TESA Redguard: Dwemer Ruins, Part 1

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In the second part of the Redguard Storyline, I went in the Goblin Caves to find Brother Kithral, but I only found his remains. After reading his journal, I went deeper into the subterranean passages, eventually finding the corpse of Archmage Voa and taking his ring. I returned to the Temple in Stros M’Kai and gave Brother Nidal the journal of his initiate, making the old priest trust me enough to tell me that the corpse of Prince A’tor was in his care; still, it was unknown why Iszara and Kithral had been looking for Voa’s ring.

Since there was no way to receive answers to my questions just yet, I decided to go and speak with one of the city’s inhabitants that I had ignored so far: Avik the Snake Charmer, who could be found in the Marketplace. I tried to talk to him, but he was too busy singing to his snake to pay attention to me, so I tipped him. He stopped singing.

Avik: Thank you, my boy. My name is Avik. How can I help you?

Cyrus: You play very well.

Avik: Thank you, son. No one visits me since those Imperial devils murdered that Yokudan lad. That’s right, Imperial devils! And I don’t care who knows it!

Cyrus: I’m looking for my sister, Iszara. Do you know her?

Avik: The name sounds familiar, son, but I’m afraid I can’t help you. Not many young people have an year for the snake-songs anymore.

Cyrus: Are you familiar with a group called the Restless League?

Avik: Can’t say that I am, but I mostly keep to myself. With the Yokudans banned from Stros M’Kai, I don’t have many friends here in town. Probably have to pack up and leave myself, soon.

Cyrus: How has Stros M’Kai fared under Imperial rule?

Avik: Things have gone to pot, I don’t care who knows it. Murder in the streets, where will it all end, tell me that? Where will it end?

Cyrus: Imperial troops have murdered people in Stros M’Kai?

Avik: Ach, when they came ashore, it was fire and sword in the Old Quarter. At least then they could pretend they were fighting the Crown die-hards. But killing that innocent Yokudan boy… If I was twenty years younger, I’d make someone pay!

Cyrus: Is the Old Quarter completely destroyed?

Avik: Might as well be. It was sealed off while the Imperials searched every house for “Crown loyalists”. Nothing but a ghost town now.

Cyrus: Tell me about this murdered boy.

Avik: His name was Hayle, poor lad. His family is still camped outside the city, waiting to finish his burial ritual. Yokudans were never well liked around here, but Governor Richton went too far.

Cyrus: Yes, unfortunately the Yokudans have always been treated as outsiders, all over Hammerfell.

Avik: A senseless prejudice, since their religion harks back to the earliest Redguard traditions. But our new Governor has done much worse than simply overcharge them for flour!

Cyrus: What did the Governor do to the Yokudans?

Avik: Murdered young Hayle! Then branded the rest of them traitors and ordered them to leave Stros M’Kai! Yokudans mixed up with Redguard politics — a preposterous notion!

Cyrus: Why do you say that?

Avik: You haven’t spent much time in Hammerfell, have you, son?

Cyrus: No. I was born in Sentinel, but left Hammerfell when I was… Very young. I haven’t been back in years.

Avik: I thought so — You’ve picked up a bit of an accent, west High Rock. Am I right? Well, as I was saying, the feeling against the Yokudans runs deeper than politics, even in a civil war. Neither side ever stooped to allow Yokudans to join their ranks. Even the Restless League was too good for them! But all that’s over now. Redguard pride has made us all slaves of the Emperor.

Cyrus: I thought you’d never heard of the Restless League.

Avik: No one pays any attention to an old Snake-Charmer ranting against the Empire. But the League… Now there is a dangerous subject of conversation… For anyone. Including young Redguard Swordsmen with a Mercenary air.

Cyrus: You miss Hayle, don’t you?

Avik: Used to love to listen to me play. One of the few people around here who did. Appropriate, I suppose, for one born under the sign of the Serpent.

Cyrus: The sign of the Serpent? Part of Yokudan religion?

Avik: The star-sign of his birth. Yokudans believe the stars guide your destiny, from birth to death and beyond.

Cyrus’ Logbook
A young Yokudan named Hayle was killed by the Imperials. Avik calls it murder. Hayle’s family camps outside the city waiting to complete the burial ritual.

Cyrus’ Logbook
Hayle was born under the sign of the serpent. Avik says that Yokudans believe that the stars guide your destiny from birth to death and beyond.

Cyrus: Where is the Yokudan camp?

Avik: I’m not sure. Outside the city somewhere, watching over Hayle’s grave. His poor mother is beside herself with grief.

