The Morrowind Diaries – Chapter 4

Chapter 4

Chapter 4

The Ald-Rhun Thieves’ Guild

Last Seed 28 (Day 13)

Now that I had made up my mind to move on I decided to leave Balmora immediately before I began to have second thoughts. After a quick glance at my map I headed for the northern gate and left the city.

My plan was to follow the road past the Moonmoth Legion Fort until I reached the Foyada Mamaea. I planned to proceed up the foyada until I reached Ghostgate then turn east to reach Ald-Rhun. This seemed to be a much more direct route than trying to follow the roads through Caldera.

Dwemer Bridge

Dwemer Bridge

I briefly became disoriented in the dark but after a short time found my way to the Foyada Mamaea where it was crossed by a Dwemer bridge made of some strange metal. I briefly examined the area and decided there was no convenient route to the bottom of the foyada from there and started to cross the bridge to check the opposite bank.

To my surprise, I saw a figure on the bridge but as I approached he yelled at me in anger. There was a flash of light as the figure summoned a skeletal warrior then he began to throw bolts of electricity at me.

Knowing something about Magicka, I charged towards the wizard and ignored the skeleton. The mage attempted to back away from me but became trapped between the side of the bridge and a crude cart which was parked there. He fell quickly to my sword and, as he died, his summoned warrior disappeared.

I paused briefly to catch my breath then examined the body. I learned that the name of my attacker was Snowy Granius but nothing else of importance. I collected the few items he carried then disposed of the body. I then searched several crates which were stacked along the side of the bridge but did not find any items of major importance. I did come across several strange scraps of metal which looked as if they may be valuable and stuck them in my pack.

As I searched, I was attacked by a cliff racer which had apparently been attracted by the noise. I made short work of it then noticed a second racer trying to get to me. Unfortunately for it, it was attempting to fly through the railing of the bridge instead of flying over it and was trapped. I ignored it and began to search for a route to the bottom.

I eventually was able to pick my way to the bottom of the gorge, stumbling down the last few dozen feet. A rat attacked me as I reached the bottom and it was quickly joined by the cliff racer, which was apparently better at flying under the bridge than over it. I defeated both of them then began my walk to the north.

The sun had just begun to rise when I began to hear strange noises from ahead. Continuing onward, an ancient Daedric Shrine came into view; its twisted towers of rusted metal looking ominous in the early morning light. The strange noises continued and, as I had heard of dangerous creatures living in the ruined shrines, I swung wide around the ruin and continued along my way without stopping to explore. I did note the location of the ruin and decided that I would return and investigate when I was more experienced and better equipped.

The route was direct and easy to follow but I was attacked by a virtual menagerie of creatures as I traveled. Cliff racers, nix-hounds, rats, kwama and scrib all confronted me along the way. None of them were of major inconvenience but the continual interruptions of their attacks made the trip take longer than it should. It was almost midday when I rounded a final bend and saw Ghostgate and the Ghostfence rising ahead of me.

Ghostgate and the Ghostfence

Ghostgate and the Ghostfence

I had heard of the Ghostfence, the mystical barrier that surrounded the Red Mountain volcano which dominates the center of Vvardenfell, but this was my first view of it. I could see the road which led towards Ald-Rhun to my left but I decided to take the opportunity to explore Ghostgate.

I first entered the eastern tower, which I later learned was known as the Tower of Dawn. Inside, I was met by Teril Savani who welcomed me to “the last good place on the edge of Red Mountain”. Savani told me that Ghostgate and the Ghostfence were created to protect the rest of Vvardenfell from the blight storms and beasts released by Dagoth Ur; the evil being who made Red Mountain its home. To this end, he told me, Ghostgate was garrisoned by both the Ordinators, the Temple guards, and by the Buoyant Armigers, the military order of the Temple.

I asked about the local services and was told that House Redoran maintained a hostel in the other tower, the Tower of Dusk, and that the Temple provided both healers and dealers in sundries in this tower, the Tower of Dawn.

Savini looked me over and said, with some concern, that I had the look of someone who intended to go further into Red Mountain. He told me if I did to limit myself to short forays and to make sure I had protection against the Blight if I did.

Thanking Savini for his advice, I continued into the tower. The tower consisted of a circular hallway around a central chamber, which I entered. This seemed to be a common room with tables and shelves arranged for the use of the Temple priests and guards station here. A flight of stairs led upward to a room dominated by an indoor garden.

I spoke briefly with several of the people in the room. Rilvase Avani, who I later learned was the head Priest of the Temple here, welcomed me as a pilgrim to the Ghostgate. He told me that just outside was a Pilgrimage Shrine which was built to commemorate the labor and inspiration of the Tribunal and the courage and sacrifice of the Ordinators, Buoyant Armigers, crusaders and pilgrims who had lost their lives defending against the damnable beasts of Dagoth Ur.

I also spoke with Selenen Relas, an Ordinator, who I discovered was a member of the Order of War; a special unit dedicated to fighting the enemies of the Temple and stationed near Red Mountain. He quickly explained to me who the important people in Ghostgate were. Ralyn Othravel was the Ordinator Grand Commander and Enar Pralor the Knight Commander. Galdal Omayn was the Buoyant Armiger Grand Marshal. Rilvase Avani, who I had already met, was the head Temple priest and Anise Romoran was the Publican of the Redoran Hostel in the Tower of Dusk.

I would have liked to stay and talk longer but my head was buzzing and I felt strangely tired. Feeling the need for sleep, I thanked my hosts and returned to the hallway.

I briefly explored the rest of the Tower of Dawn. A flight of steps led downward on the opposite side of the tower and I went down to find a barracks area for the troops stationed here. Here I met the enchanter Faras Thirano from whom I was able to purchase several potions of healing. I then returned to the main level and, passing through the temple without stopping, entered the Tower of Dusk.

The Tower of Dusk was laid out exactly like the Tower of Dawn and I quickly made my way into the central chamber which housed the Redoran hostel. Though it was still relatively early I spoke with Anise Romoran, the proprietor, and secured a room for the night to which I then gratefully retired. I barely remember closing the door before collapsing into the bed.

Last Seed 29 (Day 14)

My sleep proved to be very restful and I awakened the next morning feeling stronger and more agile than I had in some time and I felt that my exertions of late had been helping build up my endurance. I quickly gathered my belongings and prepared to resume my journey towards Ald-Rhun.

Before I did, however, I decided to take the opportunity to explore the tower a bit further. As in the Tower of Dawn, the steps up led to a large room with an indoor garden. I wandered around this room for a bit and found several interesting books lying on reading tables which were scattered about but the presence of guards in the room prevented me from taking any for my own collection. I returned to the main floor and the corridor then found the steps leading down.

Once again I found a barracks area below the tower. I wandered around a bit but found nothing of interest until I entered a room and discovered Dronos Llervu, the blacksmith. Some of my equipment was showing signs of the fights I had been in and I had Llervu perform some repairs on my armor. Thanking him, I was about to leave when something on a shelf caught my attention and I stopped to admire a glass cuirass.

Suddenly, a thought struck me and I carefully closed the door to the smithy. With what I had in mind I did not want a large number of Dunmer guards becoming aware of what I was up to. I loitered by the shelves, admiring the items there, until Llervu turned his back on me and began working on the furnace. Moving stealthily, I took the cuirass from the shelf and dropped it into my pack.

Over the next few minutes, I leisurely took items from the shelf whenever Llervu’s attention was distracted. I managed to collect most of a complete suit of armor as well as a glass longsword and a glass jinkblade; enchanted to cast a paralyze spell upon whomever it hit in combat. Once I had stripped the shelf of its valuables I proceeded to wander the room to see what else I could find.

