Sunday, May 26, 2013

Morrowind Day 48 - Of Smugglers and Daedra

1 Frost Fall
In the past, I have always woken up in the mornings rather reluctantly, first in the Temple due to simply being young and second in the Auxillaries, due to not wanting to get mauled by whatever bears we would be facing that day. These were times when I felt I had little control over my life and no particular reason to look forward to the next day. Vvardenfell has changed that. Largely on my own, I have greatly grown in strength and skills and I doubt that if a portal into the past were opened, that myself during my first day on the island would recognize me now. 

With my weapons acquired and a home secured, I now have a plan for how to handle my responsibilities as the possible Nerevarine, as well as the threat from Dagoth Ur. For now I am treating the two separately, but I have no doubt that Dagoth Ur seeks to eliminate any potential Nerevarines, be they genuine or imposter.

To become the Nerevarine, I feel that I should be able to fight within the Red Mountain beyond Ghostgate, a task that will require that I really work on my magicka and my marksmanship. While I am much better with the bow than I used to be, firing silvered arrows and missing is a much more expensive error to recover from. I suspect I have a lot more to work on than just those two things, but only a journey into the Red Mountain will bring any further deficiencies to light.

In addition to being able to fight, joining one of the Houses of Morrowind would help secure a base for popular support, should I ever progress that far into becoming the Nerevarine . Several people have recommended House Redoran for me, which I wound up joining today.

My plan for combating Dagoth Ur's aggressions is not nearly as defined. It is obvious that his influence spreads far outside the Red Mountain, as I have been encountering many more malicious-sounding, sleep-walking people lately. How to free these people though, I do not yet know.

I spent the morning with Estirdalin, paying her to craft weaker versions of spells that I know, but cannot cast. To that end, she crafted 'Eyedust' (Blinding), 'Minor Slowfall', 'Wavering Image' (Sanctuary), and 'Near Silence'. A weak spell you can cast is much more useful than a powerful spell you cannot. I also purchased a weak Levitation spell before teleporting into the Ald'ruhn guild.

Inquiries led me to the giant crab shell of Ald'ruhn: Skar. Anything within the shell was known to be "Under-Skar". Quite simple. The Redoran Council Manor was Under-Skar and the woman in charge of hiring new retainers was a Redguard named Neminda. She regarded my request to join the House with some surprise, evidently wondering, but not questioning as to where my equipment had come from.

She accepted my request to become a hireling of the House and asked that I travel to the farm of Drulene Falen to eliminate mudcrabs that had been carrying off her guar. But I remembered hearing that name before and realized I had already taken care of her problem some time back. When I told Neminda that I had already seen Drulene, she went to her desk and picked an unopened scroll. Evidently Drulene had written to the Redoran Council that their services were no longer required, courtesy of a traveling Khajiit who had killed the mudcrabs for her. The coincidence was amazing.

Neminda promoted me to the second rank of Retainer immediately, requesting that I travel north to Ald Velothi to deliver a simple Cure Disease potion. Ald Velothi is at the extreme northwest of the island, almost directly north of Gnisis. Of course, there are no Dunmer fortresses anywhere near the small outpost, so I had to walk from Berandas, through Gnisis, and towards Ald Velothi.

It started to rain about halfway through the trip and I could just see the broken spires of a Daedric shrine through the mist when I found the mine entrance. Should anyone else ever read this journal, they would know by now that my experience with abandoned mines has been mixed and never in my favor. 

The cave was small, easily the smallest one I have explored so far and the smugglers had set their camp up right at the entrance. There was really no other place to, the cave was a former tomb of some sort, with a small alcove stuffed with manacled skeletons and impaled skulls around a large hewn stone throne. Another alcove ultimately led outside via the river, no doubt why the smugglers were attracted to this place.
However, their ambitions wound up greatly exceeding their means. When I found them, they had been reduced to naked corpses and bloody bones. Many Scamps were slinking about, but the lumbering Ogrim required my immediate attention. It was across the pit where the smugglers lay, so I took a shot from my bow, more to see how well it shot rather than to kill the monster.
The bow was awkward to hold and my aim went high. The Ogrim collapsed with a bone-shaking thud, leaving me quite confused as to what happened. I did not see the arrow in flight, nor had I thought to have hit the creature. The Scamps were immediately alarmed and upon spotting me one let out a very shrill screeching, bringing all the Scamps scurrying towards me. They were not a bright lot, all of them clustering around the one ladder leading up from the pit, allowing me to pick them off with my spear.

