A few demons tried to stop us once we reached the other side of the suspension bridge.

A few shots of my spark arrows and Laurenna's sun arrows fixed their little red wagons in a hurry.

Carefully, we approached the door, trying to find out what shrine this was.


At the door, the markings indicated this was Assalkushalit, and that's all it told me.

Not knowing if there would be friend or foe inside, I told Laurenna to use chameleon to hide herself until I found out who was hanging out in this dreadful place.


Yes, it was a bunch of bad eggs busy worshipping the god of madness. That sort of thing made me mad.

They weren't too happy to see me, either.


As soon as one of them saw me, he attacked.

He was a Nord, healthy, and holding a mighty big axe. I decided I'd better let him taste one of my "ring of leaches" before he hit me.

Within seconds, he was dead on the floor, and his health was now my own.


His other two friends decided to make a big mistake and get involved in the fight. The first one found out what my "Dracula's Ring" did, drawing out his life into myself.


The third one though himself quite the spell-caster, shooting off some type of spell at me. My astrological sign caused me to absorb all of it, so I returned the favor by using my Amulet of Bones I had made earlier, calling forth a greater bonewalker and a bonelord.

Exquisite amulet: 240 gold.

Gold needed to have it enchanted for me: 5000 gold.

Look on his face when he saw what was coming for him: Priceless.


I also added a spell of God's Fire just to keep him busy.

The Greater Bonewalker shot spells at this would-be wizard, cursing his strength until he was as weak as a kitten.

The Bonelord hit him with one damaging spell after another, slashing at him with those 4 bony hands.


I added a ring that summoned a Golden Saint, and even Laurenna came in to have a go at him.

In seconds, however, it was all over for the bad guy.


I didn't find much of value that we really needed here, but I did find an interesting book on one of the tables. It was titled: "The Importance of Where" with the sub-title "Ancient Tales of the Dwemer, Part III by Marobar Sul"

The story was ordinary, at first, but I was intrigued by it's lesson as the story went on:

The chieftain of Othrobar gathered his wise men together and said, "Every morning a tenfold of my flock are found butchered. What is the cause?"

Fangbith the Warleader said, "A Monster may be coming down from the Mountain and devouring your flock."

Ghorick the Healer said, "A strange new disease perhaps is to blame."

Beran the Priest said, "We must sacrifice to the Goddess for her to save us."

The wise men made sacrifices, and while they waited for their answers from the Goddess, Fangbith went to Mentor Joltereg and said, "You taught me well how to forge the cudgel of Zolia, and how to wield it in combat, but I must know now when it is wise to use my skill. Do I wait for the Goddess to reply, or the medicine to work, or do I hunt the Monster which I know is in the Mountain?"

"When is not important," said Joltereg. "Where is all that is important."

So Fangbith took his Zolic cudgel in hand and walked far through the dark forest until he came to the base of the Great Mountain. There he met two Monsters. One, bloodied with the flesh of the chieftain of Othrobar's flock, fought him while its mate fled. Fangbith remembered what his master had taught him, that "where" was all that was important.

He struck the Monster on each of its five vital points; head, groin, throat, back, and chest. Five blows to the five points, and the Monster was slain. It was too heavy to carry with him, but still triumphant, Fangbith returned to Othrobar.

"I say I have slain the Monster that ate your flock," he cried.

"What proof have you that you have slain any Monster?" asked the chieftain.

"I say I have saved the flock with my medicine," said Ghorick the Healer.

"I say the Goddess has saved the flock by my sacrifices," said Beran the Priest.

Two mornings went by and the flocks were safe, but on the morning of the third day, another tenfold of the chieftain's flock was found butchered. Ghorick the Healer went to his study to find a new medicine. Beran the Priest prepared more sacrifices. Fangbith took his Zolic cudgel in hand, again, and walked far through the dark forest until he came to the base of the Great Mountain. There, he met the other Monster, bloodied with the flesh of the chieftain of Othrobar's flock. They did battle, and again, Fangbith remembered what his master had taught him, that "where" was all that was important.

He struck the Monster five times on the head and it fled. Chasing it along the mountain, he struck it five times in the groin, and it fled. Running through the forest, Fangbith overtook the Monster and struck it five times in the throat and it fled. Entering into the fields of Othrobar, Fangbith overtook the Monster and struck it five times in the back and it fled. At the foot of the stronghold, the chieftain and his wise men emerged to the sound of the Monster wailing. There, they beheld the Monster that had slain the chieftain's flock. Fangbith struck the Monster five times in the chest, and it was slain.

A great feast was held in Fangbith's honor, and the flock of Othrobar was never again slain. Joltereg embraced his student and said,"You have at last learned the importance of where you strike your blows."         


We checked the rest of the shrine out, but there wasn't much there that we needed.

After disposing of the bodies, we headed back into the ashstorm. It appeared as though the only pathway was just ahead.


We followed the path for a while, but it lead right to the edge of a cliff. The ash and dust was so thick, I couldn't see what was ahead.

We headed back towards the shrine, but noticed another ledge to the east. I could see another pathway down there, near the Ghostfence, so we both used levitation to slowly float down to it.


Suddenly, just ahead of us, I could make out the front of a structure sticking out of the rocks.

It was certainly not a shrine, and definitely not Dwemer in design. No, this was different - very different.


A close inspection and markings on the door revealed that we had arrived at Inverness, Tower of Semuta, the Lich that held answers for the Illuminated Order.


"Eldorf," said Laurenna, in a worried voice, "this place, it's evil. I feel it. I don't want to go anywhere near the door."

Try as she might, each time she approached the door, she felt a cold chill pass over her, as if Death itself touched her on the shoulder, making its presence known.

"Guard the door here." I said. "I'll check it out. If I'm not back out here in 30 minutes, I want you to use an intervention spell and get out of here."

She nodded, and drew her sword to the ready. As for me - I fired up the Amulet of Shadows first - if anything was going to be surprised, it wasn't going to be me.









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