As Vetyver and Hess were shopping in Skingrad, a man came running through the West gate, shouting about a group of bandits attacking a wagon outside of town. Eager to help, Vetyver went to the man’s aid, but the man told him “I’ll be fine, help the people at the wagon!” By this time, Hess was already heading out the town gate, accompanied by a Redguard warrior who didn’t speak. (The Redguard’s name was Isran, but many years ago a Khajiit cut his tongue out and made a necklace out of it, so Isran was unable to tell anyone his name.) Vetyver ran outside to see what he could do to help.
Down the Gold Road, they saw the wagon, besieged by four bandits: a Nord, an Imperial, an Orc, and their leader, a Redguard. They had already killed the driver, and were pulling a passenger out of the wagon. Right away, Hess slotted two arrows on her bow and let them fly in quick succession, both of them hitting the Nord. Isran attacked as well, and as the two did battle against the bandits, Vetyver came to their aid with healing magic and arcane blasts.
The three adventurers made quick work of the Nord, who hobbled away into the forest after being shot with arrows and blasted with arcane power. As Vetyver tried to make his way to the wagon’s passenger, he saw a bandit slice the man’s gut open, his insides spilling onto the dirt.
Isran and Hess continued their assault, slaughtering the orc in short order. They pushed the Redguard bandit leader behind the wagon where the passenger was bleeding out, and as Vetyver attempted to heal the passenger, Isran defended Vetyver against the bandits.
Finally, in one last burst of energy, Hess charged the Redguard, tackled him to the ground, and poisoned him with her Snake Bite power, killing him instantly. But she wasn’t through; in the same moment that she tackled and killed him, she catapulted off his body and through the air toward the Imperial, then plunged her dagger deep into his heart. With that, the bandits were defeated.
Vetyver’s attempts to aid the fallen passenger were to no avail; the man was too injured, and he was going to die. With his final breath, he urged Vetyver to open a false floor in the wagon and retrieve a parcel hidden there, and to take it straight to Faenril in the Skingrad Mage’s Guild — and to let no one else know of the parcel, let alone see it. Vetyver did as he was instructed and retrieved the parcel, just before the Skingrad guards approached the scene.
Isran, Vetyver and Hess proceeded back into town with the parcel, retiring at the West Weald Inn. They had a good meal, introduced themselves to each other, and then turned their attention to the parcel. Debating whether to turn it in or to open it, they let their curiosity get the best of them. Inside the package, they found two books, with annotations: The Monomyth and The Firmament. Inside the Monomyth, the passage about the Missing God had been circled, and in The Firmament, the page regarding The Serpent had been dog-eared. There was also a map of Tamriel included, and a letter written to Faenril by someone whose initial was “J.” The letter mentioned that Faenril should pay the courier of the parcel, so with hopes of earning some coin, the three adventurers agreed to bring the now-opened parcel to Faenril in the morning.
When morning came, they took the parcel to the Mage’s Guild and showed it to Anwen, the Altmer leader of the guild, who took a keen interest in the books, letter and map, before going to fetch Faenril. When Faenril appeared, they presented the parcel to him, explaining that it must have been damaged and opened en-route, and that they had nothing to do with its condition. Faenril was suspicious, but decided to lead them upstairs to his study to speak in more privacy.
When they reached his study, Faenril asked if anyone else had seen the letter, books or map. Vetyver lied, saying that they hadn’t shown anyone, and Faenril seemed to believe him. After this, Faenril explained the reason for the secrecy: The Serpent’s constellation had fallen from the sky, and the three major powers in Tamriel were all seeking to unravel the mystery of why, and where they had fallen.
It turns out, The Serpent represented Lorkhan, the Missing God, who had once walked the face of Nirn as Tiber Septim, the first Emperor of Tamriel, who later ascended to the heavens to become the Ninth Divine. When the Crimson Concord conquered Tamriel and united it under its democracy, The Serpent began to fall from the sky. Most dismissed the incident as strange, but meaningless. But some saw it as a sign: with the Empire dissolved and worship of Talos waning, Talos (and The Serpent) was falling from the Heavens to be reborn again.
For those who supported the Empire, this was a hopeful sign that Tiber Septim’s next incarnation would defeat the Crimson Concord and once again bring Tamriel under the rule of the Empire. They sought to find the fallen stars, and to discover the Septim Incarnate’s location, in order to protect him and direct him towards reuniting the Empire.
For those of the Thalmor, who sought to unmake reality, the fall of The Serpent meant that Talos was no longer a god, and that their plans to undermine him by outlawing his worship had succeeded. If Talos were reborn in Nirn, he would be mortal once again. Thus, the Thalmor sought to find the fallen stars of The Serpent and to discover the location of the Septim Incarnate, in order to kill him and end Talos for good, bringing them one step closer to unmaking reality.
For those of the Crimson Concord, the rumors of Talos’ reincarnation and the efforts of the underground Empire and Thalmor supporters were a troublesome development. If either side were to find the fallen stars and the Septim Incarnate, it could mean dire trouble for the Concord. Thus, they sought to undermine the belief in Talos’ return while simultaneously seeking him on their own, hoping they might find him before the Empire or the Thalmor could. Many among the Elder Council would have the Incarnate killed or imprisoned, while many believed that he or she could perhaps be swayed to support the Concord, thus securing its position as the new leaders of Tamriel.
With this new knowledge, Vetyver, Isran and Hess realized why the bandits had so brazenly attacked the wagon, and why they’d been urged not to let anyone see the parcel.
After Faenril paid them for their assistance, he requested that they aid him further. These tomes had been sent by a dear friend in the Crimson City, a Dunmer by the name of Janthir. Faenril, knowing that he was too old to make the journey safely, urged the adventurers to seek out Janthir, to assist him in any way they could, and to let them know that Faenril had sent them. He promised them that there would be coin waiting for them when they arrived, and that Janthir would be eager to employ them in his aid.
And so, the adventurers left the Mage’s Guild, full of grave knowledge of great importance.
What will happen next? Stay tuned to find out…