Monday, January 16, 2017

Skyrim Day 059 - Where Be Dragons?

14 Frostfall, 4E201

I delivered the Razor's hilt to the misguided Silus and he just about caressed it, marveling at how it seemed to mold itself to his hand. Having never wielded Mehrune's Razor I cannot say if it actually does that, but the man appeared to be enamored by it. I shall have to be careful in returning the remaining pieces to him, if I do at all. I suspect no one who voluntarily seeks the Razor comes to a good end.

On my way out of Dawnstar I was accosted by a highwayman who demanded all of my valuables, else he would "gut me like a fish". I paid him no mind and continued walking by. Evidently surprised, he chased after me, yelling his demand for my goods. When he was close enough I spun around, smacked the dagger out of his hand, and held my own to his throat. Perhaps he shall return to gutting fish.

I was walking towards Whiterun for what felt like the hundredth time, intending to take the crossroads towards Ivarstead, thinking about the return of the Dragons. How did the Stormcloaks control them? Did they control all of them, or just the one at Ulfric's would-be execution? Whatever the case, why was the civil war at a standstill? Were the Dragons under anyone's control? If not, why did one intervene to save Ulfric Stormcloak? Mulling such thoughts over my head, I was completely surprised by sudden roaring and the rush of wind following a low-flying Dragon overhead.

When the Dragon attacked I was just outside of Whiterun, a few minutes walk from the crossroads leading to Ivarstead. It seemed to have shown up just for me, stopping on the side of the road to stare at me for a few moments, but the arrival of six Whiterun guards distracted proved more interesting. As I hurried to load my crossbow the beast landed in front of the nearest farmstead and killed two of the guards right away.
Concerned about hitting the surviving guardsmen, I left my crossbow on the side of the road and hurried across the stream to join them. The guards were too preoccupied with the Dragon to comment on the oddity of a Khajiit rushing to fight alongside them, but I imagine my presence raised a few proud Nordic eyebrows.
With myself and three guards fighting against it, the Dragon evidently felt hard-pressed and took to the air, quickly diving upon a lone guard standing in a nearby field who was prudently keeping his distance with his bow and arrows. The man looked to have been instantly crushed beneath the Dragon's claws as it landed on him and the beast dismissively picked the man's corpse up in its mouth and flung it in our direction, taking flight once again.

Rather than do what I would have done and rained fire on us from the sky. the Dragon landed and started to clumsily crawl towards us. It was an odd sight. But against four foes it fell quickly and my accursed "gift" claimed another Dragon's soul, much to the amazement of the surviving guardsmen. I left before they collected their wits and dragged me back to Whiterun, an episode that would have been an embarrassment for everyone.

I discovered a Stormcloak camp between Whiterun and Ivarstead and was invited in the same as at the other campsites, apparently mistaken for a merchant. The leader of the camp, Hjornskar Head-Smasher, growled that the next Imperial he saw was a dead man. I bit back the retort that his blade would have been better served against the Dragon which attacked Whiterun not more than four hundred yards from his camp.

Near the crossroad leading to Ivarstead I was surprised to find a decapitated head impaled on a stake along the path through the mountains. Deciding to investigate, I crept past the unfortunate head and came upon three charred, impaled bodies displayed around a cave.
The gruesome display marked the cavern's occupants as vampires, but once inside I realized they were mere bandits. The only thing of note was that the bandits had taken the trouble to capture and hold several of Skyrim's most dangerous creatures inside of cages. The cages all opened to a pit in which the rotting, mauled bodies of those unfortunate enough to be captured lay.

Thinking I was going to be eliminating a nest of vampires, I entered the cave only to find cruelty and depravity common to the lawless and desperate. The cave is clear now, but within a week or so I am certain others will move in anyway. Such a waste of time.

