A FRIEND TO THE RESCUE
It had been a number of days since I was first infected with corprus. I awoke to find myself eating some of my own skin that had fallen off of my arm. It had grown back almost immediately, but I had heard this about corprus victims - eating their own flesh and growing more to replace it.
I walked to the waterfall, as if this was the first time I had seen it. I seemed to remember a cave tunnel behind it, and decided to see what was on the other side of the water.
I stepped through the waterfall, exploring the cave that originally brought me down here, not realizing that I had come this way to begin with. It was all new to me.
After finding a number of tunnels, I found one that brought me to an upper level, and gazed upon a pool of lava, the same one that greeted me here earlier.
I thought I heard voices, calling out someone's name over and over. It sounded strange. There shouldn't be anyone here.
The voices became louder, and I could make out the sound of a woman's voice (or was it two women?) calling someone named Eldorf.
"Eldorf!" I heard them say. "Are you down here? Eldorf!"
Slowly, I turned towards where the voices were coming from. I remembered someone named Eldorf from a long time ago.
Suddenly, the voices became very loud, and a bit angry.
Two women had come into my cave.
One was a Dunmer female, but the other, looked...familiar.
The first one said "See? I thought we'd find him down here. Primus said he never left."
I looked at them, trying to remember their names.
"I know you." I said. "I know both of you." I lowered my eyes to the ground, adding "I'm so sorry, but I cannot remember your names."
"It's the corprus disease, like I told you. His mind will go eventually." said the first one. "We must get him help."
The second woman spoke, and her voice sounded familiar. "Eldorf," she said, "It's me, Laurenna. We've come to take you home. Caius, your boss, has been beside himself since the last mission he gave you. You were supposed to report back to him when it was done. He actually came and asked me to find you."
"Laurenna." I said, trying to remember, "Yes, I know a Laurenna. She looks like you, very pretty, too, if I recall." The girls just rolled their eyes to the heavens and told me to get up to the upper parts of the caves.
"We're going to take you back to Balmora." said Laurenna. "We'll speak with Caius and ask him what to do."
I decided to do as they said, and we left the damp caves, heading to the upper portion of this placed (I couldn't remember the name).
I would see this person, Caius, and see what he had to say about my condition.
Once upstairs, the girls found my robes and belongings, and set me up for a long trip.
I liked trips, they are interesting. Lots of things to see.
On my way out the door, the machine man asked if he should come along.
I said "Sure, why not?"
We gathered lots of things to eat, got some water, and everyone was ready to head off to, um, someplace in the west.
I was glad the girls knew where we were going.
After getting lost once or twice, Laurenna said we were finally making progress heading towards ... that town were were heading for; I kept forgetting what it was called.
"Balmora!!!" she shouts. Is that a warning of some kind?
Ah, what a motly crew we seem to be.
Along the way, we encounter a number of very mean, nasty things that want to eat us.
The machine man always seems to run in front of me and hit the thing with this big ball on his hand, and knocks the thing right out.
The girls like to help, too. I bring out a small sword I found somewhere, but I never get to use it; they're too fast for me and I don't get to have any fun.
We finally cross a big metal bridge and the pretty one, I think her name is Laurenna, says we are close to, um, uh,
As we walked by a large fort with soldiers in it, I saw another dark elf standing by the side of the road, and wondered if he wanted to join our merry band of adventure seekers.
I walked up to him and said hello.
He wasn't very friendly at all, shouting about having me in his discerning eye (how could I fit in someone's eye?).
He went on, shouting about seeing me waking and sleeping, said joining some Dagoth guy in a mountain.
That's when the girls came up and asked him if he was looking for trouble. He looked at the two warriors, at the machine man, and then decided he was looking for something other than trouble.
"Come on, Eldorf." said Laurenna, "Let's get you to Balmora and see Caius."
We finally made into Balmora (hey, I remembered the name!), and arrived at my home. I remembered it, and I even had the key in my pouch.
There were very strange scratches on the doorlock, as if someone had been trying to pry it open.
Once inside the house, I went upstairs with Laurenna. The place seemed familiar, and I was starting to remember things again.
"Listen," she said, "I'll take Sara over to the Eight Plates and get her a room and some food there. Dump your stuff in the chest and go see Caius, tell him what's happened, and tell me what he says."
I agreed. I took out all my stuff and dumped it into a large chest near the bed. I kept a small dagger I found in a smuggler's cave, just in case there was trouble.
"One other thing." she said. "Keep your cloak on. You've got 3 diseases, and we don't want people screaming about your sickness, ok?" I said I would, and we all walked out the door.