Several crates were stacked in the back and a pair of glass pauldrons were lying on top of one of them. I was able to collect both pauldrons and then began to look through the crates. My task was a bit more difficult now, as I was standing closer to Llervu and it was harder to act without his becoming aware of my actions. Even so, I was eventually able to add a tower shield and a second helm to my collection.

In the end I found myself in possession of an almost complete set of glass armor. I lacked only a set of glass greaves, a set of which I was never able to locate. I also now had a glass longsword, much superior to anything else I owned, and a glass jinkblade, the enchantment on which I was certain would be useful.

I took great advantage of the Quicksave (F5) and Quickload (F9) keys here. Basically what I did was save then attempt to steal one piece of armor. If successful, I saved again and tried for the next piece. If caught, I would reload and try again.

This led to one curious problem. There is (or was) a complete set of armor in the room; some on the shelves near the door and some in a crate in the back of the room. I had everything except the set of greaves which I was attempting to steal from the crate. I got caught and reloaded.

When I did, the crate no longer contained the greaves. Instead, there was another set of bracers and a tower shield. I tried reloading a few times and even exited the game then reloaded but the greaves never reappeared. At one point the bracers vanished and were replaced by another helm. I eventually gave up and simply took the shield and helm. I’ll have to find a set of greaves elsewhere.

Leaving the smithy, I returned to the stairs and stopped on the first landing where I quickly shed my old chitin armor and replaced it with my new glass set. After admiring myself briefly, I brazenly returned to the smithy and sold my old armor to Llervu who did not seem to recognize the armor I was wearing as his! In fact, he even complimented me, saying that he had never seen a Redguard dressed as well as I was. Laughing to myself, I thanked him politely and left.

Upon leaving the Tower of Dusk I realized that I had spent more time in the smithy than I had realized and that it was later in the day than I planned. I quickly located a stone cairn marking the trail to Ald-Rhun and set out along it. Almost immediately I was attacked by cliff racers and their attacks continued all along the road. While individually they were little more than a nuisance the sheer number of their attacks was beginning to wear on me and I was quite happy when I saw a tower in the distance. Cutting across country towards it I found myself approaching the entrance of the Buckmoth Legion Fort.

A guard watched my approach and spoke to me as I entered the gate. We spoke briefly and I listened as he told me of various rumors and bits of Morrowind lore. He spoke some of the Nerevarine Prophecies, of which I was hearing more and more. According to him, the Nerevarine was supposed to be the reincarnation of some Dark Elven hero who would drive the Empire from Morrowind. The Temple had declared that belief in the Nerevarine was wicked and evil but many of the Dunmer had been waiting for the return of Lord Nerevar, who they referred to as “the Incarnate”, for centuries. After giving me this information, however, he dismissed it as a “silly superstition”.

I also asked him about necromancy, as several of the Dunmer I had spoken with had mentioned it with some revulsion. He admitted that necromancy existed in the Empire but told me that both body and spirit were protected as property and could not be used without the permission of the owner. He also said that public display of the “living dead” was prohibited. He also said that he could not understand why the Dunmer were so opposed to necromancy, since they used the ghosts of their ancestors to guard their tombs themselves.

By this time I had regained my breath and I bid the guard goodbye and continued into the Fort. Inside, I found myself talking to Raesa Pullia, the Legion Champion for Fort Buckmoth.

I had expected that the Legion Champion would have little time to speak with me but she was polite enough and even complimented me on my clothing. I asked her for the latest rumors and information and she repeated information that I had heard before; that many of the Dunmer resented the Imperial occupation and would move openly if the opportunity presented itself, such as if there were a problem with the succession.

At her mention of the Imperial Succession it occurred to me that this may possibly be related to why the Emperor had selected me to come here and so I asked her for more information. She told me that Emperor Uriel Septim, Uriel VII and 24th of the Septim Dynasty, was over eighty. While it appeared that after his death rule would pass on to his heirs Enman and Ebel there was also some controversy over possible succession. I tried to gain more details on this controversy but Pullia seemed to think that perhaps she had said too much already and would not speak of it further.

She did suggest that if I wanted more information that I should talk to Dumbuk gro-Bolak who served under General Darius at Gnisis. She said that gro-Bolak was the ideal knight and that he knew his trade and Vvardenfell better than anyone else in the Legion. She also told me that if I wanted to talk to him I could probably find him in the Legion barracks in Gnisis.

Thanking Pullia for her time I continued through the Fort until I met a pair of merchants, Cocistian Quaspus and Syloria Siruliulus, to whom I sold some of the items I had been collecting along the way, such as the racer plumes from all the cliff racers who had attacked me on the way to the Fort and for which I received a fairly good price. The two also turned out to be members of the Imperial Cult and Siruliulus asked me if I wished to join that organization. I attempted to politely express my lack of interest but she told me if I changed my mind that I should speak with Nalion in the Gateway Inn in Sadrith Mora.

My immediate goal at the Fort completed, I left through the main gate and followed the road to Ald-Rhun. The distance was short and I arrived at Ald-Rhun just as darkness was falling over the city. Habasi had told me that the local Thieves Guild head, Aengoth the Jeweler, could be found in the Rat-in-the-Pot Tavern and I was pleased to discover it to be almost the first building I encountered. After one last look around, I ducked inside and out of the growing darkness.

Inside, flights of stairs led up and down and I ascended to a bar area where several patrons had already settled in for the evening. I inquired about Aengoth and they told me he could be found downstairs. Returning to the entryway, I descended to the lower floors.

The lower floors were larger than would be expected from the outside I and found a good number of patrons here also. Several of them turned out to be running small business stalls and I found both a pawnbroker and alchemist. A few of the patrons also seemed to members of the Thieves Guild and they greeted me as a fellow member of that organization. I exchanged pleasantries with them but was unable to locate Aengoth. Thinking that he may have gone elsewhere, I returned to the upper floor to speak with the bartender.

Upon entering the bar, I noticed for the first time a smaller stairway leading downwards on one side of the room. Realizing my error, I descended these stairs and quickly found myself facing Aengoth the Jeweler.

Aengoth the Jeweler

Aengoth the Jeweler

Aengoth turned out to be a Wood Elf, or Bosmer as they call themselves. He greeted me casually as he looked me over but I could tell that he was evaluating me and I wondered what information Habasi had told him about my time in Balmora. I did not have to worry long however as he finally brightened and welcomed me to Ald-Rhun. Almost immediately he offered me a job.

Aengoth told me that he had a client who desired a Devil’s Tanto. Fortunately, he knew where one was located. Inside the Mage’s Guild there in Ald-Rhun.

My expression must have appeared shocked as Aengoth quickly assured me that his information indicated the Mage’s Guild was currently empty and would remain so for a short while; all of its members were currently on assignments. This, he said, made it the perfect opportunity to gain access to the Guild and retrieve the tanto. He also said that any other items I found while searching for the Devil’s Tanto could be mine; all he wanted was the tanto itself. While still a bit nervous, I agreed to do the job.

I returned to the upper floor and went to the back of the bar area where I had spotted a large, open shelf. I put most of the items I had been carrying on the shelf to make room for any items I collected while in the Mage’s Guild. Then, I set out towards the guild.

It was dark when I stepped outside but fortunately the Mage’s Guild turned out to be almost directly across the street. I quickly crossed the plaza and, finding the door unlocked, slipped inside.

