Monday, March 13, 2017

Skyrim Day 062 - A Bloody Business, Done

17 Frostfall, 4E201

This morning I had only to find the pommel stone of Mehrune's Razor before having all the pieces necessary for Silus's museum. He had said that the stone was somewhere south-west of Markarth. The ale-sodden innkeeper, Kleppr, told me that there was a Forsworn camp known as 'Dead Crone Rock' in that area, said to be the home of Hagravens well as Forsworn. He said there was not enough coin in Tamriel to tempt him to that place, but I felt confident that there would be nothing there that I already have not faced.

Walking there was actually quite pleasant, the weather was cooperative and nothing attacked me until I drew close to the mountainside. A small group of Forsworn were loitering near a small bridge, so I ducked out of sight, readied my Illusion spells, and threw my rage-inducing magicka into their midst. I gulped down an Invisibility flask just to be sure before scampering out from behind my rock and skirting my way around the heated melee.
Forsworn are not a subtle people. Their "camp" occupied the base of the mountainside, and terraces built halfway up it.
Dead Crone Rock might have been a stronghold in an era long gone by, but most of the entrances into the mountain were collapsed or used as a garbage dump by the Forsworn. I fought my way along the terraces, dodging arrows made of branches and maces made from rocks. How the Forsworn intend to take back their territory is a mystery to me.
The only functioning doorway in the whole camp was for a tower partially built into the hill.  On the other side was a Briarheart and the Hagraven that probably created the unfortunate creature. The Hagraven must have smelled me, for she and her Briarheart came charging down the tower's stairs at me as soon as I came through the door.

A dagger into the Briarheart's exposed chest ended it quickly, but the Hagraven proved a bit craftier. She was adept at ice magicka and kept her distance from me as she flung it around, trying to slow me with its effects. After a lot of dodging (and a few restoratives) I managed to corner her against the altar she evidently used and drove my silvered blade clean through her body. Her shriek is still ringing in my ears. The Razor's pommel stone was on the hagraven's necklace, crudely glued into a nest of what might have been finger bones to form a grisly brooch. I took the stone, I left the necklace.

The Dragon Wall that the former stronghold might have been built to guard greeted me with the usual headache, teaching me 'Ru', the Nordic word for 'Run'. The Greybeards assured me that I would be able to string together these ancient words to create Shouts of great power, but my blade and bolts seem just as effective as yelling in an ancient tongue.
A nearby chest revealed an incredible find: Ebony-infused gauntlets enchanted to help the wearer strike truer. The gauntlets themselves are useless weight to me, but I may be able to draw the enchantment out of them so that I impart it upon my trusty leather gloves.

I heard someone muttering in-between a rhythm of knocking noises as I descended the mountain and found that one of the Forsworn had, somehow, missed out on the disastrous battle his brethren engaged in earlier. Sensing that he would not be appreciative to learn this I sneaked into his hut and knifed in the back, once for each lung.

This was a fortunate choice for as he collapsed, gasping fruitlessly, I saw an Ebony-infused blade tucked into his belt. First gauntlets, now a dagger. One useless, one very useful. Whomever crafted the deadly blade had a sense of humor or poor eyes: the blade was wavy, the advantage of such an arrangement being unknown to me. Perhaps it was used for a ritual or some kind of ornamentation. I will try it as a weapon and see how it performs.

I thought to explore the road to Markarth a bit to see if I could find Gauldur's resting place and returned to the city in front of a small farm near the river. My many years of experience have taught me that farmers, miners, those that survive on the land, live and die based on their knowledge. It may not be the academic knowledge of Winterhold, but if Gauldur was laid to rest near Markarth it would likely be a farmer who knew, courtesy of family legends, history, or errant exploration as a young Nord prior to settling down.

My hope here was well-founded. Rogatus Salvius, though old and bitter, did recall hearing the tale of Gauldur from his grandmother, but could only remember that it was supposed to be by a waterfall overlooking a small stone bridge along the main road. That narrowed down Gauldur's grave to two locations in my mind, but I wound up choosing the correct location first.

However, I had an interesting encounter before I found Gauldur. I chose to hike over the small hills dotting the area instead of taking the road and was quite surprised to reach the crest of one only to find a Dragon flying right at me.
It roared and I readied myself for a precarious battle on the hilltop, but it did not seem to notice me. Instead it simply flew over my head in circles, roaring at nothing apparent, before simply flying away. A very interesting encounter indeed and another sign that the Dragons are not flying on someone's orders, if they ever were.

With that over I continued up and over the hills until I came to 'Reachwater Rock', the waterfall cavern dug for Gauldur so long ago. As befitting the Nordic love of pointless puzzles, I needed two Dragon Claw keys to get inside. One I found on a pedestal beside a dead Nord, the other was an ivory-inlaid claw I had with me from Mikrul's tomb near Solitude.
The tomb was oddly absent of Draugr, only a few traps awaited me, which I easily avoided. At the end of the cavern was an altar with three plaques set into it, obviously for the three pieces of the amulet Gauldur's sons were willing to murder for.
Placing a fragment of the amulet on a plaque caused the plaque to start glowing, but also prevented me from removing the fragment. I seemed to have no choice but to surrender the two remaining fragments. As I started to place the third fragment I felt a particular tickling on the back of my neck which usually indicated immediate danger. There was no one in the cavern but myself, so I knew the third fragment would do something bad. I slapped the fragment on to the metal plaque and hurried to a dark corner to see what would happen next.
With a flash of blue light the spirits of the three brothers materialized in front of their fragments, One, I could not tell who, sent himself to the far end of the chamber where I had entered as Draugr spirits, armed with bow and axe, popped into existence. They did not know I was there, but I figured that they had far more patience than I did, so when one of the shimmering Draugr walked in front of me I cut it down, alerting the others.

The brothers were considerate enough to attack me one-by-one and while I was winded by the end of my battle, I was victorious. After the defeat of the third brother they all remained in front of the altar in positions of either submission or defeat. I was unsure what to do next, but that was answered for me.

The coffin behind them erupted in flames, engulfing the brothers and banishing them back to wherever their spirits reside. Once the smoke cleared a bit I could see a fourth spirit standing alone before the altar: Gauldur himself, making an appearance of his own while scolding his sons. He stared down at the amulet that they so coveted and then disappeared in a flash of blinding light. When my vision returned I saw that the amulet was whole again.
Putting it on proved a disappointment. I felt a little more awake and refreshed, but not much other than that. I could see that it had a Restoration enchantment on it, but the nature of it was unclear and after all I have gone through for it, the amulet does not appear to have been worth it. Perhaps I will donate it to the College or display it somewhere in Breezehome.

Somewhat depressed, I walked back to Markarth and parted with another ten Septims for a slab of rock. Gauldur's amulet, the "Lost Legend", should have stayed lost, but I have only my own curiosity to blame for the amount of time I have wasted. At least the pieces of Mehrune's Razor are in my possession, tomorrow I will visit the misguided museum guide and see what he expects from them.

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