2920: The Last Year of the First Era
By Carlovac Townway
5 Hearth Fire, 2920 The Imperial City, Cyrodiil
"Your Imperial Majesty," said the Potentate Versidue-Shaie through the door. "You can open the door. I assure you, you're perfectly safe. No one wants to kill you."
"Mara's blood!" came the Emperor Reman III's voice, muffled, hysterical, tinged with madness. "Someone assassinated the Prince, and he was holding my shield! They could have thought he was me!"
"You're certainly correct, Your Imperial Majesty," replied the Potentate, expunging any mocking qualities from his voice while his black-slitted eyes rolled contemptuously. "And we must find and punish the evildoer responsible for your son's death. But we cannot do it without you. You must be brave for your Empire."
There was no reply.
"At the very least, come out and sign the order for Lady Rijja's execution," called the Potentate. "Let us dispose of the one traitor and assassin we know of."
A brief pause, and then the sound of furniture scraping across the floor. Reman opened the door just a crack, but the Potentate could see his angry, fearful face, and the terrible mound of ripped tissue that used to be his right eye. Despite the best healers in the Empire, it was still a ghastly souvenir of the Lady Rijja's work in Thurzo Fortress.
"Hand me the order," the Emperor snarled. "I'll sign it with pleasure."
6 Hearth Fire, 2920 Gideon, Black Marsh
The strange blue glow of the will o' the wisps, a combination, so she'd be told, of swamp gas and spiritual energy, had always frightened Tavia as she looked out her window. Now it seemed strangely comforting. Beyond the bog lay the city of Gideon. It was funny, she thought, that she had never stepped foot in its streets, though she had watched it every day for seventeen years.
"Can you think of anything I've forgotten?" she asked, turning to look back on the loyal Kothringi Zuuk.
"I know exactly what to do," he said simply. He seemed to smile, but the Empress realized that it was only her own face reflected in his silvery skin. She was smiling, and she didn't even realize it.
"Make certain you aren't followed," she warned. "I don't want my husband to know where my gold's been hiding all these years. And do take your share of it. You've been a good friend."
The Empress Tavia stepped forward and dropped from sight into the mists. Zuuk replaced the bars on the tower window, and threw a blanket over some pillows on her bed. With any luck, they would not discover her body on the lawn until morning, at which time he hoped to be halfway to Morrowind.