6 Frost Fall, 3E433
A day started in Skingrad and a day ended in Skingrad, but I accomplished much during the in-between. Had I known that I would be ending my day in Skingrad I perhaps would not have called upon the Count so early, but I set off for the castle immediately after breakfast.
I had heard rumors of the Count's eccentric nature, so I was not greatly surprised by having to speak to the man through his steward, Mercator Hosidus. Mercator introduced himself by stating that in no uncertain terms will the Count not be meeting with me at all, for any reason. Quite a pleasant fellow. When I broached the topic of sending guardsmen to Bruma, he remarked that he would be right back with the Count himself! Pleasant and apparently indecisive.
The Count's eccentric nature was soon obvious: the man was a vampire! No one seemed bothered by this and the Count, unlike his steward, actually was pleasant, so I suppose it is something of an open secret among those in Skingrad. Count Janus had a sense of humor too, remarking that Mehrunes Dagon had no more love of his kind than for mortals, as vampires tend to make poor slaves. He agreed to send soldiers to Bruma and wished me luck with the upcoming battle against the forces of Oblivion. And just like that our conversation was over. Quick and easy.
While fighting the Ogres at the Pale Pass I had wished for a bow and a bandit along the road between Skingrad and Kvatch violently surrendered his very valuable glassed bow to me. First I was encountering bandits armed with Dwemer weapons and now glassed and Elvish on top of that. I can only assume there is a large influx of smuggled goods entering the province, what with the Legion being distracted and the Auxiliaries disbanded, Good for me when I find something valuable or useful, but on the whole I would rather this not be the case. The world is dangerous enough.
As if to drive that point home, I turned a corner from the dead bandit and witnessed a battle between a Minotaur, a Legionnaire, and what appeared to be another bandit.
The two men dispatched the Minotaur before I could dismount and come to their aid, but then the bandit foolishly turned on the soldier, who killed him with a single blow from his sword. Amusing, if you have a grisly sense of humor. I spoke to the soldier for a few minutes and he confirmed that he had been facing Minotaurs and Spriggans along the road far more frequently than usual, but neither of us could really say why this was. I suspect the Oblivion portals have something to do with this, perhaps drawing the creatures to the civilized areas of the province they normally stayed away from. I do not know for sure. As I rode away from the former bandit campsite I fought a Minotaur of my very own, a battle whose difficultly fell somewhere between an Ogrim and an Ogre, with the fetid breath of my enemy to match either. Curiously, the Minotaur completely ignored my horse, which I did not expect but am very grateful for.
I rode past the ruin of Kvatch and reached Anvil by early afternoon. I wasted no time in seeking out the Countess and she praised my efforts in closing her city's Oblivion gate, promising me that Bruma would have some of her best guardsmen defending it. With nothing else to do in the city, I turned around and rode back to Skingrad.
While passing Kvatch I decided to stop and see how everyone was faring. The city was still a complete ruin, of course, and fires still smoldered here and there, but the Daedra were gone. The rebuilding will take a long time, but at least it can be said that the city can be rebuilt now. When and if that occurs is another question.
I told Captain Matius of my exploits and of the difficulty the province was facing with the invasion coming from Oblivion and he offered to send a guardsman of Kvatch to Bruma to bolster the defenses. When I pointed out that Kvatch had little in the way of defense to spare, he smiled and suggested that Kvatch was likely no longer a target. I conceded his counter-point and accepted his surprising offer.
It was late into the night when I arrived back at Skingrad and I have taken a room at the West Weald Inn. Tomorrow I ride for Bravil and hopefully Leyawiin. Once Bruma is adaquetely defended I can dedicate all of my time towards Martin's pursuits and start bringing the battle to Mehrunes Dagon instead of reacting to his agents' handiwork.