UJON - Book Three, Part Three, In Which A Library Is Unearthed

  • 29th Hearth Fire


    Nurelion didn’t take the news well. I feel awful, even though there was nothing I could have done, but his life’s work, fulfilled and crushed in one moment… He pushed a few coins into my hand and practically collapsed into his bed. His assistant was apologetic, and tried to give me a more generous coin purse, but I refused, told him to spend it on treatment for the old Mer. He seemed touched, and insisted, in that case, that I look at an old map of Windhelm he’d unearthed in the shop when they were moving some stock.


    Apparently he’d overheard me talking to Rumarin about looking for information on the Dragon Tongue when I was making potions at the alchemy table, I should be more careful. Anyway, I wasn’t sure what he was getting at at first, but he explained there used to be a great library at Windhelm, thought destroyed in an earthquake in the early Fourth Era. Recently, he’d heard the guards complaining of a beggar living in a makeshift shelter near Hjerim, the house where Calixto practiced his dark arts. Apparently they’d heard odd sounds coming from the place, but, well, I’ve already learned just how diligent the guards in Windhelm are.  Still, Quintus was intrigued, and he’d been poring over the map, comparing it to the present-day layout of the city, and he was almost certain that the shelter was actually disguising a sort of rudimentary excavation site. And he was right.


    I was hoping to speak to the man, offer him a decent sum of gold to allow me to have a look at any books he’d found, but he was obviously either mad or blazed on Skooma, either way, he had a knife at my throat before I’d had a chance to speak. Wasn’t difficult to disarm him, but I think his system was weakened, because he dropped dead. We moved the body outside and climbed down the ladder into a remarkably well-preserved library. I presume the combination of the cold and the relatively dry air must have helped the books stay mainly intact, no obviously Dragon-related books yet, but I’m hopeful. Sadly, when the library was sealed off, a member of staff was trapped in here, evidently he waited as long as he could for rescue before hanging himself. We took his bones down and I incinerated them as best I could, I hope the poor man’s soul is at rest now.


    Lydia’s cousin seems to be doing well, he’s in the barracks’ healing area, such as it is. I’m just going to look through one more shelf of books and then we’ll stop by the New Gnisis and buy him some decent supper. I’m in danger of becoming nice…



    29th Hearth Fire


    Ambarys Rendaryn was uneasy. She was in again. The Raven Rock girl. She’d been coming here for a few years now, on her way to the docks, and he’d always found her likeable enough, but she seemed to have fallen in with the Nords of late. She had that tall, yellow-haired girl with her all the time these days, obviously involved with each other, they were. It wasn’t right, a Dunmer and a human! Still, he could have lived with that, but tonight she’d come in, brazen as a harlot, in that armour. By Azura, what was the girl thinking? She knew how her race lived in this city, and yet she’d apparently thrown her lot in with that n’wah of a Jarl. He’d throw her out, only he wasn’t entirely sure how the regulars would take it. They were obviously not comfortable, but she was popular enough, and always got her round in. Sometimes, if they were lucky, she’d even bring a case or two of Sadri’s Sujamma over on the boat, and that wasn’t to be spit at. Still, he was uneasy.


    The door opened, and he groaned. The High Elf. He didn’t like them, much. Oh, Niranye was all right, he supposed, but the rest… Well, thought they were too good for the likes of him, for a start. This one definitely had airs and graces, and her friend was half a Nord in his demeanour, which was worse. And apparently they’d brought yet another bloody Nord into his establishment, wearing the armour those Thalmor were supposed to wear, not that he’d seen any himself; that was one advantage of living in Windhelm, no bloody Thalmor. Apparently the two Nord women knew each other, he hoped they wouldn’t start singing, he’d already had to chase the yellow-haired one off his bar with a broom twice this evening. The Elves nodded at each other and arranged themselves around the corner table, awkwardly trying to make conversation while the two Nords… yes, they were on the brink of singing, weren’t they? What had Ambarys ever done to deserve this?




    “You’re Jenassa’s friend, aren’t you? You helped at the Watchtower.”


    “Well, if you call running around trying to get a good vantage point and cursing myself for not having a frost enchantment on my crossbow ‘helping’! So, you’re the Dragonborn, eh? Bet the Nords love that!”


    Nerussa laughed, “about as much as they love a Dunmer Stormcloak, I’d imagine? What on Nirn’s the story behind that?”


    “Oh, well, you know, hate the Empire, love Skyrim as a second home, all that sort of thing. Pay’s not bad, and the girls love a Mer in uniform. Plus there’s a part of me hopes if I can impress Ulfric and Galmar, I might be able to persuade them to improve things around here.”


    “I suppose it can’t hurt to try… So, who’s your friend?”


    “Vilja? Oh, she’s another Solstheim girl, funny thing, we never really met growing up, both off adventuring on different parts of the island, I suppose. Who’s yours?”


