My amulet of recall brought me back to the door just outside our room at the Eight Plates Inn. Laurenna heard me appear and opened the door before I had a chance to knock.

"What did you find?" she asked. "It doesn't look good." I replied. "I am hoping I am wrong, but the description of this thing people are seeing is that of a dragon. I found a scale, and have had one of my people send it to the Duke in Ebonhart for examination." Laurenna looked at me in awe. "A dragon." she said. "But they are just legends, right? After all, no one has seen such a thing in hundreds of years." "I hope you're right." I said. "Now, then, let's find a slightly bigger place for us to stay, and then we can do some shopping before I head to Caldera. I still have to find out what happened to my original 'mark' spell."


"Where will we be staying?" she asked. "Well, the bank of Vvardenfell has an office just across the river. Let's head over there and see if they have any property for sale." Laurenna agreed, so we made the short trip over the bridge and ended up at the front door of the bank.

On our way out of the inn, one of the patrons mentioned something about some crazy dunmer, shouting that the other patrons had treated him badly, that they would all suffer once he became a 'lich'. That was odd. I had fought liches before, usually in tombs, and they usually had pretty powerful spells, but I was unfamiliar with their history or how they came to be in the first place. The patron at the bar said that this crazy person mentioned having a base near Balmora, but didn't give too much detail. Again, something to worry about later.


The person responsible for home purchases was a very friendly Khajit. He purred gently, "Ah, may you walk on warm sands." I asked if he had any homes for sale in either Vivic or Balmora. "Purrrr, yes, we have lovely home for you and pretty female. It is here in Balmora, and just being built, is new. You like, we give to you for 80,000 gold." That was the going rate around here, so I agreed, and purchased it. At least, now we would have a place to stay when not staying at either Lokken or Solstheim Castle.   


The house we purchased was right behind the bank, so it was a very short walk.  We sorted out the few things we had brought with us and set up housekeeping. It wasn't very big, but at least it would give me a base of operations here in Balmora for the time being, at least, until I could find out what happened to my cottage in Caldera.


"Will you be gone long again?" she asked. "No," I replied, "Caldera is just a short walk to the north. I could use the mages guild to teleport me there, but I want to see it from an approach, to see if there's anything wrong from the outside." "Ok, but can I ask you a favor?" she said, in a very loving fashion. "Certainly" I replied. "Well, on your return trip, could you stop by the outfitters and pick up a few kwama eggs and bread?"

I agreed. Ah, domestic life. 


I decided to use the glass armor I had made for me in Mournhold. It was strong and light. I wasn't sure what I was to expect, so I figured some armor is better than nothing at all.

The weather was still kind of hazy out, overcast, like it wanted to wait for just the right moment to start raining again.  I just hoped it wouldn't start raining again until after I arrived back home.


I walked across the bridge, and left Balmora via the north entrance, then across another small bridge, found the main road to the north, and made the 15 minute walk to Caldera.

What was disturbing was the look of a smoky haze over the castle, like someone had been burning wood there. I was still too far away to see if there was anything wrong yet, so I continued my journey north to the entry gates.


As I approached the city, I could hear yelling and screaming, guards shouting. I couldn't hear what they were talking about yet, but they seemed to be pointing to the east. Even at this distance, I could hear the sounds of several swords being drawn.

I glanced to the east, and there, coming over the mountains, was a dragon. A real, live, dragon. Could this be the thing that was sighted near my own stronghold, or was there more than one of these creatures?


I drew my own sword, and ran into the town, not sure of what good it would do, since the dragon was several feet in the air. The smell of smoke and fire filled the air around me as I ran towards the beast. I saw it belch out a blast of fire from it's mouth. The guards and townspeople ran in panic, and the creature roared, as if amused by the confusion it was causing.    


Suddenly, as quickly as it appeared, and just as I arrived, the beast changed course and flew off to the east, back the way it came.

The smell of smoke and fire was strong now, the acrid smoke almost burning my eyes.

It was like the dragon wanted to snatch the opportunity to kill it away from me.


I watched the dragon fly away, until it disappeared over the mountains. That was the area of ash storms, blight storms, and the evil of Red Mountain. I wondered about the reason for the attack.

Several of the people were busy trying to put out fires, and suddenly, I remembered not seeing my cottage as I ran in to do battle with this dragon.     


I ran back behind the trader's store, and there, I found what was left of Zelda Estate: it had been completely burned to the ground.

Well, that explained why the amulet of recall didn't work: there really was no place to 'recall' to.