When Sophia found herself locked in the hold of an Imperial ship and destined for the dungeons of the Imperial City, it was difficult to comprehend how her straightforward life in rural Cyrodiil had been shattered so quickly. The only other captive, a scarred and weather-beaten Imperial who called himself Crassus and didn’t like answering questions, provided precious little hope of good company on the voyage. The Argonian who joined them several days later proved more willing to talk. Korit-Walks-Free was certainly bemused at his change in circumstances. He had traveled across the ruins of Morrowind to explore Cyrodiil, but his plans were derailed when a thief took his papers and left him at the mercy of the Imperial Legionnaires who guard the border.
After several monotonous days, the ship arrived in the Imperial City. It was late at night, and the prisoners were given one last evening to rot in their waterborne cell. Korit and Sophia slept uncomfortably and their peace was disturbed by dreams. Korit dreamed of standing on the tallest mountain on Nirn, looking up at the moons Masser and Secundus with another presence by his side. A red, warm ash swept the mountain-top, and it smelt of the ravaged lands of Morrowind through which he had traveled. Unable to turn and look at who accompanied him, Korit watched Masser, ivory white when it should have been red. Gradually the moon darkened until it looked as it should, and then it turned white once more, finally sinking below the horizon while Secundus hung still in its place.
Sophia dreamed of standing in a cavern the size of Nirn, which had its own moons in the sky. The larger was red like Masser, but where the other should have been cracked and pockmarked like Secundus, it was instead perfect and untouched. The warmth of a fire licked the back of her neck but she could not turn to see it. Over time Secundus began to crack until it resembled itself once more, and the moons moved closer together as though to align. Sophia woke then, unable to remember what happened next.
Korit and Sophia awoke parched and unwell, nauseous as though hungover. Korit was shaken awaken by a wide-eyed Crassus who directed his gaze to their shackles. All had been undone and left still by their sides. The door to their shared cell was opened and there was no sign of their Legionnaire guards. “There’s no one,” whispered Crassus as he stood up and stepped out of the cell. “I know someone in the city I think you both should talk to.” Looking from side to side, Crassus stepped into one of the nearby rooms and emerged shortly with weapons and armour, taken from a chest left curiously unlocked.
As they stood, Korit noticed a clay seal lying on the floor before them. It bore a spidery and unfamiliar symbol, and was conspicuous in its isolation. Pocketing the seal for later reference, the three freed prisoners climbed to the deck. The deck was empty as they were suspecting, and so were the decks of the ships nearby. It was still late, and a lone guard patrolled the far end of the harbour.
(To be continued)