298. Secrets of Norvulk

298 (h). Secrets of Norvulk

Abnur Tharn sends a message from the Mages Guild in Daggerfall, he believes important documents revealing where Mannimarco is holding the swordmaster Sai Sahan prisoner, may be found amongst the ancient Ayleid ruins of Norvulk.

We each have our own reasons for wanting to rescue the Redguard.  Varen seeks a fifth companion to fulfil some prophesy he claims to have seen in the Elder Scrolls before they took his sight.  The battlemage Tharn’s sole concern is the restoration of the Empire to its former glory, and for that he needs the Amulet of Kings, of which only Sai Sahan knows the location.  Titanborn is insistent upon his rescue, yet offers little reason beyond duty; I sense perhaps a deeper, as yet unspoken connection between the two.  

As for myself, I have seen all too often what can happen when ancient relics of power are wielded with nefarious intent.  I care little for this Redguard, yet will gladly ride into the very bowels of Oblivion to prevent him divulging the whereabouts of the Amulet of Kings to the Worm, whether by rescue or bloodlet.

I must try however all to save this man, for my patron Stendarr teaches, ‘never refuse aid you are capable of providing.’  Besides, I think once I cease to see the value of a single life, I may lose the last of my humanity, and become all but soul-shriven.

So I return to the dark vaults of Norvulk with Tharn, to face once more the black and crimson Dremora, and we shall learn what we can.


297. Consequences 

297 (a). Consequences

With Lleraya’s illusion broken, the nobles of Northpoint are free, and young Lord Ellic Dorell must now face his father and answer for what fell upon the city it was his duty to protect.  Whilst he can be accused of no crime, he must still answer for his mistakes.

The Baron’s forces meanwhile have liberated Northpoint’s streets, but still Montclair’s vampires hold out in many buildings and townhouses.  For them, there will be only retribution.


296. Lady Lleraya Montclair

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Her spell was broken, but her seduction remained.

I can no longer sleep but for thinking of her voice.  That narcotic melody which have conducted me in a hundred dreams, and led me to such intense abstractions that all else now seems flavourless.  That siren’s enchantment, an aria of infinite possibilities where darkness and emptiness are but a blank easel for her imagination.  It is her whispers still that lead me across those pin-pricked skies at night, past a thousand blazing suns, to a place deep in the everlasting cosmos where the flame-haired comets caper, and where Nirn is but a spec on a dark horizon.

I stood ready to brave her beauty, and raised my shield in defiance of the night, but alas Tamriel, for as her eyes pulled me ever deeper into her rhapsody, this land for which I fight have never seemed so dark to me; as if the sun itself were shamed into an eternal eclipse by the radiance of her palate.

Yet just as I began to slip beyond, she cast an Entropic Bolt knocking me to the floor.  Destruction magics rained down upon me from her staff, and as the air grew thick with mist and fizzle, she summoned forth a spectral minion and giant bone colossus with sole intent to crush me.

But I stood once more to endure her torrent, although I could not, would not, strike at her.  She baited me to let go my shield and give in to her, whispering directly into my mind; and I wished for nothing more.

Before me she stood imperious and my shield finally yielded as I fell deep into her eyes.  But as I stumbled forward into her lethal embrace, I felt my blade sink deep into her chest, and with all the grace of a sleepy swan she sank to the floor, and I was empty once more.


295. A fissure in the veil

Beneath the stately halls of the Dorell Manor, the ghostly visage of Verandis guides me towards a possible fissure in the veil of Lady Montclair’s enchantment that has ensnared the nobles of the city above.  Perhaps the Lady was remembering the Lorkrata Ruins when she set her bloodfiends to guard her grand illusion’s only visible weakness.

The two bloodfiends look almost identical, in life I suspect they may well have been sisters.  But then I recall the endless rows of the destitute Soul-Shriven chained up in the Castle of the Worm, each one so indistinguishable from the next that I could tell not Man from Mer.

Perhaps it is that when we lose our soul to unnatural cause, we also lose those things that give our faces the characteristics that mark our individuality; our personality, our memories, and our emotions.

And I begin to wonder… how long before I am no longer able to recognize my own reflection.


294. The Lady’s Call

294 (a). The Lady_s Call294 (b). The Lady_s Call

Inside the Dorell Manor I am met with a most macabre scene.  The nobles celebrate, seemingly oblivious to the dead bodies of their peers that litter the halls.  Reality seems aslant and frayed, a mist hangs heavily upon the air, and it is difficult to keep focus and not just sink into the haze.

294 (c). The Lady_s Call

Lord Ellic Dorrell has indeed succumbed to the Lady’s influence, and talks of receiving her blessing, ‘…then we will never die’.  The sound of the party ends abruptly, and I turn to find the revellers hanging in the throne room like forgotten marionettes; then I hear the Lady’s call… and I follow.

294 (d). The Lady_s Call

Lady Llyria Montclair is nothing as I expected, she is… intoxicating. 

294 (e). The Lady_s Call294 (g). The Lady_s Call294 (f). The Lady_s Call

As I stared entranced by the beauty of her celestial eyes, her voice began to devour me.  And whilst my conscience screamed silently to resist, my heart sang a symphony of surrender, extolling her boundless beauty, promising obedience and fealty.  The more the Lady spoke, the more desire, need, and compulsion swelled within me.

294 (h). The Lady_s Call

Indeed, if it were not for the ghostly visage of the vampire Count Verandis appearing through the mists to guide me, I fear I may willingly have become the Lady’s sharpest blade.