Using my wedding ring, I communicated with Laurenna that I had found Dagerloft and was proceeding to find the hidden part of the dungeon that had just opened up.

Laurenna wished me luck, and with that, I headed back around the dungeon, looking for a place that I had not been to yet.

It wasn't easy. There were so many twists and turns that I got myself lost once or twice, but always managed to find my way back to a familiar spot.

I finally found an area that didn't look familiar at all, and headed into it. It ended up going lower and lower, until it went under water.

That wasn't so unusual, since a number of the tunnels I had been there here were under water, but this one went on for much longer than usual. I had to keep re-casting Vivic's Kiss, the water-breathing spell, even though it lasted for 100 seconds. I wished I had remembered to bring my Belt of Fish Gills, a belt I had one of the mages enchant for me, giving constant water-breathing. Too late now, however, I was already here. The tunnel seemed to go on, and on, leading off in several directions, some of which had several remains of those who had tried to do what I was doing, and didn't fare so well.  


After what seemed like a million miles of underwater swimming, I poked my head up out of the water and found myself in a huge cavern.

Again, torches lighting the way, so someone or something was here, but who or what?

And yes, in the distance, another dragon; not quite a baby, but not quite fully-grown yet. I decided I had better use my Amulet of Shadows and sneak up on it.

The amulet worked, and the only thing visible was the wake in the water from my body moving through it towards the shore.  


I stepped quietly onto the shore of the cavern, and studied the young dragon carefully.

Then, using Aryon's Helper, I summoned several creatures to my aid, and with one of my arrows, showed them who to attack.

The dragon was not amused. It looked around for who shot the arrow at it, but before it could do anything about it, the other summoned creatures attacked it.   


This dragon was no push-over. I had to keep summoning other creatures to help the ones I had brought forth first. At one point, I had 7 of them working on this dragon.  


This dragon wasn't giving up easily.

I summoned a few more creatures. Then, as they kept the dragon busy, I used several of my own spells on the dragon.

One Ring-of-Leeches after another kept hitting the dragon, causing it's life force to be absorbed into me. The rings were only good for one or two shots at a time before needing time to recharge, and I finally ran out of rings. I used shock and frost spells, along with poison gas spells.


After much roaring, biting, and clawing, this dragon finally gave up and died.

I almost wanted to give him a pat on the shoulder for being such a challange.

I decided to head into the next chamber of the cavern and see what was to be found there.  


In the next chamber, I found a huge set of doors, and just to the right of them, something very, very disturbing.


It was the body of Julius Estius, the person that Illwing Redwood told me about. He had come here to find the Staff of Tharn. From the looks of things, he didn't look as though he was successful.

In checking his corpse, I found some notes.

"I have found Dagerloft, and if I'm not wrong, the Gem of Peryite will be somewhere in this cave. With it, I will complete the staff of Tharn, and I will be able to control all the dragons, even the imperials. The Empire is weak, and with the dragons at my side, it will fall in a matter of days. Those fools of the imperial court will be forever indepted to me. It seems three dragon hearts are needed to disarm the drap before the great gate. Luckily, I have been able to disarm it without them, but it seems there was another gate in the past, maybe it was destroyed over time. According to some legends, this cave was used by a dragon as his lair, but if the dragon still lives, he has to be still in a deep sleep, so I should not be bothered by it. I am very close to my goal now. Behind these gates lies my destiny."

The note was signed "Julius Estius".


The note gave me pause to think for a moment. Julius wanted to not just control the dragons, but use them to conquer all of Tamriel, using the power of the Staff of Tharn.

If this was the case, why was he lying here dead, if he was so close to his goal?

I was tired after all that swimming, many of my enchanted rings needed time to recharge, so I felt it was best to rest here for a few hours with my silent friend, pondering what he could have done wrong to leave him out there, guarding such a huge set of doors with his dead self.

Reluctantly, I sat on the other side of the doors, closed my eyes, and rested for a short while. There would be plenty of time to do battle in a few hours time. The dragon had waited this long, he would wait a little while longer.    




Coming up:
The battle with the big cheese himself.