"So, what does he want you to do?" Laurenna asked. I told her we needed to go to the Fighter's Guild and check with the hand-to-hand trainer, Hasphat Antabolis, obtain some information from him, and tell Caius what I had learned.  "Seems easy enough." she said. "Well, you would think so," I replied, "but I think I may have to do a favor for him first, it seems. We will see what he has to say, first."

She agreed, and we headed back to the other side of town, and found our way to the Fighter's Guild.   


We found Hasphat in his usual spot. He hailed me with a friendly greeting, since I was, after all, Champion of the Fighter's Guild in Vvardenfell.

"Eldorf, old man, how are you? Oh, and a wife, too! Very nice."

"Hasphat, I need some information about this so-called Nerevarine cult these ash-landers have going around. I understand that as a student of the local history, you're the person to ask about it. I also need some information about this thing referred to as the "Sixth House. Do you know anything about either one of these subjects?" "Ah, yes," he beamed with pride, "I know a great deal about both subjects. However, I have learned over the years that everything comes with a price attached to it." I frowned at him - here comes the "favor" he would be asking of me. "Well," I said, "how much gold would you like for this valuable information?" "Oh, it's not about gold." he replied, "I am also a student of the old Dwemer race, you know, the ones that disappeared thousands of years ago, and left their old strongholds throughout the empire?" I nodded, and told him to continue. "Well, I know that several people in the empire have a 'toy' called a puzzle-box, and rumor has it there is one in the old Dwemer stronghold called Arkngthand. It's just east of here, across a large bridge on the north side of Fort Moonmoth. As a collector of rare artifacts, I would be very grateful if you could find it and bring it to me. If you do, I'll consider it more than sufficient payment for such valuable information."


I thanked Hasphat for the lead, then turned to Laurenna and said "Up for a dungeon adventure?" "Oh, you know us Nords of Skyrim are nothing, if not bold and adventerous! When do we start?" I smiled, and said "Let's go see the armor merchant upstairs and get you some armor. You already have your longsword, right" "Right here." she replied.

We went up the stairs, talked to the armor merchant and get her some nice, steel armor to use.


On our way back to our home, one of the children playing by the river stopped us and asked if we had been having bad dreams lately. I said we hadn't, but then asked why she wanted to know.

"Oh, my daddy had one a few nights ago, and then my mommy had one, too."

"Yeah," her friend added, "I had a bad one last night. It was scary." "What was it about?" I asked. "Oh, I don't remember it too well, but it was a creepy guy in a mask. My daddy had it, too, about five nights ago." "Oh," I said, smiling, "it must have been a dream about the emperor, then. You know, they say he is as ugly as a cliffracer." The children laughed, and then went about playing.

"What do you think that was all about", Laurenna asked. "Not sure." I said, "It might be .... Oh, never mind. It's probably nothing to worry us. Oh, before I forget, I'd better report to my stronghold and tell them about the dragon I saw in Caldera. Can you meet me back at the house? I should only be a few minutes." "Sure," she said. "Hurry back, ok?"

I kissed her and said I'd be back in a few minutes. I used Eddie's ring and found myself in the stronghold lobby. 


I reported in, and let my warrior know when I had found. "A dragon?" she said. "Nothing less. It burned my house in Caldera to the ground." I said. "Make sure you can move the merchants quickly to the underground caverns, if they attack here. Get word to Fast Eddie in the Council Chamber of what has happened. I will persue this issue of dragons myself.

I advised the steam centurion of the same information, giving him the definition of "dragon", and to have the other centurions warn the stronghold of an attack.

Once that was done, I used the spell of 'recall' to return back to my home in Balmora.


I opened my eyes and saw that Laurenna had already put on her armor.

"You look like you could take on an army of orks." I said, complementing her. "Oh, you!" she blushed. "Go get out of those robes and into something more appropriate so we can get going."


I changed into my hand-made glass armor, and came down the stairs. "Well, look at you." she said. "Well, we are going to a Dwemer stronghold, full of machines that walk around, guarding the place. Had you ever been in one before?" "No," she said, "but I'm ready for anything." "Well, then," I said, "take a few of these health potions, and let's get going."    


It was just a short walk to the bridge leading to the Molag Amur region. I had passed this way long before on a Mage's Guild mission, but had never stopped in this place before. I had always meant to come back this way and explore this stronghold, but never got around to it before. I guess this was as good an opportunity to explore this place as any.


Just as we finished crossing the bridge, we were attacked by a hungry alit, often described as a large mouth on legs. I saw it coming and used my own sword to put it down, even before Laurenna could draw her own.

"How did you know it was there?" she asked. "Oh, when you're a wizard, you have to know these things." I said, and gave her a wink and a smile.    


We made our way up to the entrance of Arkngthand. Laurenna said she noticed footsteps in the dust that appeared to be freshly made. That was important to know, since ash and blight storms were frequent in this area. Someone had been here recently.

"The tracks go right to this 'door' but I can't get it open." she said. I suggested we look for some kind of latch or trigger that would open the door, since this was clearly the way into the stronghold.


I was checking some nearby rocks when I heard Laurenna call me to her side. "What's this thing?" she asked. It was a pipe, similar to others sticking out of the ground, but this one had a strange crank on it. I gave it a turn, and it re-set itself to it's original position. Just then, we heard the shell open up. We turned and ran to the door, and stood on the platform in the middle. As it closed behind us, it exposed the door on the other side. At least now, we had a way inside of Arkngthand.