Cyrus: I’m not familiar with Yokudan religion. Do they have lenghty burial rituals?

Avik: It’s more serious than that, I’m afraid. His mother, Saban, needs to counteract the soul snare that N’Gasta has laid over the island.

Cyrus: Soul snare? What do you mean?

Avik: Now that the Prince is dead, that foul Worm has woven a magical snare across Stros M’Kai to feed his hunger for souls. Unless you are buried in consecrated ground, your soul will go straight to N’Gasta if you die. This is why Saban still fears for her murdered son.

Cyrus: Tell me more of N’Gasta.

Avik: While Prince A’tor was alive, a name to frighten children, little more. But our new Imperial master has allowed the Necromancer’s dread power to spread unchecked until his soul snare threatens us all.

Cyrus’ Logbook
Hayle’s mother, Saban, can’t complete the burial ritual for the murdered boy because she has to protect his spirit from the soul snare set by N’Gasta. This soul snare, according to Avik, sends the spirit of the departed to N’Gasta unless the victim is buried in consecrated ground.

Cyrus: Why did Prince A’tor allow N’Gasta to stay on Stros M’Kai?

Avik: I don’t know. A’tor’s father, Thassad, first allowed N’Gasta to occupy the old Wizard’s tower, but back then, he seemed harmless enough. The Mage’s Guild complained of unsanctioned research, but they had little influence with old Thassad. The civil war kept A’tor occupied until his untimely death.

Cyrus: You seem to know a lot about the Mage’s Guild.

Avik: Yes, in fact I am a member, although you wouldn’t think it to look at me, would you? I’m retired now, but my friend Joto kept me up to date on guild politics. Until he was arrested by those Imperial devils, that is.

Cyrus: Why was your friend Joto arrested?

Avik: Do they need a reason? One day Soldiers came for him, and he’s been rotting in jail ever since.

Cyrus’ Logbook
Joto, a member of the Mage’s Guild and Avik’s friend, was arrested by the Imperials.

Cyrus: The Jail? Where’s that?

Avik: Up near the Palace. They won’t let anyone in to see the prisoners, I’ve already tried. I guess I should be grateful they didn’t just kill him, eh? Murdering devils!

Cyrus: Does the Mage’s Guild have much influence in Stros M’Kai?

Avik: No more! Archmage Voa was a Crown, A’tor’s right hand, but both perished in the Battle of Stros M’Kai. Jaganvir is an unworthy successor to the Archmage’s chair, if you ask me.

Cyrus: Archmage Voa was loyal to the Prince, then.

Avik: The Prince’s Chief Advisor. But his replacement, Jaganvir, is a disgrace to A’tor’s memory.

Cyrus: Jaganvir is the new Archmage?

Avik: Yes, a spineless Toad of a man, a perfect lackey to the Governor’s every whim. Still, a Mage of formidable power, whatever his personal failings.

Cyrus: Thanks, Avik.

Because I now had quite a bit of gold, I went into Gerrick’s shop and bought several items.

Cyrus: Gerrick, how are you?

Gerrick: Splendid, Cyrus. Splendid!

Cyrus: I’d like to make a purchase.

Gerrick: Splendid! What do you need?

Cyrus: The shovel over there — How much?

Gerrick: A sturdy shovel, just the thing for the intrepid Treasure Hunter! Guaranteed not to break, scratch, or dent! A bargain at only 30 gold.

Cyrus: I’ll take it.

Gerrick: A pleasure doing business with you, Cyrus!

Cyrus: How much for a torch?

Gerrick: A classic design, functional and long-lasting. For you, Cyrus, 20 each.

Cyrus: I’ll take it.

Gerrick: You won’t regret it!

Cyrus: That looks like a decent compass.

Gerrick: The one item no one should be without. Never lose your way again! For the small investment of 50 gold, peace of mind for a lifetime.

Orsone: Squawwwk!

Cyrus: I’ll have to think about it.

Gerrick: I’m sure you’ll change your mind.

Cyrus: Interesting feathers.

Gerrick: Ah yes, from the exotic Canah bird–A favorite of mine for they are bred on Summerset Isle. Bred for their beauty I might add. They make an excellent gift for 10 gold.

Orsone: I’m a pretty bird!

Gerrick: 10 gold.

Orsone: Squawwwk!

Cyrus: I’ll take it.

Gerrick: The best quality, I assure you!

Cyrus: What’s Aloe going for today?

Gerrick: Aloe leaves from Southern Hammerfell, the best, fresh every week. Excellent for soothing those aches and pains. And just 15 gold per bunch.

