THE DREAMER PROPHET
After our conversation with the kitty, we headed upstairs and encountered yet another ordinator. He also spoke of this killer on the loose, going after outlanders and ordinators alike.
Since, by default, I am also an outlander (and so was Laurenna, since she came from Lokken), we decided we should head back to the Office of the Watch in the Justice Offices and see what help we could lend.
After arriving at the Office of the Watch, I spoke with Elam Andas, the guy in charge of the ordinators.
He was gruff with me at first, but when I realized that I was not only Champion of the Fighter's Guild, Arch-mage of the Mage's Guild, and Archmagister of the Great House Telvani, he lightened up just a bit.
That 200 gold pieces I gave him helped as well.
"So," I asked, "what can you tell me about this killer in your city?"
"Here is what we know." he said. "Two outlander victims were found in the Foreign Quarter corridors, one on Foreign Quarter Canalside, one in a Hlaalu Compound corridor, and one was found in the water near the Arena. All the victims were armed, but their weapons had not been drawn, indicating a surprise attack. They had all been killed with a dagger."
"And the two ordinators?" I asked.
"The two ordinators were killed with the same weapon in the same manner. They were found near the victim at the Hlaalu Compound. We believe they came across the crime as it was being committed, or came across the victim seconds after the fact. The fact that two of my men were killed so easily indicates stealth was used, or this was done by a very powerful sorcerer."
"I don't suppose there are any witnesses, correct?" I asked.
"That is correct." he replied. "There are not actual witnesses to any of the killings. However, in Hlaalu compound, at about the same time as one of the killings, an outlander reported being threatened by a Dunmer woman armed with a dagger. He said it was dark, but he said he was certain she was a Dunmer woman with a dagger. He said she was dressed in a skirt with netch leather armor."
"I understand." I said, "I'll start with this area and work my way back to the Foreign Quarter and let you know what I can find out for you."
Elam stopped me before I could turn for the door and added, "If you find and bring this person to justice, you will have the gratitude of this office. Good luck to you."
We checked several of the cantons in Vivec, but not one seemed to know much about anything.
We finally made it all the way back to the Foreign Quarter canton when one of the ordinators seemed to know some helpful information.
He called two of the locals over and after asking them to repeat their stories to him, he gave his report to me.
"I may have some information that may be of use to you." he said. "One of the sewer cleaners said he remembered seeing a Dunmer woman down in the underworks. Mind you, there are a lot of Dunmer in the city, though not as much in the Foreign Quarter, but in the underworks, that is different. There is nothing down there but rats and sewers. Perhaps this is what you are looking for."
"Did this person say how she was dressed, such as netch leather, or anything like that?" I asked.
"No," came the reply, "he said it was too dark."
"Very well." I said, "We will check it out."
Oh good. Yet another sewer to run through.
"Another sewer?" Laurenna asked.
"It's ok, dear." I said, "If you want, I'll go myself. Besides, I have the amulet of shadows with me. I'll be careful."
"No way!" she said. "If she's the killer, I'm coming with you!"
I was about to invoke the amulet of shadows when suddenly, I hear "NOW YOU DIE!"
Instead of the amulet, I used the Ring of Weapons, providing chestplate, shield, and broadsword. The materialized just in time, too, as she was upon me in a matter of seconds.
She had tried using a chameleon spell to hide herself, which is how she could attack her victims without warning.
After the 5 second battle was over, I checked through her belongings, but aside from the few odds and ends, all I found was a rusty key, and no idea which one of the millions of locks it might belong to.
Laurenna was grateful that we didn't have to spend more time in the sewers.
After reporting this to Elam Andas, he offered several items as a reward. I chose one and thanked him for his time. He again thanked me for bringing this killer to justice. I didn't bother to mention that this is what his own people were supposed to be doing. For now, it was time to head back to the Foreign Quarter and find Huleeya and finish the last of these three interviews.
Once we arrived back at the Foreign Quarter, Laurenna and I headed to the Black Shalk Cornerclub, we were told by Caius that we'd find the Argonian by the name of Huleeya. It didn't take long to spot him, since he was the only Argonian in the place.
