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Author Topic: The Adventures of Vikarion the Red, vampire sorcerer in Skyrim.  (Read 5227 times)

Vikarion

  • Guest

Journal,
The Gauldur amulet was a dead end. Well, a dead end for the Mage's College, that is, not for me. I, personally, received a rather nice magical artifact.

I started out by researching the legend of Gaulder in the College Library. What little was known about the legend indicated that it had something to do with three sons who killed their wizard father for his powerful amulet, then - and why they would do this, I have no idea - split the thing into three pieces, of which one was the piece I held from Saarthal. Then they split up and promptly all got killed by the current king's men.

The book's author had no idea of the burial place of any but one of the sons, and fortunately it wasn't Saarthal. It was Folgunthur, which turned out to be the site of a previous expedition. The camp looked to be a few weeks old, and about that long deserted, but there was a journal there belonging to a certain Daynas Valen. Not a particularly nice person, as he apparently had no scruples about robbery or murder in order to further his quest for the amulet. For example, he killed someone in Bravil for the Ivory Dragon-Claw key he needed to open Folgunthur. And he planned on fooling a group of adventurers he met into expending themselves upon the Draugr inside the tomb in order to net him his prize.

Personally, if I need something bad enough, I'll kill for it. I mean, I won't pay bandits a toll just to use the road. It's much more fun to simply smile, transform into a nightmarish creature of the night, and then rip the life force from their bodies. But if I want to get my hands on some spell books, I don't find the nearest wizard and murder him. I just buy the books. It's that sort of reasonable nature that sets the civilized man apart from a mere brigand. Also, I like to think that killing bandits, forsworn, Thalmor, and Vigilants of Stendarr is performing a public service, saving the common people from robbery, murder, racist religious tyranny, and overly preachy religious tyranny, respectively. And although I don't seek out Dawnguard to kill them, I like to think that defending myself against them raises the average intelligence level of society, just a tad.

Speaking of the Dawnguard, I have no idea why, but they will just not leave me alone. You would think that they would go after someone who was actually a demonstrable danger to the public. I can count the amount of times I have drunk blood on one hand, and most of those times were so that I could, I don't know, go kill a dragon in the daylight. Even more interestingly, in the interests of preventing marauding vampires from causing problems, I've actually cleaned out two or three rogue nests, with nary a Dawnguard in evidence. But if I take a few steps outside of city walls or the eyesight of a village guard, there's a more than small chance that some maniac with a crossbow and his dumb buddies are lurking there, just drooling for a chance at me.

On the plus side, sales of Dawnguard armor and weaponry will soon allow me to buy another house. In Solitude. With furnishings.

But I digress. In Folgunthur, I found quite a few bodies, both of the expedition and Draugr, as well as more than a few traps. I'm fairly experienced with those, now, although I did accidentally walk into a dart trap when I failed to notice a pressure pad. Ouch. On the plus side, being undead means that poison is a lot less impressive. I also found the body of Daynas Valen, and "liberated" the Ivory Dragon-Claw key. I'm starting to get a collection of those.

I also found the Draugr that was Mikrul Gaulderson, and killed him. Snatching the amulet, I made my way to the last son's tomb, and plundered that. He gave me a bit more trouble than the other two, as he knew "Unrelenting Force" and kept tossing me around the room like a child's ball toy. This did not improve my mood. Nor did the rather large fiscal impact of having to consume around five higher-end potions of healing. But I got him. Sigdis Gauldurson's fragment was mine.

Finally, following the directions in Daynas Valen's notes, I went to the tomb of the father, to reforge the amulet. Unfortunately, when I made my way down into the tomb, guess who was waiting for me? All three sons. I have no idea how they got there, but I had to fight them all again. Even after that, they weren't entirely discouraged from attacking me, until their father appeared as a ghost, and banished them. About time. Assholes. Archmage Gauldur also did me the favor of reforging the amulet, which strengthens one's body, soul, and stamina. It looks pretty nice, too.

Anyway, I'd best be off. More later.
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Vikarion

  • Guest

Journal,
Still no word from the College. In the meantime, I've been taking care of a few attacking dragons, and investigating a few more Nord tombs.

