Turdas, 27th Sun’s Dusk, 4E 201 and Fredas, 28th Sun’s Dusk, 4E 201.

Wind Stone, Skaal Village, Temple of Miraak, Oblivion, Saeirng’s Watch, Other Stones, Tel Mithryn,  Nchardak: Rude awakening, Strange magic, Dragon attack, New ally, Evil temple, Black Book, Oblivion, Miraak, Next step revealed, Another dragon attack, Soul stolen, Evil Shout learned, Stones cleansed, Wizard assistance, Reavers killed, Dwemer city entered, Dwemer lockbox, Cubes gathered, Lockbox opened.

This journal entry was written at about 1:00AM on Sundas, 30th Sun’s Disk, 4E 201 in my personal rooms at Dragons Keep.

I went to sleep in The Wretched Netch in Raven Rock.

I awoke many miles away chiselling away at the column of what I later found out is called the “Wind Stone”.

I was reciting Miraak’s chant while doing so and, according to Lydia, had done so all the way here as I walked in a trance.

I had hired a shared room as that is my preference when I am unsure of our safety. Despite giving the appearance of being dead sometimes, Meeko is actually a light sleeper. He watched me get up, grab my weapons and walk out the room. He woke Lydia and she saw my empty bed and hurriedly grabbed her gear and followed.

Lydia knew not to try and wake me for the same reasons I did not wake those working on the Earth Stone. Meeko and her had to fight off trolls and bandits and some insect thingies (Lydia’s description) whilst I automatically put one foot in front of the other. Lydia said there were times when I approached a cliff edge or large body of water and turned away before I was in any danger. Eventually I found my way to the Wind Stone and started chiselling away.

When guarding Rigmor I had trained myself to wake as close to 6:00AM as possible. I was usually awake give or take ten minutes either side. I awoke, or at least became aware of my surroundings, not long before 6:00AM.

The trance seemed powerful but any effort of will on my part would break it. In this case my subconscious said it was time to wake up and I came out of the trance.

Lydia and Meeko were relieved. The other people working on the Wind Stone were not Dunmer. They looked like Nords but wearing heavy furs. I knew who they were. The original inhabitants of Solstheim. They are Nord’s who call themselves Skaal. Supposedly, according to some scholars, a group who arrived in Solstheim after being the last to leave Atmora.

All were Skaal except one fellow who seemed to be some sort of scholar.

I told Lydia I needed to get our bearings so we can head for Miraak’s Temple. She said some Skaal hunters came past and told her their village is not far and where it is. They said there were very few who had not succumbed to the “curse”.

I also told Lydia I could not sleep until I had confronted Miraak. There was a chance he now had some access to my mind. I certainly did not want to find myself waking at another one of these Stones.

I wondered if the curse was selective. Under a trance or not, people need feeding. Leaving the hunters alone ensured they were.

I now had an Idea where we were and could have headed straight for Miraak’s Temple. I decided I needed to clear my head a bit first and see if the Skaal had any insight on the curse.

The village was deserted except for three who formed a triangle and seemed to be channelling energy of some sort. I could detect dweomer but had no idea what it was.

When I looked up I could see it formed some sort of vortex.

I approached the eldest of the three. He told me not to distract him as he had to maintain the barrier.

I did not want to disturb him further but was left wondering what the purpose of the barrier was. I decided it must be protection for whoever is left in the village. We looked in the main hall of the town and there was nobody there. There might have been people in their houses. We left the village and headed for Miraak’s Temple.

After a while we saw a column of green. Another “Stone” as the Skaal called them.

This stone was being worked upon by the usually very aggressive Riekling. We occasionally encountered them in Skyrim but Solstheim is their native land and tribes there can be very large.

It appears Riekling hunters were also free of the curse. As we approached we saw them attack and kill some of Miraak’s goons. They saw us and ran away.

This part of Solstheim is permanently covered in snow. Other parts are blanketed by ash from the Red Mountain. It is a harsh land and the Dunmer have remained mostly within large settlements. The Skaal live in smaller communities and in harsher territory so the two rarely mix. The exception being the Redoran Guard. They have a reputation for being excellent soldiers and travel all over the territory in squads of four or more. They wear unique chitin armour and are in constant war with the local bandits called Reavers.

