Skyrim quests: The Staff of Magus, The Eye of Magnus.
Every Sentinel was asleep within a mile of leaving Winterhold. I allowed myself to relax to the brink of sleep. Although Meeko was not with me, Hashire was almost as good at detecting danger and giving the alarm.
When we arrived in Morthal, The Sentinels climbed wearily down from the carriage.
- Inigo: Give me a minute or two, and I will be as alert as ever.
- Argis: The same for me.
- Celestine: Where are we?
- Kharjo: What day is it?
- Wulf: Cut the jokes and tell me seriously, are you up to walking to Labyrinthian and facing whatever is inside?
- Argis: Walking?
- Wulf: It is not that far, and we do not know how safe the horses will be tethered in that vast complex. Also, walking will keep you more alert than sitting on a saddle getting rocked to sleep!
- Argis: I am ready.
- Celestine: Me too.
- Inigo: Me as well.
- Kharjo: This one is ready.
- Wulf: Then let’s get going!
The snow fell heavily at first but cleared as we went.
The roads were empty. It was strange as I had become used to many pilgrims travelling in large groups.
We left the road and headed diagonally to Labyrinthian
It soon came into view.
- Argis: Are we there already?
- Wulf: Not really. We will have to walk around the perimeter to find one of the entrances to the complex. Then we have to figure out which of the many buildings is the one we want.
- Celestine: Your coin helped at Mzulft.
- Wulf: I don’t think we can rely on it all the time.
- Argis: What are the different buildings?
- Wulf: One is a labyrinth. Hence the name of the complex. It is a maze that all Arch-Mages of the College had to survive before taking office. Your sword and bow would not do you much good if you ever entered it. It was meant to test prowess in the different Schools of Magicka.
- Celestine: They don’t use it any more. I don’t think Savos had to do the test.
- Argis: Is there a main building?
- Wulf: When in use, the complex was a city called Bromjunaar. It was the capital of Skyrim when the Dragon Cult ruled. The main building leads to the ruins of that city. The whole place was abandoned when mortals won the Dragon War.
- Celestine: Can we expect to encounter a Dragon Priest?
- Wulf: I think there are most likely several throughout the complex.
- Kharjo: Is there much treasure?
- Wulf: One of the most sought-after treasures on Nirn is supposed to be in the complex somewhere. It is called Glamoril, and like Magnus’ Staff, it is hard to differentiate its actual capabilities from excessive speculation. Shalidor, probably the most powerful mortal mage in history, became obsessed with its creation and even made a deal with Sheogorath to gain the knowledge he needed. It is unknown if he ever completed it and what it is. It might not be a physical object at all but a dweomer.
- Inigo: I wonder how many mages have died in the pursuit of Glamoril?
- Wulf: I am certain Savos Aren watched several mages die here, but I can only speculate on what they were seeking.
- Celestine: They might not have been looking for The Staff of Magus but stumbled upon it.
- Wulf: Hopefully, we get some answers as well as the staff.
We had to walk a fair distance around the perimeter before we reached one of the two unblocked entrances to Labyrinthian. The other one is almost directly across, and although it provides a significant shortcut for traders and pilgrims, very few groups dare to risk the many hazards of the complex. Wisely, most walk or ride the long way around.
As soon as we entered the complex, we were set upon by a menagerie. Trolls, wolves, skeletons and Draugr fought each other as well as us.
While fighting, I noticed some glowing figures at one of the entrances. They did not join the melees, so I assumed they were not hostile.
After all the hostiles were dispensed with, we made our way to the glowing entities.
They weren’t ghosts or spirits but a projection of six mortals from a past event. One of them was a young Savos Aren. I put my hand up to forestall any questions from The Sentinels. I wanted to listen to the conversation. At first, I did not know all of their names. They were gathered as we travelled through Labyrinthian.
- Savos: Come on, we’re finally here! Let’s not waste any more time!
- Takes-In-Light: Are we truly sure this is a good idea?
- Atmah: We’ll be back at the College before anyone even knows we’re gone.
- Girduin: You should care about that since you’re the Arch-Mage’s favourite!
- Savos: Don’t forget, this whole idea was Atmah’s to begin with.
- Hafnar: Let’s just get inside, see what’s in there.