Found one, forget the name, with a Dark Elf treasure hunter whose crew had abandoned the dig site. She offered to split the treasure with me if I'd kill the Draugr. Seemed reasonable to me, but just as I got the final door unlocked, she rushed in to see what there was, only to get impaled on a spike trap. I suppose it's just as well - there was no actual treasure, only a Word Wall. She would have been terribly disappointed. Still, that was rather...annoying.

Found another one, a bit south of Morthal, filled with ghosts asking my forgiveness for attacking me. Turns out that it was the den of a rather...strange sort of necromancer. He had a rather clever trap, where those who entered the tomb immediately see a treasure chest, and the path to it includes a nice little nordic door in the floor, dropping victims into a cage. I figured this out afterwards - I didn't want the treasure so much as the word in the Word Wall behind it, and I have become cautious regarding nordic doors of all kinds, no matter their orientation. The necromancer himself was a nasty little man, with apparently a great delight in killing helpless mortals. I'd like to think that his death at the hands of a capable immortal had a bit of symmetry to it.

The last, and most interesting, of the tombs I've raided was one south of Riften, on a small mount covered by snow. Atop it, I found an elf in Stormcloak commander garb, who asked me if I would retrieve the mask of a Dragon Priest from the tomb, which was a holdout of a Dragon Cult after the Dragon War. Possibly the last holdout, actually.

I agreed, although internally I admit I was debating keeping the mask. Inside, the tomb was a scene of ancient horror. Upon being assaulted by the Nords, the members of the Cult had killed their own children, poisoned the water supply, and then poisoned themselves, sending themselves into undeath as ghosts or Draugr bound to the (now) tomb. The Nords had barricaded the place and left, probably a wise decision. Nonetheless, I made my way through the tomb, and finally killed the Dragon Priest who was primarily responsible. And took his mask.

And what do you know, as I made my way outside, I found the elf, now dressed in Imperial armor, asking an Imperial soldier to find the mask for him. The soldier promptly declared this to be a Thalmor trick, and attacked me and the elf. I attacked the soldier and the elf, and the elf attacked the soldier and I. I am now one mask richer, and there are fewer Thalmor and Imperials in the world by one. All in all, a good outcome.

Lastly, I did some work for Calcemo, the court wizard of Markarth. I'd picked up a magical dwarven mace a few days back, and Calcemo sent me a note asking if he could have it, as he is a researcher on the Dwemer. I've bought soul gems from him before, so I figured I might as well oblige. He quite reasonably took it off my hands for full price, and then offered me a proposition: if I would go kill a spider which had halted his excavation, I could have full access to the excavation and to Calcemo's museum.

The spider was easy enough to kill, but I found a note on a dead body in the webs that indicated a research team had already headed deeper into the ruins. When I brought it back to Calcemo, he explained that it was a colleague who had ignored Calcemo's warnings and never made it back. Calcemo was sure that they were dead, but offered me compensation if I retrieved their notes.

Deeper into the ruins, I found Falmer, lots of Falmer, and the research team. They had split up, and then been ambushed one at a time. The last one had been trying to activate the Dwemer security systems when he died. I turned them on, but I needn't have bothered - fighting my way back up through Dwemer automatons was more annoying than the Falmer would have been. Fortunately, Calcemo was very grateful for the notes, and rewarded me.

Incidentally, there's a man who wants to meet me at the defunct shrine of Talos in Markarth. He gave me a note the night I arrived in time to foil a murder in the marketplace. Perhaps I should check that out...
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Vikarion

  • Guest

Journal,
I shouldn't have checked it out.

So, I met the man - Eltrys - at the shrine of Talos in Markarth. He wanted me to investigate the near murder in the marketplace. No problem.

My first stop was to investigate the potential victim, Margret. Turns out that she's an agent of General Tullius. Apparently the Silver-Bloods are Stormcloak sympathizers, and she was send to dig up dirt on them, hopefully to allow the Empire a pretext for seizing the silver mines.

I then went to the treasury house to see Thonar Silver-Blood. He was angry and dismissive, so I turned to leave, when his maid and manservant suddenly attacked the clerk at the counter and killed Thonar's wife. Thonar was...upset. In fact, he blamed me for the attack - not sure why - and said he'd see me rot in Cidhna Mine. On the upside, he did let it leak that he had the king of the Forsworn locked up in Cidhna Mine. Apparently he felt that holding the king (Madanach) would make the Forsworn more pliable.

