Reports of Spies (continued)

I returned to Jearl's house. The door was protected with a strong lock, but I had a spell that would open it. Normally, when a door is locked, no one is home, so I figured I'd be able to search around for some sort of evidence of spying activity.


The idea of a locked door meaning no one is home went right out the window. Jearl was home. She was not happy about my entering her home. She cast a spell giving her a full set of Mythic Dawn armor and a weapon.

That answered the question of whether or not she was a spy. Now, all I had to do was get out of here alive with the information.

"We shall feast on your blood!" she shouted as she approached.


"Just like the ones in your shrine did recently?" I said, raising my blade, blocking her attack.

"You cannot defeat us!" she shouted in defiance.

"Yes," I shouted back, "and as you can see, I'm doing a pretty good job of messing with your cult members so far."

I turned a pirouette, spinning my blade right into her, dealing a fatal blow to her neck.


As Jearl fell dead on the floor, her summoned armor and weapon vanished from sight.

"No!! You shall not defeat us!" I heard from a shadow. It was another spy!


Quickly, I turned to face this new attacker, armed with a very deadly mace.

"Die!" she shouted.

"You first, mangy dog!" I responded loudly.


She swing hard, this one. I deflected her swing with the technique that Baurus had taught me. However, this was a heavy blunt weapon being wielded by a strong opponent. I didn't want to risk my blade being broken in two by this attack.


I hit her with a shock spell. She survived it, but not by much. Now was the time to attack! I lunged forward, striking her with my blade. Its spell began to work, draining what life wa left in this spy into myself.


"We will drink your blood!" she shouted in defiance.

"Not today!" I shouted back. Another hit with my weapon and she fell dead on the floor, her armor and weapon vanishing before she even hit the floor.


I searched both of the spies for any clues as to what they were up to. All I could find were a few keys. Keys to what? I looked around the room, but one key went to the front door, and the other to ... nothing.


I walked over to the bed, thinking there might be a hidden lockbox there. As I walked to it, I felt something under my feet. It was a huge ring. Pulling the carpet aside, I found a trap door. Locked, too. The second key fit the lock perfectly. I decided to investigate.


All I found where a few stock food items, a bed, some odds and ends in a box, and yes, a few copies of the Mythic Dawn commentaries.

I noticed what looked like a spell scroll sitting on a table. I don't use them myself, but decided I might be able to sell it for some gold.

I picked it up to see what kind it was, but, much to my surprise, it wasn't a spell scroll at all. Instead, what I found made my blood run cold! It was a note from Camoran!

The Master was pleased to hear of your activities outside of Chorrol. The more gates that we open, the nearer we are to the glorious Cleansing.

The Master has chosen you and Laveri for a most crucial mission, a sign of your advancement through the ranks of the chosen. We have learned that the Septim heir has gone to ground at Cloud Ruler Temple, the Lair of the accursed Blades. The Master has made its destruction the top priority of the Order, and Lord Dagon has committed whatever resources are required.

Pending your report on the Septim's activities at Cloud Ruler Temple, and your assessment of Temple defenses and possible routes of escape, we plan to open a Great Gate in the open ground before Bruma as soon as possible.

Remember: the first three Lesser Gates represent only the preliminary stages of Great Gate Deployment. Do not in any way compromise your cover in defense of these gates. New ones can be quickly and easily reopened. And once the Great Gate is opened, the fall of Bruma is assured. Cloud Ruler Temple cannot stand long after that, and the Septim will be caught like a rat in a trap.

We would welcome any further details you can offer concerning the Imperial agent who rescued Martin from Kvatch, but again, we we caution not risk a confrontation. This individual is not to be trifled with.

"Not to be trifled with", huh? Me? Well, it was too late for that. They "trifled" and failed.

But Martin! They knew where he was. They were going to try to attack the stronghold of the Blades.


I noticed a slight breeze behind me. It was coming from a badly battered door. The same key that let me down here, fit the lock on this secured door as well. I felt I should investigate, but I thought that if anything should happen to me, who would warn Martin and Jauffre of the danger that now threatened Cloud Ruler Temple?


I started a trot back to the temple, then increased my pace to a full run. There was no telling how much time might be left before an attack took place.


I returned to the temple, shouting for Jauffre. A guard pointed to one of the doors, and I ran in.

"Jauffre!" shouted, "I need to see you!"

"I'm right here, Shakula!" he echoed back, sliding a claymore into a sheath behind him. "I see you're back and alive. What have learned about these spies?"

"Look at this!" I shouted, showing him Jearl's instructions. "They know!"

Jauffre looked over the notes carefully, figuring his next move. "I knew I could count on you." He looked at me with a smile. "The goods did not idly choose you as their agent, whatever you may think." he said, "But it is clear that Mankar Camoran will soon bring all his power to bear against Bruma. I will warn the Countess of the danger." He motioned to one of the guards nearby to bring him some paper to write with. "Oh, you should speak to Martin. I believe he has made some progress with the Mysterium Xarxes."


I found Martin right where he was the last time we spoke, and this time there were more than a few other books piled on the table before him.

"Martin, I'm back." I said. This time, he looked right up at me.


"Ah, Shakula, I'm glad you're back." he said. "What about those spies?"

I told him about the spies in Bruma and what I had found out. His face went to one of concern.

"Bad news, that." he said. "However, I might have some good news. I have deciphered part of the ritural needed to open a portal to Camoran's Paradise. The Xarxes mentions four items needed for the ritual, but so far I have only deciphered one of them: the 'blood of a Daedra Lord'. In fact, daedric artifacts are known to be formed from the essence of a Daedric Lord, from whence they derive their great power. Not an easy thing to come by, obviously, but we will need a daedric artifact. Bring it to me when you have acquired one."

"What about this book?" I asked. "How does it allow a portal to be created?"

"It's an odd book." Martin replied. "I've learned that the Mysterium Xarxes is both the gate and the key to Camoran's Paradise. In some snese, the book is Camoran's Paradise."

"What?" I said. "How can that be? Is he in the book?"

"Not exactly." he replied. "Mankar Camoran bound himself to the Xarxes when he created his Paradise, using dark rituals which I will not speak of further. A gate can be opened from the outside, however. It will be more difficult, as I will have to temporarily bind myself to the book. But I believe it can be done. I will continue working to decipher the arcane items needed for the binding ritual."

I thought about this for a minute. An artifact of great power? In my earlier adventures, I had been given one.


I took the soul gem given to me by Azura Herself, dropping it on a book in front of Martin. "Would this be what you're looking for?" I asked.

Martin gazed at it, almost sad that this was the item to be used. "Azura's Star. It is as beautiful as the tales that describe it." He picked it up, admiring its beauty and form. "Remember, this ritual will consume its physical form. It won't be seen again on Tamriel for many years."

I didn't realize that. It was a valuable soul gem, able to capture any power soul of any creature, be used to recharge something and not be destroyed in the process. But this was secondary in importance to me. "Martin, it is for the greater good that I give you this artifact. Do with it what you must."

"Thank you." he said. "Such an artifact would be hard to relinquish. I appreciate the sacrifice you are making." He secured the soul gem in his pocket. "I'm still working on the second item needed for the gate-opening ritual." he said. "I believe I'm close to deciphering the relevant passage."

"Is there anything I can do to help?" I asked.

"Well not for me." he replied. "But you should speak with Jauffre. He needs your help. Trouble down in Bruma, I think."

The gate! They are starting their attack already.


COMING UP: Gate Closing Instructions

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