Monday, September 28, 2015

Oblivion Day 42 - My Constant Errands

9 Frost Fall, 3E433

As allowed I only slept for a few hours before resuming my journey to Bruma. Without a horse I have been reduced to trudging along the road on foot, but it is nice to not be rushing from one place to another.

It was already well into the afternoon when I arrived at Bruma and Martin was still buried in his books at Cloud Ruler Temple.
He told me I have the soul of a hero and assured me that he would not damage the armor during its use, though I can honestly say I do not care what happens to the armor after we no longer need it. Jauffre will probably put it back in Sancre Tor or, more likely, have me do it.

During my absence the Mysterium Xarxes had divulged another one of its secrets. With the blood of a Divine in our possession, Martin now needed me to acquire something called a 'Great Welkynd Stone' from an Ayleid ruin. I do not know much about the Ayleids or their Welkynd Stones, let alone a 'Great' one. Martin explained that regular Welkynd Stones are fairly common inside of Ayleid ruins, but 'Great' Welkynd Stones were always rare things and exceedingly so now that most of them have been plundered.

Rumors told of a Great Welkynd Stone in an Ayleid ruin between Skingrad and Kvatch named 'Miscarcand'. It was one of the great Capitals of the Ayleid civilization before its fall and all that have gone into the ruin after the Stone have never come back out. Martin had heard rumors that the spirit of an Ayleid king still wandered the ruin's halls and this would certainly account for the disappearance of Miscarcand's would-be robbers, if such a rumor is true. I cannot say it will surprise me to find that it is after freeing the spirits of the Blades in Sancre Tor. However I do think the King will be a great deal less pleased to find me plundering his last 'Great' Stone.

I purchased yet another horse outside of Bruma and started the ride back to Skingrad. Like before I found no new Oblivion gates, no bandits, and no monsters, a stark contrast to the road between Leyawiin and Cheydinhal. 

I arrived at Skingrad late into the night and rented a room at the West Weald Inn. And this has been the whole of my day. Had Martin known earlier that he would need this stone of the Ayleid I need not have wasted today walking and riding between cities. Oh well. Tomorrow I will descend into this Miscarcand, find the Stone (if it exists), and possibly fight the spirit of an Ayleid king. I wish I could say that would make for an interesting day, but all of that is starting to become depressingly typical. 

Friday, September 18, 2015

Oblivion Day 41 - The Corruption of Sancre Tor

8 Frost Fall, 3E433

Once again my tour of the province has come to a merciful close. As expected, Count Andel was happy to send his city's guards to Bruma, declaring that my closing of the Oblivion gate was a "daring feat". He went on to say that he did not blame me for his son's death and that he had brought that fate upon himself and his men with his foolhardy charge into the Gate. I do not disagree.

And that was the end of my visitations to drum up support for Bruma. Guards from across the province were either at Bruma or on their way to it, so that part of my responsibility was done. It was time to retrieve the armor of Tiber Septim from Sancre Tor.

But without a horse my journey from Cheydinhal to the ruin would be an overly long one. The Black Waterside Stables outside of Cheydinhal had several horses for sale and the owner promised me that the black Cheydinhal chargers were the fastest horses in the province. I only cared for the horse to be at least faster than I was, so the five-thousand Septim cost was a bit much for me. I wound up paying it anyway, but the horse represented half of my carried wealth.

The horse was pretty fast, but its speed was largely wasted on the fact that I had to stop every couple of minutes to dismount and fight something. Minotaurs have seemingly become a common encounter overnight and I fought three of the beasts in-between Cheydinhal and Sancre Tor.
The landscape gradually changed from lush greenery (no rain today!) to the grey of the northern region as I followed the winding road past Bruma towards Chorrol. The ruin of Sancre Tor lay north of Chorrol with no road leading to it that I could find so I had to dismount from my new horse and continue on foot through the forest.