Unfortunately, Aengoth’s information that the Mage’s Guild would be unoccupied turned out to be incorrect. An apprentice wizard by the name of Manis Virmaulese was waiting in the lobby and he immediately accused me of being a thief and hurled a spell at me. I was surprised by this. Even if Aengoth’s information was wrong, why did the guard immediately assume that anyone walking in was a thief? After all, I could have been an honest citizen entering to ask for services from the guild. Somewhat irritated, I pulled my sword and charged across the room.

Virmaulese apparently was a novice wizard because after casting only a few spells he pulled a dagger and met my attack. His skill was no match for my own and I quickly sent him spinning to the ground.

Kneeling to examine the body, I noted that my guess as to his experience was probably correct as he seemed to be quite young. Normally I would have felt remorse over killing him as he was, after all, only protecting his guild. On the other hand, he attacked me unprovoked without even attempting to learn my intentions and could easily have slain an innocent citizen had they happened to wander into the guild ahead of me. No, I decided, it was just as well that Virmaulese had been killed. Magicka can be quite dangerous if misused and someone such as him who acted without thought would only have become a threat to themselves and others if he had learned more without gaining the wisdom of when to use it.

I did not find anything of interest on the body and so disposed of it after searching it. I then looked around the lobby. I found a copy of the Mage’s Guild charter which was interesting, if nothing else, as well as a copy of the history of the Mage’s Guild. The only items of importance I found were in the Mage’s Guild supply chest, which sat to one side of the entrance door. In it, I found several empty Soul Gems as well as scrolls of Divine Intervention and cure disease. I took these then continued my search.

One door led to a small bedroom but the other revealed a flight of stairs leading down. This led to a large room, two stories in height. A balcony circled the room on the second level and I stopped on the landing at this level.

Noticing an open area under the stairs, I circled around and found a small locked and trapped chest. The trap was easy to disarm but the lock proved extremely frustrating and I wore out one of my lockpicks before I was able to open it. To my annoyance, the chest turned out to contain only a small number of coins; not even enough to replace the lockpick I destroyed getting to them.

Continuing onward, I checked several small sleeping chambers off of the balcony but found nothing of interest in any of them except for a small scroll which contained a guide to Ald-Rhun. Past these rooms I found the platform where the Guild Guide would transport customers to another guild but this room too was empty.

In the back of the room I found a small alcove containing a locked and trapped door. This door proved to be easier to open than the chest earlier and I soon found myself in a closet where the Mage’s Guild apparently stored their alchemical supplies. Various containers along one wall held numerous alchemical components while other chests held several sets of retorts, alembics and other pieces of equipment. The equipment was heavy so I only picked up the most valuable pieces and I also collected all of the valuable components I could find, which included pearls and sload soap. There was also a chest in the closet with another of those tricky locks and once again I wore out a lockpick to find only a few coins. Quite annoyed, I continued my search.

Descending to the lower floor I found a large room with several tables. I quickly searched them, finding mostly inexpensive dinnerware, but did come across a pair of books that seemed to be of interest. The first, Withershins, told an amusing story but seemed to offer a few insights into the art of Restoration while the second, Sun’s Dawn (Book 2), dealt with the topic of Mysticism. I added these to my pack.

Take the copy of Withershins after reading it. It will be useful later.

One side of the room contained a healing shrine and several coins lay on top of the alter. These I did not disturb. While I am by no means a devout man I still did not want to risk the enmity of the Nine. The opposite side of the room, however, held several shelves with more alchemical ingredients and another retort as well as a pair of locked chests.

I first searched the shelves and collected the more valuable ingredients as well as adding the retort to my collection. I then turned my attention to the chests.

The large chest on the floor proved to have a very complex lock and I quickly realized that it was beyond my ability to open. The smaller chest on the shelf turned out to be a bit easier but I was still forced to utilize the master lockpick that Habasi had given me before I was able to open it. Inside, I discovered the Devil’s Tanto that Aengoth had sent me to retrieve.

My primary mission accomplished, I decided to finish searching the guild before leaving. After safely storing the tanto in my pack I proceeded to the back of the room and through the final door I had not investigated and found myself in a blacksmith’s shop. A cursory search revealed nothing except a cabinet with the most complex lock I had ever seen. It was even beyond what my Tower heritage could help me with and I quickly gave up any hope of opening it.

I got curious as to the content of the chests I was unable to open and so, after saving my game, I used the console to boost my Security skill to 100 so I could open them and discover their contents. The chest in the alcove with the 75 complexity lock holds a large number of potions. The 75 complexity chest in the blacksmith’s room only contains some minor items but the 100 complexity closet has some very nice enchanted weapons. However, I really didn’t want to cheat that much and restored to the saved game after satisfying my curiosity.

In case you are not familiar with the console, you access it by hitting the (~) key. (That’s the key just below the Escape key on your keyboard.) A console window will appear. Type

player->setsecurity 100

and hit Enter. Your Security should now be 100. Hit (~) again to close the console. You can set any skill or attribute this way which can be useful if you are stuck somewhere and need to temporarily boost some stat in order to continue.

Beyond the smithy was a bedroom, apparently the living quarters of the blacksmith. It also held nothing of interest beyond another chest I could not open. Feeling somewhat frustrated, I finally left and made my way to the exit.

Last Seed 30 (Day 15)

Stepping outside, I discovered that my search of the Mage’s Guild had taken most of the night and that the sun had already risen on a new day. Suddenly uncomfortable, I glanced around but saw no one who had observed my exit from the building. It would not be good, I realized, if someone were to make a connection between the sudden disappearance of all items of value from the Mage’s Guild and the appearance of a Redguard outlander. Keeping out of sight as much as possible, I quickly crossed the plaza and returned to the Rat-in-the-Pot.

Aengoth was waiting for me at the foot of the stairs and immediately asked if I had found the tanto. I confirmed that I had and began to dig it out of my pack. As I did, he asked if I had encountered any problems.

I handed the tanto over and told him of the guard I encountered in the lobby. Aengoth seemed frustrated but not surprised and told me, by way of explanation, that the Mage’s Guild somehow seemed to always know when the Thieves Guild had something planned. I was somewhat annoyed that he had neglected to mention this point to me before I left for the Guildhall but he cut me off before I could say anything and gave me another assignment.

Another client of his also desired an item. This time, it was a Redoran Master Helm. Aengoth said that he only knew of the location of one such Helm and that it was in the possession of a member of the House Redoran ruling council; Miner Arobar. Arobar lived in Arobar Manor, which was located in Under-Skar.

I must have appeared confused at that point because Aengoth quickly explained. The Skar, he told me, was the shell of an enormous crab located on the north side of Ald-Rhun. In fact, the shell was so large that all of the local nobility had their manors constructed within it and it also held the House Redoran Council Chambers. The shell protected those who lived there from the frequent sand and ash storms that plagued the area.

Aengoth didn’t have any further information as to where the Helm may be located, meaning that I would have to search the entire manor. Breathing a heavy sigh, I agreed to the task and once again set out on my way.

Sandstorm in Ald-Rhun

Sandstorm in Ald-Rhun

A sandstorm had come up while I was inside and I was momentarily disoriented as I stepped out into it. Sand immediately found its way into my armor and I pulled the faceplate of my helm down to keep it out of my eyes. My first breath also pulled dry, scratchy dust into my nose and throat and I had to brace myself against the side of the tavern until a coughing fit passed. Once it did, I held my hand up to shield my watering eyes and set out into the storm.

