TESA Redguard: Visitor To The Isle of N’Gasta

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In the fourth part of the Redguard Storyline, I repaired a Dwemer Observatory and saved the soul of a young Yokudan from N'Gasta the Necromancer.

After talking to Saban, I went to the city and spoke to Dreekius.

Dreekius: How are you, Cy?

Cyrus: I've helped the Yokudans solve their problem. The Gypsy woman figures she owes me one now.

Dreekius: Never hurts to have a Wizard on your side.

I went to Kotaro, to get his quest.

Kotaro: Cyrus!

Cyrus: Kotaro, hello.

Kotaro: Hello yourself, Cyrus!

Cyrus: Tell me about this job you have for me.

Kotaro: A simple task. Pick up an amulet from N'Gasta, and deliver it to the Governor's Palace. To be honest, I've been having trouble finding someone to take the job. But I'm sure a robust lad such as yourself pays no attention to silly local superstitions. Are you interested?

Cyrus: I'm considering. I have a few more questions first.

Kotaro: Ask away, my good Cyrus. I have nothing to hide!

Cyrus: N'Gasta?

Kotaro: A harmless old Hermit. The more superstitious of my fellow citizens repeat silly rumors about him, but I put no stock in their tales. He lives in the old Wizard's Tower. Just follow the shoals on the northwest side of the island.

Cyrus' Logbook
Kotaro identifies N'Gasta as a harmless old Hermit living in the old Wizard's Tower on the shoals along the northwest side of the island.

Cyrus: Any idea what's so important about this amulet?

Kotaro: That's between N'Gasta and the Governor. I just get paid to find a deliveryman.

Cyrus: Where can I find the Governor's Palace?

Kotaro: Straight at the top of the hill. You can't miss it. The grandest structure in Stros M'Kai, maybe in all of Hammerfell. Quite the tourist attraction before the late unpleasantness.

Cyrus' Logbook
The Governor's Palace is "Straight at the top of the hill... The grandest structure in Stros M'Kai" -- According to Kotaro.

Cyrus: What superstitions do the locals harbor about this N'Gasta?

Kotaro: Oh, you know, they call him a Necromancer, prattle about him stealing people's souls, armies of Undead, that sort of thing. Nothing a well-armed fellow like yourself would worry about.

Cyrus' Logbook
Kotaro says that superstitious locals call N'Gasta a Necromancer.

Cyrus: How much are you offering for this job?

Kotaro: Like I said, I've been having trouble hiring for this job, so I'm upping the rate a bit. 100 up front and 200 more after completion.

Cyrus: That's pretty high for a simple delivery. What's the catch?

Kotaro: The pay's proportional to the danger. N'Gasta's Tower isn't exactly on the main road, you know? So you may have a little trouble getting there. Nothing that you can't handle, I'm sure.

Cyrus: Sure. I'll take the job.

Kotaro: Splendid! Here's your 100 gold. I'll have the rest for you after you deliver the amulet to the Governor. Um, well, I'm sure you won't have any trouble, but, uh, you probably want to do this during the daylight.

Cyrus' Logbook
Accepted job from Kotaro to deliver amulet to Governor Richton on behalf of N'Gasta. Pick up amulet from N'Gasta. Paid 100 gold; collect balance of 200 gold from Kotaro after delivery.

I went to Dreekius to see how he felt about this quest.

Cyrus: Hey, Dreekius, I got this delivery job that'll get me into the Palace for sure.

Dreekius: What are you going to deliver?

Cyrus: Some amulet meant for the Governor.

Dreekius: Do you have it yet?

Cyrus: Not yet, I've got to get it at the Necromancer's Isle.

Dreekius: Don't forget to bring some gold to pay the Boatman, Cyrus. And be careful.

Cyrus: Thanks, Dreekius, I will.

I left the city and went north until I found a bridge near Devils Den. As soon as I started crossing the bridge, I realized that it was in a poor condition, since pieces of it started falling. So were the other ones that I had to cross.

After crossing a few bridges between rock formations, I saw two nearby islands connected through a bridge that were only reachable by swimming. So I swam towards them, avoiding a couple of Sharks on the way. There, I found two strength potions, three health potions and four bags of gold. I swam back to the rock formations and crossed bridges until I reached the Boatman.

Cyrus: He doesn't look like the talking type, perhaps I should offer him a fare.

I gave the Boatman three gold pieces and he took me to the Isle of N'Gasta.

I wandered around the Isle for a while, fighting Skeletons, until I encountered indestructible Zombies near a Courtyard. I avoided them and tried to open the gate that led to other part of the Isle, but it was locked. I had left the Couryard and was trying to go around it when I found a strange skull with a lever on one of the outer walls.

I pulled the lever and it opened a secret door in the Couryard, through which I went. It led to a tomb with three coffins, containing a crow bar, a health potion and a strength potion. I took the items and went back to the gate, which I opened using the newly acquired crow bar.

Cyrus: Huh. Looks like the crow bar broke.

