17 Sun's Dusk
Welcome or no, sleeping at the Erabenimsun tribe's camp was not a relaxing experience. Probably something to do with my killing a decent percentage of their menfolk not too long ago. Everyone seemed happier with them gone, but it was an uneasy thing for me. I woke from a restless sleep earlier than usual and set out while it was still pitch-black out.
The path from the camp led to a crossroads, towards my left was a Daedric shrine tucked neatly along the curving hills that surrounded it. Though I knew I would not find the dagger there, I spent some time working my way through the Daedra-infested ruins so that I might be able to replenish my purse once I find a decent alchemist. Equipment repairs are expensive and my limited skill with the hammer does not go far.
I managed to salvage two Daedra hearts, distasteful as they are to retrieve and entered the shrine expecting to find a few cultists and maybe some gemstones. The risk versus reward of the shrines are, in my experience, quite similar to the Dwemer ruins and therefore best avoided. Today was no exception to this rule, for all I found were four bandits with cheap equipment and a single diamond. Hardly worth the effort and time.
Returning to the crossroad I turned to my right thinking I was heading south towards Molag Mar and Suran, but I reached another dead-end, this one with a tomb and skeletal guardian.
Guardians outside of the tombs usually indicate there is something inside that the family absolutely wants to keep from leaving. The single skeleton had a simple iron broadsword and shield, making it barely a danger to anyone strong enough to survive in the area. Inside, however, was a very different story.
A Fire Atronach and Clannfear were waiting for me just inside, providing a decent challenge as I struggled to dodge the Atronach's fireballs and Clannfear's razor-sharp beak. Eventually I was backed into a corner by the Clannfear, but this worked out more to my advantage as the Atronach (surprisingly) did not fling fireballs so long as the other Daedra was in the way. I dispatched the Clannfear with my short sword, then moved to engage the Atronach before it could start with its fireballs again.
My life has never left much room for humor, but I had to laugh at what I found next. Whether intentional or accident, someone had summoned a massive Daedra, an Ogrim into a room off of the main chamber whose doors were too small for the creature to fit through. This little fact did not seem to occur to the monster, for it continued to try to squeeze through the door while roaring and flailing at me.
Shooting it full of arrows seemed the most merciful and safest thing to do. Even I had some trouble fitting through the doorway with the Daedra's corpse in the way, but I managed. Beyond was an altar with a skeleton laying upon it, another unusual find for a Dunmer tomb, and next to it was an old, rusty dagger.
I have no way of knowing if this particular dagger is what I have been tasked with finding, but I am taking it with me on the chance that it is and on the chance that I even find myself at that shrine once again.
Electing to skip Molag Mar I turned west, finally heading back 'home' as it were. I happened to be fortunate not to encounter anything between the tomb and Suran worth writing about and walked underneath the east gate of Suran late into the evening. It is nice to be at an Imperial town after the Ashland camps and Telvanni plant-towers, but skipping Molag Mar for Suran leaves a great swath of land to the east of Molag Mar still unexplored. I have ventured from my original plan to walk the coast, but I have been receiving diminishing returns for my efforts as of late and am growing somewhat discouraged.
Though I am several days away from Ald'ruhn it feels as though my journey is close to an end. I have destroyed a few Sixth House outposts, but I did not really accomplish as much as I anticipated. The entire experience did show that my equipment needs to be upgraded before I can be expected to survive within the Ghostfence and my catalog of spells need to be reworked as well.
Always things to do. Writing this reminded me of the stronghold being built for me by the Redorans. I wonder how that is coming along.