A few other people were out braving the storm and I was somewhat comforted to notice that none of them were were having a much easier time with it than I was. With only minor difficulty I was able to make my way across town and to the plaza in front of the great shell which housed the manor district. For several long seconds I stared at it and marveled at the size of the creature which had worn such a colossal shell and I hoped that I would never encounter any of its relatives, if any such creatures still existed anywhere on Tamirel.

Glancing about, I noticed several shops around the plaza and decided to make a few stops before continuing onward. I first visited Dandera Selaro, the blacksmith, who performed some minor repairs to my equipment. I then crossed the square again and entered the shop of Daynes Redothril the pawnbroker.

I had intended to sell of most of the items I had taken from the Mage’s Guild but it turned out that Redothril did not have much of a cash reserve on hand and so I was only able to sell a few items. He seemed very interested in what else I was offering and told me to come back the next day when he hoped to have more funds available. I was somewhat disappointed at having so much to carry around for another day but assured him that I would.

I was about to take my leave when Redothril stopped me and asked if I would be interested in doing some work for him. When I indicated an interest he continued. He had a client by the name of Ienas Sarandas to whom he had sold a pair of rings; one of glass and the other of ebony. Unfortunately, Sarandas had yet to make the final payment for them, which partially explained his current financial situation. Redothril asked me if I would visit Sarandas and either recover the rings or collect the final payment for him. The request seemed simple enough and I agreed.

Returning to the plaza I discovered that the sandstorm was continuing unabated. I noted that Sarandas’ home was nearby but decided against going to talk to him right away. Instead, I decided that I would get out of the sandstorm and, finding my way to the entrance to the Skar, entered the manor district.

The silence under the Skar was a relief after the howling of the wind outside and I paused just inside the entrance for a few moments to allow my eyes to adjust to the dimness. A House guard approached me but only spoke a brief greeting before continuing on his rounds.

Once I was able to see I looked around the dome formed by the shell and attempted to get my bearings. There seemed to be two levels within the dome. On the lower level, around a central column or spire, there seemed to be several shops. The upper levels were reached by a network of rope and wooden slat bridges which connected the manor houses, the entrances to which were arranged around the perimeter of the dome. I had never seen anything like it in my travels and for a while I stood in amazement of the complexity of it all.

I had only been within the door for a few moments when a House guard approached and I decided that it would be best to not attract attention to myself. Nodding a polite greeting, I ascended the ramp ahead of me to the upper levels and began to search for Arobar Manor. The rope bridges creaked alarmingly as I moved about but they seemed sturdy and I was able to quickly examine all of the doorways on the level.

Not all of the entrances on the upper levels led to manors. The three doors directly opposite the entrance to the Skar led to the Redoran council chambers and I discovered that, strangely, the Morag Tong also had their local guild headquarters on the upper level. It turned out that the Arobar Manor was between the Council chambers and the Morag Tong.

Upon entering the Manor I found myself in an entryway with a large number of guards. Fortunately, none of them paid any particular attention to me and I crossed the room as if I was there on business and entered the opposite door. This turned out to be the guard quarters.

There was only one individual loitering in the halls here and they ignored me. Deciding to take advantage of the opportunity I made my way down the hall and into each of the small rooms along it. Carefully closing the door behind me each time I would quickly search the room for any items of value. Mostly I found sets of expensive clothing but a few sets of armor were in evidence and I did come across one book, The Black Arrow (Part 1), which described an Acrobatics technique that I made a note to try at the next opportunity. Having searched all of the rooms I ignored the lone individual who continued to wander the hall and continued deeper into the manor.

I next found myself in the family’s personal quarters. A few people were wandering around this area too but I ignored them and quickly searched the area. All I found was what seemed to be a sitting room with several chests. I was able to open all but one of them but found nothing of interest. I became somewhat frustrated with the remaining chest but eventually gave up on it and continued my search.

Using the technique I described above, I learned that the level 75 locked chest contains Boethiah’s Pillow Book and several bottles of Skooma. Skooma is an illegal drug made from processed moon-sugar. It is worth quite a bit but most merchants will not deal with you if you are carrying it in your inventory. (Ra’Virr the Trader in Balmora will buy both Skooma and Moon Sugar).

The Pillow Book becomes important in a later mission and you can save some time if you are able to open the chest and can pick it up now. I couldn’t and had to get it later.

The next area I came to was the family sleeping quarters. Miner Arobar was here, as was his wife and several guards, but none of them paid much attention to me. I searched these rooms and opened what chests and cabinets I could find; a task made more difficult by Miner Arobar as he was standing directly next to one of the chests. However, I was eventually able to take advantage of a momentary distraction and open it but found nothing.

By now I was becoming quite frustrated as I had searched every room and chest in the manor with the exception of the one I could not open. I was becoming afraid that the Helm I sought lay within that chest and wondered if I would not be able to complete my current assignment until I had increased my skills. In the end, I decided that I would have to return to the Rat-in-the-Pot and hire Livielle Stoine, the bartender there, to instruct me further in Security. Frustrated, I left the manor.

My anger at myself had cooled somewhat by the time I found myself back in the under-Skar and I wondered if it was possible that there was another Redoran Master Helm somewhere. After all, Aengoth had said he knew of only one but that did not mean that others existed. We Redguard are a very independent people and it went against everything that I was to give up and ask for outside aid when the possibility of succeeding on my own still remained. With a somewhat lighter heart, I set out to explore the rest of the under-Skar.

My initial destination was the Redoran Council Hall. I thought that if another Helm existed then it would likely be within that location. Carefully crossing the creaking bridge, I returned to the central spire and then to the triple doors marking the entrance to the hall.

The Redoran Council Hall turned out to be an enormous facility; the largest I had found since my arrival in Vvardenfell with the exception of the Skar itself. The entrance hall was grand but the council chambers themselves were an enormous single room with multiple balconies and catwalks crossing the chamber. Literally dozens of doors opened off of the chambers on both levels and I realized that searching the council hall was almost as daunting a task as searching an entire town. For the first time I began to realize the enormous power the Great Houses wielded in Morrowind and I began to question my course of action in that it may be bringing me into conflict with one of them. Nonetheless, I felt I had no choice and pressed onward with my search.

I made several discoveries as I searched. The first was that, despite its size, the hall held very few containers or other items to search. It quickly became obvious that nothing of importance was hidden here.

I also discovered that many of the manors belonging to members of the Redoran council opened directly onto the council chamber floor. I became even more dejected at my course of action when I realized that this meant I had even more territory to search.

Finally, I discovered that the Redorans had access to their own services here in the council chamber and I found merchants, armorers and healers running their own small shops within the great hall. This turned out to be a welcome discovery as I was able to sell most of the items I had collected from Arobar Manor. I also discovered that the healer was selling spells and I was able to purchase a healing spell for myself as well as several potions to restore my Health and Magicka. I realized that my strengths did not lie in the Magickal arts and that the spell would be very inefficient, given my lack of knowledge in the school of Restoration, but it would help relieve me of my dependence on my healing ring.

My discovery of the merchants gave me another idea and, after completing my transactions, I quickly left the Council Hall and returned to the under-Skar. There, I descended to the lower levels where several more merchants had set up their shops.

My thought had been that perhaps one of the merchants was selling a Redoran Master Helm and, if so, then perhaps I would be able to retrieve one from their stock. Unfortunately, none of them turned out to have such an item.

One interesting thing did occur from my visit, however. I was in the shop of the clothier Bevene Releth and selling the clothes I had taken from the guards quarters in Arobar Manor. After we had completed our business, I was about to leave when Releth stopped me and asked if I would be interested in doing some work for her. Grateful for something to take my mind off of my current troubles, I agreed.