We came upon an ancient Dovah skeleton. I could tell it died a violent death but had no way of saying how long ago. I had not heard or seen any flying around although I knew they still existed on Solstheim.

We finally came upon Miraak’s Temple. There was scaffolding and the sound of chanting coming from it. History says that when Miraak talked some Dragon Priests into joining his rebellion the Dov attacked this place in large numbers and razed it to the ground. It must have taken years and countless mindless workers to build it back up to this stage.

There were many Dov skeletons indicating the battle with Miraak was costly on both sides. As I was looking at the battlefield a medium sized purple Dovah approached.

His name was Morpeytunt. At first it seemed he was just watching us but then he announced, “Dovahkiin. Miraak says you must die and so I obey.”

He was not very powerful and his Thu’um ineffective against me.  

Dragonrend brought him to the ground and he did not last long after that.

As I absorbed his soul I looked around. Not even a Dov could distract the entranced from working!

By their mismatched equipment, smell of piss and general untidiness I would say these were Reavers. Give them a different name they are still bandits.

We entered the grounds of the temple and could hear a young Skaal woman trying to get the attention of entranced villagers. The Skaal were working inside, Reavers outside.

“Oslaf, please! You must fight against what is controlling you!”, “Ysra, can you hear me? Ysra, I’m here to help you!”, “You must leave this place! It is not safe here! We must go back to the village!” and “You must listen to me! We must leave this place!”

They did not respond. She noticed us approaching and asked,

“You there. What brings you to this place? Why are you here?”

Why does everybody on Solstheim demand to know what I am doing before even introducing themselves?

“I am Frea of the Skaal. I am here to either save my people, or avenge them.”

Good to meet you Frea of the Skaal. I am Wulf, this is my housecarl Lydia and my bag of fleas is called Meeko. We are from Skyrim. From what are you saving them?

“I am unsure. Something has taken control of most of the people of Solstheim. It makes them forget themselves, and work on these horrible creations that corrupt the Stones, the very land itself. My father Storn, our shaman, says Miraak has returned to Solstheim, but that is impossible.”

Miraak has sent men to Skyrim to kill me. My Gods, the Nine Divines, have sent me to stop whatever he is doing here. It must be a danger to not just Solstheim.

“Then you and I both have reason to see what lies beneath us. Let us go. There is nothing more I can do here. The Tree Stone and my friends are beyond my help for now. We need to find a way into the temple below.”

What do you know about Miraak?

“His story is as old as Solstheim itself. He served the dragons before their fall from power, as most did. A priest in their order. But unlike most, he turned against them. He made his own path, and his actions cost him dearly. The stories say he sought to claim Solstheim for himself, and the dragons destroyed him for it.”

(Frea looked like a competent warrior. She was wearing some intricately carved steel armour and had an axe made from Stalhrim. It is an ore only found on Solstheim and very few smiths know how to work it.)

I can see you are a fine warrior but why are you here by yourself?

“There are few of us left unaffected by this curse. My father Storn, the shaman, protects them in the village. I fashioned an amulet to guard me against whatever has taken hold of the Skaal, but it is the only one of its kind. If I cannot find a way to save them, there is no hope for our people.”

I had not thought why you are unaffected. That was clever of you!  Can I ask, what is the Tree Stone?

“It is an ancient stone of power, a connection to the All-Maker. It represents one of the aspects of nature, a part of the All-Maker’s creation. There are other stones around Solstheim. I fear for what has happened to them…”

I am afraid they are all like this. Different people, Raver, Dunmer and even Riekling are working on them. They are changing them so that Miraak can return from Oblivion. What can you tell me about your people Frea?

“We have lived on Solstheim for many generations. Our people are tied to the land itself. We try to serve the All-Maker, to live in balance with nature, instead of exploiting it as others would.”

Just then we heard a loud scraping noise coming from the bottom of a ramp. Someone or something had left the temple and was heading our way.