The Ogrim's end was quite a surprise. The bow is so powerful that it not only flung the arrow faster than I could track, but blasted the straight through the creature's body, killing it instantly, but also destroying the arrow in the process. I suspect a Daedric arrow would survive, but they will have to wait until I am more confident with my usage of the bow.

With the monsters dead I was free to explore at my leisure. As I mentioned earlier, one of the alcoves was built into a primitive tomb, complete with throne and, according to a book the smugglers had been reading, slaves for the afterlife. There was not much treasure to the place, just a few gems and pearls more likely originating from the smugglers than the late warlord.
The smugglers received my attention last, due to knowing what I would find. The Ogrim had killed the two smugglers whose bodies were mostly intact, the woman's torso was pulped and the man's chest looked as if every single bone had been broken. A brutal way to die. The knowledge of what had killed their comrades died with them, for all that remained was a pile of shattered bones and a cauldron filled with steaming meat that I was not going to investigate further. 

I was just about to leave the sad place when I heard a voice imploring me for release and escape. I only noticed the man after the voice had asked me to look up instead of all around me. A Bosmer named Palansour was in a crude cage far above the main area and was stuck. His story revealed what had happened.

He was light on the details, but he had been hired by the smugglers to summon the Ogrim and Scamps to assist them with their smuggling jobs. The summoning went awry and the smugglers were quickly overwhelmed by the Daedra which literally tore them apart. The rogue Daedra afforded Palansour the dubious honor of temporary survival, demanding that he wear one of the female smuggler's clothing as they butchered the smugglers and force-fed him their remains. Eventually he managed to snatch a levitation potion from his alchemy table and flee to the ledge, safe from the Ogrim and Scamps, but with no extra potion, doomed to either suicide or eventual starvation.

His request was simple: Fetch two more levitation potions and bring him one so that he could escape. While the man had honestly taken blame for the gruesome death that permeated the place, I felt that the torture he then suffered was enough for penance. Per his instructions, there were three potions in his little workshop and drank one and delivered the other. He offered the clothing he was wearing as a reward and I politely declined, having no desire to see a naked Bosmer. He promised to keep his business clean after today, but I left the cave with him safely on the floor and after what he's been through, I wonder if he'll ever have the courage to leave.

Arriving at Ald Velothi was very anti-climatic after that and I delivered the potion to Theldyn Virith, a ranking Redoran scout who is in charge of the small outpost since the Redoran Lord normally assigned has not been seen in some time. Theldyn asked that I keep him in mind if I ever need work, but there was nothing else to do there, so I used a Scroll of Leaguestep from the Balmora guild to teleport myself back to my home in Ald'ruhn. 

Quite a day today. Tomorrow I will report my success to Neminda and maybe find someone local to train me with the bow. Ever so much to do and little time to do it in.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Morrowind Day 47 - A Humbling Experience

31 Hearthfire
Life sometimes has a way of gently reminding you of things you should have been aware of. Occasionally this reminder is not so gentle. I awoke at the Six Fishes habitually early and walked to Vivec, anticipating my final hand-over to Folms.
A very pink morning
He was possibly just as pleased as I was, but his reasons are his own. With a quick "Wait here!" he dashed out of the Guild and disappeared for an hour or so. When he came back, the Propylon stone was gone, but he handed me a blue stone which he told me was the master Index for all the Propylon chambers. Should I ever desire, all I need to do is mutter the activation word and the master stone will whip me into the Caldera Mages Guild, where Folms can then send me to any of the Dunmer fortresses. The fortresses straddle almost the entire landmass of Vvardenfell, so this will almost eliminate my need for boats and silt striders.

My thoughts have been turning back to the Daedric spear and dagger under Berandas, ever since I acquired the Huunen's bow. Not only am I much stronger than I was, but encumbrance is not the issue it used to be after switching from the Adamantium suit to the Dreugh breastplate. If I am to be the Nerevarine, I should be able to fight like one.

I had cleared Berandas of creatures, at great risk, almost a month ago and I was expecting the fortress to be abandoned. Folms sent me to the fortress's Propylon chamber and the first two levels of the fortress were empty, save for two foraging rats. The expectation that the final level would be similarly empty seemed reasonable.

