We crossed the Odai River and into the Bitter Coast region, then continued the short trek west until we smelled burning wood. "What makes that smell?" asked Laurenna. I wasn't certain until we both got close enough to see Hla Oad a short distance away.


Two homes were on fire! The people were dashing madly about, trying to put out the flames.

"Looks like the rumors about dragon attacks here are true." I said, referencing one of the Hlaalu guards of Balmora.


We asked the guard if we could assist. Grabbing a bucket, we raced to the nearby shoreline and helped fill buckets with water.

Suddenly, we heard a loud roar, and all eyes turned to the sky.


It was the green dragon, returning to do more damage to the helpless village.

Children screamed, and people scattered in all directions, trying to avoid being either burned alive, or becoming dinner for this huge animal.

As it hovered overhead, I struck it with two spells; one that caused dire weakness to frost, and a second one of God's Frost. The creature roared in pain, but persisted in blasting more fire down on the village.

I used two more spells; dire weakness to shock, followed by a lightning storm spell.

Sparks flew all over the dragon, and it flew off, howling in either anger or pain, I wasn't sure which. More to the point, I didn't care which, I was just glad it left.


Shortly after the dragon flew off to the north east, we found a man lamenting over his missing sister.  "She was exploring caves just east of here." he said. "I know it is much to ask of you, but if you could please find her and bring her back here safely, she might be able to tell you where this dragon is hiding. She should be just east of town (or northeast, I'm not sure)."

We agreed to help find his sister.


Well, we went east, but didn't find her. We tried a little bit to the north, but didn't find her there, either.

We made our way too far over the mountains, ending back at the Odai River, checked the mountains there, and still had no luck.

We found a bridge and crossed back to the west side of the river.

The House Hlaalu stronghold on the Odai Platau was nearby, so I suggested we go there. It was up on a high ridge, and should give us a better view of the area.

By this time, night had fallen, and still no sister to be found.     


We ended up back in the Bitter Coast region and decided to start the search in the morning, beginning from the southern-most end and working our way north of Hla Oad's location.

As we located a safe place for the night, we came across the place where this strange group of wizards was supposed to be based.


Laurenna asked if I wanted her to accompany me into this tomb, but I suggested that she guard the entrance instead. She looked disappointed, but I told her I knew of this cave, and said this is something that a wizard should deal with. "Besides," I said, "what if this is where the dragon is living?"

She pouted, but agreed.    


Inside this tomb, I found the usual guardians, which were easily dispatched. If this was, indeed, the base of a band of wizards into 'unusual' things, they weren't going through a lot of trouble to stop anyone from coming down the stairs to find them.

I finally arrived at the bottom of what must have been hundreds of stairs and found myself looking down a very, very long hall.

There was a light at the end of it, but I could tell if there was actually anyone there or not. I proceeded cautiously.     


At the end of the hall, all I found was a light, and a small podium with a small chest on it.

Opening the chest, I found a note inside.

The letter indicated that the information given in the Red Book of Worms was fraudulent, and that this organization didn't really know how anyone could actually become a Lich.

It also stated that the things that were to be gathered and brought here (the troll-bone helmet, wooden staff, and diamond) was just a test to see just how dedicated one was to actually joining this group.

The letter went on to say that they called themselves "The Illuminated Order of the Invisibles", that they studied things that the temple had outlawed, hence the need for extreme secrecy about their doings. There was a key and instructions to visit a home in Balmora, go down to the lowest levels, and speak with Thuvien Demnevanni about officially joining their order.


There was one thing about this letter I found disturbing: it was addressed directly to me! It said that they knew I was not Senzani Na (the dark elf I had found in the cave that started this event), and just wanted to make sure that I was aware of the fact that they knew who was reading the note.

I decided to take the key and went back up the 2 million steps to the top of the tomb.


Laurenna was glad to see me when I returned. "Was it dangerous?" she asked. "No, it was pretty boring, not much down there." I replied.

I didn't tell her about the key.

The next morning, we continued searching for Salus' sister.


We didn't find his sister, nor was there any sign of a dragon to be found, but we did find a smuggler's hideout. After getting rid of the smuggler's, we checked out the crates they had amassed in this cave.

Among the normal stuff (weapons, soul gems of various sizes and shapes, armor, gold, etc), I found a few things I had found once before: ash statues. I wasn't sure of their significance, but I had found similar things in Sixth House bases that I had raided over the last year, so they had to be related to that sort of thing.

There was too much for us to carry, so we decided to come back later and get it when we had the time.

As we left the cave, we saw the dragon circling the sky in the distance, then saw it swoop down, blazing fire from it's mouth, and eating someone or something, then flew off to the east.

It was the girl, Salus' sister. The dragon had eaten her alive, and we had failed in our mission to bring her back to Hla Oad safely.

We would have to find it's cave on our own.


We decided to start back at the Hlaalu stronghold on the Odai Platau and work out way north along the mountain range. If this dragon was here, it would be somewhere in this area, since Balmora was just over the mountain ridge.

After several hours of searching, we finally found a small entrance. It didn't look like a smuggler's cave or tomb, so we decided to give it a try.

As soon as we got down the ladder, we were attacked by a large cave rat.

"Ugh, I hate rats." Laurenna shouted.

"Don't worry," I said, "that's what us wizards are for." and blasted the rat with a poison air spell.


The cave went deeper and deeper into the mountain until we arrived at a huge hall. It had a ceiling that must have been several stories high, 4 control boxes of some kind along the wall, (2 on each side), and some kind of dwemer machine at the end of the chamber.


Trying to play with the 4 steam controls produced no effect at all with the dwemer steam machine, except to make it work faster at whatever it was doing, and I still wasn't sure what, if at all, it was doing.

There was an exhaust port at the top of it, and I wondered what would happen it was plugged up.

Either a Dwemer tube or cylinder would stop the steam from escaping, but I wasn't sure which would work better.

"Can we do any more here?" Laurenna asked.

I thought for a moment, then came to a decision. "Laurenna, guard this spot for me. I will use my recall spell to go to a merchant I use in Caldera. I believe I may have sold him the very things we may need to complete this task. Also, I don't want you to take any chances. If the dragon comes here, I want you to use the recall amulet I gave you to go back to Lokken castle. If that happens, I'll meet you there, ok?"

Laurenna agreed, and with a blast of my own magic, I used my own recall spell to arrive back in Caldera, to deal with the most important merchant in Vvardenfell: Creeper.     


I remember, many months ago when I first arrived in Vvardenfell, when I first met Creeper. I nearly killed him, since he's a scamp, a deadrea from the lands of Oblivion, yet he never attacks anyone or anything. He has a very strange story as to how he got here, but he stays with the orks in their manner, located in Caldera. He buys just about anything, and seems to be very playful.

"I don't want to work. I just want to bang on my drum all day." he shouted as I arrived via my recall spell.

After he shouted that he's got booze (and I said I didn't need any, thanks), we got down to trading business.

It seems he had the very things I was looking for, since I had sold them to him a long time back. I took a dwemer tube and a dwemer cylinder, paid him for it, then headed back to the Caldera Mage's Guild office for transport back to Balmora.

We were finally going to get into this dragon's hideout. I just wasn't sure how I was going to do it yet.