Cyrus: I’ll take it.

Gerrick: A pleasure doing business with you, Cyrus!

When I had finished buying what I required, I went to the Mages Guild and spoke with Falicia.

Falicia: Can I help you?

Cyrus: Falicia.

Falicia: Welcome back.

Cyrus: I heard one of your members got into some trouble with the Governor.

Falicia: I’m… Not supposed to talk about that.

Cyrus: Do you know anything about Archmage Voa’s ring?

Falicia: I’m afraid not.

Cyrus: Do you think Jaganvir knows anything about Archmage Voa’s ring?

Falicia: Wouldn’t tell you if he did. He doesn’t talk to mundanes.

After buying some health potions from Falicia, I went to J’Ffer to buy a book containing information about Aloe leaves.

J’Ffer: May your wisdom increase.

Cyrus: Hello, J’Ffer.

J’Ffer: Cyrus.

Cyrus: I’d like to buy a book.

J’Ffer: These shelves hold wisdom and folly in equal measure. Choose carefully.

Cyrus: Is Flora of Hammerfell worth buying?

J’Ffer: The authoritative work, no less, and for the bargain price of 15 gold, it can be yours.

Cyrus: I’ll take it.

Cyrus’ Description of “Flora of Hammerfell”
Flora of Hammerfell details the flora of my home province. It says here that Aloe, when combined with pure water, can have healing properties.

J’Ffer: May you grow wise with the reading of it.

I decided to go and talk to the Yokudans that were camping somewhere outside the city, so I left the city and followed a path leading north, encountering a few Imperial guards on the way (who were quite peaceful). Right after crossing the bridge over the waterfall, I saw a hole in the ground – it was the hole that I had made earlier, while in the Goblin Caves.

I eventually saw a small cave and decided to see what was in it. When I approached the entrance, I was attacked by a Breton Swordsman, who I quickly dispatched. By searching his corpse, I managed to find a map of the island. I then went inside the small cave, where I found a health potion, a strength potion and some gold.

I continued to walk on the path until I stumbled upon a beach, where I was attacked by a Redguard man who I easily defeated. I went east until I found the Yokudan camp – Or, at least, the one wagon that was left. There, an old Redguard woman was uttering incantations in the Yokudan language while kneeling next to a map of the constellations that had been carved into the dirt; there was tombstone behind her. There were two stones on the map.

Saban: Go Tuwhacca, nogo Tuwhacca. Go kukri, nogo ngaro. Tuktura nogoh.

I tried to talk to the woman.

Coyle: Go away! Leave her alone.

A young Redguard had stopped me from talking to the woman, so I decided to talk to him instead.

Coyle: Looking for something?

Cyrus: Hello.

Coyle: What do you want?

Cyrus: Is that your mother over there? Is she all right?

Coyle: Go away! Leave her alone. We don’t need your help. I can take care of her just fine. Leave us alone!

Cyrus: I wonder if you know my sister —

Coyle: Why would I know your sister? Why don’t you just go back to the city where you belong?

Cyrus: Have you ever heard of the Restless League?

Coyle: Why would I tell you if I had? I don’t need them, I’ll fight the Empire all by myself if I have to!

Cyrus: You sure do seem to hate the Empire.

Coyle: They killed my brother and I’m going to make them pay!

Cyrus: Who killed your brother? Imperial Soldiers?

Coyle: What do you care anyway? I don’t need your help.

Cyrus: I’ve heard about your brother being killed by the Soldiers. I’m sorry.

Coyle: Thanks.

Cyrus: Care to talk about it?

Coyle: It’s just hard, trying to take care of my mother, with Hayle being killed and we’re not allowed in the city and everyone else leaving. And now it’s just the two of us and I don’t know what we’re going to do. I’m Coyle, by the way.

Cyrus: I’m Cyrus. Again, I’m sorry about your troubles. What is your mother doing? Is she all right?

Coyle: Please don’t disturb her, Cyrus. If she doesn’t keep up the song of passage, Hayle’s soul will go to the Necromancer!

Cyrus: Coyle, do you know my sister Iszara?

Coyle: She was your sister?! My mother blames Iszara for getting Hayle killed, but I know your sister did her best to save him. She fought off ten Soldiers all by herself! I’m going to join the League and fight the Empire, as soon as my mother’s safe.

Cyrus: Slow down, Coyle. Are you saying Iszara knew your brother?

Coyle: I guess so. She brought Hayle into camp that day, all bleeding. But I’d never seen her before. She tried to explain what happened, but my mother wouldn’t listen, just screamed at her and told her never to come back.

