Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Ebrocca Letters (story chain)

Yellowed Copy

Coroner Thederen -

Thank you for contacting me. I know it must be an unpleasant task to alert anyone to the death of a loved one, but your frank and professional manner did nothing to further aggravate the distress caused by Mother's passing. That is all one can ask from such a thing, I believe.

I understand the difficulty in storing cadavers, and will be arriving soon after this message reaches you with a carriage to bear her away in. There is one other matter I'd like your counsel on, if it isn't too much trouble.

Mother's wish was always to be buried in a family vault, and so it falls to me to restore a site to this purpose. I feel it's a macabre thing to ask, but considering your occupation, could provide me a recommendation of any architect experienced in such a task? I would greatly appreciate any help you have to offer.

Thank you again, Sir. I expect to arrive before dusk.

-Ardwe Malifant, Clanfather

Weathered Letter

Clanfather Malifant -

Are you absolutely certain that such extreme precautions are necessary? I understand your interest in safeguarding the remains of grandmother -- and indeed, all of our eventual resting places -- against unscrupulous grave robbers, but I doubt that even the most stalwart crusader would survive the gauntlets you have built in the mausoleums of Ebrocca, much less a petty thief.

I've seen some of the sketches your architect has drafted, and it seems that some of these traps are without safety mechanisms of any kind; what chance have our future generations of visiting our graves, if they should honor us with such a pilgrimage?

Again, Clanfather -- I do not doubt your motives. In truth, I am glad you have taken such responsibility for this monument to our clan-family; I merely want to be sure that you are keeping your usual level of rationality about you when making decisions as to the construction and expansion of Ebrocca. I hope this letter finds you well.

Love Letter

Smile, Raybeam!

I know that you're not terribly excited about the summons you've received from your grandfather, so I decided to write this letter for you, since I won't be able to see you off in the morning. You had better not lose it! Whenever you're gloomy, just read this letter and think of me!

Better yet, think of what color dress you'd like me to wear at our commitment ceremony. I'm going to speak with Dervenin about having the ceremony when you return. He worries too much about the torch not being lit -- all that matters is that we're in love, does it not? Arden-Sul himself would condone it, I'm sure.

When you return, you'll have to let me know why your grandfather summoned you. You mentioned something about the family mausoleum, but I don't understand what possible need he would have of you there. He really shouldn't coop himself up in those old ruins all by himself. Highcross is near enough that he could still visit as often as he'd like, and be much more comfortable as well. You should mention it to him while you're there.

And that's all I shall write, my love. You'll be back soon enough; we can talk more when you return. Sheogorath guard you.

Sealed Correspondence

Lord -- I regret to inform you that my return may not be as swift as originally hoped. As you know, I have been summoned away on family business, the full nature of which was not known to me when the courier's message arrived. Now that I am here, it is clear that I will need to spend at least a few days longer before leaving.

I know that you'll insist on knowing the specifics of my absence, so I'll spare us both the headache and disclose them now. The family member is an older cousin -- technically the patriarch of my family -- who has been working tirelessly on restoring our family crypt following the death of his mother. Knowing my interest in stonework, he was keen to enlist my help with certain deterrents he has been installing, and having seen the work to be done, I know it will be enough to fill the better part of a week.On a personal note, the ruins themselves are fascinating. I hope to get the time to take down some sketches -- you recall the drawings from my journeys last year, of course. Oddly, I can't remember anything about my trip after meeting my escort, but I'm told that this site is very near the border, although this structure is unlike any of the Nord ruins I'm familiar with, and the air is stifling hot for a Skyrim structure. Perhaps you and I can research this further when I return.I hear my name being called -- I'd better go see what is needed and have this letter handed to a courier before any more time passes. I hope it finds you well.

- G. Malifant

Crematory Instructions

My thanks again for commissioning my work on this crematory. May it serve you and your kin for generations to come. Please retain this letter of instruction in its use.Place the remains of the departed within the crematory retort. There is no need to remove items such as jewelry or clothing, as enchantments on the retort only allow the incineration of bone itself.Once the retort is sealed, exit the incineration chamber and close the gate. Depress the nearby panel to actuate the incinerator. Wait a few moments for the retort to cool before re-entering the chamber.Once the retort has been opened, the remains of the departed can be recovered, interred, and prepared for last rites.

Brief Journal

I decided that I had better start a new journal today. I haven't seen Ardwe in four months since he began restoring Ebrocca, and he's finally asked me to come spend time with him while he finishes the work. I know the death of his mother was traumatizing. I'm just glad that he'll finally allow me to be near enough to try and console him.

Cousin Garwedh should have returned from Ebrocca in time for my own departure today, but he must have been delayed. I was hoping to ask him about the conditions of the crypt in case I ought to bring any special supplies with me. No matter, I'm sure I can run such errands after my arrival.

I'm amazed at the scope of Ardwe's accomplishments here. The crypt is massive beyond anything I had expected. I realized that the death of his mother would appoint him Clanfather, but I didn't anticipate him to take the role so seriously. He feels a sense of duty in establishing this as a place to honor the family. I'm worried he may be distracting himself from mourning his mother, but I'm still proud of all he's done.

I'm glad Ardwe called me out here. He must have been so lonely by himself before now. He regularly complains of how empty this place feels. It must be difficult to pour so much effort into a thing that only sees use in a time of grief.

Today the supply wagon brought with it a bed for Ardwe and myself. I suppose he was trying to surprise me -- or at least quiet my complaints of using bedrolls to sleep on the stone floors, but I don't like the precedent this establishes. I was hoping we would move back to New Sheoth before his birthday celebration next month.

Why haven't we gone home yet? I've been here months, and I'm sick of the arid climate between these rock walls. I haven't seen or heard from the architect in weeks, and the sounds of construction have all but stopped. What possible reason is there to stay here?

I'm sure that Ardwe's sending out correspondence, but he doesn't admit it when I confront him. Just two nights ago, I was sure I heard a voice calling out from somewhere below, and not the usual rasp of our Argonian courier. If he won't tell me, then I'll just have to look through his drawers before he wakes tomorrow.

Letter Draft

I don't care if you think it's wise -- just build the device. I've lined your coffers with enough gold to feed half the Isles, and you never batted an eyelash before now. You've put in mechanisms that crush bones and sear flesh, why should this one be any different?

The concept is as simple as it was when we first discussed it. Use a few of the standard statuary we've installed but modify the enchantment. A low-grade shock and some strong restoration should do the trick. There may be a few days between charges on an enchantment like that, but do you honestly think any more will be needed?

I'd like to think that we've grown to be friends through the restoration of this place. If nothing else, build this last construct as a favor to me. Ebrocca will be around for ages to come, and it needs a caretaker. Who else will fill that role, if not me?