23 Sun's Dusk
It is finished. Dagoth Ur is no more. I suppose I should feel victorious and heroic, but instead I am just exhausted, confused, and hurting.
I did not start this morning with the intention of facing Dagoth Ur. I intended to spend the day preparing to make the attempt to reach him in a week or so. In order to do that, I would need restoration elixirs, scrolls, spare weapons, and more arrows, all of it easily obtainable at Balmora.
But when I stepped outside, the sky was bright red, dirt and dust were whipping around in the air, and the screaming wind of a Blight storm constantly assaulted my ears. If the storm was meant as a warning then it failed: I felt so close to being able to confront Dagoth Ur that the storm goaded me into acting more rashly than normally do. Thinking upon it now, perhaps that was Dagoth Ur's intention. Whatever the case, I quickly teleported to Balmora, purchased everything useful that I could find, and teleported back to the Ald'ruhn Mages Guild.
The storm was gone from Ald'ruhn when I returned, leading me to think that the storms had been under the direct control of Dagoth Ur the entire time. Balmora might have been too far to exert his influence and without me to intimidate at Ald'ruhn, why waste his strength? This is just my thought and I shall never know the truth of this matter.
I brought the instructions given to me by Vivec and reviewed them for probably the twelfth time that morning: Wearing the Dwemer gauntlet called 'Wraithguard', I needed to wield the hammer 'Sunder' and strike the 'Heart' once. This would somehow release the energy stored within the device/artifact and it is this energy that the Tribunal used to become, if not Gods, then Divine Beings. However, the secret of how to do this was wisely kept from me. Instead, I then needed to use the blade 'Keening' against the Heart, shattering the connection between Heart and Dagoth Ur. Once this connection to Dagoth Ur has been shattered I was assured he would become a mortal opponent, weak to bow and spear.
This severing would also extend to Dagoth Ur's minions and the Tribunal itself, the repercussions of which Vivec himself could not predict.
The quickest way to Dagoth Ur's private citadel was through Ghostgate and then, according to what little information I had, Dagoth Ur would simply be straight ahead.
Naturally my little walk from Ghostgate to Dagoth Ur was done while almost completely blinded. Twice I stumbled into a boulder and I was even surprised by an Ogrim charging at me out of the gloom. I chose to flee and save my strength for Dagoth Ur's stronghold.
The swirling dust of the Blight storm was almost my killer. Blinded by the storm, I nearly stepped right into a pit of lava that the citadel, unseen by me until that point, encircled. What followed was more blind stumbling about as I searched for a way to open what seemed to be the only door leading inside. This ruin shared the same door-and-crank mechanism that I first saw in the ruin outside of Balmora. It did take me quite some time to find the crank for it was not particularly close to the entrance and I was frequently under assault by the spell-slinging soldiers of the Sixth House.
Inside was no different than any other Dwemer fortress I have had the misfortune to find myself in and the denizens no different than any other Sixth House base. To describe each battle I made against Dagoth Ur's followers does me no good, so it will have to suffice to say that I dealt mortal blows against several of the floating tentacle-faced creatures and three of the tentacle-faced former Dunmer whom I gather served as priests of some kind. Bringing my Daedric spear was a great boon for me, but the bow and dagger wound up never being employed.
Save for the spirits I met inside the Cavern of the Incarnate, I have no knowledge of the past attempts made against Dagoth Ur. The bodies of several adventurers, all partially mummified by the great heat from the numerous pits of molten lava, were scattered over the complex, indicating at least one attempt was made against Dagoth Ur in the past.
As I ventured further inside a voice boomed from the walls itself. The voice was calm, almost genteel. The mysterious voice greeted me and thanked me for bringing the tools of Kagrenac to him. I then realized that this was Dagoth Ur himself.
His ability to project his voice did not extend into using it to alert his loyal minions. As Dagoth Ur continued to speak, I was able to sneak up on several more Blighted monsters and slay them, either under the mad god's notice or not.
The Dwemer section of the ruin ended at a damaged room with an unfinished excavation through one of the walls into which a door had been hastily installed. Nothing about it prepared me for what I found on the other side.
Standing calmly on the far side of the cavern was Dagoth Ur himself. At nearly seven feet tall, the former Dunmer towered over me, but made no hostile gestures as I approached. When I got closer I could see that he had not escaped the power of his own influence, for his body closely resembled the Ash Vampires: all sinew and muscle with the hands elongated into long claws. Despite this monstrous transformation, he was deceptively polite.
But he spoke to me as if I was Lord Nerevar, not Kerra the Khajiit. Our short conversation started with him expressing his sorrow that our relationship could not be mended to where it had been so long ago. This was fine with me. But before we were to fight, he offered me a chance to ask questions so that he could also ask questions of me. A strange request, but one I agreed to, for the sake of my own curiosity.
His first question was understandable: Was I really Lord Nerevar reborn? I decided to be honest with the unfortunate soul and told him that I was not sure. Dagoth Ur paused for a moment and bowed slightly, telling me that I had his sympathy and he would weep for my death, Nerevar reborn or not.