Reasonable and not at all the case. I was engaged by two Dremora immediately upon descending into the lowest level and the combat attracted one of the ugly, spidery creatures that used the armor-damaging spells. Looking back, I cannot believe how foolish I was: the two Dremora and the armor-eater were very good signs that Berandas had new inhabitants, but I walked right into what was very nearly my final battle, completely flat-footed, as the Bosmer say.
I remember turning the corner and staring into two beady, red eyes. Then I was slumped against the wall, dazed, only able to stare at the atronach in confusion as it advanced to finish me off. Fortunately, my helmet turned what would have been a fatal head injury into a lingering headache. My weapons had been flung away from me into the opposite corner and I had few options. Retreat was one of them.

Scrambling to my feet, I fought off dizziness and nausea as I fled the room, past the corpses of opponents only minutes earlier and up the stairs.. The atronach must have zapped me with magicka powerful enough to fling me into the wall and never in my days have I heard of an atronach that powerful not being under the control of a mage. Disarmed, I was definitely no match for the atronach, nor anything else I was likely to find beyond it.

The Divine Intervention scroll would have sent me back without issue, of course. But I had come to Berandas for the spear and retreating now only meant having to come back later, possibly fighting the battles I had already won. The only weapon I had on me were two glass daggers I had taken from a slaver some time ago and I did not think I stood a chance against anything in Berandas with them.

Instead, I took my chances with my weak Invisibility spell, hoping I would succeed enough at casting it to at least get me to the spear, figuring I could fight my way back out with it. The plan worked better than I expected it would. I was able to sneak past the atronach and into the unfinished cavern area, where I had to duck into an alcove to recast the spell. Dremora armed with two-handed Dwemer blades were patrolling the tunnels, but I was able to sneak past them and into the chamber where the skeleton had been impaled.

He (or she) was still there, stuck fast to the rock by the Daedric spear in its ribcage and the Daedric dagger in what was once a wrist. The Dremora seemed content to walk along the passage just ahead of the chamber, so I took the extra time to carefully remove the remains and lay them on the cavern floor. While respectful, it also prevented the sound of the bones rattling across the floor if I had let it simply crash to the ground. 

Fatigued and hurt as I was, the spear did not seem nearly as heavy as it did originally and I pocketed the oddly-shaped dagger as well. I was able to remain invisible on my way back out, courtesy of the magicka restoratives I had taken from the Mages Guild and encountered no trouble in reaching the Propylon chamber outside.

Folms reacted to my sudden, bloodied appearance quite calmly, only commenting that I seemed to be enjoying my new-found freedom. If I said anything in response, I do not remember it now. I teleported to Balmora and my collection of weaponry: Daedric bow, Daedric Spear, and Daedric Dagger, must have rendered Ajira speechless, for it was the first time I have arrived at the Guild without her asking if I had anything to sell her. Everything I had to sell was outside her usual wares and I sold a great deal of gems and some vampire dust to Nalcarya in exchange for some healing potions and money.

My next stop was to the Razor Hole, a shop I have not visited in a long time. The owner remembered me, but I think only due to the lack of Khajiit customers he normally sees. With him I exchanged all my iron and steel arrows for two hundred silvered arrows. I could not imagine firing cheap iron arrows from the Daedric bow and silvered arrows seem reasonably sufficient. Also, I am increasingly coming into contact with creatures able to shrug off the impact of iron and steel arrows and the silvered arrows are a decent compromise between effectiveness and price.

My arsenal thus upgraded, I had been planning on retiring to the Balmora Mages Guild for the rest of the day to practice my spells, but Ajira met me at the front door with a message that I was asked to appear at the Ald'Ruhn Tribunal at my convenience. To my surprise, the invitation was from the irresponsible boy I had helped, Ienas Sarandas. He has dedicated himself to the Temple in an effort to turn his life around and is studying to become a priest. Much more surprising is that he has deeded his house to me! Just as I was about to thank him, he was called away on some menial Temple business, so we parted quickly. Now that I have a home in Ald'Ruhn, I am sure I will be here far more often and will certainly be seeing him again.

