When she emerged from the portal the very first thing she did was to glance at her map and she saw that it was 4E 201 'wow' she thought to herself 'has it really been that long?' She was standing on the small island of the cost of Bravil and the first thing that she noticed was that she was all alone. Odd, the last time that she'd come through, there was a guard posted outside who was supposed to warn people away from the portal. Still, the people probably figured that the portal had been there so long that there were plenty of tales in circulation about the portal and the people who were undeterred by such things likely wouldn't be deterred by a guard either. She'd been half hoping to see Shadowmere but figured seemingly immortal horse probably had a new owner by now.
Then she turned and saw the city of Bravil and gasped. Bravil had never been the prettiest city in Cyrodiil but the old Bravil had been a rose compared to the city she saw now. In fact, it reminded her, a lot of Kvatch after the Daedric invasion had destroyed it. She was determined to find out what had happened there and quickly. She cast a sea stride spell upon herself and ran across the river (it was faster than swimming) and into the city. She mentally breathed a sigh of relief that things inside were not as bad as they looked on the outside. There were lots of construction materials all over the place and some buildings had been fully restored so rebuilding was clearly well underway and likely had been for some time.
She began to walk around the city, looking for someone who would be able to tell her what had happened here but since it was past midnight most of the city was asleep. Therefore there was no one around to hear her gasp of shock and horror when she came to the place where the statue of the Lucky Lady was supposed to be and found that it was completely gone! Not only had the statue been destroyed but the path to the Night Mother's tomb was wide open without even thinking to check if she was being watched she raced into the tomb. Once inside she couldn't find any sign of the Night Mother at all…she couldn't decide if this was a good thing or a bad thing.
"Is this my fault, mother?" she whispered "was your tomb desecrated because I abandoned my post as Listener?" both hoping for an answer and at the same time dreading what that answer might be; all she got however was utter silence. That at least made sense; she had abandoned the Dark Brotherhood along with the rest of Tamriel why should the Night Mother speak to her ever again? She sighed and turned to the leave the tomb "I'm so sorry" she whispered before climbing up the ladder and out of the tomb.
She continued her search and eventually found an old beggar man sleeping near the partially restored temple of Mara. She felt a little bad about having to wake him up but she really needed answers, so she gently shook him awake. The man blinked a few times as he tried to rouse himself awake and then he stood and said
"Well, it's not every day a man like me gets woken up by a beautiful lady like you, I take you're with the guild and need some information?"
She had been with the Thieves' Guild and had even been the Gray Fox but that was a long time ago; no one living would remember her now and so she replied "no, I'm not with the guild but I do need some information."
"Well, my memory is a little sketchy…some gold might help" the man said
Inwardly she sighed; it seems some things never change. Her time with the Thieves' Guild had taught her that the beggars, were arguably the best sources of information around, but one had to pay well for it. She reached into her pocket and handed him a couple coins and then she asked "what happened here, what destroyed the city, was there an earthquake or something?"
The beggar man was so surprised he forgot to take the coin Lerna was offering him "An earthquake? No, it was the Great War of course"
"The Great War?" Lerna repeated
"Have you been living under a rock all this time? 30 years ago the elves invaded from the south, don't you know?"
"What elves?" Lerna asked the more the man talked the more confused she got; a consequence, no doubt, of her being out for the loop for 200 years.
The man said "Honestly what are they teaching young people these days?" and then he sighed "okay, it's like this, after the Oblivion Crisis-you do know what that is don't you?"
"Yes, the Mythic Dawn killed the emperor and opened several gates to Oblivion as part of an invasion attempt by Mehrunes Dagon" Lerna answered
"That's right, anyway after it was over a group called the Thalmor claimed credit for closing the Oblivion Gates-."
"But it was Martin's sacrifice that did that by destroying the Amulet of Kings and becoming the avatar of Akatosh!" Lerna protested
The man raised his hands and said "I'm not disputing that, but the Thalmor claim they closed the gates in the Summerset Isle, they call themselves the saviors of the mer."
"So they're a bunch of elven supremacists?" Lerna concluded disliking the Thalmor less and less every second. Those bastards, Martin gave his life for this land and its people, how dare they try to take advantage of that and especially for such twisted bigotry!
"Big Time, anyway after the Oblivion Crisis ended, the Thalmor seized power in the Summerset Isle and shortly after in Valenwood too. They renamed their land the Aldmeri Dominion." Lerna's expression darkened even further she didn't like the sound of that name but the man continued on as if he hadn't noticed "Anyway, not long after that they took over Elsweyr too, something about the moons disappearing from what I understand. Then about 30 years ago, they went to the Imperial City with an ultimatum which emperor Titus Mede II rejected and that is when the war broke out. The Aldmeri invaded from the south and caught the empire by surprise. They even managed to ransack the Imperial City." Lerna's eyes widened in shock but again the man ignored her change of expression "Eventually, the empire regrouped and took back the city; it was one heck of a battle I would know, I fought in that battle and got injured, took a mace in the knee, can't really walk right anymore. Anyway, that all took about four years and then the two sides signed a peace treaty which was essentially the same ultimatum that the emperor had previously refused; it is known as the White-gold Concordant and states that the worship of Talos is banned-"
"What? How could they do that?" Lerna shouted unable to contain herself any longer
Now, most people might find it odd that Lerna reacted so strongly. After all, Lerna was a Daedric Lord and as such, in the minds of most mortals, a bitter enemy of the Divines because the Daedra and the Gods, or the Aedra as they are sometimes called, are seen as opposing forces. The truth however is far more complex. There are some Daedra that do truly hate the Gods, like Mehrunes Dagon for thwarting his attempt to invade Tamriel and Molag Bal, who as far Lerna can tell, hates pretty much everything but himself. There are some Daedra however, that get along quite well with at least some of the Aedra. For example, as overseer of the dusk and dawn Azura works quite closely with Akatosh to help maintain the proper order of the seasons. Also Hermaeus Mora and Julianos are both associated with knowledge and as such they often collaborate in their research. Indeed, Lerna herself had developed a rather close friendship with Talos, although next time she saw him, she was going to kick his ass for not telling her any of this.