The scene faded, but before The Sentinels bombarded me with questions, the ghost of Savos spoke to me.
“It would seem I’m bound to this place. The bitter irony of it all… my greatest failure, and even in death, I can’t escape it.”
I asked, “Is this where we will find the Staff of Magus?”
There was no response. I don’t think Savos had any intention other than to tell the story of what happened.
He continued, “I never meant for any of what happened here. I tried to seal it up and lock it away forever. But now it all comes out again…”
The ghost of Savos faded, and the questions began.
- Argis: You never mentioned ghosts!
- Wulf: The first six were not ghosts. It was a projection of a past event. Some people call the phenomena a ‘psychic impression’.
- Celestine: But the older Savos was a ghost?
- Wulf: Yes. He did not answer my question about the staff through choice.
- Inigo: How can we see things that happened in the past?
- Wulf: I have read several accounts of similar occurrences. This is speculation, but I believe Savos wants us to know the story. I think his ghost created the projection.
- Kharjo: But that one seemed ashamed of this story?
- Wulf: Think of it as a deathbed confession.
- Inigo: An after-deathbed confession.
- Argis: Do you think we will see more of these projections?
- Wulf: Logically, yes. We have only heard the beginning of the story.
- Argis: As long as they just don’t appear out of thin air and yell, ‘Boo!’.
- Celestine: Thanks to the projection, we know we are in front of the correct entrance. How do we get inside?
- Wulf: I realised something just then. I thought Savos Aren was an apprentice when Artaeum, the Psijic Order island, first vanished. By the clothing they were wearing, it must have been when the island disappeared for the second time just over one hundred years ago.
- Celestine: When did it reappear?
- Wulf: I think it must be very recently, and that is why nobody has heard from them till now.
I walked up to the double doors and could see no lock. In the centre was a stylised head of a dragon.
- Wulf: Remember that torc I showed you. The one that Savos gave to Mirabelle to pass onto me.
- Celestine: Is that our way into the building?
- Argis: Yes, and I know how to use it. I have seen knockers before!
- Inigo: What has your breast fixation got to do with getting into Labyrinthian?
- Wulf: Argis is correct. Watch!
When I placed the torc with its open end up near the dragon’s mouth, it automatically locked into place and could pivot.
I said to The Sentinels, “Three is the most common number of knocks to request entry in all civilisations. Gather close. I have a feeling this is not an ordinary door.”
I knocked three times, and we were teleported inside the building.
- Argis: You were worried about us staying awake. Any more surprises like that, and I won’t sleep for a week!
- Inigo: There are a lot of skeletons. Who were they?
- Wulf: Mortals who attacked Bromjunaar during the Dragon War.
- Inigo: Did they conquer it?
- Wulf: No. The city thrived till the dragon’s lost. Then it was voluntarily abandoned.
- Argis: Are we going to be searching the entire city for the staff?
- Wulf: I doubt it. I think we just follow the projections. Savos will be our guide.
- Celestine: You always sound so positive that your gut feelings and intuition are correct.
- Wulf: I have to be. Otherwise, I might get paralysed by indecision.
As we approached the doors opposite the entrance, another projection appeared before us.
- Elvali: I can’t believe we’re doing this.
- Savos: Can you imagine the looks on their faces when we come back?
- Hafnar: You keep talking like you’re sure we’ll find something useful in here.
- Girduin: Given the history of this place, it’s more than likely there’s still some amount of power here.
- Savos: Enchanted weapons, tomes of ancient knowledge, Shalidor’s secrets themselves… who knows what we could find!
- Takes-In-Light: And what if… What if things are guarding this place?
- Atmah: Against six College-trained mages? I think we’ll be fine.
Savos’ ghost continued his narration.
“It was Atmah’s idea to come here, at first. She talked me into it, and I convinced the others. We were sure we’d find it all here, hidden away from time. Power, knowledge… All the things we didn’t want to wait for. We thought it would be so simple.”
Savos faded away.
- Inigo: You warned Master Neloth’s apprentice that his eagerness would get him in trouble.
- Wulf: Yes, I urged Talvas to come to the College where they at least try and deal with young mages and their impatience.