My recent efforts to rid myself of useless items resulted in having less to store in the house than I thought. I left several belts and amulets of various magicka strengths there and a few empty soul gems and glass paralysis daggers. The collection made a nice arrangement.
I locked the door behind me with my spell and went back to the Balmora Mages Guild, though I suppose I should spend more time at the Ald'Ruhn Guild now that I am a resident. It was just before dinner when I arrived, so I took the opportunity to regale the others with mostly factual recollections of my exploits, though the acquisition of my new weapons garnered the most interest. Marayn Dren cautioned against relying on the Daedric equipment, stating that they were cursed to drive their owners' to messy ends so that the weapons find new victims. When I pointed out that there were hundreds of Daedric weapons stored safely in collections across Tamriel, he shook his head and told me that the safest thing I could do is dispense with them as soon as possible. I think it is all silly superstition.

After dinner I spent the remainder of the evening practicing my Illusion spells with Estirdalin and left just before midnight to spend the first night at home. I definitely made good progress under Estirdalin's tutelage and I think I will be spending the next several days training with my new weapons before I travel to the Urshilaku tribal camp. If I am to pass myself off as the Nerevarine, I should at least be able to fight as such.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Morrowind Day 46 - A Dark Place Indeed

30 Hearthfire
When I delivered the Falensarano stone, Folms warned me that the last stone was in a place he could only describe as "dark" and "very, very bad". I did not think much of it though. After all, I had just destroyed the cruel operators of the slave arena only a few days after surviving a trip into a Sixth House cult hideaway. What could be worse than either of those?

The fortress of Telasero is built along the south-east coast, well-positioned to police traffic on the coastal road between Molag Mar and Sura as well as the waterway to Suran and Vivec. It must have been an important fortification in its time, but that time was long ago. I left Vivec early in the morning and arrived at the fog-shrouded fortress after an hour or so. There were no signs of life on the outside of the fortress and combined with the fog, made for quite an eerie scene.
I was attacked by two halberd-wielding skeletons while I was circling around the hills to find the fortress entrance and while neither posed any sort of threat to me, the encounter foreshadowed what I was about to face.
Welcome to Telasero
Signs that something was greatly amiss were in the form of the garish red candles that I have started to see more often as of late. Whatever their form or substance, they burn with a sickly red glow and managed to give off little light to their surroundings. The entranceway corridor was full of the things and barely lit the doorway deeper into the fortress.

The architecture of Telasero was obviously designed to provide maximum benefit to the defending garrison and two barely clothed Dunmers were stationed on a platform opposite the doorway, perfectly positioned to fire missiles at anyone coming through. However, they were mindless husks and neither reacted when I shot them from beyond the doorway. I waited to see if their deaths would register with anyone (or anything) else in the fortress, but other than a dry rasping I heard nothing.

I crept through the doorway and down a small ramp into the sunken room and spotted another malformed creation. The rasping was one of the hollow-faced creatures, still breathing despite the observed uselessness of doing so. When I struck it my spear cracked and shattered it's skin as if it were brittle stone and I peered at the wounds on the corpse enough to see that there was no blood, just a thick purple ichor that seeped out and thickened almost instantly. If the creature had been a man once, it was a long time ago.

More recent members of the Sixth House cult were the maddened mountains of flesh, two of which I encountered under the ramp coming from doorway. They both bore expressions equally horrified and enraged, but at least their affliction was due to disease rather than whatever transformation led to the other monster.

The two creatures were guarding a small tunnel, probably at one point a planned expansion of the fortress, but it led to a pool of lava and a dead-end. Had they been vampires, I would not have been reluctant to cast their bodies into the liquid fire, but no one could pay me enough Septims to lay my hands on the monsters in Telasero.

An adjoining room contained two more mindless, naked Dunmer, both of which drew simple clubs and charged, as they usually do. Against one wall was a skeleton slumped against a chest, with a silver short sword resting near it. The remains of an adventurer perhaps? There is no way to know. The chest contained nothing of great value.

From that room was attached the largest room in the fortress, full of candles, altars, and more mindless Dunmer with clubs who needlessly sacrificed themselves at the end of my short sword and spear. Most of the altars were crude things of, surprisingly, wood and decorated with chunks of wet, pale flesh.

