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> Kothet's Story, A dremora in Skyrim, and his housecarl.
Acadian
post Jun 15 2017, 05:50 PM
Post #121


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A fun dungeon crawl, replete with magicka-draining curses vs steam-powered bewbs! Even a bone dragon. It is fun to see Bre progressing toward what I hope to be her arch mage destiny. goodjob.gif


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ghastley
post Jun 19 2017, 06:55 PM
Post #122


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Renee: Brelyna has always struck me as the appropriate choice for Arch-mage whenever the Player Character doesn't want the job, so she gets it again. (She did that in Clark's story, too.) Giving her a summoned dremora of her own adds a different twist to what she was saying earlier about the relationship between Kothet and Zahra. Now she has to question her own motives, which is probably what Zahra had in mind.

Acadian: It's time for Bre to arrive! Bewbs and all (steam optional).

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Previously: The whole troop had been to Labyrinthian to fetch the Staff of Magnus. Now it's time to take it back to Winterhold.

----------

42 - Archmage

We found most of the mages from the College waiting on the bridge, near a magical barrier that seemed to encircle the entire building.

"Ancano's using the Eye," Tolfdir explained. "We don't know exactly how, or what he's trying to do, but we can't get in to stop him. Do you have the Staff?"

Brelyna confirmed that she did and stepped forward to use it on the barrier, hoping it would drain its power as it had done with ours. The barrier disappeared, and we all rushed in.

I handed her a couple of grand soul gems. "Make sure that thing's fully charged. I think we'll be needing it again."

---

We entered the Hall of the Elements, to find Ancano playing a shock spell over the Eye. "I have the power to unmake the world at my fingertips, and you cannot stop me."

Tolfdir flung a firebolt at Ancano, which did absolutely nothing. The Altmer nonchalantly returned a spell of his own, and all of us found ourselves paralyzed. All but Brelyna, who was apparently protected by the Staff she was carrying.

Ancano decided to up the stakes, and changed the spell he was casting on the Eye. It began to come apart, revealing a brilliant light inside it, which meant I was unable to see what happened next.

When I could see again, Brelyna was using the Staff to close the Eye again, and Ancano was busy defending himself from some wisp-like creatures that had apparently been spawned by whatever he did to the Eye. I could feel the paralysis fading, too, and I was soon able to add to his woes. Zahra and Tolfdir were busy defending themselves from more of the wisps, and I couldn't see where Ranyu had gone. Somewhere near the door, I think, as arrows were coming from that direction.

Ancano had apparently run out of magicka, and was trying desperately to fight off the wisp-things with his fists. I stood back and let them finish him off, then made sure the wisps wouldn't bother anyone else.

"What do we do now?" Brelyna asked Tolfdir. The old Master had no clue. "The Eye may be shut down for now, but I have no idea what Ancano did to it."

"Nor do we," replied a voice from behind me. Another Altmer, presumably a Psijic monk, as his robes resembled those that Brelyna was wearing. "It has become unstable, and must be removed from here before it does further damage, to this College, or the world.

"We will safeguard it, until such time that it can be stabilised again. The world is not ready for this kind of power."

He turned to Brelyna and addressed her directly. "You now have the opportunity to rebuild your College, Archmage. I'm sure that's what you wish to do."

And with that, the monk, his two companions, and the Eye, all faded away.

"Why did he call me Archmage?" Brelyna asked.

"I'm unsure," Tolfdir answered, "but I can't think of anyone better suited for the job." He handed her a key. "This will open the Archmages quarters. They're yours now. And you'll find the robes of office there, if you want to use them."

Brelyna was still stunned at this turn of events. She wasn't at all sure she wanted the position, but we persuaded her to at least go and take a look around the quarters before she decided.

---

Now I'm not saying that the only double bed in the College in any way influenced her choice, or the fact that she could lock the door and get as much privacy as she wanted. But the four of us did have a bit of a celebration of our victory, and the bed did survive the onslaught.

Being able to just walk across the room and make another restoring potion when it was needed may have swayed the choice, too. It certainly influenced my recommendation.

Brelyna was still resisting the idea of becoming Archmage, however. She didn't think that she was ready for it. And shouldn't one of the Masters take it?

Zahra wasn't a lot of help there, as she still had the traditional dremora attitude that women should control from behind. "Like Mirabelle probably did with Savos Aren. He was the Archmage, but she ran the College."

"Which meant that she was tied to the place," I replied. "Savos got to travel anywhere he wanted, and perhaps Brelyna would like that freedom."

"There are several other candidates to replace Mirabelle as chief administrator," Brelyna agreed. "And Collete Marence has just about convinced me that if any of the Masters became Archmage, then the other schools of magic would not get their proper respect."

"Doesn't that rule them out for the administrator job as well?" I asked.

"Yes, but I'm actually thinking of giving that to Enthir."

