We reported on the priest hiding the liquor in his desk, and lying to the men about Carius giving the order to make this a dry fort. He took it well.

"You say that Antonius Nuncius started this whole thing with the missing alcohol because he wanted to go home? The twit!!" said Captain Carius, trying to contain his outrage. "I could have had him reassigned, had he just asked me. Now, though, I think he might do his best work here, saving the souls of my men. With the new abundance of liquor at the fort, someone will have to deliver their salvation."


Carious turned to his desk, retrieved a few items, and brought them back to us.

"Thank you for your help, Eldorf the Wise. Take these. There are diseases on this island that we have never encountered before, and the weapon may serve you well."

It was a silver spark sword, enchanted with a shock spell.

"Now, on to more fort business." he continued. "As I've told you, not all of my soldiers here are trustworthy. Many were sent to this Fort in lieu of Ebonheart's dungeons. Now, I fear that a criminal element has shown itself in the Fort. I believe that there are weapons being smuggled out of there and sold on Vvardenfell."

"What makes you think they're being smuggled from the fort?" I asked.

"I've noticed that the store of weapons in the armory has been decreasing," he replied, "and I know there is no official reason for it. My only guess is that someone is smuggling them off Solstheim to be sold on Vvardenfell. I want you to uncover this smuggling ring, and I will even provide you with a bit of help to do so. After all, our supplies are limited, and without them, I fear the soldiers will grow even more restless. And what is a fort without its weapons?"

"I see." I replied. "What about this help you mentioned earlier."

Captain Carius walked over to his desk, and found two papers with information concerning two soldiers on them.

"I would like you to work with one of my soldiers on this case." he said. "There are two available to you, and they are two of the best here at Fort Frostmoth: Sacnus Lusius and Gaca Artoria. You'll find Lusius in the General Quarters, and Artoria in the General Quarters Upper Level. Speak with them and decide which will be your companion. When you have unearthed the smuggling ring, report to me. I leave how you deal with the smugglers to your discretion.

"Is there any difference between the two of them?" I asked.

"There certainly is." he replied. "Lusius knows more about the daily activities here at the Fort than any other soldier in my command. While not our strongest fighter, he more than makes up for it with his savvy. He may be best suited to ferret out the smuggling ring."

He shuffled the papers, reading the information on it quickly, then continued, "Gaca Artora. Ah, yes, she is one of my most loyal soldiers, and one of my most powerful. I have never seen her bested in combat, and her skill with weapons is legendary here at the fort. Should you encounter any resistance with these smugglers, Artoria would be a valuable ally to have. Again, I leave it to you to chose which one you'd rather work with."


A few minutes later, in the lower floors of the General Quarters, we found Sacnus Lusius.

"Ah yes, this smuggling ring." he said, after discussing our mission with him. "Captain Carius mentioned something about that. I would be glad to help. Though I'm admittedly not the most handy with my blade, I believe I can help guide you through this conundrum."

"I see." I replied. "I still have one other member of Carius' staff to check with first, but I'll let you know."

"Very well." he said. "If you need me, I'll be here."


Heading back up to the second level, we found Gaca Artoria patrolling the room.

"Cap'n said you'd be by." she said. "I'm supposed to assist you with something?"

I explained to her about the missing weapons, smuggling, etc.

"Yeah," she replied. "Cap'n said something about smugglers. Wanna go crack some skulls?"

I told her that we had not made a decision yet, but that we'd get back with her. She seemed a little disappointed that she wouldn't be running right out cracking some skulls just yet.


I turned to Laurenna. "Which one do you think would be better? I know that smugglers can be dangerous, but we might need someone who knows the other soldiers, and might know where to look."

"We don't know the area or people." she replied. "I think, in this case, we need a ferret."

"Agreed." I said. "Let's to speak with Sacnus again."


We found Sacnus Lusius again, and told him we would like for him to work with us.

"I appreciate your trust in me." he said. "I suggest we speak with some of the soldiers here at the fort. A motley bunch, to be sure, but some of them are fair soldiers. I've developed quite a rapport with a few, in fact. Why don't we begin by speaking with Zeno Faustus. He's an interesting character. We'll find him in the Armory."

I appreciate a man with a plan, and a man who knows the people is always the best man for the job.


We made our way to the Armory, and found Zeno working over a hot fire, pounding away on someone's blade.

"What can I help you all with?" he said, seeing an entire group of people hovering over him.

"We're investing some outfit smuggling weapons." I said quietly. "I was wondering if you knew anything about it.


Zeno pulled us out of earshot, grouped us in closer, away from those famous "walls that have ears."

"I see you're with Lusius, so I figure you must be ok. Listen up. I overheard some of the soldiers talking about a place, the Gandrung Caverns, that's a bit northeast of the fort. Something about weapons being stashed there. I didn't want to know more than that. Maybe you should check that place out. But if you find them, you'll have to kill them...unless you can find some other arrangement."

"Well," I replied, "that will remain to be seen. But, thank you for the information."


Sacnus Lusius said that we had more than enough information to go on, and that we should investigate these caverns right away.

However, before we did that, I led us all back to our tent that we had set up the night before.

"What's so special in here?" he asked, eager to get on with this smuggler-hunting business.

"Just a little preparation." I replied.


I returned with our armor, including that full set of Royal Guard armor for Laurenna. Since she didn't really care for the helmet that went with it, I brought a Nordic helm instead. Wolf armor for me, 250 silver arrows for each of us (and several enchanted arrows for me), and her silver broadsword. Sacnus was impressed with that Royal Guard armor.

Now that we were prepared to deal with these people, we headed back to the fort, to head out the north door, and into the wilds of Solstheim.


Just as we were leaving the northern entrance to the fort, we saw a rather tall Nord doing some hunting nearby. Seeing that Laurenna was also a fellow Nord, he hailed us over to him.

He gave us a number of warnings about some of the local dangers of this island, saying that if we come face-to-face with a berserker or fryse hag, run! He also said that his kinsfolk at Thirsk would be able to take us in.

"What are berserkers?" I asked. "Anything like those berserkers found on Lokken?"

"No." he replied. "They are called 'bare-sarks' in the Nord tongue, because of their insistence on going bare-chested even in the most severe blizzard. Crazy as they come, and care only for savagery and murder. So attracted to death, are they, that they make their homes in burial barrows. Also, some rumor of some kind of berserker 'mother' but no one has even seen her and lived to tell about it."


"What are fryse hags?" I asked. "I've never encountered such a creature."

"Ah, those fryse hags are mages dedicated to the teachings of Kyne, the widow of the god Shor." he replied. "Each is a powerful sorceress skilled in the use of frost-based magicka. Vicious lasses, viewing most people as a threat to their beliefs. They're in the wild, and sometimes in ice caves."

We thanked him for his information, said that we'd be extra careful.

With that, we headed northeast to find this cavern with smugglers in it.


Just over the next ridge, we found a small lake with several rocks at the northern shore. After searching around for a bit, we found that we were going to have to get wet - the entrance to this smuggler's cave was in knee-high deep, chilling water.

Laurenna got out a torch, and I decided to use the Ring of Weapons.  Sacnus readied his silver spark sword and we all pushed the rock open to enter the cave of smugglers.











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