Sancre Tor was not difficult to find, it may be the largest ruin in the province. Having never seen it before I was surprised to find that it was nearly the size of a castle.
There were a few skeletons wandering about within the crumbling wall, but I avoided most of them and fought two, one armed with an ancient battle-axe and the other with a mace. Nothing very threatening.

The inside of Sancre Tor was completely infested with spirits, all of them eager to fling magicka at me, with some of them casting an invisibility spell as I approached them. The cold climate of Sancre Tor combined with the dampness of the ruin and the icy magicka of the spirits made for a miserable Khajiit. The spirits were not strong individually, but they would frequently hover near each other, making combat against two or three of them at once unavoidable.
I thought the spirits to be the only inhabitants of Sancre Tor, but further inside I spied a skeleton armed with what appeared to be Blades equipment. I recalled that Jauffre had mentioned that the best of the Blades had been sent to determine what had occurred to Sancre Tor, but they never returned. One had to assume that this was the remains of one of them. As a fighter I cannot highly praise the skeleton, but what happened next was unexpected.
The spirit of a man materialized next to the pile of bones that had once been the skeleton and he spoke to me in an echoing sort of way. He introduced himself as Rielus, one of the four Blades dispatched by Tiber Septim to clean the catacomb of its evil infestation. But the Underking had gotten to Sancre Tor first and defeated the four Blades, cursing them to walk the halls eternally as undead. He implored me to seek out his "brother" Blades, defeat them in combat, and free their souls. Once that was done, the former Blades could finish the mission given to them by their Emperor and I could claim the armor. The spirit of Rielus then bowed and walked away...through a wall. Not being able to follow, I proceeded further into Sancre Tor where I assumed the other Blades would be found.

The layout of Sancre Tor was pretty straight-forward and the other Blades were easy to identify by the purple glow centered in their skeletal remains. Upon each of their defeats their spirits were released and like Rielus, walked away further into the fortress.

Eventually, after a dozen more fights with magicka-flinging spirits, I found the inner sanctum of Sancre Tor. The four Blades I "rescued" had evidently been waiting for me to arrive and knelt down in a circle as I approached.
Nothing seemed to happen, but after a minute or so the barrier at the end of the hall disappeared and they got up and left without a word. The armor of Tiber Septim was mine for the taking, though I suppose it is fairer to say that it was Martin's for my taking.
The armor looked like nothing special. Just an old breastplate with a notable lack of blood about it. I carefully stowed it in my pack and walked out of the catacomb of Sancre Tor.

My new and expensive horse was nowhere to be found when I returned to the road, so I chose to walk to Chorrol instead of Bruma, as it was a great deal closer. When I arrived at the city a guardsman commented on how he was looking forward to the end of his watch and it was then that I realized the entire day and night had passed while I was in Sancre Tor. Chorrol was waking up as I stepped through the city's gate, so I will limit myself to a short nap this morning before walking to Bruma.

I do wonder what happened to my horse though.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Oblivion Day 40 - The Reinforcement of Bruma, Part 3

7 Frost Fall, 3E433

Much was done today, much was gained, and not much was lost. My goal was to meet with the rulers of Bravil and Leyawiin to secure their support of Bruma and this was done.

The ride from Skingrad to Bravil was quick and without incident. Fitting for Bravil, Count Regulus introduced himself by saying he was a very busy man and that he doubted I had anything of use to say to him. It seems being rude is a requirement to be a Count in Cyrodiil. His demeanor changed as soon as the guard next to him whispered something in his ear. Then he was greeting me cordially as the savior of his "fine city" for having closed Bravil's Oblivion gate.
Such was his gratitude that he promised the aid of Captain Viera Lerus, Captain of Bravil's guards.

It was still afternoon as I left Bravil and I arrived at Leyawiin as dusk approached. Count Marius was still holding court, so I spoke to him briefly as well. He was much more reasonable than Count Regulus and swore to send help to Bruma, stating that it was Leyawiin's duty to the Empire to do so.