My fear of the Sixth House creatures is not nearly what it was the first time I met them. While visually horrifying, they are either fragile or slow in a fight and their disadvantages are easily turned against them. With the exception of the faceless creatures, anything that was once a man (or woman) undergoes a transformation that results in them getting stronger and slower. The final stage is probably the massive creatures I have been facing, but they can barely move at anything faster than a stumbling gait. Silvered or glass arrows do them enough damage that they fall quickly. I shot one in the leg today, which managed to trip it up and it laid on the floor, unable to stand. I would have left it there, but the howling screams and bellowing compelled me to kill it anyway.

The faceless creature and the stone-like thing are the opposite: having been once a person (I assume), their transformation is warping them in a way that has weakened their bodies, but provided strong abilities with magicka. It is a well-balanced arrangement, but they all appear to lack the intelligence to work together.

And that was the extent of the Sixth House Telasero garrison, less than what I expected to face when I stepped inside. The room with the altars also had a set of large bells identical to the ones I found in the cave a few days ago and several stone troughs, most filled with oozing chunks of white flesh. One of the troughs was full of clothing and a few potions, discarded perhaps by the cultists as part of a ritual. The clothing was very fine, a gold ring and amulet within made a matching pair, each studded with emeralds and rubies. But I had no desire to carry anything from this place on my body and left the clothing alone. The potions were less impressive, and on top of a book laid the Propylon stone. 

Where does Folms get his information from?

There was nothing for me during the walk back, so I used a Divine Intervention scroll (ever useful!) to send myself to Ebonheart's chapel. For having acquired the last Propylon stone, it is fitting that I experienced the first clear night since arriving at Vvardenfell. After a day of fighting mutant horrors, the minutes I spent gazing at the few constellations I knew was very relaxing.
I rented a room at the Six Fishes rather than walk back to Vivec in the dark. The door is physically and magically locked and I have pushed all the furniture against it, no doubt to the irritation of the patrons in the bar below me. Tomorrow I will finally be done with all these stones and be free to travel to any corner of Vvardenfell at my will.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Morrowind Day 45 - The Archer's Lonesome Death

29 Hearthfire
I had another dream last night, though this one was a great deal less...physical, I guess I could say. In it, I stood alone on a hill somewhere in Vvardenfell, overlooking a green plain with farms and foraging creatures dotting the landscape. As I surveyed the landscape, a voice spoke up behind me, but I did not turn around. 

"Three lied to you", the voice said, "Three betrayed you, but the one you betrayed was three times true! Lord Voryn Dagoth, Dagoth Ur, steadfast liege-man  faithful friend, bids you come below to Red Mountain once again, shed your flesh and be born again to purge Morrowind of the n'wah!"

At least he is not being subtle any longer. I woke up after the talking stopped and never once turned around or spoke in the dream. I would be tempted to ask if the faceless monsters and shambling mountains of misshapen flesh are his plans for the future of Morrowind and the Dunmer. I suspect my friend and Dagoth Ur share the belief that I may be able to become the Nerevarine. I do not harbor such a delusion for myself.

Folm's latest request will put me close to Maar Gan, on the opposite side of the hills, as well as fairly close to the last known location of Hassour's son. I had hoped to take care of both tasks, but fetching the Propylon stone took up my entire day as I battled Daedra and cultists to fetch a piece of rock.
The day was nicer than most, which in Vvardenfell generally means dull, hazy weather. The walk from Ald'ruhn was uneventful save for the few shots I took at Nix-Hounds with my bow. The shrine of Maelkashishi was said to sit right against the foyoda, so I carefully kept on top of the hills until I spotted the shrine, then slid down the hillside so that I could make a cautious approach. For the most part the shrine was guarded by simple Scamps whom posed no threat, but I also encountered a Daedra I had not seen before.
I am at a loss to describe the creature other than being ash-colored, with long, thin limbs with very long, almost skeletal, fingers. The creature attacked first with spells that chipped away at my spear and cracked my armor before closing the distance to strike at me with its arms. Fortunately, the damage to my equipment was mostly cosmetic and the creature barely had an animal's cunning for battle. A group of them casting their spells could leave a person's armaments severely weakened and their chances of survival quite slim. Had I encountered this Daedra while I was still hefting my simple iron spear and chainmail tunic, I am sure I would have been killed.

After some time of searching about, I was forced to conclude Folm's outlander, Huunen, had not been killed outside of the shrine, which meant going inside. While the treasure is almost always worth the effort, I have faced some of my most difficult opponents inside of the ruined shrines and treasure does nothing good for a dead Khajiit.