- Celestine: Every Apprentice thinks they are capable of learning quicker than the pace dictated by the teachers. The smart ones realise that the senior mages only got to be old by being careful.
- Wulf: The need for patience is emphasised.
- Celestine: Many incidences of what happened to impatient students were given. But you will still have the few who think they are better than the ones who perished. They convince themselves they won’t make the same mistakes.
- Kharjo: A harsh lesson was needed to convince that dead one of the truthfulness taught! Khajiit are taught such things from kittens. As you know, cats are curious and full of confidence. We learn to climb easier trees before getting stuck up big ones!
- Wulf: Unfortunately, Savos was more than stuck. It seems he fell a long way.
Through a door was a short corridor that ended in a lowered portcullis with a lever to raise it. The portcullis barred access to a large cavern.
- Wulf: Can you hear that?
- Kharjo: Of course. This one has big ears!
- Inigo: Skeletons. Lots of them.
- Wulf: There is something unusual about the entrance to the large cavern. Any guesses?
- Celestine: It has a bit of a corridor before the portcullis.
- Wulf: It is designed to ensure a large number of people can’t quickly enter. Watch what happens.
I pulled the lever, and the portcullis was raised for only a few seconds before dropping back down.
- Wulf: Let’s get in line close to the portcullis. Argis will then pull the lever, and we will rush in as quickly as possible.
- Argis: I might not make it and miss out on the fighting!
- Inigo: They are only skeletons. You can shoot them through the bars with that giant bow you carry.
- Argis: Next time we see giant spiders, you can shoot them with your bow.
- Inigo: It is not as much fun, is it?
- Argis: Not even close.
We got in line, and Argis pulled the lever. We rushed in, but he didn’t beat the portcullis dropping.
Then an undead Dovah rose from its grave.
Argis moaned, “Unfair. An undead dragon, and I don’t even get to whack it once!”
Amongst the skeletons were some Lich. They summoned dozens of bone spiders.
I ignored all other foes and headed for the dragon.
I was unsure if Dragonrend would work on an undead Dovah. It is supposed to make them contemplate their mortality which is so foreign a concept they become confused and earthbound. An undead Dovah has had plenty of time to consider their mortality!
Dragonrend did work, and I soon disposed of the abomination. Of course, there was no soul to be absorbed!
The skeletons were proving to be more of a problem than expected. Apart from the Lich aiding them, several were mages of not inconsiderable talent.
We eventually prevailed and moved to the portcullis.
- Wulf: Should we let Argis join us?
- Celestine: I vote yes because he is handy to hide behind when arrows are heading our way.
- Kharjo: Sorry, we do not allow Nords in Bromjunaar. That one will have to set up his caravan outside the gates.
- Argis: Very funny. Have you ever had your tail tied into a knot?
I pulled the lever and let Argis rejoin us.
I looked at the dragon and said, “That is a new one on me and something I wish I had never encountered. It is bad enough I take their souls. His fate might even be worse.”
We exited the large cavern then listened to another projection.
- Elvali: We… we have to go back. We can’t leave Girduin…
- Hafnar: We barely made it out alive, and you want to go back in?
- Atmah: It’s too late. There isn’t enough of him left to go back in after.
- Takes-In-Light: Gods, what have we done?
- Savos: We can’t go back. We might as well go forward. We can still do this.
- Atmah: Savos is right. We can make it if we just stay alert.
Savos’ ghost added, “Girduin died first. It happened so fast, none of us had a chance to react. One moment we joked about what we’d find below. The next, he’d been ripped in half. And then we were all fighting to survive. None of us was prepared. It was amazing the rest of us survived. When it was over, Atmah, Hafnar and I stared, pale-faced, at one another, unwilling to admit we’d made a terrible mistake. We could have turned back. It could have ended there. But we kept going.”
- Kharjo: This one doesn’t think turning back was an option.
- Inigo: They would have to run through the cavern with the undead dragon again.
- Celestine: The chances of at least one more being killed was very high. They did not know the odds of that happening if they kept going.
- Argis: I think everybody in the same situation would keep going.
In the centre of the room was a plinth with an inscription written in Dovahzul. On the floor in front of the plinth was a torc. It was similar to the one I had used to gain entry. I picked it up and inspected it.
- Celestine: Is that the same torc?