There were now two ways I could go: left or right. I decided to go right, going through a Courtyard Cemetery, fighting Skeletons and avoiding Zombies on the way. Eventually, I found a structure containing a strength potion and two health potions. From here, I could see N'Gasta's tower, which was on the currently inaccessible island ahead. On the east, there was a river - Had I went left at the intersection, I would now have been on the other side of the river. Fortunately, there was a quick way to get to the other side: crossing over a very large statue between the two sides. On the other side, I found a small building containing a health potion.

By going up the stairs, I went to the second level of the building, where I found an eye statue. I turned the wheel and it made the eye rotate 90 degrees to the right. It also raised the drawbridge to N'Gasta's Tower and lowered the large statue's head. By jumping on the large statue's head and then crossing over the bridge, I managed to get to the gate to N'Gasta's Tower.

I approached the gate and saw N'Gasta coming out of the Tower. Throughout the entire conversation, he remained on the other side of the gate.

N'Gasta: Cyrus! This one is N'Gasta, the Necromancer of Stros M'Kai.

Cyrus: Have we met?

N'Gasta: The Contractor informed this one of your impending arrival.

Cyrus: He did...?

N'Gasta: This one tenders you the amulet that will be delivered.

Cyrus: To the Governor, right?

N'Gasta: Make sure of its safety. Deliver it to him personally. The Contractor will pay you the rest of your fee after the matter is settled.

Cyrus' Logbook
N'Gasta says to deliver the amulet to the Governor personally, and that the Contractor will pay the rest of the fee after the delivery.

Cyrus: Are you familiar with a woman named Iszara?

N'Gasta: Other souls this one has gathered of late have whispered the name.

Cyrus: She's my sister.

N'Gasta: Then count your sister among the living, for she's not cold yet, or this one would know her well.

Cyrus' Logbook
Iszara is among the living, N'Gasta assures you, or he would know otherwise.

Cyrus: How long have you lived on Stros M'Kai?

N'Gasta: How long in legend? This one arrived in Thassad's better years, and was given fair compass of these foul shoals. In that time this one was but a tale in passing, a shiver in riddle.

Cyrus: How long have been better than a legend, then?

N'Gasta: Since the end of the war. How could this one neglect so rich a harvest? The sea so brimmed with the dead that its tides swelled 'round the world. So this one conjured a net to catch them all, these lost and torn-violent souls. Thereafter this one's presence has been well known here... Perhaps somewhat feared as well.

Cyrus: You have this island under a spell, N'Gasta?

N'Gasta: A soulsnare of this one's own devising, which gathers lost souls and bears them thither.

Cyrus: For strange and terrible experiments, no doubt.

N'Gasta: This one is comfortable with the trappings of his vocation, even if his victims lack such comfort.

Cyrus: My sister had better not be among them.

N'Gasta: Her being holds as much mystery for this one as it does for you. Enquire elsewhere.

Cyrus: You knew the worthy King, then. Does he rattle in your bag, too?

N'Gasta: He died in Sentinel, not Stros M'Kai, and was therefore outside this one's catching web, and before this one's time here as well.

Cyrus: Right. Your soulsnare went up during the war, after Thassad was already dead.

N'Gasta: He died in Sentinel, not Stros M'Kai, and was therefore outside this one's catching web, and before this one's time here as well. And besides, Thassad would have journeyed to the Gods, in any case, for he was keen and prudent. A few good strides and he'd be at the Temple door.

Cyrus: What difference would that make?

N'Gasta: This one's snare catches only the heedless, those spirits unprotected by the holy rituals, or those interred in unhallowed ground. So, if you would avoid this one's net, die close by the Temple, or far from the island's shores.

Cyrus' Logbook
The soulsnare captures only those spirits unprotected by holy rituals, or those buried in unhallowed ground, according to N'Gasta.

Cyrus: So the Temple is your prime competitor in the area.

N'Gasta: Dichotomy to this Devil's work. The good brothers of Arkay have a somewhat different perspective on the currency of the soul. They strive to shepherd its return, while this one... Prefers to manage flocks for profit. Or should one say, the "sole" good brother of Arkay, ha-ha... Since there is but one left.

Cyrus: What happened to the others?

N'Gasta: One has become raveled in my astral net, having parted from this world not long ago.

Cyrus: How could a Temple member be snared when he works in the very haven that opposes you?

N'Gasta: By leaving long the haven, this one speculates... But quite doubtful, it is agreed.

Cyrus: How long ago was this?

N'Gasta: A good three master moons --

Cyrus: That's about the time my sister vanished.

Cyrus' Logbook
In passing, N'Gasta mentions that there is only one surviving brother of Arkay, that the other became snared in his net three master moons ago -- About the same time that Iszara disappeared.

Cyrus: I'm curious, N'Gasta. Just how does the soulsnare work?

N'Gasta: Would you play the student? Hmm. How quaint -- The image of Aether-Hounds comes to mind, broad shouldered and panting, patrolling the near-here gates of death, alert for the scent of the hapless spirit. But grant me be a far more insidious Craftsworm than that: the net's a Siren song of semiotics, divining the fading signs of the departed, and crafting from them a lure -- A gateway rung with gentle runes of the soul's own manufacture. That soul swarms gratefully into the waiting net, towards heavens woven from the spirit's dim yearnings.

