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> Kothet's Story, A dremora in Skyrim, and his housecarl.
ghastley
post Jul 31 2017, 11:06 PM
Post #141


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Acadian: Storn explains Mora's motive, as far as it's known, in this one. "Gotta have 'em all!"

Zalphon: No problem, it's valid criticism anyway.

Renee: Tentacles are a Hermaeus Mora thing. And only seen if you have Dragonborn installed. With that, the aspect of HM himself gets changed (and he has tentacles).

------------

Previously: Kothet read another Black Book and visited Apocrypha again. He returned with a word of Bend Will, and an offer from Hermaeus Mora for the third.

-------------

48 - Skaal Village

We travelled back to the Skaal village to tell Storn what Hermaeus Mora had said.

"What are the 'secrets of the Skaal?'" I asked him

"Ancient lore, handed down from shaman to shaman since the All-Maker first gave us Solstheim. How to talk to the wind, how to listen to the earth - these are our secrets. Nothing of power or mastery."

"Why would Hermaeus Mora want your secrets?"

"We know him as Herma-Mora, the Demon of Knowledge. It is in his nature to horde secrets to himself. Their value to him is of no consequence. The very fact that the Skaal have kept knowledge from him has merely increased his desire to have it."

"My experience of him is that he thinks that knowledge exists only if you can write it down in a book. How could you ever write down your secrets?"

"That I do not know either, but since Herma-Mora doesn't know these secrets, he doesn't know what kind they are. Perhaps he believes they can be written."

I told Storn that I needed to do a lot more preparation before I was ready to confront Miraak, so any decision on the secrets wouldn't be needed soon. There were still more words of power to learn, and Black Books to read.

---

Now that the Earth Stone outside Raven Rock was cleansed, there was a good chance that the townsfolk would be a bit more willing to talk with us about Miraak. We headed back there to ask around for clues to more word walls and Black Books. We needed to tell Captain Veleth about General Falx Carius, as well.

Glover Mallory, the blacksmith, didn't know of any word walls or Black Books, but he did have a story to tell us about how he arrived here on Solstheim. He'd learned how to work Bonemold from a Dunmer over on the mainland, but didn't find any demand for it, so he'd come over to the island looking for work. He'd found enough trade supplying the Redoran guard, and stayed. He had a recipe for an improved version of Bonemold, but it had been stolen from him, and the thief had run off to the North.

"If you go looking for him, you might find some Stalhrim on your travels, too," he told us.

Brelyna had heard of that. "It's like ice, but it doesn't melt"

"If you've ever slipped and fallen on your ass, you'll know how hard ice is, even before you add magic. It would make great armour, apart from the melting. So mages tried to enchant it to resist heat. They failed, of course. It turned out you'd take a lifetime to do it that way."

"So how did Stalhrim happen?" she asked.

"Well, you know how when someone dies, there's magic left in them, unless they were soul-trapped? If you bury enough people together in the same tomb, that starts turning them into draugr. The Ancient Nords figured they could stop that, by sealing the coffins with ice.

"It actually worked, and there was another effect they hadn't expected. A dead person does have forever to turn ice into Stalhrim. But they don't know when to stop, so that stuff gets so hard you can't work it with a normal pickaxe. So they had to make special pickaxes to cut it. I had one of those, but I lent it to Crescius Caerellius while I fixed his, and he hasn't given it back. Could you persuade him it's about time he did? It's not like he's digging up anything in Raven Rock mine these days."

---

We went off into the mine to find Crescius. Grover had told us he was quite old for a human, so he'd probably know a lot about the island, having lived here all his life.

Crescius was a bit reluctant to return the pickaxe, doubting that Grover had obtained it honestly in the first place. I reminded him that he hadn't either, and he relented, but not before asking us if we'd help him out, too. He had evidence that the decision the East Empire Company made to close down the mine wasn't based on it being worked out, but something more suspicious. He had a key to some door down in the mine that his great-grandfather had left behind, but he'd never been able to find the lock that it fitted. That and a letter were all that he had to go on.

The letter had been written by Gratian Caerellius to the East Empire Company, but he'd never sent it. He'd been lost in a rock-fall in the mine before he could do that. It said that some kind of ruins had been found down there, and asked for an investigation.

The mention of ruins was enough to get my interest. That was the sort of place to find word walls and Black Books. I agreed to continue the search for him, and we set off down the main shaft. We could return Mallory's pickaxe when we came back out.

---

Zahra was not happy to find spiders in the mine, but she hurled fireballs and got it out of her system. She let me kill the skeever.

We didn't pass much except for empty crates and barrels. The ore veins seemed to be pretty well exhausted, and sections had already been boarded off. Since Crescius hadn't found anything down here, I decided that I'd look behind the boards, and knocked them down with my war-hammer. Just a bit further on, we found the gate that the key unlocked.

Beyond the gate, it didn't look like mine-workings any more. This was the ruin that Gratian had mentioned in his letter, and it was soon clear why the Company had seled it back off. It was full of draugr.

