Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Morrowind Day 121 - Excitement in Mournhold (Finally!)

13 Evening Star
Events seem to be approaching a rapid conclusion in Mournhold, though it appears that unknown third actor is the one instigating all of today's excitement.

But the morning started in Thirsk, not Mournhold. With not much to do I decided to visit the colony and see if there was anything for me to help with. Other than a band of poorly-equipped raiders, the walk there was surprisingly peaceful.
It seems like a great deal of progress is being made at Raven Rock, with a few houses completed and already lived-in. Falco was as morose and nervous as I have ever seen him, but when he saw me approach he appeared to be somewhat relieved.

He told me that I had arrived at a crossroads of a sort because Carnius had started to directly act against him, attempting to divert the construction of the colony towards an end Falco was not entirely sure of. Whatever Carnius's reasons were, Falco said that Carnius would likely ask me to aid him when I next spoke with him, but urged me to consider supporting him instead.

I knew both men about equally well, which is to say not almost not at all, but something in Carnius's nature made me reluctant to even approach the man about this matter and Falco had been honest with me so far, so I assured him that he could count on my support against Carnius in the future. He laughed and slapped me on the shoulder, then immediately drew his hand away.

To cover up his obvious embarrassment he asked me to talk with the few residents of Raven Rock and ask them whether he should commission the construction of a smithy or a general trader's shop. With only four people to ask, this was a quickly completed task. Apronia in particular was very insistent upon the trader's, voicing her concern that her single dress was falling apart after her own adventure several days ago. The final tally came to three votes for the trader, one for the smithy, making my decision a rather easy one. Falco promised that the construction would start immediately and said he would have a dress for Apronia delivered from the mainland within a day or two. Apparently there may be something between the two of them and I wish them the best of luck if so.

Falco had one final request of me for the day: to go to the Fort and tell Carnius of his decision. He apologized for shouldering me with the task of speaking with such a disagreeable man, but at least I there was a small boat at the colony to ferry people and supplies back to the fort. I swore to never travel on a boat ever again, but I figure one that stays within sight of a shore is acceptable.

Carnius told me he did not care what was built at the colony, told me to go away, and just about threw a bag of coins at my head as I turned to walk out. I would say the money is welcome, but I am rapidly running out of supplies that I need to purchase anyway. Mostly just arrows and the occasional healing elixir, neither of which are expensive.

With the trader's shop under construction I had no more tasks pending on the island, so it was back to Mournhold via my Recall amulet, then teleportation from the Ald'ruhn Mages Guild to Vivec, and humid walk down the road to Ebonheart.

As soon as I walked into the Palace courtyard in Mournhold, a guard ran up to me and exclaimed that the grand Plaza was under attack by "constructs" and that the Royal Guards were summoning every armed citizen to the Plaza grounds. She urged me to make haste towards the plaza, for she feared the guardsmen and High Ordinators stationed there would soon be overwhelmed. Having apparently no choice, I rushed to the city's defense.
My first impression of Mournhold's invaders were of giant insects, one a light grey color and very fast, the other almost black and slower, but much stronger than the first. The nameless guard who sent me to the Plaza was correct in the city's defenders being outnumbered, but the Royal Guard and High Ordinators had little trouble with dispatching twice their number of enemies. I myself accounted for one of the black creatures.

Upon closer inspection it was obvious that the creatures were more mechanical than animal, hence 'constructs'. Whose constructs is a mystery that everyone in the city is very eager to have solved.

A High Ordinator grabbed me and told me that I needed to go to the Temple and inform Fedris of the successful defense of the city. Again, it appears I had no choice in the matter. 

Fedris was already well-informed of the attacks, but was pleased that I had come to see him, for naturally he had a task for me. The constructs had crawled out of a hole that appeared beneath the plaza's Memorial statue, utterly destroying it. Three High Ordinators had ventured into the hole, but none had yet returned. Fedris asked me to descend into the hole and determine what progress the Ordinators had made.
A ladder was helpfully left behind, allowing me to climb down beneath Mournhold with no fear of a broken leg or some other calamity resulting from having to jump down into it. It was easy to walk along the tunnel the constructs had bored out of the earth, but I sped up as I began to hear sounds of battle. I thought the Ordinators had become engaged with more of the mechanicals, but the tunnel ended in the wall of a large room in which Dwemer guardians fought a losing battle against more of Mournhold's invaders. There was no sign of the High Ordinators.

