The Doors of Oblivion, Part 2
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Divayth Fyr was not easy to reach, and he was reluctant to share with Morian Zenas the secret Door to Oblivion. Fortunately, my master's knowledge of lore impressed Fyr, and he taught him the way. I would be breaking my promise to Zenas and Fyr to explain the procedure here, and I would not divulge it even if I could. If there is dangerous knowledge to be had, that is it, but I do not reveal too much by saying that Fyr's scheme relied on exploiting a series of portals to various realms created by a Telvanni wizard long missing and presumed dead. Against the disadvantage of this limited number of access points, we weighed the relative reliability and security of passage, and we considered ourselves fortunate in our informant. Morian Zenas then left this world to begin his exploration. I stayed at the library to transcribe his information and help him with any research he needed. Dust, he whispered to me on the first day of his voyage. Despite the inherent dreariness of the word, I could hear his excitement in his voice, echoing in my mind. I can see from one end of the world to the other in a million shades of gray. There is no sky or ground or air, only particles, floating, falling, whirling about me. I must levitate and breathe by magical means …. Zenas explored the nebulous land for some time, encountering vaporous creatures and palaces of smoke. Though he never met the Daedric Prince, we concluded that he was in Ashpit, said to be the home of Malacath, where anguish, betrayal, and broken promises filled the bitter air like ash. The sky is on fire, I heard him say as he moved on to the next realm. The ground is sludge, but traversable. I see blackened ruins all around me, like a war was fought here in the distant past. The air is freezing. I cast blooms of warmth all around me, but it still feels like daggers of ice stabbing me in all directions. This was Coldharbour, where Molag Bal was the realm's Daedric Prince. It appeared to Zenas as if it were a future Nirn governed under the Lord of Brutality: desolate and barren, filled with suffering. I could hear Morian Zenas weep at the images he saw and shiver at the sight of the Imperial Palace, spattered with blood and excrement. Too much beauty, Zenas gasped when he went to the next realm. I am half blind. I see flowers and waterfalls, majestic trees, a city of silver, but it is all a blur. The colors run like water. It's raining now, and the wind smells like perfume. This surely is Moonshadow, where Azura dwells. Zenas was right, and astonishingly, he even had audience with the Queen of Dusk and Dawn in her rose palace. She listened to his tale with a smile and foretold to him the coming of the Nerevarine. My master found Moonshadow so lovely, he wished to stay there, half-blind, forever, but he knew he must move on and complete his journey of discovery. I am in a storm, he told me as he entered the next realm. He described the landscape of dark twisted trees, howling spirits, and billowing mist, and I thought he might have entered the Deadlands of Mehrunes Dagon. But then he said quickly, No, I am no longer in a forest. There was a flash of lightning, and now I am on a ship. The mast is tattered. The crew is slaughtered. Something is coming through the waves … oh, gods! Wait, now, I am in a dank dungeon, in a cell …. He was not in the Deadlands, but Quagmire, the nightmare realm of Vaermina. Every few minutes, there was a flash of lightning and reality shifted, always to something more horrible and horrifying. A dark castle one moment, a den of ravening beasts the next, a moonlit swamp, a coffin where he was buried alive. Fear got the better of my master, and he quickly passed to the next realm. I heard him laugh, I feel like I'm home now. Morian Zenas described to me an endless library, shelves stretching on in every direction, stacks on top of stacks. Pages floated on a mystical wind that he could not feel. Every book had a black cover with no title. He could see no one, but felt the presence of ghosts moving through the stacks, rifling through books, ever searching. It was Apocrypha, the home of Hermaeus Mora, where all forbidden knowledge can be found. I felt a shudder in my mind, but I could not tell if it was my master's or mine. Morian Zenas never traveled to another realm that I know of. Throughout his visits to the first four realms, my master spoke to me constantly. Upon entering the Apocrypha, he became quieter, as he was lured into the world of research and study, the passions that had controlled his heart while on Nirn. I would frantically try to call to him, but he closed his mind to me. Then he would whisper, This cannot be …. No one would ever guess the truth …. I must learn more …. I see the world, a last illusion's shimmer, it is crumbling all around us …. I would cry back to him, begging him to tell me what was happening, what he was seeing, what he was learning. I even tried using Conjuration to summon him as if he were a Daedra himself, but he refused to leave. Morian Zenas was lost. I last received a whisper from him six months ago. Before then, it had been five years, and three before that. His thoughts are no longer intelligible in any language. Perhaps he is still in Apocrypha, lost but happy, in a trap he refuses to escape. I would save him if I could. I would silence his whispers if I could.