It turned out to be “Cultists” as Frea called them. Sounds better than Miraak’s goons! We soon dispatched them. Frea was more than a competent warrior. Hew axe was a whirlwind of death!

We entered the temple. It looked like it was mostly intact. Shook up a bit from the Dov attack all those centuries ago but structurally sound.

It did not take long to find that torture was a hobby of the Cultists.

Frea was having difficulty understanding how such torture and cruelty exists.

The place was infested with very powerful Draugr.

Frea found them too much and if she had tried this place solo she would have died. I healed her several times and placed protection spells to help her a bit.

There were also plenty of traps Frea would not have been able to negotiate.

There was evidence that the Dov had others storm this temple while they attacked it externally. Several Dwemer Puzzle Doors had simply been blasted away.

The Cultist became stronger as we got further in the temple but even their best fell.

I learnt the first Word of the “Dragon Aspect” Shout and after I did the whole temple violently shook. It must have been some sort of alert for the dead residents. We did not face any more cultists, just many powerful Draugr.

After a lot of hard fighting we came to a room with a single book sitting on a pedestal. I could sense no dweomer but Frea could. She said,

“There are dark magics at work here. Ready yourself. This book… It seems wrong, somehow. Here, yet… not. It may be what we seek.”

I picked up the book and started to read, then found myself being dragged by black tentacles to elsewhere. It was similar in feeling to when I read the Elder Scroll.

I found myself in a weird realm. In front of me was a man with his back to me, a Dovah and several of those weird multi tentacle creatures the Cultists sometimes had with them in Skyrim.

I was still disoriented from the sudden shift in environment. The man instantly detected my presence and turned. His face was covered by a mask similar to those I have recovered from other Dragon Priests. He hit me with a very powerful paralyse spell.  The man revealed himself to be Miraak and said,

“Who are you to dare set foot here? Ahh… You are Dragonborn. I can feel it. And yet… “

(Probing. Tentacles on the brain again. He has learnt a lot from his Daedric master!)

“So you have slain Alduin… Well done. I could have slain him myself, back when I walked the earth, but I chose a different path.”

(The Tongues who I helped in Sovngarde had asked this slime for his help with Alduin and he declined! I wished I could tell him what I thought! You showed no respect for my Lord Akatosh. He gave you your gifts you traitorous piece of shit!)

“You have no idea of the true power a Dragonborn can wield! Mul… Qah Diiv!”

(He used the full “Dragon Aspect” Shout. It made pretty flames cover his armour but apart from that there was nothing to get excited about. I wish I had control of my mouth so I could do a loud yawn!)

“This realm is beyond you. You have no power here. And it is only a matter of time before Solstheim is also mine. I already control the minds of its people. Soon they will finish building my temple, and I can return home.”

(He was totally wrong about my power. There is no realm within Oblivion that could block the powers given by Akatosh. Miraak then turned to the tentacle thingies.)

“Send him back where he came from. He can await my arrival with the rest of Tamriel.”

(With that Miraak walked over to the Dovah, climbed aboard and flew off. The tentacle monsters then started throwing some sort of spell at me and I slowly faded from that realm and found myself back on Nirn.

Frea and Lydia started to ask questions. I put my hand up and asked Frea to continue.)

“What happened to you? You read the book and then… It seemed as though you were not really here. I could see you, but also see through you!”

I was taken to a realm in Oblivion. Miraak was there and spoke to me. Then he rode away on a Dovah.

“Where? Where is he? Can we reach him? Can we kill him?”

All I know is it a realm in Oblivion. If it is his creation or his Daedric master’s I know not. This book will allow me to return there. I had better learn some more before I do so. There is no reason I can’t kill him as long as I prepare for the battle and make sure he does not have an unknown advantage.

“This is a dangerous thing, then. We should return to my village, and show this to my father. Perhaps Storn can make sense of what is going on.”

We found a shortcut out of the temple and made our way to the Skaal village.

The three Skaal were still kneeling and maintaining the barrier. The eldest, who talked to me earlier, turned out to be Frea’s father. His name was Storn. She spoke to him,

FREA: “Father! I have returned! There is yet hope!”

