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A Pearl of Great Price

Author: 
Anonymous

Ritemaster Iachesis

The next step involves a thorough examination of the strange pearl you and Valsirenn recovered from beneath the Shimmerene monastery. Hopefully, we can learn more about the false Aldarch and the source of the pearl's magic.

Player

You can use magic to get the pearl to reveal all that?

Ritemaster Iachesis

We are the Psijic Order, friend of Valsirenn. There is very little we cannot accomplish through the application of the Old Ways. Every object remembers its history. The trick involves selecting the correct ritual to reveal those buried memories.

Player

Can I do anything to help?

Ritemaster Iachesis

While I head inside to begin the augury ritual, I'd like you to go to Sotha Sil's study in the tower. Find my acolyte, Oriandra, and ask her for Sotha Sil's amplification elixir. We may need it if the pearl proves to be resistant to our magic.

Player

I'll find Oriandra and get the amplification elixir.

The player headed inside, but still had a few other questions they wanted to ask Iachesis.

Ritemaster Iachesis

Oriandra should be in Sotha Sil's chambers, cataloging his old research and experiments. Tell her I need the amplification elixir to strengthen our augury ritual.

That should help us determine what the pearl is and where it came from.

Player

Valsirenn called you the Ritemaster. Does that make you the leader of the Psijic Order?

Ritemaster Iachesis

Leader implies command and a level of structure more suited to an army than an order of mystic monks. That said, I oversee the Psijic Order and our Conclave of the Eleven Forces. Someone must steer the ship, after all.

Is there something else?

Player

Where is this place, exactly?

Ritemaster Iachesis

You have traveled across the mystic realms to reach the island we call Artaeum.

As an uninitiated, this may sound confusing, but the Psijic Order changes the location of its headquarters on occasion. And by that I mean we move the entire island.

Player

So we're not in Tamriel?

Ritemaster Iachesis

Tamriel? My friend, you left the boundaries of Nirn behind you when you stepped through that portal.

Only a select few not of our order are ever granted this honor. Luminaries such as Sotha Sil and yourself. To everyone else, Artaeum remains sealed.

Player

Can't you use magic to summon the component you need?

Ritemaster Iachesis

The ritual has reached a critical stage. If we stop now, we'll have to start all over again. Besides, such a trivial sue of magic is beneath members of the Psijic Order.

Find my acolyte, Oriandra. She's the only Imperial currently in the Order.

Player

Aren't the members of the Psijic Order all High Elves?

Ritemaster Iachesis

While the majority of our order falls under the Altmer persuasion, we sometimes invite those of other races who possess powerful magical talents to join us. Oriandra is one such individual.

Now, if you would, we really need that ritual component.

Player

There was a prophecy about Summerset, Artaeum, and three dark princes.

Ritemaster Iachesis

The Wyress oracle's prophecy. Yes, she informed me of her vision. That's why I agreed to Valsirenn's request to involve you in this matter.

Summerset, Artaeum, and the Daedric Princes that Sotha Sil warned us about. Coincidences, perhaps. Or …

Player

Or what?

Ritemaster Iachesis

Or there's a greater threat facing us than what we have so far been made aware of.

I don't sense Daedric magic in the pearl, but there is a stronger presence that I can't quite identify. That's why I need that component form Oriandra.

Player

Satisfied for now, the player heads upstairs through a portal to Sotha Sil's study. They find Oriandra inside, as promised.

Oriandra

You must be the adventurer that Valsirenn was going on about. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to our secret island.

Oh. I suppose you already talked to the Ritemaster, seeing as you're here in Ceporah Tower.

Player

The Ritemaster sent me to get an amplification elixir for the ritual they're conducting.

Oriandra

That strange pearl has certainly been reluctant to reveal its secrets. The Ritemaster hates it when an inanimate object refuses to cooperate.

Regarding the amplification elixir, I just cataloged it. It's a Sotha Sil creation, as you'd expect.

