Loremaster's Archive: Messages from Hew's Bane 2 is part of the Loremaster's Archive series written by Lawrence Schick, the Loremaster of The Elder Scrolls Online. This entry was published on 02/04/2016.
Was Prince Hubalajad as foolish and stubborn as tales make us believe? Why would he build Abah's Landing in a place as unwelcoming as Hew's Bane and continue to invest in it regardless of all drawbacks? This text discovered in the archives might help to shine a different light on the reasons and stories behind the colonization of Hew's Bane.
By Lady Cinnabar of Taneth
If you know anything about Yokudan history, you're aware of the role Prince Hubalajad played—or did not play—in the early days following the initial Ra Gada colonization. We know “Prince Hew" as a comic figure, share tales of his thick-headed approach to impossible problems, and jest about his aggressive opulence. A shrine to Zeht floods as a sign of the god's displeasure? Build a more extravagant one further downstream! An oft-repeated Taneth expression for wasting money is “laying foundation with Hubalajad's coin."
Yet, what is truly known of the Luckless Prince? The only references available are third-hand documents, at best. The many apocryphal tales muddy the issue, drawing us further and further away from the actual man. Therefore, we must look to the land of Hew's Bane itself to draw our own conclusions. What if, for only a moment, we approach what are commonly accepted as his many failures on their own terms?
We know Hubalajad must have arrived in the barren land of what was then called “Khefrem's Boot" with a sizable amount of soldiers and artisans. Without local quarries, and with no reliable overland route from the north, they needed to import a mass amount of cut stone by sea. The natural protected harbor in what would become Abah's Landing was undoubtedly their first stop. A steady flow of laden barges would prove tempting to pirates, so Hubalajad's first necessity was to construct No Shira Citadel, an imposing fortress overlooking the Abecean.
It is true No Shira was soon undermined by seasonal flooding. But in response, Hubalajad appealed to Zeht with a shrine. When subsequent flooding washed out the first shrine, he did order the construction of another, yet more elaborate shrine—but from an examination of the stonework, the new one was upstream of the last. Seen in this light, “Prince Hew's thick-headedness" was in fact persistent resolve. Appealing to the Yokudan god of agriculture is not the act of an arrogant or thoughtless man.
All the while, Abah's Landing grew from a soldier's camp and shantytown to a sprawling city. Despite the many hardships of this frontier life, Hubalajad constructed a great palace—a symbol that this land was his home, and that he was just as committed as the locals to thriving. Stone went to the great walls of Abah's Landing, showing that its contents deserved as much protection as the Yokudan ships.
For a moment I ask you to set aside the multiple tombs, the impressive Princes Gate that opened a northern passage to Ra Gada territory, and the Yokudan statue just south of the Abah's Landing harbor that most erroneously believe was an idealized image of Hubalajad himself. The very act of constructing a citadel and a walled city at the same time, with the same pool of resources, would require a sharp mind for logistical matters. If it was not Hubalajad himself, he knew enough to surround himself with someone who could. This is hardly the style of a witless buffoon.
The scale of Hubalajad's setbacks do not, in this author's opinion, justify the tales of endless folly. Was it a whispering campaign from jealous rivals who decried the resources he poured into an inhospitable land? A blemished reputation for not recognizing his half-uncle was a necromancer? Did he invoke the ire of a Yokudan god, or perhaps a Daedric Prince? Though we may never truly know, we should keep one thing in mind about Hubalajad: before his arrival, no Man or Mer left a mark on this land. Today, the only structures surviving two millennia were those constructed by “Prince Hew."
MEMBERS OF THE HEW'S BANE THIEVES GUILD ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONSEdit
Fellow Thieves in Abah's Landing,
I write to you all because of the dire rumors stiring through the rest of Tamriel. If the rumors holds but little truth, I fear there must be taken stronger measures to evade any everlasting impact to our blossoming guild. I write for our comrades near Morrowind, and we wish to know the precise details of this supposed “Iron Wheel", who have struck at you one too many times.
If you will provide what little information you can, then we shall sent our best folk to aid you. We will be pleased with the names of those who stand in charge of the Iron Wheel, and their whereabouts. But what are their weaknesses? Do they have a hideout of which we can tear apart? Anything that may be useful in freeing you from this cursed wheel.
If we don't hear from you before the 7th of First Seed, then we will come to your aid, whenever you wish for it, or not.
May the Mistress of Shadows embrace you all,
Walks-Softly says, “Before their raids, we knew nothing. Now? We know they enjoy branding, sload-marching our guildmates to their prison ships, and shouting “Halt, thief!" The force in Abah's Landing is led by Chief Inspector Rhanbiq, who has the worst sort of reputation: one of principle. And Nighren, while it pains me to dampen such obvious zeal on your part, the Iron Wheel should not be approached! They were once the Taneth chapter of the Bailiffs Guild—a fearsome organization for thieves such as us, even when there was an Empire."