Several eyebrows went up at that.

"It's not as crazy as it seems," I added in support. "We know about him and the Thieves Guild, but nothing straightens a crook out better than giving him responsibility that's in everyone's gaze. He won't have any choice but to play this role straight."

"If he doesn't turn it down," Ranyu reminded me.

"He'll probably grab the opportunity before he sees what he got himself into," Brelyna remarked. "It's just the right trap for someone like him."

"And he'll already know how to juggle the conflicts that will arise. They just won't be the same ones that he's used to," I added.

Brelyna turned to me. "I think you've convinced me. The College needs someone who'll encourage scholarship and research, but be neutral as to school of magic. I'm not tied to any one in particular yet. I started out along the Conjuration path, but I already got my Dremora, so I can branch out a bit.

"I've heard about Master Neloth moving to Solstheim, so I might go over there and see what he's up to. My being Archmage might even persuade him to give me some of his precious time, and teach me some enchanting. Telvanni wizards don't share much with each other at the best of times, but since I'd technically be an outsider as Archmage of Winterhold, at the same time as being a Telvanni myself, things could be different."

---

Tolfdir brought the other mages together in the Hall of the Elements for the announcements. Enthir seemed to be just figuring out what he'd let himself in for, and Faralda and Nirya were taunting each other for their lack of advancement in this shuffle. I'm sure each of them though she should have had the Archmage's job herself. An Altmer thing, if I'm any judge.

Sergius Turrianus and Phinis Gestor were wondering if they'd get promotion to Master, or if Brelyna would be bringing in Masters to replace them. Savos Aren had been content to wait for them to reach that level on their own.

"When I heard you mention going to Solstheim, I was concerned that you were thinking of recruiting Talvas Fathryon as head of Conjuration," Phinis explained. "Of course, I doubt that Neloth would let him go, and I don't know if he'd want to come here."

Sergius didn't seem quite as concerned. We all knew that the Master of Enchantment here on the mainland was quite content as Priestess of Dibella in the Markarth temple, and Neloth was Neloth, going his own way and having no need of the College. Sergius wouldn't mind being allowed to study with Hamal, but it wasn't just Brelyna who 'd make that decision.

"Rank doesn't matter as much as the quality of your research," she told everyone. "Teaching is only part of your jobs. Another part is advancing the knowledge of magic, researching new effects, creating new spells, and testing them safely." She seemed to be looking at Arniel Gane when she said that last part. He looked a little embarrassed, but the rest of us didn't know why.

When Brelyna saw how Zahra was looking at her, she might have blushed a little herself.

This post has been edited by ghastley: Jun 19 2017, 06:57 PM


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Acadian
post Jun 19 2017, 08:54 PM
Post #123


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Yay, congrats to Archmage Brelyna! Nice that Kothet and Zahra joined Bre and Ranyu to help celebrate and break in that double bed.

Methinks Bre is the one who should be embarrassed about testing spells safely. Buffy well remembers being turned green, then transformed into a variety of barnyard animals courtesy of dear Bre. tongue.gif

Please forgive me if I missed it, but at some point did you cover the old Archmage’s death (and Mirabelle’s)? Did that happen at some point prior to the Fearsome Foursome returning to the College and finding Ancano run amok?

Nit- ’I'm sure each of them though{t} she should have had the Archmage's job herself.’ – Missing letter as indicated.


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ghastley
post Jun 19 2017, 09:55 PM
Post #124


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Because Kothet and Zahra weren't there when it happened, all they got was:

"Yes, but that accounts for just about all the time since we were here last. Everything else happened in the College itself, including the explosion that killed the Archmage."

"That sounds like things are getting serious. Paarthurnax' premonitions were right."


Since they'd had little or no contact with Savos Aren (at least not the live one) it wasn't as much of an event to them, as it would have been to Brelyna, who was there at the time. And Mirabelle's death is only announced to the player if Tolfdir is asked. She's alive when you set off for Labyrinthian, because she's the one that gives you the torc. Again, Kothet and Zahra hardly know her, and wouldn't ask.

I considered putting in more, but had to wonder why Kothet would know or care about the details. I had to add the Paarthurnax visit to give him a reason to care at all.




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Acadian
post Jun 20 2017, 12:09 AM
Post #125


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Ah, as I figured, I simply missed a key piece. Thanks for the explanation! goodjob.gif


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ghastley
post Jun 26 2017, 02:41 PM
Post #126


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Acadian: Brelyna will not be allowed to forget "dog incidents". biggrin.gif

I think she has a lot in common with Ancotar in Oblivion - she wants to see what's just beyond the boundaries of known magic. However, she's usually aware of the precautions needed when experimenting. If she's not distracted, that is.

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

Peviously: Brelyna found herself with the job of Archmage, and started making the arrangements for the new regime.