Releth told me that she had recently sold a Fire Jade Amulet to Ienas Sarandas. However, Sarandas had not yet paid her for the Amulet. She asked if I would be willing to track down Sarandas for her and either collect her payment or retrieve the amulet for her. I smiled inwardly, as I thought of the similarities of her story and that of Daynes Redothril, the pawnbroker I had spoken to earlier. I wondered how many merchants Ienas Sarandas owed money to but told Releth that I would look into the matter for her. Our business concluded, I left the shop.

Once again in the under-Skar, I once again paused to consider my options. I was still no closer to locating a Redoran Master Helm and none of my ideas on locating one seemed to be working. I had not searched any of the manors off of the council chamber and I did not look forward to doing so, especially since I had no way of knowing if there was even a Helm to be found in any of them.

It suddenly occurred to me that there was one place in Arobar Manor where the Helm could possibly be found that I had not searched; Arobar himself. This made me uncomfortable, as my last attempt at pickpocketing had not gone well and, unlike Nerano, Arobar had many guards within his manor. Still, I told myself, my skills had improved quite a bit since that time and I could probably see what he was carrying without risk to me. Cautiously, I returned to Arobar Manor and made my way to the bedrooms.

However, things turned out to be much easier than I expected. As I entered the room I noted several items sitting on top of the closet I had searched earlier and, upon examining them, discovered the Redoran Master Helm to be among them. It was a simple matter to wait until Miner Arobar’s attention was distracted and then surreptitiously take the helm. Once I had the Helm, I quickly left the manor, mentally kicking myself the entire time for missing an item so obviously sitting out in the open.

Aengoth was pleased when I presented the helm to him and his disposition towards me improved at this demonstration of my ability. He immediately presented me with another job. This time, his client wished to obtain something known as Boethiah’s Pillow Book. The book was apparently banned by the Temple but the client thought that one could be found somewhere in… Arobar Manor. Aengoth made some slight joke about how I should be familiar with the manor now and I feigned a slight laugh before taking my leave. In actuality I was somewhat annoyed that he had not given me both jobs within Arobar Manor at the same time; if the theft of the Master Helm had been discovered then entering the manor may be much more difficult this time around. It was with some trepidation that I left the Rat-in-the-Pot and once more headed for the manor district.

Odd game glitch. When I first talked to Aengoth after returning with the Helm he asked me if I had found the Devil’s Tanto; the object of the previous mission. The dialog options and replies went through the same sequence as before and then he asked about the helm. Everything was correct after that point and nothing seemed broken but I found it odd at the time. This may have been fixed with one of the patches to the game.

However, it turned out that my fears were unrealized and no one reacted to me as I entered the manor for the third time. I was afraid that the book would be in the chest I had been unable to open earlier but I found it lying on a bed in one of the bedrooms. There was not even anyone in the room to see me take it. I was doubly glad for the lack of witnesses a few seconds later as I glanced within the book and stood in stunned shock for several long moments at what I found within. I could easily understand why Aengoth’s client wanted the book, not to mention why it was banned by the Temple. Shaking my head to clear it, I stuck the book in my pack and left the manor as quickly as I had arrived.

The first time I played through the game the book was lying on a bed as described. However, when I played through it a second time (when I started working on this walkthru again) it did not appear and I had to retrieve it from the locked chest. Livielle Stoine, the bartender in the Rat-in-the-Pot, teaches Security if you need a few more levels, or you can always cheat and use the console as described above.

Boethiah is one of the Daedra Lords, btw…

Once again Aengoth was pleased when I gave him the Pillow Book. He already had another job lined up for me; probably for the same client since it involved another book. This time he wanted me to locate a copy of Withershins, one of which he felt certain could be found somewhere in the manor district.

The title sounded familiar and I quickly looked through my pack, only to find a copy of the very book Aengoth was asking for. I remembered it as one of the books I had taken from the Mage’s Guild and was immediately thankful that I had not sold it. I presented the book to Aengoth and took some slight pleasure in seeing the startled look on his face.

He quickly regained his composure and I realized that he no longer had any doubts as to my ability. My thoughts were confirmed a few seconds later when he presented me with another job.

Like Habasi in Balmora, Aengoth was worried about the security of the tavern he used as his base of operations. However, he was planning on taking a more active approach in protecting his home. He wanted me to locate at least four pieces of Dwemer metal that could then be used to create Dwemer Centurions; metal automatons that could be used as guards or as warriors. Unfortunately, he did not know where any Dwemer metal could be found and said that I may have to enter a Dwemer Ruin and search for some.

While I appreciated his confidence in my abilities I was a bit concerned at the thought of entering one of the ruins of which I had heard so much. Most of what I had heard described them as being inhabited by dangerous creatures and beings and containing many strange creations of the lost Dwarven race. While my people have never shirked from battle we do not charge blindly into it either and the tales I had heard since arriving in Vvardenfell did make me pause. On the other hand, I would not have it said that a Redguard was afraid of a ruin either. I told Aengoth that I would get the metal for him and set out on my way.

Ramimilk Daedric Shrine

Ramimilk Daedric Shrine

I remembered seeing a ruin just to the south and west of Ald-Rhun so I left the town through the south entrance and headed in that direction. As I had expected, I found the ruin immediately over the first hill.

Upon entering the ruins I was almost immediately attacked by a Scamp but was able to make short work of him and continued onward. There was an orc barbarian also exploring the ruins and I attempted to find any information about them from him but he did not know anything other than some recent rumors and bits of Morrowind lore. After a brief conversation I took my leave from him and continued my explorations. The ruin was fairly small and I quickly found an entrance to an underground area. As there did not seem to be anything of interest above ground I stepped through the door and into the darkness below.

I found myself in a small, roughly hewn chamber and was almost immediately attacked my someone who had apparently been standing guard. He was a fierce opponent and I at first was driven back by the onslaught of his attack. Then, I hit upon a combat technique that would prove to be very effective during my time in Vvardenfell. I attacked him with my glass jinkblade until the enchantment in it paralyzed him. Then, I switched to my glass longsword and continued to attack until the paralysis wore off. Usually I could get in two or three hits before this happened. I would then revert to my jinkblade and repeat the process. Using this technique I was able to defeat him.

I was still injured and took a few moments to cast my healing spell upon myself before turning to search the body. There was little of interest on it so I disposed of it then continued deeper into the ruin.

Statue of Ramimilk - Daedric Shrine

Statue of Ramimilk – Daedric Shrine

Emerging into a larger chamber I suddenly discovered that I was not in a Dwemer ruin as I had thought. Instead, I had trespassed into a Daedric Shrine. This one was known as Ramimilk and I stood for a moment staring at the giant statue in the center of the room. Daedric shrines are where the worshippers of the Daedra meet to pay tribute to those evil beings and I now understood the ferocity of the attack I received on first entering.

My thoughts were cut off by another attack, this one Magickal in nature. Turning, I saw another figure to one side of the chamber as they launched another spell in my direction. Shouting a battle cry, I drew my jinkblade and charged the wizard. He proved to be much less adept at melee than he was with Magicka and I quickly defeated him but once again I sustained more than a few injuries before I did so and again spent a few minutes healing myself.

As before I found nothing of interest on the body and went to examine the statue of the Daedra. In the sand below the statue lay a skeleton, a glass dagger still imbedded in its chest, and I felt a stirring of uneasiness at the sight of this long-ago sacrifice. Several gems lay on the sand as well but I refrained from touching them or the dagger as I did not know what spells protected this place.

Don’t bother the skeleton, dagger or gems. If you do, a daedra is summoned and attacks you. I wasn’t able to defeat it at my level and so avoided it for now.