Aside from that knowledge, Thonar was pretty much a dead end. So I decided to try to track evidence down by tracing the (would-be) killer. Turns out that he was a worker in the forges, and lived in the slums known as the Warrens. The man turned out to be named Weylin, and had a note instructing him to act in his quarters. When I left the Warrens, I was accosted by a thug who told me he was going to make sure I kept my mouth shut. This was a godsend, as the note to Weylin only had the letter "N" as a signature. I beat the thug within an inch of his life with the rest of the foundry workers looking on, and then extracted a name: "Nepos the nose".

Right. I tracked down the house belonging to Nepos the Nose, and managed to get an audience with him. Surprisingly, he confessed everything: Madanach was indeed the Forsworn king, and he was indeed in Cidhna Mine. However, Madanach had no intention of complying with Thonar's demands, and was in fact coordinating the rebellion from inside the prison, as well as the various murders around town.

Less surprisingly, Nepos then informed me that I was neither the first nor the last to get this far, and I wouldn't leave the room alive. In his arrogance, he had apparently not appreciated that one must carefully consider who - or what - one invites into one's home.

Dropping the last body, I made my way back to the Shrine of Talos to meet Eltrys. He was dead, apparently at the hands of either Nepos or the City Guard. My money is on Nepos, though, as the Guard just throw people into Cidhna Mine. As they did me, for being an annoying busybody, and also a convenient patsy for the recent murders. Well, I suppose "patsy" is pushing it. After all, I did kill Nepo's entire little circle. But then, I claim self-defense.

I suppose I could have resisted arrest, but I actually wanted to meet - and kill - Madanach. Also, I was pretty sure that no prison yet made can hold a Dragon-Born Vampire Lord.

I would like to point out, by the way, that I am not a fan of the Forsworn. I've seen things in Forsworn camps that put Daedric cults, vampire lairs, and necromancers to shame. Many Daedra are worshipped out of an appreciation for that Daedra's qualities, or for some ideal. Vampires and werewolves, at their worst, are slavering, hungry beasts, predators. Necromancers desire knowledge and power (usually). But the Forsworn enclaves don't seem to just utilize the cruel and insane when necessary - they seem to pursue it for it's own sake. It's not that they butcher animal and human alike for ritual or need - they glory in it. Their bastions are one long festival of dried blood, rotting flesh, and bones. The heads of dead animals on spikes, on walls, entrails spread around like some obscene paint. Oh, and they revere and worship hag-ravens, those diseased abominations that feast on human flesh.

When I met Madanach, he confirmed the truth of what I'd discovered, and mockingly asked if I wanted revenge for the deaths and attacks. I confirmed that I wanted just that, and killed him. Looking him over, I discovered that he had an escape plan and tunnel. Convenient. I also discovered that the other prisoners were Forsworn, and were displeased by the death of Madanach. Failing to realize that it was not I that was trapped in the mine with them, but rather that they were trapped in there with me made my rampage all the sweeter.

The tunnel out was populated by the standard enemies: spiders, dwarven automatons, etc. When I reached the exit, Thonar Silver-blood was there. He had apparently thought better of his action, and his guards, when entering the mine in order to free me, had discovered the dead Madanach and the escape tunnel. He returned my equipment, offered me a family heirloom for my trouble, and explained that he'd cleared my name with the Jarl. Then he walked off.

Well, I still don't care for the Silver-bloods. I think that they are greedy, manipulative bastards. But I suppose I won't show up in Thonar's house on some dark night looking for payback.

In any case, I've finally received word from the Mage's College as to where those books are located. Time to introduce myself to Fellglow Keep.
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Vikarion

  • Guest

Journal,
Fellglow Keep was easy. Almost all conjurers. For a sorcerer, wearing heavy armor and able to attack in melee and at range, combat was no contest.

The thief was apparently under the impression that I was there for him. I took pity and freed him. The conjurers had also imprisoned several vampires, which I also freed, and who took their irritation out on their former captors.

Anyway, after getting the books, I've been assigned to go look for the Augur of Dunlain, which I intend to. In the meantime, I'm going to put down my impressions of some of my colleagues here at the college.

Of those who entered the college when I did, I enjoy spending time with Brelyna Maryon and J'zargo. Onmund is often a bit too uptight and defensive. J'zargo is ambitious, but also, oddly for a Khajitt, fairly guileless, being quite open about his hopes, plans, and dreams. He's competitive, but has a healthy attitude about it, seeing the success of others as an incentive for personal advancement. Brelyna is smart and very modest about her own abilities.

