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The Skylamp Night by Tamriel-Rebuilt The Skylamp Night by Tamriel-Rebuilt
an account of breaking the siege of Tear during the Arnesian War as it was narrated by the honorable serjo Vaalthys Sur-Enaren to his scribe

We stand atop the walls of Tear and look down on the plains where the Argonians have set their camp. In the dark distance the tiny flickering lights of their torches and campfires can be seen, so tiny that they don't give away the crude fortifications they've built around their tents, the poisoned wooden stakes lined in a phalanx to face the city, or the chain of small rafts tied together with a massive vine rope with which they've blockaded the mouth of the river barring any ships from leaving the harbor.

It is the thirty-sixth night of the siege. Already we are starving. The Betmeri Wells have been flooded with burning water the day before, their inhabitants killed. The meat of the lizards tastes like sawdust and mold.

The skylamps are set loose in the dead of night. Dozens of them. No riders, just the animals. The war-netches have been bred by the many clan-families of the Deshaan, each gas-filled giant painted with the insignia of that family. They also carry words of magick, powerful sigils and daunting letters woven on their leathery skin by the spellbinders of Tear. The massive beasts float silent in the air towards the Argonians that know no better. The master beasthandler gives a signal and a flock of flaming arrows is released on the skylamps setting them on fire.

The burning beasts cry out in a howl so low it can be heard only barely, but makes your heartsrings tremble. The skylamps have been trained well - even as they are burning alive they steadily approach and finally reach the Argonian encampment. Then, one by one, they explode and set the night sky ablaze with brilliant colors. One elder clansmer next to me hides his eyes as for a second he mistakes the bright lights for the day's sun. Down in the fields before the walls and in their camp the Argonians scatter and look for cover from the fire that has suddenly descended upon them.

As we open the gates and storm out to drive out the invader n'wah the dry land has turned into mud. The skylamps shower down in a rain of violet and tangerine and crimson painting the world. Rivers of jade and aquamarine flow slowly in the cracks of the earth and form small palette lakes. Across the lakes we dance into battle and clash with the enemy. Sound and color become one.

White is the sound of a gigantic pale lizard galloping blindly through the mud roaring with thunder's voice. Light blue is the sound of a group of Argonians ripping through from underneath the carcass of a fallen skylamp on their way to reach us. Dark purple is the sound of a soul-stealer shaman hissing its curses, conjuring the bones of some long-dead reptile to do its bidding, and cold gray are the blades of the brave clansguard who cut the shaman down and hack the skeletal abomination into pieces. Muddy brown is the sound of an Argonian warrior breaking its neck while trying to wrangle itself free from a mancatcher's claw. Blue-and-yellow is the sound of a fire consuming a hundred barricade rafts releasing them on the merciless river that carries the rafters out to the salty sea upon which no lizard can survive. Warcries and screams of hatred and horror are spewed out cyan and pink. Blood is spilled orange and bright green. The night is black and the battlefield below is a swirling rainbow. Were it not a battle it would be a mighty spectacle to witness. Truly, a carnival of life and death.

The fighting continues all through the night. The colorful chaos is slowly waned by the pale, rising sun. Its light breaks through the smoke-filled air and reveals the true and dull grayness of the world-after-battle. Hundreds of prisoners are taken and the once empty slave pits are full again. The shackled warleaders of Old Arnesia are impaled by the steely tendrils of the fallen skylamps, their dry skins left colorful like signal flags. We hang them on the trees to mark the new border.

Xuth-taijleel, the Argonians still say. Accursed skylamps.

Ai, we who remember the siege of Tear say. Blessed be the skylamps of our ancestors.

Original book and artwork by Rats
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July 16, 2014
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