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

43 - Winterhold and Dawnstar

"I gather Ranyu told you how I turned him into a dog, didn't he?" Brelyna confessed. "But I did do it safely, in the College, where I could get help if I needed it. And he's himself again, maybe even better for the experience."

"Actually, he hadn't," Zahra told her. "I was just thinking about how your spell-testing went back at our tower. Especially that first time you summoned him."

"But that worked perfectly!"

"it may have turned out well, but you didn't think about all the consequences before casting it, did you? He wasn't expecting to be summoned nude, or find himself in the middle of ..."

"Oh, right. I was just looking at it from my perspective. But I was used to conjuring atronachs, and if you think about calling them up to fight for you, it holds you back. And a woman's got to make a good first impression, hasn't she?"

---

I'd had the chance for a long chat with Ranyu about things like that. Zahra had developed from her traditionally subservient female role in the Deadlands, to one that made more sense here. His situation was a bit different, as he'd been summoned by a mortal female, but without the usual constraints of the short-term spell.

"Perhaps it's a good thing she was giving me a good reason to want to stay," he'd responded. "I really don't think about it. The original deal would have had me join you as a fighting team against Alduin, so this may not be as glorious, but it's a lot more fun!"

"And you've stayed because of your sense of duty?" I taunted.

"What else?"

---

Brelyna thought that her first task as the new Archmage should be to try and repair the rift between the College and the townsfolk of Winterhold. So she walked down to the Jarl's residence to speak with him. We followed behind her, intending to continue our journey back to our tower.

The two women who attacked us were dressed in what looked like College robes, but they also had steel gauntlets and boots, like a battlemage. I recognised that uniform. "Vigilants of Stendarr," I told Brelyna. "Fanatical persecutors of daedra, and any who associate with them."

I explained how they'd been the bane of my existence ever since the end of the Oblivion Crisis, but recently they'd had the sense to avoid direct confrontation. I'd got a bit beyond what they could handle.

"So am I going to have problems like this every time I leave the College with Ranyu?"

"Or you're carrying a Daedric artifact, like Azura's star, or you become a vampire or a werewolf."

"What do vampires and werewolves have to do with it?"

"Molag Bal and Hircine," Zahra replied. "Although the victims were once mortals, they have been corrupted by the Daedric Princes, in the eyes of the Vigilants."

"Even though they were infected here, by others who used to be regular folk themselves?"

"Yes," I continued, "and they seem to include the undead in their proscribed list, although the connections there are even more tenuous. Not to mention that they're starting to side with Meridia, another Daedric Prince. Fanatical cults rarely make sense."

---

Brelyna's discussions with Jarl Korir didn't go well. It was impossible to convince him that the tremors that sent most of the town into the Sea of Ghosts weren't the College's fault. Or that the magic that protected the College itself from destruction - which had been put in place precisely because they feared their own experiments could harm it - could not have been extended to the town.

She began to believe that Korir just needed a scapegoat for his own incompetence. There had been little or no attempt to rebuild. The ruined buildings were still standing to remind everyone of the past. Nothing had changed since the collapse, because he'd done nothing.

She was telling me all this back at our tower in the Reach. Zahra and I had become her unofficial advisory team, even if we hadn't volunteered for it. And also the reinforcements she sought whenever she had a tough task, in this case hunting for the Helm of Winterhold.

"I don't imagine retrieving it for Jarl Korir will make any real difference, but I thought I should at least try," Brelyna had explained. "As a gesture of reconciliation, if nothing else."

She explained that Korir had given her a list of locations where the Helm might be. "We can eliminate a couple of them right away," she said. "We've been in Saarthal, and Ironbind Barrow,and it wasn't in either of those."

"Most of the others are near Dawnstar, rather than Winterhold. Does that have any significance?"

"No idea, unless it was someone from Dawnstar that took it from Winterhold way back when."

---

The fanatics that attacked us in Dawnstar weren't the Vigilants, but something else. Their masks were something I hadn't seen before, and their robes were partially armoured. And it was clear that I was their target, rather than "Daedra and those who cavort with them". It was because I was Dragonborn, and that was offensive to Miraak, whoever he was. The cultists seemed to believe he was "the true Dragonborn".

We found orders on one of the corpses that indicated that they'd come here from Solstheim, on board a ship called the Northern Maiden, which traded between Raven Rock and Windhelm. I knew that Brelyna intended to make a trip over to the island to visit Neloth at some time in the future, so maybe we'd all be going.

After we found the Helm of Winterhold in Fort Fellhammer on the way towards Windhelm, we'd run out of reasons to stay on the mainland.

Perhaps this was a good thing. One of the Dawnstar guards had been injured in the cultists' attack and I didn't want anyone else getting sucked into this, whatever it was. Hopefully we'd be over there before Miraak sent any more our way.


