here once were two brothers, who
lived in Nepris, a small fishing village in Manthria, near the Adanian Coast.
They were the children of a humble fisherman and his wife, the one was named
Alof, he was the older of the two, and the other Marin, two years younger.
The fisherman Andulf Istherin
recounting the tale of the "Two Brothers". Image drawn by
Alof was a very impulsive,
contentious child; he was strong and dominant, and didn't make life easy for his
smaller sibling: often he used to pick on him, ridicule his lanky build and his
clumsiness that went with it, and notwithstanding that Alof was the older
brother and was meant to set a good example, he always looked out only for his
own advantage. In fact some villagers maintained that Alof didn't care about
Marin at all, and that it was a shame how he treated his brother, which non the
less didn't bother the older one a bit. As a matter of fact he often got away
with it, because his father was not the youngest anymore and his mother too
kindhearted to have a serious word with him. Every time there were chores his
parents needed to be done, Alof found reasons to convince his brother to do the
work for him, and every time Alof claimed the reward for himself. Marin only
received little, if anything. There wasn't much Marin could do about it - he was
the younger and the weaker child, more a dreamer than a laborer, and so he had
resigned a long time ago already, accepting his fate.
One day the two brothers, who were still in their teens, fished together in
their tiny ducraer. They were far off the coast when suddenly there was a
jerking and a twitching in the net, a rumbling and violent grinding noticeable
at the side of the boat. When Alof investigated what was the cause of all this
turmoil, an enormous swordfish shot out from below, freeing itself from the net
with a spry snap... In its desperate efforts to fight imminent death, the fish
leapt out of the sea and right into Alof's arms, where – after some further
scuffling – his heavy, slick body flipped around, and in the process gashed
Alof's breast with its pointed sword. Victorious the fish darted back into the
sea while Alof lost control of himself, he tumbled and staggered back. Bumping
his head on the gunnel, he passed out on the spot and rolled overboard. He was
fortunate, though: Marin had witnessed the scene with horror and without
thinking twice, now immediately jumped after his brother and managed to grab him
by the wrist. Despite Alof was the heavier of them both, Marin rescued the
unconscious body by a hairbreadth before the deep blue depths of the ocean could
claim him forever. Thus, by dragging him back into the ducraer and tending to
his wound, Marin saved Alof's life.
There is no doubt that this event made Alof a changed man. He was so thankful of
his younger brother's courage, that he gave him his best boots, and a beautiful
satchel he had bought while in Marcogg for good measure. The more he talked with
him about what they had experienced out there at sea, the more Alof felt
different about Marin, and while he had ignored him for most of his life, he now
began to understand and love him for what he was. He was unlike him, but he was
a good soul, and had a sense of family and friendship. All that Alof took to his
heart, aye, he even vowed that should something happen once to Marin, he would –
without batting an eye – also risk his own life to save his brother's, for
that's what he had done to him, and so would he.
Time went by. The brothers came
of age and turned into adults. Marin was still in Nepris after all this time,
for he continued the fishing business of his father and grandfather, and while
he wasn't half the fisherman his stronger brother had been back in the days, he
enjoyed his work and earned his living with it, and that's all that mattered to
Alof on the other hand had moved south, to Ciosa, where he had become a
respected ship owner and merchant. Every now and then when his schedule allowed
and he had business to do on the east coast, he visited his younger brother; but
eventually there came a time when they didn't see each other anymore for several
months. There was the one or the other letter, sure, but Alof had become a
Stormcloaks official by now, and the project of expanding the influence of the
shipping guild in southern parts of Sarvonia required all his attention, which
was why he was rarely around further up north than Ciosa.
So it came that the two brothers led separate lives. Marin eventually married
the neighbor's daughter and she became pregnant soon after the ceremony.
Everybody in the small village community was happy in expectation of the
soon-to-be-born offspring and – as is often the case in times like these – there
were long discussions on how to name the little gal or fellow.
One day, Marin's wife, Amra, lay in throes of agony. All had hoped for a great
celebration of childbirth, yet what had begun so promising turned into long
hours of labors for the young mother. Being frail and fragile, Amra struggled
for more than a full day with the birth, and though the midwives did their best
to save her life, all seemed hopeless.
At the same evening heavy clouds formed over the Mithral and a storm broke out,
so intense, so abhorrent, so gruesome and ghastly that fishermen would speak of
it for generations and generations. The downpour stirred the slumbering sea, and
it flooded great parts of Mossy Rocks Cove; gales destroyed piers, fences,
houses, trees and everything in their way. In the midst of this so abominable
storm Amra struggled with her baby and her life. Yet as morning dawned, neither
was her baby born yet, nor had Amra succumbed to her strains. There was still
hope, but not much, and the priests already gathered to bid mother, child or
both a blessed farewell from this world.
When day broke, the storm dispersed and the sun rose again, but the tragedies
weren't over yet: Fishermen brought further ill news. A ship had capsized not
too far away from Nepris on the cliffs of Gaurgoroth during the storm; flotsam
and jetsam of the unfortunate incident including at least one dead body had been
found. However, there were also good news among the bad ones: One of the crates
that the men had picked up contained miraculously undamaged flasks of a
extremely rare medicine, a potion composed of exotic gunthreed leaves, which
only grow at specific parts at the continent of Nybelmar. The medicine is said
not only to have considerable soothing effects in regards of a mother's
sufferings during childbirth, but that it could also provide the necessary
strength and stamina in times of dire need.
The Neprisian herbwoman immediately recognized the elixir and thus, aware that
it might constitute the very last chance to save Amra or her unborn child,
applied it hurriedly. Indeed, only a short while after the treatment, a little
boy finally saw the light of day – and he was healthy and bore the eyes of his
father. He cried so loud and with insolence as if to defy once and for all the
odds that had been stacked against his survival. Oh, did it make tow parents
happy that day! For Amra, the tortured mother, though weary and exhausted after
the hours and hours of fighting, also recovered in full from her pains very soon
It was not until the next day that Marin, the proud father, discovered that the
dead man who had been washed up on the coast, and whose medicine had saved his
wife's and child's life, was no other than his own brother. He had been on his
way up north, so Marin learned, in one of the Stormcloaks' ship, with the
intention to stop by at his brother's abode and attend the celebration of the
newborn heir. Alas, this didn't happen.
Marin prayed for a long time for his brother's soul to find its way back to
Baveras, the Sea Goddess, whose closeness he had once more experienced in these
hard times. In the same prayer he also thanked her for the gift of new life she
had granted to him, despite it had to be paid with the loss of another.
Days later when the ritual bathing of the newborn took place in honor of
Baveras, it was an easy decision for the young parents who they would name their
"Alof", Marin said, and Alof was only the first of three children that Amra
would bore her loving husband in the coming years.