Of Magecraft and Spider Silk
The Journey Begins
Even though I and my colleagues had summoned Daedra before, I always was wary whenever my back was turned to one. As I led her through the halls towards the main chamber, a thought came to mind, as I stopped, turning to face the Perthan I had called forth from the latticed realm of Mephala. “I never quite caught your name, or, well, is there anything you’d like me to call you?” I inquired. While, of course, it was unlikely she would give me her True Name, as such things hold great power over oneself, something to call her by in case I needed her aid, or just if I needed to ask her something. Calling her Perthan or Spider Daedra all the time would, in all honesty, get a bit old fast, and probably irate her, not wise.
She stopped, the tapping of her tarsi atop the carpeted stone floor ceasing. She cupped her chin in her right hand, her four amber eyes gazing slightly above me, a faint humming noise emanating from her mouth as she thought.
It was at this point in time I began taking in her figure, purely for documentation purposes of course. She was about a palm’s breadth taller than the other Perthans I’ve encountered, which placed her almost two feet taller than I was. Her skin had a slight tan to it, and was smooth, save for a thin X-shaped scar on her left cheek. Her breasts were ample and full, and her raven hair went down past her shoulders.
Her amber eyes, all four of them, eventually swiveled down. “Hmm, its been some time since a mortal asked me that.” she smiled softly, “Well, I won’t give you my True Name, even if I was foolhardy enough to do so, a little morsel like you would likely butcher it anyway.” she chuckled, her laughter echoing in the hall, the only other sound being the faint hum of the light orbs within the lanterns. “Rachnera, Rachnera Lolth should suffice.” she lowered her hands to her sides.
“Rachnera.” I rolled the name around in my tongue, trying to get the feel of it. I nodded, “Very well then, Rachnera it shall be.” I turned, and continued on to the main chamber.
I waved my hand, as the runes engraving the door glowed a pale cream color, and swung open. The doors were enchanted to open only to the magical signatures of myself and my group. We entered the main chamber.
A large oculary, modeled after the one in the former Arcane University, was the centerpiece of the chamber. Workstations and bookshelves adorned either side of the oculory. Several of my associates glanced up from their tomes and labs to see who had entered.
“Let me introduce my group.” I gestured around the main hall, “We are part of a group known as the Aurbic Surveillance Society ...yes I know the acronym spells out ass.” I rolled by eyes as I saw her snickering. In truth, for the first few weeks of my time with the ASS, I found it hilarious. While some part of me still does, I have grown accustomed to it. “Anyway, we are made up of remnants of the dissolved Mages Guild, Synod, College of Whispers, among others, that have banded together to keep track of any anomalies within the plane of Mundus, and both study and contain them.” I led her around, “Alongside this, the members are free to work on less….orthodox studies of magic and such. For instance, Carolina over there,” I pointed to a google adorned brunette Breton woman, who briskly glanced at us, waved, and went back to fiddling on the Dwemeri device she was tinkering on. “Was part of a team that discovered schematics in a Dwemer ruin in southern Hammerfell, of a sort of crossbow an artificer was designing. According to the plans, with a soul gem acting as a power source, the crossbow could launch two rifts in reality that can act as a doorway between spaces.”
Rachnera glanced at me, an amused smirk gracing her features. “You mean it shoots out portals?” she teased. “You don’t have to be all poetic.”
“Well, yes,” I said, though I personally preferred the less...layman way of phrasing it, “It does, but that sounds so mundane.” I cleared my throat, trying to ignore the faint flush on my cheeks or her chuckling.. “And, another example. Vengarl,” I gestured to a thinly bearded, athletically built Nord who was levitating a small chunk of crimson ore, eyeing it intently as he carefully filtered in small bursts of magic into it, causing small fissures along it to glow a white-ish blue. “Is studying the effects of Nirncrux, and whether the ore can be synthesized.”
A small chuckle fell from her lips, “Ah, interesting. Quite the colorful crew you have here.” she nodded, her eyes gazing upon the room, the bookshelves, their glass doors shielding the tomes and scrolls within, lining the walls, the Clockwork servitors Archmagos Saren had donated when he joined our cause flitting about. “So, where do I come into this.”