Player

Sotha Sil's a member of the Psijic Order?

Oriandra

Hmm? What? No, not in the traditional sense. He's not one of our monks, if that's what you're asking. More like an honorary member, I guess you'd say.

According to my records, the silver vial should be right over there.

Player

I'll find it.

Oriandra

As soon as the pearl arrived via Valsirenn's transference spell, the Ritemaster gathered the Conclave to prepare an augury ritual. He's been cycling sages through to keep them fresh while slowly increasing the intensity of the ritual.

Player

So why aren't you helping with the ritual?

Oriandra

I'm the Ritemaster's acolyte. I have other duties to perform. Besides, such a complex ritual requires the power of the Conclave of the Eleven Forces. I'm not that strong yet.

Under the Ritemaster's tutelage, I expect to attain that rank. One day.

Player

I'm not sure I understand where we are. How did the Psijics hide Artaeum?

Oriandra

I'm not allowed to reveal where you are or how our magic works, other than to tell you that you have arrived upon the fabled island of the Psijic Order, Artaeum.

While we're not currently part of Nirn's reality, we still keep track of events there.

Player

Depending on the player's race, Oriandra has a bit of dialog about her joining the order.

(If the player is an Altmer)

Player

How did a non-High Elf end up in the Psijic Order?

Oriandra

Why does every High Elf think they're superior to the rest of us? Being an Altmer isn't a prerequisite for joining the Psijic Order. The Ritemaster saw my potential and honored me with an invitation.

I'm proud of what I've accomplished here.

(If the player is not an Altmer)

Player

How did an imperial end up in the Psijic Order?

Oriandra

Despite opinions to the contrary, being an Altmer isn't a prerequisite for membership in the Psijic Order. The Ritemaster noticed my potential and invited me to join.

I had a year to consider the offer, but I made my decision immediately.

Player

How do you manage to keep track of events on Nirn from wherever this is?

Oriandra

I could say we have our ways and leave it at that, but you deserve a better explanation.

The Ritemaster sends Psijics back to the world to perform tasks and gather information. Plus, we have powerful scrying magic that reveals all sorts of details.

Player

I better find that elixir the Ritemaster requested.

Oriandra

I was examining the vial of amplification elixir myself just a short time ago. It should be right over there.

Player

The player indeed finds the elixir nearby. They bring it back downstairs to the Ritemaster.

Ritemaster Iachesis

Was Oriandra able to direct you to the proper elixir? Without something to amplify the magic, our ritual is going to fail.

Player

Here's the amplification elixir you requested.

Ritemaster Iachesis

Just in time! For the next stage of the ritual, if you have no objections, I'd like you to join us. Your experiences alongside Valsirenn might help reveal what has so far eluded our efforts.

Player

How can I help with the ritual?

Ritemaster Iachesis

We'll handle the magic. You pour the elixir into the scrying pool and stand close. As the ritual's power amplifies, your experiences with the pearl and the false Aldarch should help the augury do its job.

Player

And what is the augury's job exactly?

Ritemaster Iachesis

We want to discover the origin of the pearl and its strange magic. In addition, anything we can learn about the false Aldarch and his connection to the pearl would be helpful.

Otherwise, we're stepping blindly into Oblivion's maw here.

Player

All right, tell me what you need me to do.

Ritemaster Iachesis

Pour the elixir into the pool. That should provide the final boost we need to trigger the augury.

Player

The player pours the elixir into the pool. The pearl rises up and three ghostly figures appear. One of them is the Aldarch Tilcalar, but the other two are unknown.

Aldarch Tilacar

Here we stand, the most favored servants of Clavicus Vile, Mephala, and Nocturnal, on the verge of the greatest victory for our Princes!

Nocturnal's Earl

Are you sure those creatures can be trusted?

Aldarch Tilacar

Have no fear! Isn't that why we formed the Court of Bedlam? Besides, what happens next in Rellenthil will seal Summerset's fate!