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Acadian
post Jun 26 2017, 09:00 PM
Post #127


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Ahhh, life as Archmage. I wonder if Bre might consider using that Nord student as an emissary to Dawnstar to help ease things since he is a Nord. The town does seem rather dug in against the College though. Oh well.

Vigilantes. I'm not a big fan of them either.


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ghastley
post Jul 3 2017, 11:27 PM
Post #128


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Acadian: Onmund would probably end up agreeing with Korir.

----------

Previously: Kothet, Zahra, Brelyna and Ranyu were attacked a couple of times by cultists, The oone from Solstheim merited intervention.

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44 - Solstheim

It wasn't easy persuading Captain Gjalund to make another trip. The cultists had come aboard in Raven Rock and the next thing he knew, he was in Windhlem, and they'd disappeared, without paying their fare. We paid in advance, and convinced him he owed me a favour. Those cultists had attacked me, after all. And perhaps the news that they were dead helped, too.

The people in Raven Rock had me wondering if we did the right thing by coming here. They seemed to be distrustful of strangers, and even Brelyna, who was a Dunmer like them, wasn't from the right House. And when we asked about Miraak, we couldn't ge a straight answer from any of them. So we decided to head for Tel Mithryn, and Neloth. We did at least get decent directions to there.

We walked out on to the ashen trail that lead out of the Bulwark, with Ranyu and Brelyna in the lead. "Look how they're holding hands like a pair of teenagers," Zahra remarked.

"Not a good idea if we don't know what to expect on this road," I replied. "They're supposed to be watching out for danger, not distracting each other."

"If we were really worried about that, I wouldn't have let a pretty young woman walk ahead of you, " Zahra rejoined.

I think Brelyna heard her, because the sway of her hips became a bit more exaggerated. "And if I really want to distract Kothet, I do this." Her outfit briefly disappeared, just like when she'd been practising her spell.

I didn't get the chance to encourage her to do it again, because we all saw the creatures rise up out of the ground near the ruined farmhouse further down the road, and start throwing fireballs at the man emerging from it.

We ran to his aid, and quickly dispatched the things. "Ash Spawn" he called them.

Captain Veleth, of the Redoran Guard, was in charge of security in Raven Rock. When one of his men hadn't returned from a patrol to this farm, he'd come here himself to investigate. "I was just searching for clues when they attacked."

We naturally offered to help, and soon found a note in one of the piles of ash they'd left behind. "That's strange, this note is written by General Falx Carius, but he died over 200 years ago when the Red Mountain erupted and leveled this place. And he was an Imperial, the garrison commander at Fort Frostmoth. There's no way he could still be alive after all this time."

The Captain returned to Raven Rock to rally the guard, after telling us that the Fort lay between here and Tel Mithryn.

---

There were several more of the Ash Spawn creatures at the Fort, and of course, the main door was locked and we had to take the long route through the prison. More of them were inside.

But their main attack was those fireballs, and Dremora and Dunmer both resist fire well, even before that's enhanced with a bit of magic. They had weapons, but nothing approaching my war-hammer.

We came across the journal of a conjurer named Ildari, who was probably responsible for raising these ash spawn from the dead bodies of the imperial soldiers. It was likely that the General, too, was undead.

When we got into the main fort, we discovered that the General himself, Falx Carius, had a war-hammer of his own, and not an ordinary one. It seemed to have multiple enchantments, and dealt damage from all the elements, although thankfully, just one at a time.

So it became a test of skill. Who could block best, and react fastest. I'll confess that I quite enjoyed the challenge. My companions could not help; in the narrow corridor none of them could reach past me. It also meant that neither of us could really swing our weapons, so it took longer than it might have in the open.

I did eventually prevail, after starting to wonder if I might become an ash creature if I didn't. That might have been the extra spark I needed.

---

We debated for a while whether to return to Raven Rock first, or carry on to Tel Mithryn. The Champion's Cudgel that Carius had been using was too valuable to leave behind, but it was also rather heavy to carry with us. And as the strongest, I knew who'd have to carry it. I already had a full set of Daedric Armour, and my own war-hammer.

"Perhaps they'll buy it at Tel Mithryn," Brelyna suggested. "Neloth might be interested in that unusual enchantment. And even if he's not buying, I'd like to know more about it."

---

We continued in the direction of Tel Mithryn, and I noticed Brelyna and Ranyu holding hands again. This time I mentioned it directly to Brelyna, and she told me that it wasn't just the show of affection it appeared. She'd been getting a strange feeling that something was trying to control her. Apparently none of the rest of us could feel it, but she could. So she'd asked Ranyu to hold on to her, in case she tried to run off. "I don't know if I would try and run towards the source, or away, but I'd probably be able to run faster than any of you. So don't let me, please!"

"Where's it coming from?" Zahra asked.