"You are Huleeya?" I asked. "Yessss," came the answer, "Your turn to ask, our turn to lissssten. However, we cannot speak here. These three dark ones wish to fight, and there is a fear that there will be much bloodshed." I feel more safe with my friend, Jobasha."
It seems that several dark elves, local tough-types, were giving the Argonian some trouble, so Laurenna and I needed to get him out of here in order to obtain the information I needed.
"YOU! Breton!" shouted one of the Dunmer, "What do you have to do with this filthy beast? We have plans for him!"
"And what plans might those be?" I asked.
"Filthy lizards," he spat out, "they should all be put in cages and made to work in the fields. That's all they are good for."
"Look," I said, trying to defuse the situation, "I have business to discuss with this Argonian. Why don't you...." I never got the chance to finish.
"So," he shot back, "are you some kind of lizard lover?" Huh? Maybe you want to have a lizard for a wife, eh?" His other friends started laughing. "Maybe you just like lizard tongue!"
I knew that both Khajiit and Argonians were still brought to Vvardenfell as slave labor, as decreed under the peace treaty with the Empire and Morrowind province, but the thought of such things was sickening to me. Both creatures were just as smart and intelligent as anyone else. Never in all my life, had I encountered such prejudice before. I decided that if reason wouldn't work, perhaps gold will.
One after another, 300 or 400 pieces of gold improved their mood.
Finally, Huleeya was ready to leave the club with us, when one of the dark elves noticed that Laurenna was with me.
"So, Breton, you and this lizard are going to share this beautiful Nord woman? You sick...."
He never finished his sentence. Laurenna was within arms reach of him, and she had heard enough. She spun around and gave him such a slap with the back of her hand that he spun around twice, then hit the floor. I put on the Ring of Weapons and brought my broadsword to bear, just as he started reaching for his dagger, just in case things got out of hand.
It wasn't necessary. Laurenna saw him roll on his back and reach for his dagger. Thinking quickly, she stepped on his hand with the dagger only halfway drawn.
"Think about it, little-man." she said in a most stern tone. "Even without a weapon, I can put an end to your hate-filled life."
"If you're lucky," I added, "I'll be the one to finish you off. Otherwise, you can live forever with the reputation that you were beaten to the floor by a woman."
He dropped his dagger. "I'm sure it was just a mis-understanding." he said. "Please, go on about your business. I am sorry that I troubled you."
With that, we left the Black Shalk Corner club, Argonian safely in tow.
The journey to Jobasha's Rare Books was uneventful. Once we arrived safely, I asked Huleeya about what he knew about the Sixth House and the Nerevarine Cult.
"Huleeya knows much." he said. "Perhaps you give this one paper and quill. I write down these notes for you to give to Caius."
He wrote a lot! His notes went all the way back to the time of the First Era, when barbaric Dunmer, settled Dunmer clans (also known as the Great Houses), and the nomadic Dunmer tribes (what we call the Ashlanders) were roughly equal in numbers and wealth. Under a civilized peace of what was called "The Grand Council" and with a strong central authority in the guise of the Temple, the economic and military power of the settled Dunmer peoples far and away exceeded that of the nomadic Dunmer tribes. The nomadic tribesmen were eventually driven into the poorest, and in general, the most undesirable parts of Vvardenfell, known as the Wastelands. For the Ashlanders, a return of a reincarnated General Nerevar would represent a longed-for Golden Age, when the nomadic tribes enjoyed equality with the other, settled, Dunmer. The nomadic tribes also longed for a return to traditional ways of ancestor worship, instead of the autocratic theocracy of the Tribunal Temple.
To hear an Ashlander tell the story of General Nerevar would be vastly different from what is found in the more conventional recorded history books.
It was a time in ancient days, when the Deep Elves and a great host of outlanders from the west to steal the land of the Dunmer. Nerevar was the great khan and warleader of the House People, but he also honored the Ancient Spirits and the Tribal Law, and actually became one of them. So, when Nerevar pledged upon his great Ring of the Ancestors, "One-Clan-Under-Moon-and-Star, to honor the ways of the Spirits and rights of the land, All the Tribes joined the House People to fight a great battle at Red Mountain. Many Dunmer, Tribesmen, and Housemen died at Red Mountain, the Dwemer were defeated, their evil magicks destroyed, and the outlanders were driven from the land.
