I approached the lighted area of the cavern, and found one of Fyr's daughters there, chatting with a person, the likes of which I had never seen.

Or had I?

His body was distorted by corprus, yet seemed to have his mind with him. As I moved closer, his face looked like that of something I had seen over and over again. Then, it hit me: He had pretty much the same face as those statues that guard the outside of those Dwemer strongholds that are scattered all over the empire of Tamriel - those strongholds that have been left alone and abandoned all these thousands of years. The stories of the Dwemer disappearing so many thousands of years ago crossed my mind, yet, here, in front of me, was the last living member of the Dwemer race!    


"Interesting charm you have there." said Uupse Fyr, as my spell from the amulet of shadows died. "I am Uupse Fyr, daughter of Divayth Fyr. I assist my father in caring for the victims of corprus." She peered at my amulet. "It was wise of you to use that to get here." she said. "The warden does not take kindly to anyone abusing his charges, and neither do I."

"I was sent here by your father to pick up a pair of boots." I said, still in shock of the person standing just a few feet away from me.

"Oh, yes." I heard a voice say. "They're quite ready."  


"Yes, yes, over here, old man." he said. "Here are the boots you're looking for." Yagrum reached over and tossed them to me. I knew them - they were the Dwemer boots of flying, and using them would give the owner 60 seconds of levitation. Apparently, these had some sort of problem. "Oh," he said, reading the question on my face, "Lord Fyr obtained these enchanted boots from some thief, and if you notice the quality of the craftsmanship, well, it's no wonder why he fell sooner than expected. You may advise Lord Fyr that the fundamental enchantment is flawed, and one might as well just start over with them, if such a pair of boots could still be fashioned in these benighted latter days. But, I have done my best. Take them to Lord Fyr, with my sincere apologies."   


I took the boots, but I had to ask questions of this person. "Excuse me, but how did you come to be in this place?"

"Oh, I must say," he replied in a jovial manner, "I owe my life to Lord Fyr. He took me in when I was a mad monster, out of my mind, quite the monster, I was. In time, I emerged from my dementia, and, now, thanks to Lord Fyr, I am quite lucid, well, most of the time, anyway." He rolled his eyes skyward and laughed. "Of course, my body is still a grotesque and useless prison, though, as you can see, I'm pretty handy with mechanical things, like this walker." He smiled, which I thought was odd for someone with corprus. "There is still some feeble hope for a cure. Lord Fyr has tried many spells and potions. None have helped me, but then again, they have not harmed me, either. But I am still hopeful. If anyone can figure out a cure for this disease, Lord Fyr can."

He had the walker move over a bit and he picked up a cup of water, drank it, and then returned to his original position. "But, I see you also have the beginnings of corprus as well. How far along are you? Let me see."   


Though he was no doctor, I could tell he had a professional interest in my condition. After all, I might become a permanent resident here. With a little hesitation on my part, I removed my cloak, with the signs of corprus all over me now.

"Ah, you must be experiencing the fade-in fade-out part of the disease, right? You're in one place one minute, and the next thing you know, you're someplace else, and have no idea how much time passed or ever how you got there."

"Yes, that's true." I said. "I was supposed to head for home as soon as I got the disease, but ended up wandering miles out of the way."   


"I have to ask." I said. "What happened to your race?"

"Oh, that is a long story." he said. "Once, I was a Master Crafter in the service of Lord Kagrenac, chief architect of the great Second Empire freeholds, and the greatest enchanter of his time. I could not match the genius of Lord Kagrenac, but what he could envision, I and my colleagues could build. All of that is gone forever, of course. Oh, I still retain my cunning, but I am old now; my hands and eyes fail me, and my memories have long faded. My only consolation is each day to mock the gods who destroyed my race and condemned me to this bleak existence."

He went into a coughing fit, and Uupse had to help him regain his composure.

"The disease affects the internal organs, you know." he said, explaining his cough. "You know, since the disappearance of the Dwarves, I have been alone in this world, trapped in this grim prison. I can scarcely move. You've seen my fellow inmates - they're scarcely good company. Ask philosophical questions of them, and they just moan their reply. Hardly good company." He chuckled again, maintaining a sense of humor in spite of his condition. "If you were to meet with any cultivated minds undaunted by the terrors of the Corprusarium, you might mention your recent interview with the last living Dwarf."   


"The last living Dwarf." I repeated.

"Ha ha, yes, that is how I style myself." he replied. "I do not know for a fact that I am the last. But in my travels thousands of years ago, I never encountered another. And since I have been here, I often ask Lord Fyr, but he says he has never heard a credible rumor of another Dwemer, in Tamriel, or in any Outer Realm."

"What happened to your people?" I asked.

