18 Last Seed
I woke up early this morning, not sure in which direction I wanted to run off to first. I saw Caius Cosades before anyone else and he recommended that I join on of the Imperial-friendly guilds or find some employment to further my skills and gave me two hundred Septims for training and equipment. Nice of him. He provided me with a quick summary of the guilds and his mention of Ajira at the Mages Guild reminded me of the Alembic I meant to sell yesterday. I thanked Caius and reassured him that he'd be seeing me again soon. He simply smiled and nodded. Thinking back on it now, it sounds stupid. He probably has the resources to force me to see him if required.
Ajira gave me 150 Septims for the Alembic, more than I had expected. She explained happily that for her to earn an Alembic of that quality would take a lot of work and possibly setting "that Bosmer upstairs" on fire. Not wanting to be the one responsible for singed fur, I had Masalinie teleport me to the Mages Guild...elsewhere, in order to meet with a Blades trainer who lived nearby. I wound up purchasing the instructions for a weak Invisibility spell in so that I could to practice casting Illusionary spells. As cheap and weak as it is, I simply cannot get the hang of it. I fail very often and I can only cast the spell a few times before I'm too worn to draw more magicka. I guess I have a long way to go yet.
The Blades trainer in...where I went...told me about the "Sixth House", but she only had rumors to share. She said that a lot of people were nervous and refused to talk about it. I told her that if I found anything, she'd be the first to know, which surprised her. She then recommended I visit a friend of hers, a Nightblade, whom she said would be able to help me further.
Honestly, he wasn't that big of a help, though I did buy another cheap Illusion spell from him, this one to blur my enemies' vision in a fight. In other words: a weak Blindness spell. Again however, my skill is not quite sufficient to cast it, so I'll have to practice the Invisibility spell until I've mastered the basic evocations for Illusion spells.
There wasn't much to do there, so I had the Guild Guide teleport me to Ald'ruhn so that I could speak with the last Blades trainer. I stepped outside of the Mages Guild and instantly got a face and lung full of my first Vvardenfell ash storm.
The ash storm lives up to its name, windy, red, and choking everyone with chunks of ash blowing all about. I could barely see in front of me and the ash was already getting stuck in my ears after a few seconds. I had to shield my face while facing away from the storm and stumbled into an armorer's shop to get some reprieve. He was mostly selling a variation on the native Bonemold armor, but I was surprised to see an Imperial dragonscale helmet in his inventory. There aren't many helmets that will comfortably fit a Khajiit, so I bought it immediately. The dragonscale is, of course, not made from actual dragons, but refers to the method: overlapping small steel plates to create what many think of as a dragon's scales. If dragons existed, I'm not sure if they wouldn't be insulted by it.
I figured I'd stay inside until the storm blew over and sprinted into a local tavern, enticingly called "The Rat in the Pot". I lounged about a bit and spoke to an Argonian who warned me that the Ghostgate was the only thing preventing the blight from sweeping over all of Vvardenfell. It sounded interesting, but when I asked him where the Ghostgate was, he told me if I had to ask, I wasn't ready to journey there. That stung a bit.
|The ash storms of Vvardenfell|
The storm wasn't over, but I was growing tired of the tavern and walked around the town. The storms aren't bad so long as you keep your back to it, but that's not practical outside of town and I feel like I'll be washing grit out of my ears for weeks anyway. I managed to wander outside of town and ran into a woman pacing fretfully by the city's entrance. The woman introduced herself as Falanu and asked if I might be able to find her husband. The two of them were foraging outside of town for alchemy supplies but got separated when a pack of nix hounds attacked them. Her husband distracted the creatures long enough for her to get away, but he hadn't returned. The city guards were apparently uninterested, so I agreed to try to find her husband.
I ran into what may have been two of their nix hound adversaries almost immediately and suffered damage to both my armor and my health. The monsters are large and quick, delivering powerful blows with their legs and jaws. I hope to be able to look back on this journal entry in bemusement that I was almost bested by such base creatures, but as for today, they are a formidable foe, especially in packs. I killed both hounds and continued to search the barren land for the woman's husband, but the sun set before I could find him.
I plan on resuming the search for the poor man tomorrow, but it seems unlikely that an unarmed Dunmer could survive in such an environment overnight. I couldn't persuade Falanu to return to the tavern and she remains outside the gate even now in pitch darkness, waiting for him. Hopefully with more time tomorrow I'll be able to find him, as well as locate my final "contact", who I'm told is residing somewhere near Ald'ruhn.