"And traps," Ranyu noted. "Nice of that draugr to point it out to us."

We let the spiked gate swing back, and trod carefully around the trigger, as we engaged the next wave of draugr. Nothing we couldn't handle, but there did seem to be a lot of them. Especially in the next room, where they were seated all around the walls,

I was glad we still had Mallory's special Ancient Nordic Pickaxe, as we found a Stalhrim-covered coffin against the wall in the next room. I hacked at it for ages, but eventually managed to collect the rare material. I wanted to take it back to the smith with the pickaxe, and see what he could do with it.

Brelyna and Zahra were more interested in the potions and ingredients on the tables, and took advantage of the alchemy table there to make a few more potions before we moved on.


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Acadian
post Aug 1 2017, 04:42 PM
Post #142


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Loved the insightful discussion about stalhrim. goodjob.gif

Then the fearsome foursome does some dungeon crawling and actually finds some!


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Renee
post Aug 3 2017, 02:03 AM
Post #143


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Whoa, that's pretty intense. They seal them up with ice so they don't turn into draugr! I didn't know that they became undead in the first place as a group like that, but it does make a lot of sense.
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ghastley
post Aug 7 2017, 03:32 PM
Post #144


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Renee: Sometimes you have necromancers around, but they're usually fighting each other, so the draugr have to be doing it for themselves.

Acadian: I don't know why the developers decided to put one instance of Stalhrim down there, but they did. It gets another mention in this one. I think all the Stalhrim is placed as coffin-sealer, probably just so they'd only need the one mesh.

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Previously: Kothet and company had entered Raven Rock Mine to look for traces of Crescius' ancestor.

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49 -Bloodskal

There were a couple of spell-casting traps ahead, and I considered using my Become Ethereal shout to go and disarm them, but I let Ranyu try knocking the soul gems down from outside their range. He's a better archer than I am, by a long way, and soon had the problem solved.

The iron door beyond led to a chamber patrolled by some of the nastiest draugr I'd encountered so far, all equipped with ebony weapons and aware of our presence. i set Ranyu to keep the archer occupied, while I engaged the first of the sword-wielders. The mages would take whatever targets offered themselves.

Grabbing the initiative can make a lot of difference in a fight, so I charged the draugr, to make sure I got in the first blow. My heavy hammer made him stagger, so I had time to swing again. That still wasn't enough to finish him, but he was falling back each time and not able to riposte.

So this would be a question of whether I had enough stamina to keep up these power attacks, or whether he'd get his turn. If I took the time to swig a potion, I knew what would happen. When he fell, I did down a potion or two before looking around for the next one. I nearly had the archer fall on top of me, as Zahra's fireball knocked him off the bridge above.

So now they were down to one, and he'd sheltered behind a pillar from the barrage of spells. I went around behind him, and bashed him into the open. That was the last of him.

The nearby gate was locked, but Brelyna spotted a pedestal on the ledge opposite that looked like it had some kind of handle on top. I crossed the bridge and turned it, and the gate opened.

Past some more traps (but no more draugr) we came to a narrow passage that twisted and turned its way deeper underground. At the end, we emerged into a large chamber where waterfalls cascaded into a stream that disappeared underground. At the end of the chamber was a large ominous-looking door, and a skelton lying nearby.

We jumped down off the ledge before we really thought about how we'd get back up if that door wouldn't open. It probably wouldn't be impossible, if Ranyu stood on my shoulders, and the women climbed up that way, but we'd rather not have to do it. And that wouldn't have been an option for anyone who came here on his own.

The diary I found next to the skeleton suggested that was exactly what had happened to him. This was Gratian Caerellius, the ancestor of the old mine foreman who'd sent us down here. He come here with a companion, who fallen to the draugr somewhere back in the tomb. And he'd found an ancient sword, the Bloodskal Blade, also lying next to his skeleton, which had strange powers. He'd thought they were the key to getting out again, but, by the time he reached the door, he was too weak to use the sword. He had succumbed to the draugr before he could escape.

I picked up the blade and swung it, to see if it emitted the energy pulse that the diary described. Sure enough, a ribbon of light flew from the tip of the blade and struck the door. A piece of the surrounding rock slid aside. I swung again, and the energy was again released, but nothing changed on the door. Then I understood why. I'd swung the blade in the wrong direction. My swings had to match the glowing lines on the door-frame to make anything happen.

With everyone else standing well out of the way, I swung furiously at each of the lines, and soon the only one left was down the middle of the door itself. I was getting a bit short of stamina by this time, but I had just enough for the final swing. The door opened, to a long corridor of swinging blades.

"Become Ethereal" took me through them, and I used the lever at the end to turn them off for my companions. I just hoped I wouldn't need that shout again before we emerged, as it took forever to recharge.

