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Ghast's Pass

Author: 
Xan

Ghast's Pass

The player climbs steadily since leaving Azra's Crossing. Ghast's Pass muffles their footsteps as they follow the trail. The quiet calm belies a sense of danger.

The Ghast's Pass area is infested with some spiders and wolves. In one corner of the area, the player finds a Redguard warrior who has been eaten clean by the wolves. Pretty gruesome. Some of his armor is still in the good condition. The player takes his Iron Bracer and Ra'Gada Light Helm.

They stumble to a giant tree with some stuff hanging from its branches. The giant tree seems perfect as a place to rest. To think, to prepare themselves for the trials ahead. Then, they realize that this must be the Witch Tree that Skelos Undriel talked about. The leaves on the Witch Tree rustle gently, although there is no breeze. Suddenly, it speaks.

Witch Tree

"Adventurer, do you know struggle with shadow?"

Player

"So it seems."

Witch Tree

"These shadows form when great forces oppose one another. They are ephemeral, seeking permanence, power... To ultimately conquer them you must unbind them to the light. But only the fires of the heavens have light strong enough to bind them. I shall give one such light if you complete all the tasks for me."

Player

"What is first?"

Witch Tree

"There is an Orc, perhaps less than he once was yet more than he seems. To the east he struggles with unlife. Aid him, then return to me."

Player

"Aid him I shall."

The player goes east, and witness a magnificent temple, the Twilight Temple . And... two rotting figures are attacking an Orc, who is tiring quickly. The Orc looks at the player.

Olpac Trailslag

"Could I get a little help here?"

The player disposes those two undead easily. The well-travelled Orc merchant appraises and likes what he sees.

Olpac Trailslag

"I was examining that Witch Tree back there, when some goblins beset me in camp. They made off with my pack of goods. I tracked some of the blighters to this foul place. But Twilight Temple is no place for a honest merchant, or even me. You get my pack back and I will give you the best reward I've got to offer."

Player

"I will find it."

They enter the temple.

Twilight Temple

Twilight Temple is still, but infested with zombies. Despite the decor of the dawning sun, the first room that the player entered is particularly oppressive. Some power is restraining them in a way they cannot quite fathom, making the zombies in this room incredibly resistant to their attacks. They are the Dawn Zombies. The player has no choice than escapes to the next room. The other rooms are also infested with zombies, but they are easier to kill than the Dawn Zombies.

Later on, they find a room that felt free of the oppressive force and not full of undead. They notice a goblin in the far corner of the room. The goblin is terrified.

Scared Goblin

"Dead crawlers... too many. Help for potion and pay?"

Player

"I'm looking for a pack."

Scared Goblin

(the goblin shakes his head) "Ivgrizt sent pack... somewhere. He would know, not me. If you help, I will direct you to Ivgrizt. Help me get out of Twilight Temple?"

Player

"Why do you need to leave?"

Scared Goblin

"Need to find... Scroll of Dawn. Use that, hold that, and the dead crawlers by entrance can be killed. The Scroll Room is near entrance. Had too many dead crawlers. Had to flee." (the goblin shivers)

Player

The player retraces their way and evades again the Dawn Zombies, and enters the Scroll Room. The room holds lots of scroll -- they realize this probably some sort of library. They find a scroll with a wax seal, which reads "Scroll of Dawn". Upon reading the scroll  they learn the necessary technique needed to destroy the Dawn Zombies. Satisfied, they continue perusing the scrolls. One reads: 

"...chosen to explore this relation of world to shadow, Azra was the first to realize that shadows were not a mere absence of light, but a reflection of possible worlds created by forces in conflict. A light strikes a rock, and the shadow is a record of their clash, past, present and future. Other conflicting forces produced less obvious shadows, fire and water, wind and rock, or nations at war. With skill and patience the shadows of all could be read, and patterns teased out, emphasized or eradicated. Manipulating a shadow could, through contagion, manipulate the object or force which cast it. Azra was eminent master of this nearly imperceptible magic."