- Wulf: I am one hundred per cent certain it is. It has scratches in the same place, and its patina is identical.
- Kharjo: This one will say gobblygook. Do not try and explain. This one’s whiskers will curl up.
- Argis: It is obvious it teleported here when we teleported inside.
- Wulf: Celestine, is this the same Argis that accompanied you from Silverpeak Lodge?
- Celestine: It could be a doppelganger.
- Inigo: Touch it with soap. If it screams, we will know it is the real Argis.
- Argis: Hey, not fair! I bathed recently. Well, not that long ago.
I read the inscription to The Sentinels,
- Hail All – Brave City Bromjunaar
- Forever These Walls Shall Stand
- May Enemies See Her Majesty
- May All Quake to Behold Her
We proceeded through another door and found ourselves heading down.
As we approached an ice-covered door, a deep and sinister voice spoke Dovahzul.
“Wo meyz wah dii vul junaar?”
All of my Magicka was instantly drained. I looked at Celestine, and the shock on her face told me the same had happened to her.
- Wulf: Well, that confirms we have a Dragon Priest somewhere in Bromjunaar.
- Celestine: My Magicka was stolen! I can cast spells that allow me to drain another mage’s Magicka, but they have to be in the line of sight. How could the Dragon Priest do it remotely?
- Wulf: He has the Staff of Magnus.
- Celestine: Oh, pooh!
- Inigo: What did he say?
- Wulf: Who comes to my dark kingdom?
- Inigo: Tell him we are just looking for a missing Sweetroll.
- Celestine: Wulf, the dweomer you put on my robes works very well. My Magicka reserves will be normal soon.
I inspected the door then said to The Sentinels, “This icy doorway is similar to what you would find in the labyrinth. Only magic can open it. Draw your weapons. We don’t know what will come through when I open it.”
When everybody had their weapons ready, I cast Incinerate on the door.
It opened, and a spectre stepped through.
We soon turned it into a puddle of ectoplasm.
We walked through the door into a chasm with many connecting walkways.
The Dragon Priest said, “Nivahriin muz fent siiv nid aaz het.”
Our Magicka drained again.
- Wulf: The message from our friendly Dragon Priest is, ‘Cowardly men shall find no mercy here.’
- Kharjo: What about scaredy-cats?
- Celestine: If he steals my Magicka one more, I will kick him in the wedding tackle!
- Wulf: There is only one place you could have learned that term. What have you and Rigmor been discussing?
- Celestine: The usual stuff.
- Inigo: I am sure any discussion on gonads is fascinating. However, you might want to know the air stinks of many Draugr.
- Wulf: Be careful. They are the guards of a Dragon Priest, so they will probably use the Thu’um. You don’t want Unrelenting Force to topple you into the chasm.
- Inigo: Can you imagine the racket Argis would make when he hit bottom!
- Kharjo: That one would probably ring like a bell.
I was as vulnerable as The Sentinels because there is no dweomer to protect against the Thu’um.
Inigo helped me take down a powerful Draugr then inspected one of his short swords.
“My friend, I thought I had put a nick in Righty! But she is OK!”
“I wanted to name my swords, but after days of thought and worry, I decided that Lefty and Righty are good enough.”
“And they say I am weird?”
After battling many powerful Draugr, we finally left the maze of walkways.
The Dragon Priest said, “You do not answer… Must I use this guttural language of yours?”
I replied, “Joor dreh ni uth tinvaak nol aan Dovah!”
There was no reply.
- Kharjo: What did that one tell the evil one?
- Wulf: Please don’t eat me, Great Lord. Khajiit are much tastier!
- Kharjo: This one is not tricked. ‘Tinvaak’ means talk. ‘Dovah’ means dragon.
- Inigo: My friend, that is why you are losing miserably in your prank wars with the children. You underestimate your opponents.
- Wulf: It is hard to accept those cute little people could be so devious and evil!
- Celestine: What did you tell the Magicka thief?
- Wulf: Mortals do not order dragons to talk.
- Argis: But he is not a mortal?
- Wulf: He used to be. The Dragon Priests were subservient to the point of grovelling to their dragon masters, no, their gods.
- Inigo: You have given him something to ponder.
