Waking up in Okur's shack is certainly a step up from the Ashlands and I was served breakfast on top of it. Okur was very grateful for my assistance and we spoke over breakfast about her Cultist training and responsibilities. She is part of a program implemented by Kaye to reach isolated communities and spread the influence of the Imperial Cult (and by extension I suppose, Kaye). Okur tackles her duty with devotion, but has doubts as to its success. According to her, the wilderness of Vvardenfell are saturated with agents working for the dominant criminal syndicate in Morrowind: the Camonna Tong.
Hla Oad is no exception to their attention, Okur knows of at least two people working for the organization as smugglers for illicit coastal deliveries from the mainland. For her part, she keeps her eyes open and her mouth shut and they don't give her any trouble. She also has suspicions that the Imperial Thieves Guild is trying to encroach on their business, but without much success. She certainly injects a bit more character into the town, but Hla Oad is never going to win me over.
After reporting my success with Okur's ghost, he gave me several scrolls that had been donated to the Imperial Cult. But I've exhausted Kaye of tasks for him to give me and he "regrettably" informed me that I could not rise in rank until my skills with Restoration magic and blunt weapons increased. As I do not use blunt weapons or Restoration magic, I suppose my brief employment with the Imperial Cult has come to an end. I was getting a bit tired of it anyway.
I opted to walk across the water from Ebonheart to Vivec and spent the rest of the morning touring the Mages Guilds, looking for cheap spells and potions to buy and talking to everyone about the Dunmer fortress portals. My conversations at Sadrith Mora's guild led me to Folms Mirel in the Caldera guild, whom has made a study of the portals and the method for controlling them.
He calls the portals 'propylons' for some reason and they can be activated via 'propylon index' stones, which fit into a slot on each of the portals. He knows where all the index stones are in a rough sense, but collecting them all involves more travel (and danger) than he is willing to shoulder. His proposition is for me to collect the stones and return them to him and once he has all the index stones, he will use them to enchant another stone to let me teleport from the Caldera Mages Guild to any of the fortresses. They are scattered across Vvardenfell, making this an excellent alternative to boats and I readily agreed to the task.
The first stone was ridiculously easy: It was next door, for sale at the Caldera pawn shop. Five hundred Septims were sufficent for the broker to part with the gem-inlaid stone and Folms urged me to find the rest as quickly as possible. He said he had heard the second stone was shipped to St. Olm's temple in Vivec, but couldn't offer better directions than "somewhere in the canton in a storage area". Emelia, the Guild Guide, wished me luck before sending me off to Vivec.
Rather than walk across several cantons to St. Olm's, I paid one of the gondoliers at the Foreign Quarter to float me to the Hlaalu canton and from there to St. Olm's. My first stop was the St. Olm sewers, figuring that the most obscure storage areas would be located there. All I found though was another guarded Daedric shrine, which I avoided, and a nervous Khajiit who called herself Addhiranirr, refusing to talk any further.
I worked my way up the canton, searching through the canal works and encountering another grumpy Khajiit, this one named J'Dhannar, who told me to stop bothering him. I did find a storage area in that level, but I searched the area for quite some time with no luck. By the time I decided to give it a rest it already felt late in the evening. I hadn't bet on it being as late as it was though, when I stepped outside it was pitch black out. Rather than make my way back to the Mages Guild, I used a Divine Intervention scroll to shift over to the Ebonheart Chapel and from there the Six Fishes Inn, where I took a room. The search for the propylon index will have to be continued tomorrow.