Another...

"...Azra attempted what had never been done before, manipulating his own shadow to such and extent that he instantiated and melded all possible Azras at the same time, crossing over from this singular existences in shadow. Ignorant Redguard soldier, fearing the power of Azra should he succeed, trapped and confronted Azra. The battle did not go well for the wizard. The hole blasted when he lost control of his magics can still be seen at the village that bears his name, Azra's Crossing. The science of shadow lost a great man that day, although others, such as Pergan Asuul, strive to take his place."

Lastly, they find another scroll with a wax seal, which reads "Scroll of Dusk". Upon reading this scroll, the player learns the necessary technique needed to destroy the Dusk Zombies. They also find Dead to Dust spell, a powerful spell to incinerate those undead, along with another spell, Drain spell. The player goes back to the entrance and eliminates the Dawn Zombies, and goes back to the scared goblin. Upon seeing the player the goblin jumps for joy, scarcely believing his luck.

Scared Goblin

"Ivgrizt last... in room that way." (the goblin points east) "The room has many jars."

The goblin taps his chest in salute to her, and then leaves the Twilight Temple.

The player goes off in the direction indicated by the scared goblin. Eventually, they find another goblin. He looks excited to see the player and shouts...

Ivgrizt

"You stink!" (seeing that the player takes the offense, the goblin corrects himself) "Ah... I mean you stink because you live, not rot. Pardon's, I am Ivgrizt."

Player

"How do you do?"

Ivgrizt

"Not well, but better than most of my band. The shadow master of this temple took our headdress."

Player

"Headdress?"

Ivgrizt

"He came with vermin, but we and our wolves drove him off. But he took our shaman's ritual headdress. Now we have no shaman."

Player

"I'm looking for a pack."

Ivgrizt

"Pack? Oh we took supplies from a merchant to help us in here. The last to flee took it with them, back to caverns."

Player

"I see."

Ivgrizt

"If you need pack, we make deal. You get headdress from hidden rooms in the temple, I will give you pack if you come to caverns."

Player

"That's a lot of 'ifs'."

Ivgrizt

(he shrugs) "There is other treasure. That would be yours."

Player

"Tell me more."

Ivgrizt

"We know the headdress is in the shadow rooms, near the Room of Midnight. But the room is locked. To open that door you must first open the doors in the Twilight Chamber, which lead to the Rooms of Dusk and Dawn. You need the scroll of Dusk and Dawn to open those doors."

Player

"Where are the scrolls?"

Ivgrizt

"There are scrolls rooms near the entrance, but we could not defeat the dead crawlers. Get the scrolls, open the doors. Then open the Midnight Door and find the headdress. Deal?"

Player

(The player realizes that they have already acquired the needed scrolls) "Sure, I'd like a challenge."

Scrolls in hand, they leave Ivgrizt's room and heads to Rooms of Dusk and Dawn.

The player reaches a strange room. This room has not seen the rough use of some of the others. It looks like a place of mediation and prayer. Most of the current denizens, the undead, seem to avoid this room. An obvious exception shuffles aimlessly in the south. It falls to its knees, raises it arms and emits a gurgling cry. After a time, it regains its feet, staring at the player.

Volstok Violet

(the zombie gargles) "Help... sha... key... save me."

Player

"What?"

Volstok Violet

"Shadow... twis... unlock... key... in temple. Save me?"

Player

"A Shadowkey? Here?"

(the zombie nods with a sound like too-tight leather)

Player

"I'll bring you that key."

The player continues to the next room. Undead mill about this room dedicated to the time of Dusk. As in the Room of Dawn, a twisted power thwarts her here. Luckily, the player has equipped themselves with Scroll of Dusk, and the Dusk Zombies are not a major threat anymore. Eventually, they reach the Room of Midnight.

Inside, the player notices a single person standing in the middle: Pergan Asuul himself. Pergan Asuul glides slowly as he takes stock of the player, his adversary. His reaction suggests that he does not think much of them.

