After breakfast, I made an Invisibility Potion.
The Sentinels and I then left Severin Manor and found Captain Veleth doing his morning round of Raven Rock.
- Wulf: Good morning, Captain Veleth.
- Veleth: And good morning to you, Commander Valdr.
- Wulf: Have you recovered all the miners?
- Veleth: Yes. Twenty-three in total from all over Nirn died there. Gratian recorded many details of the miners who recently arrived in Raven Rock. With his help, we matched those on the list you gave us with the deceased.
- Jordis: What did you do with them?
- Veleth: We have no Hall of the Dead as they do in Skyrim, so, unfortunately, all will have to be cremated whether Dunmer or not. We will send the remains to their listed kinfolk.
- Wulf: Did the Second Councillor tell you that Mogrul hired them without contracts?
- Veleth: Yes, and he said you have a plan to bring him down.
- Wulf: Here is an Invisibility Potion. When you see me with Mogrul later today, go somewhere discrete and drink it. Then come and listen to the conversation. Do not draw your axe until you are ready to arrest him and Slitter, as that will make you visible again.
Captain Veleth took the potion from me.
- Veleth: Will they be able to hear me?
- Wulf: I will make them follow me to the centre of the market. The background noise will cover any clanking you make.
- Veleth: What can I expect to hear from him?
- Wulf: I do not want to risk your testimony by prompting you. Suffice to say that you will have enough evidence to put him behind bars for decades.
- Veleth: I am looking forward to it.
- Jordis: Is Wulf allowed to defend himself if Slitter becomes violent?
- Veleth: If Slitter draws his weapon, Wulf can cut him down, no questions asked.
- Wulf: We should be back by mid-afternoon.
We made our way to the Temple and found Galdrus sweeping the front entrance.
- Wulf: Good morning, Attendant Hlervu.
- Galdrus: You have changed your uniform. Is it still General Valdr?
- Wulf: I am still of that rank, but when wearing this uniform, I am Commander Valdr, of the Penitus Oculatus.
- Galdrus: And what may I do for you, Commander Valdr?
- Wulf: First of all, I would like to thank you and Elder Othreloth for attending to the dead miners.
- Galdrus: We were simply doing our duty.
- Wulf: Did Ralis make it here safely?
- Galdrus: Well, if you look at Mara’s statue, you will find him healthy and somewhat changed from yesterday.
- Inigo: May I ask, why are you trying to keep the Temple’s entrance clean? Isn’t that an impossible task?
- Galdrus: I am still serving penance for how I treated Commanded Valdr when he last visited. Elder Othreloth says I must do this for one hour per day. As I sweep the dust, sand and ash away from the entrance, so I sweep the bias and other impurities from my mind.
- Inigo: Wasn’t Commander Valdr scaring you enough punishment?
- Galdrus: Elder Othreloth still laughs when it is mentioned. But no, I deserved this penance.
- Wulf: I think we shall have a chat with Ralis. May Azura, Mephala and Boethia guide you.
- Galdrus: Azura’s wisdom to you, friend.
We quietly approached the statue of Azura. Ralis was silently praying to it, and we did not want to disturb him. He was wearing Robes of Azura.
After a few minutes, he stopped praying, stood then turned to face me.
- Ralis: Welcome, Champion of Azura.
- Wulf: Did Elder Othreloth tell you that is what I am?
- Ralis: No, blessed Azura did.
- Inigo: Have you turned to religion after your disturbing experience? It is better than turning to Skooma!
- Ralis: I came here seeking sanctuary as Commander Valdr said I should. Elder Othreloth stared at me and seemed to know who I was and what I had done. He told me I could stay as long as needed. However, he insisted that I should pray to Azura for guidance. I have never been religious, but I decided to try anyway. I did not use the shrine inside as they were carrying in the victims of Koldbjorn, and I could not face my guilt. I came out here instead. Within seconds, Azura spoke to me.
- Wulf: I assume that was a bit more pleasant than Ahzidal crawling in your head?
- Ralis: Yes. You, too, know her gentle touch.
- Wulf: No, I don’t. I allow nobody in my head, not even The Divines.
- Ralis: Azura said you would come and asks you to visit her shrine near Winterhold when you can. She said there is a thief who stole from her and may present a threat to others.
- Kharjo: Commander, please take me when you track down that thief.
