Friday, April 1, 2016

Skyrim Day 022 - Just Books?

6 Heartfire, 4E201

"Find Mirabelle" was the only task I had from the College's Arch-Mage before he left for Saarthal in order to speak with Tolfdir about the metal egg. So after another quick breakfast I started the day as I did yesterday: wandering around a largely deserted school.

I did not have to wander long before I nearly ran into Mirabelle inside the 'Hall of Elements'. I asked her what she knew of the Psijic Order and received information I already knew. She was even less helpful with the business underneath Saarthal and told me to speak with Urag gro-Shub instead.

Urag demanded to know why I had not returned with the 'Hanging Gardens' and I had to point out that I only learned of it yesterday and have so far been too involved with my studies at the College to allow for a trip to Morthal. He begrudgingly agreed and asked what brought me back to the library. When I told him I needed books about Saarthal he sighed and told me that he did not have any books on the subject.

But he used to. A former student named 'Orthorn' had taken several books from the College as he sneaked out some time ago seeking to join a band of necromancers practicing their art at a ruined castle called 'Fellglow Keep', near Whiterun.

On my way out of the College I was accosted by Ancano, the Thalmor which Faralda had warned me of yesterday. He wanted to know what Tolfdir and I had found under Saarthal, but the only response I had was the honest one: I did not know. He assumed I was lying and cautioned me about the consequences of betraying the Thalmor. I wonder what he would have said if I had told him I was already wanted by his particular organization.

The walk from Winterhold to Fellglow Keep was surprisingly without incident. I passed a large fortress apparently garrisoned by the undead and spoke with a patrol of Imperial Legionnaires for a few minutes, but was spared the bandits, assassins, and wolves my journeys are normally plagued by.

The exterior of Fellglow Keep was guarded only by a single necromancer and his Flame Atronach, neither of which felt the crossbow bolts that ended their lives. I could not open the main door to the Keep, but a few minutes of searching revealed a second door dug into the earth that, for some reason, opened into a small prison area. Why the Keep has a second entrance no more than thirty feet from the first one is a mystery, but it saved me the trouble of waiting outside until someone else's shift came up.

This entrance was guarded by another necromancer just as easily felled by a bolt, plus two giant spiders, each of which I sent tumbling down the stairs with more shots from my faithful crossbow. The jail cells were occupied by eerily calm vampires, all of which I was perfectly okay with leaving captive. Further on were more vampires, all dead and horribly mutilated. This was the group Orthorn hoped to win over with the gift of books.

I found the naive Orthorn in a cell of his own next to a cage of wolves. One does not have to wonder as to what his eventual fate would have been. He expressed relief at the College having sent someone to rescue him, but I replied that he had been written off by the College, I had only been sent to retrieve the books. He begged to be let free either way and I could not abandon him to dehydration or starvation. Freed, he promised to make up for his transgression by helping me fight the remaining necromancers.

As for the books, the leader of the necromancers who he knew as the 'Caller' were in possession of them, but for what reason he did not know.

Orthorn proved surprisingly skilled in a fight and was able to summon Atronachs of his own as well as wield fire and lightning magicka. Alas, he fell in battle against two foes after recklessly charging ahead of me into a room where he was cornered and overpowered before I could assist. I will report to the College that he fell bravely in battle, which is only the truth, after all.
This 'Caller' leader was waiting for me in behind a locked door in a room seemingly redesigned as a summoning chamber of some kind. She accused me of taking her hospitality for granted, which elevated her from 'deluded' to 'insane' in my eyes and then summoned three Flame Atronachs to distract me while she flung fire and ice all of the room.

I ignored the Atronachs as best I could and chased after her relentlessly. Every time I struck her she managed to teleport to another corner of the room, but eventually the sum of my blows started to tell and she collapsed, her Atronachs extinguishing as she did.
The books I had killed to retrieve were on pedestals placed around the room to some unknown purpose. One of the books is about Saarthal and its "Night of Tears" when the Elves attacked Saarthal only to be repelled with heavy losses on both sides. The book questions what reason the Elves would have had to provoke such an attack, but I do think Tolfdir and I have answered at least part of the question.

As always it was late in the evening when I stepped back outside and I decided to stay at Whiterun for the night rather than walk all the way back to the College in the dark.
Other than witnessing the end of a fight between a vampire and two guards the walk from Fellglow Keep was just as boring as the walk to it was. I paid my ten Septims at the Bannered Mare and will be returning to the College in the morning. I may make a brief stop near Morthal for Urag's book on my way there.

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