9 Frost Fall
Quite often I find myself side-tracked by small tasks while traveling to take care of a larger one. I have never seen these as annoyances or hindrances, but as opportunities to improve myself. I am certainly more relaxed than I used to be, even though my duty as the (possible) Nerevarine should have me more worried than I ever have been before. I trust my instincts and I have found that breaking down large problems into smaller ones has been serving me well. I may be the Nerevarine and therefore responsible for the fate of Morrowind...or I may not be and my part may be only to deliver the lost prophecies to the Ashlanders. Worry about what is in front of you, right?
I woke up at the Six Fishes and water-walked across the bay to the nearest canton (forget which one) and paid a gondolier a few Septims to ferry me to the Foreign Quarter canton. I always mean to spend some time at the bowyer's there, but again I had more pressing business. The Vivec Mages Guild sent me to Ald'ruhn and from there my only choice was to trudge north until I reached the coast.
A blight storm greeted my arrival as I stepped outside of the Ald'ruhn Mages Guild, but the dread has long since past. Now it's more of an annoyance than anything else for the red sky and swirling dust makes it hard to see.
I suffered the storm for almost the entire walk, barely glimpsing Maar Gan through the red haze as I walked past it. The storm ended as I was near the shore and it dissipated rapidly, leaving the more pleasant smell of the sea in the air and sunlight determined to break through the ever-present overcast.
While walking along the final stretch before reaching the shore, I noticed a door set into the hillside that I had not noticed during my previous trips. Judging by the intricate designs on the door, I assumed it was a family tomb, but the few tombs I have visited that were still in that use never showed signs of heavy foot traffic. This one did and curiosity dictated that I see why that was.
The tomb was very small, barely two rooms, three if you want to count the short corridor the stairs emptied to. The door at the end of the corridor was ajar and I slowly pushed it open with my spear. I might as well have kicked it open. A Dunmer and a Khajiit were running at me before the door was open enough for any one of us to step through it and the Dunmer yanked it open, savagely stabbing and slashing at me with a steel dagger.
Were I unarmored I am sure he would have dealt me a great deal of harm, but the dagger skittered uselessly off of the dreugh carapace. He was unarmored to the extreme of being nearly naked and my own dagger sent him to a quick death. The Khajiit was more cautious, surprisingly throwing spells through the door at me, so I retreated back up the stairs and waited for him to pursue me. The ferocity of the Dunmer's attack smelled strongly of vampirism to me and the Khajiit's over-eager pursuit strongly supported that. He made for an easy target and three arrows fired downwards into his chest ended his life. My examination of the bodies showed they were certainly vampires and their bodies dissolved into valuable dust soon after. It is a grisly business, but the dusty remains of vampires is extremely valuable and I can sell it in Balmora with no issues...not that I really need the money. The tomb offered nothing else of interest.
The man was pacing at the crossroads in front of the tomb went I exited and he turned to me, terrified, when he heard the door creak open. I assured him I meant him no harm and I asked him what was wrong, as the man was visibly distraught and close to tears.
He became even closer to tears when he told me his story. His name is Sason, his wife's Malexa. They were traveling from Khuul to Maar Gan along the dirt path when cultists ambushed them. He was paralyzed via a spell and had to watch, helpless, as his wife was dragged away to become some sort of sacrifice. Unsure what to do, he was making his way back to Khuul to try and find help when I stepped out of the tomb in front of him. Neither of them were any sort of warrior and he had been certain her rescue was impossible before I appeared, armed and armored, nearly right in front of him.
He begged me to try and find her, but I did not need much encouragement in order to agree. He stated that they dragged his wife off to the west, which was fortunate as there is not much to the west of where we were: Only Ald'Velothi and a Daedric ruin, with Khuul roughly north-west of where I met Sason. Obviously the kidnappers were not going to Ald'Velothi, so it was either the ruins or a cave. He described them as cultists, so I felt that the ruins was safer bet for Malexa.
A group of Ashlanders were camped just beyond the ruins, but they did nothing but watch me warily as I passed by. Armed, as usual, with chitin armor and weapons, they would not have had a chance of survival anyway.
The ruins were well guarded by Clannfear and Daedroth, but the chaotic architecture worked against the Clannfears' charges into meele combat and the Daedroths' spells. Three Clannfear and two Daedroth later made the ruins relatively safe to escort Malexa out of, should she have been inside.
My instincts proved correct. The inside of the shrine was dominated by a giant statue of a Daedroth and two Dunmers equally clothed in rich purple robes were busying themselves around it, probably preparing to sacrifice the poor woman as an offering. They were more priest than warrior and had no guards of any kind inside the shrine. It was easy for me to slip invisibly behind them, sending each to a quick death with a strike to the throat.
Malexa was locked in a small room off of the main shrine, but the lock was simple enough for me to pick the lock instead of using a spell. Malexa was alarmed when I entered, but her husband's name instantly calmed her and she agreed to follow me out. The walk back was uneventful, Malexa was not injured and eager to re-unite with her husband, so the trip was a quick one.
The couple were overjoyed to be together again and Sason pressed a sack of Septims into my hand and would not hear of anything involving my not accepting them. He is also a retainer of some notice in House Redoran and promised to spread the news of my "great deed", as he said, among the House. I offered to escort them to Maar Gan or Khuul, but they declined. I do wonder what Faral would think of a Redoran retainer unable to defend himself or his wife. It is probably best for the two of them that she never finds out about this. I do hope Sason is careful with his tale-telling.
It was night by the time I finally reached the shore and I water-walked along the coast, past the ruined ship and the Daedric ruins. The Urshilaku camp lay just beyond the hills of the ruins and the wise-woman welcomed me and my scrolls into her hut. She read through them quickly, then announced she would need time to consult the ancestor spirits and to think upon what I have given her. In other words: come back later!
Rather than recall back to Ald'ruhn, I have decided to spend more time along the north coast of the island, which so far remains largely unexplored by me. After a few days I will consult with the wise-woman and see what my next steps should be.