    “Oh, Lydia’s my housecarl.”


    “By Azura, I know Lydia! I mean the dishy Altmer in the robes…”


    “Oh!” She looked around at him, somehow managing not to get served at an almost empty bar. “That’s Rumarin. He’s… a bladebinder. No, I’ve never heard of one, either. Uses bound weapons, basically.”


    “Gosh, that’s quite advanced, isn’t it?”


    “Yes, but don’t tell him that, he thinks he’s completely hopeless, if he finds out they’re fairly difficult spells to learn, he’ll probably forget how to cast them!”


    “I see. So, what brought you to Skyrim? Thalmor spy, are you?”


    “Ha, no, I’d have rather more gold back home if I were. Although I imagine it would have been confiscated if they’d figured out I was the Dragonborn. No, nothing like as glamorous as that, I’m an alchemist by trade, used to live in Bruma, was foraging for ingredients up near the border, and got a bit over excited by the snowberry bushes, they’re very useful ingredients, partly because they have useful properties, partly because the taste actually counters the bitterness of a lot of other ingredients. Ended up straying too far north, and got captured by some guards. Next thing I know, I’m slung onto a cart full of Stormcloaks who were ambushed somewhere in the south of Eastmarch, Darkwater something?”


    “Oh, crumbs! That must have been scary?”


    “Not as much as when they sent me to the chopping block…”


    Rumarin had finally managed to buy drinks, and the two Nord women followed him to the table.


    “Vilja! Nerussa’s an alchemist, too! I tried to learn the trade back home, but I could never get the hang of it.”


    “Couldn’t get the hang of it? Didn’t you tell me that you made a poison of fire damage? That’s not even supposed to be possible any more!”


    “Yes, love, but remember I also told you I was trying to make a potion of restore magicka?”


    “Oh, details, details. So, you’re the Dragonborn? How exciting!”



    3rd Frostfall


    Well, I’ve been over every book in the library. Found the following books:


    Dragon Language: Myth no More: Probably the most interesting, it gives the translations to a number of words in the Dragon Tongue, as well as some details of the word walls – as Arngeir said, it seems they each tell a story. Interestingly, the author claims to have sensed some of the same power that calls to me from the walls, whereas both Lydia and Rumarin say they haven’t noticed anything – to the point where they were both confused as to why I seemed so drawn to them. Perhaps Hela Thrice-Versed, too, had the Dragon blood?


    The Book of the Dragonborn: A rather dry historical tome, nothing really new, although it was interesting to read it from a Mannish rather than Merish perspective of the Septims. The last page was rather fancifully decorated, and featured a prophecy which, well. I suppose it refers to me? Strange thought.


    Atlas of Dragons:  Beautifully illustrated maps of various parts of the province, along with records of various Dragons’ last known status (dead, presumed-alive, and so on.) It seems the strange circular stones we’ve had our lunches on once or twice are actually Dragon burial sites, if my comparison of their maps and mine – hastily annotated at various times, including marks made to show the emphasised spots on the Dragonstone – was accurate. Very disrespectful of me, I’ll have to apologise to the next one I encounter.


    Other than that, there wasn’t a great deal, or at least, not that was relevant to my current needs. Strange thing, though, I’m sure at least some of the books here seem to be more recent than when I was told the library was ‘lost’ – perhaps the librarian’s spirit wasn’t completely trapped?


    Well, that’s not completely accurate; I did find one thing that I think will be extremely helpful. I can’t quite believe it, actually. The Staff of Hasedoki! I remember learning about it as a young Mer, of course it would be of interest to my people, as when wielded, it protects against magical attacks! But even better, and I don’t remember reading about this, if I focus hard enough, I can use it to summon Hasedoki himself. I’m a little concerned, what with this and using the Necromancer’s Amulet (only when I really, really need it), and, well, Rumarin’s bladebinding. But it’s not really necromantic, or using Conjuration, to bring out a soul who bound himself to the staff, surely? Still, I may consider finding a safe place to store the Amulet when I am not going somewhere I expect to have need of it. Hasedoki was sadly uncommunicative, but he seemed pleased to be in the mortal realm. He was supposed to be an immensely powerful mage, I may have need of him against Dragons, and perhaps some other foes, at least for now.


    Lydia’s cousin seems much recovered, she has been staying in the barracks while we’ve been in Windhelm, I have a horrible feeling she was trying to give Rumarin and myself some time alone. Everyone seems to think there’s something happening between us. I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to realise what they were all getting at. Not that he’s not handsome and so on, of course, but really! Still, it might be interesting to introduce him to Ondolemar. Right now, I’m going to try to get some sleep, and tomorrow we’re heading to Winterhold. I asked Urag if he knew any unconventional mages, and he mentioned a young Orc who might fit the bill. Well, what he actually said was a bit ruder than that, but anyway, she should be arriving tomorrow to prepare for the start of courses, he said.



