5 Frost Fall
Yesterday I spoke about morning routines. Ironic, given that I was woken up outside of my routine the next day. No dream this time, but a live, in-my-new-house faceless horror jolting me out of my rest in a rush of adrenaline and terror. My spear and armor was on the other side of the room, but I have always kept my short sword, and now dagger, within reach when I sleep. Frightening as the creature was, it was no more capable than its brethren and I dispatched it quickly. The magical lock on my door had been dispelled, so now I need a stronger version of it, which necessitates a stronger unlocking spell as well.
I was certainly not going back to sleep after that little episode and 5 Frost Fall started at two in the morning for me. I felt feverish, itchy, and generally unwell and was about to put my symptoms down to fatigue and nerves, before I idly scratched at my arms, unexpectedly drawing blood. Pale, wet welts were rising all over my arms and I had bled one simply by brushing a claw over it. A hurried check revealed more of them on my legs and a few small ones on my chest and judging by the itching, on my back as well. I had contracted Corpus. The death curse of Dagoth Gares must have been more potent than I gave it credit for, though I could have contracted Corpus from any one of the many unfortunates that I have slain in the past few days.
I am oddly proud to say I greeted the realization calmly, reasoning that I had no choice but to deliver my final report to my friend in Balmora, then make a one-way trip to Tel Fyr to become an inmate for the rest of my maddened days. At the very least, I would become the first Khajiit to become infected with Corpus, so far as I know. Hardly a comfort.
To my surprise, my friend had foreseen the possibility of me contracting Corpus and had been busying making inquiries of his own while I was battling for my life underneath the swamps of Gnaar Mok. A local Telvanni-in-hiding pointed coincidentally pointed out Divayth Fyr at Tel Fyr as my best chance of finding a cure, which is where my friend immediately sent me to, laden with gold, potions, and a Dwemer piece as a sort of bribe. My friend retained enough humor to wryly remark on the irony of two Imperial agents trading Dwemer artifacts between one another, but was unconcerned with the consequences. My fate, he said, was far more important. It was an embarrassing thing to hear, for me, but a pleasant one.
Of course, I knew the way to Tel Fyr, already having been there for the Propylon Stone and nearly bashing my brains out on the ceiling due to an overly-powerful levitation scroll. So with the Dwemer vase-like thing in the bottom of my pack, I teleported to the Wolverine Hall Mages Guild and walked across the water to the shore of Tel Fyr.
I was smart enough this time to measure out my levitation and managed not to smash my skull into the ceiling, drawing a remark from one of Divayth Fyr's daughters on the upper level that I seemed to be learning. Divayth Fyr was just as cordial as the first time we met and he expressed great interest in the Dwemer piece. I offered it as a gift and he laughed, accepting it and asking what favor I needed from him this time.
He was surprised to hear that I had contracted Corpus and demanded that I subject myself to a quick inspection. He poked and prodded my misshapen lumps with small metal tools, satisfying his curiosity and declaring me infected. He called for the daughter upstairs to lead me into the Corprusarium, but I stopped him and mentioned that it is believed that I may fulfill the Nervarine Prophecies. According to him, Corpus makes you immune to all other disease and he had always wondered if the Nerevarine was wandering around in his basement, a deformed, immortal creature. He remarked that if I was to fulfill them, then it meant being cured of Corpus, a goal of his so far unrealized, as his "cure" has been disappointingly fatal to all of his patients. His comment that all Corpus victims had delusions did nothing for my self-confidence.
The thought of gradually losing my mind and body and being stuck underground in Tel Fyr forever made the choice an easy one. Either I was going to drop dead upon drinking the potion or I would be cured and one step closer to becoming the Nervarine.
Naturally, there was a catch: Divayth Fyr would only give me the potion after I retrieved a pair of boots from within the Corprusarium, currently held by what I assumed was a caretaker named Yagrum Bagarn. Even in matters of life-or-death, people have no hesitation about asking me to perform menial tasks for them.
The Corprusarium was every bit the morose, frightening place that I thought it to be. The head warden, an Argonian, cautioned me that hurting the "inmates" was forbidden and that I was expected to endure their attacks without retaliations, if need be. Failure to abide by that and other rules would result in my incarceration or death.