When I used the lever, it had also opened the door into a large chamber, and I could see a word wall at the end of it. The majority of the room was flooded, but the edges were raised and we could move along next to the wall. However, before we got half-way, a dragon priest emerged from the central pool and attacked. Since my new weapon gave me a ranged attack, albeit a rather inaccurate one, I used it, while my companions hurled fireballs, frost and arrows.

Zahkrisos threw lightning back at us. Fortunately, most of it was directed at me, so the mages weren't hampered by any loss of magicka. It did make me rather eager to put an end to him, and I waded into the water to use the sword as a sword. It wasn't as deep as I feared, and we soon had him cornered, and weakening.

When he fell, I was able to approach the word wall, and learn a second word of Dragon Aspect, which was that armour spell that Miraak had shown me when we first met. If he thought it was important and impressive, I should take note of that.

One thing I'd already noted was that Dragon Aspect increased the damage of power attacks, which was a strange thing for a mage. I'd seen that Miraak carried a one-handed sword, but he also sported a staff, and wore robes, rather than armour. So it was clear which direction his preference lay. Perhaps this shout, and the sword that we'd just found, were the keys to defeating him.

---

I wasn't expecting to find a Black Book as well as a word wall, but perhaps Miraak's temple should have made me think differently. A pedestal on out way out held the book "Waking Dreams". I told Brelyna and Ranyu what to expect when I opened it, and did so.

Lurkers, seekers, scryes, and a book at the end, just like the one at Nchardak, except without all the "chapters". And this time I knew what to expect, and where to rest, and where to look for fonts. Progress was tedious and not what you'd call comfortable, but at least predictable. The reward at the end was pleasant and unexpected, however.

The book that let me return to Solstheim also taught me a new power - Companion's Insight - that meant that I'd never accidentally injure my companions in battle. That might prove important now I had the Bloodskal Blade. That energy discharge was a dangerous feature, as I had little control over when it happened.

---

The reavers inhabiting the ruins on the way out were a nuisance, but little more, to a party like ours. On the other hand, they didn't have any decent loot to collect, either.

Since Neloth had expressed an interest in collecting the Black Books, once I'd used them, we figured we might get more from him than we had from the reavers, and set off for Tel Mithryn as soon as we emerged. We stopped in Raven Rock on the way to return Grover's Ancient Nordic Pickaxe, and tell Crescius what we'd found out about Gratian's true story.

Crescius was delighted with our news and especially that the mine wasn't worked out as the East Empire Company had declared. "I knew I could still smell the ore."

Grover told us to keep the pickaxe for now, and maybe mine some more Stallhrim with it. He'd like to know what could be made from it, too. I was surprised that he didn't know, if he had the pickaxe. "Never found any Stahlrim to use it on," he told us. "I think it's all up in the northern part of the island."

I pointed out that I'd found it in the ruins beneath the mine.

"Well you won't catch me in any of those ruins, any more than trudging through the snows in the north."

---

We showed the Black Book we'd found to Neloth.

"Excellent! I'll just make a copy for myself. It's far too dangerous to carry the real book around. Of course, I'm sure you can handle yourself. Of course you can. Of course. Now, take this for your efforts, and we'll call the matter closed."

When asked if he knew of any others, he replied: "Yes. Hermaeus Mora is devious, but then so am I. Now, it's only a rumour of a whisper of a conjecture. But I think this is the place. Now, hurry. That book might contain the final secrets of Xarxes, for all we know."

---

White Ridge Barrow was well to the North, and West. There was also a ridge of mountains between here and there, and we'd have to go a bit further North to the only pass through it. That would take us to the familiar (to me and Zahra) territory near Saering's Watch on the way, so there was a good chance it was still clear of enemies.

Once we passed there, of course, it would be new lands, and we didn't know what to expect. Well, we should have expected Rieklings, I suppose. Zahra and I had met them while we were cleansing the All-Maker Stones, both on this side of the island and at the Beast Stone. However they seemed to be more numerous up in the North.

We declined to enter their lair at Benkongerike, and just passed by (for now). I suspected I might have to go back there at some time, but as long as the little creatures didn't attack me, I wasn't going hunting for them. Turning toward the ridge, instead of Saering's Watch this time, we soon saw White Ridge Barrow ahead of us.


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Acadian
post Aug 7 2017, 07:29 PM
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More nice teamwork from the Fearsome Foursome!

Nice explanation regarding how Gratian perished by being unable to progress forward nor return the way he had come.

A productive delve! Bloodskal Blade, dragon priest, word wall and a black book.

No rest for this team however, as they prepare to enter White Ridge Barrow.


Nits:
’i {I} set Ranyu to keep the archer occupied, while I engaged the first of the sword-wielders.’
’A pedestal on out {our} way out held the book "Waking Dreams".’


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ghastley
post Aug 14 2017, 01:44 PM
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Acadian: They're going to reach diminishing returns soon.

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Previously: Kothet and co. are looking for word walls and Black Books to try and match Miraak's powers before confronting him.