"That's the problem. It's coming from everywhere. If I could identify a location, we could all go and do something about it, but I can't. It's not very strong, and I can resist now, but I don't know if I'm getting closer to it, or farther away."

"So there are most likely several sources, if not the entire island," I deduced. "Perhaps Neloth will have a clue."
Neloth did, and the whole thing had him fascinated. "It appears that you're safe from it here in the tower, so if I were you, Brelyna, I'd take a nap here while you have the chance. It's more likely to take you over when you sleep, so you won't want to do that anywhere else."

While she did that, he took the rest of us to see the Sun Stone, which was just along the trail to the north. Several men, completely oblivious to our presence, were laboriously constructing a stone edifice around it, chanting as they did so.

"These were a bunch of marauding Reavers until this happened to them," Neloth told us. "It appears that they camped too close to the Sun Stone, and its influence was too much. I'm almost immune to Illusion spells myself, so I don't feel it, but some of my staff aren't so fortunate. I've had to enchant some of their gear to compensate."

"Aren't you going to do anything about these people?"

"Stop them, you mean? Certainly not! I would be unable to see how this all turns out."

We asked him about Miraak, and he recalled the name, but not much detail. "Miraak ... it sounds familiar, and yet I can't quite place... Oh, wait. I recall. But it makes little sense. Miraak's been dead for thousands of years. There are ruins of a temple with that name in the middle of the Island, but I'm not sure there's any connection."

I still didn't understand why Neloth was not affected, and nor were we three Dremora. He believed it was because he'd developed a resistance to it, after it had been used on him a lot back in Morrowind. "The Telvanni are always trying to put one over on each other, and getting someone to do something embarrassing was a favourite trick."

That rang true. The three of us had probably been summoned hundreds of times in our earlier days, until we advanced beyond that. Even when mortal wizards learned stronger spells, the command component became less effective, and was replaced by our respect for the caster's skill. We'd all learned to resist it, and Brelyna hadn't.

This post has been edited by ghastley: Jul 10 2017, 03:36 PM


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Acadian
post Jul 4 2017, 06:56 PM
Post #129


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Interesting and well-thought out idea as to why Bre is affected while the 3 Dremora are not. Kothet is a perfect Dragonborn to take on Miraak.


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ghastley
post Jul 10 2017, 03:35 PM
Post #130


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Acadian: The "learned resistance" seemed the complement to the magicka reduction when you practice a spell. If it can get easier to cast, it should also get easier to resist.

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

Previously: Kothet and crew arrived in Solstheim and made their way to Tel Mithryn. They left Brelyna ( and Ranyu) there, and went to check out Miraak's Temple.

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

45 - Miraak's Temple

So Zahra and I headed for Miraak's Temple, leaving Brelyna and Ranyu behind at Tel Mithryn. She was here on Solstheim mainly to visit with Neloth anyway, and Miraak was my business, not hers.

More of the thralls were working on the construction there, too, including a number dressed in thick furs, with an armoured woman trying to get their attention. She was the only one who didn't appear to be under the compulsion to build.

We found out that her name was Frea, and that she was the daughter of the shaman of the Skaal Village, to the north-east. She seemed to know more about Miraak, too, but we didn't get to hear it, as a number of the cultists came up from the lower levels to attack us.

That at least told us where the entrance was. The three of us - Zahra, Frea and myself - went in to see what we could find. Below ground, it looked a lot like the old Nordic ruins that we'd found dragon priests in, back on the mainland. "Expect traps," I told the women.

And traps there were, but the cultists seemed to have as much trouble with them as we did. The draugr we encountered were more of a problem, as they seemed to pop out of their coffins every few yards. Still, Frea with her pair of axes was a welcome addition to the party for dealing with them. Her armour stood up well, too.

There was one point where I had to use my "Become Ethereal" shout, or else dodge several sets of swing blades. The former was a lot quicker, so I did. I just hoped I wouldn't want to use it again right away. These traps were getting tiresome.

We seemed to have passed the point where cultists gave way to draugr, and from here on it was just like the mainland tombs. After finding a word wall, with an attendant guardian, I was expecting the next chamber to have a resident dragon priest.

But instead, it just had a number of regular draugr and skeletons, several of which we were able to lure into the traps. We left the chamber through a doorway at the other end and followed the passageway to a small room with a pedestal, on which was a mysterious black book.

I picked up the book and opened it, not expecting what happened next. I found myself in a strange realm with a greenish-yellow sky and what looked like stacks of books all around. Some strange tentacled creatures were standing, no ... hovering around, and a man in a mask climbed off a dragon and walked over to me. The mask looked similar to a dragon priest's, but somehow different. The lower half looked like tentacles, rather than a chin.

"Who are you to dare set foot here? Ahh... You are Dragonborn. I can feel it. And yet..." he began. "So you have slain Alduin... Well done. I could have slain him myself, back when I walked the earth, but I chose a different path. You have no idea of the true power a Dragonborn can wield!"

