UJON - Book Four, Part Two, In Which Adults Are Idiots

  • 9th Frostfall


    The children of Morthal hadn’t had so much entertainment in a long time. Normally life was fairly boring, chores, stupid grownups worrying about the war, that sort of thing. But for the whole day yesterday and since they got up this morning, they’d been sneaking closer and closer to the flattish, dryish area in front of the Jarl’s palace, to get a better view of the Elf lady trying to fight her friends. She wasn’t getting any better, but they were learning a lot of really good swears.


    “Oghma’s tits, Rumarin, I’m never going to get the hang of this!”


    The Elf man grinned at her. “Well, I’m sure if you find yourself cornered and with no magicka, the draugr will leave you alone if you swear loudly enough. But just in case, shall we keep trying?”


    She did an annoyed face, but Helgi was pretty sure the lady was trying not to grin back at him. She straightened her robes, and held the wooden practice sword in front of her. Helgi had never seen real fighting before, but the lady definitely didn’t hold her sword like any of her friends. They all fought a bit differently, the man was a big show-off, almost dancing when he fought, the Nord lady was the strongest, Helgi thought, and the Lizard lady with the lovely red scales was really fast. The Elf lady held her sword like a Mama pointing a wooden spoon at a child who’d stolen a sweet roll.


    The Nord lady – you could tell she was a soldier – was standing straight and tall in her shiny black and gold armour. “Thane! Your posture! You’re wielding a sword, not casting a damn spell! Your wrist needs to be firm! Right. Let’s go again. Rumarin! Attack!”


    The two elves began again, and the Nord lady watched for a few minutes before beckoning to Helgi. The other children saw the lady whisper something to her. Helgi nodded, then ran into the inn. She came back after a few minutes, struggling with the weight of the lady’s pack. The lady knelt and pulled a bundle out of the pack, as well as a whole septim for Helgi.


    “My Thane, if I might interrupt?”


    The Elf lady didn’t seem to mind stopping. She looked at the Nord lady, and at the bundle being held out to her.


    “I hope you don’t mind, Thane, I used some of the silver that was left after making our swords…”


    The Elf lady smiled, and shook her head, as she unwrapped the bundle and found an axe with a shiny, silver head. Agni pointed at the weapon. “See how it’s glowing orange? Falion says that means a fire enchantment.” The children were very impressed, although they privately thought that they could have worked out orange meant fire.


    The Elf lady was a lot better at swinging the axe than she was at holding the sword. There was a lot more handle so she didn’t seem so afraid of grabbing it wrong and hurting her hands. It was still fun to watch, though.


    By the afternoon, they’d gotten bold enough to sit on the steps of the palace, shouting encouragement to the lady, who was practicing blocking. The grown-ups said the lady was the Dragonborn, but the children weren’t sure if that was just a joke. Everyone knew only Nords could be Dragonborns, although the children were still arguing about whether ladies could or not. The lady was really good at shouting though, but then so were most of the grown-ups in town, and they weren’t Dragonborns!


    The lady was getting good at blocking, which the Elf man (who was sitting with the children now, sharing some bread and cheese he had bought from Jonna) said was good. Draugr couldn’t heal themselves, even with potions, and the lady had a special spell so she could heal a little bit all the time, even when she didn’t have magicka to cast a new spell. All she really had to do, the Elf man said, was keep alive until she could cast again, she didn’t need to be able to kill the draugr with the axe.


    Helgi was playing with her septim, it was so pretty, almost as big as her thumbnail. “Is the lady your wife?” she asked. He looked surprised. “What makes you say that?”


    “She’s pretty, don’t you think?”


    “Oh. Um. Yes. Yes, I do. But I don’t think she, ah, sees me like that.” The Elf man looked a bit embarrassed, and the children all rolled their eyes.


    “I thought Elves were meant to be clever!” Helgi said. “She keeps looking at you, not like how Alva looks at the men in the inn. Like the Jarl looks at Aslfur. Like she really likes you, but also you’re a bit of an idiot.”


    The Elf man didn’t seem to know what to say to that, so Helgi went back to playing with her coin. After a while, she had another thought.


    “If you like her, and she’s your friend, why are you letting her go into Ustengrav by herself?” Just at that moment, the Elf lady managed to make the Lizard lady drop her sword, and for some reason this brought out some of the best swears yet. The Elf man pointed at her and asked Helgi, “do you think she’s the sort of person who has to be let do anything?” Helgi didn’t think she was, at all.



    10th Frostfall


    Very, very glad of Lydia’s axe. Ustengrav is actually a lot emptier than anticipated, so far, although I suspect when I pass these gates I may find myself up against a large number of draugr. Still, I wouldn’t have made it this far without the axe.


