The Return of Morgoth - A Story of the Mages Guild
"What businesses have you at this hour?" queried the guard through his thick helmet.
"I wish to visit the Guild of Mages. My business there is my own," hissed the man in black.
After a moment's hesitation, the guard waved the rider on into the town. He rode up to the first building he came to. A large purple crystal protruded from the roof. The Moon and Star symbol hanging above the door was that of the Guild of Mages. Dismounting from his horse, the strange man walked towards the door, his heavy footsteps ringing out into the night, catching the attention of many of the city's guards. A heavy steel gauntlet pounded the small wooden door, rattling it in its frame. A short moment later the door creaked open and a short, fair skinned elf appeared in the doorway, carrying a tiny sparkling candle.
"What do you want at this hour?" Came the tiny voice, almost drowned out by the pouring rain.
"You are the second person to ask me that. Does your town have a reputation for this sort of intrusive questioning?" Boomed the voice of the strange rider in black.
"No, no. It's my job to ask questions after nightfall. Anyway, why are you here? Do you need something?" replied the tiny elf voice.
"Yes. Yes, I do in fact. I wish to join your guild and become a mage. Will you accept my request? I have something for your master. Is he in?" The rider crouched down to the elf's level, speaking softly into his small and sensitive ears.
"Follow me. I can not take you to master, Eno at this time. But we can allow you to join our guild," smiled the elf.
Many years passed and the strange rider still would not reveal his true identity, nor would he show his face. Rising to the rank of Warlock in the guild, he became obsessed with the art of magic, especially in the field of conjuration and destruction.
One cold December morning, he was receiving instruction from Firtinan. Angry about his failure to complete the task correctly, he struck down his instructor, killing him in plain view of grandmaster Eno Vivecian. In the fray, his black hood was pulled away to reveal his true face.
"So, now you know," whispered the stranger, now revealed.
"I suspected you for some time. You have been the greatest Warlock since the day you showed up at our door, bearing the sword Keening. Where would a normal person get a weapon like that? I would have been blind not to suspect you, Morgoth," explained Eno in anger.
"We shall meet one day again. Then I will finish my plan. You will see." With those words he vanished from site in a blur.
Reappearing in the most secure room of the guild hall, Morgoth walked around the golden hallways and felt the hanging silk drapes which filtered moonlight eerily into the circular room. A solid marble pedestal was all that adorned the room. However, upon the pedestal lay the guild's most sacred possession, the moon and star ring. Grinning pleasantly, the scarred hand of Morgoth reached out and snatched the ring from its place. With another blinding flash, Morgoth disappeared. He would not surface again for one hundred years. This, of course, meant nothing to Morgoth as he was an immortal.
One sullen morning in the guild hall, all the windows were mysteriously smashed and many priceless soul gems were never seen again. Guild master Eno Vivecian suspected someone.
"How could it have been him?" asked Master Cyrodil skeptically.
The nine members of the Mages Guild high council sat in a circle, with no single man at the head. All the members of the council were great wizards and warlocks, masters of their trade and highly skilled in every field of magic and magery. Sorcerers, enchanters, and even a Dwemer occultist were present in the diverse council. The Guild of Mages was known throughout the land of Dagon Fel for its interesting mix of occultists and mainstream Temple Mages. The council itself had not been in total agreeance with each other for a thousand years. But on this bright and cheerful morning in April, something would happen that had not happened since the Great War of the first age.
"Has the council come to a final decision?" shouted Eno over the roar of angry and distressed voices.
"We have the final tally," Eno was approached by a young, agile looking, Khajit man. "I am Raylius Athris, Warlock and Mage of the Temple. The council has unanimously agreed. Morgoth the destroyer of worlds has been behind the recent attacks."
"Thank you Athris," Vivecian smiled at the good news. "We must now do something to end this menace. I have meditated on this for some time and I believe that Morgoth will be hiding in his original home, the cave of Kaya Banoch."
Athris' room was dimly lit and the tiny feet of rain drops could be heard busily scurrying along the roof just above his bed. The bed itself was draped with cloths and skins of a hundred animals. Thousands of web-laden scrolls and parchments littered every surface of the small chamber. Suspended above the doorway in the tradition of the temple was a sword, cast in silver and gold, hilted with ivory and accented with a shield baring the Athris family seal. A loud knock came from the round wooden door. Looking up from his scrolls and potion recipes, Athris opened the door and invited the guest into his chambers.
