Sunday, November 30, 2014

Morrowind Day 113 - Nobody Home

5 Evening Star
This morning I was ready to assault a castle filled with small, hostile enemies so that I could talk to a "Frost Giant" to find out why hundreds of animals were washing up dead on the shore. It was going to be one of my stranger days, but as usual my expectations did not match the reality of what the day held for me.

The castle called 'Karstaag' was not exactly what I expected. Told it was a Frost Giant's adobe, I envisioned a castle built of giant blocks of ice and snow. Instead I got a single giant block of ice that the Giant must have carved a home out of. I had also expected a teeming mass of Rieklings garrisoning the castle, but found only two of them outside, each upon its tusked steed.
The advantage was theirs on the flat terrain surrounding the castle and I had no inclination to stand and fight two of them at the same time. Following Korst's advice I fled to the coast and sought the secret underwater entrance. It was easy to find and the swim was fortunately a short one. I surfaced at the end of a long corridor guarded by a single Riekling, but when he saw me he held up his hands and proclaimed that he was not an enemy.

The little creature called himself 'Krish' and he was in a bit of trouble himself. The Giant, also named 'Karstaag', had disappeared a few days ago under circumstances similar to that of Captain Carius and Chief Tharsten: a sudden attack by werewolves and the equally sudden absence of the local leader...though how the werewolves would abduct a Giant is certainly something to ponder.

With the castle's master gone, Krish attempted to overthrow what few loyal Rieklings remained, but his hired Grahl creatures turned on him and his party before they made it into the castle. Krish was the only survivor and could neither sneak his way past the Grahl, nor swim out the way I came in. His only asset was that he possessed an enchantment granted by Karstaag that allowed him to magically unlock the sealed door into the castle's main Hall. His suggestion was to speak with the Riekling that had temporarily taken charge, one named 'Dulk'.

A deal was struck: I would slay the Grahl and he would let me into the castle so that I could speak to the supposed leader of the loyal Riekling garrison. There were eight of the monstrous creatures lumbering about the icy corridors, but they were slow and the corridors long and straight. Each of the eight took upwards of twenty-five arrows each to weaken enough to dispatch with my spear, but eventually they all lay dead and I retrieved the Riekling rebel.
He was true to his word and led me to a staircase of ice leading upwards that I otherwise would have probably missed finding. The stairs led to a very large banquet hall with a massive table that could have comfortably seated forty Rieklings. Four of them attacked us without any attempt at figuring out why a Khajiit and a Riekling were together to begin with and they had no chance, even with Krish running away before the fight began.

Dulk proved to be a great deal smarter than his four ex-comrades and immediately asked why I was standing in front of him with the "evil", as he called him, Krish. I told him I did not care either way about the troubles of the castle, only that I had come to discuss the mystery of the dead horkers with the master of the castle, the Giant Karstaag.

The dutiful Riekling confirmed Krish's story: a few days ago a pack of werewolves assaulted the castle and somehow abducted the Frost Giant during the turmoil. Dulk remained confident that his master would be returning shortly and intended to remain at the castle doing what he could until that occurred. At that point the two Rieklings started arguing about who should be the new master of the castle and I decided it was time for me to go.

With the confirmation and method of Karstaag's disappearance Korst finally felt ready to divulge what the 'Bloodmoon Prophecy' actually was. This prophecy dictates that a "demon god" will walk upon the land of Solstheim accompanied by his "Hounds", no doubt the werewolves. This god, known in the prophecy as "The Hunter" is preceded by three nights, each with a different portent of his coming.

The first sign is "Fire From the Eye of Glass", which would be the magical fire burning atop the lake just beyond the village. The second sign is the "Tide of Woe" as seen by all of the dead animals washing up on the shore. The third sign is the reddening of the moon, but it being overcast all day and night, this is not something that is yet provable.

Korst was rightfully worried and gifted me a sword he said would be a great help against the coming trouble. Its a sword I can neither lift nor use and as such is completely worthless to me, as many of the Skaal's gifts have been. Clearly they do not have much business with Khajiit.

The next step of this strange event is something Korst called "The Hunter's Game". This game is simple enough: the Hunter's Hounds capture strong warriors and make them run a violent gauntlet, with the victor facing the Hunter himself and likely a quick death. Korst could not tell me if the Hunter had claimed all the participants he wanted, nor who the next would be.

Given my life's luck I will not be surprised to find that I am on the Hunter's list. Time will tell.

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