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.

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