I think the person at the college I've been most impressed with is Faralda, an Altmer who specializes in Destruction magic. She, along with Mirabelle Ervine (the current dean), seems to be one of the most level-headed and clear-eyed of the mages here. This is all the more interesting considering that the stereotype of Destruction mages is...less level-headed.

Ancano is the Thalmor "advisor", and has generally been a sticker-thorn in the sock for just about everyone here. In fact, right before my writing this, he dragged me up to the Arch-Mage's quarters to meet a Psijic mage. Ah, I forgot to write that down above. Well, typical Psijic double-speak, but the Psijic is the one who ordered me to find the Augur of Dunlain.

Colette Marence is the local Restoration expert, but she also has an unpleasant personality with a tendency to whine, combined with a persecution complex. Drevis Neloren, on the other hand, Is a bit absent-minded, but generally pleasant.

Mirabelle Ervine is business-like, strict, but reasonable. I very much have the impression that it is the Dean that runs the college, and that the Arch-Mage is generally there for status and firepower.

There are quite a few others, of course, but that's all I can write for now. Time to go find the Augur.
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Vikarion

  • Guest

Journal,
Well, after some searching around, I persuaded Mirabelle Ervine to tell me where the Augur was. In the midden. Seems a strange spot, but, oh well.

When I found the Augur, he indulged in the standard "mystical speech". Seriously, what is it with that? It's never useful, never helps, just makes whoever is giving it look like a pretentious shit. Oh well. He told me that I needed to find the Staff of Magnus to avert some great disaster.

I went to tell Savos Aren (the Arch-Mage) this, and he directed me to Mirabelle again. After chasing her down, she informed me that some Synod (some other group of mages) researchers had come to the College, and were investigating Mzulft. This wouldn't be important, save for the fact that they had mentioned the staff. So, now I'm off to Mzulft, in the Rift.
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Vikarion

  • Guest

Journal,
Mzulft. Full of Falmer, Dwemer Automatons, and dead Synod. Well, not all dead, but I wish they were.

I made my way through the ruin, until I found the last Synod researcher. Along the way, I'd picked up a "focusing crystal", and it turned out that that was integral to what came next.

See, the Synod researchers had been working on developing a way to use Dwemer technology to create a map of magical loci throughout Skyrim, by using some sort of "Oculory" to focus starlight. Well, together, he and I finished the project. Of course, after the map was created, he immediately noticed that the College had become a massive loci of magical power, and promptly accused me of trying to sabotage his project. Eventually, I managed to get him to help me figure out that the Staff was probably in Labyrinthian, after which he announced his intention of heading back to Cyrodiil to "tell them everything".

Perhaps I should have killed him, but, at this point, I'm not really worried about the Synod. They have no power in Skyrim, and based on their performance against rather mediocre Falmer and Dwemer threats, I suspect that they are little threat. I've also heard that they've banned both Necromancy and Conjuration, which probably also means that they do little Enchanting. No wonder the College of Whispers is winning their little power struggle in Cyrodiil. In fact, Faralda says that the Whispers are trying to get the Synod labeled a political minority unworthy of recognition.

Unfortunately, when I came back, the College was in turmoil. Ancano had locked himself in with the Eye (the orb from Saarthal), and warded the entrance to the Hall of Elements. Savos Aren and Mirabelle Ervine asked me to help break through it, and I did, with fire magic. Unfortunately, Savos Aren then had the bright idea of running up to Ancano. A moment later, there was a bright flash, and I came to lying on the floor, with Mirabelle asking if I was alright. I was, but Ancano had re-warded himself, and Savos Aren, the Arch-Mage, was nowhere to be seen. Mirabelle was injured, but asked me to go look for him.

I found him outside, with Tolfdir. Tolfdir told me that Savos Aren was dead, which was quite apparently true, having been apparently blasted through the doorway by Ancano. I should remember to be grateful more often for ebony armor. Tolfdir also told me that Ancano had set some sort of magical attackers against Winterhold.

With Faralda and Arniel Gane, I rushed down the bridge and we took on the glowing orbs that were whistling through the streets of Winterhold. They looked a lot like the wisps in the Soul Cairn, and there might be a connection, as they appeared to be somehow composed partly of soul gems.