- Wulf: Yes, and maybe he will be too busy doing that to keep taking our Magicka.
- Celestine: There could be an interesting mystery to ponder.
- Wulf: If he thinks I am Savos, it will be a fascinating mystery.
- Argis: What mystery are you two being mysterious about?
- Wulf: We await further evidence, and then we will tell you.
- Kharjo: This one is in no great hurry to listen to gobblygook mystery!
- Argis: Riddle’Thar would not be pleased with your lack of curiosity.
- Inigo: A Nord lecturing on Riddle’Thar? I must still be consuming large amounts of Skooma!
Another Draugr attacked.
It was going to be a long day if we had to battle them every few feet!
Several caverns and tunnels later, the Dragon Priest asked, “Have you returned, Aren? My old friend?”
“You don’t know who walks your halls? You are weaker than I thought!”
- Celestine: Still not conclusive proof.
- Wulf: I agree. You could argue either way.
- Inigo: I am sure your mystery is worth discussing but not when freezing cold water surrounds my nether regions.
- Kharjo: This one agrees. If they shrink any more, this one will become a Nord.
- Argis: If my teeth weren’t chattering, I would think of a comeback.
- Wulf: I am sure you will think of something within the next week or so.
- Celestine: Drained again. How much Magicka can Magnus’ Staff hold?
- Wulf: I don’t know, but the closest another mortal has been to me has fifty per cent of my Magicka reserves. That mortal is you.
- Celestine: And I had the most Magicka reserves by far when at the College. Much more than any of the Master Mages.
- Wulf: He has already stored dozens the amount of Magicka in the staff than the average Mage can physically.
- Inigo: Hello, reminder, cold testicles!
We were soon in water that was only knee-deep, which was a relief to Inigo.
Inigo was quick to attack all enemies. I know he dislikes dark crypts full of Draugr and was probably eager to leave Labyrinthian.
Just as a powerful Skeleton mage attacked, the Dragon Priest asked, “Do you seek to finish that which you could not?”
I did not bother replying but downed the enemy and continued.
We came to another cavern with a shallow stream.
- Inigo: Can you hear them?
- Celestine: Yes, I can.
- Argis: I have little ears and a big helm over my head. What can you hear?
- Wulf: Trolls.
- Argis: Well, let’s make them dead trolls.
I zapped one troll then Inigo finished it with his trademark double sword slice and dice.
The other trolls were distant but very noisy. I pointed to what looked like a small keep ahead with skeletons on its ramparts.
As we approached the keep, the Dragon Priest said, “You only face failure once more!”
- Inigo: Did you just tell him to shut up?
- Wulf: I said, ‘Silence, mortal!’. I want him to keep worrying about who he faces.
- Celestine: He is starting to piss me off with the Magicka draining crap!
- Kharjo: This one thinks we have two doppelgangers. That one never swears.
- Celestine: I swear all the time but not out loud. Just in my head.
- Kharjo: Argis does that, but it echoes inside that one’s enormous head.
- Argis: Now I have to think of another comeback. They will be good that I promise you!
- Inigo: They don’t work as well a week after the insult.
- Argis: Kharjo can deliver the insult again, so I can then counter with my masterpiece.
We decided to ignore the other trolls who were down a side passage.
Arrows and Lightening took care of the skeletons on the ramparts.
- Inigo: My friend, why do they have a lever to lower the bars outside the keep?
- Wulf: I have no idea. I have encountered such a thing before and have put that question into my WTFK pile.
- Inigo: WTFK?
- Wulf: Who the fuck knows.
- Kharjo: This one thinks that is an excellent idea.
- Celestine: Rigmor’s ‘Whatever!’ also works.
- Inigo: Rigmor, look. They have put a lever outside of the keep’s gate!
- Celestine: Whatever!
- Wulf: She uses ‘whatever’ in all sorts of ways. For instance, when I think I have won an argument, she will dismiss me with it. I then start thinking, ‘Did I win it or not?’
- Celestine: Wulf, you don’t argue with Rigmor! If she wants her way, she just bats her eyelids and smiles. The mighty Dragonborn then meekly surrenders.
As we approached the raised bars, our undead friend asked, “You… you are not Aren, are you? Has he sent you in his place?”
