Sometimes good ideas are what occur to you long after they're needed. Waking up at the Mages Guild in Vivec, I was not relishing the walk to Ebonheart for what felt like the hundredth time, when I realized I could just use one of my Divine Intervention scrolls to pop over there. With no Imperial temple in Vivec, the closest shrine to Vivec is located in the Ebonheart Chapel. Likewise, I imagine using an Almisvi Intervention scroll in Ebonheart will send me to a temple in Vivec.
And that's what I did, blinking into existence in front of the Ebonheart Chapel moments after finishing a more than usual leisurely breakfast in Vivec. Kaye was glad to see me and surprised that I had not only returned so quickly, but also with my presentation of Linus's amulet and belt. Kaye's reward for my perilous adventure was the staff itself, plus a shirt that would temporarily increase my endurance, though not restore it.
I had little use for either item, my skills in combat don't lend well to the wide, clumsy swings of a staff and the shirt's enchantment was not sufficient enough to pique my interest. I donated both items to the Cult. Hopefully the next recipient of the items will have better luck than Linus did.
Kaye's next request was for me to go back to one of the dismal fishing villages: Hla Oad. A devout Argonian Cultist by the name of Okur was having visitations from the spirit of a murdered woman and Okur needed someone more combat-orientated than herself to assist her with putting the spirit to rest. Kaye only knew a little about the Argonian, saying she was one of the few in Morrowind with the Sight, which I guess is a way of saying she can be bothered by the spirits of dead people. He vouched for her trustworthiness though and I gather by his delight in my acceptance that this task had been passed around for quite some time. Not a surprise, for I doubt Hla Oad is a prime location for adventurers seeking glory and fame.
I broke my own promise again never to get back on a boat, but the walk from Ebonheart to Hla Oad did not seem worth the eventual destination and additional time, though I really do need to start walking about more often. The boat docked at the village just as dusk was setting in and I wasted no time in finding Okur, hoping to not have to spend the night in one of the squalid straw huts that passed for housing.
The locals have a wary appreciation for Okur, she seems to split her time between acting as a spirit medium and a healer of the various fishing-related injuries the village typically sees. Being an Argonian in a backwater village, the respect is reserved and in some cases grudgingly dispensed. I was directed to her hut and received the full story. The spirit was of a woman named Julielle Aumine and she met a violent end at the hands of smugglers when she managed to stumble upon their hideout. Her spirit cannot rest until her family heirloom is recovered from the murderers and returned to her husband. Revenge, of course, was also part of the requirement, but that was going to occur anyway.
Okur really did have whatever the Gift is, she was able to give me the number of smugglers I'd be facing, their names, a rough idea of their equipment, and the location of their base, which was distressingly close to the village. Morrowind may be an Imperial province, but it is becoming increasingly clear to me that the Imperial presence on Vvardenfell is a lot shakier than it looks. In any other province, a cache of murderers holed up less than two hundred yards from a village would have the wrath of the Legion called down upon them. On Vvardenfell justice is dependent on a bureaucratic Redguard, a poor Argonian living in a shaky straw shack, and a Khajiit trying to make a few more Septims.
The hideout was nestled against the hillside a short walk from town and I took my usual defensive precautions before entering, but I almost need not have bothered. With justice depending on such a mismatched trio, it is only fitting that my opponents were all one bottle away from death by inebriation.
Two of the smugglers, a Redguard and a Dunmer, were guarding the entrance and attacked me immediately...and drunkenly. The Dunmer's spells flew wide, one of them nearly hitting his comrade, and the Redguard lacked the aggressive finesse attributed to their unique combat style, retaining only the aggression in his inebriation. Both fell quickly, the Dunmer quite literally after tripping over his robes. The other two were further into the cave, only the Imperial put up any sort of challenge and even that was only due to the uncontrolled maniacal swinging of his claymore. Julielle's amulet was on the body of the second Dunmer, a nondescript trinket save for an inscription too worn to make out. Their sleeping area was completely strewn with nearly empty bottles and coins, artifacts of the celebration of their most recent heist.
Okur received the amulet somberly, promising to see that Julielle's husband received it. Her promise suggests an assumption on her part that I care about the issue more than I do, but like I wrote earlier, I suspect that this task has been waiting for quite some time now. Okur had nothing else to offer me and being as poor as she was I didn't think of asking her for anything, but she did offer me a filling, if simple, dinner and a clean bedroll on the floor for the night, both of which I accepted.
I know that I am ultimately doing some small bit of good in fighting smugglers and bandits, but I have never sought out combat solely for the sake of killing another person and the ease at which I have been doing so while in Morrowind is starting to weigh on me. I was never a great warrior in Cyrodiil and this seemingly new ability of mine makes me feel like I'm walking in someone else's fur. Perhaps I'm just feeling guilty. I don't know. I think I have had my fill of the Imperial Cult for awhile. Maybe tomorrow I'll start gathering information on those chambers at the Dunmer fortresses. Someone at the Mages Guild might have an idea. Otherwise I might check in with my friend at Balmora and see if there is anything to do. Or maybe I should travel to the northeast corner of Vvardenfell.
The possibilities, as yet, remain endless.