The vision concludes here.

Ritemaster Iachesis

That … was unnerving. It seems the false Aldarch belonged to an alliance of Daedric cultists called the Court of Bedlam. Imagine, the faithful of Clavicus Vile, Mephala, and Nocturnal working together.

This is more serious than I anticipated.

Player

Have you ever heard of the Court of Bedlam?

Ritemaster Iachesis

No, but I'm hardly an expert on the Daedric cults of Tamriel. The magic I sensed in the pearl, though. It doesn't contain the taint of Oblivion. We're missing something, but what?

I suppose we'll need to find out what's going on in Rellenthil.

Player

I can travel to Rellenthil.

Ritemaster Iachesis

I hoped you'd say that. Rellenthil sits to the west of Shimmerene, just across the mountains. I'll send Valsirenn with you to talk to the Canonreeve.

The false Aldarch may be dead, but Mephala's and Nocturnal's agents remain as well as the pearls.

Player

I have a few questions before I head to Rellenthil.

Ritemaster Iachesis

I may not be a natural prognosticator, but I had a feeling you might. Go ahead. I'll answer what I can.

Player

Do the Daedric Princes always work together?

Ritemaster Iachesis

From what I've experienced, an alliance isn't just unusual, it's contrary to their very nature. Oh, they'll work together from time to time, but something as complex as what Sotha Sil hinted at is unheard of.

Makes me interested to learn more.

Player

What can you tell me about Rellenthil?

Ritemaster Iachesis

Very little, I'm afraid. The last time I passed through that area was more than three-hundred-and-fifty years ago. They made an exquisite wine, as I recall, and the House of Reveries theater troupe always put on an entertaining show.

Player

Did you learn anything more about the pearl?

Ritemaster Iachesis

The augury ritual extracted a vision of the false Aldarch and the Court of Bedlam, but nothing specifically about the pearl. Its magic isn't Daedric, though. How they can steal life energy and use it to summon those sea creatures remains a mystery.

Player

Before leaving Artaeum, the player also consults with Valsirenn.

Valsirenn

I'll make my own way to Rellenthil and meet you there. I expect we should start by seeing if the town's Canonreeve has noticed anything unusual in the area.

Player

Why is the Ritemaster sending you to Rellenthil?

Valsirenn

I volunteered for this mission, and Rellenthil is the next obvious location to investigate.

We really ought to head out now.

Player

You mentioned someone named Leythen when you were talking to the Ritemaster earlier.

Valsirenn

Leythen ... Leythen is a member of our order. He's a learned sage who disappeared while on a mission of his own back in Nirn. He was looking into an earlier warning we received about the Daedric Princes.

We haven't heard from him in a long time.

Player

Do you think something happened to him?

Valsirenn

Leythen isn't a stranger to difficult situations. It's just that it isn't like him not to send word. He could have been captured or injured. Or ...

Probably he's just been busy. I expect we'll hear from him any time now.

Player

Does the Ritemaster ever leave Artaeum?

Valsirenn

We're not prisoners here. We can move about as our research and investigations require.\n\nThe Ritemaster has so many experiments going on at any given time, however, that he tends to stick close to the island.

Player

How long have you known the Ritemaster?

Valsirenn

We've been friends and colleagues for a very long time. Iachesis has been the Ritemaster since before I was accepted into the order. In fact, he's the primary reason I'm here. He saw potential in a young Altmer and invited her to join.

Satisfied with the ansers, the player heads for Rellenthil. Upon arrival, Razum-dar waves over to them from a bridge.

Razum-dar

Raz's investigations have brought him to Rellenthil. When this one noticed your Psijic friend slip into town, Raz figured you'd be along soon.

So, what did you discover on Artaeum, the island that isn't here anymore? Ow. That made Raz's head hurt!

Player

We learned the false Aldarch belonged to a Daedric cult called the Court of Bedlam.