STORN: “Frea! What news do you bring? Is there a way to free our people?”

FREA: “No, but I have brought someone who has seen things… He has confirmed that Miraak is indeed behind the suffering of our people.”

STORN: “I feared that it would be so.”

FREA: “But how is that possible? After all this time…”

STORN: “I fear there is too much we do not yet know.”

(Frea turned to me and asked me to tell her father what I had seen. Frea then sat next to Storn and took up his work maintaining the barrier while he spoke to me.)

“So, you have seen things, yes? My magic grows weak, and so does the barrier around our village. Time is short. Tell me what you know.”

I have seen Miraak. He is behind what is happening to your people. He has all the peoples of Solstheim, even the Riekling, converting the Stones so he may return to Nirn.

“How do you know this?”

I have visited several of the Stone and seen who is entranced and working on them. I read a book in Miraak’s Temple. It took me to a realm in Oblivion. Miraak was there and spoke to me.

“The legends speak of that place. Terrible battles fought at the temple. The dragons burning it to the ground in rage. They speak also of something worse than dragons buried within. Difficult to imagine, but if true… It means what I feared has come to pass. Miraak was never truly gone, and now has returned. If you could go to this place and see him… Are you like Miraak? Are you Dragonborn?”

Yes, I am Wulf, Dragonborn and Champion of The Divines. I was sent by them to stop Miraak. He is also Dragonborn and a traitor to my Lord Akatosh who blessed him with his powers. His selfish actions put the whole of Nirn at risk when he failed to help defeat Alduin, the World Eater. I will stop him and I swear this by The Divines.

“That is what the stories say. You are Dragonborn as well, then. Perhaps you are connected.”

Dragonborn are placed on Nirn to perform duties for The Divines. We are both Dragonborn but also soldiers in the eternal war of Aedra vs Daedra. He is a traitor. Do not dare suggest we are the same!

“I know little of your Gods but know the Daedra well. They are aspects of The Adversary, the enemy of our god, the All-Maker.”

(I could find very little information on the Skaal deity, the “All-Maker”. Most pantheons have some cross over with The Divines. Not so with the Skaal’s pantheon. Their faith must be based on a real immortal as witnessed by the barrier they are maintaining. Sometimes I think the immortals get together and have a good laugh at the confusion our faiths on Nirn cause.)

“Our time here is running out. The few of us left free of control cannot protect ourselves for much longer. You must go to Saering’s Watch. Learn there the Word that Miraak learned long ago, and use that knowledge on the Wind Stone. You may be able to break the hold on our people there, and free them from control.”

It was a mystery to me as to what this Word of Power might be. I have learned a Shout not created by the Dov. It was needed to destroy Alduin. Perhaps a Word of Power created by his Daedric master was the bribe he accepted to become a traitor. I decided to go to this “Saering’s Watch” and see for myself. If it was the power used to corrupt the Stones then perhaps it could remove it as well.

“My strength falters and I cannot maintain the barrier for much longer. Please put an end to this evil magic before it consumes us all.”

I asked Frea if she would accompany us as we travelled around Solstheim. Her local knowledge could prove invaluable plus an extra sword (or axe) is always welcome. She was a bit hesitant to leave her village for long but agreed as she saw how it may help my mission.

We left the village and headed for Saering’s Watch.

Several bands of Reavers attacked us and were quickly dealt with each time.

When we were close to Saering’s Watch a dragon called Rakotrul attacked. As with the earlier Dovah he said Miraak demanded he kill us. I was starting to suspect Miraak has a control over Dov that I do not. He seems to be enslaving them.

Rokatrul was fairly strong and even though Dragonrend brought him crashing to the ground it took a long time to kill him.

When he finally succumbed to our onslaught and died I prepared to absorb his soul. Miraak appeared as a semitransparent aspect of himself and said,

“Not this time, Dragonborn. This one’s mine. It takes a strong will to command a Dragon’s soul, perhaps you aren’t as powerful as you think. Do you ever wonder if it hurts? To have one’s soul ripped out like that? Thank you for your help. I grow ever stronger and am now one step closer to my return.”

