I shall endeavour herein to record my thoughts and experiences exactly as I found them. To such an end, I have made use of a tok-stone and a memory candle. The one to record my notes and observations, the other to detail my emotions and thoughts at the time. Note, due to the large influx of thoughts and ideas at any one time, I have found it necessary to edit some of them for consistency and general coherence.
Please find below my Bosmeri Travels text:
I have always been interested in the aetherial workings of the higher planes and as a scholar of magicka I am fascinated by tales of trips to Aetherius. Alas, as is known from the Remanite and Aldmeri excursions to Aetherius, the prohibitive cost of reaching magick via magicka has left this area of research thoroughly untapped.
Imagine then, how fortunate I was to chance upon a true mystery of Mundus. Travelling far and wide across Tamriel, I have endeavoured to study as many cultures and their beliefs as I could lay my hands on. Speaking with ash shamans, jungle seers, and sea wizards, I have learnt that the veil between this world and the Other is at certain times thinner and more easily traversed. Indeed, there has been much scholarship on entering, traversing, and exiting outer planes. Those realms of the Void are notorious for being dangerous and (in any sane scholar’s opinion) highly undesirable.
But the realm of Aetherius has no living visitors. Tales of course exist of Nords entering Sovngarde by Mundane portals but I have found no truth in such claims. No, it seems that travel to Aetherius can only be achieved in death. Perhaps it is due to Heaven’s nature that living beings cannot enter. Maybe our minds would be overwhelmed by its majesty.
At least, that is what I would have thought before my very strange encounter.
How I came across such wonder is itself worthy of comment. On my travels through Cyrodiil, I had heard tales of the various cults that thrived in that province. Having only a scholar’s theoretical knowledge of such things, I was admittedly eager to witness their rituals first-hand. Thus, after lengthy inquiries at the Arcane University, I was able to procure a manuscript which detailed a very ancient cult still believed to be active in the Nibenay region. The text stated that the cult centre, a small village called Castus’ Keep, had been located near to the ancient Ayleid ruin of Nenada.
This knowledge in hand, I purchased a ride with the fastest and most convenient transport I could find: a Khajiiti merchant caravan which was heading for Cheydinhal in the North East of the province. As a Bosmer, I was quite surprised that the Khajiiti welcomed me so, but I imagine the 50 septims I handed over did no harm. The merchants were a lively bunch, as are the Cat Folk, always singing a bawdy song or a ballad of the moons.
The journey took us first across the majestic bridge out of the Imperial City, through the town of Weye, and then onwards to Cheydinhal. The bridge was huge, big enough it seemed for entire villages to settle there. So long in fact was it, that there were frequent rest-stops every 3 miles or so. At each stop, merchants hawked their wares in brightly coloured bazaars, some from makeshift, ramshackle stands, others from elaborate and refined stores that were drenched in the aroma of wildflowers. Most impressive of all, skiffs and large cargo-laden junks were anchored below as their wares were being pulled to the top of the bridge, some by an intricate system of pulleys, and others (of a more delicate nature I can only assume) by nervous-faced mages. My Khajiiti companions displayed very little interest in the other merchants’ goods, perhaps perceiving it to be a sign of personal weakness to express an interest in anything but their own goods.
Noticing the boats lying at anchor, I inquired as to why we were going the long way (I had seen on the map that there was a river route that would put us nought but a couple of miles from the city) but I was told that “for a wanderer of the desert, all ways are long and harsh”. In any case, the Khajiit are not well-known for their fondness of water, although I have it on good authority that some furstocks- namely the Senche-raht- actually delight in rivers and streams. Thus, we travelled by land, crossing the bridge at a steady place, resting often to water the horses and to stretch our limbs.