Razum-dar

Yes, this one has been exploring the Daedric connection as well. But Raz hates Daedra. In Raz's experience, very little good comes from dealing with Daedra or their cultists.

And this revelation brings you to Rellenthil, yes?

Player

Other members of the cult mentioned that something was going to happen in Rellenthil.

Razum-dar

That's disturbingly vague. Why must cryptic cultists be so ... cryptic?

Well, Raz saw Valsirenn head toward Canonreeve Farmeldo's house. This one suggests we start our investigation of the area there.

Player

Right. That's where I was supposed to meet Valsirenn.

The player heads over, only to find the Canonreeve arguing with his son right on the doorstep.

Canonreeve Farmeldo

Go inside and we'll discuss this later. And take off that ridiculous hood!

Nedoril

Ridiculous? I'll show you what's ridiculous. I'll show you all!

Canonreeve Farmeldo

You'd think as Canonreeve I'd be immune to the troublesome temper of a spoiled and rebellious child.

Player

We're investigating reports of unusual occurrences here in Rellenthil.

Canonreeve Farmeldo

Investigating? For who?

Well, there have been three reports this week of someone disappearing. And my intractable son Nedoril and his malcontent friends have been cavorting around the large sinkhole that recently appeared.

Player

Do you think the missing people, the sinkhole, and your son's friends are related?

Canonreeve Farmeldo

What are you implying? They're just young and proud of their heritage. I wouldn't draw such a harsh conclusion without substantial evidence.

I can't understand why they're fascinated with the sinkhole, but that doesn't make them criminals.

Player

Any objections to us investigating the sinkhole?

Canonreeve Farmeldo

It's unusual for newcomers to encroach upon Altmer affairs, especially since we rarely saw any prior to the Queen's decree. If you want to investigate, I won't try to stop you.

And if anything happens, maybe it will teach my son to avoid the place.

Player

I'll let you know if we find anything to be concerned about.

Razum-dar

Raz wants to ask the Canonreeve a few more questions. Take the Psijic and go investigate the sinkhole.

Player

The player heads to the sinkhole, but before they can enter it there is a bright flash, and the player again sees the golden knight that they first encountered at the Shimmerene monastary.

Golden Knight

Dawnbreaker, open the way!

Oh, come on! Stupid Daedric interference!

I'll be ba—

Player

Once inside the sinkhole, the player encounters more trouble. An Altmer woman runs past, yelling about Neldoril. After she's gone, the player speaks with Valsirenn.

Pennifen

Nedoril's mad!

He attacked Eldhon! And one of those horrible creatures tore off my hood!

Valsirenn

That young woman was certainly in a hurry. And what was that about Nedoril and an attack?

Player

She said that Nedoril attacked someone, and something about creatures.

Valsirenn

Yes, well, let's be on our guard then. I don't think this sinkhole is completely natural. Its size concerns me. If the ground continues to fall away, it could swallow all of Rellenthil.

Player

Do you really think this sinkhole is that dangerous?

Valsirenn

It certainly feels dangerous. And if it does figure into the Court of Bedlam's plans, well, I can't think of a more frightening event than watching Rellenthil get swallowed by a sinkhole.

Let's proceed and find out what's going on down here.

Player

They go furthern into the sinkhole, though Valsirenn quickly splits from the player to help keep the structure stable. Yaghra attack as the player ventures deeper inside. Valsirenn offers words of encouragement as the player fights.

Valsirenn

The walls and ceiling. They don't look stable. I'll try to reinforce the weak spots and catch up with you.

More of those yaghra creatures! Be careful.

The size of this place! It's almost as if someone dug up through the island.

I'll teleport closer to the central area and meet you there.

Player

Deep inside the caves, the player hears a distressed voice. They approach the figure.

Eldhon

Is someone there? Help! Please, help!

Crazy bastard ... stabbed me. Gods ... this hurts!

Player

Tell me what happened.