Her friendship with Talos was based on the fact that both of them had once been mortal and as such were not quite like their brethren. When the priests of Talos had proclaimed that Talos was both god and man, they weren't entirely wrong. Although Talos had the same power as most of the other Divines (except Akatosh, nobody had the same power as Akatosh, he was the strongest, that was why he was king) he didn't think the way they did; he thought the same way he had as Tiber Septim and because of that, he understood mortals in ways that the others simply didn't. So, in some ways, he was almost stuck in between the two; he was no longer human but he was not truly an Aedra either (at least not the like the rest of them) and she could understand how that was since her situation was fairly similar. She was both Daedra and Breton. It was why she could physically enter Mundus when none of the others could (and stay as long as she wanted while the other Daedric Princes could only appear for very brief periods); because part of her was still mortal and therefore not blocked by Akatosh's barrier but she was more powerful than any mortal, although she could feel that her powers were weaker in Tamriel than they were in the Isles.
She remembered how disorienting that transition had been for her at first; even though it had been fairly slow. The power from the font of Madness filling her body and slowly altering it; Talos had been the one to sit her down and explain to her what was happening even though he didn't know how it would end. After he had calmed her down, they got to talking and that was how their friendship had begun. Afterwards Talos was a frequent visitor to the Shivering Isles even helping to drive Dagon and his forces out and making sure that they stayed out. He was the god of war so naturally he loved a good fight and he was miffed at having not been allowed to take part in repelling Dagon from Tamriel so it was the next best thing.
He had confided to her that sometimes he hated being a Divine; having to watch Tamriel flounder but being unable to intervene. Sometimes he wished that he had chosen to go to Sovngarde like other great Nord heroes instead of taking the gods up on their offer of Immortality. That was something else most people didn't know or understand. Tiber Septim had been offered immortality by the other eight divines not just posthumously proclaimed a god by men. Talos had told her that after he died Akatosh had appeared to him and told him that he could either go to Sovngarde or join the divines and become a god himself. Akatosh said that he and the others had agreed that they could use another member on their council (partly to help prevent any tied votes) someone who understood mortals, how they thought and how they felt and they wanted Tiber Septim to be that ninth member. Lerna suspected that part of the reason people tended to be drawn to Talos more than the other gods was because they sensed that he wanted to help them. Talos constantly scolded the others for holding themselves too distant from mortals, for not helping them out more often and yes, Talos even for argued for helping the Altmer and the other elven races through their troubles too. So for people to just turn their backs on Talos after he had done for them was utterly enraging.
Rather abruptly she realized that she hadn't been paying any attention at all that what the old man had been saying "I'm sorry" she said "could you repeat that…I kind of spaced out there for a minute"
"I thought you had" the man responded with a smile that said he wasn't upset "In addition to banning the worship of Talos and giving the Thalmor permission to travel through the empire to enforce that law, the White-Gold Concordant also ceded much of southern Hammerfell to the Aldmeri." Okay, that settled it, she really hated the Thalmor and that miserable Aldmeri Dominion too.
"Bet the Redguards didn't like that" Lerna said
"No, they didn't" the man agreed "They kept on fighting, forcing the empire to renounce Hammerfell as a province but eventually the Aldmeri withdrew from the territory all together. That took about five years. Now there's some sort of Rebellion going on Skyrim-"
"A rebellion?" Lerna asked
"Yeah, the Nords weren't happy about the white-gold concordant and they're really not happy about the Thalmor running around their land and dragging people away for worshipping Talos, Tiber Septim was a Nord after all, they see him as one of their own. I don't know much about it, but apparently the rebel leader…I really can't remember his name…something about storms or maybe it was cloaks. Anyway, the rebel leader killed the high king of Skyrim"
"Skyrim has a high king?" Lerna said that was certainly news to her
"Yeah, he answers to the emperor though. Anyway, the rebel leader killed the high king and now they're fighting over who's going to replace him. Course the rebel guy also wants to take Skyrim out of the empire and the emperor isn't going to let that happen. So the legion is after his head."
"I see" Lerna said although she didn't fully, it was a lot to take in. One thing was very clear though, you spend two hundred years in Oblivion and you just miss everything. She took several more coins out of her purse. Coming to regret that she had left most of her money in the palace treasury back at the Isles. Actually, it wasn't that big a deal, she realized. If she had to she could just summon either an Aureal or a Mazken to get it for her. Anyway, she gave the man some money as thanks for helping fill her in and said "Here, take this and I'm sorry I woke you"
The beggar quickly pocketed the coins and replied "No trouble at all pretty lady, you can wake me up anytime you want." Then the man quickly went back to sleep. Lerna walked away thinking over what she had been told. Something was pulling at her, telling her that she needed to go to Skyrim and that she needed to get there fast. She headed outside the city to the stables. To her relief she saw that the stables were intact and had a couple of horses in them, all of them were bays but oh well. Only problem was that the stables were closed and there was something telling her that she shouldn't wait around until they open. (She had become more intuitive when she became a Daedra, or maybe she had just learned to pay more attention to her intuition) so after carefully checking to make sure no one else was around. She got on one of them and took off, riding due north.