A Psijic’s Measure: Third Moon

Spoiler Alert: References to and quotations from ESO story quests.

Author: Michael/@Shishwik

Aliasandrya

The trek north to find the siblings Tythis and Nevena has me hopeful, for if I can reunite these two my chances of finding my sisters… Wait, sisters? Yes this rings true yet I do not know them…. How in Nirn did that happen? No matter, what is, is. I shall delve deeper into that matter at a later time.

I briefly jot in my journal about Tythis and Nevena:

A relic hunter told me of a young Dunmer who fled Vivec City after committing murder. Her brother has gone north to search for her in the Forgotten Wastes. No one has seen either of them since.

ESO: Echoes of a Fallen House

So a day’s journey away. I stock up on food, potions, and a magic scroll I found deep in an ancestral tomb… Can’t wait to see what it does. On my trip north I go out of my way to clear the roads and surrounding areas of trolls, nix hounds, cliff striders, and hive golems. One, because I  might end up helping those I seek , and two, it feels good. Feels good to burn  and zap that which seek to feed on me. 

As I stop for the night I feel my chin taken gently in an invisible but comforting hand. My head is turned to the side and two names are lovingly whispered into my ear. “Cat. Twig.” My eyes behold the eternal chase of  Secunda and Masser. Yet the proper names as I have learned them seem out of place… The gentle hand, the loving whisper: “Jone and Jode.” This breathy recitation leaves me with goosebumps. For in my perfect recall…

According to Varieties of Faith, “Jone” and “Jode” are the names of Aldmeri deities of the moons, but in Khajiit cosmology they are parts of the ja-Kha’jay, the Lunar Lattice and the core of their religion. In their creation myth, Fadomai gave birth to the Moons and their Motions around the same time she gave birth to Nirni and Azurah. No connection to Lorkhan, except that Lorkhaj is also a child of Fadomai.

The Unofficial Elder Scrolls Pages

However, Lorkhaj’s body is indeed a moon in Khajiit tales, but not Jone nor Jode. It’s a third moon, one that can’t be seen except under very special circumstances. As explained by a candidate who walked the path:

“We’ve walked the Two Moons Path, the path of Jone and Jode. But there is a third moon: The Dark Moon, the enemy of the Khajiit. Lorkhaj, the Missing God.”

Shazah

It’s the Missing God that chills my soul.

I fall unconscious.

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A Psijic’s Measure: Two Moons over Tamriel

Photo of Moons over Tamriel

When we were children, roaming the beaches of Haven’s shore, my sister and I chased after moon crabs. Other mer call them mud crabs, for they burrow under the mud, when attacked, and pop up unexpectedly behind you to attack back.

But to us, they were round as the twin moons Jone and Jode, and their eggs shone bright in the silver light.

The crabs left twisting trails along the beach, and we invented games following them, watching to see what we might uncover. I found a pearl, once, in a leather pouch washed up in the sand. Twig found a necklace. Our mother praised us. “We will never eat crab legs, my sprigs,” she said, “not after your friends of the beach have brought such treasures!”

Living in Haven, with Khajiit traders and Saxhleel refugees, I didn’t realize what a departure from custom these words represented. My mother’s mother would have feared that Y’ffre would curse us back to Ooze to hear we’d roast fern frond rather than flesh.

We grew up between culture, Twig and I. How is it that the seeds of a person’s life are sown before, even, the events that define that life?

On my last night with Twig, before she was taken, we looked out the window of the stable loft at the sky, lit up with twin moons.

“Look,” I said to Twig. “There we are.”

“We’re the moons?”

I nodded.

“Which one am I? The little one?”

“No,” I replied. “You’re the one in front.”

“How so?”

“Because I am always following you.”

She was gone the next day, when I returned from scavenging.

I cursed the Saxhleel who took her. The Khajiit told me that they took her to be a slave.

“Now they have their freedom,” he said, “they take the babes of others, for slaves of their own.”

The Saxhleel I knew, refugees who’d escaped to Haven, would never do that. But the Khajiit twisted each of my protestations.

“They are free now,” he said, “and justice has demands. Little ones like your sister pay the exchange.”

The Khajiit merchant offered me to stay. I could work in his stall, deliver and trade, help his wife with what she needed doing, caring for cubs and hunting forests.

I left, though I had only just stepped out of childhood. My sister, still a child, was out there, in the galley, perhaps, of a ship sailing to Auridon or Shimmerine, Davon’s Watch or Vivec City. Or maybe she climbed the mast and looked out over the sea, up to the sky, watching the two moons, knowing that I would follow her, wondering when I would come.