When I returned to Mirabelle, she and Tolfdir were trying to contain Ancano's expanding ward. She told me that Savos Aren had given her something, which he intended for me. It was a torc, ancient Nordic, shaped like a door knocker. She told me that I should go to Labyrinthian and retrieve the Staff, as it might hold the key for defeating Ancano, as it can theoretically drain magical energy.
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Vikarion

  • Guest

Journal,
Labyrinthian was...a labyrinth. And I think I learned a bit more about Savos Aren there. After using the torc to enter Labyrinthian, I began to see...historical ghosts, I guess. Apparitions of what had happened long ago. It turns out that Labyrinthian held an ancient evil, a Dragon Priest named Morokei. Savos Aren and a group of his friends from the college had come to Labyrinthian to investigate it, only for most of them to die - at least one of them to an ancient, undead dragon skeleton.

When they made it to the final chamber, there were only three left. Unfortunately, inside, they woke up Morokei. Savos Aren used the souls of his two friends to hold Morokei in a binding, apparently. When I entered, I released them from their torment, and then killed the boastful Morokei. And took his mask, as well as the Staff of Magnus he carried.

Oh, and then, on my way out, I was ambushed by another Thalmor, trying to make sure Ancano succeeded. Ancano is not working alone, it seems. Unless this Thalmor was his only assistant, in which case he is working alone now.

When I returned to the College, Tolfdir met me. He informed me that Mirabelle was dead, killed getting the others out. As for the College, well, Tolfdir and I were speaking out on the walkway, as the College was completely warded off by Ancano's whirling blue energy field. However, as predicted, the Staff of Magnus easily dispersed it.

The Staff was equally as useful when we entered the Hall of Elements. Ancano was completely impervious to any spell, drawing power from the Eye as he was. Fortunately, the Staff also worked well to end that little trick, closing up the Eye to Ancano and rendering him vulnerable once again. Good thing, too, as he'd taken my work on the Eye as an opportunity to paralyze Tolfdir, and I had to take him on myself.

For all of his boasting, though, Ancano was only a good mage as long as he could tap into power strong enough to render his own limitations inconsequential. Once he was separated from the Eye, he went down, hard, to only a couple Incinerate spells.

Once he was down, the Psijics showed up again. They took the Eye (and good riddance), before telling me that they were proud of my success and that I would make a good Arch-Mage. Uh...thanks.

I wasn't sure about what to think about them taking the Eye. On the other hand, it's apparently just until the world is ready for it, and frankly, it can't be left here at the College. As well, I don't know what to think about being made Arch-Mage - as it happened, Tolfdir and the others agreed with the Psijic. But then, it is mostly a ceremonial position, and Tolfdir will be Dean, handling the operations of the College. I certainly have no complaint with helping out now and then.
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Vikarion

  • Guest

Journal,
The island of Solstheim is...strange. Ashlands, woods, and glacier. Definitely full of variety.

I arrived here after investigating the note I found on the body of those cultists a bit back. I probably should have come sooner, but here I am.

The settlement of Raven Rock appears to have fallen on hard times. There are several out of work miners - the local ebony mine is out of ebony, apparently - and no one can tell me who Miraak is, although the name is familiar to almost all. The ash from Red Mountain is held away from the settlement by "The Bulwark", a large wall, and by sheltering cliffs. It should be a prosperous settlement, but the lack of farms or an income source mean that it is slowly disintegrating, despite the efforts of Lleril Morvayn, Councilor, and Adril Arano, Second Councilor. Lleril is a good leader, so far as I can tell. In fact, he's currently covering some of the expenses of the colony from his personal treasury, if the conversations I've overheard are correct. He obviously can't keep that up forever.

Despite all this, the Dunmer here are remarkably friendly, save for a couple - well, one - glaring exception: the local orc thug and loan shark. He spends his time haunting the local pub and stalking around the town, demanding money. I dislike him for that, which means that his life expectancy has become somewhat...diminished.

