Thursday, May 9, 2013

Morrowind Day 46 - A Dark Place Indeed

30 Hearthfire
When I delivered the Falensarano stone, Folms warned me that the last stone was in a place he could only describe as "dark" and "very, very bad". I did not think much of it though. After all, I had just destroyed the cruel operators of the slave arena only a few days after surviving a trip into a Sixth House cult hideaway. What could be worse than either of those?

The fortress of Telasero is built along the south-east coast, well-positioned to police traffic on the coastal road between Molag Mar and Sura as well as the waterway to Suran and Vivec. It must have been an important fortification in its time, but that time was long ago. I left Vivec early in the morning and arrived at the fog-shrouded fortress after an hour or so. There were no signs of life on the outside of the fortress and combined with the fog, made for quite an eerie scene.
I was attacked by two halberd-wielding skeletons while I was circling around the hills to find the fortress entrance and while neither posed any sort of threat to me, the encounter foreshadowed what I was about to face.
Welcome to Telasero
Signs that something was greatly amiss were in the form of the garish red candles that I have started to see more often as of late. Whatever their form or substance, they burn with a sickly red glow and managed to give off little light to their surroundings. The entranceway corridor was full of the things and barely lit the doorway deeper into the fortress.

The architecture of Telasero was obviously designed to provide maximum benefit to the defending garrison and two barely clothed Dunmers were stationed on a platform opposite the doorway, perfectly positioned to fire missiles at anyone coming through. However, they were mindless husks and neither reacted when I shot them from beyond the doorway. I waited to see if their deaths would register with anyone (or anything) else in the fortress, but other than a dry rasping I heard nothing.

I crept through the doorway and down a small ramp into the sunken room and spotted another malformed creation. The rasping was one of the hollow-faced creatures, still breathing despite the observed uselessness of doing so. When I struck it my spear cracked and shattered it's skin as if it were brittle stone and I peered at the wounds on the corpse enough to see that there was no blood, just a thick purple ichor that seeped out and thickened almost instantly. If the creature had been a man once, it was a long time ago.

More recent members of the Sixth House cult were the maddened mountains of flesh, two of which I encountered under the ramp coming from doorway. They both bore expressions equally horrified and enraged, but at least their affliction was due to disease rather than whatever transformation led to the other monster.

The two creatures were guarding a small tunnel, probably at one point a planned expansion of the fortress, but it led to a pool of lava and a dead-end. Had they been vampires, I would not have been reluctant to cast their bodies into the liquid fire, but no one could pay me enough Septims to lay my hands on the monsters in Telasero.

An adjoining room contained two more mindless, naked Dunmer, both of which drew simple clubs and charged, as they usually do. Against one wall was a skeleton slumped against a chest, with a silver short sword resting near it. The remains of an adventurer perhaps? There is no way to know. The chest contained nothing of great value.

From that room was attached the largest room in the fortress, full of candles, altars, and more mindless Dunmer with clubs who needlessly sacrificed themselves at the end of my short sword and spear. Most of the altars were crude things of, surprisingly, wood and decorated with chunks of wet, pale flesh.

My fear of the Sixth House creatures is not nearly what it was the first time I met them. While visually horrifying, they are either fragile or slow in a fight and their disadvantages are easily turned against them. With the exception of the faceless creatures, anything that was once a man (or woman) undergoes a transformation that results in them getting stronger and slower. The final stage is probably the massive creatures I have been facing, but they can barely move at anything faster than a stumbling gait. Silvered or glass arrows do them enough damage that they fall quickly. I shot one in the leg today, which managed to trip it up and it laid on the floor, unable to stand. I would have left it there, but the howling screams and bellowing compelled me to kill it anyway.

The faceless creature and the stone-like thing are the opposite: having been once a person (I assume), their transformation is warping them in a way that has weakened their bodies, but provided strong abilities with magicka. It is a well-balanced arrangement, but they all appear to lack the intelligence to work together.

And that was the extent of the Sixth House Telasero garrison, less than what I expected to face when I stepped inside. The room with the altars also had a set of large bells identical to the ones I found in the cave a few days ago and several stone troughs, most filled with oozing chunks of white flesh. One of the troughs was full of clothing and a few potions, discarded perhaps by the cultists as part of a ritual. The clothing was very fine, a gold ring and amulet within made a matching pair, each studded with emeralds and rubies. But I had no desire to carry anything from this place on my body and left the clothing alone. The potions were less impressive, and on top of a book laid the Propylon stone. 

Where does Folms get his information from?

There was nothing for me during the walk back, so I used a Divine Intervention scroll (ever useful!) to send myself to Ebonheart's chapel. For having acquired the last Propylon stone, it is fitting that I experienced the first clear night since arriving at Vvardenfell. After a day of fighting mutant horrors, the minutes I spent gazing at the few constellations I knew was very relaxing.
I rented a room at the Six Fishes rather than walk back to Vivec in the dark. The door is physically and magically locked and I have pushed all the furniture against it, no doubt to the irritation of the patrons in the bar below me. Tomorrow I will finally be done with all these stones and be free to travel to any corner of Vvardenfell at my will.

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