He shouted, and was covered in what looked like a suit of armour, but made of light. "This realm is beyond you. You have no power here. And it is only a matter of time before Solstheim is also mine. I already control the minds of its people. Soon they will finish building my temple, and I can return home."

He turned to the tentacled creatures and spoke to them. "Send him back where he came from. He can await my arrival with the rest of Tamriel."

I was struck by magical attacks from all of them, which must have included paralysis, as I could do nothing. I soon found myself blacking out, and regaining consciousness back on Solstheim. Frea and Zahra wanted to know what had just happened. So did I.

Frea told us that we needed to go to her father Storn Crag-Strider at the Skaal Village. He'd know more about this, she hoped.

I knew that I'd just been to another Realm, but it wasn't one I'd ever been in before. The books everywhere - and all the tentacles - suggested Hermaeus Mora, but I'd never heard about dragons in Apochrypha. They didn't seem to fit.

---

Frea believed that I'd just seen Miraak. That's what she told her father, anyway, and I had no reason to believe otherwise, especially as he'd admitted being the source of the mind control. And I'd figured out that the word wall in the Temple had taught me the first word of that Dragon Aspect he'd demonstrated, so that fit, too.

Storn told me that I'd need to learn more of the shouts that Miraak knew if I was going to defeat him, and the first should be the one from Saering's Watch, a dragon roost on the northern coast. I set off with Zahra, leaving Frea to help defend the village, in case we'd just stirred up more interference from Miraak.

Of course, there was more than just a word wall with a dragon on it. Saering's Watch had its complement of draugr for us to deal with, too. And when I brought down the dragon with Dragonrend and defeated it, Miraak appeared to prevent me from restoring it. He couldn't stop me learning the word of power from the wall, though, and that's what I really needed.

Storn told me that I could use the shout, "Bend Will", to cleanse the Wind Stone outside the village, and free the Skaal who were labouring there against their will. When I did so, a large creature rose up from the pool around the stone and attacked me. The tentacles marked it as another of Mora's minions, but it wasn't one of the floaty spell-casters. This one had a more physical attack.

When I returned with the Skaal to the village, Storn asked me to do the same for the other stones, and marked tham on my map. We already knew where the Sun Stone was, and the Earth Stone was just outside Raven Rock, the Beast Stone near Miraak's Temple, and the Water Stone was on the West coast.

"There is another stone, the Tree Stone, but that is part of Miraak's Temple and won't be freed until Miraak himself is defeated," Storn told me.

Zahra asked him if cleansing the stones, the ones we could, would be enough to lift Miraak's spell on all the people. He thought so, but it might only delay his plans. "At least it will slow him down."

"We should do so right away," Zahra told me. "Then Brelyna won't be stuck at Tel Mithryn."

I didn't feel she was exactly stuck there, but I knew what she meant.

The Beast Stone was nearest, so we went there first, and encountered one of the cultists supervising the work. Since he attacked us immediately, he was already dead when I shouted at the stone. The shout released everyone there, who seemed mostly to be small humanoid creatures that the one Skaal present named as "Rieklings". I hadn't encountered them before.

Another of the tentacled things - a "Lurker", apparently - was guarding this one, too. It got a number of the small guys before I could kill it. The rest ran off before I could talk with them.

The Sun Stone was next, and after we cleansed that, I went to ask Brelyna if the illusion spell had weakened. "A bit," she told me, "but it hasn't stopped completely."

We went back through Raven Rock, and cleansed the Earth Stone there, before heading up the coast towards the Water Stone. This time two of the Lurkers attacked, one emerging from the sea nearby.

Close to the Water Stone, we were attacked by a dragon, and this time Miraak didn't get involved. I used "Slen Tiid Vo" to restore him, and sent him on his way. Perhaps he'd help restore the balance here.

The Water Stone was being worked on by sailors from a ship that was anchored nearby. Another cultist had been acting as overseer, but the dragon had slain him before we reached the Stone. At least something was going our way.


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Acadian
post Jul 10 2017, 08:04 PM
Post #131


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Joined: 14-March 10
From: Las Vegas



I’m enjoying Kothet’s experience with Miraak, as Buffy walked away from Solstheim’s main quest part way through and never completed it. I’m interested to see how Kothet manages things. smile.gif


Nit: ’When I returned with the Skaal to the village, Storn asked me to do the same for the other stones, and marked tham {them} on my map.’


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Renee
post Jul 14 2017, 01:34 AM
Post #132


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Joined: 19-March 13



I am way behind, half way through Labyrinthian. Sorry, this summer's been hectic so far. It is pretty cool though, especially the part when they use the gate to get rid of enemies slowly, by opening and closing that gate over and over! I'm not sure how my characters handled this one; it's been so long since any of them have been in Labyrinthian.

