Letters From Tamriel

An epistolary gaming blog

Archive for the category “Issa”

Issa writes

Isa profile picIssa steps from the wayshrine and walks to the edge of the cliff overlooking Deshaan’s river.  She spreads a blanket over one of the larger, flatter boulders at the cliff’s edge, and sets out her lunch.  Then she pulls out her pen and parchment.

Dear Erarik,

I probably should have left Wrothgar without interfering.  I know it’s what you would have advised.  It is difficult, even for me, to understand why I didn’t.  They aren’t my people.  And when I had the chance to defend “my people”, I failed them.  Failed you.  But Kurog was a petty bully taking orders from a corrupt and power-hungry Forge-mother, and I could not let him control the province.  I could not.

Perhaps I have developed a death wish.

It was the hardest battle I have ever fought.  I should have died.  But in the end, I brought down Kurog and his Forge-mother, and now Bazrag controls the throne.  The citizens of Orsinium are calling me “Kingmaker” – they have no idea how hollow the title rings in my ears.

I had to leave Wrothgar.  Bazrag invited me to stay – in fact, he did me the honor of asking that I light the fires for Kurog’s funeral pyre.  I understand how conflicted the guests were, how difficult it was for Bazrag to watch one of his oldest friends burn, despite how necessary it was.  I lit the fires.  And then I left.

When I went to Wrothgar, I thought it would feel like home: the mountains, the snow… it should have been comforting, but it never was.  It never felt close enough to feel like home, but always close enough that I was continually reminded of the farm that no longer sustains us.  I had to go, the pain of “almost” was too deep to ignore.

Today I am travelling in Deshaan.  I remember the first time I saw a mushroom taller than myself – it made my uncomfortable, I found it disgusting.  But fresh from Wrothgar, I found Deshaan’s landscape strangely pleasant.  There is no lingering sense of home, here, nothing so familiar that I find myself continually homesick.  The flowers are lovely and the air is free of ash.  The guar are… guar – I am not so smitten with the landscape that I can romanticize guar.  Still, I find I like it here.

Molag Bal’s servants have not penetrated Wrothgar, but anchors are dropping in Deshaan.  I can see one from where I sit, and when I am done writing this letter I will go do what damage can be done to it.  People are losing their lives to the cultists… I could do some good in the world, staying here.

And I find that I can.  A local family were captured by the cultists and sacrificed on the anchor – there is a mage’s collage nearby, Shad Astula, they call it, and because it sits very near the collage walls they do not like that the farm is untended.  They want me to occupy it.  The farm is already equipped with an excellent forge and other crafting equipment.  I believe I will “retire” here, to this place surrounded by over-sized fungus and smelly, wild guar, and I think I can be… if not happy, then at least content.

It is not the land your great-grandfather tended, that is lost to us forever.  But it is not a bad place.  I can even say it is a good place.

I have rambled, my love, my lunch has gotten cold.  Know that you are in my heart, always.  May Sovengarde keep and protect you, and may the mead be sweet and thick.


Issa folds the letter in half, tucks it into a pocket, and finishes her lunch.  It takes her some time to carefully pick her way down the cliff, but she avoids the paths where she might run into travelers.  Once at the cliff’s base, she crosses a field of wildflowers until she is standing inside the fenced area of the farm.  She takes a drink from the well, and then walks to the forge, where embers still burn.  She takes the letter from her pocket, feeds it to the forge embers until it is consumed by fire.  Then she rolls up her sleeves and begins repairing the shed.

Avayan's Farm crafting station - Issa's home

Avayan’s Farm, Deshaan – Issa’s new home



Issa writes

Isa profile picIssa steps away from the wayshrine and pulls a breathe of the cold air deep into her lungs.  All around her the landscape is rocky, harsh, and covered in ice.  She closes her eyes for a long moment and pretends that the mountains, plains, and birds are those of her beloved Skyrim and not part of Wrothgar.  But when she opens her eyes again, the land, the sky, and the wildlife mocks her with their strangeness.  Familiar, yes, close to home… but not home.  Never home; never again.  She walks to the edge of an icy stream, makes a small fire under an overhang, and pulls out her pen and paper.

Dear Erarik,

It astonishes me that I can still be so naïve after all that has happened, and yet the workings of this world continue to confound my heart and sensibilities.

I came to Wrothgar.  You would have advised me against it, but Davon’s Watch and Ebonheart were leaving a taste in my mouth I could no longer take, ashy and bitter.  The Dunmer concept of honor is… clear enough to them, I suppose, but is far too contorted for my taste.  I hoped the Orcs would be less convoluted in their dealings.  Yes, my love, I know – remember, I already called myself naïve.  When the ambassador extended me the invitation I threw it away at first.  She was persistent, however.  And astute as well, because after all, who better to help a weak King than an exile?  Indeed, what else do I have to do with my time?

However, it turns out honor is convoluted in Wrothgar, too.  “King” Kurog promised to unite the Orc clans and provided stability to the embattled chieftans.  Certainly, I had my doubts, and the fact that he continually attempted to bully me even while he was asking for my help did not win him points.  Still, his goal seemed valid, and the blustering of rulers has long since ceased to have any power over me.

Now the few allies I have made are in jail, and I am being hunted as a traitor, again.  Kurog is a self-obsessed, arrogant blowbag, and even if he hadn’t threatened me to my face I could not support his bid for the throne after I got to know him.  I am, in short, about to be banished from another province.

I suspect that makes you proud in your contrary way, but I wish you were here to stand by my side.


Issa signs the letter, folds the paper in half, and feeds it to the flames of her fire.  Then she pulls out a honing stone and begins sharpening her blade.

Issa writes

Isa profile picIssa 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.

Dear Erarik,

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.  

Stonefalls from Armature wayshrine

Issa Ice-Mane

Isa at the forge - smallScreen name: Isa Ice-Mane
aka: Issa*
DragonKnight, Ebonheart Pact
Crafter alt – Blacksmithing

Issa left Skyrim due to an ugly family dispute about land inheritance, and how lives in Ebonheart where she tries not to get involved in politics and concentrates on her craft.

Every game, I build a tank at some point, and then remember I don’t really like to play tanks.  Also, I wasn’t happy with the theme of the character – the DK special abilities have a fire-and-earth basis to them, and I wasn’t happy with the aesthetic not matching up.  Now I only run Issa out when I need to gather skill points to improve her crafting.  Soon I’ll be done with that, and she’ll be permanently benched.

*It’s supposed to be spelled with two ss’s and is pronounced “Iss-uh”, not “Ice-uh”, as it would be with one s.  I somehow didn’t notice the mistake until I’d invested more time in her than I was willing to delete over a missing letter, particularly since she’s not a main.

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