UJON - Book Three, Part Two, In Which A Little Light Is Shed

  • 22nd Hearth Fire


    In the Ivarstead tavern, Vilemyr, I think it’s called. Finally warm again. That’s the trouble with monks, especially Nord monks, they’re quite happy to live in chilly stone halls with high ceilings near the top of a mountain. I have a new Shout. Whirlwind Sprint. For moving a short distance, very, very fast. Not entirely sure how useful this would be to a Dragon, but maybe Men managed to make up some words of their own? In any case, I was welcomed by the Greybeards, after a fashion. Only one of them (Arngeir) actually talks, the rest just pray a lot. Arngeir said he wasn’t aware of any Dragonborn Mer, but that it was entirely possible there had been some who just had not come into contact with either dead Dragons or Word Walls, particularly given that as far as he knows, the only Word Walls on Nirn are in Skyrim. He gave me a bit of an explanation of them – the writing on them is in the Dragon language, telling a story. Each story appears on three Walls, as each Shout consists of three Words. The Greybeards seem to learn Words through years of meditation, though. I learned the first word of Whirlwind Sprint directly from… I think his name is Wulfgar, or it might have been Einarth. He Spoke it and it was Written on the Floor… oops, getting a bit carried away with the Capitals. Might have had a Bit of Mead.


    Back. Went to dance with Lydia. Oh gods, I’m going to have to stay here for a day or two to recover from the booze, can’t cast for a taffy treat after a couple of drinks. Where was I? Yes! Einarth, or was it Borri? Anyway, spoke the Word, and it was… not quite like the Walls, quieter, but as I looked at the Word I… knew it. There was some business with empowering me, or something, they didn’t really explain that, but it was a bit like when the Dragon died, only again, quieter. Monks. Even the Shouting ones are quiet. Anyway, I tried it out, and it worked, and they were all jolly impressed, and now I have to go on a Great Quest or something to find some bloody horn. I still don’t have much more of an idea about how or why I’m Dragonborn, I thought it was the Daedra who were supposed to play jokes with the lives of mortals… In any case, they said to go when I felt ready, to Ustengrav, somewhere in the horrid swampy region south of Solitude. They didn’t say, as such, but I think I have to do this one alone. It’ll probably be full of draugr again, so I think it’s time to go after the White Phial to see how I get on with them. Not going to do that alone, though, got to work up to alone. Lydia needs a silver sword, she says she can smith one, so we’ll have to go up to Winterhold to pick up my silver and steel. 



    25th Hearth Fire


    Lydia had gone pale when Calcelmo had mentioned the giant spider. Rumarin was still not quite sure what to make of Nerussa’s confession, but he was glad when she quietly asked her housecarl to look after the dog and go to the market for some food. He wasn’t always the best judge of people, but he didn’t think he’d been too far wrong about her. He’d been pretty sure there was something she hadn’t been telling him, and, well, yes, admittedly, “I’m a probably-ex Thalmor agent, now assuming I’m on the run from them, and that’s before all the Dragonborn stuff which probably hasn’t endeared me to them” wasn’t exactly a good secret for her to have, it could have been…  worse.


    As she opened the door to the excavation site, she motioned to him to be stealthy; fortunately he’d already summoned his swords.  All this creeping around, he might have to actually consider… ugh, physical swords, horrid, heavy, cold things, always banging against your legs, getting in the way, although he supposed a pair of scimitars might look rather dashing strapped to the hips. So long as she didn’t expect him to wear armour. Oh, who was he kidding, he’d go along with that, too. He tried to concentrate on their surroundings, but as usual his mind kept racing around. She had cast some sort of poison-protection spell on him, yet another spell she’d learned in an afternoon. He wasn’t envious; not really, he just wished some of her ability to learn would rub off on him. Oh, gods, where did they come from?


    The floor was a seething mass of baby spiders, each the size of a gourd, and each spitting tiny droplets of venom at an alarming rate. Thankfully, the spell seemed to be helping, in that he was only about half as blind as normal, and the pain was, well, better than when he blindly ran in front of Nerussa’s fire spells, at least. He hacked away at the spiders, glad they didn’t live in some nightmare world where spiders were too tiny to be fought with swords, and was surprised to notice a sort of purple fire, a little like Nerussa and the dragons, was drawn from one of them and found its way into the pocket where he’d tucked the soul gem Nerussa had given him. Funny, he’d never noticed his swords trapping souls before. Maybe he was getting better at the magic stuff after all? Or maybe swords that you summoned from Oblivion were not exactly safe and predictable tools? No, that was a silly idea. When the spiders were all dealt with, and Nerussa was healing them both, he could feel the stupid question on its way out of his mouth.


    “So, this Thalmor thing… do you, you know, actually think Altmer are the supreme race, and want to destroy mankind, all that?” Bother, not really any way to make light of that topic, was there? Idiot.


    She looked away. Looked down at her hands. “I… I’m not sure, any more, what I believe. I didn’t really, you know… my family wasn’t like yours. We weren’t… close. But the one time it felt like we were, was at the temple. And, well, it’s not like here. Alinor’s not like Skyrim, in so many ways. I can’t imagine someone like you coming from there.”