I circled the statue, intending to search the shrine further, but was attacked yet again as I approached the rear of the chamber. This attacker proved to be much better trained than the others I had encountered and it was with great relief that I finally sent him spinning to the ground. I almost collapsed to the ground beside him but was finally able to catch my breath enough to let me use the last of my Magicka on healing myself.

I was still injured and my head was buzzing from my latest experiences and I felt very tired. I decided to postpone further investigation of the shrine to another day. With the pain of my injuries still in my side, I found my way back to the entrance. Night had fallen while I was inside but Ald-Rhun was only a few steps away and I made my way back to the town without incident. Several of the town guard looked at me strangely, as I had not had the opportunity to clean the evidence of my last encounter from my armor and weapons, but none of them approached me and I found my way to the Ald Skar Inn near the center of town. Boderi Farano, the innkeeper, did not even comment as I reserved a room for the night. Perhaps he was used to seeing adventurers arriving in town after a less-than-successful expedition. However, I did not speculate too long on such things and found my way to my room where I was barely able to remove my armor before collapsing into bed.

Last Seed 31 (Day 16)

I awoke the next morning with new energy and immediately set out again to find an appropriate ruin. But first, I decided to finish my explorations of Ramimilk. The orc barbarian was still wandering the ruins but I did not try to talk to him. As I approached the doorway to the shrine I spotted movement and so had my jinkblade out and ready when I was suddenly attacked by a clanfear. The clanfear managed to resist the magick in my blade longer than I would have liked but I was eventually able to defeat it without receiving too much injury to myself. I did stop long enough to cut the heart from its body, since I knew that the hearts of such daedric beings were worth much to alchemists, then disposed of the corpse. Glancing around to make sure that no other creatures were lurking about I opened the door and stepped inside.

The shrine was as I had left it and once my eyes adjusted I quickly made my way to the back of the chamber where I had seen a doorway leading deeper into the shrine the day before. My weapon ready, I took a deep breath then opened the door.

As expected I was almost immediately attacked. But I was prepared and this time forture smiled on me for once; my first swing with my jinkblade paralyzed my opponent and I was able to kill him before he recovered.

Smiling, I searched the room and found that my return to the shrine had been worth it. A table in one corner was covered with several magickal scrolls and a few more were stored in a nearby urn. Several potions stood on another table and I found three more books as well. The36 Lessons of Vivec – Sermon 4provided me with some insight into Mysticism, theMystery of Talara – Part 3did the same for Destruction andThe Armorers Challengegave some hints on improving my Armorer skills.

Quite pleased with my efforts, I packed away the items I had found and exited the shrine. Another clanfear had appeared while I was inside but I was able to defeat it with little trouble. I then followed the road south past the fort then back to the east until I entered the Foyada Mamaea near Ghostgate. From there I headed south along the foyada until I reached the ruins that I had seen during my earlier trip up the foyada. Several cliff racers and nix-hounds attacked me along the way and I noted that their attacks seemed to be occurring with greater frequency but I eventually reached the ruin without any major incident.

Stepping within the ruin, I was almost immediately attacked by several scamp. I was able to dispatch them easily but their attacks continued the entire time I was within the ruin, which greatly slowed my explorations. I did discover that what I had found was another Daedric shrine, this one named Assarnatamat.

I found the entrance and stepped inside. The interior of the shrine was extremely dark and it took a few moments for my eyes to adjust after the brightness of the day outside. Thus, I was caught by surprise by a sudden attack from the darkness and knocked to the ground.

I cursed myself as I struggled to regain my footing and draw my weapon. Since the last shrine I had entered was guarded I should have expected this one to be as well. I managed to get to my weapon and assume a fighting stance, but by this time I was already fairly wounded.

My opponent was a skilled fighter and the battle lasted longer than I liked. He seemed fairly resistant to my jinkblade and, when he finally staggered back and collapsed from my last, desperate swing, I had to hang on to the wall of the cave to prevent myself from collapsing beside him.

After I drained the charge from my healing ring the room stopped spinning and I was able to work on casting my healing spells upon myself. Eventually I was able to bring myself to close to full health but I had drained most of my energies in doing so and was thankful I had purchased a few potions of restore Magicka before leaving Ald-Rhun. I briefly toyed with the idea of continuing deeper into the shrine but rejected it and returned to the outer courtyard.

There were more of the scamps waiting for me when I exited but they were little challenge compared to my recent encounter. Deciding that clearing out one daedric shrine was enough for one day I made my way out of the ruins and continued south.

My initial idea had been to return to the Dwemer bridge I had crossed several days previously. I had found a few scraps of metal in a crate there and I thought I may be able to locate more in the vicinity. Night was falling when I finally saw the bridge looming above me and darkness had arrived before I was able to negotiate my way out of the foyada. Unfortunately my search of the bridge and crates turned up no more scraps of metal.

Frustrated, I started down the road away from the bridge. A few odd markings on my map led me to believe that a ruin of some sort lay in that direction. The night was quite clear and the stars shown fiercely down and I had only walked a short distance when I saw the bulk of the Moonmoth Legion Fort rising ahead of me. My path led past the fort but, after a brief pause, I decided to make a brief stop and entered.

I eyed the prison towers of the fort with some suspicion but entered the main portion of the keep where I availed myself of a few of the local services. The Legion blacksmith was more than willing to repair the damage my armor was showing and I was able to purchase a few potions to restore health and Magicka from the local alchemist.

My immediate needs satisfied, I was about to leave the fort and resume my journeys when a flight of stairs leading down caught my attention. For some reason, perhaps idle curiosity, I decided to investigate where they led.

I have mentioned before that I once was a dealer in information and secrets and have always had a habit of seeking them out. Perhaps that is what caused me to descend those stairs. I have also speculated in the past that it was just that habit that caused my initial arrest and imprisonment. It certainly would not have been the first time my curiosity had caused me problems and it quickly became apparent that it had not been the last time either.

Larrius Varro - Fort Moonmoth Legion Champion

Larrius Varro – Fort Moonmoth Legion Champion

Waiting at the foot of the stairs was Larrius Varro, the Legion Champion of Fort Moonmoth. He had been waiting for me. Not just anyone who happened to walk down the stairs. Me specifically. He had been hoping I would come by, he told me. He had heard of me and what he had heard made him think that I may be able to do some work for him.

For a moment I considered bolting up the stairs but then I realized that I would not get far attempting to flee the Legion Champion from within a Legion fortress. I also was curious to see what it was about me that would cause a Legion Champion to think I could help him. So, with some trepidation, I descended the last step into the barracks and faced Varro.

Varro spoke to me in a calm, quiet voice; almost as if he was speaking to a child. I almost took offense at this but something told me it was normal for him to treat others this way. Also, what he said quickly made me forget how he spoke and instead concentrate on what he was saying.

Varro quietly told me that he knew of my situation; he knew I had been released from prison on the orders of the Emperor and that I had been assigned to the Blades. He also knew that I had no idea why this had happened. But, he said, he may have an idea.

He told me that he knew of something, he did not say what, that he thought that the Emperor would want me to have. He said it would be a nice present and that he thought he could find it for me. All he wanted was for me to listen to a story. After I had listened to it, I might want to do some things for him. If I did, then he might try to find the “nice present” for me.

Later. After I had done some things.

With this, he told me what he wanted done. He told it as if he were telling a child a bedtime story, even beginning with “Once upon a time…”. What he told me was that there was a magistrate who was accepting bribes from some “bad friends” in exchange for letting certain criminals out of prison. This came to the attention of a “good officer” who wanted to uphold the law but was unable to do anything about the magistrate because of his powerful friends.