Eldhon

It was just... kind of fun. Joining the ... Court of Bedlam. Espousing the virtues of our... Altmer heritage.

But Nedoril... he took things too far...

Player

What do you mean, too far?

Eldhon

When we heard … that they planned to ... release those creatures ... I made the mistake ... of saying they were ... insane.

Nedoril objected. Called me unworthy. That's when he stabbed me...

Player

Eldhon, where's Nedoril now? Eldhon?

Realizing that the Altmer is dead, the player spots Nedoril further inside the caves. He sprouts some rhetoric and runs deeper into the caves, forcing the player to follow. While the player cannot catch up to him, they do eventually meet back up with Valsirenn.

Nedoril

The Court of Bedlam will eradicate the lesser races!

Maybe even deal with our unworthy Queen!

Valsirenn

Over here! Keep quiet and tell me if you see what I see.

You see that, right? My eyes aren't playing tricks on me? That's a Sea Sload! They haven't been seen in Summerset since ... well, it's been centuries, at least!

Player

What's a Sea Sload?

Valsirenn

A vile and dangerous species. Very powerful. The Sea Sload come from the distant underwater kingdom of Ul'vor-Kus.

Who's that hooded figure with the Sload? And look. More of those abyssal pearls. They're everywhere!

Player

Why are the Sea Sload dangerous?

Valsirenn

The Sload are a godless people, perhaps the most hated in Tamriel. And the Sea Sload are even worse! They employ depraved magic and have long coveted Summerset. They believe it once belonged to them.

They pillage, release plagues. They're horrible!

Player

Does this have something to do with the Court of Bedlam?

Valsirenn

The hooded figure could be a member of this so-called Court of Bedlam. At this point, nothing would surprise me.

That Sload has me worried, though. I can't think of anything worse than an alliance between those foul beasts and Daedric cultists.

Player

Could this be the source of the abyssal pearls?

Valsirenn

They could certainly have a connection to the Sea Sload's submerged kingdom, but they appear to have been placed down here. Look how the yaghra are drawn to them.

I'll head for the Sea Sload. You deal with those abyssal pearls!

Nedoril

Master, intruders in the cave!

K'Tora

Heed me, my creatures! Destroy the intruders!

Valsirenn

That young idiot! We need to get over there!

This way! We're almost there!

K'Tora

Witness the power of K'Tora of the Abyssal Cabal!

Player

The player destroys the pearls and the creatures guarding them, but the Sload and the Altmer get away.

Valsirenn

Destroy the pearls! We can't let those creatures reach the surface.

The Sea Sload and the hooded figure are gone. I'll try to determine where they disappeared to.

This way. Up here!

Damn! No sign of where the Sea Sload disappeared to.

Damn it, I wasn't fast enough!

Player

So that's it? The Sea Sload escaped?

Valsirenn

For the time being. Let's see what's through that opening.

Player

They head into the next chamber, only to find a Yaghra Monstrocity.

Valsirenn

The Sea Sload left us something to remember it by. We need to dispatch that creature.

They destroy it together and leave the caves once its dead. Outside, they find Raz waiting for them.

Razum-dar

Hurry, this way!

Somehow Raz knew he'd find you here!

Valsirenn

Sea Sloads! This is worse than the Ritemaster imagined!

Meet me in Artaeum after you talk to the Queen's Eye.

Razum-dar

Did the pretty Psijic say … Sea Sload? No, Raz must have heard wrong. That could not have been what she said.

Player

The Sea Sload K'Tora is working with the Court of Bedlam-including the Canonreeve's son.

Razum-dar

Sload? That's bad. And Sea Sload? That sounds even worse! If the Sea Sload threaten Summerset, Queen Ayrenn must be informed. We need to act!

Wait. What did you say about the Canonreeve's son?

Player

Nedoril joined the Court of Bedlam. He killed a fellow initiate and was working with the Sload.

Razum-dar

Daedra worshipers. In Summerset. And Sload! Raz likes this situation less and less.

