The Raising of the Legion
((This will be a continuing story from the point of view of Charon of Gilane taking place from the beginning of the daedric invasion (2E 578) up to the start of ESO. It will document the destruction and reformation of the guild, The Phantom Legion. Feel free to comment or discuss as more of our members add to the story.))
I am haunted by phantoms that reside in the memories of that accursed day.
It began with a sliver of light that breached the walls of dark covering my vision. Slowly I began to recompose myself, only to fall back again into the call of that good-for-nothing god who would not embrace me. Me, who would have, in that time, in that place, wanted nothing more than to feel the wonder of his relief and to see the lands of the Far Shore. But, Tu'whacca would not have me.
The beacon of light returned to me yet a second time and I found myself with a fervor to breach the shores of that place. I ran without movement, cried without voice, and rallied what strength I knew to break beyond whatever darkness claimed me. I felt strong. I felt untouchable. I had finally parted the beam of light and torn it asunder, renewing my vision of the world before me.
Oh, how I wish I had never left that ingorant peace.
It took time before my vision could clearly behold just what lay before me. I remember now. It was snow covered, it seemed, bathed in the white of that cold and hard land. Might it be a rock or helment? No, there were ribbons of crimson that lay below it's base. I focused in an attempt to distinguish what item I was staring at. That is... until I realized that it was staring back at me.
Shera, my sword-mate. My left blade lay beside me and I wanted to speak to him. Forcefully, I urged him to awake, to arise, but the words I spoke were snatched before they were even given life. It brought a haunting madness to my mind. Ernestly I attempted again and again and again to communicate in an attempt to wake him. What time had passed? I have lost that measure, but the first contact made was none more than "Peace."
Perhaps my mind had regained its potential long before mine eyes, for I found myself questioning what manner of greeting I had pronounced? But, there would be no answer from the mighty Shera as the ribbons of crimson stretched the ground beneath his head. He was gone from this plane, hopes rising within me that the Shores I nearly touched where his to embrace this day. Had Tu'whacca denied me and taken him, I could only feel honor. I greeted him lastly, "Peace."
The bodies littered the battlefield. No. This was no battlefield, but a hunting grounds sanctioned by the gods themselves. For what purpose the gods would allow this ambush of their lessers is for no mortal to know. But, dark, they came, with souless eyes as a cloud of locusts descendeds upon the fields of harvest. If they had meant to divide us, they did so literally. Their blades cut like molten steel and not a man remained whole that could not escape their fury. Horns crowned those that came. The symbol of demons and dremora, hands of the gods, and swords of those hands. I thought not of whence they descended that day as I lie there. I thought only of home and that of my brothers and sisters that lie there with me. I will never cease to bid they find their own Shores, wherever they may be.
The men and women that scattered the ground were no longer either. They were pieces now, nothing but a wellspring befitting any necromonger that would happen upon its treasures. Once all shinning examples of the might and cunning of the True Emperor's Legion, reduced to nothing more but alchemical ingredients. Some, even, were simply a pile of ash, the smell of which was born on the winds of that place.
I remember struggling to my feet, holding the blood at my side. Ribs were broken, others gone entriely, likely burnt away from the wretch that nearly ended me. I gasped for breath as I reached a stable height, not knowing at the time whether it was the sight before me or injuries to my lungs that made the air there so unpalatable. For the first time I beheld the vastness of our oblivion. Whatever had descended and for whatever reason, they had brought an end to the True Emperor's Legion in the course of a single night. The hubris of mortals seems to be an inexhaustible resource that inevitably leads to the same ends. We were strong, but the unknown was stronger. The Legion of ours had become nothing more than a parade of phantoms.
I set off to bury the dead.
- Charon do Gilane
Second Era, 579
My name is Datura Orvigne. My memory of the day is still not clear. I remember that this battle wasn't like our usual fare. I certainly had never seen or heard or such a creature. We were completely unprepared and overwhelmed. Chaos that much I remember. The noises and smells. There were the screams of the dying, clash of metal; the sharp sickening irony smell of so much blood spilled. I still am unsure what happened. One moment I was shooting at these things, and in the next I was running. Yes I ran. I don't remember thinking about it only facing certain death with my comrades or saving my own skin. Moans of the dying men, some calling for mother. One or two reached up to grab my leg. "Help me," I remember every line and every wrinkle on the face of a man I stepped on in my hurry to escape.
My mare sensible creature that she was had panicked and run off hours before. That should have been a clue. So I walked, I walked covered in their blood and a little of my own. I walked in no particular direction until my legs wouldn't move anymore. I rested and walked again. Away from the heaps of bodies. I walked trying to escape.
Posted Jul 24, 13
· Last edited Jan 9, 14
The Standard was lost that day, carried somewhere deep into the heart of the false Empire that the Daedra created. We didn't know what they were, or how to fight them. Every soul among us had heard of the Daedra before but how could we have been prepared? They had not been seen for an age. They were like Demons in the night, fast wolves tearing apart our forces like child's play.
I keep telling myself that no General could have fared any better. Our armor offered as much resistance as a hut does to a landslide. Our blades were deflected and might as well have been hail on a tin roof. For all our Imperial prestige there was nothing we could do. The battle lines were lost before our siege weaponry could even properly be positioned.
And the magic? Our Spellcasters were nothing to laugh over, men and women trained for years in combative spells to better serve our Empire. I had thought them the best in all of Nirn. In the course of a few hours they were butchered. Years of training turned into little more than cattle. Like cattle they were slaughtered.
