Translated and transliterated from a Skaal poem by the scholar Rha’jirresh of Raven’s Rock, 4E 317
A long time ago, the evil tyrant Miraak, the betrayer, walked the shores and mountains of Solstheim. He sook to rule and subjugate, much like the dragons that ruled the land in those ancient days, whom he was subservient to. Upon finding out he had become more dragon than man, he sook to tear them down from their thrones of bone and assume his place as the king of all things.
In his quest for power, he stumbled upon a black book, one of the foulest creations of the evil Demon of Knowledge, Herma-Mora. Madness blazing in his mind, he struck a deal with the Demon, gaining the power to control the very minds of Solstheim’s people, and eventually even subjugate the very Earth itself. The dragons, jealous creatures that they are, could not abide by a usurper, even one posessing a soul so much like their own, and invaded his domain.
After a terrible battle, the dragon king’s first general prepared to strike the killing blow, and end Miraak’s life once and for all, when the Demon he’d struck his bargain with exacted his part of the deal, and whisked him away into the very depths of Oblivion itself. Foolishly believing they had won, the dragons left Solstheim in the hands of the Jailer, and marched off, never to be seen on Solstheim again.
Their rule would eventually end at the hands of three Nord heroes, and the world would keep turning, just as the All-maker intends it to, Miraak’s tale growing fainter and fainter over the winters’ fire and the summers’ wind.
However, he was neither dead nor bound, but merely waiting. His master, Herma-Mora, had bound him as his servant, and as he does with all his servants, let him loose in the library of forbidden knowledge that is his realm, intending to keep him as a pet, or perhaps a pawn. No one can know the will of the daedra.
Miraak was not so easily cowed, of course. He was in posession of a dovah’s essence, his own corrupted by the draconic lust for power, halfway twisted by old Herma-Mora into a lust for knowledge, but still burning within him, longing for the days he would walk on Nirn and inspire terror in the hearts of the Skaal.
For eons, he roamed Herma-Mora’s great library, amassing a multitude of forbidden secrets, dark knowledge and things that should not be known, twisting his ability to speak the language of dragons into a vile thing, and growing his want ever more.
It was then, millennia later, that he decided to reemerge into to the All-Maker’s realm, to assume his place as it’s ruler once more. Perhaps it was the seed of madness that had finally grown to encompass him entirely, or perhaps the vanquishing of Alduin, the Dragon king, had woken him from his master’s grip, but he plotted. Reaching out from the infinite library, his slick fingers latched on to the very land itself, as he had done so many years ago, one by one corrupting the All-maker’s stones dotting Solstheim.
The Oneness of the land disrupted, the people of Solstheim began wandering off at night toward the stones, building otherworldly contraptions around them, deepening the corruption of the land ever more.
Eventually, they did not come back by daybreak, instead spending their days chanting Miraak’s foul mantras, and continuing his work.
It was only through the All-maker’s will that a stranger found Solstheim then, banding together with Frea the Fearless to cleanse Miraak’s temple of his taint, and bringing back the very same black book which Miraak had so long ago used to strike his deal with the Demon of Knowledge.
The Stranger eventually returned to the village of the Skaal, bearing another black book, this one even fouler than the last, for it had been touched by the Demon himself. They brought a demand from Herma-Mora, the only one he has ever set at the foot of the Skaal, and the wise shaman knew the day had come of which the stories spoke, the Demon would finally win their endless struggle.
He aquiesced, and revealed the ancient secrets of the Skaal to Herma-Mora, who killed him in thanks, carving the knowledge the Stranger needed to defeat Miraak into his body.
The Stranger opened the black book Miraak had himself read so many years ago, and vanished in an explosion of light, leaving behind the Skaal to grieve for their lost leader.
It is said that the Stranger disappeared that day, never to be seen again, but that they succeeded in destroying Miraak once and for all, for the Tree Stone at the center of Miraak’s temple was freed not long after the Stranger vanished, collapsing the entire structure.
To this day, there are reports of people lost in the ash and snow finding their way home, guided by a ghostly figure which clears a path using their voice, but these claims have never elevated themselves beyond mere hearsay.
It is not for me to say if this story is true, but the supposed arrival of this “stranger” conicides with the discovery of a new, deeper vein of Ebony in Raven Rock’s mines, which lead to hence-unseen prosperity for the settlement.
Curiously enough, descriptions of the Skaal’s stranger and the writings of a certain C.C. describing someone thought to have been the one to discover the vein are extremely similar, so perhaps the Skaal poem is more than fiction.