He stole Rakotrul’s soul and his aspect vanished.

We had to fight many strong Draugr to reach the summit of Saeirng’s Watch where the wall with the Word of Power was located.

I learnt the first Word of the “Bend Will” Shout. It was Gol which means Earth in Tamrielic. I used one of my many stored dragon souls to unlock the knowledge I needed to use it in a Shout.

This Shout would not have been created by Dov.  It has the power to enslave mortal and Dov alike! It is something Molag Bal would create as he revels in such dominance. Hermaeus Mora created it as a bribe for Miraak. It is blasphemous and, unlike Dragonrend, is a thing of evil. Imagine if Dragon slayers like The Blades got hold of it! Definitely not of Dov design!

We made our way to the Wind Stone without any encounters. I told my allies to stand back as I was not sure what, if anything, would happen when I used “Bend Will” on the column.

I approached the column and it was emitting the green light.

I used Bend Will on it and there was a flash.

Then the green light was gone.

All the enslaved now had free will once again and were confused and disoriented.

All of a sudden a huge creature appeared. By the tentacles writhing from its mouth I guessed it was most likely a creation of Hermaeus Mora. Maybe even a corruption of an existing animal species.

A couple of hits with “The Sword” and it died.

The rescued Skaal started to head back to their village. We travelled ahead to let Storn know of our success.

When he saw us he exclaimed,

“The air is different. We are safe, which means you have succeeded.”

I learned the shout that Miraak used and it is a thing of evil. It can enslave mortal and Dov. It bends their will so to speak.

“You have proven yourself an ally to the Skaal, and so the Skaal shall be allies to you. Since you have released the Wind Stone and broken the hold on my people, perhaps you can do the same for the rest of Solstheim and cleanse the other Stones. I doubt it will fully stop whatever Miraak is doing, but it may slow his progress. I do not think you will be able to cleanse the Tree Stone. That is the one in the middle of Miraak’s Temple. I think that can only be cleansed by Miraak’s death. “

I cannot abide slavery! I will immediately travel to the Stones and release those under the curse. I am unsure as to how the Shout fixed the Wind Stone. Can you please explain what you think happened?

(I handed Storn my map so he could make sure the Stones were correctly marked.)

“The power of the Stone had been corrupted. It was the source of the influence that had taken control of the Skaal. Your Shout broke whatever evil will controlled the Stone, and restored its true nature as a conduit of the All-Maker’s gifts. Freeing the other Stones will diminish whatever dark influence is spreading across Solstheim.”

(I would have to study the “Bend Will” Shout, the purpose of the Stones and the All-Maker before I could hope to understand the mechanics of what happened. All I knew is that it worked.)

I am eager to release all from this evil grip but my ultimate goal is to stop Miraak permanently.

“I cannot help with that. None here can. You will need the knowledge Miraak himself learned. You will need to learn more about this Black Book. The book doesn’t look like something of the Dragon cult. It is a dark thing, unnatural. Our traditions do not speak of them. But they and Miraak are connected. You read a Black Book, and saw him. And the book’s power comes from the same dark source as that which corrupted the Wind Stone. But beware. You are now walking the same road as Miraak.”

(Storn was correct. The Black Book and the “Bend Will” shout are both the creations of Hermaeus Mora.)

I have dealt with Hermaeus Mora in the past and resisted his offer of forbidden knowledge. I have dealt with another evil God and resisted a far better offer than Hermaeus offered or will offer. I am a loyal servant of The Divines and care not for power, wealth or reputation. Much of what I have done and will do is not recorded in histories. This will be the third time I have saved the residents of Nirn and will not be the last. I rely on help when my knowledge is insufficient. Who may know more than you about this book?

“The Dark Elf Wizard, Neloth… He came to us some time ago, asking about Black Books. I believe he knows a great deal about them. Perhaps too much. He also is searching for them. In fact, he has already found one. He showed it to me when he came here. It was very like the one you found in Miraak’s Temple. A thing of dark magic, not of the All-Maker. Seek him out to the south. Be cautious, Dragonborn.”