As we made our way southwards, the climate became more like home; we had left behind the colder air commonly found at higher elevations. The heat was not as oppressive as that of Elsweyr which caused my Khajiiti peers no end of heartache for their desert home. I too must confess a desire for the shady, leafed groves of my own homeland. Cyrodiil’s terrain, especially that of Colovia, to an ‘exotic’ eye is simply boring. A flat expanse of land, some of it fit for farming, the rest barren crags as in neighbouring High Rock. Their greatest virtue however is their infrastructure. What they lack in natural wonder, they more than make up for in architectural. Imperial roads are long and straight, and unlike most other structures in the empire, well-maintained. However, their immaculate condition also means that they are often busy with traffic and prone to bandit ambushes. Alas, such is the danger of travelling out in the open!
The sights I saw whilst we continued to move southwards were simply awe-inspiring. We rested for the midday meal, a Khajiiti dish of various spiced meats (and to my own shame) a very tasty vegetable soup. I know, I know, dear reader. How dare this Bosmer violate his people’s customs. All I can say is that I never put much stock in the tenets of the Green Pact. Moreover, I’ve often thought that if Y’ffre had wanted the Valenwood to remain unharmed, why did she only reveal herself to the Bosmer? And, I don’t think it violates the Pact to eat any plants, does it? Well, I was hungry and I don’t think my patrons would have tolerated my fussiness.
As I was saying, the sight that immediately caught my eye, just poking out over the horizon, was a great star stone- a Reman stone if I’m not wrong. What I would have given to have spent just an hour or two studying its workings but unfortunately the caravan was on a tight schedule and we set off as soon as the last of us had finished their meal. I am not ashamed to say that this put me in a foul mood for the remainder of the day. To miss such an opportunity was a great disappointment. When it came to the evening meal, I simply glared at the Khajiit troubadour, Dro’Dari, playing that stupid lute as I was trying to brood in my quiet, undisturbed corner by the campfire. The moons were full that night, shining with a cool, silvery light which danced on the soft ripples of the Rumare lake. As I expected, Dro’Dari broke into a long and warbling moon ballad- which I swear lasted for three hours!
Resigning myself to the inevitable odium, I practised my sun-spells right there. The light from my spells was so intense, it illuminated the area around us for miles. I think the other people around the camp weren’t as appreciative of my special gift, judging by the various scowls and grimaces I saw. In any case, Dro’Dari wasn’t so gleeful when I nearly burnt his useless, furry tail off! Ha! Admittedly, setting fire to that glade probably wasn’t the smartest of ideas but even the best of mages misfires now and again. After putting out the conflagration, I decided I’d done enough damage and went to bed, thoughts still reeling over that bloody star stone.
In the morning, I woke up groggy, disoriented, and in a remarkably foul mood. I had not had a restful night due to a plethora of very strange dreams. The first, in which I, as a small cat, chased a bird which kept flying higher and higher above the tree-line until it flew into the sun itself, made absolutely no sense whatsoever. The second, where I was me but with thoroughly scorched hands and arse, was particularly unpleasant. Every time I went to the lake to douse and soothe my body, a great big tiger double the size of the tallest Altmer, stood in my way. I ducked, dived, dipped, and dodged each of its mighty strikes to no avail and was promptly swatted by a huge golden-orange paw into a forest glade- which then was set ablaze by a Khajiit holding a very familiar lute. That damn cat! He’d followed me even into my dreams- the one place I could escape the waking world! I looked around the glade, preparing to quench the fire with conjured water, only to see that now I had no hands. The fear that overtook me then must have been what woke me up. Sitting bolt upright on my bedroll, my heart beating at a frenetic rhythm in my chest, I recited the Song of the Tone-kin in my head, which stilled my mind, and in minutes I was back to sleep. What I’d done to anger Vaermina I have no idea but I must have done something to incur her particularly inventive ire that night.
So much for the first day! I promised myself, that if we ever reached Cheydinhal, I’d take a long rest and eat heartily before I set out anywhere else!
“Bosmer” (top) | Illustration by TheMinttu, DeviantArt
“Valenwood” (bottom) | Illustration by Aihito, DeviantArt