My eyes brightened at this, “Ah, well, I was just about to get to that.” I pivoted on my heels, and strode towards my workstation. It was made of sweet smelling black birch imported from western Cyrodiil. A large map, four pins with blue glowing tips jutting from several locations across Tamriel. “You see, Director Animusphere, the current head of our organization located four large scale anomalies at four points in Tamriel.” I gestured to the pins. “According to surveys, they appear to be wounds in time, spitting out the occasional soldier or creature from the past, present, or even the future. As the resident Chronothurgist expert of this branch of A.S.S,” I tried, emphasis on tried to keep some pride out of my voice, “the vice director of my branch, Lady Rosenhall, charted myself to go and investigate these locations. As I’ll be trekking across the width and breadth of Tamriel, I thought a traveling companion would help, alongside alleviating loneliness, help me survive the harshness of the locales.”
Rachnera nodded, her four eyes gazing at the four points on the map. “So, we’ll be heading to…” she raised a hand, and moved a magnifying glass nearby so she could see better, eyeing the small print on the map. “Hunding’s Bay, here in Hammerfell, an island to the south of mainland Morrowind, a small area in southeastern Elsweyr, and some gods forsaken isle to the west of Firsthold. Shouldn’t be too much trouble.” she smirked. “Well then, shall we be off?” She asked, folding her arms.
“Of course, give me one moment.” She grumbled, impatience clear on her face, but acquiesced. I grabbed a worn, dark leather travel bag, lined with fur, and slung it over my shoulder. Attached to it was some rope, a small lantern, a bedroll. and canteen made of a calabash gourd. Within were the essentials. Some well preserved foodstuffs, compass, a bestiary, some reference tomes, anything your adventuring mage would require on the road. “There.” I led her out. One of the guards, a retired Legionary battlemage of the Shadow Legion, by the name of Olinius Aurelian, escorted us out.
As the blazing sun of Magnus beat down on us, and the warm grass crunched beneath us, I noticed her looking at me. “That guard, is armor is ...different than the other legionaries I have met.” She mused. “Hmm, Fenkai,” I corrected her on my name, “Whatever, anyway, unless you’ve spent an extended period of time in one of the planes of Oblivion, then you likely don’t know that time passes differently there than in does in Nirn, as the Prince in question, or whoever lords over the plane, can alter many things within, including the land. Lady Mephala tends to only make slight increments in time, as she watches the webs she spins within the minds of Man, Mer, and Beast take root, but even still, I’d like to know at least the basics of this time.” she said swiftly, taking in the surroundings.
“Ah, time, my speciality.” I chuckled, as we headed away from the secluded glade that nestled the branch’s base of operations. Alongside the out of the way dale and dense foliage, the entrance was sealed off with enchanted boulders. If one drew the correct rune pattern, in this case spelling out the Ayleidoon word for “Secret Hall”, Ageasel, then tap around the rune in a star shaped pattern. That done, the stones will become translucent, and one can step through them like one would a doorway, the stones becoming solid once more. “Well, Lady Rachnera, for your information,” I adjusted my hood to shield my eyes from the sunlight, as I began leading the way towards the first chronal aberration, our feet and tarsi crunching against wet grass and cobblestone pathways. “It is the twenty-second year of the 5th era. The 4th era ended some time ago, following the assassination of Emperor Titus Mede the Second, the Second Great War, which the Empire, with the aid of High Rock, seventy-seven percent of Hammerfell, Skyrim, and rebel groups acting within Valenwood, Elswyer, and Alinor, albeit it took four years, and much bloodshed, and finally, with the death of Emperor Mede and all known heirs either stripped of entitlement to the throne, either due to misdeeds or sacred vows, High Chancellor Motierre and the Elder Council elected now Empress Annaig d’Cumberland, of distant relation to High King Emeric, the former leader of the Daggerfall Covenant, and a respected merchant noble, well loved among the common folk, as empress.That, to sum things up, is how the 5th Era came to be.” I took a deep breath, it had been some time since I had to give a summary of events leading up to the current Era, at least relatively close in proximity.
Rachnera stayed silent throughout the whole spiel. “Ah, regicide, one of lady Mephala’s favorites. Political intrigue is such a wonderful weaving web of betrayal, deceit, and subterfuge.” she cooed, licking her lips. “Wonderful.” she smiled.
“Alright then, Rachnera, our first stop, Hunding Bay!” I smiled, and side by side, we began our journey.