Pergan Asuul

"Have we met? Did I taste your shadow in Earthtear Caverns? No matter. Your shadow is practically marinated in courage, a taste I acquired some time ago."

Player

"Taste this, monster."

They fight. Eventually the mage goes down, though it seems too easy. Pergan Asuul melts and bubbles into a dark pool, hissing. The player hears Asuul's voice:

"Once is done, but thrice has been foretold. But I have taken measure of your power, while you do not even suspect the measure of mine."

The pool seeps through the floor and vanishes. The player takes the Shadowkey that Pergan Asuul left.

Nearby is a Shadowgate. The player uses the Asuul's Shadowkey on it, and the gate opens. Inside they find some more zombies, and two Hungers, a lesser daedra. Apparently these two were summoned by Pergan Asuul to guard the room. The player notices a statue in the corner and inspects it. 

The statue is not stone, but shaped darkness. As the player looks at it, they sense that it looking back, calmly, waiting. They leave the statue and checks some chests, one of which contains the shaman's headdress. The player notices that this headdress is not just a mundane item; it's magical. It increases the wearer armor rating as well as fortify intelligent and endurance. A great artifact, indeed. Another chest produces smooth, gray gloves and a dark, supple shirt of armor; Twilight Gloves and Night Leather.

The player retraces their way back to Ivgrizt. Before returning to the shaman, they stop in the room where they met the strange zombie. They approache the zombie and touche the Shadowkey to its body. The fetid flesh peels from the creature revealing colored light which soon coalesces into a man. The man stares at his hand, then his arms, then at the player.

Volstok Violet

"I am Volstok Violet, merchant captain of Dragonstar. You have undone Asuul's handiwork. I am grateful. If you come to Dragonstar, seek me out in the western half of the city. I will then pay you handsomely in gold."

The merchant leaves, and the player continues to Ivgrizt's room.

Ivgrizt

"Most brave, most brilliant, you are a feared hero!" (Ivgrizt takes the shaman headdress from her and does a clumsy bow) "The merchant pack is in our caverns north west in Snowline. If you come to retrieve it, I will have it for you."

Then, he slowly saunters toward the outside world.

With all the Temple jobs complete, the player heads outside to speak with Olpac Trailslag.

Olpac Trailslag

"Blast those goblins to the Allfire. Still I am grateful. Anyway, if you could get that pack for me I'll make it worth your while. Here's 200 gold upfront, I'll wait here until you return and will reward you with the rest."

Player

"I'll get that pack."

They go back to the Witch Tree.

Witch Tree

"You have done well helping the Orc. I will give you a choice between two gifts. You may take a Steel Crossbow or a Dead to Dust spell."

After the player has made their selection, the tree speaks again.

Witch Tree

"Will you help a life as it battles sorrow?"

Player

"Yes, Witch Tree."

Witch Tree

"Help her, to the southwest, near the citadel of Broken Wing."

The player goes southwest. There, they find a woman standing near a cliff.

Rene Violet

"I am in need of a fleet and brave adventurer."

Player

"What sort of need?"

Rene Violet

"My mother's cameo is missing some bits of semiprecious stone around the setting. I was scouring the base of the mountains near Broken Wing, looking for matching stones. The Spire Thieves spotted me. I fled, dropping the cameo. I would greatly appreciate its return."

Player

"I will go look for it."

Rene Violet

"Please be careful, young adventurer, these thieves are not to be taken lightly."

Player

"I will."

The player sneaks into Broken Wing citadel. Two thieves spot the player, and give chase, forcing the player to kill them. The cameo is found laying in one of the corner outside of the citadel. The player goes back to Rene.

Rene's face lights up when she sees the cameo.

Rene Violet

"Thank you so much. If you ever visit the store in Snowline, tell them I know you."

Player

"My pleasure."

Rene departs, and the player goes back to the Witch Tree.

Witch Tree

"Twice you have accepted and twice you have fulfilled. Take this reward and return when ready for your final task. You may take one of these items."