    When I first entered the tomb, I heard voices. Thankfully they were far enough away, and distracted enough by their conversation, that they didn’t hear me cast Muffle and Invisibility, and I was able to approach and eavesdrop. Necromancers, unsurprisingly. Seemed to be practicing on the bandits they’d just killed, presumably they were intending to experiment on some draugr, as well. Was very glad of my necklace of resist frost, necromancers are so predictable. Well, apart from that one on the road near Valtheim, his ghostly warrior was a nasty shock. I do need to bear in mind that some of the Skyrim necromancers do actually seem to practice necromancy now and again.


    The next fight (why must everything involve a next fight?) was tougher, and I think something about the spell he used stunted my magicka’s ability to replenish itself, although that seems to have worn off now. Still, it lasted long enough that I had need of the axe. As I say, the place is actually strangely empty, and I made quick progress with the odd single draugr showing up, until I found myself in an exceptionally dark, cramped chamber. I had been growing cocky and had not bothered to refresh my illusions – next spell to learn is definitely the rune of quiet casting.


    There were actually only two draugr, and one was nothing particularly special. His… colleague? though, was more worrying. Larger, for a start, and wearing a horned helm. He had his back to me, and I actually tried to back away, hoping I could get far enough away to conceal myself and creep past.


    Of course, I was perhaps a little frightened and had forgotten there was an urn in the path backwards. The draugr turned to investigate, and I can only assume that those glowing eyes of theirs see better in the dark even than a Mer. The larger one Shouted at me, with frost in its breath. I was frozen, partly by the magicks, partly by fear. Some hero of legend, huh? I suspect I have not been so close to death since the Vampire Symposium. Thankfully, I was able to cast a healing spell before they reached me, or they would have finished me off for sure.   


    They had me at a severe disadvantage, though, and I was having to heal myself almost constantly, at the same time as trying to cast flame spells at them. It was too much, too confusing, too draining, my magicka wasn’t replenishing at its normal rate, even when I invoked my High Born blood it wasn’t possible, I could not continue. Thankfully, I had the axe. Even more thankfully, Lydia had had it enchanted with a good, strong fire enchantment.


    As weakened as I was, so were they. I hurled forth Fus, which staggered them enough to give me a chance to draw the weapon, and, somehow, I felled the weaker one with a single blow. The larger one, naturally, was more difficult, but somehow (to be honest, the memory is blurred…) I managed it.


    I hope I never have to fight with a bloody weapon again. My hand hurts like Oblivion, my arm feels like it’s been stretched and brought back to its own size again, and I suspect that my shoulder will be sore for a week. Still, I am immensely grateful to Lydia for it, and to all three of them for the training.


    After that, I rested for some time, gradually healing myself. Strange how healing magic can work on wounds both magical and mundane so well, but seems to do little for the pain of over-exertion. Perhaps it’s the spells, I suppose a mage is unlikely to need to heal sore muscles after fighting with an axe, I wonder whether spellswords and the like learn a different type of healing spell? I’ve never considered that before.


    Eventually, I decided to press on. Soon enough I came to the vast cavern I had seen earlier through a gap in the wall. It was beautiful, I’m unsure whether the man-made part originally extended further, or whether it was always built overlooking the enormous, empty space. The presence of a word wall down near the waterfall suggests the latter, perhaps some form of nature worship was involved? I am unsure what the Word meant. It felt… like floating? Or… I am unsure. I shall have to ask Master Arngeir if there is any way to discern the meaning of the words, or whether understanding will come with time. I’m starting to at least be able to “hear” the words more clearly. This one is Feim. Fus I could only really understand when I had the soul to complete it. Oh, this is not the time to attempt to make sense of things, is it?


    In any case, this area was populated only by skeletons, easily dealt with, particularly as mymagicka was finally starting to feel normal again. I didn’t fully explore the area, I’m not exactly desperate for money at the moment, so hunting for treasure seemed like a waste of time, and I’d already been in here a long time – it was early morning when I came in, and judging by the weak light  coming through a hole in the top of the cavern, it must be nearing dusk.


    I’m now sat by a set of three stones, in front of a tunnel blocked by three gates. Naturally, this is the part where only a Dragonborn can gain further entrance. The first stone opens the first gate, and so on, and of course they close so quickly, only one who can use Whirlwind Sprint may make it past all six in time. I don’t much like Whirlwind Sprint, feels all wrong. So, I’m resting up a little, to ensure I can make it through on the first attempt – I might be a little more confident if I had the next word of the shout (which I presume would take me further) but I’ve measured it – twenty paces from the first stone to the first gate, and I’m almost positive I’m also going to have to run part of the way under my own steam. I think the thing to do is to run as fast as I can past the three stones and Wuld at the last one.


    Good job I’m not wearing armour.


    Table of Contents



  • Gnewna
    Gnewna   ·  October 21, 2015
    Yus - I like that we see the people of Morthal before the tragedy and such.
  • The Long-Chapper
    The Long-Chapper   ·  October 20, 2015
    I remember this chapter fondly from Steam forums. Ah, Ustengrave. I also really like that Helgi is still alive at this point and that we get some time with her.