------------

50 - White Ridge Barrow

I knew as soon as we entered that Zahra wasn't going to like the place. There were spider webs everywhere, and ominous egg-sacs glowing in some of the corners. That suggested we weren't just going to be meeting the regular spiders she'd just about come to terms with, but something with a bit of magicka involved. They'd obviously killed a number of the reavers that had come to explore the place, as we found several bodies just inside.

The jumping, exploding fire spiders had her shrieking and hiding behind me. Brelyna and Ranyu took the lead, with Ranyu attempting to use his bow to neutralise the threat before the sacs could hatch. Any that escaped were quickly zapped with one of Brelyna's shock staves.

As we ventured deeper into the tomb, the good news was that the spiders had dealt with the majority of the draugr for us. The bad news was the spiders, and that the few draugr remaining were the tougher ones. Those were my job, as the others seemed to be dealing with the spiders well enough. Zahra didn't mind helping with the draugr, either.

We did encounter a survivor of the reavers, but he didn't appear to be grateful for our intervention, and attacked us. Now he's not a survivor any more.

---

In the next section of the ruin, things began to make some sense. We ran into a Dunmer sorceress who appeared to have some kind of control over the spiders, and have enthralled the reavers here too. They didn't look undead, but they didn't look normal either. The had a greenish glow about them, as well as the mindless aggression of a commanded minion.

Once we'd dealt with the mage, we found a key on her corpse, as well as a journal that hinted of a power deeper in the ruin. It suggested another dragon priest and possibly a word wall and/or Black Book, as well as some ex-colleagues of the sorceress, who were using the rather unique spiders in some kind of experiments. I assumed the key would open a door to the mages' laboratory, or something similar. The Ancient Nords went for more elaborate means for opening their inner sanctum.

By the time we actually found the laboratory, Brelyna was unable to contain her laughter every time Zahra scuttled behind me to avoid another spider. Despite what it said in Menlar's journal (she was the first sorceress we encountered) we only found one more of the mages and he was dead. Once we came across the key to the cage he was in, we read his journal, and discovered that his name was Servos Rendas, he was the other Dunmer's brother, and he'd been working on experiments with the spiders also.

Combining the spider pods with gems (and salt) imbued the creatures that hatched with magical properties, ranging from elemental auras to mind control. The latter accounted for all the commanded reavers we'd been fighting.

Neither of them had dared to open the passage through to where they'd heard chanting from "the main chamber", as he described it. That reminded me of word walls, and their attendant Dragon Priests. Since that was what we came here for, we weren't at all put off. I'm sure Zahra would prefer a Dragon Priest to a spider, anyway.

Brelyna was fascinated with the embuing apparatus and we had to drag her with us. "It will still be here when we come back," I reassured her.

---

There's not much to say about our fight with Dukaan, the Dragon Priest. Short, but intense, and at least this time the room wasn't flooded. The word wall taught me Cyclone, an elemental effect, and not one I considered particularly interesting. I hoped the Black Book on the other side of the room would be more useful.

"The Sallow Regent" was the title, which gave me little clue what to expect. The region of Apocrphya it took me to was dark, except for the little area under the floating lamp where I arrived. The darkness obscured any dangers more than a few dozen yards away, and also gave me no clue as to which direction I needed to proceed. So when the lamp started to drift away, I just followed it. It soon drifted off the edge of the platform, out over the "sea" that I knew would harm me if I tried to follow.

That's when I discovered that the darkness would do the same. Not as rapidly as the black water of the sea, or I'd have just tried to follow the lamp, but enough. I ran towards another lamp that seemed close, but narrowly avoided falling off the edge of the platform. With no light source of my own, and no way to proceed, I just opened the Black Book again, to return.

I discussed my dilemma with the others. I couldn't carry a torch, as I used two-handed weapons, and so I hadn't brought one with me. I didn't know any light spells, either. Brelyna did, but couldn't teach it to me.

"Could one of us go instead?" Zahra asked. "Ranyu would have the same problem with carrying a torch and using his bow, but I wouldn't"

"I don't think it would be a good idea for either you or Ranyu to try. None of us could die in Apocrypha. We'd just get 'banished' back to our own realm. But in your two cases, that would be the Deadlands, and neither I nor Brelyna would know that had happened. I'm pretty sure that I'd be sent back here, as that's always happened before, and of course Brelyna is a mortal who we know belongs here."

"So I could?" Brelyna asked.

I was reluctant to risk a mortal, but what I said about not dying in Apocrypha was true. You wouldn't really be there, because of the way the portal magic worked, and defeat would just break the connection, or something like that. I just wasn't sure what would happen to somebody who was summoned to this realm in the first place.

Zahra grabbed the book. She didn't want to risk Brelyna either. But the book wouldn't open for her. She reluctantly handed it over to Brelyna.

---

The Dunmer was back with us even faster than I'd returned. "You didn't say anything about tentacles!" she protested.

