Friday, June 12, 2015

Oblivion Day 12 - Abduction in Hackdirt

8 Heartfire, 3E433

The 'Fingers of the Mountain' book is now in the hands of the Mages Guild and I am glad it is, as I was told while on my way to the Guild that Teekeeus used to be in a position at the Arcane University. Earana's scheming successfully saw him removed from whatever post he held there, but apparently she felt that she could not rest for as long as the Argonian was in the Guild at all. I cannot understand such spitefulness and I am glad to have helped him with his problem. He received his book and I received the promise of my recommendation, which is good enough for me.

That left only the unfortunate Dar-Ma to rescue from the equally unfortunate village of Hackdirt. I had been posted there many years ago as part of a small detachment guarding isolated villages from goblins. We had received a warm reception at every place we stopped at...except for Hackdirt. True, the town had been mostly burnt-out rubble then, but that had not been our doing. I simply remember it being a very unfriendly, unpleasant place and we were all glad to move on after a few days to the next village on the list.

The more things change, the more things stay the same. Hackdirt is still the same miserable patch of land that it was back then, with one rather important difference. I got the same glares I remembered from years back when I walked into town and the same curt responses to any question I had, including why there was a white horse crudely stabled within the wreck of an old house.
Dar-Ma was still there or had been. But the people of Hackdirt were not the most clever of folk and when I asked about only a "missing shopkeeper", one of the older men replied that he knew nothing about an Argonian...a detail I had not mentioned. Further investigation netted a trapdoor in the corner of one of the ruined homes and underneath it a sprawling cavern that used to be a mine, if my memory is correct.

But there was no more ore in the mine, just strange half-naked men with large eyes, clubs, and a rather hostile attitude. I was attacked immediately by these brutes, but dispatched them all handily, and found Dar-Ma alive and well in a cage during the running melee I was engaged in. The key to Dar-Ma's cell was on one of the man-creatures and she seemed unharmed and understandably frightened. I escorted her back to the surface and her horse Blossom, but we were attacked by more of the brutes, as well as some townspeople, as soon as she had mounted.

I told her to flee to Chorrol before we were surrounded and she took off, leaving me to deal with the small riot assaulting me without having to worry about her. When things had finally quieted down I was covered in blood and the town of Hackdirt had probably half the living residents it had this morning. Everyone else was inside their homes, so I began the long trek back to the city, welcoming the cleansing rain that started to fall as I did so.

But I had only been walking for a few minutes before I heard the unmistakable sounds of a horse in distress. I rushed forwards thinking that Dar-Ma had run into some sort of ambush somehow set by Hackdirt, but as I drew closer to the sound I noticed the sky was turning a deep red.

Dar-Ma managed to stumble into an Oblivion gate, scaring the wits out of her horse. I helped the frightened Argonian drag the horse away from the gate and told her to ride as quickly as possible around it once Blossom had calmed. When she asked why I was not following, I told her I was going to close the gate and she looked at me as if I had suddenly grown a second head. Once I saw that she was safely around the gate and heading to the city I stepped forwards, wary of scamps' fireballs, and entered the Gate.
At least it feels like the Gates are becoming easier. This one was new again: two small towers and one large tower. I had only to release the lock on a bridge from one small tower to  the other, then from that tower release a second lock to extend a bridge to the large tower, atop which sat the Stone powering the entire place. And that was all there was to that Gate. Scamps are no longer an issue at all and I found myself wishing for the days of Morrowind when I was going toe-to-toe with powerful Dremora. At least life was challenging then.

As usual time seems to pass quicker in Oblivion and again it was deep into the evening when I had closed the Gate, despite it being late morning when I entered it. An Oblivion gate is a guarantee on how your day will be spent.

Still, I made it back to Chorrol before too long and stopped at Seed-Neeus's tradehouse to make sure Dar-Ma had arrived home safely.
For having rescued her daughter Seed-Neeus promised me her undying gratitude and friendship, two things which I have learned go a lot farther than a handful of coins. If at all possible I shall endeavor to sell most of my future goods to her as I am promised the best prices for everything. This will not always be possible, of course, but whenever possible, it shall be done.

I have spent enough time in Chorrol I think. I have a decision to make now: do I travel west to Skingrad and Anvil or east to Bruma and Cheydinhal? The choice is somewhat pointless, I have to visit each city eventually to gain the Guild recommendation for entry to the University, but I am leaning towards Skingrad and Anvil to keep myself from having to double-back once I have finished my business in the east.

No comments:

Post a Comment