We left the house, and Laurenna walked me to the door of the place were Caius was staying, I guess to make sure I didn't get lost.
Caius Cosades was very happy to see me, but was very upset with me as well.
"Eldorf," he said, "do you realize that I had 5 people looking for you, including your wife? When Sara, from your stronghold, arrived here I put her in touch with Laurenna, and they both ended up tracking you back to your very own stronghold."
I said I was sorry, then told him that the Gares person was dead, and he gave me corprus, and I didn't feel very well.
"Hmmm, with Dagoth Gares dead, the Sixth House shrine is no longer a threat." he said. "You've more than earned a promotion to the rank of 'Traveler'. I am also very worried that you have corprus disease, but I may have some good news in that department."
"What good news would that be?" I asked. "Some way to slow it down?"
"Well, maybe." he said. "I canvassed my informants for possible treatments, just in case you contracted the disease during your mission. I learned from Fast Eddie that your best chance of getting cured is Divayth Fyr, an ancient Telvanni Wizard who runs a Corprusarium for victims of the disease."
He turned and picked up some things from his dresser, and gave them to me. "Here." he said, "Take this Dwemer artifact and 1,000 drakes, and go to Tel Fyr. He'll like the Dwemer artifact. A gift may sweeten his disposition. The gold is for expenses, and you may need these levitation potions, just in case. They don't use stairs, you know."
I started to say that there was no known cure, but he wouldn't hear it. "Listen, Dragonmeal, get moving and get that stuff cured (and the other two you've caught as well). I need you to hurry back here because I think I know how to get the lost prophecies book that Nibani Macsa asked for."
"Wait," I said, "What is this Corprusarium?"
"The temple sends victims of corprus disease to the Corprusarium." he said. "It's located beneath Tel Fyr. Divayth Fyr makes sure they are well cared-for. I asked Fast Eddie what it was like, and he said it's a swell place, full of doomed crazy people with bloated bodies - you'll love it. You know Fast Eddie, don't you?"
"Yes," I said, "He's a month."
"You mean a 'mouth', a representative on the councel, don't you?" Caius asked.
"Uh, yes, 'mouth', that's what I meant." I said, trying to clear my head.
"Ok, now hurry." Caius said. "Mehra Milo says the Dissident Priests do have records of Ashlander Nerevarine prophecies, and she has an idea on how we might get a look at them."
THE SIXTH HOUSE ATTACKS!
I made my way back to my house, and saw even more fresh scratches on the door lock.
The door was still secure, so I went inside, and found that Laurenna had not yet returned from the Eight Plates.
I decided to rest, so I took off my cloak and robe, and fell into the bed.
Suddenly, I heard something rustling in the room, and was surprised to find an ash zombie had made it's way into my home, and was trying to kill me!
It was more instinct than anything else that caused me to bring out my dagger.
The thing just seemed to stand there, taunting me to make the first strike.
My mind was not as sharp as it used to be, and I took the first strike anyway.
I missed, but the creature struck me with it's fists, then reached out with it's other hand and raked it's claws across my chest.
I stabbed again at the monster, and this time my dagger hit it's mark. The creature stepped back, but then came forward for another attack, not caring about the wound I had given it.
Lucky for me, the dagger I used was Daedric in nature, and was extremely sharp.
"Who sent you here?" I shouted at the creature. It simply moaned in respond, lashing out at me with it's claws. How it could see what it was doing was something I'll never understand.
It took several more stabs of my dagger, but the monster finally died, falling on the floor in a heap.
Naturally, as soon as all the excitement was over, Laurenna came in.
"Eldorf, the door was unlocked, did you leave it open? Oh, my, what is THAT thing?" she said.
"It's a Sixth House cult member." I replied. "I think that's who's been scratching at our door lock. The thing tried to kill me."
"Well, if you're done with him, get rid of him." she said. "I've had a long day, and I'm not cleaning this mess up."
I disposed of the corpse, then Laurenna said she'd let me sleep in the bed. She didn't want to catch corprus. I told her about the possible cure in Tel Fyr. "That's wonderful." she said. "We'll start in the morning. I'll sleep in the chair, and keep an eye on the door.
As she headed to the chair by the stairs, she turned and said "Oh, one more thing." "What's that?" I asked. "Before we go, we have to stop at the temple and try to get some of those things cured, especially that Ash-chancre. I love you, but we really have to do something about that smell."
COMING UP: THE POSSIBILITY OF A CURE
(OR DEATH, WHICHEVER COMES FIRST)