THE NEEDS OF THE EMPEROR
OUTWEIGH THE NEEDS OF THE FEW,
OR THE ONE
"A dragon? A real, living, breathing dragon? That's impossible! I didn't even know they truly existed."
Laurenna had a hard time believing my story, but finally accepted the truth of the matter, being that something had brought them forth, and, being as dangerous as they are, would have to be put down.
"I will have to get word to Eddie Thieman, so he can advise the others of the Telvani council, and I will also have to teleport to my stronghold, and get someone there to get word to the Duke in Ebonhart. This is most important."
We sat at the table, and I ate my hound meat and egg sandwich that Laurenna prepared for me. She looked worried for a few minutes, then said "I want to come with you on these missions."
"We will see. I know you are also a warrior, but let us see how things play out first, before making any decisions."
I finished lunch, and to brighten the mood, I said "Before getting started, how about if we do some quick shopping?" Well, that certainly brought a smile to her face.
We headed out and made the short walk across the bridge over the Odai River.
"Are we going to the outfitter's or the trader again?" she asked. "Oh, no," I replied, "we're going to the upper part of Balmora, were the expensive stuff is found.
I winked at her, and she beamed brightly back at me.
We were both glad it had stopped raining, although it was still a little humid, it was, none-the-less, very pleasant. It was a nice change from the cold and snow in Solstheim.
We went to the shop of Milie Hastien. She remembered me immediately from the last couple of times I had been there. Milie always has good things in her store.
"Ah, Eldorf, I see you have returned, and with a wife, no less."
"Thank you." I replied. "Do you have any beautiful dresses here?
As expected, Milie directed us to a stack of shelves with exquisite shirts, blouses, and dresses.
"You pick one for me." she said, "They are all so beautiful, and after all, you are the one that'll be looking at it."
I picked out a nice one for her, along with a few other things.
"You know, we will also have to travel to Ald'ruhn, as there are at least two or three places to also get you some lovely outfits there."
Laurenna gave me a big kiss and a hug. Milie just smiled, having made yet another satisified customer.
Shortly after leaving the store, we headed back to the lower section of Balmora. I remembered that Laurenna's mother had asked for 3 copies of 'ABC's for Barbarians' for her classes for the local children. I already had one, and had planned to get the second one from my fireplace mantle in Zelda Estate. The book had been burned in the fire caused by the dragon attack, so we decided to stop in the bookstore and see if there was another copy here.
I was in luck; she had one.
I went to the Mages Guild offices, and went downstairs, located an apprentice, and asked him to get a message to Fast Eddie, in Sadrith Mora. No instructions, just information on what had happened in Caldera.
About 20 minutes later, he returned, advising that the message had been delivered.
I thanked him for his time, and Laurenna and I headed back to the front door.
That's were we met up with Ranis Athrya, the guild guide for Balmora.
"Aren't you usually at the front door all the time?" I asked, jokingly. "Three blessings, muth sara." she replied. "Yes, I am. I was getting something to eat at the Eight Plates. Oh, I just thought of something odd that happened there."
"And what might that be?" I asked.
"Well, there was an older man there, an Imperial, I believe, looked like he was strung out of either moonsugar or skooma. He was getting some bread there when he saw me. He asked if I knew of an older Breton that had come here nearly a year ago and had joined our guild, that he had suggested this to that same person."
"What did you tell him?" I asked.
"Well, I told him that yes, you did join the mages guild, and were now Arch-Mage of our chapter. He replied that he thought it was just great, and to let you know he'd like to see you again. Do you know him? He has been around before, looks all messy, not sure of his name, Cassius, Caius, or something like that."
"Ah, yes, I know him" I admitted. "I met him when I first arrived here. I think I know where he is, and I'll check up on him. Skooma addict, you say?" She nodded her head. "Very well, I'll look into it, and thank you for the information."
Caius Cosades. I had not heard that name in nearly a year. The emperor's spy master in Balmora, and he's looking for me.
"Eldorf, do you know this man?" Laurenna asked. "Yes, dear. Do you remember when I told you I may be on missions I cannot tak directly about?" She nodded a yes. "Well, he is directly involved. Come with me, I'll take you there.
We left the Mage's Guild offices, and headed back across the Odai River again. Our new Balmora home was very close to Caius' bed-and-breakfast that he was renting. I remembered the location as of it was only yesterday that he ask first met me, and suggested joining a guild or something along those lines. I had nearly forgotten about him.
We arrived just outside his quarters.
"Laurenna, this is something I must do alone. I'm not sure he should even want to know that you know about him at all. Please wait for me here. I won't be long."
"Oh, ok, I will wait for you here." she said.
"Caius Cosades, you old devil, how are you?" I shouted as I entered his abode. Caius looked startled, jumping up from his bed, fumbling around like he was looking for a weapon to attack an intruder. Then, realizing it was me, came to his senses, and attempted a smile.
"Eldorf, old man, let me look at you. Arch Mage, are you? And what is this news about the great House Telvani? That too?"
"Yes," I said, "and champion of the Fighter's Guild as well."
His room was still the same mess it was when I first met him, perhaps a little worse than before. There were skooma bottles everywhere, some full, some empty, strewen all over the floor, along with one or two skooma pipes, moonsugar laying on the floor, clothing everywhere. Should the emperor ever find out his spymaster was an addict, well, it wouldn't go well for him.
"And a wife, a castle. You have done well for yourself, considering that less than a year ago, you were still wet behind the ears."
I smiled and said "So, they tell me you're looking for me. What can I do for you."
Still flying from the skooma he had just used, he tried to look stern, and take possession of the title of spymaster.
"I need you to do some work for me, for the emperor. It is time you started this business that you were released from prison to accomplish. Are you ready to do this?"
I thought about the dragon, then remembered that this is the reason I was released from prison after 50 years. More than anything else, I at least owed the Emperor this much.
"Yes, what do you need." I said.
"Very well. Here is what I need: I am investigating this "Nerevarine cult" that is very popular here in Vvardenfell. I am also being asked to gather information about the "Sixth House" secret cult here. They are very active, and very evil. Hasphat Antabolis, an imperial that works as a trainer of the Balmora Fighter's Guild, has information about it. As Champion of the Fighter's Guild, you probably know him, right?" I nodded my acknowledgement. Hasphat Antabolis and I had done a lot of training in hand-to-hand combat tactics in my early days.
"He may ask you to do a favor for him first. Just do what he needs to be done and obtain that information from him. You are to bring that information to me."
I told him I would get the information, and he sat back down on the bed, picked up his skooma pipe, and became lost in his own little world again.
Laurenna met me outside. "What's that smell?" she asked. It was skooma. "Oh, that's just his dirty laundry." I replied. It wasn't far from the truth.
A strange order of mages that had the power to become a lich.
So much for a quite day of shopping.