Sunday, October 19, 2014

Morrowind Day 107 - Progress Once Again

30 Sun's Dusk
After spending several days flailing about, I can say that after today I may actually be successfully adapting to Solstheim's unique challenges.

A refreshing sleep and a healthy breakfast at my manor did wonders for my injuries and outlook. I managed quite a number of health restoration potions and even two of the more difficult magicka restoration elixirs out of the ingredients I have been collecting from Solstheim. With that taken care of I purchased a dozen more armorer hammers from my manor's small tradehouse, intent on finally not being caught on the island without something that I suddenly needed.

Better prepared and well-rested, I walked once again to the village of Khuul to await my ride. I did have to wait this time, but only for an hour while S'virr finished loading his small boat with "merchandise". The trip seemed to go quicker than usual and we landed at Fort Frostmoth while it was still early in the afternoon.

The Earth Stone was awaiting the completion of its strange task and according to my notes it ordered that I search northeast of it for a cavern called the 'Cave of Hidden Music' so that I might learn the 'Song of the Earth'. The Stone is quite a distance from the fort and I fought off attacks from a half-dozen wolves, two nearly naked Nords, and a Nord witch while on my way there. 

Along the coast I came upon two lit torches stuck in the beach for no greatly apparent reason. I doubt the hostile barbarians I have been killing have a reason to place the torches and the Skaal are entirely too far away to have done so. A curiosity, but likely an unimportant one.
The Earth Stone's cave was difficult to find, largely due to my mindset that a cave is something built into a mountain. On Solstheim, most of the caves seem to be built along a gentle slope and then burrowed into the frozen earth, with a large stone house serving as both the entrance and a large portion of the cavern itself. I am too used to Vvardenfell's doors set into mountains and spent a lot of time today wandering near the hills when my goal was built on a plain. By the time I found the 'Cave of Hidden Music' it had grown dark and begun to snow.
Like all of Solstheim's burial locations, this one was infested with the Nord's particular breed of undead warrior, but they were dispersed and slain one at a time. I found what I was supposed to find in a second chamber of the cave, but it took me a few minutes to figure out what it was I had actually found.
An odd droning noise had been periodically sounding while I had been in the cave and this room held the reason for all the noise. Every couple of seconds a blast of air would rush through a series of hollow stone fixtures hanging from the ceiling and blow over a second series of three stone fixtures just beneath them. This creates a droning noise in three pitches that can be heard throughout the entire cave. This was the object of the Earth Stone's request, but it was not clear how I was to learn the 'Song of the Earth'.

Only by accident did I discover what it was I needed to do. I was setting my equipment down in front of the stones so that I could climb behind them when I accidentally smacked one of them with my spear as I turned around. This caused a blast of air to come shooting up from the floor, rather than the ceiling, producing a different note. After a moment's pause in the 'song' the rhythm began again from the fixtures in the ceiling, but now I had an idea of what was expected of me.

Striking each of the floor stones produced a note identical to the ones produced from the ceiling, but in a different order. The rightmost fixture on the ceiling produced a deep sound, but the rightmost floor fixture produced a high sound when struck. I completely lack an ear for music, but after a few tries I managed to reproduce the order of sounds coming from the ceiling and then repeated the process when the ceiling fixtures started producing a different set of sounds. 

And it was in this way that I learned the 'Song of the Earth', but I am not sure what use this is for me. I really need to find time to catch up on the Skaal's legends and give my little quest some context.

It was late into the night when I exited the 'Cave of Hidden Music', but I was on the far side of the island, so skipping the Earth Stone in favor of heading for Fort Frostmoth meant just as much of a walk. I made my way back to the Stone, fighting off at least a dozen wolves who seem a great deal more numerous and hostile after the night falls. 

The Stone behaved just as the others did: once I approached it the Stone began to glow and started shedding green sparks of light. The Earth Stone's quest was completed.
The sky was very clear and I estimated it to be close to midnight by the time I had finished with the Earth Stone. There is no safe place west of the river to sleep, so I had no choice but to make my way back to the fort, fighting wolves and bears along the way.

I learned at the fort that it was just past three in the morning, so my rest tonight will be quite short, but I am more eager to finish the Skaal's quest than I am to sleep late into the morning. 

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