- Wulf: Ralis, I will attend to the problem when I can. Kharjo, of course, you can come with me when I do.
- Ralis: Azura said that would be your answer, and that is sufficient.
- Wulf: I see you wear her robes.
- Ralis: Elder Othreloth said that if Azura helps cleanse my soul of the taint left by ‘evil’, I can become an Attendant. I have decided that is what I shall do. I shall dedicate my life to the Reclamations. I shall learn their lessons and teach others.
- Wulf: I am glad for you, Ralis. You will not have to worry about Mogrul soon. I think he is going for a trip to Morrowind and a long stint in a penal mine. Slitter will be joining him.
- Ralis: Good. He saw me here, but even he would not defy the sanctity of this place. The people of Raven Rock would tear him limb from limb if he did.
We headed to Tel Mithryn. We had not seen an increase in Redoran Guard since our last visit, so it was inevitable the bandits would be out of control.
The first suicide attack happened not far past the abandoned farm.
The noise of battle attracted several dozen who had made a base of the same ship other bandits previously occupied.
Unrelenting force killed about eight or nine, and then the rest attacked.
It took a few minutes to kill them all.
As we approached Tel Mithryn, I could see Odahviing in the distance. He must have decided to explore the island some more.
Three well-armed bandits were fighting local wildlife. We killed them quickly.
Drovas was outside when we arrived at Tel Mithryn
- Wulf: Good day to you, Drovas. How is life with Master Neloth?
- Drovas: He is a real taskmaster, and I don’t like the way he treats Talvas!
- Wulf: I advised Talvas to go to the College of Winterhold. Master Neloth is not an ideal teacher for such an eager student.
- Drovas: Neloth cast a spell last week that made Talvas’ ears twice their size. Then when Neloth tried to correct his mistake, Talvas had no ears at all!
- Urdr: This Neloth sounds like a menace!
- Wulf: Urdr, you will show nothing but respect to Master Neloth. If you don’t think you can do that, then stay out here!
- Urdr: But why? If somebody did experiments like that at the College, you would be frothing at the mouth.
- Wulf: We have rules at the College. Master Neloth is a Telvanni Master Wizard and lives by their standards which do not necessarily correspond with ours. He has been doing so for many hundreds of years. It is not our place to try and change that or to criticise.
- Inigo: Talvas does not have to remain or to allow experimentation on himself.
- Urdr: Okay, lesson number one thousand two hundred and thirty-seven received and understood.
- Drovas: That is about how many times I have tried making canis root tea and still haven’t got it right, according to Master Neloth!
- Wulf: Try this. When Master Neloth complains about the tea, ask what you did wrong and then offer to make another to rectify the problem. Bring the tea down the lift, heat it a little, then take the same cup of tea back up to Master Neloth. Tell him you made the changes he suggested with the new cup of tea. He will take a sip and tell you it is much better.
- Drovas: But I wouldn’t have changed anything!
- Wulf: Precisely. It is not that there is anything wrong with the tea. It Master Neloth having his fun with his servants. I read accounts about him when he still lived in Morrowind, and nothing has changed over time. It is part of the myth the surrounds Telvanni Wizards. They like to seem aloof and beyond the petty emotions of lesser beings.
- Inigo: Commander Valdr says Neloth has a good heart and that he helped many when the Red Mountain erupted.
- Wulf: His arrogance is a learned trait. It is not who he is.
- Drovas: Master Neloth still mourns Varona. Ulves, Elynea and Talvas also say he is a kind person.
- Wulf: Just remember this. It is an honour to work in the household of a Telvanni Master Wizard. But if you are honest and work hard, Master Neloth with be honoured to have you as his steward.
- Drovas: I will remember that. Now I had better go help fix a squeaky door that is sending Elynea mad.
As we made our way to Neloth’s laboratory, Urdr asked, “What are those symbols on his door?”
“That is the symbol of the Great House Telvanni.”
We entered the mushroom, and I floated to the platform above.
Master Neloth waited with visible impatience for me to approach.
- Wulf: It is good to see you again, Master Neloth.
- Neloth: Is it? I must do something about that.
- Wulf: How is Drovas doing?
- Neloth: I suppose he’ll do. He makes dreadful canis root tea! He is very good at fixing things and running the place, so I should show him more gratitude. Maybe.
- Wulf: But compliments are for the weak and foolish!
- Neloth: Aha, you will make a Telvanni Wizard yet!
