Life sometimes has a way of gently reminding you of things you should have been aware of. Occasionally this reminder is not so gentle. I awoke at the Six Fishes habitually early and walked to Vivec, anticipating my final hand-over to Folms.
|A very pink morning|
He was possibly just as pleased as I was, but his reasons are his own. With a quick "Wait here!" he dashed out of the Guild and disappeared for an hour or so. When he came back, the Propylon stone was gone, but he handed me a blue stone which he told me was the master Index for all the Propylon chambers. Should I ever desire, all I need to do is mutter the activation word and the master stone will whip me into the Caldera Mages Guild, where Folms can then send me to any of the Dunmer fortresses. The fortresses straddle almost the entire landmass of Vvardenfell, so this will almost eliminate my need for boats and silt striders.
My thoughts have been turning back to the Daedric spear and dagger under Berandas, ever since I acquired the Huunen's bow. Not only am I much stronger than I was, but encumbrance is not the issue it used to be after switching from the Adamantium suit to the Dreugh breastplate. If I am to be the Nerevarine, I should be able to fight like one.
I had cleared Berandas of creatures, at great risk, almost a month ago and I was expecting the fortress to be abandoned. Folms sent me to the fortress's Propylon chamber and the first two levels of the fortress were empty, save for two foraging rats. The expectation that the final level would be similarly empty seemed reasonable.
Reasonable and not at all the case. I was engaged by two Dremora immediately upon descending into the lowest level and the combat attracted one of the ugly, spidery creatures that used the armor-damaging spells. Looking back, I cannot believe how foolish I was: the two Dremora and the armor-eater were very good signs that Berandas had new inhabitants, but I walked right into what was very nearly my final battle, completely flat-footed, as the Bosmer say.
I remember turning the corner and staring into two beady, red eyes. Then I was slumped against the wall, dazed, only able to stare at the atronach in confusion as it advanced to finish me off. Fortunately, my helmet turned what would have been a fatal head injury into a lingering headache. My weapons had been flung away from me into the opposite corner and I had few options. Retreat was one of them.
Scrambling to my feet, I fought off dizziness and nausea as I fled the room, past the corpses of opponents only minutes earlier and up the stairs.. The atronach must have zapped me with magicka powerful enough to fling me into the wall and never in my days have I heard of an atronach that powerful not being under the control of a mage. Disarmed, I was definitely no match for the atronach, nor anything else I was likely to find beyond it.
The Divine Intervention scroll would have sent me back without issue, of course. But I had come to Berandas for the spear and retreating now only meant having to come back later, possibly fighting the battles I had already won. The only weapon I had on me were two glass daggers I had taken from a slaver some time ago and I did not think I stood a chance against anything in Berandas with them.
Instead, I took my chances with my weak Invisibility spell, hoping I would succeed enough at casting it to at least get me to the spear, figuring I could fight my way back out with it. The plan worked better than I expected it would. I was able to sneak past the atronach and into the unfinished cavern area, where I had to duck into an alcove to recast the spell. Dremora armed with two-handed Dwemer blades were patrolling the tunnels, but I was able to sneak past them and into the chamber where the skeleton had been impaled.
He (or she) was still there, stuck fast to the rock by the Daedric spear in its ribcage and the Daedric dagger in what was once a wrist. The Dremora seemed content to walk along the passage just ahead of the chamber, so I took the extra time to carefully remove the remains and lay them on the cavern floor. While respectful, it also prevented the sound of the bones rattling across the floor if I had let it simply crash to the ground.
Fatigued and hurt as I was, the spear did not seem nearly as heavy as it did originally and I pocketed the oddly-shaped dagger as well. I was able to remain invisible on my way back out, courtesy of the magicka restoratives I had taken from the Mages Guild and encountered no trouble in reaching the Propylon chamber outside.
Folms reacted to my sudden, bloodied appearance quite calmly, only commenting that I seemed to be enjoying my new-found freedom. If I said anything in response, I do not remember it now. I teleported to Balmora and my collection of weaponry: Daedric bow, Daedric Spear, and Daedric Dagger, must have rendered Ajira speechless, for it was the first time I have arrived at the Guild without her asking if I had anything to sell her. Everything I had to sell was outside her usual wares and I sold a great deal of gems and some vampire dust to Nalcarya in exchange for some healing potions and money.
My next stop was to the Razor Hole, a shop I have not visited in a long time. The owner remembered me, but I think only due to the lack of Khajiit customers he normally sees. With him I exchanged all my iron and steel arrows for two hundred silvered arrows. I could not imagine firing cheap iron arrows from the Daedric bow and silvered arrows seem reasonably sufficient. Also, I am increasingly coming into contact with creatures able to shrug off the impact of iron and steel arrows and the silvered arrows are a decent compromise between effectiveness and price.
My arsenal thus upgraded, I had been planning on retiring to the Balmora Mages Guild for the rest of the day to practice my spells, but Ajira met me at the front door with a message that I was asked to appear at the Ald'Ruhn Tribunal at my convenience. To my surprise, the invitation was from the irresponsible boy I had helped, Ienas Sarandas. He has dedicated himself to the Temple in an effort to turn his life around and is studying to become a priest. Much more surprising is that he has deeded his house to me! Just as I was about to thank him, he was called away on some menial Temple business, so we parted quickly. Now that I have a home in Ald'Ruhn, I am sure I will be here far more often and will certainly be seeing him again.
My recent efforts to rid myself of useless items resulted in having less to store in the house than I thought. I left several belts and amulets of various magicka strengths there and a few empty soul gems and glass paralysis daggers. The collection made a nice arrangement.
I locked the door behind me with my spell and went back to the Balmora Mages Guild, though I suppose I should spend more time at the Ald'Ruhn Guild now that I am a resident. It was just before dinner when I arrived, so I took the opportunity to regale the others with mostly factual recollections of my exploits, though the acquisition of my new weapons garnered the most interest. Marayn Dren cautioned against relying on the Daedric equipment, stating that they were cursed to drive their owners' to messy ends so that the weapons find new victims. When I pointed out that there were hundreds of Daedric weapons stored safely in collections across Tamriel, he shook his head and told me that the safest thing I could do is dispense with them as soon as possible. I think it is all silly superstition.
After dinner I spent the remainder of the evening practicing my Illusion spells with Estirdalin and left just before midnight to spend the first night at home. I definitely made good progress under Estirdalin's tutelage and I think I will be spending the next several days training with my new weapons before I travel to the Urshilaku tribal camp. If I am to pass myself off as the Nerevarine, I should at least be able to fight as such.