Friday, September 18, 2015

Oblivion Day 41 - The Corruption of Sancre Tor

8 Frost Fall, 3E433

Once again my tour of the province has come to a merciful close. As expected, Count Andel was happy to send his city's guards to Bruma, declaring that my closing of the Oblivion gate was a "daring feat". He went on to say that he did not blame me for his son's death and that he had brought that fate upon himself and his men with his foolhardy charge into the Gate. I do not disagree.

And that was the end of my visitations to drum up support for Bruma. Guards from across the province were either at Bruma or on their way to it, so that part of my responsibility was done. It was time to retrieve the armor of Tiber Septim from Sancre Tor.

But without a horse my journey from Cheydinhal to the ruin would be an overly long one. The Black Waterside Stables outside of Cheydinhal had several horses for sale and the owner promised me that the black Cheydinhal chargers were the fastest horses in the province. I only cared for the horse to be at least faster than I was, so the five-thousand Septim cost was a bit much for me. I wound up paying it anyway, but the horse represented half of my carried wealth.

The horse was pretty fast, but its speed was largely wasted on the fact that I had to stop every couple of minutes to dismount and fight something. Minotaurs have seemingly become a common encounter overnight and I fought three of the beasts in-between Cheydinhal and Sancre Tor.
The landscape gradually changed from lush greenery (no rain today!) to the grey of the northern region as I followed the winding road past Bruma towards Chorrol. The ruin of Sancre Tor lay north of Chorrol with no road leading to it that I could find so I had to dismount from my new horse and continue on foot through the forest.

Sancre Tor was not difficult to find, it may be the largest ruin in the province. Having never seen it before I was surprised to find that it was nearly the size of a castle.
There were a few skeletons wandering about within the crumbling wall, but I avoided most of them and fought two, one armed with an ancient battle-axe and the other with a mace. Nothing very threatening.

The inside of Sancre Tor was completely infested with spirits, all of them eager to fling magicka at me, with some of them casting an invisibility spell as I approached them. The cold climate of Sancre Tor combined with the dampness of the ruin and the icy magicka of the spirits made for a miserable Khajiit. The spirits were not strong individually, but they would frequently hover near each other, making combat against two or three of them at once unavoidable.
I thought the spirits to be the only inhabitants of Sancre Tor, but further inside I spied a skeleton armed with what appeared to be Blades equipment. I recalled that Jauffre had mentioned that the best of the Blades had been sent to determine what had occurred to Sancre Tor, but they never returned. One had to assume that this was the remains of one of them. As a fighter I cannot highly praise the skeleton, but what happened next was unexpected.
The spirit of a man materialized next to the pile of bones that had once been the skeleton and he spoke to me in an echoing sort of way. He introduced himself as Rielus, one of the four Blades dispatched by Tiber Septim to clean the catacomb of its evil infestation. But the Underking had gotten to Sancre Tor first and defeated the four Blades, cursing them to walk the halls eternally as undead. He implored me to seek out his "brother" Blades, defeat them in combat, and free their souls. Once that was done, the former Blades could finish the mission given to them by their Emperor and I could claim the armor. The spirit of Rielus then bowed and walked away...through a wall. Not being able to follow, I proceeded further into Sancre Tor where I assumed the other Blades would be found.

The layout of Sancre Tor was pretty straight-forward and the other Blades were easy to identify by the purple glow centered in their skeletal remains. Upon each of their defeats their spirits were released and like Rielus, walked away further into the fortress.

Eventually, after a dozen more fights with magicka-flinging spirits, I found the inner sanctum of Sancre Tor. The four Blades I "rescued" had evidently been waiting for me to arrive and knelt down in a circle as I approached.
Nothing seemed to happen, but after a minute or so the barrier at the end of the hall disappeared and they got up and left without a word. The armor of Tiber Septim was mine for the taking, though I suppose it is fairer to say that it was Martin's for my taking.
The armor looked like nothing special. Just an old breastplate with a notable lack of blood about it. I carefully stowed it in my pack and walked out of the catacomb of Sancre Tor.

My new and expensive horse was nowhere to be found when I returned to the road, so I chose to walk to Chorrol instead of Bruma, as it was a great deal closer. When I arrived at the city a guardsman commented on how he was looking forward to the end of his watch and it was then that I realized the entire day and night had passed while I was in Sancre Tor. Chorrol was waking up as I stepped through the city's gate, so I will limit myself to a short nap this morning before walking to Bruma.

I do wonder what happened to my horse though.

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