Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Oblivion Day 5 - On My Own Again

1 Heartfire, 3E433

As they say, there is no rest for the weary. My morning at Weynon Priory monastery started while it was still night, courtesy of an over-eager Jauffre seeking to reach the Blades stronghold before the afternoon. To his credit, the man also procured mounts for the three of us and though I was unaccustomed at riding, it was not my first time and I was able to keep my horse at a decent pace.
The land gradually changed from lush and green to grey, white, and barren as we worked our way along the northern road past Bleaker's Way Goodwill Inn, which I was pleasantly surprised to find still standing and in business. I must make it a point to stop there one day, it was a favorite of ours back then.

After several hours of on horseback I spied the top of the turrets of Bruma, grateful for the opportunity to massage feeling back into my legs.
Our visit to Bruma was brief. Jauffre hurried us to the gate on the far side of the city and exchanged a few quiet words with the guards, who just as hurriedly opened the gate for us after Jauffre finished speaking. The stronghold of the Blades is quite an unimpressive structure, mostly just unfinished stone blocks and an unimposing gatehouse.
One of the Blades that had been part of the Emperor's escort met us at the gate. He looked as thought he had not slept in a year, but brightened up somewhat when told that the man with us was the Emperor's true (and last) heir to the Empire. The heir did not look quite as happy.

Jauffre led us both into the fortress where several Blades were milling about on various duties. With a word, he summoned them to the courtyard and gave a small speech telling them that the war continued, but that the heir was in fact safe and in front of them right at that very moment. He then asked the heir (I may as well divulge his name, Martin, at this point) to speak, much to the man's discomfort. He gave a rather hesitant and not at all rousing speech promising that he would do his best, but Jauffre and his Blades seemed pleased nonetheless.
I spoke with Martin after the Blades dispersed back to their chores. He was confused and obviously scared of his sudden responsibility and I had to gently remind him that we needed the Amulet of Kings back before we could make any further moves against the forces of Oblivion.

He surprised me by dictating to me the relationship between our world and the Plane of Oblivion. He said that the existence of the portal at Kvatch indicated that the old 'rules' no longer applied between the two worlds and that such knowledge would be familiar to any practitioner of Daedric magic. He slipped up on his next sentence, for he then stated that everything he knew of Daedric magic said that such portals were impossible, then blushed, obviously not having intended to reveal his dabbling in such an art. He said that he knew more than an ordinary priest should about the seductive nature of Daedric magic and insisted we leave that particular subject at that, which I was happy to do.

Far more amusing was Jauffre somberly inducting me into the organization I technically never left since my conscription six years ago in Balmora. The titles have changed a bit, for now I am a 'Knight Sister'. It is a rank I do not believe existed while I was in Morrowind, so perhaps the Blades in Cyrodiil follow a different chain of organization.

Unlike the past few days, I finished today's task just as the Blades started their communal lunch, so I had nearly a full day ahead of me with nothing specific to do. I decided to visit the city of Bruma, figuring that I would be passing through it more than a few times on Blades business.
Bruma was abuzz with the recent murder/execution of an innocent citizen/terrible vampire, depending on who you asked. The dead man's name was Bradon Lirrian and his assailant, Raynil Dralas. Vampires are a dire threat and to think one could be living inside of a city would make anyone shudder, but I heard enough doubt around Bradon's death to make me think there was more to it.

The city guard was not very helpful. The guardsman "investigating" the crime at Bradon's home was convinced that his fellow citizen had been a vampire solely based on the fact that he was killed by someone claiming to be a vampire-hunter. The idiot even expressed empathy for the man's wife, stating that she had no clue her husband had been infected. Obviously if he had been infected, she would have been the first victim! Their "investigation" revealed that no one ever saw Bradon out during the day, which was as solid an admission of guilt as the guardsman required.

Bradon's wife was convinced that her husband had been senselessly murdered and pleaded for me to help clear her late husband's name. The utter ineptitude of the city guard already convinced me to help and she was very grateful for my assurance that I would find out what really happened to her husband. She said that she had walked in on Raynil just after the murder and screamed for help, summoning the guards. After a search of the house, the guards found the body of a beggar in their basement, seemingly confirming Raynil's story. His wife sardonically pointed out that your own house is a very poor place to hide a body and suspected Raynil planted the body there prior to the murder.

I need more information. Innkeepers are always excellent sources of rumors and local knowledge, so I inquired as to the nearest inn and paid a visit to 'Olav's Tap and Tack'. Luckily, the innkeeper, Olav, was sympathetic towards Bradon's reputation and gave me the key to Raynil's room. Behind the dresser I found a small weather-beaten journal that seemed to archive the plundering of a ruin, which would be mundane except for that Bradon was one of the plunderers. Another name, Gelebourne, was also part of the gang's activity that night.

When I asked Olav if Raynil ever mentioned a 'Gelebourne', he seemed surprised, as that was the previous "vampire" Raynil had dispatched. Suddenly everything became very clear. The final pages of the journal had made mention of a special chest the trio had built, one with three locks and each of them with a key. Whatever their previous arrangement was, it looked like Raynil had lost patience and decided to claim the chest for his own.

When I confronted the gullible guard he immediately changed his tune and told me that Raynil had just been seen departing Bruma through the west gate, into the Jerrel Mountains. He offered the suggestion that Raynil was headed towards a cave the locals called the 'Boreal Stone Cave' and urged me to hurry after him.
I had never been so far north while in the Auxiliaries and the area's tough pines and cold, hard ground reminded me of Solstheim, though with a great deal less bears to contend with. In fact, I contended with absolutely nothing on my way to the cave and was soon creeping down the damp corridors looking for the murderer.

He was fiddling with the locks on the chest when I called out to him, causing him to curse and spin around to face me, drawing a cheap two-handed blade as he approached me. He declared that I was to meet my death this day and attacked with a mighty swing of his sword.

A mighty...slow swing of his sword. Evidently he was not well practiced with the weapon and he threw himself off balance, giving me time enough to drive the edge of my long blade into (ironically) his neck, killing him instantly.
The chest contained an amulet with no enchantment I could detect upon it, but I took it anyway, figuring Bradon's wife might appreciate the keepsake.

On my way back to Bruma I heard a dull roaring sound and decided to investigate. A small gate to Oblivion was simply sitting there, shooting out flames and the stink of melted rock. I was curious to see what would await me behind a gate not apparently opened for any specific purpose, so I stepped inside.

I found much the same as I did within the Kvatch gate, only this was a much smaller landmass and a smaller tower. Again, only Scamps existed to bar my way and they are no challenge for me. In a short time I had ascended to the top of the main Oblivion tower and rid it of its Stone, destroying the gate and sending me back to Cyrodiil, flush with accomplishment and pride.

It was well into the next morning when I finally arrived back at Bruma, a habit I am growing tired of already. I gave the amulet back to Bradon's wife, Erline and she thanked me but told me that I should take it instead. The amulet was enchanted to mask its actual enchantment, but she knew how to dispel it. With a word, the amulet glowed and she handed it back to me. The amulet is surprisingly powerful: wearing it makes me noticeably lighter on my feet and quicker to jump and run, a very useful item to have!

Again I have worked through a night and into the next day. No matter, I shall take a short nap and resume today's activities, whatever they may be.

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