I left Leyawiin with the intention of stopping at the Imperial Bridge Inn, but after only a few minutes of riding I was quite displeased to find a new, open Oblivion gate resting against the river. It was too late in the day to close it, so I made a note of it and moved on. Again, just past Panther River, was another opened Oblivion gate.
Everywhere else I have failed to find new Gates, but along the road between Leyawiin and Cheydinhal I found a total of three open Gates. Either I have failed to eliminate Mythic Dawn agents in the cities or there is some other force at work opening these things. 

I was "ambushed" by a trio of Spriggans in-between the second and third Gates and when I dismounted to fight them my faithful horse bolted, fleeing back down the road towards Leyawiin. I was too preoccupied with not being killed to chase after him and when my battle against the plant-people was over my horse was likely halfway back to the city. I had no choice but to continue to Cheydinhal on foot.

Being on foot made it much easier to travel off the road and my combat temporarily dispelled my fatigue, so I pressed on past the Imperial Bridge Inn and turned off the road just after the remains of some farmhouses whose construction appeared to have stopped midway. Halfway from the road to Cheydinhal I found the third open Oblivion Gate and like the others I passed it by, noting its location on my map.

I doubt I will be returning to them any time soon. The armor Martin needs in Sancre Tor may hold the key to closing the Gates forever and the land is becoming increasingly dangerous to travel. How bandits are arming themselves with Dwemer and Elvish equipment is beyond my knowledge and the roads are not being patrolled as they once were. Spending a day closing these three Gates will mean little if three more will be opened once I leave. 

It was past midnight when I finally stood before Cheydinhal's gate and I am not sorry for waking the proprietor of the Newlands Lodge Inn for a room. This is the last city I need to visit, so tomorrow morning I shall resolve my business here and then head straight for the ruin of Sancre Tor. 

Friday, September 4, 2015

Oblivion Day 39 - The Reinforcement of Bruma, Part 2

6 Frost Fall, 3E433

A day started in Skingrad and a day ended in Skingrad, but I accomplished much during the in-between. Had I known that I would be ending my day in Skingrad I perhaps would not have called upon the Count so early, but I set off for the castle immediately after breakfast.
I had heard rumors of the Count's eccentric nature, so I was not greatly surprised by having to speak to the man through his steward, Mercator Hosidus. Mercator introduced himself by stating that in no uncertain terms will the Count not be meeting with me at all, for any reason. Quite a pleasant fellow. When I broached the topic of sending guardsmen to Bruma, he remarked that he would be right back with the Count himself! Pleasant and apparently indecisive.

The Count's eccentric nature was soon obvious: the man was a vampire! No one seemed bothered by this and the Count, unlike his steward, actually was pleasant, so I suppose it is something of an open secret among those in Skingrad. Count Janus had a sense of humor too, remarking that Mehrunes Dagon had no more love of his kind than for mortals, as vampires tend to make poor slaves. He agreed to send soldiers to Bruma and wished me luck with the upcoming battle against the forces of Oblivion. And just like that our conversation was over. Quick and easy.

While fighting the Ogres at the Pale Pass I had wished for a bow and a bandit along the road between Skingrad and Kvatch violently surrendered his very valuable glassed bow to me. First I was encountering bandits armed with Dwemer weapons and now glassed and Elvish on top of that. I can only assume there is a large influx of smuggled goods entering the province, what with the Legion being distracted and the Auxiliaries disbanded, Good for me when I find something valuable or useful, but on the whole I would rather this not be the case. The world is dangerous enough.