I hadn't seen any. It was much too dark for that, but apparently she'd cast a fairly strong light spell as soon as she arrived, which revealed a Seeker or two. And things with tentacles had much the same effect on Brelyna as spiders did on Zahra. She'd not seen any of them before, so the shock was heightened by their strangeness.

I carefully explained what kind of opposition she could expect in Mora's realm, with their strengths and weaknesses. The Lurkers would be susceptible to a good ranged frost spell, and would probably never get close enough to do her any harm. The seekers would be like any spell-casters, harmed and incapacitated by shock. Their only spell would drain her health, not her magicka. And I told her about their decoys, and to keep attacking the original.

Zahra held her laughter until Brelyna had opened the book again, but I suspect she heard, judging by the look she gave her when she returned. "OK, I won't laugh about you and spiders, if you won't laugh about tentacles. Deal?"

Brelyna hadn't found any word walls, or anything helpful against Miraak. She'd only had to deal with three or four of the creatures, and had done so comfortably at long range. The book at the end had given her an ability that reduced the cost of spells and enchantments. It could have given me a small boost to combat skills, but she doubted that I had any room for improvement there. Which was true; I couldn't raise my two-handed skill any higher, and that was what I'd be using.


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Acadian
post Aug 14 2017, 08:09 PM
Post #147


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More high adventure for the foursome. Poor Zahira the Jiggly and those spiders - it does make her seem more human though - you know, for a dremora. Clever idea and a fun twist to send Brelyna the Lightbringer into the darkness to find that book. And I agree that tentacles are as creepy as spiders! tongue.gif


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ghastley
post Aug 21 2017, 01:31 PM
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Acadian: Belyna's going to have to learn to teach spells, then she can just say "no" next time.

-------------

Previously: Kothet and company visited White Ridge Barrow, where ... spiders! ... and then tentacles!

-------------

51 - The Third Word

We discussed why Zahra had been unable to open the book. My theory was that it was because she wasn't of this realm, in which case Ranyu would have the same issue. Apparently I was now considered a valid resident of Mundus, perhaps because Mehrunes Dagon had bound me here. Certainly whenever I needed to be restored, this was where it happened.

"Can you use a book twice?" Brelyna asked.

In response, I took the book and opened it. It put me back at the start, so I just re-read it to come back out again. For Brelyna, it took her back to the end-point. And as expected, Ranyu couldn't open it at all.

All that started us wondering what would happen if we tried to read one of Neloth's copies of the books. Presumably nothing, as they wouldn't have the portal spell. And it was time to take him this one, too.

---

Neloth didn't have any additional information about the Black Books, nor any useful opinion as to whether it would help me to look for more. The word walls were a more promising path to defeating Miraak, but we had no way to determine where they were. So far I'd only encountered one above ground, at Saering's Watch, and we'd covered a large portion of the island already. Looking for more would not be easy.

I had two of the three words of Dragon Aspect, which gave me boosts to both offence and defence. I suspected the former would benefit me more than it did Miraak, but I had no clue what the third word would give him. Did I need it before the final confrontation?

I decided to consult Storn again. His wisdom was well-grounded, and not as self-centered as Neloth's.

---

Storn reminded me that I'd only get the third word of Bend Will from Mora himself, and he suspected that the same would be true of Dragon Aspect. I'd most likely have to go to Apochrypha for that, and maybe I'd need all of Bend Will to get to it.

And despite all he'd been trying while we were gone, there was nothing to be done about the Tree Stone. It remained under Miraak's influence, and that would only end with his defeat.

All this had brought him to the conclusion that the only way forward was to do what Hermaeus Mora wanted. He'd have to go to Apocrypha and tell him that the Skaal's secrets weren't the kind he thought they were.

"So it falls to me to be the one to give up the secrets to our ancient enemy. I do not know if I have the strength to face him. The Tree Stone is still corrupted... the land is still out of balance. But with the other five restored... it may be enough. It will have to do. I'm sure Herma-Mora won't be pleased, but perhaps he'll see reason, and let you deal with Miraak."

Freya wasn't as hopeful. She regarded Mora as completely evil. "He doesn't even know what evil means," I told her. "Knowledge is all that matters to him, and the consequences of acquiring it are of no importance at all."

Storn added "Yes. The Skaal also tell of the day when we must finally give up our secrets. When Herma-Mora finally wins. As shaman, it is my duty to guard these secrets, but also to decide when it is necessary to give them up. I believe that time is now. If I am wrong, may my ancestors forgive me. Give me the book. I will read it, and speak to old Herma-Mora myself. I will make sure he lives up to his part of the bargain."

"I hope you know what you're doing," I told him.

"That is my hope as well. I am trusting you will make this sacrifice worthwhile."

Frea still wasn't convinced. "Father, you must not do this. That book is... wrong. Evil. Against everything that you have taught me my whole life."

"I must, Frea. It is the only way to free Solstheim forever from Miraak's shadow. There comes a time when everything must change. Nothing that lives remains the same forever. Do not fear for me, my daughter. This is the destiny that the All-Maker has laid out for me."