I would like to know more about the All-Maker before I set off. Any knowledge may aid me in this task.

“You are an outsider and I don’t know if I can make you understand. I will try. The All-Maker is the maker of all things. It is from the All-Maker that flows like a great river. As ll rivers must return to the sea, so all life returns in time to the All-Maker. I know our ways must seem strange to you, but the nine gods of the Empire are equally strange to us.”

(This sounded very much like Alduin. He is destined to destroy all and then all will be recreated.)

Thank you Storn. I respect all religions. Each contains some but not all the truth.

With that we left the village once again and headed for the Beast Stone which was South-West of Miraak’s Temple.

Bend Will cleansed it and one of those creatures appeared and was killed.

We then set of for the Earth Stone which is the one near Raven Rock.

It was cleansed as well and another big beastie killed.

It was a long walk to the Water Stone. We had to pass some towers that were full of Ravers. A few fireballs and hand to hand and it was cleared.

A little bit further on we were attacked by a pack of Werebears.

They were big but slow and had no protection against our metal weapons.

Water Stone was cleansed and giant beast slain.

It was a very long hike to the Sun Stone.

It was cleaned and beast killed.

The Tree Stone remained unclean. It sits right in the middle of Miraak’s Temple and Storn believed only Miraak’s death would cleanse it. I agreed.

It was just past midday when we set off from the Sun Stone to Tel Mithryn to see what Neloth could tell us about the Black Books.

It might be interesting how they grow them but ascetic wise I found the giant mushroom houses less than appealing.

I met Neloth’s apprentice, Talvas. He was rather rude and was trying to learn a summoning spell. I could tell he was totally incompetent.

We entered Neloth’s mushroom and instead of stairs he had a magic lift. You stand in the light beam and it lifts you up.

A bit showy. What is wrong with a few stairs?

Neloth greeted me with,

“You again. Didn’t I see you in Raven Rock?”

Yes you did. I am here because I heard you know how to find Black Books.

“You refer to the tomes of esoteric knowledge that old Hermaeus Mora has scattered throughout the world? What could you know of them? Is this somehow connected to your search for Miraak?”

I have found one. I am looking for more to prevent Miraak returning to Nirn.

“Found one? Yes, and you read it, too, didn’t you? Don’t try to deny it, you’ve got the look. I can see it now. Dangerous knowledge is still knowledge and therefore useful. Usually turns out to be the most useful, in my experience.”

I have to know what Miraak knows in order to stop him.

“Now that is a dangerous path indeed. Hermaeus Mora gives nothing away for free. You may end up like Miraak, of course. Two power-mad Dragonborn. It could be very interesting.”

He has tried to recruit me before and failed. Do you know where I can find another one?

“Oh yes. They’re not hard to locate once you know how to look for them. I have one here that I have been using to locate more.”

Storn told me you had one.

“Yes I haven’t been idle while this fascinating madness engulfed Solstheim. But my book isn’t what you’re looking for. I’m quite sure it is unconnected with this Miraak. But I do know where to find a Black Book that can help you.”

Why won’t the Black Book you already have here help me?

“Oh, it clearly is not associated with the same power that has overtaken the island. And I’m not talking about Hermaeus Mora. These Black Books are all his, of course. No, what you’re looking for is a specific book. Presumably because Miraak’s power derives from it.”

So do you know where that specific Black Book is?

“Yes I do. I haven’t been able to get it, though. But maybe together we can unlock the secrets the Dwemer left behind.”

The Dwemer have even thwarted Hermaeus. He tried to get me to help him figure out a Dwemer lockbox and kill his champion so I could take his place. I have the key but will not help him open the lockbox. I do not think he likes me very much.

“Forbidden knowledge was somewhat a speciality of the dwarves, eh? It seems the ancient Dwemer discovered this book and took it to study. I have found their “reading room” in the ruins of Nchardak. The book is there, but it’s sealed in a protective case which I wasn’t able to open. But perhaps the two of us together will be able to get the book. To Nchardak, then. Follow me.”