"That's the odd part of it." he replied. "I cannot say what happened, since I was not there to observe. I was in an Outer Realm at the time, and when I came back, my people were gone. I left Red Mountain, wandering Tamriel for years, searching our deserted colonies, looking for a survivor or an explanation. Then a long, long time ago, I returned to Red Mountain, still looking for answers. Instead, I found corprus disease, and I have been here ever since."

I felt sad - here was the one living being of his race, and even he didn't know what happened to them.

"Do you have any theories as to what might have happened?" I asked.   


Yagrum stroked his beard thoughtfully, then responded: "Yes, I do, actually. Lord Kagrenac, the foremost arcane philosopher and magecrafter of my era, devised tools to shape mythopoeic forces, intending to transcend the limits of Dwemer mortality. However, in reviewing his formulae, some logicians argued that side effects were unpredictable, and errors might be catastrophic."

I could see where this was leading. Something must have gone very wrong.

"I think Kagrenac might have succeeded in granting our race eternal life, with unforeseen consequences - such as wholesale displacement to an Outer Realm."

"Really?" I asked.

His face changed from a smile to a serious look. "Or he may have erred, and utterly destroyed our race completely."

I felt sad for him, losing his people like that, and if what he said was true, then his people were now gods, but in a different plane of existence, or just plain dead.

"Oh, but enough about sad tales." he said. "You have the boots, so take them to Lord Fyr and see if he can help you. Oh, and if you decide to stay, come back here, will you? I'd love to have someone to chat with, while you can still chat."   


I put my cloak back on and headed back out of the Corprusarium.

I did have one comforting thought in the back of my mind: If the cure didn't work, at least I would be in good company until my mind left me.   



I returned to the tower chamber, and gave the Dwemer boots to Divayth, along with Yagrum's statement about their condition.

"I see you met my most famous guest." he grinned. "I thought you'd be surprised by him. None of them are left in the entire world, you know, so he's a rare one."

"Yes, I see that." I replied. "He is a most interesting person."

"Have you made a decision as to whether or not you wish to risk taking this cure I have put together?"

I thought about it for a moment, thinking about the walking hunks of flesh I had seen, their mental state, and so on, then made my decision.

"I'll try to cure." I said.   


"Then there is something I need to tell you." he said. "I need you to use it in front of me. I will observe the reaction. I believe I have mixed it with the proper amounts of cure and restore chemicals, but I believe I may try something different - I may try to do a restore health spell on you at the same time. It may counter the deadly side-effect I've been seeing lately. Do you understand?"

I had no choice, and it sounded like he had a plan, so I agreed to his idea.  


I took the potion from him, closed my eyes, and drank it.

Like any "cure disease" potion, I could feel it doing it's work. But unlike other situations, it felt like the disease was fighting back.

I started slipping away,

into the depths,

into darkness.

Suddenly, I heard the sound of a "restore health" spell being done. It was Divayth Fyr, doing just as he said he would do - counter the deadly side effects of the potion with a spell of his own.

My head was spinning, and all I could see were stars in front of my eyes. Everything grew dark for a moment. A few seconds later, and my sight returned, and I beheld a very amazed Telvani wizard.  


"You, you brought me back." I said.

"Yes, the plan worked." he replied, gleefully. "Let me check your skin, your eyes, your tongue. Amazing. I think it worked. No sign of the disease at all. Of course, you still have corprus disease, just like I planned. But all your symptoms are gone."

"You mean, I'll still have this thing forever?" I asked.

"Of course." he replied. "You see, the problem was that it's not a normal disease. It's of a supernatural design, and has no cure. Naturally, if you try to cure it, it'll end up killing the victim, and that's no good. But I found a way to totally suppress it forever. And you'll have the side-effect of being totally immune to any and all other diseases, since corprus victims can't get any."

He looked at my worried face.

"Oh, don't worry, you won't spread it to anyone, either."

That made me feel a whole lot better.

I thanked him for his time and trouble. He said thanks wasn't necessary, he was just glad that his years of experimenting were not a waste of time. "I'm going to try it on some of the more desperate inmates." he said.  


It was late, so I decided to head back to the camp where the two girls were staying, waiting for word as to whether I was staying in the dungeon, dead, or coming home cured.


Sara was happy to see that I was alive and well.

Laurenna was overjoyed! "Wow!" she said, "And here you were ready to give up!"

"Oh, I think that was overstating it a bit." I said. "I don't remember ever saying I was going to quit."

"Oh, I bet there's a bunch of stuff you don't remember." she replied, with a big grin in her face.

We decided to spend the night there, and head back to Balmora in the morning. I did remember something about Caius, and the lost prophecies books that we had to find.