Cyrus: So you don’t know why she was with your brother?

Coyle: She said she needed my mother’s help, but mother was too upset. I guess the Soldiers attacked them on the way here, but I don’t know why. Hayle was never in trouble with anyone before.

Cyrus’ Logbook
The young Yokudan, Coyle, says that Iszara came with his wounded brother Hayle to Saban to ask for help on the day Hayle was killed. Iszara tried to explain, but Saban was too upset to listen.

Cyrus: Do you know anything about the Restless League?

Coyle: Sure! They’re the bravest Redguards of them all. They’ll never surrender to the Empire. They even blew up the Governor’s ship, right in the Harbor! Do you know how I can find them?

Cyrus: Afraid not. I was hoping you could tell me.

Coyle: Naw. Hayle said they’d never let a Yokudan join, but why not? I figure they need all the men they can get now, and I’m a pretty good swordsman myself, you know.

Cyrus: Could Hayle have been a member of the League?

Coyle: No. He used to laugh at me when I said I wanted to join. Said I didn’t understand the way the world worked yet, I was too young. But I’ll be seventeen in three months!

Cyrus: Do you know how to contact the Restless League?

Coyle: Well, no. But I’ll find out.

Cyrus: Are you and your mother the only Yokudans on the island?

Coyle: We’re all that’s left. The day after we buried Hayle, the Governor banned all Yokudans from the city. Called us all traitors! So everyone else took passage to the mainland, except we couldn’t leave on account on the Necromancer trying to steal Hayle’s soul!

Cyrus: Why would the Necromancer want to steal Hayle’s soul?

Coyle: Well, not his soul specifically. The whole island is trapped in his evil soul snare, that’s what mother said. Anyone who dies without the proper ritual, their soul goes into his tower and he adds them to his army of Undead!

Cyrus’ Logbook
Coyle says the necromancer N’Gasta has set a soul snare over the entire island of Stros M’Kai. Anyone who dies without the proper ritual has his soul carried to N’Gasta’s tower to serve the Necromancer.

Cyrus: I’m surprised your mother is able to protect Hayle from such a powerful Necromancer.

Coyle: You shouldn’t be! My mother is a powerful Witch, the Witchmother of our whole tribe! If Hayle hadn’t been born under the sign of the Serpent, she could have passed his soul through the Necromancer’s web easily.

Cyrus’ Logbook
Coyle says his mother Saban can protect his brother Hayle’s soul from N’Gasta because she is a powerful Witch — The most powerful Witchmother of her tribe.

Cyrus: Where is this Necromancer’s tower?

Coyle: Cyrus! You don’t want to go there! The Necromancer kills anyone who trespasses in his tower, and steals their soul!

Cyrus: I’m surprised the whole island isn’t crawling with the living dead, with all the fighting that’s gone on here.

Coyle: Well, the city folk have their Temple to save them from the Necromancer’s snare. But we don’t believe that way. Mother needs to set the starstones to show Hayle the proper way to the other side, but she hasn’t been able to foretell the Serpent’s passage this season.

Cyrus: Are those the starstones over there?

Coyle: That’s right, Cyrus. Normally, it would be simple, but Hayle was born under the sign of the Serpent, and the Serpent’s path can’t be predicted.

Cyrus: This Serpent – One of the constellations?

Coyle: Yes. The other twelve follow the circles of heaven, Guardians and Charges, but the Serpent respects no master. It moves across the heavens, threatening the other constellations in its path. The only way to guide Hayle’s soul through the Necromancer’s soul is to place the starstones in the position of the Serpent’s head and tail — But there’s no way to predict the Serpent’s path.

Cyrus’ Logbook
Coyle says his mother is a powerful Sorcerer, and could easily guide her son Hayle’s soul past N’Gasta’s soul snare, except that Hayle was born under the sign of the Serpent. The other twelve constellation follow the circles of heaven, but neither Coyle nor his mother know how to predict the Serpent’s path. The only way to guide Hayle’s soul through the soul snare is to place the starstones in the positions of the Serpent’s head and tail.

Cyrus: I never paid much attention in astronomy class. Guardians and charges?

Coyle: Gosh Cyrus, everyone knows the three Guardians each protect three Charges in their own circle of heaven. Didn’t you learn the rhyme? Strong Warrior charges… Wise Mage orders… Clever Thief watches.

Cyrus’ Logbook
Coyle tells of the three circles of the heavens, and of the three Guardians that protect their three Charges, each to its own circle of heaven.

