Laurana's Swimming Ring

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For as far back as she could remember, Laurana had always feared the sea. Her lithe Altmer limbs that moved with such grace and dexterity on land splashed awkwardly in the water, propelling her so slowly that she would have been easy prey in the vicinity of such beasts as those that patrolled the cruel waters of Vvardenfell. But even in unpolulated waters Laurana felt uneasy; her lust for exploration of the rich and mysterious depths conflicted with her concerns about plunging too deep to return back to the surface for air. Added to all this, the curious Morrowind custom of swimming in full armor made swimming an altogether unpleasant enterprise.

So it was with trepidation that Laurana walked north along the shore of Zafirbel bay in her search for the old Indoranyon stronghold one winter afternoon, so occupied with maintaining a safe distance from the water that she had failed to notice the approaching smoke rising from a nearby camp of Dunmer thieves. Unfortunately for her, the thieves had not failed to spot Laurana. This lone elf, wearing such fine weapons and armor, was a welcome sight to these lonely bandits who had long desired a target on which to practice the destructive magics they had been honing in the coastal wilderness. They attacked swiftly, exploiting their victim's Altmer weakness to attacks of fire.

Moments after Laurana unwittingly passed the outlaw camp a tight ball of flame shot over her left shouler, singeing her cheek. She did not look back; she knew she was being ambushed, and she ran. Under a hail of magical fire, Laurana darted past the dunes and rocks that cluttered the eastern shore, hoping she could outrun her attackers. A couple of terrifying minutes passed, and Laurana began to believe she would outdistance the bandit mages. After ducking around a bend on the beach she even started to slow her pace. It was then that she noticed a thin plume of smoke ascending from just past the next dune; signs of another camp- and it was unlikely that its inhabitants would be friendly.

Quickly Laurana assessed her options: To the North, a hostile camp of unknown number and strength. To the East, hills far too steep for her to climb to safety. To the South- just out of sight and quickly approaching- the Dunmer horde with firey attacks that she was unable to combat. To the West, the sea. Her chest sank and she shook her head slowly as she dashed into the water. Laurana closed her eyes to fully experience the deep breath she made right before sinking beneath the surface, as she believed it would be her last.

Just seconds later the Dunmer thieves came around the bend, leaving a smoldering wake of destruction as their fireballs shot wildly in all directions. Laurana lie motionless beneath the waves, deliberating which would be the better fate- to perish under the flames of her enemies or to succumb to the frigid waters of this foreign land. She was unaware of the horrors that were meanwhile unraveling up on the beach. The mad display of pyrotechnics that Laurana's pursuers had unleashed upon the wilderness caught the attention of the nearby camp that Laurana had just avoided. A fierce band of well-armed (and armored) Dunmer poured over the dune, ready to deal with whoever or whatever had disturbed their supper. 

Unable to hold her breath any longer, Laurana quietly decided that she'd prefer to die alone underwater rather than give her attackers the pleasure of her murder. She gave in to her body's desire to inhale and opened her mouth to let the sea water flood her lungs. But then something happened- or rather it didn't happen: she didn't die. She didn't even struggle. In fact, she found she was able to breathe the water just as easily as she could breathe air! So shocked was she at this discovery that she jumped straight up, popping out of the water.

No one on shore noticed though; the Dunmer fire mages were too busy being cut down by their even more bloodthirsty bretheren. Wide-eyed with surprise, Laurana ducked back under the waves and decided to swim for it. Within moments Laurana discovered something else- not only was she able to breathe underwater, but she was swimming twice as fast as she had ever done before. As she rapidly fled the beachfront carnage behind her, Laurana wondered how she came to be blessed with these new aquatic abilities. It was then, as she was paddling, that something caught her eye- it was the glistening, mysterious ring she was wearing; the one she had found at the Vivec silt strider platform.

Yes, just days before, after disembarking from the strider in Vivec's Foreign Quarter, she had discovered a plate with three rings on it. Two of them were unremarkable, but the third looked special- enchanted- but she didn't know how. She donned it for luck (because of her lucky find), but now she understood it was much more than luck. That ring was meant for her, had been left there by someone who knew Laurana would soon need it.

Mystery solved, and now far from the danger behind her, Laurana considered going back on shore to resume her journey to Indoranyon. But now equipped with her new ring and thus liberated from her fears of the depths, Laurana chose to swim the rest of the way.