of Almsivi, which she could use on her own wounds, not others. “Can you heal yourself, until I find water Irdi Sul? “she asked. “Can you use the Grace of Almsivi to galvanise yourself as we travel?”
The Priestess said to me that she had been using other restoration spells to keep herself from succumbing to the disease and had no thought to cast another charm. She said she was also having trouble now staying awake, and would lapse in and out of consciousness, the journey a blur to her, as they made their way up along the coast to Zafirbel Bay. Anrel found a fresh water source, and was able to get Irdi Sul to drink, she told me, and this revived her somewhat, yet her only focus was to keep the spread of the disease at bay, until they reached Divayth Fyr.
“I felt better after drinking, and Anrel was able to feed me some scraps of Ash Yam, and with her encouragement I cast the Grace of Almsivi. It brought comfort. I felt better after it, and it didn’t use all my reserves of Magicka, as the gifts from Azura did.” Said Irdi Sul.
They continued on, with Anrel carrying her the Priestess told me, and by dawn of the next day, had reached the scattered islands of Zafirbel Bay. She informed me that there they found Bensiberib Camp, a single Yurt and Anrel was able to enlist the help of the local inhabitant to provide water and food for them in exchange for keeping his identity secret. “It was here that Azura blessed me again.” The Priestess told me. “Anrel was exhausted, from carrying me all the way to be within sight of Tel Fyr and had no way of getting across the ocean to the island of the Tower,”” the Priestess said to me. “My condition now was that of a swollen, stiffened corpse, and while not succumbing mentally to the disease, I had all the physical ailments.” She said.
The local, an Ashlander Barbarian who went by the rather elegant name of Odaishah Yasalmibaal was able to let Anrel know, that a member of the Tel Fyr House, regularly came to see him. Her name was Uupse Fyr, and he claimed she was a wife of the great Mage, Divayth Fyr. “She is due later this morning Sere, so you will not have to wait long,” he informed Anrel, the Priestess said, while looking at me seriously, or so I thought, the Sujamma now causing me to droop my head and pass out.
I awoke in the bed, alone the next morning, my temples ringing, my vision blurred and an ache in my belly that cried for more Sujamma. I lay there hoping the feeling would pass. It didn’t. and I got up and poured myself some of the remaining Greef into a cup and drank it quickly, which then resulted in me vomiting over myself, and passing out again.
Ambarys found me on the floor and put me back to bed after cleaning me up, or so this is what he told me, when I awoke again later that day.