"Master Eno, what is it that you want now?" he asked, curious as to why the grandmaster of the guild would be bothering him this late.
"I only want to give you this," he handed Athris a small scroll sealed with the mark of the high council.
"I suppose you need me to add up your votes again, am I correct?" he asked jokingly.
"No. You just read it and get yourself ready," laughed Eno.
Pondering the note and waiting a minute or two before opening it, Athris cleared his desk of the clutter and read the scribbled handwriting.
You have been summoned to the Grand High Council of Dagon Fel to report to the office of the Grand Admiral tomorrow, the 27th of April, 1054 of the Third Age.
Signed, Grand High Council Speaker Haramyus Baronia.
"This is very strange," muttered Athris to himself, lying back into his bed and closing his eyes.
The next morning, he was awoken by the loud clacking of horse shoes on cobblestone.
"Where am I?" asked Athris opening his eyes and yawning.
The carriage he was somehow riding in pulled up to the front of a large stone building bearing the seal of the king.
"We couldn't wake you up. We were getting late, I had no choice but to take you along, awake or not," answered Grandmaster Eno looking at Master Cyrodil with a smirk on his face.
Stepping out into the cool, crisp morning air, Athris perceived a tall, dignified man approaching him from the front door, his tall feathered hat waving in the breeze. Soft mist hung over the town, obscuring all buildings but the one they were now standing in front of.
"Come quickly, Baronia is waiting in the main hall," stated the tall man.
Many speculations have been made about what exactly happened inside that building on that cold April morning, but no one truly knows. Nearly five hours after entering, Athris stepped out into the town square, followed closely by Baronia. The other companions were still inside.
"Take these; you will need them to destroy the menace. This is the great sword, Keening, in which the souls of its maker and the king of the Dwemer during the first age, now dwell. It will give you the power to slay all but the fiercest of enemies. Here is the staff Sunder, together with the sword Keening, it can produce magic unimaginable to all but the most skilled of sorcerers. I also give to you Wraithguard, the amulet which you will need to protect you from the great power of Keening and Sunder. The amulet also gives you the power of foresight. Finally, wear this; it is the lost robe of Eur-Dan the wise. It will bestow upon you the knowledge of all spells and incantations you will need," Master Baronia finished his speech and walked away, got into his carriage and rode off down the narrow street.
Arriving back at the Guild Hall, Athris and Eno walked alone to the highest room of the building. Through a heavy wooden door behind a bookshelf, they came to a towering balcony, probably half a mile into the air. A great red winged beast, a dragon of the guild flapped its enormous crimson wings and bawled with anger at the uninvited guests.
"Do not be afraid, Athris. You will be riding the Boranon over the mountains. Search for the cave of Kaya Banoch. It will be guarded by the four elements. Only you can decide what that means and how to survive. Good luck to you." With those words, Grandmaster Eno Vivecian hobbled through the door.
Many weeks later, Athris came upon the snow capped mountain of Palinath.
Landing the great beast Boranon near a damp cave entrance, Athris entered with his sword drawn and his other hand feeling the dank walls for a way into the mountain. From deep within the next cavern, a great howl swept past his ears. Green hued light poured into the tunnel, showing him the way into the next cave. Entering the huge room, he gasped and nearly fainted at what he saw hunched over a blue smoking pool of stagnant water. A great ogre, double the size of a normal man, lapped water from the pool. The ogre turned around and snarled at Athris. A beam of white light shone down from the enormously high ceiling and caught the ogre in the eye, glinting like a crystal orb. In fact, the ogre's left eye was made of purple crystal.
"The earth stone," muttered Athris to himself.
It was indeed the one thing that could give its owner the power to control the Earth. Concluding that this enemy was the demon Gorgoroth, Athris formulated a plan of attack. The creature's skin was impervious to even the most powerful of blades. There was, however, one weakness; its great eye was the source of all its life. Picking up his staff, Sunder and narrowly avoiding a powerful swipe of Gorgoroth's great fist, he recited a magical incantation and with a startling flash, a great lightning bolt streaked forward from the staff and caught Gorgoroth in the eye. The howls of Gorgoroth reverberated round the cave, lasting only a moment before the great ogre toppled over and his crystal eye rolled across the cavern floor, stopping at Athris' foot.