Anyway, a couple people mentioned that the name "Miraak" reminded them of the "Earth Stone", a standing column outside of town to the south-west. When I arrived there, I found several of the locals in a trance-like state, mumbling and building some sort of shrine. Oh, and a Telvanni wizard, Neloth, who, although a bit eccentric, was quite informative. Apparently Miraak has been dead - or gone - for thousands of years, although there is a temple to him being constructed in the middle of Solstheim. That's all Neloth knew, so I suppose I'm off to the temple tomorrow.
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Vikarion

  • Guest

Journal,
The habits of mortality die hard. No sooner had I finished the previous entry, then I set off to the local inn (The Retching Netch). It wasn't until I had rented a room and was about to lie down that I remembered that I didn't need to sleep, and that, in fact, night would be the best time to go investigate the temple. So, not wishing to arouse suspicion, I snuck out of the inn and made my way towards the temple.

Good thing I did, too, because I discovered Captain Veleth, commander of the local Redoran Guard, trying to fight off three ash-spawn (basically, sort of ash-atronachs, or ash zombies). I stepped in to help him, and once they were slain, we discovered a written "declaration of war" on one of the dead spawn. Apparently someone in the decrepit Fort Frostmoth doesn't care for us. Well, I promised the Captain that I'd look into it as soon as I'd checked out the temple.

The temple itself was much like the shrines in style and condition, being rebuilt by entranced natives of the island. But I'm on the right track: I encountered a few cultists around the temple. I also found a Skaal - a member of a local tribe of Nords - named Frea there, trying to rescue her friends from their trance-like state. We agreed to team up and entered the temple.

The temple was similar in nature to other Nord ruins, with plenty of Draugr and other undead, as well as more cultists. We found little of note, until we reached the final room of the temple, hidden though it was behind a fake wall. There, on a pedestal, sat a Black Book. I cannot describe how it seemed, except to say that it was...almost ethereal, and yet entirely too solid. Naturally, I opened it, and seconds later found myself wrapped in tentacles, and then..."pulled" through reality. On the other "side", I found myself under a flaming green sky, on an island in an oily black sea. And there was Miraak, who spoke a few dismissive words and had his minions throw me back to Nirn, the mortal plane.

It was...unpleasant.

Back on this plane, I told Frea what I had seen. She recommended that we go and visit her father, the shaman of the Skaal village. We did so, and I told him (his name is Storn) what I had seen. He explained that Miraak was an ancient Dragon-Born who had rebelled against the dragons, and failed. The Black Books are artifacts of the Daedric Lord Hermaeus Mora, and Miraak is apparently holed up in Apocrypha, Mora's realm. Storn theorized that Miraak is behind the reconstruction of the temple and of the shrines around the large "Stones", probably to harness their power in order to return Miraak to Solstheim.

Storn then offered me an opportunity for frustrating Miraak: if I went to the far north of Solstheim, I would find a Word Wall where I could learn the "Bend Will" shout, which would allow me to break Miraak's hold on the Stones and make his return more difficult. I agreed, but first I have to visit Fort Frostmoth.
« Last Edit: 04 Jan 2015, 19:15 by Vikarion »
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Vikarion

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Journal
Well, Fort Frostmoth was the source of the ash-spawn attacking Raven Rock. Apparently someone - long gone, but they'd left their notes - decided it would be interesting to try putting a "heart-stone" into a two-hundred-plus-year-old corpse. And then the poor Imperial Commander so revived decided to kill anyone on the island not submitting to Imperial authority.

Of course, this is predictable. Even a second-rate necromancer knows that you can't just revive a body. Either the soul must be recalled somehow from the afterlife, or the corpse must be maintained under magical control. Otherwise, you end up with what we had here: a body, superficially capable of action, but without the capability of comprehension of any new reality. This is in contrast to a ghost, which is technically capable of any mental operations necessary, but is largely incapable of detailed interaction with physical objects, although most ghosts can still strike at living beings or objects utilizing magical energies, such as Dwemer creations.

But I digress. I cleared the fort, and ended the threat, as well as cleaning out the Temple's Ancestral Tomb (in Raven Rock) for Elder Othreloth. Now I'm off to Saering's Watch, right after I take a quick trip to the mainland to sell a few items.
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Vikarion

  • Guest

Journal,
Well, it appears that Miraak has decided to start taking "my" dragon souls. While I was on the mainland, I fended off a dragon attack, only for Miraak to show up in ethereal form and consume the soul of the dragon. How...rude.

Ah well. In any case, I made my way back to Solstheim, and to Saerin's Watch. There was a Word Wall there, and a dragon, and several Draugr, but while I killed the Draugr and learned the word, the dragon took off and did not return. How odd.