Interesting, Brelyna becomes Arch Mage. Are you adding any content in your game, quest-wise? Just curious.

This post has been edited by Renee: Jul 16 2017, 04:25 AM
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ghastley
post Jul 17 2017, 01:43 PM
Post #133


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Acadian: I'll mostly be following the Dragonborn Main Quest as in the game, but there's an inconsistency that I intend to repair later.

Renee: Brelyna's been arch-mage before, in Clark's story. She just seems like the right candidate, as she's the only one interested in the College as a place of research. It's the same drive that's taken her to Solstheim with Kothet, to learn from Neloth and Talvas.

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Previously: Kothet and Zahra found a Black Book at Miraak's Temple (and a Frea). They cleansed the All-Maker Stones, too, which released Brelyna from her voluntary exile at Tel Mithryn.

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46 - Black Books

Storn told me that I'd need all of Miraak's powers if I was to defeat him, and some of those he'd doubtless acquired in Apocrypha, so I'd need to pursue him there. That would mean seeking out the Black Books that acted as portals to the realm, and finding all the word walls on the island. I'd learned "Bend Will", or at least the first word of it, to cleanse the All-Maker Stones, but I'd need the other words, and probably other Shouts. I also had a word of "Dragon Aspect", whatever that was, from the wall in Miraak's Temple.

Storn suggested talking to Neloth about the Black Books, as he'd contacted the Skaal on that subject before. So when we went back to see Brelyna again, we did so. Neloth had one, but he was sure it had nothing to do with Miraak. He knew of another Black Book, but it was at Nchardak, a nearby Dwemer ruin, and he hadn't managed to retrieve it. "With your help, however, I think we could do that."

With the All-maker Stones cleansed, Brelyna was now free of Miraak's influence, and able to accompany us, with Ranyu, of course.

As we passed near the Sun Stone, we flushed out another of the Ash Spawn. Despite what we'd achieved with the Stones, they were still a nuisance we'd have to deal with. One thing at a time, however. The Black Books and Miraak were the bigger problem.

---

Nchardak was essentially submerged off the coast, a little north of Tel Mithryn. There was a portion of the ruin above sea level, acting as an entrance, and that part had become the camp for a bunch of reavers. In that, it was quite similar to the Dwemer ruins of the mainland, where the entrance buildings were often the haunt of bandits.

With five in our party, and all but myself using ranged attacks, we quickly dealt with the reavers. I had to ferret out the last archer, who was hiding in one of the towers from the flying spells, but he offered little resistance when I found him.

It was clear that this Dwemer ruin was going going to be a bit different when Neloth produced a "control cube" to unlock the outer door. This was the first time I'd seen one of those. It looked a bit different from the lexicon cubes we'd used at Avanchnzel and Mzark, apart from being cubical, of course. And the receptacles they fitted in were different, too.

Neloth told us that it was the only one he had. He'd found it on his last trip, and had used it to lock the door, and keep out the riff-raff (presumably the reavers, but maybe it included more). He implied that they operated more than just doors.

He led us into the "reading room", where he pointed to a thick glass plate in the floor, through which we could see the black book. "It can't be accessed by any magical means. Believe me, I've tried, and if I can't, nobody can. However, I believe that if power can be restored to this room by restarting the boilers, then this switch over here will do the job."

We followed him through another door, and down an elevator to a deeper level, presumably well beneath sea-level.

"The last time I was here, I only explored a small part of the ruins. I was here alone then, and I find an assistant is absolutely essential for this kind of dirty, dangerous work," he told us as we walked along the corridors to the next chamber.

Neloth told us that history claimed that the entire city had been sunk deliberately to thwart the attacking Nords. It certainly was flooded to just below the level we were at now. Neloth walked to a railing overlooking the water, and put the control cube into one of the pedestals there. It turned on a pump somewhere, and the water level dropped considerably, revealing a platform lower down, where there were more of the pedestals, and some large Dwemer mechanisms.

"The pumps only operate when a cube is in the pedestal. And unfortunately, I have only one cube. These four boilers provide steam to the room upstairs. They're shut down, but they still respond to the control cubes. So, if we can find four more cubes, we can turn these boilers back on and restore steam power to the room upstairs. Then I should be able to open the book's protective case. Bring that cube. We'll need it."

---

We managed to find three more of the cubes on the same level, and they were guarded only by the small Dwarven Spiders we were used to from the mainland ruins. Some of them were activating traps, so taking them not only advanced our cause, but made our progress easier. I suspected we wouldn't be that lucky with all of them. Others operated pumps, and we found ourselves having to swim back through areas where we'd walked on the way in.

