Sunday, November 23, 2014

Morrowind Day 112 - As They Close In

4 Evening Star
I have completed the latest of Korst's requests, but have only more questions and mysteries than I started with. There is certainly something happening on Solstheim that is invisible to me and I feel that the recent events are being directed by someone or something. A reckoning with this person is closing in day by day as the events are becoming increasingly violent and overt.

The retrieval of the Skaal's totem of 'Claw and Fang' was my first goal today. Korst needed it in order to begin a ritual which he hoped would strengthen the Skaal against the as yet unknown threat looming before all of us. He told me that the totem was in an ancestral tomb of the Skaal, creatively named the 'Tomb of Skaalara'. He assured me that wards placed upon it would keep the tomb free of anything hostile, but I was skeptical of that claim, rightly so as it would turn out.

The tomb was very easy to find, in fact I must have walked by it the other day while I was exploring the small island with the locked door. Recently trampled snow at the entrance warned me to expect something so the attack right inside the entrance came as little surprise.
It fell quickly and I cautiously proceeded further into the tomb, it seeming to be now unguarded. The totem was easy to find, but as I was making my way back out a collection of howls from just ahead of me set my fur on end.

Waiting for me to reach the deepest part of the tomb before springing their trap from the entrance had been surprisingly clever, but their cleverness did not extend to figuring out how best to employ their greater numbers. Instead of encircling me as I would have thought, they simply came at me in ones and twos, the yet-to-be-fought content to watch the demise of their brethren.
Korst was unnerved to hear that the sacred home of the Skaal's ancestors had been assaulted, but assured me that the completion of the ritual for which the totem was necessary, the 'Ristaag', would strengthen the Skaal against this new threat. He also taught me how to summon the Skaal's guardian wolf spirits, but I think what we are up against is beyond the capability of a wolf. Perhaps I shall set one against a Nix-Hound some day.

The 'Ristaag' ceremony was immediately scheduled to start once the moon had risen. I was to meet a much respected hunter named 'Rolf Long-Tooth' who would guide me and two others during the ritual. It was still early in the morning though and I did not have a whole lot to do until nightfall. I still had Louis's coveted amulet and now time enough to go back to Ald'ruhn to deliver it.

Louis was overjoyed to receive the amulet at long last and dropped a very heavy sack of Septims in my hands that I later counted out to 1,500, a hefty sum. Whatever he plans on doing with it must be very important indeed.

I stocked up on supplies before starting back out on the long walk to Khuul, making a point to buy as many arrows as were available. The fort on Solstheim does not stock many and the Skaal expect each hunter to craft his own, so restocking my own supply is, as always, a great challenge on the island.

It was deep into the night when I arrived back on Solstheim and I hurried to meet Rolf Long-Tooth waiting by the lake. I kept my encountered with the wildlife to a minimum by maintaining my water walking spell and traveling atop the small river that fed from Lake Fjalding and found the hunter and two other Skaal, a man called 'Sattir the Bold' and a woman named Grerid Axe-Wife, an hour later.

They were eager to begin and explained that the ritual was fairly simple: Korst had used the amulet I retrieved for him to summon a large bear spirit for the four of us to stalk. Once the beast was slain, we were to return its ethereal heart back to Korst who would offer it to the Skaal's 'All-Maker' for protection against the werewolves.

Things started to go wrong as soon as we began. Despite having just suffered a large attack on their village the Skaal decided to spread out in order to find the bear quicker. I stayed with Rolf, but we had not gone far when a man's scream sounded to the right of us. Rolf sent me to investigate and I did not have to go far to discover Sattir's clawed and mutilated body, the obvious work of werewolves.

Unknown to us, we hunters had been the 'hunted' all along, the werewolves laying in wait to ambush us and disrupt the ritual, for whatever good that may have done. Rolf was more concerned that the ritual would be disrupted than he was with the hunter's death and urged me to follow so that we might quickly find the spirit bear. We had not gone far before another scream startled us, this one from Grerid. Once again Rolf sent me to discover what had happened and I found the woman's body torn to pieces, death no doubt having come mercifully quick. Aware that my guide was unprotected, I hurried back just in time to intercept a group of werewolves loping towards him.
He immediately rushed to my aid and accounted for the defeat of one werewolf to my two. Rolf was determined to finish the ritual, no matter what, and urged me to follow him deeper into the forest after the bear spirit we were to fight.

After the murder of our two companions and the battle against the murderers the spirit bear felt like something of a letdown. To be fair, it was the biggest bear I have ever seen, but it was still just a bear. We slew it with no difficulty and Rolf granted me the dubious honor of carrying the thing's bloody heart back to the village.
For receiving the heart Korst taught me another summoning spell, this one to summon a bear to fight alongside me. I certainly hope a bear would be stronger than a wolf, but the time and effort spent casting the spell in battle would probably be better spent stabbing my enemy.

Things had gotten worse while I was at Ald'ruhn earler in the day. The village's hunters reported that hundreds of the tusked, crawling things the Skaal call 'horkers' are dead with no obvious cause. Their bodies are unmarked, but dead horkers have been washing up on the north shore all day. Ever resourceful, the hunters are slaughtering the fresh corpses and seem content for the tusks and meat, but Korst is concerned that all the recent events are contained within the 'Bloodmoon' prophecy he had mentioned a few days ago.

Rather than explain what this prophecy was, Korst asked me to travel to an isolated castle of ice named 'Karstaag' in which an ice giant, or so he says, resides within. The little blue goblins I have been fighting live in the castle with this giant and Korst wants me to pay a visit in order to determine if the horkers' deaths are due to some work of either the giant or the goblins, or 'Rieklings' as he calls them.

It will be my first assault upon a castle in my life and I can say I am not looking forward to it. Those goblins are fierce fighters by themselves, I do not relish the thought of an entire castle filled with them. Not only that, but I should probably visit Frostmoth to see how the construction of the mining town is doing. The completion of that will ease my burdens here considerably.

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