I then returned to the Skaal village and from there, made my way to the Wind Stone. Using the first word of "Bend Will" resulted in a spectacular explosion of the half-constructed shrine, and an attack from some sort of...abomination. I killed it, and discovered that the entranced Skaal were now back to normal, albeit somewhat disoriented. I can understand - before I used the "Bend Will" shout, I'd touched the stone...and found myself hammering away at construction of the shrine. Fortunately, I was able to break away from the compulsion, although not without effort.

Anyway, I then returned to the Skaal village, where Storn informed me that Neloth knew more about the Black Books, and asked me to free the other Stones, save for the one in the center of Miraak's Temple, which, being the center of Miraak's efforts, cannot be freed until Miraak is dead. Although it took a bit of work to walk all over the island, I've spent the last few days traveling to each stone and breaking the shrines, and am now on my way to Neloth.
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Vikarion

  • Guest

Journal,
I quite like Neloth, although perhaps I shouldn't. He's rude, somewhat uncaring, and often sarcastic, but he possesses an inquisitive detached air that's both entertaining and disarming. He's also incredibly matter-of-fact and openly self-centered...yet more in a drive for knowledge sort of way than a power-hungry or greedy way.

He was also incredibly helpful. The instant I explained what I was about, he was out of his tower and off to a Dwemer ruin, explaining that there was a Black Book inside that would explain the source of Miraak's power.

I won't go in to the long and complicated process of re-engineering the pumping system that it required to access the Black Book within the flooded ruin, but I will say that working with Neloth was a rare pleasure. Oh, he was somewhat condescending and sarcastic, but also highly competent and very informative, as well as being a capable, level-headed fighter. Of course, he's been around for centuries, so I suppose he's had time to practice.

Anyway, we found the Black Book, and I read it. Inside, I made my way through the halls of Apocrypha, under that alien and burning green sky, through stretching halls and whirling pages of lost secrets. Well, some of them were lost. I picked up quite a few books for later reading. It's not like they'll be missed - there are literally walls of ancient books and scrolls.

But I think the most disturbing thing about Apocrypha is that endless sea. The sky is alien, but nowhere near as threatening as the Soul Cairn's. Yet, in Apocrypha, that oily black sea, which burns if it touches flesh, goes on forever...the occasional writhing limb extended from it. What abominations lurk beneath those dark waters?

In any case, I found my way to the end of this particular maze, where Hermaeus Mora confronted me. Actually, this is not the first time I have spoken to the Daedric Lord. I believe I forgot to write in this journal about it, but I performed an errand for Septimus Signus that ended up with Septimus getting...vaporized, and me holding the Oghma Infinium - all, sort of, at the behest of Hermaeus Mora. That is to say, I performed a task for Septimus, and Mora did what Mora wanted to do, and then claimed I did it in his service. I haven't read the Oghma Infinium yet.

Well, Mora reminded me of that encounter, and then taught me the second word of "Bend Will". Apparently Mora isn't entirely pleased with Miraak's little escape attempt (from Apocrypha), and has decided to see if I can defeat him. However, I will need all three words of "Bend Will", and Mora will not give me the last unless I get the secrets of the Skaal for him.
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Vikarion

  • Guest

Journal,
Hermaeus Mora has just killed Storn.

I brought the news of what Mora had said back to Storn. He agreed to give Mora the secrets, though it would cost him his life, and read the book. I objected beforehand that there ought to be a better way, but Storn stated that the Skaal had prophesied that this day would come, and read the book anyway.

Well, Mora got his secrets - apparently nothing noteworthy, just knowledge he had wanted to acquire, and I learned the word. Storn was, apparently, collateral damage. I think that Mora should figure out a better way of acquiring knowledge than ripping people's minds apart.

I'm going to read the Black Book, "Waking Dreams", and confront Miraak. Might as well do it now, while I'm still angry.
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Vikarion

  • Guest

Journal,
Miraak is dead.

I fought my way through Apocrypha until I found one of his dragons, Sahrotaar, who I bent to my will with the "Bend Will" shout. I rode him to Miraak's tower, and there fought Miraak, after speaking with him. Miraak stated his intention to consume my soul and then use my power to escape Apocrypha, re-establishing himself as the ruler of Solstheim. There was no reasoning with him.