However, betrayal was afoot. After this great victory, the power-hungry khans of the Great Houses slew Nerevar in secret. They then set themselves up as gods, neglecting Nerevar's promises to the Tribes.
The Ashlanders believe that Nerevar will come again with his ring, cast down the false gods, and by the power of his ring, make good his promises to the Tribes, to honor the Spirits and drive the outlanders from the land.
I decided that after this, I would have to research a little better on the battle of Red Mountain. His notes on the persecution of the Nerevarine Cult were also just as detailed.
The Tribunal Temple regards the mysticism and prophecy of the Nerevarine cult as primitive superstition. Ancestor cults, and the Neverarines in particular, have always decried the worship of living Dunmer as abominations, suspecting that the unnatural lifetimes of the Tribunal to be signs of profane sorcery or necromancy. Though the authoritarian and intolerant Temple priesthood has always been inclined to tolerate Ashlander ancestor cult practices, they have always threatened Nerevarine claimants with death or imprisonment. And while generally tolerant of various cult worships, the Imperial Commission of the Occupation outlaws cults hostile to the Emperor and the Empire itself, threatening members of such cults with imprisonment or death. The Ordinators are allowed a free hand when dealing with outlawed cults, such as the Nerevarines.
I was especially interested in the next note, as it appears that several people in the past have claimed to be this so-called Nerevarine.
In the past, others have claimed to be the reincarnated Nerevar of prophecy. The most recent one is known as Peakstar, a mysterious figure who has reportedly appeared and disappeared among the Wastes tribes over the last 30 years. The Temple notes that these False Incarnates discredit the Nerevarine prophecies. Ashlanders acknowledge a history of false claimants, calling them "Failed Incarnates," but they regard them as proof of the validity of the prophecies, rather than contradiction. Among the Nerevarines, there is a fable of a placed called "The Cavern of the Incarnates," where the spirits of the Failed Incarnates dwell. the Nerevarine cult is a mystical cult, and it glorifies, rather than shrinks from, contradictions.
I thanked Huleeya for his history lesson and notes. Especially the notes, since I doubted I would have remembered even a quarter of all this information. Now, it was time to report back to Caius.
AND THE ONE THING YOU FORGOT WAS....
I'll admit, I was in a hurry to get this report back to Caius, as it was a lot of useful information, except for one small problem: he didn't accept my report.
"Eldorf, these notes from Mehra Milo also indicate a book I'll need to complete this report to the Emperor, called 'Progress of Truth.' Did you bring it with you?"
I searched everywhere, but couldn't find it in my possession. Apparently, I had forgotten to obtain a copy.
"Idiot!" Caius shouted, "This report is for the Emperor! How can I send him something only half-done?"
"I'm sorry, Caius." I said, "I'll go find a copy of the book and return."
"See that you do!" he said, "And no dragon hunting until this report is completed, understand?"
I told Laurenna to wait for me at the house, and she agreed. I headed back via Mage's Guild transport to Vivec, then to Jobasha's Rare Books, but he did not have a copy.
Then via Mage's Guild to Ald'Ruhn and the booksellers there also came up empty.
I had remembered seeing this book, and I thought I had it in my own library in Solstheim Castle, so I teleported there, checking every bookshelf I could find.
Still, no luck.
Finally, on a long-shot, I used my stronghold teleport ring and ended up in Tel Uvirith, and headed up to my office.
Hopefully, I would find the book here.
I was in luck! I found the book in my stronghold library.
This 3-part mission would be complete at last.
Using the Balmora House teleport ring, I transported back to Balmora and gave the book and notes to Caius. This time he was in a much better mood. I could see from his bloodshot eyes he had just finished another bottle of skooma, and was feeling much better for it.
"This'll do for now." he said. "I'll, um, uh, have to write up a, uh, report for the, um, Emperor. That'll probably, uh, take a while with all these, um, notes."
I could see he was struggling to look sober.
"Why don't you take, uh, some time off, and come back in a few, weeks, no, uh, a few days, and we'll discuss further orders."
I said I'd return shortly, and left him to his own devices.
I just hope he was sober enough to put pen to paper without giving away the fact that he was a skooma addict.