Monday, June 15, 2015

Oblivion Day 13 - Fetcher of Mages

9 Heartfire, 3E433

The decision was made to pursue my Mage Guild tasks in Skingrad and Anvil first, then visit Bravil and work my way around the province, counter-clockwise. Along the way I shall close any gates I come across and, should I find a teacher, practice my Illusion magic, which I am sorely lacking in skill after languishing in prison for so long.

My horse had miraculously returned to the stable after abandoning me outside of an Oblivion gate several days ago, so I elected to save time by riding directly to Skingrad, past Hackdirt and through a lot of untamed wilderness. I only hoped that I did not run into another Oblivion gate on my way there.

I passed the ruins of the gate by Hackdirt which I closed yesterday and all that remained of it was a smoldering pile of stone and a few dead Scamps.
I also found a shrine to some Daedric Prince, though I could not tell which one. Three worshipers were gathered around the shrine, chanting and gesturing towards the statue of whichever Prince the statue was of. Cultists though they were, they left me alone and I had no desire to start a fight where one was not warranted, so I left them in peace.

I had just passed a small farm with a large church next to it when the sky began to turn red, exactly what I had been hoping to avoid. There are more signs inside the Gates that other people have started to try to close them, but so far I have not seen any sign of that success. This Gate had the body of a horse just inside the entrance, with two Scamps having a terrible feast of the animal's body.
Fortunately, the Gate was another small one, just three towers, two of which conspired to keep two gates leading to the third tower closed, but after opening the gates there was little opposition against my ascending the third tower and yanking the stone from its fiery pedestal. Another Gate destroyed, though the apparent ease at which they open diminishes the accomplishment somewhat. The rest of the trip to Skingrad passed uneventfully.

My first exposure to the Skingrad Mages Guild was that of Druja, an Argonian who warned me that the head of the guild, Adrienne, hated being pulled from her reading and would likely be annoyed at my request for a University recommendation. I was in luck though, for Adrienne was not reading when I arrived, but instead was speaking to a guild member, fretting about Erthor, a member whose absence was "disturbing her research", as she put it. 
She was of no help telling me where to even start looking for the man, but the other members of the guild were well-educated in Adrienne's absent-mindedness and told me that she herself had told the Bosmer to leave the guild, as his experiments had been disturbing her reading. He had made it known to everyone (including Adrienne) that he was to be found in a nearby cave called 'Bleak Flats' where he was continuing his experimentation.

When I reminded Adrienne of her order, she brushed it off and said that something should be done about it, that "something" being my visiting Erthor and bringing him back to the guild. Bleak Flats was not terribly far from Skingrad, so it was much to my displeasure when I found another Oblivion gate lit up a hundred yards or so from the cave.
But Erthor's return was my highest priority, so I tied my horse outside the cave and stepped inside. Immediately my nose was assailed by the smell of rotting flesh and I feared the worst for the Bosmer, but the place had been invaded by zombies, somehow lured by the careless mage's experiments. He was relieved to hear they had been dispatched and asked that he be allowed to follow me back to town. I had been planning on closing the gate immediately after, but agreed figuring that his accidental death while on his own would be a large problem towards my access into the University.

We reached the town without incident and Adrienne gave him quite a cold reception, but I could tell she was happy to have him back. She agreed to write my recommendation in-between her books and I left the guild, intent on closing the Oblivion gate. There seems to be at least one near every town I have visited and closing these "invasion" gates as I canvass Cyrodiil is my highest priority, even moreso than gaining entrance to the University and determining what these stones are.

Curiously, this gate had another dead horse within it, but the area was not the same as the previous horse-gifted plane of Oblivion. It was just as easy though and until I stop facing tiny Scamps and the occasionally lonesome Dremora I will not have anything further about the gates to really speak of. The pattern to close them remains the same: gain entrance to the tallest tower, ascend to the top level, and snatch the stone. Sometimes getting to the tower means extending bridges, other times opening gates, and still other times just plain fighting my way to the top. Perhaps things will change eventually.

But my time in Skingrad, though short, is now complete. I must keep moving. Tomorrow is scheduled for Anvil, the reaching of which promises to take up much of the day and after that will be Bravil, the trip to which will certainly consume an entire day. From what I have been told, the Bravil Mages Guild should be of particular interest to me, as they specialize in Illusion spells. Perhaps I can find a reason to dally a day or two in Bravil once I'm there.

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