"I stand beside you, father, as always."

"I am ready for whatever the foul master of this book has in store for me."

Storn opened the book I had given to him. I had only watched someone else doing this once, when Brelyna had read the book at White Ridge Barrow, but Zahra had told me that the others had seen the same thing when I'd read the books. Tentacles had pulled me through the portal into Apocrypha, leaving only a transparent image behind.

This was different. The tentacles looked the same, but they didn't behave the same way. There were more of them, too. Most wrapped themselves around Storn, pinning him in place, but the last one reared back like a snake, and struck at Storn's head, piercing it.

Hermaeus Mora appeared and spoke to me. "Dragonborn, you have delivered me the gift I requested. In return, I keep my promise, as befits a Prince of Oblivion: I give you the Word of Power that you need to challenge Miraak. You will be either a worthy opponent or his successor, as the tides of fate decree."

As he disappeared, the tentacles enveloping Storn did so too, and he fell to the ground.

Frea screamed and ran forward. ""Father! What have you done!" and then, turning to me, "Go. My father sacrificed himself so that you could destroy Miraak and lift his master's shadow from the land. Go, then. Kill Miraak. Do not fail."

"This cannot be happening," I thought, but I picked up the book and read it myself.


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Acadian
post Aug 21 2017, 03:44 PM
Post #149


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Aww, poor Storn. I think he knew what was coming and felt the price was worth it to (hopefully) enable the destruction of Miraak. I bet Kothet is pissed and wishing he could destroy Mora as well! Grrrr!


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Renee
post Aug 23 2017, 06:36 PM
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My gosh, that's so awful. He got pierced in the head by a tentacle? ohmy.gif Kothet himself didn't seem entirely surprised, but even somebody of his ilk is not all-knowing.
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ghastley
post Aug 28 2017, 02:05 PM
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Acadian: As I suggested before, the secrets of the Skaal aren't what Mora expected, and he wanted more. Kothet's disbelief will make more sense at the end of this part.

Renee: Kothet was surprised, but not quite the way you thought. More is revealed in this part.

----------

Previously: Storn read the Black Book and the tentacles attacked him. Then Kothet used the book to go to Apocrypha.

----------

52 - Summit

The book took me back to where I'd first encountered Miraak, but he wasn't there this time. In fact, the area was pretty much deserted. I'd have expected the Seekers to be left guarding the entry, but I didn't encounter any until I went a bit farther, into areas I hadn't seen the first time.

This was one of those areas that Mora had divided into "chapters" with book portals between them. The first Seekers were in chapter II. And not much else. I found a copy of "Heavy Armor Forging" which of course wouldn't help me at this point. Perhaps it would be useful to Ranyu. Although I suspected he preferred Light, the skill to make it is much the same.

However, just before I found the next chapter portal, I came across another book on a pedestal, entitled "Boneless Limbs". It didn't teach me anything, but the fact that it had been so prominently placed, (and that a door opened when I picked it up,) made me think it was important. I took it with me.

Chapter III was a maze, and I was starting to feel like a rat in a laboratory. Perhaps that was just how Mora was treating me, observing how I navigated his realm, and perhaps evaluating me against Miraak. There were a couple more books like the first, "Delving Pincers" and "Prying Orbs", each with a number of Seekers as guards, or distractions. I wasn't sure what Hermaeus Mora was intending from them, other than to slow my progress, so I could be observed for longer.

I'd found a couple of other skill books along the way, but of course nothing that would actually help me until I returned to Solstheim. Alchemy, or Enchanting meant nothing without the apparatus, and here there was nothing but books.

Chapter IV again contained Seekers and confusing pathways that lead nowhere. The ones that did take me forward refused to open until I'd gone in another direction first. Perhaps now Mora was trying my patience. Eventually I found the next book "Gnashing Blades" and a path lead me to a Lurker. I was almost glad to have a change of opponents.

Chapter V took me back to Seekers, and more of the futile dead ends, that had to be visited before the right path would open. Eventually, however, I reached a large room with a central pillar surrounded with empty pedestals. Most of those were guarded by Seekers, and I just knew that I'd have to use the pedestals to progress any further. It turned out that I needed to place the four books I'd found on the right ones to open the next chapter. The images on the pedestals were sufficient clues to get that right, and I moved on.

The final chapter took me to a large open space surrounded by what this realm has for a sea. Two Seekers were guarding a word wall at the other side, so obviously that would be a word I needed. It was the final word of Dragon Aspect, the one I'd guessed would only be available here.

As soon as I'd learned the new word, I naturally came under attack again. This time from a dragon, who'd swooped in from nowhere while I was distracted. I knew that I needed this dragon to take me to where Miraak was hiding from me, so instead of retaliating, I used Bend Will on him. He landed, told me his name was Sahrotaar, and, as I'd hoped, offered to take me to Miraak. I couldn't help reflecting on the similarity with my ride to Skuldhavn, in pursuit of Alduin, and that gave me extra confidence in the eventual outcome.