Surprisingly, I need not have worried. The inmates were the same mountains of maddened flesh I have been encountering in the Sixth House bases, but the ones in the Corprusarium were mostly content to leave me alone. Rather than encountering the mindless hostile rage I have grown to expect, these creatures seemed sad and lost, I observed the least physically-transformed of them moaning and tearing at his hair, confused or upset at his fate. Having said that, they were all quick to take a swipe at me if I came too close, but they were no real threat.
One of Divayth Fyr's daughters, Uuspe Fyr, served as caretaker to the creatures within the Corprusarium and asked that I retrieve a guarskin drum lying around somewhere. According to her the Corpus-infected creatures are calmed by the music and she offered to play as to ease my time underground. Her companion is a story all his own.
His name was Yagrum Bagarn, possibly the only remaining dwarf of the Dwemer civilization in the entire world. According to him, Divayth Fyr took him in after the disappearance of the Dwemer race and Yagrum Bagarn's subsequent contracting of Corpus. He was offered Divayth Fyr's cure and it did not kill him. Rather, it halted the Corpus, but failed also failed to heal it, leaving Yagrum physically incapacitated, but mentally sound. He handed over the broken Dwemer boots willingly, asking me to apologize to Divayth Fyr on his behalf, for he could not repair them. Had I not been in a race against my own Corpus infection and not been in the depths of the Corprusarium I think I would have enjoyed learning more of his history, but I thanked him for the boots and rushed out of the gloomy place.
Divayth Fyr's only condition for giving me the Corpus cure, other than giving him the boots, was that I drink it immediately in front of him, no doubt so he could take notes on my demise. With no other choice I agreed and swallowed the entire contents of the potion before I could get second thoughts. After a few moments, I felt only a tingling sensation, but nothing indicating imminent death. Divayth Fyr suddenly grabbed my arm and held it up to my face.
"Look! Look! It's working!"
And to my amazement, I watched as one of the wet, pale fleshy nodules shrunk and disappeared into my arm, leaving no sensation or hint that anything was ever amiss. A quick examination found that all of the lumps had disappeared, my head was no longer hurting, and I felt better than I have been in quite some time. When I exclaimed my surprise and joy at being cured of the disease, Divayth Fyr laughed at me. I was not cured exactly, rather his "cure" only sought to remove the negative aspects of the disease and leave what he saw as positives. In short: I will not go mad, nor will my body be painfully warped, but I am no longer susceptible to disease of any kind, nor will I age any longer.
The last part is especially troubling. To not grow older, to not die naturally...this is something we all deal with eventually. But if Divayth Fyr is to be believed, he is four thousand years old and doing fine...other than the business of having cloned his own "daughters" from his own flesh.
I guess I will just be taking this one day at a time, as I always have. Still, to know that everyone you meet will be long dead while you linger on in life is an odd thing.
But I had other business to attend to as well, so I bid Divayth Fyr farewell and gulped down a Recall potion to whisk me back home. I wasted no time and was back in Balmora within half an hour of being cured. My friend had quite a bit of news for me: He has been recalled back to the Imperial City and will no longer be the leader of our organization. Rather, he promoted me an additional rank, making me the highest ranking member of the group in Vvardenfell. This generally means I am the leader now, but my friend explained that all of us are under direct orders from the Imperial City anyway, so I need not do very much.
His last words of advice before he walked out of his former home is worrying:
"The days of the Empire are almost over. Forget about the Imperial City and think locally. Worry about the Sixth House and Dagoth Ur. Unite the Great Houses and resolve their squabbles with the Ashlanders. The rest of the political nonsense will amount to nothing if the rise of Dagoth Ur is not stopped."
His last order was to see our mutual friend in Vivec about the (formerly?) lost Ashlander Nerevarine prophecies and as to the rest, well...it is all up to me now.
It was just after dinner when my friend left for the long trip back to Cyrodiil. I spent the remainder of the evening at the Mages Guild training with my Illusion spells. If I am to become the Nerevarine, and it seems like I am, then I think I will be relying more on deception than strength in the days ahead.
Quite a day: Cured of the incurable disease, granted immortality, and promoted to the leading rank of the most secretive Imperial order. It is too much to take in all at once, it all still seems impossible to believe even as I write this.
One day at a time.