Only the moons kept me going, some nights, when the bare land stretched around me, and I walked, alone, down the trails scratched into the red earth.

I gazed at Jode, the big moon at the fore. Sometimes, I saw my sister before me, grown into a hardened look on her soft face.

She stood always before me, an illusion in the moonlight, and after her, I chased.

Photo of Twig Littlebird

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A Psijic’s Measure: Haven

PM01

When desperation gives way to surrender, a door opens for grace.

I have been saved countless times, and on some golden occasions, I have saved others.

I met a woman who had become a blood fiend. She rued the lives she’d drained, in her blind raptures, and so, in a sober moment, she swallowed cold poison and died, before she could harm another.

I came upon a village where all had been turned to stone, save one: the mage. His spell hardened flesh, calcified pulse between the heartbeats. Fear drives one to strange measures. But it was his spell, too, which had first rendered savage the wolves and bears. Grief raises unsuspected monsters.

Some say rescue follows brave acts. But I know, the bravest act is to turn within, to face the knife of grief, to feel the snap of fear. In the alchemy of mind and flesh, transforming panic to breath to calm to peace: that is where true magic resides.

The mage in the stone village lost a son in battle. If he could harness the energy within this earth, surely he could raise his son! But when we turn from pain, monsters escape the cracks.

We had to kill many beasts before we could close the rifts. When all was done, and the villagers’ hearts began to pound again, they shouted for justice.

“Kill the mage!” they yelled.

“I deserve to die,” he said, and through his eyes, his son’s glance shone back. He wept. The sun shot rays of gold.

“No one will die,” I replied. “He turned you to stone to save you from the beasts. The savage ones are gone now. You’re safe, as you are. No one need pay more.”

The mage looked in my eyes. “A psijic’s measure,” he said. “Kindness. Mercy. Courage.”

The hardest courage is that which opens the path for kindness, for that’s the courage of setting down armor and walking through fire, ice, arrows, and spears, right into the battleground of pain and fear: unarmed, protected with only the openness of the heart. Mercy requires the greatest bravery.

But that’s the path that Meridia lays down.

After our parents were killed by maormer, my sister, Twig, and I stowed away on a Khajiit trading ship, leaving Grahtwood for Auridon. Our parents had moved to Haven, emigrating from Elden Root when I was just a baby, years before Twig was born. They abandoned the Green Pact when they became merchants. It was the sweet taste of pumpkin, my mom always said, that drove them to break the vow.

There were times, an orphaned teen beneath Alik’r’s taut skies, when I believed my wanderings to be Y’ffre’s curse, repayment for our parents’ betrayal. But I don’t believe that any longer.

If one lives long enough, one finds curses turn into blessings.

I sit now, an old mystic, in the wild meadow by my cottage outside of Haven’s walls. I hear the gull call. The evening wind carries memories of battle cries and mourners’ sobs, mothers’ songs and reapers’ chants, a Khajiit’s prayer and an Argonian’s meditation. When I am especially still, I catch the scent of cherry blossoms from Artaeum.

We ended up on Vulkhel Guard, my sister and I, after the ship landed to unload. I found an empty barn near the docks, and we slept in the hay. Only two days later, she was gone. I returned from scavenging food, and the barn was empty, and the old Khajiit on the dock told me Argonians carried her off to their ship.

Thus began my peregrine life: What started as a search became a pilgrimage.

What if you woke one morning to find that every choice you had made and would make, all that had happened, and all that would happen, including getting lost and getting found and finding others and losing them, the deaths of those you love and even your own death, what if it all had significance and meaning? What if, after all, everything really was all right?


Author’s notes: I’ve been immersed in Elder Scrolls Online. What began as WTF, what even IS this game, and how come there’s so much killing! has become an enchantment with rich lore, landscapes, stories, and worlds and a delight in the ethical considerations of the game. Right now, this game is filling a niche for me. The in-game quests can happen so quickly, even when I play solo and read everything, so I often don’t have time to process and internalize the story. That’s what A Psijic’s Measure is for: It’s a chance for me to engage fully with the stories, characters, and worlds of Elder Scrolls Online.

As such, it’s fanfic: The world-building, many of the characters, and many of the plots come directly from the game. There will be loads of spoilers in every chapter–gamers beware! If you play the game, I hope you enjoy an internalized, reflective look at a sojourner’s life in Tamriel. If you don’t play, I hope you enjoy this story of a wood elf who wanders far from home.

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