The Elder Scrolls

A story I wrote inspired by events in this year’s Midyear Mayhem (crosspost to r/teslore)

TheElderScrolls10 - A story I wrote inspired by events in this year's Midyear Mayhem (crosspost to r/teslore)
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Letters on the Fall of Bruma, found in Covenant Occupied Bruma. Written by Legionary Calindil, 2E 583

Letter 1:

My dearest cousin Eilonwaye,

I write to you with but a small hope that this letter will ever be delivered. It has been a fortnight since our group of motley Mer and Khajiit captured Bruma from the Ebonheart Pact. At that point in the war, the Dominion had pushed north and was well on the way to encircling the Imperial City. Upon our capture of Bleaker’s Outpost, Legate Ruulethar led us north, on orders from Grand Warlord Sorcalin. We were to take Bruma from the Pact, and hold it, securing part of our northern flank. It was easy, we thought. In hindsight, too easy.

While we secured Bruma as ordered, we also cut the Covenant and Pact off from each other. Our stunning Northern Expedition had made their positions in Cyrodiil tenuous already. Now, it seems, soon after our capture of Bruma, they signed a temporary truce. When I joined the Dominion forces at Ayrenn’s call, I never thought I’d end up freezing or starving to death in a city of Cyrods and Nords. I thought I would defend the Isles and our people from the young hand of Man.

It has been more than a week since our supplies began to run low. We have only the provisions we could take from Bruma’s populace. Within a day of occupying Bruma, the Covenant and Pact pounced on our stressed supply lines. The Pact struck hard and fast to the East, taking Chalman and Bleaker’s with ease. The Covenant fortified to our north, and struck our Western flank, seizing Fort Aleswell and Fort Ash. While the majority of their forces pushed south, a token force was sent to close in on Bruma. Soon, we were encircled. Trinimac save us, thankfully our garrison was large enough to repel the first wave of raiders. Some of us, like Captain Sashi-ma of Riverhold or Sergeant Ninwin advised the Legate to break out of the encirclement. He stubbornly refused: we were to hold Bruma for Ayrenn. Not one step back.

That has been disastrous. With no food or supplies brought in, we’ve tried to forage. It is winter in the Jeralls. There is hardly anything. I expect before the end, the Bosmer will eat us all. We know the locals do not want us here. They’ve been collaborating with the Covenant and Pact. I feel it in my soul. Of course Men would stand together in this hour. I’ve been called “knife-ear” and “piss-skin” many times over these past weeks, usually when taking firewood or food from the locals. We would die without it. The Nords forget: Summerset, Valenwood, and Elsweyr are warm. To make matters worse, the enemy have Nightblade scouts in the woods. If we try to leave, we’re cut down before we even see them. Truly this is a desperate hour.

Auri-el guide thee,

Calindil.

Letter 2:

Dearest Eilonwaye,

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It has now been just over a month in this frozen hellhole. Mer and Khajiit have been deserting, more by the day. The blizzards of Northern Cyrodiil’s winter have not been kind. As our garrison grows smaller and smaller, the locals have been even more obstinate. Where before they grumbled about supplying us, now, many refuse. Legate Ruulethar has made examples of some. It has not helped much. I suspect it has driven them further into the hands of our foes, culminating in what I expect this night: the fall of Bruma.

Not even an hour ago, my friend and comrade, who I will not name, deserted. It was my duty to make him stay, but I could not bring myself to do it. He told me of his time starving in Senchal, and how the Dominion recruiters that came to the city promised a full belly and the eventual liberation of Elsweyr if he joined. He told me he never expected to die in a futile war for lands no Khajiit cared about. I hope he wasn’t killed by the enemy Nightblades. They circle like sharks in the forest. The only sign of them are the footprints in the snow and the blood of their victims.

It is now twilight. I do not know if I will live through the night, my fair cousin. The Pact and Covenant seem poised to make their move. If I do perish, at the least it will be beautiful. The city is enveloped in shades of blue light, only broken by the orange flames of our fires and torches. It would be very scenic if not for sounds of the enemy around us.

They began their bombardment a few hours ago, hoping to smoke us out to where their archers could pick us off. We’ve taken refuge in the local temple, which the Nords’ and Bretons’ piety prevents them from destroying. The local clergy has asked us to leave, so the beasts among the enemy will not raze it to the ground. Despite their affinity for the Men amongst the enemy, they share a revulsion to the Orcs, Argonians, and Dunmer. Ruulethar agreed we would leave. I think he has accepted his folly. He has retired to a private chamber by himself. I assume to write to his Lady wife. I’ve taken the time to write to you. In the hope one of those that vanquishes me will have the decency to deliver the message to his foe.

I can hear the war chants now, cousin. And music. The strange instruments of the Argonians, along with brass signalling calls from the Covenant. They make ready for war, to seize this city which we’ve fought so hard to hold. I expect within the week the Pact and Covenant will fight over this same ground, and soon after, if fortunes change, another Dominion force will as well. This so-called “Alliance War” is nothing but give and take. A useless contest of inches and miles. I plead with you, let our friends in Summerset know this is all futile. Let my mother and father know I did not die a coward, but I did die for nothing.

With love and sorrow,

Calindil of Skywatch.

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