- Wulf: I am not of your Great House.
- Neloth: That can be changed. I have that legal power.
- Wulf: I am concerned about Black Books getting into the wrong hands. The ones I have found have been stored in a pocket plane for safety. They will be studied by the mages of The College of Winterhold.
- Neloth: You call that lot mages? Even Arch-Mage Aren would struggle to qualify as my apprentice.
- Wulf: Savos Aren died several weeks ago. You may be a more powerful enchanter than he was. However, his skills in the other Schools of Magicka far surpassed yours. As an apprentice, he cast a necromantic spell that few have ever mastered.
- Neloth: I am sorry to hear of his death. We corresponded many times on many topics.
- Wulf: Yes, most recently, you were assisting with his research on teleportation.
- Neloth: He told you about that?
- Wulf: No. As the new Arch-Mage, I have access to all of his research and letters.
- Neloth: You are the new Arch-Mage? Savos never mentioned you. I thought Tolfdir or Urag would be chosen. Why you?
- Urdr: Commander Valdr advised me to show you respect. However, all I have heard from you is disrespect for Arch-Mage Aren, Commander Valdr and the College. I cannot accept that. Mage Duels are still legal in Morrowind, are they not?
- Wulf: Professor Urdr, remain silent! I will address your insubordination when I have finished here.
- Urdr: But…
- Jordis: If you don’t want to confront the Commander’s Dovah, do as ordered and shut the fuck up!
Urdr stood with a scowl on her face and arms crossed. It took half a minute to get my temper under control.
- Wulf: Master Neloth, please accept my apology. Professor Urdr has a fiery temper and is not used to my moderate ways.
- Neloth: No apology needed. I did not mean any offence, although apparently, I caused some. Please, do not punish her for defending Savos or the College.
- Wulf: We are wearing these uniforms and must behave as they dictate. Although I had not ordered Professor Urdr, she was insubordinate.
- Neloth: How did Savos die?
- Wulf: The College was undertaking a dig at Saarthal. The Divines sent me there as some disaster was imminent. We discovered a most powerful artefact created by Magnus. It was a singularity that stored almost infinite Magicka called the Eye of Magus. The Eye possessed a Thalmor agent. Savos died trying to stop the Thalmor from using it.
- Neloth: I take it you resolved the problem.
- Wulf: With some assistance from The Synod and the Psijic Order. The Eye is now hidden as there are no mages on Nirn capable of using it correctly.
- Neloth: Are you pursuing any of Savos’ studies?
- Wulf: Yes, I have progressed further than he on the teleport spells. Your speculation about twinning orbs helped Savos, but there is still something missing. I hope to explore supposedly untouched Dwemer ruins soon and maybe find the last piece of the puzzle there.
- Neloth: When was the last twinned teleport device in Skyrim?
- Wulf: 3E 422.
- Neloth: About the same time that teleportation knowledge was lost in Morrowind. I wonder if it has anything to do with the Oblivion Crises? Much knowledge seems to have been lost entirely and not faded away, just gone.
- Wulf: I think the Transitus Network remnants still exist in Cyrodiil, but I cannot travel to that province at the moment. It isn’t easy to comprehend that such a thing as twinned orbs was familiar and now a mystery as perplexing as anything else in the realm of magic.
- Inigo: My friend, do not let your head explode pursuing the answers to these mysteries!
- Neloth: You said something about Black Books. I think I have found another. Hermaeus Mora is devious, but then, so am I. Now, it’s only a rumour of a whisper of a conjecture. Give me your map, and I will mark the place.
I handed Neloth my map, and he marked a place called Benkongerike. It was southeast of Saering’s Watch where I learned the first Word of the Bend Will Shout.
- Wulf: What do you know about Benkongerike?
- Neloth: Nothing at all.
- Wulf: It is probably full of Draugr and a Dragon Priest. They seem to go hand in hand with the Black Books.
- Neloth: That book might contain the final secrets of Xarxes, for all we know.
- Wulf: No, I already have the Oghma Infinium, and Mora is not too pleased I do.
- Neloth: Locked away in the pocket plane for study, I assume?
- Wulf: Yes. It is mainly written in Ehlnofex and will take some time to decipher. The diagrams it contains are complex, and I believe most knowledge is contained within those, not the text.
- Neloth: And I could study the tome?