“I am Ysmir, Dragon of the North. The defeater of Alduin and a son of Akatosh. What is your name, insolent one?”
“You are Dovahkiin? I am Morokei, and I do not bow to half-breeds. You will die like any other mortal.”
“I have defeated many of your kind, including Miraak. He was immeasurably more powerful than you. I defeated Alduin, the mightiest of the Dov. Your words are hollow, and your doom approaches by my side. Watch and see how pathetic your seizure of my Magicka is.”
Within seconds of my Magicka being drained, I cast Lightening of such strength it would have brought down a dragon. The skeleton it hit exploded into bone fragments.
I pulled the lever, and the bars lowered, then we continued onwards.
We approached a cemetery where some rare denizens flew amongst the headstones.
I signalled for quiet then aimed at the Wispmother.
The arrow hit her midsection.
When she died, so did the Wisps she controlled.
I picked up several of the Wisp Cores. They are a hard-to-find alchemy ingredient.
A central cairn had a plaque in Dovahzul. I read it to The Sentinels.
“Here lies the hallowed dead of Bromjunaar. May ever their souls be their own.”
- Wulf: The only way you can ensure ‘their souls be their own’ is via Arkay. The residents of this city abandoned The Divines for the celestial sons of one Divine.
- Celestine: Like the Alessian Order abandoned the religion created by their Goddess.
- Inigo: Religion does not need to make sense.
- Wulf: There is no hope of that ever happening!
We came to another magic locked door. This one was covered in fire.
Morokei said, “Did he warn you that your own power would be your undoing? That it would only serve to strengthen me?”
“Morokei means glorious. You are gloriously stupid. Magic is only part of my power! I have demonstrated how fleeting the draining of my Magicka was. But even without magic, you have no answer to the Thu’um or my martial prowess. Aren was a student, and he thwarted you. What chance do you have against me?”
I told The Sentinels, “Same as before. I will open the door with a spell. Get ready to kill whatever comes through.”
I cast Ice Spear.
The being that attacked us lasted mere seconds.
Not far past that door, we watched another projection.
- Savos: Come on, we can’t stop now. We have to keep moving!
- Atmah: Where’s Elvali? She was right behind me.
- Hafnar: Dead. Something grabbed her from behind. Gone before I could do anything.
- Takes-In-Light: This is insanity. We never should’ve come here.
- Atmah: You’re right. This is all my fault. Should we turn around, head back?
- Hafnar: I don’t think going back is a good idea.
- Savos: Going back would be the end of all of us. We keep pushing forward, and we’ll make it. We will!
- Atmah: Come on, you can make it. Let’s go.
Savos’ ghost said, “Elvali died here. I don’t even remember what killed her. It could have been any of the countless faceless horrors. I think she was glad in that final moment. Hafnar was covered in blood, but his stupid Nord pride wouldn’t let him admit defeat. I… I don’t know why I pressed the others on, convinced them to keep going. ‘If we can just make it through, it’ll all be worth it’, I told them. And the fools believed the words I myself didn’t trust.”
Savos faded, and I found myself getting angry at his self-recrimination.
- Celestine: How could they go back? They would not all have made it through the Draugr and the undead dragon. They had no choice but to keep going and hope the worst was behind them.
- Argis: Nothing would be gained by returning the way they came. He is stupid to blame himself for making the only sensible choice.
- Wulf: They say with death comes wisdom. Perhaps when he has finished his haunting, his eternal soul will realise that he did nothing wrong except get in way over his head.
- Celestine: We have only seen his guilt over persuading the others to this point. The other students ignored the warnings of the College and willingly put themselves at risk. He did not force them to come! He is not to blame for their decision.
- Wulf: We still don’t know the ending. Maybe his guilt comes from something else other than persuading them to continue?
- Inigo: I think I smell Draugr, but I am not sure.
- Kharjo: This one also thinks something strange is approaching.
I already had a first in this place in the form of an undead dragon. Now we encountered another first, a transparent Draugr.
- Argis: What is that?
- Wulf: A Draugr.
I inspected its weapon.
- Wulf: Its sword drains stamina.
- Inigo: Ignore the see-through bit if we encounter more like it. It was no more challenging than other Draugr.
