Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Morrowind Day 73 - Firmly on the Ground

26 Frost Fall
As I have no doubt written before: even the best plans cannot guarantee results. Today I meant to visit the Telvanni tower of Tel Vos to see Master Aryon about the process to be named Telvanni Hortator and have been forced to end the day no where near accomplishing that simple goal.

I was not anticipating any major combat today so I left the Daedric bow, spear, and dagger at home, taking with me Sul-Matuul's Bonemold bow and my enchanted spear, both easily sufficient against the wildlife I normally encounter.

The quickest way for me to Tel Vos from Ald'ruhn is via Folm's teleportation to the fortress of Indoranyon, which lies on the coast south of the Telvanni tower. The air was unusually chilly when I stepped out of the Propylon chamber and very purple, which has been increasingly frequent lately. I hope it's a better sign than the Blight storms.
Before heading north I decided to spend some time heading in the opposite direction along the coast, as I have not really explored much of the eastern half of Vvardenfell, which proved to be mistake number two of the day. I walked along the water to the various small islands and found nothing of much interest on them. As I was making my way back to the coast, I stumbled upon what looked like an abandoned mine.

It was very small and contained a few Daedra and two mages of some kind. The combat was short and easy, leaving me with nothing to write upon it. The rewards for my minor exertion was quite good though: a large amount of powerful scrolls and potions, a lot of which I took with me when I left.

I moved further south along the coast, taking practice shots with my bow against the mudcrabs that seemed to be scurrying everywhere. My accuracy is certainly a great deal better than it was and crab meat is not the worst I have had to eat in my life. I was just about to turn around to make my way to Tel Vos when I spotted another mine set into the side of a hill. My curiosity got the better of me, as usual.
A Redguard was upon me almost before I got through the door. She was very well armed and I think I would have been greatly wounded (but victorious) had I not activated the enchantment on my spear. Skilled as she was, there are few creatures that pose a threat when standing before this Khajiit while she wields a Daedric spear. Her gold-hued Dwemer two-handed sword was far too cumbersome for me to carry. Sometimes I wonder if there are unseen people that lurk a few days behind me, secretly becoming rich on the valuable items I leave in my wake. A funny thought, if you have a dark sense of humor.

The second smuggler I encountered must have been unloading inventory for she had six bows hanging from shoulder slings...but no arrows at all. She attacked me with a short sword, but it was a pathetic attempt tangled up as she was. The bows were in nearly all the varieties commonly available: wooden Imperial short bows, Ashland chitin bows, Bonemold long bows, and Imperial steel-spine bows. The cave opened up just beyond her to a small underground dock crowded with at least a dozen crates and two more exits.

All of the crates contained an odd but valuable mix of Dwemer weapons and gemstones. One crate had a giant two-handed Dwemer battle axe and a small bag of diamonds. Another, a Dwemer halberd, rubies, and emeralds. Altogether the crates provided a full arsenal of Dwemer weapons, save for a short and long sword. The Dwemer spear was tempting, but it is heavy and the enchantment on my steel spear makes using anything else rather pointless. I would be very interested to know how these weapons came to be acquired, but I doubt I will ever find out.

One crate erased any hesitation I might have had about killing the rest of the smugglers. It was full of Sixth House ritual pieces, mostly statues. It occurs to me only now that my assumption that the Dwemer weapons were for export may be incorrect. Why should the Sixth House not be seeking to arm its more lucid members with superior weaponry? Dwemer weapons are superior to anything a common guard would be armed with and while the advantage is probably not enough to guarantee victory to a Sixth House cultist facing multiple foes, it would be a costly battle. One-on-one, a crazed cultist armed with Dwemer equipment would be a daunting foe for most any guard, except perhaps the Ordinators.

I chose one of the exits away from the dock and fought two more smugglers in a dead-end room, each surprisingly armed very poorly with cheap iron weapons and chitin armor. They guarded only a lantern, two stools, a table, and their lunch.

The other way past the docks proved more profitable and not much more threatening. In an example of very interesting cave formations, I stepped into a very tall room with a large stone spire rising out of water-logged room. Some enterprising individuals erected scaffolding to and around the spire, creating a watchtower of sorts.
A Dunmer mage in a Dwemer helm was patrolling along the top of the spire, but not making much of an attempt to watch the only entryway into the chamber. I waited patiently until his walk around the spire brought him into my sight, then loosed a silvered arrow at him. Luck was greatly on his side and the arrow flew high, striking the broad side of his helmet and glancing off, no doubt greatly startling the man.

He had the advantage of height, but inexplicably charged down the scaffolding towards me, shouting and firing spells at me. I had fired six arrows at him during his charge, but he managed to dodge all of them. His end was assured once he got within range of my spear. On his body was a very powerfully enchanted ring, another item for Galbedir to identify.

I carefully scaled the scaffolding, but there were no more smugglers. Instead, I came upon a Redguard who called himself 'Jon Hawker' and immediately professed his surrender. When I asked him why he was surrendering, he told me he had been waylaid by the smugglers and robbed of all his goods. I was about to point out that he could recover his loss, if not the actual goods, now that the bandits were dead, but he would not let me speak. Instead, he asked me for a Divine Intervention scroll, saying that he did not care for his wealth any longer.

I had two scrolls, so I gave him one. He thanked me and disappeared to safety. As soon as he disappeared I felt something on my pack and reached behind me to find that two gloves somehow appeared there. Very strange! They are enchanted with Illusion spells, so at least I think I have a pretty decent idea of what they'll do. One glove feels like it has Silence and Blinding enchantments, the other, Charm. Galbedir will be able to tell if I am correct.

There were more crates stacked in the upper scaffolding, all of them absolutely full of armor. Most of it was cheap: iron and chitin, with some bonemold pieces scattered among them. Nothing a seasoned warrior would find useful, but a group of cultists would certainly be able to coax more utility out of the equipment. Ironically I found two Divine Intervention scrolls in one of the crates.

That should have been enough caves for one day, but I came upon my last one later in the afternoon. I was not greeted by any sword-swingers when I walked in, but the tell-tale red candles at the entrance marked the place as inhabited by the Sixth House.
The usual creatures were present: tentacle-faced men, stone-skinned women, and ordinary souls turned Blighted. The 'leaders' of the Sixth House, the Ash Vampires, were not represented here. I fought and won several battles against the cultists of the Sixth House, but my own stupid mistake deserves mention in place of what I accomplished there.

I crept down a tunnel while exploring the cave, only to find that it ended at a small cliff overlooking a large Sixth House shrine methodically staffed by a tentacle-faced man. He fell quickly to my arrows and without thinking of the consequences I carefully slid down the face of the cliff to the shrine below. There was not much there, mostly statues and various regalia of the Sixth House. A door on the far side of the shrine opened up to another part of the cave and more monsters, but I could not find any way to return to the entrance of the cavern. In short: I was unable to levitate and therefore unable to leave without either using my Amulet of Recall or a Divine Intervention scroll.

I recalled back to Ald'ruhn, but now I will have to repeat my attempt to visit Tel Vos. I will not make the mistake I did today wandering away from my intended destination, but will head straight for Tel Vos early tomorrow morning. I should also see about the progress on the stronghold as well. But I grow impatient now and I feel that I am ready to be named Hortator of House Telvanni. Whether they are ready to bestow the title upon a Khajiit remains to be seen.

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