Athris reached down and picked up the heavy crystal ball, sweat from the battle dripped off his brow and landed on the bright crystal. He slipped the ball into his pack, where it's light dimmed and faded away. Gorgoroth was dead. In the next cave of the labyrinth, he was greeted by a large blue lake. Without warning, a great wave of frigid water washed over him, knocking his limp body into the hard rock wall. Following the strange wave, an enormous squid-like creature surfaced from beneath the water, its huge yellow beak squealing as it slashed out with its many tentacles. Splashing violently out of the water, a great tentacle whipped at Athris.
Quickly unsheathing Keening, he slashed the tentacle in two, its blood stained the floor. Whipping out the crystal ball of the Gorgoroth, he flung himself out into the water. Once on top of the Osciliths's head, he hurled the crystal at the stone ceiling, shouting incantations that seemed to have suddenly become known to him. A gigantic spire of rock and granite formed at the top of the ceiling and fell quickly, stabbing the great Oscilith creature through its entire body. With an ear piercing scream and a wail, the Oscilith disappeared beneath the waves. After washing up on the side of the lake, Athris brushed himself off and collected his things, including the severed tentacle, which was now of stone rather than flesh.
"I think I understand now. Perhaps this will prove useful," he concluded, stuffing the stone appendage into his dripping leather bag.
After a short sleep to recover from the battles, he pressed on into the next cavern. He found himself in a long dark tunnel with barely enough room to stand. Pushing his way past countless spider webs and strange spongy surfaces, he reached a doorway at the end of the tunnel. But a fire bound knight stood glowing by the doorway. Clad in black amour and wreathed in flames, the black knight pulled the Black Dagger of the Atronach from his belt.
"I don't suppose you would be willing to just let me pass by, would you?" questioned Athris sarcastically as he slowly pulled the stone tentacle from his pack.
"You can not pass," stated the black knight plainly.
In what is now well known as the fastest and easiest, and in fact only, defeat of a black knight of flame, Athris smashed the stone tentacle of Oscilith with Sunder and unleashed an enormous tidal wave upon the now defenseless knight of flame. The cool water immediately doused the knight's flames and with a shriek he died. Athris picked up his dagger and stepped through the heavy stone door.
Shrieking wildly and fluttering around the open mountain air, the flying lizard beast known as Vinge was circling above Athris' head. Suddenly, it swooped down from the sky and caught Athris off guard. A massive gash was slashed into Athris' back. He slumped down into the snow and lay there for a few moments, slowly dying. Now glowing with warm red light, the amulet of Heart Rhyme was doing something it had never done before, it was healing its wearer. Vinge turned around in the air and came back towards Athris' body for the kill, but before Vinge could react, Athris brought up the black dagger and aimed it squarely at Vinge's chest. A mammoth plume of flame and smoke flashed into the sky and scorched the feathers of Vinge. Its limp body crashed to the ground with a dull thud. Approaching cautiously, Athris plucked a single feather from Vinge's broken and charred wing, its thick black blood absorbing slowly into the snow.
Another week of searching atop the Boranon yielded nothing. But one night something very strange and almost deadly happened. The dragon's wings were suddenly engulfed in black flames, sending the once noble beast hurtling towards the ground. Reacting quickly, Athris held up the single feather from Vinge's head and delivered another strange spell. He found himself suspended in the air above the mountainside, witnessing the dragon plummet to the ground. Willing himself forward, he landed on the mountainside.
Nearly freezing to death on the mountainside, a strange man in tattered robes found him and nursed him back to health in his home in the caves of the mountain. No account of the strange man nor Athris himself about the journey includes any mention of the exact nature of the events that went on in the caves. All that is known today is that Athris returned some years later and proclaimed that the strange man he had come across, willingly and openly, revealed himself to be Morgoth. He also said that Morgoth was dead and that the soul of Keening had decided his ultimate fate, though Athris did not return with the sword nor did he return the staff Sunder. Grand Master Eno Vivecian fought Athris in a duel to the death and was killed. The exact reason for why Athris would kill the man he respected so much and then take over his position as Master of the Guild, becoming one of the most powerful men in all of Dagon Fel is still to this day unknown. Though many suspect that for hundreds of years following these events, the Guild of Mages was ruled by Morgoth.