- Celestine: I wouldn’t say I like the blue. I wonder if it comes in different colours?
- Inigo: Blue is beautiful!
- Celestine: On a handsome Khajiit maybe, but I think a Draugr could do better. Possibly red would be more in keeping with their intent.
The room where we witnessed the latest projection had a spiral stairway blocked by rubble. That decided where to go next. We had no choice but to head down the tunnel from where the weird Draugr had come.
It was apparent we were getting close to Morokei when he said, “Come. Face your end!”
I did not bother replying.
We fought and destroyed many transparent Draugr and even transparent war dogs.
On one occasion, Morokei drained our Magicka silently.
- Celestine: Well, that answers that question. He does not have to speak to drain.
- Wulf: I think we can also say the other question is answered.
- Argis: Are you going to tell us finally?
- Celestine: We thought Morokei believed we were Savos from the very beginning.
- Wulf: And since he spoke Dovahzul, that would indicate he thought Savos could understand and speak it.
- Inigo: But it seems he did not know who it was who entered this place.
- Wulf: He simply reverted to his native language, Dovahzul.
- Celestine: Later on, Morokei suspected Wulf was Savos and acknowledged that Savos did not understand Dovahzul.
- Kharjo: Ahh, that is when he switched to Tamrielic.
- Argis: You all overthink. That can’t be good for you.
We came to a Word Wall. It taught the Word of Power ‘Tiid,” which means time. It is the first Word in the Slow Time Shout. I already knew it and the Shout.
- Wulf: In Dovahzul the Word Wall reads, ‘Vegunthar wahlaan qethsegol bormahil vahrukt Hungunthar tiid naak kriaan se junnesejer kroniid se Dunkreath.’
- Argis: I recognise a few Nord names.
- Wulf: Ancient ones. It means, ‘Vegunthar raised this stone in his father’s memory, Hungunthar Time-Eater, slayer of the Kings of the East, conqueror of Dunkreath.’
- Inigo: These are names and places unfamiliar to me.
- Wulf: I would say Hungunthar was a hero of the Dragon Cult. Much of their culture was destroyed after the Dragon War. Nords tend to do that. For instance, there is very little of the Snow Elf culture left intact. I believe Dunkreath is a town later called Strond in Morrowind.
- Celestine: There is a saying that goes, ‘The victors write history.’
- Wulf: That is why you have to sort out propaganda from fact. The victorious leaders can’t very well admit lies and exaggerations on the scale that seems to be the norm when stirring up righteous hate of the enemy.
- Inigo: That is why you dislike that book on Saarthal. It offered an excuse for the genocide of the Falmer while admitting a lot is still unknown about the Night of Tears.
- Wulf: I am sure the Falmer perspective would be far different.
Not far from the Word Wall was a row of columns.
I said, “I bet there are a lot of enemies hiding here. Let’s just get rid of them quickly. I think we are very close to the end.”
There were numerous enemies, but it did not take long before we finished off the last of them.
In the next room, we watched another projection.
- Atmah: We shouldn’t have left her there to die!
- Savos: What else could we do? Stay there and die with her? She refused to go on, and we didn’t have a choice!
- Hafnar: This is it; you know. Through this door. Can you feel it?
- Atmah: We’re not going to make it, are we?
- Hafnar: We stay together, no matter what. Do you agree?
- Atmah: I’ll be right with you.
- Savos: Agreed. We all stay together.
Savos’ ghost said, “There were only three of us left. Takes-In-Light sat down and gave up, and we left her there to die. I have no idea what killed her, but I’m sure something did. Atmah cried to herself. Hafnar wouldn’t look at either of us. And I kept telling them it would be all right. I was in charge now. I pushed them on, insisting it would be worse to try and go back. What happened after was my fault. All mine! We all knew this was the end. Without even opening the door, we knew what was beyond would kill us. None of our spells were potent enough. None of our wills were strong enough. ‘No matter what, we stay together!’, Hafnar said. I looked at him in the eyes and lied to him. ‘Yes, we will stay together and leave together.’, I assured him.”
- Wulf: I think Savos is bending the truth a bit. He might even believe his lie so he can convince himself he planned whatever happened next.
- Celestine: I agree. How could he make a plan in this room without knowing what is in the next? They might suspect what is in store, but they haven’t hinted what it might be in any of these projections.