He then said that an idea came to the “good officer”. What if something happened to the “bad friends”? So the officer prayed that there would be a “little bloodbath to wash the bad people away”. He ended by saying that it was a nice story but not perfect because it “ended in a prayer, not a bloodbath”.

By this time I was becoming a bit annoyed at the way he was telling the story and asked him who these “bad people” were. He apparently took this to mean that I understood what he wanted and said that the people in question were all members of the Camonna Tong. There were five of them, but he did not know their names; only that they were all in Balmora. He also knew that they were a scout, a pawnbroker, a savant, a thief and a smith. He then casually suggested that perhaps some of my friends in the Thieves Guild would know who they were.

I was startled by this last statement as it showed that Varro was more than aware of my activities since arriving in Vvardenfell. I also understood exactly what he wanted from me. He told me that when I was done to come see him again and we would talk further about the Emperor’s “nice present”.

I took my leave from Varro and I could feel his eyes upon me as I climbed the stairs back to the main keep. I tried to remain calm but inside my head was spinning. What was there about me that was so important to the Emperor, to the Blades and now to the Legion? What had made Varro think that I, of all the people in Morrowind, was the one to solve his problem with the corrupt magistrate? What did he know of me and what was this “nice present” he kept referring to? Once again the voice from my dream came to me. You have been chosen. By who? And for what? I shook my head. I still was no closer to understanding what was happening to me than I was the day I stepped off of the prison transport in Seyda Neen. Caius Cosades had seemed as confused as I was at my sudden assignment to the Blades. Larrius Varro, on the other hand, seemed to know something.

I took a deep breath and let it out in a sigh. I knew that Varro would never tell me what he knew until I had completed the task he had described which meant that I had no choice. I would have to kill five members of the Camonna Tong. If I must become an assassin in order to determine what my destiny was, then I would do so.

I briefly spoke with some of the other Legionaries at the fort. One warned me of travel near Hla Oad and said that a Nord brigand had been attacking careless travelers there. Another told me that if I wanted to meet a “model warrior” then I should travel to Maar Gan and look for Miles Gloriosus in Andus Tradehouse there. Gloriosus had sworn a personal crusade to destroy all of the creatures who managed to sneak through the Ghostfence. I did not learn much from any of the others so I soon resumed my journey.

Leaving the fort, I proceeded uphill and soon again crossed the Dwemer bridge. Just past the bridge, a path sloped upwards towards a small ruin. At first it seemed as if there were no entry into the ruin but then I noticed a small crank sticking out of a pipe near the edge of the road. Turning it, I saw a door open on the side of the ruin. After a few seconds the door started to close again but I ran forward quickly and slipped through, finding myself within the Hall of Centrifuge of the Dwemer ruin of Arkngthand.

I stood on a small metal bridge overlooking a large cavern. The bridge had partially collapsed and I could not determine where it originally led, but a pile of debris lay against the wall of the cavern and I was able to carefully pick my way downwards. As I did, I heard cries of alarm below. My presence here was known to someone, but I continued my descent.

Reaching the bottom, I found the first of the guards waiting for me. I could see another person running towards me but fortunately my opponent proved to be a weak fighter and I dispatched him before his companion arrived. The second guard lasted no longer than the first and soon both were lying motionless on the ground. A quick search revealed them to be carrying nothing of interest and so I quickly disposed of the bodies and continued deeper into the ruin.

Leaving the ruins of the cavern, I soon found several hissing pipes and three round doors of metal which led to something known as the Weepingbell Hall. Picking a door at random, I proceeded through it.

For hours I wandered through the ruins; through chambers with strange names like the Heaven’s Gallery or the Land’s Blood Gallery which were filled with strange Dwemer devices and steam machinery. Several times I was attacked by unknown assailants, whether bandits or other explorers like myself I could not determine. I wondered why all of them attacked me on sight but then remembered that I had learned in Ebonheart that trade in Dwemer artifacts was restricted. The people I was encountering were probably smugglers and were attacking to keep their secret intact.

I found many Dwemer artifacts in my explorations, mostly bowls and cups but also a large number of rusted Dwemer cogs and small Dwemer coins. The cogs were too heavy to carry but the coins appeared valuable and I soon collected a large number of them.

Overall, I was somewhat awed by the signs of power which remained in the ruins. Though the Dwarven race had vanished many centuries ago, their machines still continued to function at their unknown tasks. Unfortunately, the knowledge of the strange branch of Magicka known as “technology” had vanished along with them so the purpose of the machines would probably never be known. I felt uncomfortable in the ruins, as if I was constantly being watched by the unseen eyes of a race long gone and I found myself carefully watching every shadow and doorway as I passed.

In the lower levels of the ruins I came across several open lava flows. A bridge of metal had crossed one of them but it had collapsed and, though I could see a large chamber on the other side, I had no way of reaching it. I turned my explorations to other parts of the ruin.

Another corridor crossed a lava flow which I could see through the metal grating of the floor. The heat was intense and the acrid gasses emanating from it caused me to cough uncontrollably but I was able to cross it and continue onward.

Entering the corridor beyond the lava, I heard a strange, metallic noise. Looking around, I was startled by the sudden arrival of a large spider; one apparently made of a strange red metal. For a moment I froze but its first attack shocked me back to action and I drew my weapons to defend myself.

Using the tactics I had discovered earlier, I first attacked with my jinkblade and was actually quite surprised when it paralyzed the attacking spider. A few blows from my longsword shattered it and it collapsed to the floor in a pile of twisted metal. There was a strange odor in the air, like that which sometimes accompanies a lightning strike or a spark spell, along with a burning smell, but the spider seemed to have been “killed”. Quickly searching it I was able to retrieve a twisted piece of metal that looked as if it would serve Aengoth’s purposes.

Continuing my search, I encountered several more of the spiders. I was able to easily defeat them and soon had all of the metal that Aengoth needed. I thought of leaving at that point but, as I had not encountered any serious opposition in my searches, instead decided to continue exploring the ruin.

I explored a few more corridors when I was suddenly attacked from behind. I was startled, as I had not heard the distinctive sound of one of the spiders behind me. Whirling, I caught my breath in a gasp when I found myself facing a ghost of one of the long-lost Dwemer.

I instinctively swung at it and was briefly panicked when my blade passed through it without any resistance. Then, after a second or two, I remembered that ghosts and spirits could only be harmed by enchanted weapons. Quickly switching to the Sword of White Woe, I swung again and was relieved to see the ghost stagger backwards as the blade connected. We sparred for a few more seconds then, with a final wail, the ghost collapsed into a pile of dust at my feet.

After retrieving the ectoplasm from the dust pile to sell to the alchemists when I returned to town, I resumed my exploration; this time more carefully. I encountered several more of the spiders and a few more ghosts but now that I was prepared for them I had no problems with any of them.

I found very little new in my remaining explorations. One room had an open lava pit in the center but nothing else. I also found a flooded room in another cavern area, but there was nothing on the far side except some more of the strange Dwarven machinery. I did find a locked chest behind a stack of crates which held some raw glass and raw ebony, so my explorations were not for naught.

Eventually, I found myself climbing several flights of stairs and emerging into a room near a place known as the Cells of the Hollow Hand. I had to fight a few more of the smugglers but like those I had encountered earlier none of them were carrying anything of interest. Finally, a hole torn into the wall of the room let me back out into the large cavern I had first arrived in, near the bottom of the debris pile that I had used to enter the area. After a final look around, I climbed back to the collapsed bridge and exited the ruin.

