30 Last Seed, 4E201
I thought today would be a relatively simple day: go to the cave near Dragons Bridge, scare away some bandits, and proceed to Clavicus Vile. Of course, I was completely wrong again.
I left Solitude early in the morning and was surprised to find that a Khajiit caravan had set up shop just outside the walls.
The leader, an old male who called himself Ma'Dran, had quite an interesting collection of things for sale. A lot of it was just sundries and household items, but he had a selection for "active individuals", as he put it, that included lockpicks, poisons, elixers, and a few weapons. He specifically suggested a poison he said would induce a rage in anyone who came in contact with it, enough to turn that person's friends into enemies. That sounded useful, but it cost me five hundred Septims. Never purchase from a Khajiit.
Once I found Wolfskull Cave it was immediately apparent that I was not going to be dealing with mere bandits.
Two skeletons, each armed with two-handed swords, approached me as I left the road. I may have judged 'Dawnbreaker' a bit too hastily, for my experimental strikes against my undead foes resulted in a massive explosion and their instant destruction. A bit more useful than I anticipated, certainly.
Inside were a few more undead and a Frost Atronach, none of which could stand against 'Dawnbreaker'. But when I entered the main chamber of the cave, the sight before me had me quickly discarding the weapon and its noticeable glow.
Something was occurring at the top of the tower where the tendrils of purple light were collecting, but I could not tell what. The droning of several people was audible over the sound of the wind rushing about the chamber and I heard one voice clearly declare that someone named 'Potema' was being summoned.
But I had other concerns. Undead were shambling about below where I had entered and this summoning was likely the reason the villagers have been having their troubles. Undead, as a rule, make generally poor guards and despite the necromancers having summoned a dozen of them into the chamber I was able to pick them off one-by-one from a distance, each one being unable to alert anyone else in any way.
The necromancers themselves were a bit more difficult. Two of them were not part of the summoning ritual and had to be approached quietly from behind as I made my way towards the tower, but once I started to ascend the stairs I had no hope of concealing my approach. Indeed, I was only halfway up before I heard a woman's voice sharply announce that there was an intruder among them.
I do not know if she was the first one down the stairs, but whomever she was received an arrow in the chest for her trouble and I stepped out of the way of her tumbling body as her comrades surged towards me. My second victim received but a scratch, but this was from my dagger I had poisoned with Ma'Dran's potion of angering. In an instant he turned his back to me and flung spells against the necromancers piling on the stairs, slaying two before they had any time to react.
The suddenness even took me by surprise and I was content to run back down the stairs as the magicka battle raged atop the tower. Eventually the combat died down and I crept back up to find that my captive ally was dead and only an older woman was left alive, her left arm completely encased in ice and useless. She hissed that Potema would return with or without their help, but I had no interest in her ramblings. Her end was quick and summoning over.
Rather than return to Solitude and probably spend the rest of the day there I left Wolfskull Cave, walked through Dragons Bridge, and resumed my long journey to Clavicus Vile. On the way I passed the bandit outpost on the bridge which Barbas nearly cleared by himself and the site of the ambush with the cart and dead body, both still on the road along with the bandits'.
A Thalmor patrol surprised me as they rounded a bend, but none of them recognized me as a potential bounty and simply told me to stand aside as they marched by.
The day's journey ended not very far from Solitude: the Frostfruit Inn in Rorikstead. I arrived before the sun had set, but there is little hospitality between Rorikstead and my destination, so I prudently retired to the my room. spending the remainder of the evening with my alchemy ingredients. I hope tomorrow to return the Rueful Axe to its rightful owner and be done with this business.