I woke this morning quite comfortably in the hammock of one of my defeated foes and had breakfast while tinkering with the alchemical equipment they had left behind. The equipment was a full complement of any alchemist's workshop, but too bulky to carry with me, at least right now. I may return for it if I ever find a place to call my own.
The cavern bordered a Daedric ruin which I had to work my way through in order to continue along the coast towards the Ashlander camp. I normally would have skirted around the edge of the site, but perhaps I was still smarting from all the wealth I had left behind and I cast a few defensive spells and marched right through. In hindsight this was a foolish idea given the condition of my armor and weapons after the battle with the Daedroth and the Golden Saint.
Almost immediately I was set upon by two Clannfear, but my skills must be improving more than I thought, since I dispatched both of them with little harm to myself and claimed their valuable hearts for myself. I passed by the door of the ruins and though I tried to resist, my curiosity got the better of me and I entered the shrine.
Almost immediately I was set upon by a Dremoa wielding a Dwarven halberd, but he may have been the weaker of his kind, for he cast no spells and relied only on his bladework, which even against my sword and shield was not sufficient to save his life. Another Daedric heart plopped into my pack. Thanks to the mysteries of the alloy, the halberd was not much heavier than my spear, but still suffered the balance issues all pole-axe weapons have. The natural stance of a Khajiit (and Argonian) is woefully inadequate to utilize the advantage of the weapon and I left it near the corpse. In the hands of say, an Orc or a Nord, a well-placed strike from a halberd could cleave a smaller foe in two.
The inside of the shrine was not spacious and the short hallway led only to a small alcove, where a few bedrolls and chests lay in the corner, all rotten and long unused. The locks on the chests were decayed enough for me to smash them off, but the chests only contained the signs of long gone (or dead) smugglers: lockpicks, a few Septims, and some packets of Moon Sugar. Nothing of value was gained, other than some confidence in my growing abilities.
The weather had turned far more agreeable when I exited the shrine and I carefully made my way along the coast, following the rough directions I had given. After a short distance I came across a collection of buildings that looked like they were built from silt strider shells (possible?) and the inhabitants were all armed with either a sword or spear, as well as a bow and full quiver. I correctly guessed them to be the tribe I was seeking and not wanting to be peppered with arrows, made a loud, clumsy approach before I reached their village.
|The Ashland camp|
They seemed unconcerned by my approach, but many of them rudely refused to talk to me. Finally, one Ashlander directed me to the wise woman of the camp "if I insisted on talking so much". The wise woman was as willing to talk just as much as her tribesmen were not. She was unwilling to discuss the Nerevarine prophecy, but gave me quite a bit of information on the Blight, Dagoth Ur, and even advised me on the dream I had, telling me that this was a communication of Dagoth Ur's and to disregard everything to do with it. I find it odd that Dagoth Ur would have an interest in me, but perhaps it is an affliction that occurs at random, Blight upon the wind perhaps. This may explain the strange behavior of the citizens in Suran and elsewhere.
While I would not say the woman was friendly, she was cordial and more importantly, willing to sell the Propylon stone for only twenty-five Septims. She said that a hunter had found the stone in some nearby ruins, probably one of the two nearby Dunmer fortresses. She had an impressive set of high-quality alchemical equipment and we soon fell into small talk, comparing notes about various ingredients.
The sun was still high, but it was late enough in the day that I could not accomplish much of use before darkness set. I contemplated going back to Ibar-Dad and spending the night there, but the wise woman must have been reading my mind, for she finished our conversation by suggesting I spend the night in a temporarily vacant hut, which they call yurts, extracting a promise out of me to return to her with any gems, which are difficult for the Ashland tribes to come across and required for the more potent alchemy recipes.
Tomorrow I begin the return journey back to Caldera, another step towards receiving the Propylon Index completed.