8 Frost Fall
I had written yesterday that I would be traveling to the Urshilaku tribal camp today to deliver the documents of the Dissident Priests to the wisewoman, who I believe will be able to interpret them more clearly. However, when I looked at my woefully incomplete map of Vvardenfell the camp was so very far away and Molag Mag so very close to Telasero. As such, I found myself in Caldera soon after I woke and was plodding away from Telasero as the sun began to rise.
I was told the Redas tomb was south of Molag Mar just over the mountains, so I reasoned that walking across the bay from the fortress was a more direct route. Naturally, the weather was overcast and rainy around the former fortress,which made walking across the water seem a little ridiculous. The entire bay is dotted with blunt mounds of rock and small islands, making it useless for shipping, but great as a shortcut.
The only approachable shore of the peninsula is straddled by rock formations on either side, making for a very defensible harbor...if the Daedric ruins were not in the way. I managed to skirt the ruins and encountered only a few lean-looking Nix-Hounds while I searched for the tomb. Faral had said that the tomb had an Ashlander camp right outside of it and true to her word, there was a sizable camp of at least four individuals sitting right outside the entrance. They eyed me as I walked by, but I did not approach them any closer than I had to and they let me be.
The tomb was heavily guarded by Dremora and the winged Daedra women, though two of the three Redas family heirlooms (the robe and chalice) were in a room just a few steps from the entrance, guarded by a Dremora wielding a nasty looking mace. Once fearsome, the Dremoras' predictable combat strategies have lessened the thrill a bit, but I will never be so foolish as to completely discount an opponent. Nearly all the Dremora I have fought start by casting spells, usually beneficial ones on themselves, then crippling ones against me. I use this habit to my advantage by getting their attention and waiting for the spell-cast. This immobilizes them long enough for me to shoot them with an arrow or two, which can break their concentration and ruin the spell. Should this happen, they inevitably charge me disadvantaged and injured.
After securing the robe and cup in my pack, I continued further into the tomb. The only way led to a flooded tunnel guarded by one of the female Daedra. While I have been encountering them more frequently, they remain a potent enemy and definitely not one I am comfortable facing more than one at a time. Their barbed tails are capable of blows strong enough to take me off my feet and their wings are just as cruelly barbed. However, their wings enable them only capable of short hops and the spear's reach lends me a great advantage.
Regrettably, I could find no way to avoid having to dive underwater to navigate the tunnel, so I left most of my equipment, including my spear and bow, at the foot of the watery steps and drank a nearly-stale flask of Water Breathing. No Khajiit enjoys being submerged in water and the instinctive hesitation towards attempting to breathe the stuff makes it worse. No matter how many times I have done it, I cannot convince myself to willingly submit to the sensation of breathing water and it only comes after my body is quite sure I am drowning. This time was no different: I spent an embarrassing amount of time at the foot of the pool, floundering and splashing uselessly as I tried to stop holding my breath every time I slid into the water. The Argonians can keep their marshlands, the Khajiit, our deserts and forests.
The tunnel was short and ended at another small series of steps. My eyesight is not very good underwater, so I could not tell what, if anything, was waiting for me. I did pick out two stone columns near the staircase and managed to sneak out of the water and behind a pillar. It is fortunate that I had done so: another one of the female Daedra was stalking around the room while a bored-looking Dremora paced restlessly on the far side. Against these two I had only my spells, a few potions (most left behind) and my dagger.
Invisibility, as usual, proved a valuable ally. Casting my spell, I was able to sneak to the opposite corner of the room where the Dremora was pacing and deal it a grievous blow in the head with the dagger. It immediate zapped out of existence only a small pile of valuable Void Salts remaining where it once stood. The female Daedra had not noticed its comrade's demise and I tried to repeat my trick on her, but my first strike was poor and only wounded her. As she turned to strike at me, I had a sudden burst of inspiration and ran back into the water. I had never seen Daedra of any kind in water and I was hoping this one would not want to enter it as much as I did not.
I was right: the creature stared into the water, but would not descend the steps into it to pursue me. The underwater tunnel was actually quite short and I managed to hold my breath for the duration of the swim back to my equipment. With my Water Breathing spell, I managed to drag my spear back through the tunnel and cautiously ascended the steps back into the guarded room. The Daedra had gone back to patrolling, seemingly not noticing or caring that the Dremora was no longer there.
The battle does not leave much to be described. The advantage gained from my invisibility spell and my spear made the battle a short one. The Redas family's axe was Dwemer-made and enchanted with a minor combat spell and such is my swimming ability that it took two swims through the tunnel, one to carry my spear through and one for the axe. I estimate that it was just about noon by the time I was back underneath the hazy sunlight of Morrowind and I dripped my way back to Telasero and eventually to the top of the Redoran canton in Vivec.
My reward was simply another task from House Redoran. A Redoran retainer had been challenged to a duel by a retainer of House Hlaalu, but had gone into hiding instead of facing his challenger. For House Redoran this was unacceptable behavior. My task was to shame the man into facing his challenger and thus restore the honor of House Redoran.
The man, Rothis Nethan, had been seen at the local Redoran cornerclub, Flowers of Gold. I don't know why he thought that would be a great place to hide, but I cornered him in the club while he was busy emptying goblets of flin. Possibly due to the alcohol he agreed to face his opponent in the Arena, but only after I supplied him with ten healing potions. I bought a dozen from the Redoran alchemist and he set off for the Arena canton.
|The one-sided duel|
The duel did not last long. Rothis had brought a dagger (silvered) to a two-handed sword fight, to twist the common phrase around. His opponent was skilled in using it and Rothis was clearly no fighter of any sort. Rothis fell quickly and House Redoran's honor was therefore (and somehow) assured. When I went into the pit of the Arena to fetch Rothis's personal belongings, his foe was respectful, stating that he knew he would win, but Rothis did prove to be a man of courage. I bit back the retort that Rothis had really been a man of drunkenness and stupidity. I returned his daggers to Faral, who was relieved the man had died, as he was something of an embarrassment to the House.
She also had no more tasks for me, leaving me free to pursue the Nerevarine prophecy. I took a room at the Six Fishes in Ebonheart and will try to make my way up north to see the Urshilaku tribe once again.