Cyrus: The illicit soul-trade. How does it work?

N'Gasta: If motals knew the power they harbored, and how so unearned, a grace inexplicably given by the Outer Gods who provide too-plenty and without good guidance -- If they knew, they may wise work as hard to keep the within as much as their precious withouts -- That easily slipped-bare skin that withers as paper before flame -- For that is the truth of it: the body houses that which it cannot ever for long withstand.

Cyrus: Which answers little --

N'Gasta: In short, the soulsnare captures the smokes of silly folk who neglect the sanctity of their souls.

Cyrus' Logbook
N'Gasta's soulsnare captures the departed spirits of "silly folk who neglect the sanctity of their souls".

Cyrus: I thought Hammerfell was plagued by necromancy only in the north, where Sentinel lay in similar shadow.

N'Gasta: Do not speak ill, mortal, of this one's liege-lord, the King of Worms, for his grace grants these shores as this one's bountiful hunting grounds.

Cyrus: Is your foul practice not contested by the men of this island?

N'Gasta: Cyrus. What men are left -- This one wonders -- Or women of likemind -- For violence against me? They were all slain in the war, and dead now they serve this one without protest. The Mage's Guild whines as is its wont when practitioners of this one's craft challenge their dominion, but the Governor shrewdly wighs this one's concerns above theirs.

Cyrus: Why is that?

N'Gasta: This one is a better friend than enemy.

Cyrus' Logbook
N'Gasta grants that the Mage's Guild opposes the practice of his craft, but that the Governor favors him over those of the Mage's Guild.

Cyrus: I'd imagine this island is treacherous to reach by ship?

N'Gasta: Imagine impossible. This one is amused by your imaginings.

Cyrus: So you are probably never threatened by the Pirates of the Restless League?

N'Gasta: This one is never threatened, Cyrus... But, yes, this one knows the League well.

Cyrus: You do?

N'Gasta: This one has tallied many of their rebellious souls in the present reign.

Cyrus: What do you think of them?

N'Gasta: What does one think of the gold in one's puch? Does one judge this coin better than another if both spend the same?

Cyrus: All the dead are fair currency, then.

N'Gasta: Your wit accounts it well.

Cyrus: How do these souls so collected serve you?

N'Gasta: This one's business in souls doesn't concern you. That the Daedra Lords look with favor on a Necromancer with a stock in trade... Should scarcely surprise you.

Cyrus: So the great Necromancer is running Dog to the Lords of Hell? Why are they always on the top of the Diabolical food chain?

N'Gasta: This one laps at the scraps from no one's table, Redguard. Clavicus Vile grants this one favors with every soul sent his way.

Cyrus: Clavicus... Vile? Please.

N'Gasta: Do not mock that name, mortal!

Cyrus: Ha-ha. Pray forgive me, Necromancer. It just seemed an overly unsubtle name, that is all.

N'Gasta: Daedra were born before stars, mortal. Do you consider that perhaps such names preceded, hence perhaps inspired, the concepts they connote?

Cyrus' Logbook
N'Gasta serves the Daedra Lord Clavicus Vile, and says that Vile grants favors in return for each soul N'Gasta delivers.

Cyrus: Why does the Mage's Guild hate you? Outside the obvious reasons?

N'Gasta: Such unsubtle gibes little trouble this one, Redguard. As for the Guild's enmity... With their Archmage dead in the seadust, their impotence breeds spite against this one's masteries.

Cyrus: What happened to the Archmage?

N'Gasta: He perished in the war protecting the Crown and was lost at sea. I lament that the snare was not then set, for such a soul would have been fit to... Cultivate... For nights on end.

Cyrus: He was powerful, then, this Archmage?

N'Gasta: Scarcely. He was noted for his trappings, not his trivial skills. His magical artifacts, however... Such might even be worth this one's notice.

Cyrus: I'll get right on it.

Cyrus: Has the coming of the Empire given you much concern?

N'Gasta: This one is neither not unwary of the Empire, nor eager to wear the leash. But the Governor has proven himself an honorable man. Thus this one offers him this gift, to encourage his attention to the affairs of the living, leaving me the rest.

Cyrus: What can you tell me about the Governor?

N'Gasta: That he is a generous patron, sending a steady flow to this one even with the war long over. His policies bring profit, and finally by the amulet may his generosity be acknowledged.

Cyrus' Logbook
N'Gasta says that the Governor is his generous patron, and that the Governor's policies bring N'Gasta profit.

Cyrus: What is this amulet you give to the Governor?

N'Gasta: A red diamond this one has found among many treasures, and judges fitting for a servant of the Empire, who might fly such symbols on their standards. And the Dragon setting is well suited to honor the Governor whose command of such a beast gained the victory at Stros M'Kai, and placed Hammerfell in the Emperor's hands.

Cyrus: Goodbye, N'Gasta.

N'Gasta: Farewell, Cyrus. A pleasure doing business with you.

I went back to the city the same way I had come, to talk to Dreekius. Soon, I would deliver the amulet to Governor Richton, and shortly afterwards I'd be thrown into the Catacombs below the Palace.

But that is a tale for the next part of the Redguard Storyline.

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