- Wulf: Yes. Within the pocket plane only as with most of the more dangerous artefacts. Since the book is supposed to return to Apocrypha when read entirely, that precaution is even more essential. Not even a god can drag something from Aetherius to Oblivion!
- Neloth: What other items of interest do you have locked away?
- Wulf: Inigo, what do you think Master Neloth would like to study the most out of all the artefacts I have gathered recently?
- Inigo: The Staff of Magus.
- Neloth: You… you found the Staff of Magus?
- Wulf: It was in Labyrinthian. I needed it to control the Eye of Magnus. It can absorb and store tremendous amounts of Magicka as required by Magus for some of his spells.
- Neloth: Who do I have to speak to for access to the pocket plane?
- Wulf: Send your request to the Arch-Mage. If I am there, I will deal with it. Otherwise, Tolfdir will do so.
- Neloth: I have not left Solstheim since the Red Year. But I am tempted to visit the College. We shall see.
- Wulf: Is there any research with which I can help?
- Neloth: Yes, I have been having difficulties with my Heartstone experiments. Have you heard of the Briarhearts?
- Wulf: I have had to kill a few. Why do you ask?
- Neloth: So, you know of their transformation?
- Wulf: Yes. Hagraven remove their hearts and replace them with briar seeds, hence their name, Briarhearts.
- Neloth: I was unaware of the Hagraven involvement. Somehow the briar seed puts their life sparks in direct connection to the natural forces. I need you to examine one of them. Just investigate as much as you can. I’m going to put a memory trace spell on you, so you won’t have to worry about taking notes. I doubt you would know what is important anyway.
- Wulf: Go ahead.
Neloth cast his spell, and it fizzled. His brow creased, and he tried again.
- Inigo: I am positive the Commander explained to you once that his mind is blocked to all, even his gods.
- Neloth: That is why he was resistant to Miraak’s dweomer. I remember now.
- Jordis: You also suggested the Commander would not know what is important. That is a rash conclusion!
- Neloth: Your friends are quick to your defence.
- Wulf: What is the connection between Briarhearts and Heartstones?
- Neloth: Well, I’m hoping to do something similar… if I could connect a living being to the forces of the Red Mountain, well… that would be formidable. I’ve done some experiments in this area, but, well, my test subjects are far too fragile. I am hoping to learn some of the Briarheart techniques, their methods.
- Wulf: No doubt you have studied the Ash Spawn?
- Neloth: No, I haven’t. Is there a connection?
- Wulf: Heartstones are the rock that surrounded Lorkhan’s Heart. When Red Mountain erupted, it was turned molten and flung long distances.
- Neloth: Yes, that is the consensus.
- Wulf: After the last time we visited, I decided to study the Ash Spawn. I could not experiment, but I believe that any fragment of bone buried near a Heartstone will morph into Ash Spawn.
- Neloth: A reasonable hypothesis. If you can provide me with some ash from an Ash Spawn, I can conduct the experiments.
- Wulf: Consider it done. Now, what did you hope to learn from a Briarheart?
- Neloth: I want to know how the soul is attached to the briar seed.
- Wulf: I did examine a Briarheart but was unsure how the seed worked. Savos had also studied one and made some brief notes.
- Neloth: Do you remember anything of relevance.
- Wulf: The soul thread is connected to the heart, the spirit and the body via three knots.
- Neloth: I had figured out the connections, but the knots are new to me. Perhaps they give the soul’s connections the strength required. Can you remember how the knots were made?
- Wulf: No, I am sure that was not detailed. I can ask Urag if he knows of any relevant information.
- Neloth: Well, that has given me something with which to experiment.
- Wulf: Have you experimented with resurrection using Heartstones?
- Neloth: No, but theoretically, they could produce far more robust undead. After all, is that not what Briarhearts are?
- Wulf: Yes, they die during the removal of their heart. The Hagraven resurrect them with the briar seeds in place. Unlike most forms of resurrected, they maintain their cognitive functions.
- Neloth: So, if a Heartstone is used, similar results might be possible?
- Inigo: Master Neloth, would you kill willing mortals in your experiments with Heartstones?
- Neloth: Not if they were healthy. However, if somebody with a terminal illness volunteered, I would consider it.
- Wulf: We are expected back in Raven Rock. I will return with the Black Book tomorrow.
I walked up to Talvas.
- Wulf: You did not take my advice. I am glad to see your ears are back to their normal size.