I arrived at Ivarstead after nightfall and just in time to help the guards chase out a bear that decided on a late dinner in one of the farmers' fields.
Tomorrow morning I will visit the Greybeards and return their horn. Then I may return to Riften to close some business agreements there, then return to collecting the remaining pieces of Mehrune's Razor. Such is my plan, but I am sure something will occur to make everything utterly impossible once again.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Skyrim Day 058 - Vokun, Dragon Priest

13 Frostfall, 4E201

With Potema safely banished to some other plane and Tamriel safe for another day, I was free this morning to attempt an exit from Solitude. I slept later than I intended to, but I think I have earned a little extra rest. The land north of Morthal's swamp was still unknown to me, so I chose to avoid the road to Dawnstar and travel along the coast instead.
Despite its reputation the swamp of Morthal is not a very dangerous place, though I was surprised to find myself under assault from a Chaurus this morning, with no idea as to how the sole creature found its way above ground. I skirted around a Stormcloak camp and caught the scent of smoke on the air. Their cooking fires were downwind, so I followed my nose and found a burned-out home and the charred remains of a woman laying in front of a broken cart.
A few small fires still flickered, so the disaster could not have been too long ago. Was it a Dragon? The Stormcloaks? An accident with the cooking fat? Only the dead woman knows.

Continuing along the shore I avoided the brutish Horkers and found one of the hundreds of ruins that occupy Skyrim. This was was a rather large, ornate construction and I felt the twinge of curiosity prodding me inward. Unusually there were several dead Draugr outside of the ruin, making me wary about entering. Whatever killed the Draugr, or enticed them outside into an ambush, was likely inside as well. But that also simply made me even more curious, so of course I had to enter the ruin.
The inside was littered with dead Draugr, some of them showing damage from ice magicka. I found the source of their damage pacing back and forth in a small chamber, muttering to herself. I thought her a bandit or necromancer at first, but took a moment to listen to what she was saying. From what I heard, she was trying to figure out a way to descend deeper inside without meeting a grisly death. I rapped my dagger against the wall to get her attention, greatly startling her.

Her name was Anska and she asked if I was here to help her. Not knowing who Anska was or why she was expecting any help at all, I replied that I happened upon the ruin and thought to investigate it for valuables. Her response was unexpectedly enthusiastic: this was not just an ruin, according to her, but the final resting place of Vokun, an ancient priest who was said to have been buried with a scroll that Anska thought would help prove her family's connection to Ysgramor's bloodline. 

When she said "priest" I could almost feel the dour wooden mask in my pack start to shift. Anska admitted that Vokun was likely to be more powerful a mage than she was and asked if I could assist her with retrieving the scroll. I asked only that I be allowed to claim the priest's mask if he had one, but she only shrugged and said I could take whatever I wanted aside from the scroll.

Anska was a more competent mage than I assumed her to be. Together we fought through at least a dozen powerful and well-armed Draugr, her with lightning and ice magicka, me with my blade and light shield.

Vokun was waiting for us in his large burial room, dramatically erupting from his coffin after we opened the doors.
Vokun was not nearly the mage Morokei was, falling quickly to Anska's spells and my silvered blade.
His staff flung fireballs on command, useful, but not for me. I took it to sell off later and scavenged Vokun's mask from the pile of rags and ashes that remained. Anska's scroll was in a room behind the former priest's resting place, in front of a Dragon-head wall of runes that taught me 'Strun', the ancient word for "storm". If Anska noticed anything unusual about magicka streaming from the stone into the Khajiit's body, she said nothing. The fact that she said nothing makes me suspect I may be the only one to witness the learning of the words. Perhaps the Greybeards can as well. Whatever the case, I usually adventure alone, so it is not a pressing concern.
Anska rewarded my assistance with a tome she said would teach me how to summon a weak fire atronach. I thanked her and will be selling it alongside Vokun's staff.

Once back outside I continued along the coast, passing more horkers and a beached ship which I steered clear of, wary of wasting time fighting a bunch of desperate, frozen bandits.
I arrived at Dawnstar as the night was setting in and fortunately made it to the 'Mortar and Pestle' before Frida closed for the evening. My payment was an hour of instruction from the aged alchemist and I learned quite a bit.

Tomorrow I will continue east towards the Greybeards so that I can return their horn, then perhaps I shall stop at Morthal, detestable place that it is, to take care of some business agreements, or I may turn back west and see about retrieving the final piece of Mehrune's Razor. A part of me recalls my more mundane days wistfully, but I should have known they would not last.