The tree shows Ebony Leather Boots and Steel Boots. 

Witch Tree

"One last task remains. Are you ready?"

Player

"Yes."

Witch Tree

"Deep in the Twilight Temple lies a worshipper of shadow, Pergan Asuul. He has a key which unlocks the boundary between world and its shadow. Retrieve that key and show it to me."

Having already defeated Pergan Asuul and acquired the Shadowkey, easily she shows the Shadowkey to the Witch Tree.

Witch Tree

"You have served me well. You are strong compassionate... Difficult traits for shadow to twist. You are a powerful adversary and ultimate triumph may be yours. This shall aid you."

The branches of the Witch Tree flail as if caught in an invisible hurricane. Crack in the bark glow with a fierce inner light. The bark peels away, revealing a glowing crystal. The Star Tooth!

The player takes the crystal and thanks the tree. Before heading for Snowline, the player decides to clear out the Broken Wing Citadel and talk with Skelos about the Star Tooth. They head to Earthtear Caverns.

Earthtear Caverns

Skelos Undriel

(Skelos' eyes brighten as he catches sight of the player) "Do you have one for me?"

Player

"I do."

Skelos Undriel

(Skelos takes a Star Tooth, examining it with cool efficiency and a building excitement) "Yes, yes a magnificent start."

Skelos Undriel begins his research, and the player goes back to Ghast's Pass and heads for Broken Wing.

Broken Wing, Area I

Although the citadel looks empty, the player knows that The Spire Thieves run this building. The player sneaks in, but is immediately pelted with arrows. They see some archers on the parapets and a fight ensues. 

After defeating the archers, the player searches the citadel. It has many cells, some of them filled with prisoners. The player opens every cell and eventually locates Branson.

Branson

"I can scarcely believe my good fortune with your rescue, but I came here trying to find my family."

Player

"Your family? Here?"

Branson

"Not here, but the thieves who took them are here. I am hoping to find some clue as to their whereabouts."

Player

"Ah..."

Branson

"If you could find such a thing and bring it back to me, it would make the miracle complete."

Player

"I accept."

In the other cell, the player finds Helena.

Helena

"I have been imprisoned for so long I had nearly given up hope. However, I cannot leave yet."

Player

"Leaving would be good."

Helena

(she smiles slightly) "I came here to find the identity of the assassin who murdered my family."

Player

"Ah..."

Helena

"If you could find that name and bring it back to me, I would happily leave to hunt down the beast."

Player

"You will have the name."

In the next cell, the player uncovers a small effigy resembling a Spire Thief. The next cell holds another female prisoner.

Meya Violet

"They brought me here to pressure my family into helping Skyrim take Dragonstar. I haven't seen any other prominent families here. I listened to idle chatter from the guards who mentioned that some are taking bribes and colluding with Skyrim. There is a list."

Player

"And you need it."

Meya Violet

"Yes. With it, I could return to Dragonstar and unmask the traitors, perhaps turn the tide."

Player

"I will find the evidence."

The palyer goes deeper into the citadel, encountering and defeating Orcish warriors, Nordic archers, and thieves. The player then meets a friendly Orc who they recognize as Makor, the one that they helped in Delfran's Hideout.

Makor

(the orc starts to draw his weapon, then laughs) "I thought from what I saw you in Delfran's Hideout you would be dead by now."

Player

"That's gratitude for you."

Makor

"Oh, I am grateful. Delfran's chef was to be death of me. Our leader has been working with sorts unsavory by even our standards. Pergan Asuul for one."

Player

"Pergan Asuul?"

Makor

"Yeah, well... it is time for me to make a career change, but I need insurance before I leave."

Player

"Ah..."

Makor

"There is effigy in the locked and trapped cells south of here. I was on my way to get it, but you might have more luck... locks and I... (he shrugs)

Player

"I will get that effigy."

Makor

"Thank you. Here are two Persa Flowers to help you with the locks. Sell ‘em if you don't need ‘em."

