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The One from the End of the World

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The year was 276 of the Third Era, and Uriel Septim V and his expeditionary forces had crossed the sea and conquered the island of Cathnoquey, a small landmass situated between the continent of Tamriel and the mysterious lands of Akavir, which the Emperor desired to conquer in his efforts to live up to the legacy of the great Tiber Septim. Cathnoquey, upon discovery, was seen as more of a convenience than a prize, as it was previously uninhabited and could hold military and colonial forces for a brief time before they departed to the ancient land of the dragons. To that end, the Emperor dispatched a small group of Bretons and Nords, with the stated goal that they would make the island livable before the races of Men crossed the Padomaic Ocean.

On the whole, this quest proved to be rather manageable for these settlers. The land, while not as fertile as the province of Cyrodiil, supported a few staple crops and livestock well enough to support this new population. The weather was mild and forest at the center of the island offered decent enough hunting. An ambitious rider could cover the entire perimeter of Cathnoquey in less than three quarters of a day, meaning that they were not spread too thin across the island, and no one was ever too far from the longhouse at the center, where those determined to lead the community gathered.

It was this last point that caused the most definitive change in the settlers and their descendents. It was assumed upon their landing on these new shores that this island was to be a temporary home for them, and the Bretons would return to High Rock and the Nords to Skyrim upon the success of the conquest of Akavir. Thusly, for the first few years of this experiment, the two groups kept to themselves, often refusing to interact for everything but the most serious situations. However, the disaster at Ionith and the death of Uriel V proved that it would be a very long time before Cathnoquey served its stated purpose in the conquering the lands to the East, if ever. Although the Empire never formally gave up on this prospect, for those left on the island, the idea of returning to Tamriel quietly morphed from expectation, to possibility, to dream, to absurdity. Though it was no one’s intention at the start of this project, Cathnoquey had become their home. Alongside this realization, the bonds that had restrained their two communities gradually fell away. As generations passed and families intermixed, Cathnoquey brought forth something Tamriel had never seen: a group of people that were not recognizable as entirely Nord or entirely Breton, while possessing the appearance and values of both groups. While the island did have a ship capable of crossing the ocean, it did so infrequently, only a few times a year, causing the politics of Tamriel to pass by the island like a distant dream as Nirn spun on for them.

On the side of faith, both original groups brought their original pantheons of deities with them. However, as time joined the two races, those on the island came to the agreement that tolerance towards worship of any and all of the gods was preferable to all. This attitude was spurred on by the Nordic belief that worship should be determined solely by the practitioners and gods, and not by outside influences. The people on Cathnoquey revered different permutations of the pantheons, but the end result saw an unquestioned devotion to Akatosh and Talos specifically. Those with greater ties to their past in High Rock initially resisted this invasion of Nord theology, but everyone on the island acknowledged that the success achieved on Cathnoquey was ensured not by magic, but by the cooperation of men, and so the Ninth Divine became an undisputed part of the island’s culture. Previous generations on Cathnoquey left behind statues of these two figures for their successors, and those on the island grew up with reminders of the Tamriel they had left behind, and the land of the dragons where they would never go.

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The year is 181 of the Fourth Era, and the Emperor of Tamriel, Titus Mede II, elected to take a small delegation to Cathnoquey to observe the living results of Uriel V’s journey to Akavir. To the outside observer, it was not entirely clear as to why this voyage was taken at this moment in time. Some suspected it was to take the Emperor’s mind off of Hammerfell surpassing the Imperial Legion, as it was able to drive the Aldmeri Dominion back from their lands. Others believed the rational was the same, but the crisis that Mede needed a distraction from was instead the uprising started by Ulfric Stormcloak in the Province of Skyrim.

Regardless of the reason, the people of Cathnoquey are delighted and enraptured by the visit, even if some of the more bitter among them remarked behind closed doors that this new dynasty is a mere shadow of the Septim line. When the leaders of the community lined up to receive the Emperor, a five-year-old girl was among them, bearing a basket of flowers and fruits in her arms. When Mede approached her, she held the basket up to him.

“Your Majesty, here are some gifts from our island to help you remember your time here.” Even though she had spent hours rehearsing this encounter with her parents beforehand, her delivery of the line sounded nervous and rushed. However, the smile the Emperor gave her was genuine, and he bent down to meet her eyes as he received the basket.

“Thank you, my daughter. Will you tell me your name?” After the toddler had introduced herself, Mede shook her hand and replied, “Well, it was very nice to meet you. I appreciate you welcoming me to your island.” As he moved to to approach the next person in the receiving line, the small voice piped up once more.

“Will you come and visit again?” This question went off of the script for the carefully planned encounter, and warranted some nervous laughter from the crowd present. However, Mede returned to the girl and smiled, replying, “Perhaps I will name a ship for you and return to Cathnoquey. Would you like that?” The girl nodded enthusiastically, and many smiles were had by those gathered. The Emperor moved along and his stay on the island continued as planned.

A few days later the Emperor sailed back to Tamriel, and commissioned work on his new ship. Unfortunately, many things were rotten in the province of Cyrodiil, and Mede never seemed to have time cross the sea and keep his promise to the girl from Cathnoquey. He always felt a nagging sense of guilt whenever he saw the ship docked, even though he knew that he would never see Cathnoquey, or that girl, the one from the edge of world, again.