Cyrus: That does sound familiar. Sing me the verse about the Warrior.

Coyle: Strong Warrior charges… Steed prancing… Lady dancing… Lord advancing… Through the night.

Cyrus: What’s the whole verse about the Mage?

Coyle: Wise Mage orders… Apprentice learning… Ritual turning… Golem burning… Through the night.

Cyrus: How did the verse about the Thief go again?

Coyle: Clever Thief watches… Lover sighing… Shadow lying… Tow’r defying… Through the night.

Cyrus: So Hayle’s soul has not yet left this world for the next?

Coyle: No, mother’s song keeps it safe here until she can figure out the proper placement of the starstones. If she stops with the stones placed incorrectly, Hayle’s soul will be taken by the Necromancer’s snare.

Cyrus: If there’s no way of predicting the Serpent’s path, how can your mother ever complete the ritual?

Coyle: I don’t know. I want to help, but I don’t know anything about the stars. All mother can do is continue the song of passage to keep Hayle’s soul from straying. Cyrus, can you help us?

Cyrus: I’ll do what I can, Coyle. Don’t worry, you can count on me.

Coyle: Thanks Cyrus. Please hurry. I don’t know how much longer my mother can keep up the song.

Cyrus’ Logbook
Agree to help find a way to help Coyle’s mother complete the ritual which will preserve his brother’s soul from the necromancer’s soul snare.

Cyrus: Sorry, but I’ve got to go. Perhaps later we can talk

Coyle: I’d like to help, if I can.

After I finished talking with Coyle, I saw a Bull nearby and decided to… Uh… Talk to him.

Cyrus: Don’t suppose you know what’s going on.

Bull: Moooo.

Cyrus: Have we met before?

Bull: Moooo.

Cyrus: Ok, cough it up Bull, tell me what you know.

Bull: Moooo.

Cyrus: Oh, ok, so my sister is lost, and there’s these Pirates, and… Oh, forget it.

Bull: Moooo.

Cyrus: Blonde hair, anhk on his chest, been poking around that wagon. You know the guy I’m looking for?

Bull: Moooaaahh.

After noticing the reference to the Ultima series carefully placed in the game by Todd Howard, I decided to leave the Yokudan camp and go to the Dwemer Observatory, on the other side of the island. I went back the way I came, until I reached the bridge. There, I noticed a statue on the opposite shore, and decided to go to it.

Apparently, it was a statue of Thassad; unfortunately, its head had fallen off. While examining the statue and after finding two bags of gold next to it, I remembered Orsone’s words: “Pretty sister had her schemes, needed gold this time, it seems, twenty-one paces, as the head faces, buried there the gold still gleams!” As the head faces, eh? I went approximately twenty-one paces in the direction that the head was facing and I found a bag containing 300 gold pieces. After taking the gold, I went a bit to the south and then west, near the Ogres Tooth Mountains. I didn’t go into the mountains just yet; instead I went into a small valley with a ruined cabin. Next to the two crates near the entrance to the cabin, I found a bag of gold, and inside the cabin, I found a vial of Ectoplasm, a vial of Orc’s blood, a vial of Spider’s Milk, a vial of Hist Sap and an empty bottle. This must have been a spellcaster’s laboratory, but all that had remained of the spellcaster was a skeleton.

I went into the mountains, stumbling upon an Imperial camp. I got there just in time to see a Dwemer airship fly towards the city.

Cyrus: Imperial Guards. What are they doing up here? And what kind of ship is that?

I was quickly attacked by the Imperials in the camp. After killing them, I took the several bags of gold scattered around and I examined the Dwemer artifacts that were in the camp.

Cyrus: Dwarven artifacts. I wonder what the Imperials hope to find.

I left the camp and went southeast, where I found two Dwemer bridges above a valley that separated two mountains. Apparently, there were Dwemer ruins on both sides, but there was no way to reach the ones on my side without going to the other side first and going over the bridges. Since there was nothing I could do here, I went back to the camp and this time went southwest, following a path which led me out of the mountains and into the valley that separated the Dwemer ruins. I was attacked by many Imperial Guards while in the mountains, but I defeated them all.

I went east until I found a signpost, where I noticed that Guards no longer attacked me. I decided to go to the Dwemer Observatory, but on my way I encountered a strange statue. I put a gold piece on the ground next to the statue and it healed me.

I eventually found the Dwemer Observatory and went inside, where I found a huge Orrery and a male Wood Elf in a Dwemer wheelchair. Near the entrance, there were strange Dwemer steps, and on the walls near the Orrery there were plaques on the walls representing the constellations.

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