Old woman portrait Ethelred the Old

Ethelred is an ancient widow and an avowed expert on the history of the city.

You know, I’ve talked to a lot of people who were there when it happened—they’re gone now, of course—and we all have a different version of it. Me? I was eight years old, headed to the market with my mother, when all of the sound in the world stopped. I looked at my Ma and her mouth were moving but I could hear nothing. I had gone deaf.

And then it were like a thunderbolt swept us off our feet, still with no sound. I fell, my Ma on top of me, trying to protect me. We lay still for a second, then something pulled her off and away…I looked up to see a horrible shadow, all swirling and dark and…well. All I know is, she was gone.

The next thing I remember is waking up, able to hear again…blood everywhere, screams as more of those writhing shadows carrying people into the air, dropping them, tearing off limbs. A priest found me, an old fellow. He turned back the monsters, but all I remember is bright light.

You mightn’t believe me when I tell you this, but I met folks afterwards were attacked by devils and the rotting corpses of their dearest family, people were scorched by fire, nearly drowned by an enormous wave of water. Every one of us who was in or near the Mage District that day saw something different, like it were our own special hell come to life.

The district were torn apart just like the people—buildings burnt down or sliced clean in half. The priests of Erastil put up barriers of light to keep the…things…out and set to work building the highest walls you’ve ever seen. We didn’t bury any of our dead, no we didn’t…left ‘em lying where they fell, for there was no time to bury them, and that’s why we called it the Barrows.