    5th Frostfall


    Rumarin once more found himself struggling to keep up with Nerussa, and wondering whether he ought to ask about that “correct footsteps” thing the Altmer in the Isles were supposed to practice from the start of their schooldays. He got the impression she didn’t really like talking about her education, though. Skyrim didn’t really have schools, even if your family weren’t itinerant theatre folk, but he rather thought that schools run by the Aldmeri Dominion would not leave fond memories behind.


    She had taken the carriage to Riften yesterday, and come back wearing new robes. Their embroidery was more intricate than the old ones, and the patterns were very pretty. He hoped they hadn’t come from Wylandriah, although goodness knew even he’d probably be able to pilfer from the Bosmer court mage without much difficulty. They were about half way to Winterhold, normally they took the carriage, but she wanted to test out the staff she’d found in the cave under the library. He didn’t like the idea, but at least she lent him her necklace of resist frost – last time they’d tried to come this way on foot, it had been apparent that the mages in the old fort were mostly cryomancers. 


    Sure enough, Nerussa stopped so abruptly that he barrelled into her, steadying himself with a hand on her waist. She barely reacted, focused as she was on the road ahead, and he let his hand rest where it was. He couldn’t quite believe it when she absent-mindedly moved her hand to cover his. She pointed with the staff.


    “Do you see them? Two skeletons, and one bastard in robes. I think that’s the one that chased us off last time. Well, they haven’t seen us yet. Do you think you can snipe the minions with your bow while I sneak a bit closer and see if I can find a good spot to unleash Hasedoki?”


    He responded by stepping back, steadying himself, and summoning his bow. Interesting that she wouldn’t refer to it as summoning, what she was doing with the staff. He supposed she knew more about these things than he did, but he had a feeling she was talking herself into it, all the same. He hoped he wasn’t being a bad influence. Well, not when it came to magic. He nocked a glowing, translucent arrow, liking the way the colour went with his robes. Nerussa was all steely concentration, but he found the less he concentrated on the mechanics of what he was doing, the better. If he thought about how to summon his bow, or how to actually shoot something, or how to talk to people, he turned into a bumbling fool. If he distracted himself just the right amount, or followed his cheesy old scripts, he was fine, sometimes even good.  Nerussa was easier to talk to than most people, though. He still used the odd line, but most of the time he could just talk to her. A good start, the first skeleton was down.


    Nerussa had found the perfect spot. She was high enough to have a good vantage point over the courtyard of the fort, and almost entirely in the shade, so she’d be difficult to spot. She breathed carefully, steadied the staff, pointing it at a spot a few feet behind the ice-mage. Holding her breath, she concentrated hard on the snowy ground, and… yes! It worked! The Dunmer’s shade appeared, raised his hands, crackling with purplish lightning and she saw a smile on the ancient face as sparks began to shoot from his hands. The mage was an Altmer, and caught off guard like that, he barely had a chance to charge a spell of his own before he fell to the ground. Rumarin had easily taken down the skeletons, and they entered the fort. She was able to maintain focus and keep Hasedoki with them while casting her own spells, and between the three of them, they were able to defeat the remaining inhabitants quickly, which was good, because as the last mage succumbed, she felt a wave of nausea and had to sit down on a nearby bench. Hasedoki vanished, and she was alone with a worried-looking Rumarin. 


    “I’m fine, don’t fuss. I just got a bit carried away.”


    “Are you going to be able to make it to Winterhold, or should we rest here? I’ve plenty of food in the satchel you make me carry…”


    She tried to smile, and grimaced instead. “Let’s have something to eat and then try to press on. I would prefer not to spend the night here, and if I rest for more than an hour or so, the sun will be setting when we leave. We really should try to meet this Mazoga tonight, as well. I don’t know if she will be able to help you, but it would be better to speak to her as soon as we can.”



    Table of Contents


  • Gnewna
    Gnewna   ·  September 28, 2015
    Thanks :)
  • Medieval
    Medieval   ·  August 10, 2015
    I like you add dates, that's nice!
  • Gnewna
    Gnewna   ·  August 9, 2015
  • Sotek
    Sotek   ·  August 9, 2015
    Don't have to hold my breath... I'm an Argonian 
  • Gnewna
    Gnewna   ·  August 9, 2015
     Things with Rumarin and Nerussa are starting to warm up.

    Just don't hold your breath ;)
  • Sotek
    Sotek   ·  August 9, 2015
    I’m in danger of becoming nice…   lol  
    Fancy having lunch on the  Dragon burial sites.. Tutt tutt'''
    Nice... Things with Rumarin and Nerussa are starting to warm up.
  • The Long-Chapper
    The Long-Chapper   ·  August 9, 2015
    Hehe, this is where things get interestings. Yay!