I don't know what's worse. The guilt I must live with, knowing that I lost the battle. Or the guilt of knowing that I ran. So much is now a blur. They ambushed us as we marched along the road and in minutes any resemblance of an orderly army was reduced to a ragged mob of fleeing soldiers.
I still remember trying to give orders as one legionnaire brushed past my shoulder fleeing or another disappeared into a shadowy vapor as Daedra spells raked along our ranks. The battle was lost as soon as it started. I know not if a single Daedra was sent back into Oblivion.
Now, here I sit with the few survivors lamenting over untold killed. A captain is supposed to go down with his ship. What is a General supposed to do? With just this mug of ale and a couple dozen survivors I'll do the only thing I can do. I want my Standard back from the White-Gold Tower.
I awoke again screaming. Again they haunt me. The faces of those from long ago drag me deeper into death with each passing moon. A pity, that in order to escape the nightmares of nights as this, I force myself to relive the memories of those.
Eleven days I tilled the soil with the bow of a fallen archer. Buried by the weapon that she used to keep herself alive... at least I can say that the irony is not lost on me. A sturdy tool, that bow. It wasn't the best size for the job, but the weight and curvature more than made up for it. By the gods, why hadn't someone brought along a shovel.
I ate what rations the soldiers were given and drank from the casks we brought for our revelries. Several travelers sought to help and I welcomed their aid and company, but after a few hours they would wander off spinning tales of how they would send soldiers my way from the next city. The soldiers never came.
I remember looking out over the crop I had planted once it had all been done. I do not recall if there was a wind blowing that day, nor the smell of the air, simply that it had one. I don't remember a lot about that final day. But what I "do" remember are the faces. And I remember, that as I stared out over that field, I imagined that all those faces were staring back at me. I collapsed there on the ridge. As I lay there, the burden descended upon me, for ever since I am visited by the dreaded vision that will not leave me.
He appears so vividly before me amidst a field of grass the color of blood. He is a strong man, a powerful man, yet so prideful, so impudent. I can see overhead the spirits of the dead soar around him as visages of light twisting amongst themselves. Among them are the souls of those men and women buried by my had in that blighted field. Those same men and women whose bodies are now scattered at the feet of this man. One by one they begin to arise and come before him. The first is a Dunmer woman, the first of those buried. Raising a hand to the sky, she asks the man:
"Which soul is mine own?"
He looks confused, if not completely lost, but he has no answer for her.
"Then I will have part of yours," and placing a hand on the man's chest, a light leaves him.
I cannot explain, nor do I wish to revisit the memory of just how much pain the man feels as part of himself is torn from his flesh. But, one by one, each of those bodies, those faces approach him. He is unable to answer their question and he is terrified, for he simply does not KNOW who they are! And he can do nothing but stare into their eyes are his soul is undone and scattered.
Though I do not know what manner of ghoulish vision this is, the faces are what unnerve me the most. So many bodies, of which I could give so few of them names. When I awoke on that ridge, I found the road leading to the nearest city.
They say that the world is more chaotic now, war and rumors of war, trade is uncertain at best. People who are less fortunate have become desperate and lawless. My father might be described as desperate and lawless. The tenants have all left or turned to banditry. Instead of fresh produce, lamb and wonderful goods from all over the Empire; we eat venison and rabbit when we can get it. He would trade game bread. He’s dead now and I’m on my own, mostly. The once opulent manor is falling into disrepair, bandits have taken just about everything. I tracked down and caught those I could, made sure they paid for what they stole. I do have one marketable skill, besides tracking and hunting. I’m a fully trained apothecary.
In order to pay the taxes and make ends meet I early on put my skills to good use. I moved to the city and had been living in the city for about ten years. The True Emperor’s Legion, I scouted a bit, cooked some, patched up any and everything except for the most serious injuries. I soon worked my way up to teaching archery and horsemanship to recruits. It was very satisfying to be part of something important. A member of a good group of people all wanting to set things right.
Two weeks before we all left on this mission I began having horrible dreams. First I thought it was an over exposure to my potions. I shook it off. This dream was familiar though, I’d had it several times over the years. It was always exactly the same and I could always remember everything in perfect detail. It was not like any ordinary dream. It began to bother me so much that I insisted on speaking with General Monroe himself.
“Something terrible is going to happen.”
“I’m not sure, I keep having this dream.”
“Is this a joke!”
“No it’s not a joke!” My temper flared and I think I said a thing or two I shouldn’t have.
I was shown the door, lucky everyone was busy preparing to leave the next day. They didn’t have time for me to be in trouble.
I didn’t think this journey would be much. Maybe a minor skirmish or two, I’d had my share of those and wasn’t really worried. How much fighting would we have to do when we were only looking for some stupid trinket. A fool’s errand I thought, why send so many people after something that wouldn’t really be able to fix the world.
A fool’s errand indeed. I’ve had some time to think about what happened that day. No one could have been prepared for what happened. I’ve been over it in my mind a million times. Daedra. So many lives, the dozens of souls let loose almost at the same time. Brothers, sisters, fathers and mothers; recruits and commanders all laid low in only a few hours. I don’t regret running. If it happened again tomorrow you can bet I’d do the same thing and not look back. Sometimes I still have that old dream. Only this time it’s a memory.