- Talvas: I don’t know. I can’t decide if the College would be a better option.
- Wulf: I am now Arch Mage. I can assure you the College was a better option last time I spoke to you and an even better one now. Changes have been implemented, and your eagerness to learn will be catered for but safely. No Master Mage will expect you to subject yourself to experiments.
- Inigo: Master Neloth just hinted at some experimentation with a Heartstone and a living subject. The outcome did not seem mutually beneficial.
- Talvas: Okay, I will think about it some more.
- Wulf: I wish you would. I fear for you here.
We made our way to Raven Rock without incident and entered Severin Manor.
I changed into Ahzidal’s armour then approached Urdr.
“Wulf, you have not said a word about my transgression with Master Neloth.”
“I shouldn’t have to. I trust you are intelligent enough to learn from mistakes.”
“Yes, there is nothing you could say that I haven’t told myself. I am sorry.”
“Good, that is all I ask. Now, what do you think?”
“Ah… very old fashioned and a bit beat up.”
“I meant, what do you think of the armour?”
“Oh, that is also old fashioned and beat up.”
“And why would I wear it when confronting Mogrul?”
“You hope that by telling him it is Ahzidal’s, Mogrul will lose his temper. Mad people make more mistakes. You have drummed that into The Sentinels.”
“Yes. I want Mogrul to incriminate himself to the invisible Captain Veleth. I expect, in amongst the expletives, Mogrul will threaten me while confessing to many crimes.”
“I intend to.”
I left the house carrying Ahzidal’s helm under my arm and headed for the market place. It did not take long to spot Mogrul and Slitter.
Mogrul yelled, “Hey, I need to speak to you!”
I turned and headed for the centre of the market. I spotted Captain Veleth, who walked quickly between some buildings. I saw him walk towards me using heat vision. He was invisible to everybody else.
I stopped, put on Ahzidal’s helm and let Mogrul catch up to me.
- Mogrul: It seems you’ve inherited a situation.
- Wulf: I have? What kind of situation?
- Mogrul: Drovas Revli owes me one thousand septims.
- Wulf: And what has that got to do with me?
- Mogrul: You set him up with that Telvanni wizard. Now he’s untouchable. The way I figure it, it’s your fault he can’t pay me. So, I guess I am going to have to collect it from you.
- Wulf: Oh, and this is legal in Morrowind? It sounds more like extortion to me.
- Mogrul: Yes, genius, it’s extortion.
- Wulf: What are you going to do if I don’t pay?
- Mogrul: Nothing for now, but watch your back. I’ll be sending collectors to find you, and they won’t ask so nicely. One way or another, I’ll get my money.
- Wulf: And what are the collectors going to do? Beat me up? Murder me?
- Mogrul: That depends on what I tell them. But accidents can happen.
- Wulf: I kind of feel sorry for you. You invested all that money on the Kolbjorn Barrow dig and didn’t receive a single septim in return. How much was it? At least thirteen thousand septims, I should think.
- Mogrul: How did you know that? Did Ralis tell tales? Eventually, he will leave the Temple’s safety and then Slitter can kill him slowly while I watch.
- Wulf: Do you like my armour? It was made especially for Ahzidal and is worth at least thirty thousand septims. I found it in Kolbjorn Barrow along with several rings and an expensive-looking axe. All up, I think I scored at least forty thousand septims worth of loot from that place.
- Mogrul: All of that is legally mine. Hand it over, or I get Councillor Morvayn to set his Redoran Guard pack dogs on you!
- Wulf: Did you have a legally binding contract with the miners that said anything discovered there was yours? If so, show it to me. Also, they did not find these items. I did!
Mogrul’s nostrils flared. I could see he was itching to fight.
- Wulf: Come to think of it, did you have hire contracts with the miners? Did you pay them their correct wages and contribute a percentage to the benevolent fund? If not, you now owe bereavement money for the twenty-three that died.
- Mogrul: I must have lost the papers. It is your word against mine.
- Wulf: Wrong. It is easy to check if you paid anything to the benevolent fund.
- Mogrul: I have warned you. Pay the money you owe me, or somebody close to you will die. Is that clear enough for you?
My Dovah was asking for his turn, so I let him. Mogrul shrank back then started to look around for an escape route.
- Mogrul: Go ahead and kill me. The Redoran Guard will lock you up for years. I am leaving now, and there is nothing you can do to stop me!