As if to drive that point home, I turned a corner from the dead bandit and witnessed a battle between a Minotaur, a Legionnaire, and what appeared to be another bandit.
The two men dispatched the Minotaur before I could dismount and come to their aid, but then the bandit foolishly turned on the soldier, who killed him with a single blow from his sword. Amusing, if you have a grisly sense of humor. I spoke to the soldier for a few minutes and he confirmed that he had been facing Minotaurs and Spriggans along the road far more frequently than usual, but neither of us could really say why this was. I suspect the Oblivion portals have something to do with this, perhaps drawing the creatures to the civilized areas of the province they normally stayed away from. I do not know for sure. As I rode away from the former bandit campsite I fought a Minotaur of my very own, a battle whose difficultly fell somewhere between an Ogrim and an Ogre, with the fetid breath of my enemy to match either. Curiously, the Minotaur completely ignored my horse, which I did not expect but am very grateful for.
I rode past the ruin of Kvatch and reached Anvil by early afternoon. I wasted no time in seeking out the Countess and she praised my efforts in closing her city's Oblivion gate, promising me that Bruma would have some of her best guardsmen defending it. With nothing else to do in the city, I turned around and rode back to Skingrad.

While passing Kvatch I decided to stop and see how everyone was faring. The city was still a complete ruin, of course, and fires still smoldered here and there, but the Daedra were gone. The rebuilding will take a long time, but at least it can be said that the city can be rebuilt now. When and if that occurs is another question.
I told Captain Matius of my exploits and of the difficulty the province was facing with the invasion coming from Oblivion and he offered to send a guardsman of Kvatch to Bruma to bolster the defenses. When I pointed out that Kvatch had little in the way of defense to spare, he smiled and suggested that Kvatch was likely no longer a target. I conceded his counter-point and accepted his surprising offer.

It was late into the night when I arrived back at Skingrad and I have taken a room at the West Weald Inn. Tomorrow I ride for Bravil and hopefully Leyawiin. Once Bruma is adaquetely defended I can dedicate all of my time towards Martin's pursuits and start bringing the battle to Mehrunes Dagon instead of reacting to his agents' handiwork.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Oblivion Day 38 - The Reinforcement of Bruma, Part 1

5 Frost Fall, 3E433

The first night in my new home was a pleasant one and I appreciated the calm and quiet a morning in an Inn certainly does not bring. Before leaving for the ruin of Sancre Tor to recover the blood of Tiber Septim I thought to visit Jauffre and let him know about the success of the Bruma guard in closing Bruma's gate to Oblivion.

Typical of the man, he was not cheered by the news of success, but weighted down by the worry of something else. While appreciative of the idea that Bruma's guardsmen could close a gate or two on their own, he was worried about the forces of Oblivion converging on the city in order to eliminate Martin. To that end, he asked me to travel to each of the province's cities (again!) and speak to the rulers about sending soldiers to bolster Bruma's garrison. Jauffre spoke of something he called a 'Great Gate', something that has not yet been explained to me. Perhaps it is this thing that leveled the town of Kvatch, perhaps not. Whatever the case, Jauffre feared that an opening of this special Gate outside of Bruma would overwhelm the city and mean doom for Martin and his Blades.

So away it is to each of the cities of Cyrodiil, once again. 

I decided to follow the same route I did when I was closing the city Gates and rooting out the agents of the Mythic Dawn. After a brief stop at Bruma's blacksmith I set off for Chorrol. The ride was uneventful and as usual, very rainy. In fact, it only started raining once I was on my horse. As soon as I got off my horse in Chorrol the rain abruptly stopped. The Gods truly have a twisted sense of humor.
Countess Arriana was happy to send assistance to Bruma, exclaiming that it was the least she could do in exchange for my having closed the city's Gate already. I can only hope the rest of the rulers are as appreciative.

The ride from Chorrol to Skingrad was much more pleasant and also uneventful. I found no additional Gates, nor encountered much in the way of banditry. I can only surmise that my efforts in destroying the Mythic Dawn have paid off, at least in this area of the province.
Unfortunately it was late into the evening when I arrived at Skingrad and the elusive Count had apparently gone to bed already. So there is nothing left for me to do here but retire for the night and visit him in the morning. I could have ridden through the night into Anvil, but I see no reason to push myself that hard yet. The lack of open Gates between Bruma and Skingrad suggests that I have bought myself some time and I intend to make use of it while I still can.