Without waiting to see if I agreed to his plan Neloth stepped into his lift and floated gently to the ground floor. We soon followed and travelled together to Nchardak.

When it came into view it appeared much of it was underwater.

Neloth pointed to a large dome at the very top of the construction and said,

“The Dwemer certainly knew how to build for the ages. These towers have outlasted their creators by millennia. The book is housed inside that dome. I’ll need to unlock the door for us. Let’s get on with it.”

(There was a band of Reavers occupying the ruin who were easily dispatched.)

(Finally we were in front of the main entrance. The doors were behind a closed gate which did not appear to have a lock.)

“I had to clean out the riff-raff last time I was here, too. Where do they come from? Maybe now we can finally begin what we came here for.”

How do we get in?

“The Dwemer of Nchardak appear to have been fond of these control pedestals. Luckily I found a cube to operate it inside on my last visit. I sealed the door when I left to keep out ignorant meddlers. Let me unlock it.”

(In front of him was a short column.

Neloth placed a mechanical cube on top of the column and the gate withdrew.

(He picked up the cube and entered Nchardak with us following close behind.)

 “You can see the book right there. So tantalizingly close…But trust me, no magic will open that. I’d have had the book already if I could. No, we’ll have to do this the hard way. If we can restore the steam supply to this room, I’m certain I can open it. As you’ll see, that’s easier said than done.”

(The Black Book was encased in another form of Dwemer lockbox. I bet there were not many rich thieves in Dwemer society!)

 “This way to the boilers.”

Neloth strode across the room and use his cube to open another door. It led to a Dwemer lift which took us down to what he called the “Nchardak Great Chamber”.

As we walked he said,

“The last time I was here, I only explored a small part of the ruins. I was here alone then, and I find an assistant is absolutely essential for this kind of dirty, dangerous work.”

(We turned left and down some stairs. Before us was a huge cavern. It was hard to tell if natural or carved out of the rock by Dwemer.)

“Nchardak, The ‘City of a Hundred Towers’. In its day it was the largest of the great Dwemer Archives and perhaps the most advanced. In the old stories, when the Nords came to conquer it, it’s said the Dwemer submerged the entire city beneath the sea until the invaders gave up. I have my doubts. But the city was a marvel of Dwemer engineering. Now… reduced to this. This is what is left of the ‘Great Chamber’”

(As we approached the water we were set upon by several Dwemer automatons.)

(We took care of those and Neloth placed his cube on a pedestal to activate a water pump.)

(The water level dropped but not enough that we could walk to a door far to our right.)

“The pumps only operate when a cube is in the pedestal. And unfortunately, I have only one cube. These four boilers provide steam to the room upstairs. They’re shut down, but they still respond to the control cubes. So, if we can find four more cubes, we can turn these boilers back on and restore steam power to the room upstairs. Then I should be able to open the book’s protective case. Bring that cube. We’ll need it.”

(Below us I could see four more pedestals that operated the boilers.)

(I picked up the cube and joined Neloth at some machinery he was examining.)

“Yes… here we are. This device shows the location of four more cubes in this section of the city. It looks like most of the cubes were moved to the lower levels, perhaps to try to control the flooding before the city was abandoned. Interesting. That would suggest that the city must have originally sunk during the first cataclysm of Red Mountain. Or that the Dwemer’s servitors continued to try to preserve the city after their creators’ disappearance.”

(Neloth walked to a sealed door.)

“Through this door is the Nchardak Workshop. Three of the cubes are through here. This seems like a sensible place to start. You should be able to unseal this door with the control cube I gave you.”

(I placed the cube on the pedestal and the brass seal blocking the doorway retracted. We could then enter the workshop. I picked up the cube and followed Neloth.

Nearby was a corridor with flame jets along its length. At the start of the corridor was a pedestal with a control cube on it. I picked it up and the flames stopped allowing us access to the next part of the complex.)

“I hope the rest of the cubes are this easy to find. Although knowing the Dwemer, I rather doubt it.”

(We were once again attacked by automatons. After they were dealt with we starting walking along the length of a very large room.)