- Wulf: Did you see the dragon that flew over Raven Rock yesterday? He is my friend, and his name is Odahviing. I could summon him right now and stand back as he swallowed you whole. It takes some time to die that way, and you would either suffocate slowly or dissolve in agony within his stomach. Would the Redoran Guards try and arrest him, do you think?
Slitter was looking as alarmed as Mogrul.
- Wulf: I am a dragon. I could kill both of you with Dragonfire. That melts armour, so I don’t think your flesh would fare very well, do you? How many mortals do you think I have killed in combat?
- Veleth: I can answer that. According to one of your colleagues, well over twelve hundred have fallen to you in combat as well and hundreds of undead and dozens of dragons.
- Wulf: I would put your hands on your heads if I were you two. If either of you touches a weapon, you die. Captain Veleth, they are all yours.
There was an unmistakable sound of a weapon being drawn then Veleth appeared. Mogrul and Slitter wisely placed their hands on their heads.
- Veleth: Mogrul, you are under arrest for extortion, amongst many other charges. I listened to the entire conversation and will also get statements from Ralis and others. You are looking at a couple of decades in a Morrowind Mine. Slitter can expect the same since he has been a willing accomplice.
- Wulf: What about the bereavement money owed to the miners’ families?
- Veleth: Mogrul’s house and contents and all money in banks and elsewhere will become the Raven Rock Council’s property. Assets will be sold at public auction, and the proceeds used to pay appropriate fines after bereavement money is paid from it.
- Wulf: What about the wages he owes the miners?
- Veleth: That will also be paid from the auction proceeds.
- Wulf: Mogrul, you are now penniless and will spend decades in penal mines. What kind of idiot threatens somebody as powerful as me?
I used the Thu’um and said, “PEOPLE OF RAVEN ROCK. MOGRUL AND SLITTER ARE UNDER ARREST. LET THEM KNOW HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT THAT!”
Mogrul looked down as he and Slitter were disarmed and shackled. The crowd were laughing and jeering as Redoran Guards dragged him and Slitter away.
I made my way back to Severin Manor and found Kharjo busily working on another Elsweyr Chowder recipe.
I said, “We have to go to the far north of the island, and I doubt we will be back till tomorrow.”
“This is to be left to congeal overnight and tomorrow. It will allow the ingredients to meld together and create flavours that one has never imagined.”
“Why does rotten cabbage come to mind?”
“Because you are not smart like Khajiit.”
I changed into my armour then gathered The Sentinels.
As soon as he saw us exit the house, Captain Veleth came running up to us.
- Wulf: Is something wrong, Captain Veleth?
- Veleth: My men reported that you and The Sentinels killed many bandits that lived in the abandoned ship.
- Wulf: Yes. Their numbers were almost as high as the last time we visited Solstheim.
- Veleth: We are yet to receive permission to have more Redoran Guards billeted here.
- Wulf: Surely your leaders realise that Raven Rock is now worth far more to Morrowind financially than it did?
- Veleth: We need evidence of the increased threat. Something we can write in a report as proof of the necessity for a more substantial garrison. Information has come to my attention that will provide that proof.
- Wulf: Go on.
- Veleth: An informant told me of an imminent attack on Raven Rock. Bandits are to attack from two directions. You killed those who were to attack from the south. There is a far more significant number that plans to attack from the north. If the information is correct, just those from the north will overwhelm us. Once they have hostages and control Raven Rock, they will call in allies, and this island will be lost to Morrowind without terrible bloodshed to reclaim it.
- Inigo: I bet they are living in those towers.
- Wulf: Yes, the ones connected to Bloodskal Barrow.
- Veleth: If you eliminate them while three witnesses observe, the leadership in Morrowind will have no choice but to act upon our written accounts.
- Wulf: I would typically go a different route to our destination but will head that way instead. We will kill any bandits outside of Bloodskal Barrow, but I will not take an unnecessary risk and enter there. We can slaughter many bandits outside with minimal risk.
- Veleth: If you can make the numbers manageable, we can put guards in the towers.
- Wulf: We need to get moving if we are to arrive at our destination before dark.
- Veleth: Go on ahead. I will soon follow with Second Councillor Arano and Priestess Alothi. We will not fight but observe to report accurately on the bandits’ numbers, skills, and tactics.
