Note: The ESO version of this book omits references to Ebonarm, among other small changes.
This is a faithful reproduction of the thoughts recorded in Makela Leki's memory stone, found in the Bangkorai Pass, in the year of reckoning 1E 973. Seven years before the fall of Orsinium due to the combined efforts of the armies of Daggerfall, Sentinel, and the Order of Diagna.
Almost all of this is in the first person, as Makela was unfamiliar with the protocols and scholarly formalities of recording herself into a memory stone. None the less, her heroism and heroic deeds live on, her memories fresh in the stone for all to feel and hear.
" . . . Muuu uhh, I wonder if this will really work?"
"The Mages guild took me for 25,000 gold crowns if it doesn't. Imagine? This stone will record my thoughts? What did they say? Just unwrap it from the silver foil and leather bag and as soon as it touches my flesh it will begin to record.
"Ahhhh, the pain, I must block it out, no one would want to hold my stone and hear my thoughts if I let it record my pain. Thank the Ebonarm and the training I received in The Hall of the Virtues of War. I CAN block out this pain. Ummm just, ah, there, it's walled off.
"Yes, I can still see it there just beyond my consciousness lurking like a hungry wolf - a wolf that will soon consume me. I see also my inevitable death from these damned wounds. No potions left, the healing crystal and ring are used up, and me, with not even magic enough to light a candle. Oh, but the gods did give me other gifts, the gift of sword singing, the thrill of battle, Frandar Hunding's Book of Circles, THE WAY OF THE SWORD. Ah, but then, that is my story, I get ahead of myself.
"I am Makela Leki: a warrior, a sword-singer, a second level Ansei. In my cradle I could form the Shehai, the spirit sword - The mystical blade, mine formed of pure thought serpents intertwined with vines of roses to form the blade, as beautiful as ...
"Ah, but I'm about to tell you all about that, to tell you my story, a story of valiant battle, of my loves, of my wars, of betrayal and of this last glorious victory. To tell you of how I came to this distant lonely pass, me and five companions, to fight these men and monsters, to defeat the army that would fall on my people like cowards in the night, but again, I get ahead of myself.
"I am a simple warrior. I grew up as a Maiden of the Spirit Blade. As early as I can remember I wanted to be a Singer, to feel the hunger of the blade in my hands, to feel it come alive and take my enemies. I am told our people were artisans and poets long ago in our desert homes. Here in the new home now known as Hammerfell, many of us have returned to those ancient ways, but to me there is but ONE WAY. THE WAY of the SWORD.
"Ah, this is hard to tell. I grew up in my noble family, the only one of three brothers and two sisters that felt the calling, the Song of the Sword. Father understood, for he too had felt the call. He had become a master, and Ansei long before settling down at our estate to raise a family. At eleven, I entered the Hall of the Virtues of War and joined the Maidens of the Spirit Sword. In my band there were six of us. Daring Julia, solid Patia, big Kati, svelte Cegila, wise Zell, and me - all are gone now, save me, and soon I will join them. ... Join them in the halls of the unknown gods of war.
"We drank together, we fought, we wept, we grew in the way of the sword. We joined in our learnings in the Hall with our Brothers of the Blade. Learning from each other, we all sat at the feet of the Hall Master striving to learn the depths of the Shehai - making the spirit blade into a real weapon as Frandar Hunding had. Only a few have the purity of heart and virtue to be able to take the step and learn the mysteries of Ansei. Sword Sainthood.
"Somehow, of all the Brothers and the Maidens, I only possessed the unique qualities, the faint but strong enough flicker of magicka to call forth the Shehai. Many times I called it, seldom would it become substantial enough to be a weapon. To be an Ansei of the first level you just need to be able to call it, and that I could, so I became the first Ansei from our local hall in two generations.
"Oh I have so much to tell, so many memories, so many treasures to share with you, my unknown companion. How do I start?
"Umhhh, the pain is still out there lurking hungrily, slowly consuming what's left of me. I guess I had better tell of the final battle, the one that has left me here, and then if I have the will left tell you of my life, of my love Raliph. OH what a lad he was. What times we shared ... Ebonarm ... Forgive me, my mind wanders ... Let me go to the Final Battle.
"Umm to start, in the middle humm. Yes. We Maidens grew, learned, and mastered the Way upon completing the Walkabout. To you who are not Singers, this is a wilderness trek emulating the times of Frandar Hunding - where we each wander the countryside righting wrongs, defeating monsters, performing quests in the name of virtue. Some of us in our Hall took years to finish. Always there is danger, we six Maidens each returned in our own good time, but many are they who do not live to return from the Walkabout.
"We returned, each to our own lives, to meet in the hall once a week to tell our stories to the new Maidens and Brothers, and to perform as instructors in the Way of the sword. All was well till the night of the Midyear Festival.
"All our people were reveling and ... excuse ... enjoying the repast, but for we six Maidens. It happened that the festival day fell on our day of meeting in the hall, our day of prayer and fasting and honor to the Way of the Sword.
"As we met, late into the night, a knocking rang on our door. When I opened it, there was a guardian from the Bangkorai Pass, wounded and near death ... He told us of betrayal from the north, an invasion sponsored by High Rock, led by King Joile of Daggerfall -- our ally in the war with Orsinium!
"Quickly we used up a crystal of healing in restoring him to vitality. We sent him on to the king, while we six grabbed our weapons and armor of power, and as many potions, marks, and crystals and rings as we could carry.
"We flew to the pass hoping upon hope that we would not be too late. Our journey was not in vain, for we arrived just at the very point where the last three guardians were overwhelmed by the horde. Into the pass we ran forming the old battle line, six abreast.
"OH did we FIGHT.
"The Song of the Sword was a joyous noise slicing through the ranks of evil. We fought for hours. Julia was the first to fall, a cowardly poisoned dagger finding a rent in her armor. Then one by one all fell, save me.
"... Oh cruel Ebonarm ... Then my beloved sword, the sword of my father, the one with the serpent's crest, fashioned by the master swordsmith Singer Tansal broke in my hands. All was lost, our six lives spent in vain. Now, many many of them would pour through the pass. I would be easy prey for them, like a newborn child. I wept in frustration.
"Then I remembered the hearth in our home - the book. Frandar Hunding's Book of Circles, the Way of Strategy. I reached for Shehai, the spirit sword, that which I could never reliably form when I needed it, and behold ... it was alive. Alive with fire. It formed in my hand. Ablaze with power --- OH I slew mightily, right and left, like a scythe through wheat. All the way to the Lord of Daggerfall I fought. With one blow I cut his magical armor asunder, one more took his head.
"But to do that deed cost me dearly, wounds by the dozen, for although I had magical armor, it was not formed of spirit like my blade, it was not as invincible as my blade or my own spirit, and I was sorely wounded.
"With the felling of King Joile, his army crumbled. They fled before my wrath. All ran back through the pass not even pausing to collect their dead and wounded. All who could stand ran for their lives, and I slew all I could reach, but my breath was coming short, and the pain ...
"Finally I rested, on this rock where you find me now. I don't know why I chanced to bring this stone along. I bought it on a whim really, with the loot from ... ah, well, I guess I need to really stop and tell my story in order. I feel able to go on to tell you more ... the eternal night is descending more slowly than I thought.
"Not just yet am I ready to compose my death poem. A little sip of water and ... well, I think I will go back and tell you of my life, maybe some details about the battle. And, oh, yes. About Raliph and our children, humm where will I start.
"... Oh ... rrr ...
"I am ... a simple warrior ... I grew up as a, a Maiden of the Spirit Blade ... As early ... as early as I can ... remember ..."