I am Hundorian and I have recently been in the sewers in Riften looking for people to give my dirt too. I found some shady individuals that claimed to be part of the Thieves Guild. I handed them some of my best dirt. I hope to give some to those in Abah's Landing and was wondering how welcoming they would be to me. Are they easy to find or will you have to go through many confusing puzzles that hurt my head to get in contact with them. Oh! I would also like to know what kinds of things the Camel's eat. I have plenty of flowers to bring but I am unsure whether or not they will like them. I myself think flowers are very tasty. I have also included a pouch of sand dirt in this letter.
Kari Coin-Counter says, “All sorts are welcome in the Thieves Guild, Hundorian—even Argonians such as yourself. However, sending sand to Hew's Bane is a lot like sending mud to Black Marsh (or so I imagine, never having been there myself). The kind of dirt we are interested in here is more like blackmail-worthy scandal among the Merchant Lords. Still, I imagine you can make yourself useful nonetheless. Can you count to a hundred?"
[This long and weathered note seems to have been through an unnatural, perhaps otherworldly ordeal. Several spots on the paper are blackened with soot, and the parchment itself smells faintly of echkin fang and spriggan sap. Judging by its contents, the letter was meant for a mage but something went wrong with its transportation. A magical instant reply rune has been etched on the seal.]
"To the Head of the Hew's Bane Mages Guild Guildhall,
I apologize for being several months late of my scheduled appointment to speak with you, my good matron. My dealings with a certain demiprince and my participation in his arena have left me wandering the vastness of Oblivion, and I currently find myself stranded in Shade Perilous. The Nocturnals here are cold but accommodating, but I must erect the spine of annoyance and admit I grow weary of this dreary place.
When I arrive on Hew's Bane, I will begin my work on carving stone sculptures of the Redguard gods in an Argonian style as you requested. But to be honest, I do not have enough information on the island's faith to proceed. Do you follow the Forebears in worship of Arkay and Julianos? Do you follow the Crowns and pray to Tava and the Hoonding? Or do you revere even more obscure Yokudan deities like Hoodoc, the Bat God of Talks and Makes Others Listen? I must say I have become fascinated by Redguard culture as of late and your aid and information would be appreciated. Contact me when you can."
- Eis Vuur Warden, Wayward and Contract Scholar
Velsa says, “Julianos, Tava, Hoodoc? This is the Thieves Guild, bookworm—we worship the Gold Drake in all its sacred forms! In fact, though they may say they're Crowns or Forebears, most residents of Abah's Landing show a profound reverence for money before gods. By the way, what's in the pouch, bookworm? It looks like it might be too heavy for a bookworm to carry all by himself."
To whom it may concern,
I know not to who I am writing to, but I understand you have some knowledge regarding the Thieves Guild, as well as the city of Abah's Landing and its home peninsula of Hew's Bane. I have a few questions about these topics, and will be very thankful if you are to supply the answers.
My first question is regarding the guild's origins. Before the Father of Coldharbour's anchors fell, I spent a few weeks reading books and records in the Imperial City. I found some interesting info such as Alessian Emperor Ami-El's crowining in 1E 322 following his father Belharza's death, as well as a few publications of the University of Gwylim detailing the Sinistral Elves time in Yokuda derived from ancient Ra Gada texts, though I could not find anything relating to the origins of the Thieves Guild.
My question to you is how the Thieves Guild was created. As the Brotherhood worships Sithis, it is my understanding the Thieves Guild has some relation to Nocturnal of the Evergloam. My best guess is that the Daedric Prince guided a group of thieves to form a faction, though if you know how it was created, I would be delighted to know.
My second question is regarding the alternate names of Hew's Bane. I encountered a Khajiit known as Zabani who said Abah's Landing was the jewel of Khefrem, and a damaged document in Sentinel which referred to the southern peninsula of Hammerfell as "Hnes Rax". I found a book mentioning an "Academy of Yokudan Heritage" in Khefrem, and I would guess Hnes Rax is old Yoku for Hew's Bane. Perhaps you could confirm and/or expand on these topics?
My third and final question is about Abah's Landing it self. I presume the name comes from the ancient Ash'abah tribe arriving in Hew's Bane, though it is my understanding they inhabited the Alik'r desert north of the city. I don't know if they founded the city, or if a settler came later on and founded Abah's Landing in the tribe's honor, but at the moment those are my best theories. Could you shed some light on the subject?
Thank you for your time, I hope you can get back to me soon.
―Cyan Fargothil of Seyda Neen
Zeira says, “As to your first question, there have always been thieves' guilds. What we haven't had before is proper organization, and a decent set of rules for outlaws to live by. If our Abah's Landing Thieves Guild is successful, who knows—maybe outlaws elsewhere in Tamriel will adopt our tenets."
Thrag interjects, “Hew's Bane was known as Khefrem's Boot until long after Prince Hubalajad's death. Near as I can tell, locals began calling it Hew's Bane toward the end of the First Era. The waters we share with Taneth were once known as 'Hubalajad's Bay,' so maybe that's how it happened. As for 'abah,' I've read that word could mean 'filthy' or 'unclean' in the time of Prince Hew. Perhaps the first settlers caught a whiff of the Abah's Landing harbor under the noonday sun. Best not to tell the Ash'abah. They might take issue with being known as the 'Stench People.'"
Andarri adds, “Tell Zabani she owes me a bottle of Orsinium Pink Zinfandel!"
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