Three hundred years ago, when Katariah became
Empress, the first and only Dunmer to rule all of Tamriel,
she faced opposition from the Imperial Council. Even after
she convinced them that she would be the best regent to rule
the Empire while her husband Pelagius sought treatment for
his madness, there was still conflict. In particular from
the Duke of Vengheto, Thane Minglumire, who took a particular
delight in exposing all of the Empress's lack of practical
In this particular instance, Katariah and
the Council were discussing the unrest in Black Marsh, the
massacre of Imperial troops outside the village of Armanias.
The sodden swampland and the sweltering climate, particular
in summertide, would endanger the troops if they wore their
"I know a very clever armorer,"
said Katariah, "His name is Hazadir, an Argonian who
knows the environments our army will be facing. He knew him
in Vivec where he was a slave to the master armorer there,
before he moved to the Imperial City as a freedman. We should
have him design armor and weaponry for the campaign."
Minglumire gave a short, barking laugh: "She
wants a slave to design the armor and weaponry for our troops!
Sirollus Saccus is the finest armorer in the Imperial City.
Everyone knows that."
After much debate, it was finally decided
to have both armorers contend for the commission. The Council
also elected two champions of equal power and prowess, Nandor
Beraid and Raphalas Ëul, to battle using the arms and
armaments of the real competitors in the struggle. Whichever
champion won, the armorer who supplied him would earn the
Imperial commission. It was decided that Beraid would be outfitted
by Hazadir, and Ëul by Saccus.
The fight was scheduled to commence in seven
Sirollus Saccus began work immediately. He would
have preferred more time, but he recognized the nature of the
test. The situation in Armanias was urgent. The Empire had to
select their armorer quickly, and once selected, the preferred
armorer had to act swiftly and produce the finest armor and
weaponry for the Imperial army in Black Marsh. It wasn't just
the best armorer they were looking for. It was the most efficient.
Saccus had only begun steaming the half-inch strips of black
virgin oak to bend into bands for the flanges of the armor joints
when there was a knock at his door. His assistant Phandius ushered
in the visitor. It was a tall reptilian of common markings,
a dull, green-fringed hood, bright black eyes, and a dull brown
cloak. It was Hazadir, Katariah's preferred armorer.
"I wanted to wish you the best of luck
on the -- is that ebony?"
It was indeed. Saccus had bought the finest
quality ebony weave available in the Imperial City as soon
as he heard of the competition and had begun the process of
smelting it. Normally it was a six month procedure refining
the ore, but he hoped that a massive convection oven stoked
by white flames born of magicka would shorten the operation
to three days. Saccus proudly pointed out the other advancements
in his armory. The acidic lime pools to sharpen the blade
of the dai-katana to an unimaginable degree of sharpness.
The Akaviri forge and tongs he would use to fold the ebony
back and forth upon itself. Hazadir laughed.
"Have you been to my armory? It's two
tiny smoke-filled rooms. The front is a shop. The back is
filled with broken armor, some hammers, and a forge. That's
it. That's your competition for the millions of gold pieces
in Imperial commission."
"I'm sure the Empress has some reason
to trust you to outfit her troops," said Sirollus Saccus,
kindly. He had, after all, seen the shop and knew that what
Hazadir said was true. It was a pathetic workshop in the slums,
fit only for the lowliest of adventurers to get their iron
daggers and cuirasses repaired. Saccus had decided to make
the best quality regardless of the inferiority of his rival.
It was his way and how he became the best armorer in the Imperial
Out of kindness, and more than a bit of pride,
Saccus showed Hazadir how, by contrast, things should be done
in a real professional armory. The Argonian acted as an apprentice
to Saccus, helping him refine the ebony ore, and to pound it
and fold it when it cooled. Over the next several days, they
worked together to create a beautiful dai-katana with an edge
honed to a keen sharp enough to trim a mosquito's eyebrows,
and a suit of armor of bound wood, leather, silver, and ebony
to resist the winds of Oblivion.
On the day of the battle, Saccus, Hazadir, and Phandius finished
polishing the armor and brought in Raphalas Ëul for the
fitting. Hazadir left only then, realizing that Nandor Beraid
would be at his shop shortly to be outfitted.
The two warriors met in the arena in the Imperial
City with an audience of the Empress and the Imperial Council
two hours later. From the moment Saccus saw Ëul in his
suit of shining ebony and dai-katana blazing and Beraid in
his collection of dusty, rusted merchandise from Hazadir's
shop, he knew who would win. And he was right.
The first blow from the dai-katana lodged
in the soft shield, as there was no metal trim to deflect
it. Before Ëul could pull his sword back, Beraid lashed
out with his long sword at the weak points in the armor, it
was the perfect weapon to perforate the joints. Ëul retrieved
his sword and slashed at Beraid but his armor was scaled and
angled, and the attacks rolled off like water. When Ëul's
armor began to fall off, the Empress and Council, out of mercy,
called a victor.
Hazadir received the commission and thanks
to his knowledge of Argonian battle tactics and weaponry and
how best to combat them, he designed implements of war that
brought down the insurrection in Armanias. Katariah won the
respect of Council, and even, grudgingly, that of Thane Minglumire.
Sirollus Saccus went to Morrowind to learn what Hazadir learned
there, and was never heard from again.
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