Issa steps out of the wayshrine and onto the grass, takes a deep breath. The air is mixed with the scent of water and ash, green growing things and sulphur. The wind that touches her face is cool and hot in turns. She walks down the steep hill, lays a blanket on the ground and eats a light lunch while the steam rises from the edge of the river. After she’s finished, she pulls a piece of parchment and a pen from her bag and begins writing.
Good afternoon, my love. It’s another tragically beautiful day in Stonefalls. I’m back at the Armature grounds again, watching the lava poison the river. There are still fish alive in the water, but I can tell they won’t survive much longer.
It’s a terrifying but astonishing landscape. So hot and dry compared to our mountain. The mountains here have no snow, but that’s partly why I came, isn’t it? Still, I never anticipated how lovely destruction could be. I don’t know how they can all watch the fire consume their land and not see how little time we all have left. Something evil is under Ash Mountain, fighting its way out, and the land is dying, and they’re all so absorbed in their petty wars that they don’t even care.
It’s possible I’m over-reacting. It’s possible that my own heartache sours my vision. But whenever the Dunmer speak of their Tribunal, my gut clenches and grows cold. Something is horribly wrong. But maybe that’s the way of the world. What I know for certain – what I learned when our home burned – is that I cannot fix the ills of the world. So I concentrate of the feel of the iron under my hands and let the others worry about solving the world’s problems.
I think of you when I’m working the metal, even now. Are there forges in Sovengarde? The legends speak of mighty battles, but who is there to fight, who would challenge a hall filled with the greatest warriors of legend? I hope there is some battle, for your sake. I can’t imagine you could be content without it.
I have deliveries I must make, orders to fill. Rest well, my love. Enjoy your mead. You earned it.
Issa finishes writing the letter, folds it in half, and wearily stands. She goes to the edge of the river and drops the piece of parchment into the edge of a trickle of lava. The paper floats for a second on the surface of the liquid, fiery rock, and then is consumed to ash. Issa watches it burn, then goes back and picks up her things and returns to the wayshrine.