Veleth left to gather the other two witnesses. We started towards the towers when Inigo spoke up.
- Inigo: My friend, you must not enter Bloodskal Barrow!
- Wulf: I said I wouldn’t.
- Inigo: If something enrages you and you let your Dovah take over, that promise will mean little.
- Wulf: I will not take unnecessary risks!
- Inigo: I understand why we will slaughter these bandits. We are helping the mortals of Raven Rock. The Redoran Guard should mop up those inside the barrow!
- Wulf: I know. That is why I said we would not enter it.
- Jordis: Inigo is making sure you keep repeating it, so if your Dovah says otherwise, you say it to him as well.
- Wulf: I understand your concerns.
- Inigo: You did not mention that undead soldier with the Heartstone in his armour to Master Neloth. The one that was sending the Ash Spawn to attack Raven Rock.
- Wulf: General Falx Carius was his name. I studied his armour and the Heartstone. Master Neloth said he had experimented with Heartstones, but his subjects were too fragile.
- Urdr: Do you think he found volunteers who died when he experimented with Heartstones?
- Wulf: Yes, but I don’t think he was responsible for resurrecting General Carius. Think about what would happen if he buried a volunteer who still had a Heartstone nearby.
- Urdr: They might resurrect but not be an Ash Spawn. That still does not explain General Carius, who had been dead for a long time.
- Inigo: His flesh was fresh. He looked like a resurrection that Urdr or Celestine might do during battle.
- Wulf: And the Heartstone was not implanted, just attached to his armour.
- Urdr: So, do you think another person is experimenting with Heartstones and resurrection?
- Wulf: I can’t be sure, but it seems likely. I also surmise that the person doing so is one of Master Neloth’s failed experiments. General Carius seemed to have his memories intact.
- Jordis: Therefore, a recently deceased person would as well!
- Wulf: All I have at the moment is educated guesswork.
- Urdr: Why didn’t you confront Master Neloth with this?
- Wulf: At the moment, it is speculation. When I have proof, I will discuss it with him. I will not ‘confront’ him with it. Once again, you judge him on the College’s rules and not what is deemed acceptable within Morrowind and the Great House of Telvanni.
- Urdr: Okay, let me get this right. I must think and then open my mouth!
- Kharjo: This one thinks that is an excellent idea.
We approached the towers, and bandits were crawling over them like ants. It was time to kick the nest.
Some Fireballs got their attention.
As they streamed out of the towers, they were met by volleys of arrows and Ice Spikes.
After a few dozen died quickly, the others decided to stay hidden. We charged.
Brief ash storms would cloud the sky then clear as quickly as they came. The slaughter went on unabated.
At one stage, Captain Veleth came running past with gore covering his axe. So much for standing back and observing!
A large number of bandits positioned themselves above us.
It was a steep climb and would have been an excellent tactical position, except they faced a Dragonborn. I decimated them with Unrelenting Force and reached them quickly with Whirlwind Sprint.
After the last bandit died, I joined The Sentinels and the three observers.
- Veleth: It is hard to fathom what I just witnessed. The five of you just demolished a hundred well-armed and skilled bandits in minutes.
- Aphia: Elder Othreloth visited and told me you were Azura’s Champion. He rarely speaks to me at all! Now I can see that he spoke truly.
- Wulf: With all due respect, Priestess Velothi, that was the power of The Divines, not Lady Azura, you just saw. I am also their Champion. If you want an example of Azura’s power, talk to Ralis at the Temple. It is equally as impressive.
- Adril: Captain Veleth says there may be many more bandits inside the barrow attached to these towers.
- Wulf: More than likely. Fighting such numbers inside a confined space is different than out here. I will not risk our lives by entering and finding out.
- Inigo: Do not think we are cowards. We just showed we are not. But Commander Valdr has other things that all of us will need him alive to do.
- Adril: I understand. If we garrison these towers, they can’t easily break out and overwhelm the guards. We shall do that while we wait for more Redoran Guards to be allocated from the mainland.
- Wulf: You are confident they will do so?
- Adril: We have three witnesses sending reports. One administrative, one religious and one military. Our request and need cannot be ignored.
- Veleth: I hardly got a swing in, but it was still a privilege to fight by your side once more.
- Wulf: Okay, we must get going. I do not fancy walking around the parts of Solstheim we are headed to at night. Can you do me a favour Captain Veleth?
