Nyx, to her sister
@Zells note: Major spoilers for main quest after the cut.
I have not wanted to write because I don’t like the news I have to share. When I wrote home last, I was helping King Fahara’jad deal with the rising dead in Alik’r. I did not mention my concern about who was causing the problem, but now I have to.
The local necromancer cult in Alik’r call themselves the Withered Hand, and they are ambitious. Worse, however – they have been emboldened by Imperial authority. The leader who moved in and stirred them to aggressive expansion was no less than Septima Tharn, Magus-General of the Seventh Legion, acting under the direct orders of Regent Clivia Tharn. I cannot express the disgust, anger, and betrayal I felt when I learned who was behind the sudden increase of necromancy in Alik’r. I did not want to say it until I knew it was true, but now I’m sure, and you and Papa must know how deep the corruption runs. No one can be trusted, and the Regency is compromised – the throne cannot stay in her hands; she is actively working to give Mundus over to Molag Bal.
There is a lot I haven’t told you, actually, and I’m sorry for that. When you’ve asked I have said letters are not a safe way to tell the story, but the truth is (again) that I was avoiding what needed to be said. And in any case, the secrets that did need to be kept are now known by my enemies, so there is no longer a point to keeping you and Papa in the dark about what I have been doing.
I can’t put this in any delicate way, so I’ll just be blunt – I died. I was travelling through what I thought was safe territory, set up camp for the night and went to sleep. While sleeping I was captured by Molag Bal cultists and sacrificed to him on one of the anchors. I woke in Coldharbour, which is more horrible than you’ve ever heard. I would still be trapped there, and no one would have known what happened to me, except that almost immediately I ran into Lyris Titanborn, who was also a prisoner.
You remember all the speculation about what happened to Varen Acquilarios and his companions – one minute he was taking the throne and then they were gone and the Tharns were in charge? Acquilarios attempted to use the Amulet of Kings to seize control of the Ruby Throne – it was Mannimarco, working with Molag Bal, who convinced Acquilarios to try it, even though legend says only the Septims can wield the Amulet. Legend was correct – Acquilarios’ ambition ripped a hole in Nirn’s defenses; Molag Bal has been exploiting the weakness.
Lyris helped me escape, on the condition that I take with me another prisoner, an elderly, blind Moth Priest she called the Prophet. They eventually revealed to me that the Prophet was really Acquilarios himself. If I had known the whole story in that moment, I might have been tempted to leave him there, but really, I had no choice if I wanted out of Coldharbour.
Mannimarco’s ultimate game was to double-cross Molag Bal and become a god. Because out-playing the God of Schemes is a sane and reasonable decision, right? Fucking necromancers. But he was stalled because he needed the Amulet of Kings, and Sai Sahan fled with it in the aftermath of the failed ritual and hid it. Molag Bal captured him and was torturing him for the location, but Sai never broke. Lyris, Acquilarios, and I have been working to free him, secure the Amulet, defeat Mannimarco, and eventually face down Molag Bal. So far, we’ve succeeded in all those goals except the last.
I keep thinking about when we were kids and Mother would tell us stories about the great Sai Sahan. Now I’ve met him, and I have to say – he’s more impressive in person than any story could capture. That he has fought by my side is more of an extraordinary honor than I could ever have hoped for. I should have told you immediately when I met him, but… it’s been overwhelming, all of it. I’ve had to concentrate on the little things in order to keep my bearings.
So with the help of Lyris and Acquilarios, I escaped Coldharbour. I am “alive,” I am me. But my soul was sacrificed to Molag Bal, and he still has it. I have no choice but to battle for it directly, or I will eventually be pulled back to Coldharbour and remain there forever. You and Papa will hear rumors about a direct attack soon – Lyris, Sai, Acquilarios and I are the instigators. And Abnur Tharn, I suppose, though I know better than to count on any Tharn. We will be soon attempting to unite the leaders of the three alliances into a single force to attack Molag Bal. I don’t know if we will succeed, but my soul is the least of what’s at stake – Molag Bal is attempting nothing less than the complete merge of Mundus and his Oblivion realm. If he succeeds, all our souls will be his.
Please do not tell Mother more of this than you must. She will be racked with fear for me, and there is nothing she can do.
I left Alik’r and followed the trail of Imperial-caused strife all the way to Bangkorai’s capitol. I’m writing you now from Evermore, and the political instability here is one of the many wrongs that can be laid at Clivia Tharn’s feet. I’ve offered what help I can, but I’m pressed for time – the attack on Coldharbour will begin soon, assuming we can convince the Alliance leaders that the threat is larger than their petty squabbles.
This is a lot to dump in your lap all at once, I know. I should have told you sooner, but it’s all been difficult to come to terms with. Now and then I forget that I died, that my soul is missing, but when I’m dealing with mages or magical entities, they almost always know there’s something different about me, and when they ask it’s like a punch in the gut every time. Writing it out to you makes it real in a way that it wasn’t before, and I’ve put that off as long as I could because it was painful to admit and I was a coward. Please forgive me.
This letter has gotten ridiculously long, and someone is waiting for me. Know that I love you all, and I am doing my best to make it back home.