Heartfire 3 (Day 19)

A new day had arrived and nearly gone while I was inside the ruin. The sun was sinking towards the west in a cloudless sky and I blinked for a moment in the daylight; my eyes dazzled by the brightness after my long hours underground. After a few moments my vision returned and I smiled, knowing that I had accomplished my task and that the ruin had not proved a challenge to me. Feeling more confident in myself than I had for some time, I quickly set out for the ancient Dwemer bridge. Descending to the bottom of the Foyada Mamaea, I set out towards Ghostgate and the road to Ald-Rhun once again. As before I found myself attacked almost continuously by cliff racers along the way, with occasional attacks by alit and kagouti as well, but I had no encounters of significance. Night fell while I traveled and it was still dark when I found myself back in Ald-Rhun and the Rat-in-the-Pot.

I showed the metal I had recovered to Aengoth and he seemed satisfied that they would serve his purpose. He indicated that he had another job for me but I was weary from my exertions and desired nothing more than to find my way to bed. Aengoth was pleased enough with the metal I had brought him that he did not press the issue and instead bid me a good night.

I was about to leave for the Inn when I remembered my conversation with Larrius Varro and, without revealing the reason for my interest, described the people Varro had mentioned to Aengoth and asked if he knew who they might be.

Aengoth thought for a moment and then said that the Scout was probably Vadusa Sathryon. The Pawnbroker would be Marasa Aren, the Thief sounded like Madrale Thirith, the Savant was probably Savor Trandrel and the Smith would most likely be Thanelen Velas. All of them were members of the Camonna Tong and could probably be found in the Council Club in Balmora.

I thanked Aengoth distractedly and again took my leave from him. He looked at me curiously but decided not to inquire as to the reason for my question and turned back to examining the metal I had given him. I nodded to the other patrons in the bar as I passed through and stepped out into the Ald-Rhun night.

The sandstorms had abated for the moment and I walked across town towards the Ald Skar Inn in silence. I had recognized a few of the names Aengoth had mentioned; Savor Trandrel was Ondres Nerano’s assistant, which meant that I had already slain his employer, and Thanelen Velas was the Dunmer that Uryne Nirith had identified as the murderer of Ralen Hlaalu. And now I knew that they were all affiliated with the Camonna Tong. It occurred to me that if I followed through with Varro’s request then I would probably gain some powerful enemies. On the other hand, Larrius Varro himself would probably not be a pleasant enemy either. It was with such thoughts that I found my way to the inn and they remained on my mind as I fell into a troubled sleep.

Heartfire 4 (Day 20)

Morning found me still tired but unable to sleep so I left the inn and returned to the Rat-in-the-Pot. On first entering the bar I heard an odd but strangely familiar sound and followed it to behind the bar. There, bobbing up and down beside Livielle Stoine, was one of the strange, metallic spiders that I had seen in the Arkngthand ruins. My hand instinctively fell to my sword but I then realized that this was the purpose to which Aengoth had put the metal I brought him. I laughed then at the thought of the surprise anyone would have if they tried to attack the Thieves Guild here. Nodding to Stoine, I descended the stairs and went to speak with Aengoth.

Aengoth seemed pleased when I complimented him on his new defenses, which he referred to as “Centurion Spiders”, and he thanked me again for bringing him the metal. He then asked if I was ready for another job and I indicated that I was.

Aengoth told me that he had learned of the existence of something known as the “Darts of Judgment”, throwing darts of great power. These darts belonged to an archer named Eindel who was a guard at Llethri Manor. He felt that these darts would be better served in the hands of the Thieves Guild than in those of a Llethri guard and asked that I retrieve them for him. From subtle hints he dropped I gathered that some other member of the guild was planning a job within the manor and Aengoth felt that their chances would be improved if the darts were not there. The job sounded simple enough and I agreed.

I had no preparations to make and so quickly left the bar and crossed town to the manor district. After pausing a moment to let my eyes adjust to the darkness of the Under-Skar, I quickly made my way to the Llethri Manor and stepped inside. I found myself on a balcony overlooking the main hall and started to circle the upper level and was quite surprised when the first guard I encountered was Eindel herself!

Eindel turned out to be a Bosmer from Valenwood. I spoke to her briefly in order to allay her suspicions and asked about the latest rumors. She told me, with some confidentially, that House Redoran would not let House Hlaalu keep Caldera and the Ebony Mines there. Caldera was within what was traditionally Redoran territory and the House was looking for evidence that the Hlaalu were cheating the Empire. If they could prove their suspicions, then they would attack Caldera and take it back by force.

I tried to turn the conversation to the Darts of Judgment but she would not tell me anything, even after I improved her disposition towards me by a combination of obvious admiration and subtle bribes. However, she did confide with me in a certain bit of local gossip. It seemed that Ienas Sarandas, from whom several merchants had asked me to recover their money, had inherited his money after the death of his parents. However, he had lost all of it betting on the Guar and had been forced to sell the family silverware to pay his debts. Eindel laughed and said that the experience had driven him mad; he wore clothes fit for a lord but didn’t have a drake for a meal.

I felt that Eindel would have continued to talk to me all day if I had let her but I eventually managed to take my leave of her. I found a door on the other side of the balcony which led down to the guard quarters and there, lying on a bed, I found the Darts of Judgment. I also came across a book titled The Marksmanship Lesson which offered some hints on using such items and I committed its advice to memory. There were several guards wandering around the room but it was a simple matter to wait until they were distracted and palm the darts. I left through the lower entrance to avoid passing Eindel again. My talk with her had been pleasant and she had hinted at more than a slight interest in my company but I decided that her mood would change rapidly if she discovered that I was carrying her darts. With only a twinge of regret, I left the manor district and returned to the local Thieves Guild hideout.

Aengoth was pleased when I returned so quickly with the darts. He offered to let me keep them for myself but I knew that my Marksmanship skill was such that they would not do me any good. Instead, I allowed him to purchase them from me for a tidy sum.

I inquired as to my next mission and Aengoth surprised me by saying that he had no other tasks for me to perform. Instead, he suggested that I speak to the other guild leader, Big Helende, who I could find in Dirty Muriel’s Corner Club in Sadrith Mora. Or, he suggested, I could travel to Vivec City and speak with the Guildmaster himself; Gentleman Jim Stacey. He said I could find him in the back of Fralinie’s Bookstore in Vivec.

I looked at him briefly, as I still thought that the local guild was planning a large operation of some type in the Under-Skar and wondered if he was just trying to get me out of the way. But I simply gave my best to him and went back upstairs. I collected the items I had stored in the back of the bar, nodded goodbye to Stoine and set out on my way.

Outside the Rat-in-the-Pot, I stopped and considered my options. My advancement in the Thieves Guild seemed to be going well and I thought of heading for Sadrith Mora to meet with Big Helende. On the other hand, I did not want to keep Caius Cosades waiting as I did not know how long his patience would last with me. Then there was the matter of the “bad people” that Larrius Varro had asked me to take care of. Perhaps it was time to return to Balmora.

I had not been in Ald-Rhun long enough to form any connections there so I had no one to say goodbye to. Pausing for a moment, I opened one of the crates which stood outside the Rat-in-the-Pot and used it to store some of the items I was carrying. I thought that they would be safe there and I could return and retrieve them at a later time.

By this time, the sun was beginning to set and another of the ubiquitous ash storms had begun. Not wanting to find my way through the Ashlands at night during the storm, I returned to the Ald-Skar inn.

I left Ald-Rhun the next morning.

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