I saw no reason to join in the vicious melee below me, so I ran back to the ladder, noting that the head of Almalexia's statue had fallen the farthest, unreachable now under a torrent of frigid water. Something about it was very disquieting.
Fedris was unnerved that the creatures were not of Dwemer origin, for now there was a third side that no one had any information about. Evidently unsure of his next course of action, he acted like an Imperial soldier and passed the problem upwards, telling me to speak with Almalexia about the ruins I found.

I found her to be somewhat...disturbed, I suppose. She seemed to care little about the attack on Mournhold and much about a cult she had heard about called the 'End of Times'. All of the known cultists were found dead via strong poison and she feared that the cult would spread throughout the city, driving more cultists to their apparent suicide. She provided me the name of the leader, 'Eno Romari' and asked that I bring him to her alive, not dead. She suggested I speak with a young Dunmer named 'Meralyn Othan', whose brother died as a result of being a part of the cult. She was to be found in the Great Bazaar. 

Meralyn was sad and confused as to how her brother got involved with the cult to begin with. She described it as "destructive, heretical, and frightening...", but then told me Eno Romari was usually to be found standing in front of the Winged Guar in Godsreach. I do wonder how dangerous the cult can be if Almalexia felt that having an Ordinator drag the man to jail was overreaching her power. Meralyn stated the man was usually preaching to passer-bys and drunks, hardly sounding like the leader of some murderous cult.
Eno Romari was quite calm and pleasant for an apparently deranged cult leader. He described the 'End of Times' as an organization dedicated to relieving the suffering of those troubled by these times we are living in.

Talking to him for only a few minutes made it obvious why Almalexia was so eager to silence the man, dead cultists or not. Eno unabashedly stated that the cornerstone of  the 'End of Times' was the belief that the Tribunal has lost its power, heralding doom upon the province of Morrowind. Eno called the loss of the Tribunal the 'Passing of the Three', yet Vivec, Almalexia, and presumably Sotha Sil have not been lost. He dismissed that objection, stating that a "new era" was beginning and that the deaths of the cultists were simply individuals who chose to be reborn when the gates of Oblivion open and Daedra assault the land.

He seemed very earnest in his belief of the world's destruction, but I suppose cult leaders would have to be. Eno assured me that the dead simply "went on ahead" to be ready to battle the Daedra once the battle between the world of Men and the plane of Oblivion began. When exactly this was all going to occur, he could not say. Of course. Mindful of the Lady's instructions, I left the man alone and went back to the Temple.

Predictably, Almalexia did not take the insult to her power very well. In fact, the very notion that her power was waning seemed to have set something off inside of her. She fumed in silence for a few moments after my report, then declared that the city needed a lesson in her power and I was assist with this lesson immediately. 

She did not ask, she demanded that I descend into the ruins where I witnessed the battle and find a Dwemer device called the 'Karstangz-Beharn', which she explained could be translated as 'Weather Witch'. If it was still working the device could be use to control the weather over Mournhold, but Almalexia was not interested in sun or rain. She wanted the Ash Storms of the late Dagoth Ur, which her power had kept from crossing the channel between Vvardenfell and the mainland.

The 'Weather Witch' would let me create an Ash Storm over the city, which Almalexia would then drive away, showing the people of the city that she was still a God to be feared and respected. Those were her words. But they do not seem the words of a caring God. Galsa Andrano's concerns increasingly seem well-founded, but I do not have much choice in the matter. I must go beneath the city once again, but at least it is not the sewers this time.

With her parting words she handed me a Dwemer object that she said I would have to use to awaken the machine. How to do this was not explained, but I am confident I can work that out.

Tomorrow though. It has been a very long, very exciting day and I am in no condition to fight off hordes of Dwemer guardians and whatever creatures swarmed into the city today.

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