Player

"Okay."

The player then remembers that they've previously acquired the effigy. They give it to Makor.

Makor

(he laughs) "So this thing has some power over Spire Thieves... once I can figure out how to work it."

Player

"Yes."

Makor

(he grins broadly) "Of course... they don't know I don't know how to use it, so possession alone may keep them off my back. Take this incase you have to go against the spire leader." (he hands them a spell web thread) "It is only usable once, but it makes his magic attacks for less likely to hit you. I was keeping it in case I... well... doesn't matter now."

"Good luck, friend."

The player continues with their exploration of the citadel. They come upon a guarded chest. Inside the chest is a map to a spot east of Dragonstar, where hostages are being kept. They realize this is what Branson was after. In another guarded chest, they find a slim journal of a man named Perosius, who recorded ‘aesthetic details' of assassinations he performed. This looks like what Helena is after

The player goes back to Branson and Helena.

Branson

(he stares at the map for a few moments then mutters) "That is a long way." (his shoulders square, he purses his lips and says) "I am off then. Your help was vital!"

Branson leaves the cell to go look for his family. Lonnasa goes to meet Helena.

Helena

(her thumbs through the journal, tears welling up) "So the monster's name... is Perosius."

Player

"Yes."

Helena

"Someday I will find him. My family... I... can then rest in peace."

She hugs the player, then exits the cell to leave Broken Wing. The player continues their exploration of the citadel. 

In a hidden room, the player finds an Orc officer who wordlessly attacks her. After defeating him, they find out that his name is Sergeant Bled, and that he carries a sword named Bled's Ebony Longsword. The weapon is known to help the wielder deflect blows. The player searches the rest of the room. 

Parchment after parchment is filled with records of bribes and payouts. It seems Jagar Tharn's purse is buying him a lot of influence in the region. This is the evidence that Meya Violet needs. The player goes back to meet her.

Meya Violet

(she looks sadly over the long records) "So many willing to work with the enemy."

Player

"Quite a few."

Meya Violet

"Perhaps Dragonstar is destined to slip from the grasp of Hammerfell. I suppose we could go to High Rock or Morrowind... or somewhere and start over."

Player

"You seem resourceful."

Meya Violet

(she smiles) "That we are. So are you. Best of luck to you." (she leaves the citadel)

The player continues on, discovering a huge pit in the middle of the citadel. They watch as one of the Spire Thief steps into the great pit, and rather than fall, he levitates upward and out of view. This is worth checking out. As the player steps into the pit, they find themselves caught by a gust of wind and levitate upwards. 

Broken Wing, Area II

They arrive in a wide open space that looks like an arena. Some clawrunners are waiting and immediately attack. Though their paralyzing attacks are a challenge, the player eventually defeats them. 

The player notices that there are teleporter platforms around the room. Some of them have destination to an area with a pit and towered platforms. The player has to do some precision jumping if they want to continue their quests. Some of the teleporters need Shadowkeys.

One of the teleporter in the northern area teleports the player to a big room. Inside is a single person, who the player recognizes as Perosius, the man who murdered Helena's family. They spit at his feed. 

Player

"That's for Helena."

Perosius

(he glances at the player) "I don't remember Helena. In fact, I plan on forgetting you as well."

They battle. After Perosius is dead, the player searches his body and finds a Star Tooth and a Shadowkey. With this Shadowkey, they can use the teleporter to enter areas that were not accessible previously.

In one of the rooms, they find a chest. Upon touching the chest, their shadow recedes into their body and their hands grow cold for a moment. Then their shadow returns, a pair of Shadow Gloves embedded in it. In another room, there is a guarded chest that, when touched, produces a distortion to their shadow just like the previous one. This time their shadow extends and falls over the corpses of the fallen. The player hears popping and grinding, and then a Skeleton Key appears.

Satisfied with the vengeance and with nothing more to do here, the player departs from the Broken Wing citadel and heads for Snowline.