“This is the ‘Great Workshop of Nchardak’. Impressive even in ruins! In the city’s days of glory, it was reputed to be able to assemble a complete automaton in a single day. Much of the Dwemer army at the Battle of Red Mountain must have come from here.”

(At the end of the room were two control pedestals. I placed a cube in one and the water level dropped.)

(This gave me access a pedestal that was underwater only a minute ago. Placing my second cube on that one caused a series of steps to appear.)

(At the top of the stairs was a large door that led to a room with more guardian automaton. Upon destroying those we found another pedestal with a cube. I retrieve it which now meant I had two plus the one on the pedestal controlling the pump. When I removed the new cube the pump stopped working and the water rose again.)

(We swam to the stairs opposite and climbed the stairs to another door.)

(When we opened that we were faced with a gap too large to jump where parts of the corridor had collapsed.)

I wonder if I remove the other cube the water will rise enough for us to swim across that gap?

(I went and retrieved the cube.)

(The water level rose to a much higher level than when we first entered. It was now possible to swim across the gap in the corridor.)

(At the other end of the corridor were more automaton including a new type that used a large ballista as a weapon. When we destroyed those we discovered another cube on a pedestal.)

I think if I remove this the water will rise even higher. There is a set of stairs that lead higher up. Head for those.

(I then removed the cube and the water started to rise.)

(Then a Dwemer Centurion attacked!)

(After destroying the centurion and climbing the stairs to a platform above the water we were faced with another control pedestal.)

(I placed a cube on it and that lowered a bridge. I retrieved the cube and we all walked back to the Dwemer lift and then back to the Great Chamber.)

If I place a cube on each pedestal that should lower the water enough for us to cross to that far door.

(I placed a cube on one pedestal.)

 (Then the other.)

(We proceeded to the far door. We destroyed a couple of ballista automatons along the way.)

“This door leads to the “Nchardak Aqueduct. The final cube is in here somewhere.”

(I opened the door using a cube and we entered the aqueduct.)

(There were a series of bridges that had to be lowered for us to access another control pedestal far to our right. There was a raised platform with three pedestals.)

 (Placing a cube in the left most pedestal…

…dropped a bridge.)

(Placing a cube on the rightmost pedestal…

…dropped another bridge giving us the access to the far end.)

(I retrieved both cubes and we walked to the control pedestal at the far end of the room.)

(Placing a cube on it lowered the water.)

(We could then access another door at the other end of the chamber.)

“This cube needs to stay in place for the water to remain low. I’ll wait here and retrieve this cube once you find the last one we need. Good luck!”

(We walked to the far door and opened it with a cube which I remembered to retrieve.)

(This led to a corridor which terminated in a small room with spinning blades in front of a door.)

(I negotiated the spinning blades and opened the door with a cube which I then retrieved.)

(Behind the door was the final cube we needed!)

When I take this cube the water will rise once again. It may even reach the roof. We may have to swim underwater till we reach the main aqueduct room.

(I took the cube and as predicted the water rose. It did not reach the roof and we easily swum to where Neloth was waiting,)

“Do you have the cube? Good, good! Then I’ll take this cube and we can be on our way.”

(He removed the cube.)

“Watch out, the water’s rising even higher with both pumps shut down.”

(DUH! The water was now high enough for us to climb some stairs and exit the aqueduct and cross the Great Chamber. We arrived back where the boilers were. Neloth  handed me the fifth cube.)

“That was easier than I expected. I’m glad you were here to do all the hard work!”

(I removed one of the cubes controlling the water pumps.)

(I then placed one cube on each boiler pedestal.)

(As I placed the last one a bridge dropped and a Dwemer Centurion attacked.)

(We destroyed it and use the Dwemer lift to return to where the Black Book was locked away. The button to open the Dwemer lockbox was now visible.)

(I pressed the button and lockbox opened and the Black Book arose on a pedestal.)

I was now nearly 11:00PM. I decided I wanted to rest and have something to eat before reading the book and having to deal with wherever it lead. Tomorrow would be the day I confront Miraak and possibly a Daedric Prince who does not like me overly much.

 

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