As for Nedoril, Raz knows how to deal with traitors. This one will meet you at the Canonreeve's house.

Player

I'll see you there.

Raz runs off and the player follows. When they arrive at the Canonreeve's house, Razum-dar has already started talking to him about his son.

Cannonreeve Farmeldo

The Eye of the Queen! How dare you accuse my son of treason!

The Queen's Eye. How dare he not identify himself when he first arrived! And how dare he accuse my foolish son of something as serious as treason!

The Queen shall hear of this, mark my words!

Player

Nedoril's more than foolish. He killed a High Elf and is working with the Sea Sload.

Cannonreeve Farmeldo

Sea Sload? Plus all this nonsense about Altmer superiority? And now … murder?

I am the Canonreeve of Rellenthil! I took an oath to serve and protect my community. How in the Queen's name am I supposed to reconcile my son's actions?

Player

That's not something I can help you with.

Cannonreeve Farmeldo

Oh, Nedoril, what have you done?

Please, you must talk to the Queen's Eye. He needs to show mercy. I'm sure we can find a way to resolve this without... oh, here comes Nedoril now.

Player

Your son has a lot to answer for, Canonreeve.

Nedoril

I have a lot to answer for? The Court of Bedlam is going to turn me into a god!

Razum-dar

Foolishness can be ignored. Murder and treason, not so much.

Nedoril

You and your Queen have no authority over a true Altmer, you mangy cat!

Razum-dar

This one cannot allow your crimes to stand unanswered.

Razum-dar stabs Nedoril in the chest, killing him instantly.

Cannonreeve Farmeldo

Nedoril! No… no. I understand. Rellenthil is loyal to the Queen.

Razum-dar

Sometimes the Eye sees treason and must cut it out before it spreads. This one is sorry you had to witness that.

Player

Couldn't you have arrested Nedoril instead of executing him?

Razum-dar

Blasphemy, treason, murder. How many crimes must one commit to attract the attention of the executioner's blade?

Raz decided that a message had to be sent. Enemies of the Queen will not be tolerated.

Player

I've rarely seen you this serious.

Razum-dar

Treason and the Queen's justice are serious business.

Raz has been forced into this role on rare occasions, but he never seeks it out or looks forward to wielding the blade. A necessary part of my job, yes?

Player

Is there anything else you need from me right now?

Razum-dar

No. Raz will see to the Canonreeve and send word to the Queen before looking deeper into the Court of Bedlam.

You should return to Artaeum and let the Psijics know what we learned. I tell you, five-claw, this whole situation makes Raz want to hiss.

Player

With that episode concluded, the player heads for Artaeum to fill the Psijics in on what they found in Rellenthil. They locate the Ritemaster inside Ceporah tower.

Ritemaster Iachesis

Ah, friend of Valsirenn. I've been informed that you encountered a Sea Sload in a sinkhole beneath Rellenthil. That bodes ill for Summerset. Perhaps all of Nirn.

I fear there are difficult days ahead.

Player

The Sea Sload called itself K'Tora.

Ritemaster Iachesis

I'm familiar with that particular Sea Sload and its renegades. Call themselves the Abyssal Cabal. I thought I defeated them long ago, but it appears I was in error.

What about the pearls? Valsirenn mentioned you encountered more in the sinkhole.

Player

K'Tora used abyssal pearls to summon yaghra to attack Rellenthil.

Ritemaster Iachesis

Val described those seaborne monstrosities. I have a vague recollection of K'Tora utilizing such creatures in the past, but for some reason the memories refuse to snap into focus.

I suppose that's another mystery I'll need to look into.

Player

Why would the Daedric Princes require the aid of the Sea Sloads?

Ritemaster Iachesis

The Daedric Princes require minions to carry out their will, and the Sload have always had an interest in the green and pleasant island. It isn't hard to see why they might work together.

For now, you have my thanks for assisting Valsirenn.