Miraak was far more gifted in the use of his nature as a Dragon-born than I am, but he was a less capable combatant in magic and steel. I wonder if his ability to shout led him to underestimate the power of more mundane techniques? Perhaps. Or perhaps he had become too dependent on his patron Mora.

As the fight went on, he continually restored himself by killing his subordinate dragons and consuming their souls to fuel his own life-force. That worked until he ran out of dragons. I, personally, found my belt of health potions both more convenient and more adequate to the task. But then, Apocrypha is rather barren of alchemical ingredients or potions, so I suppose Miraak had no other option besides dragons.

Seeing that I was about to win, Mora took the opportunity to steal my victory, impaling the wounded Miraak with a tentacle and taunting him, which I thought was in poor taste. In any case, I consumed Miraak's soul, and took his equipment, as Mora gloated behind me and proclaimed me his new Champion.

Well, Mora can think what he wants.

I think I understand Hermaeus Mora a bit more. For all that he is claimed to be a powerful corrupter, I don't think that he is. Hermaeus Mora cannot corrupt you, he can only tempt you, trade with you, as he did with the Skaal. You are only corrupted by your own choice to trade with Mora, to serve Mora. Miraak wasn't trapped in Apocrypha just because he read a Black Book - he was trapped in Apocrypha because he traded his subservience to Mora for power and for a refuge from the dragons he had betrayed.

But for all that Hermaeus Mora proclaims me his Champion and his agent, I am not. I have agreed to nothing, and I am not tempted to make trades for Mora's power and secrets. Nor am I tempted to spend ages prowling the islands of Apocrypha. If I want something from this place, I shall simply take it. And for all that Mora claims that my free will is an illusion, and that I serve him, he lies. I know that I don't, unless I believe I do. Mora can tempt, but he is not Molag Bal - he cannot force.

I have returned to Nirn, and spoken to Frea. Storn's sacrifice was not in vain: with the death of Miraak, Solstheim and its Stones are free. Frea cautioned me about Mora, and I listened. Now I shall return to Raven Rock.
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Vikarion

  • Guest

Journal,
The ebony mines are open again! And all because I offered to help Glover Mallory get his pickaxe back.

Talking to the local blacksmith, I found out that he'd loaned Crescius Caerellius, a local miner, his "Ancient Nordic Pickaxe". At the same time, the local innkeeper and bartender, Geldis Sadri, had asked me to pass out some samples of his new Sujamma blend. Why not, I though, combine the two errands and offer the miner a sample of the Sujamma in exchange for returning the pickaxe?

Well, when I found the miner, he was inside the old mine, having an argument with his Dunmer wife (he's an imperial, if I don't miss my guess, and I don't). She, obviously concerned for his welfare, didn't want him venturing down into the mine, while he stubbornly insisted that he had to find out what had happened to his great-grandfather, who disappeared in a purported cave-in long before.

I offered both Crescius and his wife (Aphia) some Sujamma, and then spoke to each of them about Crescius's desire to investigate the mine. Talking to Crescius, I offered a compromise: give me the pickaxe, and I'll investigate the mine. He agreed, and after returning the pickaxe to Mallory - who promptly gave it right back to me (apparently he just wanted Crescius to be more responsible) - I entered the mine. It didn't take long to break through the closed-off section, and I discovered that the "cave-in" had, indeed, been only a cover story. However, contrary to Crescius's dark suspicions about the East Empire Company, they had had a good reason: the miners had broken into an ancient Nordic barrow.

Making my way through the barrow, I discovered his ancestor's remains, as well as his notes and an ancient blade, which, when used on a magical lock, allowed me to clear the rest of the barrow and kill a Dragon Priest guarding a Black Book, before making my way out to the surface. Crescius was overjoyed to learn of my success, and clearing the barrow allowed further investigation by Crescius, revealing several deep veins of ebony ore, which, after a bit of renovation in the mine, have allowed it to be reopened.

Of course, this last has occurred over the past week or two, as I have been doing errands for Neloth and making a few trading trips to the mainland. Nonetheless, the atmosphere and mood of Raven Rock have brightened considerably, even more so after I foiled an assassination plot against the First Councilor. As well, the destruction of the source of the ash-spawn attacks has made farming on the outskirts a much safer proposition.

I can't say that this is all my doing, of course - without Crescius's determination, Raven Rock would have been doomed. But it's still good to know that one can have such a positive effect.
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