10 Frost Fall
The Ashlanders start their days far earlier than I find comfortable. Even while I was in the Auxiliaries, I typically woke up an hour or so before breakfast was served, as I still prefer. To say I spent the night at the Urshilaku Camp is a stretch, for it was still night when the entire camp seemed to wake at once. I was offered a breakfast of dried meat and berries, which I ate and supplemented with my own food once I was out of sight of the camp. No good comes from fighting on a nearly empty stomach.
The hunters of the tribe dispersed into the wilderness after everyone ate and I wandered east into unknown territory. There was not much to see, just a lot of ash and dry soil that cracked underneath my steps. I did spot three Dreugh lazily swimming along the shore, which is unusual, as so far all my encounters with them have been with single creatures.
I did come across a long-dead Silt Strider and the remains of its owner, whose skeletal remains bears the marks of having been long in the wasteland. Thick vines had grown over the skeleton, creating a simple sort of memorial to the unfortunate soul.
While wandering, I passed by a tomb entrance and my curiosity got the better of me. The tomb was small and guarded by three of the multi-limb floating skeletal creatures, all of them powerful spell-casters The confines of the tomb worked more against them than me though and I managed to fight my way through all three, only to discover...nothing. The tomb had either been raided before or never held anything of value to begin with. I wandered onward.
South of the camp, I came across Falasmaryon and decided to explore it a bit further.
There was a Dunmer living in a hut on the roof of the fortress, he was displeased to see me, but not hostile. He claimed he liked living there due to the solitude, which he used to perfect his archery. He offered to train me, for a fee, but I did not have time today. I told him I would return later, if time and money permitted.
As I expected, the fortress had been claimed by Sixth House creatures, but for the most part their lack of functioning eyes and/or limbs allowed me to pick them off one-by-one. I dispatched many of the strange "men" with the tentacle in their face by firing arrows down the corridors. If the first shot did not kill them, they inevitably ran towards me before casting their spells. They were typically dead before they got close enough to do anything.
The Sixth House cultists had dragged a body clad in expensive clothing and glassed armor into one of the alcoves. Whoever the Dunmer was, he was seemingly either quite accomplished or quite wealthy to be adventuring like that. Sadly, it was obviously not enough to prevent his death in Falasmaryon.
In a larger alcove I encountered a new creature of the Sixth House. I do not know what I will be calling it, but its anatomy left any pretense of formerly being Dunmer (as many of the creatures appear to be) far behind. This thing had a hunch-backed appearence and seemed to float along the ground rather than walk. Multiple tentacles sprouted from what might have been a face and only its arms and hands resembled anything like a Dunmer. It made a constant murmuring sound as it glided around the room, but I could not tell what it was actually doing, if anything.
It had not seen me peeking at it, so I retreated back down the hallway and cast my Invisibility spell. No matter how powerful the foe, I have yet to fight one capable of seeing through my spell before I strike. This enemy was no different, but where a lesser creature would have been killed instantly by the Daedric spear, this thing recoiled shock or pain and turned on me, immediately casting its own spells, one of which was poison.
I fought the nausea as best I could and slayed the monster with two more strikes from the spear. Instantly, the creature vanished, leaving nothing behind but a large skull whose origin is unknown to me. I then spent the next ten minutes heaving up breakfast before the poison spell wore off. Hardly the thing told in heroic tales.
The shrine it had been circling around was quite ornate and dotted with the same small statues and red candles that are the characteristic of any Sixth House hideout and contained very little treasure worth taking.
The fortress had lower floors I had not explored, but I was not feeling up to further battles after the encounter with the floating thing, so I left the fortress and made my way back to the camp. One of the tribesmen told me that I was to speak with the wise woman when I had returned to the camp, but when I entered her hut, she looked at me and bade me to rest, saying we would be talking in the morning. So be it then.