    “What, devastatingly handsome, but magically at a disadvantage?” She smiled, ever so slightly.


    “Something like that. I was raised to think Altmer, and other Mer, are better, yes, and, well, when society is carefully managed so the only non-Altmer you see are subordinates, it’s easy to be taken in by it. But, it’s more complex than that, there was Numidium, and all the awful things Tiber Septim and his Empire did to our ancestors, and the other non-human races... It’s not that the Thalmor want to destroy mankind, or any of the other things I’ve heard people saying, but human culture has been responsible for so much horror, for them as well as us. And I did believe it would be best for everyone if Altmer culture took over. I still do, in some ways.


    “But then, Skyrim has, well, it’s made me see things a bit differently,I suppose. I still think they would benefit from a more… intellectual way of life, but I can see now that there are good things about their culture, although I’ll kill you if you tell anyone I said that. I’ve never met so many different types of people in such a short space of time. Jarls, merchants, thieves, bladebinders who never take their hoods off, presumably to hide their terrible hair. I think there’s a lot more poverty, but also a lot more freedom…  Along with the Dragons, and everything, it’s all a bit overwhelming.” She sighed.


    “I actually… when I met Valgus, I was looking for a group of Talos worshippers meeting in secret. I was going to report them to… Ondolemar, did you see, there was a Justiciar at the top of the stairs when we came into the Keep? Anyway. I haven’t been able to bring myself to do it. I still do think that worshipping a man is wrong, and that man in particular. But I’m starting to find it difficult to justify punishing people for that. If he’s just a man, what difference does it make if people pray to him? It can’t give him power he hasn’t already got. Talos worship has some unpleasant history, but it doesn’t inherently mean everyone worshipping Talos now is evil, or that any response we make is by definition justified.”


    She looked over at him. Gods, she looked exhausted, she hadn’t been sleeping well, not that he was awake to notice, but Lydia had mentioned it. They’d need to make sure she was eating properly, too, she seemed to live on cheese and apples. “Come on, Nerussa, we’ve got an enormous, deadly spider to kill! Won’t that be fun?



    25th Hearth Fire


    So much for Nimhe the Poisoned One, after some of the spiders I’ve seen in this province, I was expecting something, well, bigger than my dog. Her babies were more of a challenge, although she seemed to have killed at least one Imperial soldier. We found a journal in his pack, looks like the researchers had gone on ahead, presumably they were scared to come back past the spider, I suppose they may not have had much fighting ability, most researchers are not Calcelmo, after all. After talking to Rumarin I wasn’t really feeling like going in to find them, so I just yelled “all clear!” through the door and we left. Calcelmo didn’t seem overly concerned, but I’ll probably check in with him next time we’re in Markarth. Not spending the night in the inn, it’s a pleasant place for a meal, but if I’m going to sleep on a rock hard surface, I’d rather camp, my  bedroll’s probably softer. Plus it’s a little more convenient for discreet access to the Stables for a job I’ve got on.



    28th Hearth Fire


    We found the White Phial! Lydia turns out to be a rather talented smith, and made good use of the silver I left her in Windhelm with – a pair of silver scimitars for Rumarin (as light as a feather, even he had to admit!) and a longsword for herself. I think she may have pocketed the leftover silver, but I’m hardly in a position to judge. On the way to Windhelm, we had a run in with a group of Thalmor. I was inclined to avoid them as usual, but Lydia grabbed my arm and whispered “it’s my cousin!” Their prisoner, of course.  Well, I suppose my bridges are burned, now.


    At least it’s got Lydia out of that awful steel armour, apparently it’s quite honourable to wear Elven armour, provided you’ve taken it from the body of a Thalmor soldier you’ve killed rescuing a kinsman.


    I don’t even know what to think about any of this, so I’m focusing on the Phial! We’re camping outside the cave because I don’t think we could make it ten paces in this blizzard. It’s beautiful, even with that awful crack. I hope Nurelion isn’t too upset. As for the draugr, it went well, I think – certainly having two silver-wielding fighters with me helped, but I think I held my own, and I killed Curalmil while the others were fighting his minions.  Another Word Wall, and some very dried, but still perfectly usable alchemical ingredients.



    Table of Contents


  • Gnewna
    Gnewna   ·  August 7, 2015
    That should say "not like a certain draugr" (Lissette knows who I mean) but the comment thing us being really odd on my phone...
  • Gnewna
    Gnewna   ·  August 7, 2015
    I'm not even sure I was disappointed (not draugr), I just laughed! The babies were really tough because they just swarmed us and there were LOADS, then Nimhe.

    And I absolutely love Rumarin, I haven't been able to play with INPCs before (mod c...  more
  • The Wing
    The Wing   ·  August 7, 2015
    Rumarin is my favourite. He's awesome, as usual.  You write him so in-character!
  • The Long-Chapper
    The Long-Chapper   ·  August 6, 2015
    Yeah, I was really disappointed by Nimhe in Requiem too. Granted, frostbite spiders are already terrible in Requiem, we don't need a giant one, an army of little ones can be terrible as well, and then there are the constructs. 
    It's nice to see Neru...  more