Last modified on 28 May 2014, at 10:13
Secrets Overheard in Apocrypha
by Morian Zenas
Eavesdropping on servants of Hermaeus Mora
- The Seekers pretend that they cannot talk, but they can. For I have heard them. They can both understand speech, and utter it, though they do so with a hissing lisp. I shall tell you how I know.
- As is so often the case since I came to Apocrypha, I was cowering behind a stack of books, hiding from the baleful attentions of a towering gill-man whose notice I had inadvertently caught. I listened to hear if I was still gibbering, but I couldn't hear it, which usually means I'm not. Then I heard something else.
- Just beyond my concealing tower of tomes was one of those endless halls lined with numberless urns, halls that I have assiduously avoided ever since I learned that each urn houses, in a broth of noisome fluid, a living concept-organ excised from its corpus. I do not like those urns.
- From the entrance to this hall of urns came the all-too-familiar squelching sound of a Seeker's footfalls. But then it stopped, and in its place I heard, for the first time, the sticky sound of a speaking Seeker.
- —I know a thing, the Seeker lisped, as a frisson of horror danced down my spine.
- —Is it a thing worth knowing? came the hollow, sourceless voice of the organ in the hithermost urn.
- —You shall judge, Floater. I have learned why we have seen no mortal intruders, save for the demented wizard, in many turns of the Great Pages.
- —You know nothing, said the organ.
- —I know Old Antecedent has entered into an agreement with the mortals, a compact, as they say. Is that nothing? asked the Seeker.
- —Next to nothing. The Golden Eye is always entering into pacts with mortals. Thus my woeful condition.
- —Avoid self-pity, or I shall mock you. You do not like it when I mock you. Listen attentively.
- —I listen.
- —In truth, the Scryer enters into many pacts with mortals—but never before has he made a pact with every mortal on Nirn.
- —Bah. Unlikely.
- —I state it! It is a thing that is known.
- —I heard a discussion between Scrivener Uu-Thorax and the Eleventh Preceptor. They came into the Crepuscule, where I was quietly….
- —Yes. In fact. Now, listen: the Scrivener told the Preceptor that the Inevitable Knower had agreed to a pact, to cease all direct interposition in Mundial affairs.
- —Impossible. I scoff. Mock me as you will.
- —So thought I, and likewise the Preceptor expressed skepticism, but then the Scrivener spoke a Word of Asseveration. Books scattered everywhere, ichor fountained from my ear-holes, and I knew what he said was a Known Thing.
- —But why? To meddle with mortals and wrest from them their knowledge is the Ur-Daedra's favorite pastime.
- —He seems to have been paid a great price, something he dearly desired, but I could not clearly hear what, due to the injury to my ear-holes.
- —It is knowledge, of course. Some great secret. It is ever so.
- —So I deem it as well. And it seems this compact binds in both directions, which is why the mortals come here no more, added the Seeker.
- —Except for the mad mage. How came he here, and upon what ill errand? asked the urn-organ.
- —I know not. But if we catch him, we will pull out his ... what is that sound?
- I heard it too, and so I ran. For I knew that sound. It was gibbering.