Sahrotaar was more easily distracted than Ohdaviing had been, and we didn't fly directly. There were a number of Lurkers and Seekers that he wanted to attack on the way.

Eventually, however, we flew up to a tall tower and landed on the top. Two more dragons were perched there, one of which had presumably brought Miraak, as he was waiting for me.

---

I'd been half-expecting Hermaeus Mora to make an appearance to tell the two of us what he expected from our confrontation, but he didn't. Instead I just got a taunting from Miraak, who told me that he'd soon be using my power to return to Solstheim. That because I was in his realm, I was subject to his power, and stood no chance against him.

I could have pointed out that this was Mora's realm, and we were both in the same position, but I didn't. Let him have his delusion, as he'd just come down harder when he saw his mistake.

Combat naturally started with each of us using Dragon Aspect. I think he was surprised that I knew it also, so the psychological advantage there was all mine. And from what I knew of its effects, the combat advantages were in my favour, too. He didn't have as much of a physical attack to be enhanced. He was smaller than I, so it's perhaps not surprising that he preferred magic.

I was glad that I'd chosen to use the Bloodskal Blade, as Miraak kept running away from me, and its ranged damage turned out to be as important as its melee power. I was certainly doing more damage to Miraak than he could do to me, but that wasn't the whole story.

As he weakened, he used something similar to the Become Ethereal shout that I knew. Instead of just pausing the fight for a while, however, it let him regenerate his health - at the expense of one of the dragons around us, who withered to bones as he did so.

I took the opportunity to swig a health potion myself. I hadn't come unprepared. So now we were both back to square one, and Miraak had two dragons left, and I had a lot more potions.

I assumed that Dragon Aspect would last as long for each of us, and probably for the whole time it would take to defeat him. Unless, of course, Miraak had some other unexpected tricks he hadn't shown me.

When Sahrotaar was sacrificed to keep Miraak alive, I began to wonder how I would get to leave. Was this how Hermaeus Mora intended it to end, with Moraak defeated, but myself marooned here, unable to leave? I kept attacking, regardless. I'd cross that bridge (or lack of one) when I got there.

And get there I finally did. Miraak made one last run back to the pool in the middle, where he'd previously used the recovery shout, and I was anticipating some new magic from him. But instead Hermaeus Mora finally made his appearance. A tentacle impaled the cowering Miraak, and raised him up near Mora's floating main eye. Mora told him he didn't need him any more, that he'd found a new Dragonborn to serve him.

Miraak wished me the same fate he was experiencing. A nice gesture of defiance, worthy of one of the Kyn, I thought.

As Miraak died, I experienced the same magical transfer that normally happened when I defeated a dragon. Except that this was somehow larger, passing on the knowledge of all the dragons that had fallen to Miraak. Including, I assumed, Sahrotaar, Knuzikrel, and Relonikiv, the three dragons whose bones now littered this arena.

Mora faded out without any word to me, but a pedestal bearing a black book rose up out of the central pool where Miraak had fallen. It appeared that the book was my portal out. Before I left, however, I wanted to restore the three dragons, especially Sahrotaar, who'd been my transport here, and didn't deserve the treatment he'd received.

As each re-assembled, in that "burning leaf" fashion I'd seen before, they faded from view. They didn't belong in Apocrypha, and had been returned to their own realm.

I picked up Miraak's equipment as proof of his demise. I thought the Skaal would appreciate the extra evidence, even if the termination of Miraak's influence wasn't proof enough. I declined the opportunity to adjust my skills, as I didn't think I'd made any wrong decisions on acquiring the ones I had. I just read the book, and returned.

---

When I emerged back at the Skaal village, I was still wearing the Dragon Aspect aura, which startled the villagers a bit. Frea was eager to hear that Miraak was truly defeated. She told me that she could feel the oneness of the land had returned, but wanted to hear confirmation from me, too.

"A pity that it took my father's sacrifice to achieve that," she reminded me.

I wasn't so sure about that. Before I'd read the book to re-enter Apocrypha, I'd had my doubts about what I'd seen. Hermaeus Mora should not have been able to act that way through a portal. So I acted on my hunch. I shouted "Slen Tiid Vo" at the lifeless Storn, and the villages were suitably amazed when he stood up and shook the snow from his hair.

"How did you know to do that?" he asked me. "Herma-Mora was convinced that I would remain his prisoner, until I revealed the true secrets of the Skaal to him. The ones that exist only in his imagination. But suddenly I find myself returned here."

"The shout I used is all about restoration," I told him. "I'd noticed when I restored the dragons in Apocrypha that it also restored them to the correct Realm, and I hoped it would do the same for you. Mora could not kill you unless you were bound to his Realm by your own choice. As Miraak had once foolishly allowed, in his greed for power.

"What we saw when you read the book was just an illusion. Your mind was transported to Apocrypha, but instead of your body simply fading here, he made it appear as if he'd killed you."