---

To find the fanl cube, we needed to access a lower level, so one of the cubes was used to activate another pump to drain the water in the main chamber further. We walked down the ramp, following Neloth, but he paused at the bottom of the ramp and let me take the lead. I soon found out why, as a heavy arrow bounced off my armour, and made me stagger.

Before I got my balance back, the Dwemer construct that fired at me was hit by a fireball, an ice spike and a bolt of lightning from the mages, and an arrow from Ranyu for good measure. I spotted its twin on the other side of the doorway, and ran towards it, keeping a pillar between us, as those arrows were dangerous!

I got this one myself. I hate to think what one of those over-sized arrows would do to an unarmoured mage, or archer. I asked Neloth what these things were, and he called it a Ballista. He'd apparently encountered them before, perhaps on his earlier visit here.

I still had two of the control cubes, and I needed to use one to unseal the door. The pedestal didn't keep the cube. It seemed that the red ones performed transient functions that didn't need the cube to remain there, like opening doors, or lowering bridges. The blue pedestals kept pumps working, or traps, and needed the cube to remain.

That meant that I only needed one of the cubes to operate the bridges in the Aqueduct. However, the controls worked multiple bridges at once, and it took a couple of tries to find the right sequence to get them all in position.

"That's it, Don't touch anything else!" Neloth commanded, and charged off across the first bridge. Of course he let me catch up as soon as the first Dwaven Sphere blocked our way.

There were several of those, and the path led us to an empty pedestal. Placing a cube in it drained the water from the chamber, and revealed a door at the other end. "I'll stay here and collect this cube when you've got the last one," Neloth announced, looking at me when he said it. I suspected that the last one would not be easy to retrieve.

And I suppose it wouldn't have been, without the "become ethereal" shout to simply walk through the many traps in the room. Most of them stopped when I put a cube in the red pedestal to open the door at the back, but taking the cube from the blue pedestal behind it stopped the pump that was keeping the water out of the room. I had to swim back out.

When he saw me returning, Neloth picked up the other cube and the waters rose even further, chasing us all out of the room.

---

Back up in the main chamber, we checked our count. Five cubes in total. The two we'd taken down to the Aqueduct, the one we'd found there, and the two that were keeping the pumps running. We could let this chamber flood back up half-way, but one of the cubes was needed to keep the water level below the boilers. That left one for each boiler control.

When I placed the last of the four cubes in the boiler pedestals, it did more than just start up the last boiler. A bridge lowered, revealing a large Dwemer Centurion, powered up and ready to attack. Fortunately, the others were all beyond the range of any steam blast, provided that I didn't let it cross the bridge. And those are best dealt with up close. They can't get a proper swing of those arm weapons if you're right in there. I'd prefer to be a bit further away to swing my war-hammer, too.

Aim for the joints, I told myself, and stop him advancing. I bashed one knee while I ducked his first swing and came up inside his next one. That stopped him, and he spun at the waist, whirling the axe and hammer over my head, without hitting me at all. I continued to beat on the central pivot until it seized and he fell.

All Neloth had to say was "I'm going to head back upstairs and see if the reading room has steam. If so, it should be a simple matter to release the book."

There was a chest in the space behind his frame, with a few useful items that I collected before following. I was the last to arrive back in the reading room, and the black book was already raised up on its pedestal.

To say I was apprehensive about reading the book would be an understatement. The last time I'd read one, under Miraak's Temple, I was ambushed. I knew that this book would also be a portal to Apocrypha, but would it take me to the same location, or a different one? And would Miraak know I was coming and lay another trap for me?

Although the last time had been unpleasant, I had returned to where I read the book, so if the worst of my imaginings came true, I'd be no worse off. I opened the pages ...


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Acadian
post Jul 17 2017, 07:03 PM
Post #134


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Joined: 14-March 10
From: Las Vegas



A tense passage through the watery grave called Nchardak. Good teamwork with Kothet up front, three ranged attackers and. . . Neloth.

Uh oh, into another of Slimy Morosa’s books! ohmy.gif


Nits:
- - ’It was clear that this Dwemer ruin was going going to be a bit different. . . .’ – ‘going’ twice.
- - ’To find the fanl cube, we needed to access . . . .‘ – ‘final’.
- - ’Of course he let me catch up as soon as the first Dwaven Sphere blocked our way.’ – ‘Dwarven’.


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Zalphon
post Jul 17 2017, 09:52 PM
Post #135


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From: Somewhere Outside Plato's Cave.



I am catching up to everyone else on this piece, but I am going to do try to do it quickly so that I can post more regularly in regards to this story.

I will be posting my reviews for prior chapters below in links and will be editing to add reviews until I am up to the current chapter to minimize disruption to the flow.

Review of Kothet's Story - Chapters I - V

Review of Kothet's Story - Chapters VI - X

Edit: Added Review of Kothet's Story Chapters VI - X.

This post has been edited by Zalphon: Jul 19 2017, 11:29 PM


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