His second question was of my intentions towards the Heart he was using to power his mad scheme. What would I do with it if I won? Remembering that I was advised that Dagoth Ur would see me as a usurper, I bluffed and told him I had my own secret plans for it. It sounded like a safer answer than the truth, that I had come to destroy it and everything he had labored towards. My answer was accepted without much interest.
His last question was if I would have accepted an offer to join him in exchange for Sunder, Keening, and the gauntlet 'Wraithguard'. That was an easy answer: Of course not! He thanked me for my honesty and asked if I now had any questions for him. If I did not, I was welcome to deliver the first strike of our combat when I was ready.
Rather than recalling each individual question, I think it is better that I summarize his answers. His whole plan was to restore the province of Morrowind to its 'former glory', I can only assume he meant independence from the Empire. Once this had been achieved, the Dunmer could then think about forging their own Empire. The Blight storms would continue until they covered all of Tamriel, but he did not seem to have a reason for this to happen, nor any idea as to the result. He fully accepted that his methods would result in great suffering and claimed ready to stoically bear this burden. He would grieve for the spilled blood in pursuit of his "just and noble" cause.
I declared my questions to be at an end and he bowed again, awaiting my strike. I made sure it was a good one, my Daedric spear went right through his chest and he fell, laughing. His body disappeared before it hit the ground and a grinding alerted me to one of the spherical Dwemer doors opening behind me.
As I wrote above, nothing could have prepared me for what I found behind the door in the Dwemer ruin. But I did not mean Dagoth Ur himself. Instead I refer to the giant man-looking thing I found in the room behind the sphere.
Dagoth Ur was not so polite this time. He struck with powerful spells and brutal swipes of his clawed hands, yet all of my attacks appeared to do no damage at all. This was the power of the Heart sustaining and protecting him. Despite that, I was still quicker than he and I saw that there were two ways down to the Heart: a long, winding path along the edge of the giant cavern or a steep drop from where he and I were trading blows. I chose the second option, fortunately managing to cast my minor Slowfall spell just before fatally reaching ground. I landed just in front of the Heart at the end of a perilously strung rope bridge swaying over a reservoir of the Red Mountain's lava.
I started to congratulate myself at leaving my foe so far behind just as he teleported on to the bridge and charged at me. Hurriedly, I smacked the glowing Heart with Sunder and vaguely heard Dagoth Ur exclaim something. I tossed the hammer into my other hand and drew Keening, desperately slashing and striking at the Heart before Dagoth Ur could reach me.
Finally, one of my blows resulted in a loud boom and the shield surrounding Dagoth Ur vanished. The mad God (or former God, by then?) screamed and covered the final distance between us with but a few strides. But he was no longer immortal and I was just barely able to bring my spear up to fend him off. The Daedric spear-point only caught him a glancing blow, but he gasped and bled, allowing me to dash past him and across the bridge. My intention was to give him the choice of death at my hands or a reconciliation with Lord Vivec, but I had just reached the opposite end of the rope bridge when everything started shaking.
Pieces of the giant man-statue Dagoth Ur had been building started to rain down upon us and he turned from the ruined Heart, intent on dashing across the bridge as I did. He made it not more than halfway across before a large piece of the statue fell between us and into the lava below, severing the rope bridge in the process. The last I saw of Dagoth Ur was him tumbling downwards along with an increasing quantity of the statue above him. With his immortality stripped away, I can only assume he perished in the molten lava. In what may have been a few seconds or a few minutes, his entire work was in pieces, slowly melting as Red Mountain claimed it.
As for me, I was fortunate that the spiral walkway had not also collapsed, but it felt like a very, very long walk back up to the Dwemer door. My breastplate was missing large chunks of Dreugh chitin and I somehow lost my helm in the chaotic melee. I could have Recalled back to Ald'ruhn, but I had been assured that Dagoth Ur's death would bring blue skies to Red Mountain and it was something I felt that I needed to see.
As I walked towards the door leading into the Dwemer section, a Dunmer woman materialized out of nothing right in front of me. Such was my exhaustion that I could only calmly identify the woman as the Daedric Prince Azura. My vision swam and I was suddenly staring at blue skies over Ghostgate, over Ald'ruhn, and the small villages and the (relatively!) large cities of Vvardenfell. Azura's voice entered my mind, but it was comforting in contrast to Dagoth Ur's sneering overconfidence. She congratulated me as Hortator, as Nerevarine, and assured me that my burden of fighting the Sixth House was finally at an end, but that there were still threats to Morrowind that I would be called to overcome. I was given no chance to speak and she offered a token of her thanks before she disappeared. In her place shone a single ring. I took it, but spared it no more notice. I can look at it tomorrow.
The ruin beyond was devoid of any threat and when I stepped outside I was greeted not by blue skies, but by an orange one. The weather was clear though and there was no Blight storm. Satisfied, I Recalled home and collasped on to the hammock where only by a great feat of concentration have I been able to write all of this.
I am not sure what time it is, but I do not care. I am going to sleep now and whatever further needs to be done can be done tomorrow. When I wake it shall be as a savior of this land, but I still do not feel comfortable in living that role. It remains to be seen how others will see me after this. It has been one hundred days since I have arrived here. How fitting.