- Argis: They still had to go forward. They lost three on the way to this room. The last three would probably all die going back the same way.
- Kharjo: The Argonian gave up on life. This one finds that disturbing.
- Wulf: Imagine being so discouraged that suicide seems a valid option.
- Celestine: Some people, and societies, harshly judge people who choose that path. They speak from ignorance. When learning to be a healer, the Restoration School of Magicka, we learned a lot about the body’s parts and functions. But sadness, more accurately despair, like that which Takes-In-Light felt, is not fixable with magic or potions or pills. Not with what we know now. Who knows if lost knowledge might offer a solution?
- Inigo: I tried to kill myself once. I have told Wulf the story, but maybe I should tell all of you one day soon. Then you can better understand somebody like Takes-In-Light and the thought process that leads to such action.
- Argis: That would be good. I have known many who took that path after surviving battles and wars. Maybe if they spoke about what ailed them or learned to recognise something is troubling them, it would not happen so often?
I told The Sentinels, “Stay here. I want to approach the door and see if I can detect anything.”
I walked up to the door and stood still.
Nothing! There was no sound, no sense of dread or power, or any other clue as to what might be on the other side.
I walked back.
- Wulf: I am going in alone. No protests. No arguments. I don’t want another Savos Aren if I can avoid it.
- Celestine: Surely, it is wise to have a mage with you?
- Wulf: I want to talk with Morokei, and the chances of that happening will improve if I enter alone.
- Inigo: You are not one for taking unnecessary chances. I will wait.
- Argis: I, too, will wait for your triumph.
- Kharjo: This one will wait. But do not ask Khajiit to stand still or tail to cease swishing from side to side!
- Celestine: I will stay. I wish I had a tail to swish!
- Wulf: I am confident. I do not think possession of Magnus’ Staff will help Morokei at all. He is just another Dragon Priest.
I opened the door to a large chamber.
Two beams of energy emanated from the spirits of Hafnar and Atmah. The energy was used to maintain a containment barrier around Morokei.
I climbed some steps and approached the spirit of Atmah. I had the distinct feeling she knew I was there.
I climbed some more steps and approached the spirit of Hafnar. I was positive that he also knew I was there.
I needed the Staff of Magnus, but it was stuck inside the containment barrier with Morokei. I decided to inspect the barrier up close. I brought forth my Dovah then made my way to Morokei.
The Dragon Priest did not respond to my presence until I was almost touching the barrier. He then turned and stared at me.
I tried to decipher what I was seeing. I soon concluded that a Master level of Necromancy was needed to accomplish what Savos had managed. This is what I initially believed was the chain of events.
The three mages entered and were confronted by Morokei. In the ensuing battle, Hafnar and Atmah were slain. Savos enthralled their ghosts, their spirits. He made them cast a containment barrier using unlimited Magicka drawn from Aetherius, where their souls are. I have heard of this being done several times, including to volunteer Blades who guard the remains of Tiber Septim. In death, those Blades maintain a shield around his tomb. In death, these two mages of the College keep a containment barrier around Morokei.
There would be few necromancers alive capable of such a spell. There is one less with the death of Savos Aren.
After many boasts and insults as we travelled through Labyrinthian, Morokei was silent. He knew I was his doom.
“Morokei, nu hi koraav Bormahu wahl zu’u Dov hin nil rot vonun!” (Morokei, now you see Akatosh made me Dov your empty words vanish!)
There was no reply.
“Forgive me for using this guttural language. After all, it is that used by those who defeated you and your gods. Am I your god, Morokei? Other Dov recognise me as a Son of Akatosh and not a half-breed so I am your god! No matter, it is time you were sent to The Void.”
I did not know if what I was about to do would release the souls of Hafnar and Atmah to a peaceful afterlife. Maybe a Priest of Arkay can tell me one day.
My theory was that the Destruction dweomer on my bow would do enough damage with electricity to interrupt the Magicka stream that maintained the containment barrier.
I aimed and let loose an arrow. It hit Hafnar’s spirit.
Not only did it interrupt the Magicka stream, but it also destroyed the spirit’s connection to Nirn. Hopefully, Hafnar’s soul was freed.