- Veleth: Yes, of course.
- Wulf: Can you please take this mace back to Raven Rock. I will collect it from the Councillor’s house tomorrow.
- Veleth: Is there something special about it?
- Wulf: I took it from the bandit leader. It has a most unusual dweomer on it. It seems somebody in that past has learned how to imbue weapons with the power of the Thu’um.
- Veleth: I am unsure about the importance of that, but I can see why you do not want to lug it around. It is huge!
- Urdr: I thought that was impossible!
- Wulf: As did I. I can’t recall it ever being mentioned in the many books and other sources I have studied.
- Veleth: Is it valuable?
- Wulf: For the knowledge it holds, invaluable. As a weapon on the market, probably thirty thousand septims or more.
- Veleth: What would happen if you hit somebody with it?
- Wulf: You witnessed one of my Shouts, Unrelenting Force, knock dozens of bandits over. Many disintegrated while others died of internal injuries. Anybody wielding that mace will send their target flying with the same force as a dragon using that Shout.
Veleth hefted the mace and gave it a few practice swings before heading for Raven Rock. We started our long walk.
We had a couple of minor encounters on the way to Benkongerike.
After entering the cave, we paused for a short conversation.
- Wulf: This seems to be the den of a Riekling tribe.
- Kharjo: The short blue ones make funny squealing noises when stabbed.
- Inigo: That is not as much fun as the crunch when you hit a giant spider but still entertaining.
- Urdr: I have never even seen one before.
- Jordis: I hate killing Riekling!
- Inigo: Why, because they are small? Because they are blue?
- Jordis: Their cute little faces remind me of my grandmother. Especially the ones with a moustache!
- Inigo: Okay, that is unfortunate, but blood is blood, I suppose.
- Urdr: Perhaps a relative once fell in love with a particularly attractive Riekling?
- Jordis: Maybe. Some of them have big weapons.
- Wulf: Let us keep going while I try and remove some unwanted images from my brain.
Riekling might be small, but they are deadly with their short spears both held and thrown. We did not try and close into melee range but killed them from a distance.
It was a massacre! There is no other way to describe it. It is not like we were killing innocents. Riekling attack the citizens of Solstheim on sight. But we did not feel pleased with it.
We came to a Word Wall behind a barrier. I had to solve another simple puzzle with animal totems to raise the barrier.
The Word Wall tried to teach me ‘gaar’, which means unleash. It is the second Word in the Cyclone Shout. I already knew the Word, how to use it and the complete Cyclone Shout.
- Wulf: The Word Wall says, ‘Onvul bron dahmaan daar rot do fin fodiiz bormah kendov krif ok kosil vokul nuz jun gaar niin nau ok hokoron.’
- Inigo: I recognise the word for Nord.
- Wulf: Yes. It translates to, ‘Noble Nord, remember these words of the Hoar-Father: A warrior fights his inner evils, but a king unleashes them on his enemies.’
- Urdr: What does that mean?
- Wulf: Nothing. It is ancient bullshit written in mumbo jumbo.
A short corridor led from the Word Wall to the Black Book.
I said to The Sentinels, “Okay, same procedure. I read the book then a tentacle will come and drag me into Oblivion. I will try not to get bored to death as I navigate another monotonous maze in Apocrypha. When I reach the end, I will be rewarded with some useless knowledge and then pop back here. Excuse me while I tell the boss.
“Good evening, Rigmor.”
“Can you tell what I am doing?”
“You, my dearest, are enjoying a hot bath.”
“Well done! I have no idea where you are?”
“I am about to read another Black Book.”
“You must be so thrilled!”
“Yeah, right, pfft!”
“Let me know when you are back.”
“Will do. Love you.”
“Love you too!”
I read the book and was dragged into Apocrypha.
I will not bore you with the details of my passage through the maze.
The reward I chose at the end will improve along with my bardic talents. A spectral drum will appear and significantly increase stamina regeneration for The Sentinels and me in battle.
I appeared back on Nirn, and I told Rigmor that I was safe.
We then made our way outside.
We could see the Skaal Village in the distance, so we made our way there.
I asked one of the guards if the Hunters Lodge was occupied. He said no, so we stayed there the night.
Urdr made us some stew.
We sat and had a good talk while eating.
When the others retired to bed, I wrote this journal entry.
I then climbed into bed.
I know not what time I fell asleep.