"I hope that didn't alarm everyone else too much" Storn responded. "I wasn't aware of what was happening here, just that I was marooned on an island in a corrosive sea with some tentacled beasts guarding me, and rendering me unconscious if I tried to leave. Mora told me he could wait until I gave him a clue as to where the 'true secrets' were written down. If I didn't know them then they must be in some hidden book, he assumed.

"I resigned myself to a very long wait, but it didn't happen that way. And now I can feel that Mora's influence is truly gone. The oneness of the land is restored, which must mean that the Tree Stone is cleansed as well."

"I will go and confirm that," I told him. "The last time I was at Miraak's Temple, I could see the remains of many dragons around the area, but did not have the capacity to restore them. Now Miraak's defeat allows me to do so."

Frea was apprehensive that we were about to replace the threat from Miraak with an equal one from dragons, but her father reassured her. "The dragons are not our enemies. Miraak may have bent their wills and turned some of them against us in the past, but that was not of their own making. We can live in peace with dragons in the sky."

--------------------------

Notes: Kothet had seen that defeat in Apocrypha just returns you to the realm you came from. You can't be killed there, as Mora doesn't have that power. Nor should he be able to do so through a portal, or Dagon wouldn't have needed the Mythic Dawn.

Miraak has bound himself to Apocrypha by his own choice, so is subject to Mora's power (of life and death). That he now regrets that decision, and wants out, but it's too late.

He sees when he restores the dragons that "Slen Tiid Vo" returns someone to their rightful realm, so it won't resurrect mortals (who are supposed to go to Sovngarde and other realms when dead) but it will bring back dragons, and presumably banish daedra if needed (there's a simple spell for that). Kothet uses it to pull Storn back to Solstheim before anyone thinks to bury him. Mora created the illusion that he'd died to stop anyone trying to come and rescue him.

This is basically the end of Kothet's story, but I'll probably post an epilogue where he and Zahra chat with Paarthurnax about how everything has changed. If I can just stop re-writing it ...



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Acadian
post Aug 28 2017, 07:22 PM
Post #152


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Finally the big battle with the Big Bad - and an epic fight it was! That Kothet figured out how to resurrect dragons and Storn shows keen reasoning and great judgment.

A wonderfully told tale, my friend!

An epilogue where we perhaps catch up with plans for the Fearsome Foursome would be lovely!


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Renee
post Sep 11 2017, 02:09 PM
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QUOTE(ghastley @ Aug 28 2017, 09:05 AM) *

You can't be killed there, as Mora doesn't have that power. Nor should he be able to do so through a portal, or Dagon wouldn't have needed the Mythic Dawn.


Hey yeah, good point. It's easier for them to use humanoid counterparts in such cases, good point.

QUOTE

This is basically the end of Kothet's story, but I'll probably post an epilogue where he and Zahra chat with Paarthurnax about how everything has changed. If I can just stop re-writing it ...

Well it feels good to read one of these fan fics in their entirety then. I originally started this one because it whetted my appetite for Skyrim last year, but I got hooked into it quick. Kothet really is in a unique sort of position compared to other dremora, in the sense that he's done so much more than any of them. I'm having trouble picturing Kothet slowing down into some sort of retirement, or other such non-active lifestyles.

This deserves a round of beverages. excl.gif Cheers!

This post has been edited by Renee: Sep 11 2017, 02:10 PM
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ghastley
post Sep 20 2017, 04:26 PM
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QUOTE(Renee @ Sep 11 2017, 09:09 AM) *

I'm having trouble picturing Kothet slowing down into some sort of retirement, or other such non-active lifestyles.

That's a problem for me, too. And my latest SE game has just wandered into Dawnguard quests, and left me thinking that Paarthurnax might be wondering why Durnheviir hasn't turned up yet. In my incomplete epilogue, he's talking to Kothet about all the dragons that were raised on Solstheim, previously victims of Miraak, that are now re-appearing on visits to the mainland. Kothet has been restoring every dragon he comes across, (that's his new job), and D was a major player in his time, if a bit unpopular for his methods.

I'm having troubles with the time-line and the sequence of Valerica/Serana disappearing, and the Dragon Wars. The former was "when there was no Empire in Cyrodiil" and the latter at the end of the Merethic Era. The Alessian Empire got going a couple of centuries into the First Era, and there are later gaps when the Empire fell. The dragons started to disappear after the Dragon Wars (and Alduin not being available to restore them), but it took a long time, and Paarthurnax may have not been the only survivor to hide out of reach.

I need to figure that out to determine Durnheviir's knowledge or otherwise of the Dragon Wars, and Miraak. Since DG was released before DB, he doesn't mention it in-game, just competition among the dov themselves.

So there's a chance I'll fire up Kothet's game again with Dawnguard, and see how he reacts to vampires. Since Zahra is summoned, he should be able to go around with both Serana and Zahra and see how they interact. I expect a lot of "friendly fire" problems with those two, however.


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