 The obvious entrance into the shrine led to a Daedric altar with four cultists wandering about. My invisibility-paralysis trick worked on three of them, but the final cultist, an Orc, resisted the paralysis and spun around to attack me. However, she seemed unsteady and in comparison to most Orcs, barely put up a fight. One of the cultists had an Imperial silver cuirass, perhaps a former officer of the Legion or the killer of one.

The loot was pretty disappointing: some scrolls, a charged soul gem, a few gemstones, and no sign of the Propylon stone. I could see that the statue of Sheogorath rose above the ceiling and into the floor above me, but I had no levitation potions or scrolls to get myself up there. I left the shrine and hiked up the hill it was set against and my scout instinct paid off: The tower of the Daedric shrine was part of the center fixture for the statue and had a separate entrance. I had to jump from the hillside on to the tower, suffering nothing worse than a few scrapes.

The tower entrance opened into the hillside itself and I found myself on a platform several stories high, with more platforms above and below me. I could not see what was above me, but one of the winged female Daedra I encountered in Berandas was pacing around on the lower platform. While shooting her with silvered arrows I discovered that despite the wings, they cannot fly and she fell after five shots.
While I had no ability to levitate, I did have a Slowfall spell. I had never used it before and the sensation of slowly drifting towards the ground while my mind was insisting I should be plummeting to my death was interesting. Similar to levitation, I was able to guide my descent and landed on a small platform high enough that I would be safe from enemies on the ground and low enough that I could jump down without a second spell.

This proved to be wise, as I could spot another one of the equipment-damaging Daedra sulking nearby which had not noticed my arrival. Being on the platform meant I was an easy target for its spells, so I hopped down on the side opposite the creature and used a scroll of Invisibility I had taken from the shrine. The scroll allowed me to sneak up behind the foul-smelling creature and run it through with my spear.
Beyond the creature lurked another one of the winged female Daedra, but she needed a lot of room to maneuver about and the ruins served to keep her contained and clumsy. I took advantage of this with my nimble sword and shield, striking before she could move to bring her barbed tail against me. 

She had been guarding a chest containing a few pearls and emeralds, plus two weak potions of levitation. The ground floor of the cave exited in to the very top of the shrine, where I was attacked by an Imperial, who managed to suffer a "fall" into the shrine below during our brief struggle. I assumed the Propylon stone, if it was here at all, would be on his body, but I decided to leave the way I came in, just in case I had missed anything while drifting down from the entrance.

This choice saved me a great deal of frustration. I reached the ledge I had entered by and was just about to walk out when I noticed two Daedric arrows stuck into a pillar.
The arrows were not stuck straight in, but at a steep angle as if someone had fired them from above. I drank the second levitation potion after collecting the two arrows in the pillar, plus another lying on the ground nearby. I floated up to the only platform above the entrance way and found what must be Huunen's final resting place.

Completely clean and dry, the skeleton was slumped against the cavern wall looking as though it had been there for centuries. At the skeletal feel was two potent levitation potions, eight more Daedric arrows, and a chest containing nothing of notice.

The Propylon stone was near his corpse, but of more importantly, so was an incredibly rare Daedric-enchanted glass longbow. Unlike the spear, the bow is definitely not too heavy a burden for the benefit and I carefully slid it away from Huunen. Hopefully I will have better luck than its previous owner.

But it does raise questions. The man was seen alive fairly recently and had not only a powerful Daedric bow, but a sheaf of very rare Daedric arrows. He had levitation potions enough to get him up to and down from the platform and he was in no danger where he was. Yet despite his precautions and equipment, he was killed. My only guess is that one of the Daedra managed to poison him and he fled to the platform in desperation. But that makes little sense either, for the exit to go outside was closer at any point within the cavern than where I found him. And why shoot the arrows into the rock? Only Huunen knows, but Vvardenfell has turned him into yet another mystery.

Unlike Huunen, I had a Divine Intervention scroll and popped into Gnisis well after the evening had begun. The quickest way to a Mages Guild was Silt Strider and I suffered the trip so that I could be one step closer to finishing my business with Folms that much faster. The Strider stopped at Ald'ruhn some time after midnight and I stumbled into the Mages Guild and collapsed into the nearest bunk.

It is only from habit that I have the energy to write this before sleep claims me, though I have had worse days than this, but certainly none as bad as Huunen had.