TESA Redguard: Within The Goblin Caves

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In the first part of the Redguard Storyline, I arrived in the city of Stros M’Kai and spoke with some of the locals. I was told to go to the Temple of Arkay and speak with Brother Nidal by Cyrus’ good friend, Tobias.

That’s exactly what I did. I left the Draggin Tale and went to the Temple, which lay on the other side of the City Plaza. As I entered the building, I saw an altar right in front of me, a dome above it, Arkay symbols and pieces of furniture on all sides except for the entrance and braziers all around. A man, who I assumed was Brother Nidal, was walking around the chamber. I approached and spoke with him.

Cyrus: Hello, Brother. I’m Cyrus, recent to this shore.

Brother Nidal: Brother Nidal, good son. Welcome to the Temple of Arkay.

Cyrus: Can you heal me, Brother Nidal?

Brother Nidal: Please forgive the formalities, but the Governor has levied a Temple tax of 25 gold for any magical services rendered, healing or otherwise. Will you pay the tax?

It did not sound like a very good idea to pay so much, especially since I was a bit short on cash, so I refused.

Cyrus: Forget it.

Brother Nidal: I am truly sorry, but I cannot help you, then.

Cyrus: My sister, Iszara, has been missing for near three months. Perhaps you have heard of her?

Brother Nidal: I knew her well, actually, but she never mentioned having a brother. She was a fiery sort, as I’m sure you know, and her Redguard blood did not fare well under Imperial rule. She is not the only nationalist who has disappeared since the Governor claimed the city. There have been others.

Cyrus: What “others” have disappeared?

Brother Nidal: Brother Kithral, my initiate and good friend, for one. He was an outspoken man, and a Crown sympathizer. He was enamored of your sister, I must say, and took to her Crown propaganda readily.

Cyrus’ Logbook
Nidal says that his former initiate, Brother Kithral, has disappeared.

Cyrus: Do you know anyone that Iszara may have kept company with, vanished nationalist or otherwise?

Brother Nidal: Like I said, I knew her well. And she spoke often to Brother Kithral, my former initiate, but he, too, has disappeared. She was a devout Arkayn, Iszara. I once almost convinced her to join the Temple, but that was before she… Well…

Cyrus: Before she what, Brother Nidal?

Brother Nidal: Well, man, before she vanished!

Cyrus: I trust that you will seek me out if you hear anything more of my sister.

Brother Nidal: I will be honest, Cyrus. She is either dead or worse, for I know she would not have left Stros M’Kai, even after A’tor’s defeat. Richton had a list of rebels when he took the throne, and Iszara’s name was undoubtably upon it.

Cyrus: Is there anything you can tell me about the Restless League, Brother?

Brother Nidal: I… Know very little about their activities, Cyrus. The common stories, sure, but not much more.

Cyrus: I know even less of the League than you, Brother, the common stories included.

Brother Nidal: Then know that they are ruffians and cutthroats, who would like nothing more than carve their symbol upon the Emperor’s eyes for daring to set them on Hammerfell… And know they secretly served the Prince against the Forebears during the civil war, to help A’tor win back Sentinel.

Cyrus: Sentinel, the capital city.

Brother Nidal: From whence A’tor was forced to flee soon after his father died. Aye, but the Crowns gathered here at Stros M’Kai and charged northwards to take their throne-city back — but, by then, the Imperials’ bargain had been struck.

Cyrus: What is the League’s symbol?

Brother Nidal: The red R, for restless, as they ever are. Trust me, you will see it if you stay in Stros M’Kai for long, invariably written in Imperial blood.

Cyrus: How is Stros M’Kai these days, Brother Nidal?

Brother Nidal: You should be able to see it just from the faces on the streets, my boy. But, then again, there aren’t that many faces out there anymore. Things have become quiet since the occupation.

Cyrus: I have seen the Empire expanding into all of Tamriel in my travels. Why is the occupation of Stros M’Kai full of more bloodshed than most?

Brother Nidal: You have only your Redguard blood to answer that, my boy. When has Hammerfell ever suffered foreign rule? The civil war was bloody to be sure, but when the Forebears allied with the Empire, the Crowns felt they had been betrayed by their own kind. They were prepared to fight to the last man, and the Empire sent Admiral Richton to make sure they did.

Cyrus: Tell me of the Forebears.

Brother Nidal: Living in Stros M’Kai, you only get the Crown definition, of course: that the Forebears were the pretenders to the throne, that they betrayed the republic, and that Hammerfell has been cursed by their cowardice.

Cyrus: Iszara was a Crown, I know that. As a Crown, what would be her fate?

Brother Nidal: I fear, sadly, that the Crowns’ days are ended. The Forebears’ alliance with the Emperor Septim made sure of that.

Cyrus: I escaped Hammerfell just before the civil war, and without regret. That is probably why Iszara never mentioned me to you. Uh… Well, it was only through a mutual friend that I learned of her disappearance.

Brother Nidal: The war cost this city much, Cyrus, though an outsider may not see it. The Crowns are gone, now, and only the League remains as their testament.

Cyrus: The Temple seems very empty, Brother Nidal. Are you its only priest?

Brother Nidal: We have ever been understaffed. It was horrible right after the battle, all the dead and dying, but luckily I had Brother Kithral to help me tend to them. Since he is gone now, I must carry on alone.

Cyrus: When did you last see Kithral?

Brother Nidal: I sent him to the Park for fresh Mandrake Root, and that is probably where Richton’s men were waiting. Kithral was against the Imperial expansion from the start, though I reminded him that Arkay frowns on more… Secular interests. This warning Kithral obviously did not take to heart.

Cyrus’ Logbook
Nidal says that he last saw the missing initiate, Brother Kithral, heading for the park to collect mandrake roots. Nidal thinks Richton’s men are responsible for Kithral’s disappearance.

Cyrus: What can you tell me about the Governor?

Brother Nidal: That he is a hard man. Richton threatened to raze the Temple when I refused to hand over the wounded of Prince A’tor who had survived the battle. I assured him that even his Emperor could not defy divine law. Nevertheless, the wounded under my care were healed only to be thrown into the Catacombs thereafter.

Cyrus: What else do you know about Richton?

Brother Nidal: That you should stay away from him, my boy. He will not care if you are a Crown or not, should he find out that you are Iszara’s brother. However, you are probably safe in the city for the time being, as he never leaves the Palace, it seems.

Cyrus: What is the divine law?

Brother Nidal: Richton wanted to rescind the Crowns’ right to sanctuary while they were wounded, or to desecrate the bodies of the enemy dead before I gave them their last rites.

Cyrus: What happened to the bodies of A’tor’s men after their last rites?

Brother Nidal: Food for the Dragon, more than likely. But at least their souls are safe from the necromancer.

Cyrus: The Imperials have a Dragon?

Brother Nidal: Its name is Nafaalilargus, and it lives in the Catacombs, or so I have heard. It has not been seen in the skies since the battle, so maybe Richton is lying about it still being around.

Cyrus: What about this necromancer?

Brother Nidal: N’Gasta has been here long, manifest in Thassad’s good rule. A’tor had kept his wretchedness at bay, but now, with the Prince gone, he has cursed the land.

Cyrus: How has N’Gasta cursed the land?

Brother Nidal: The very soul of Stros M’Kai is cursed. N’Gasta has become very powerful and has weaved a soul-snare across the island. Any who die must quickly have their last rites performed before their souls become his to claim.

Cyrus: So A’tor’s men are in the Catacombs, then?

Brother Nidal: Either that, or they are fruit for the necromancer. It is somehow appropriate that Richton deals with that nefarious Slug.

Cyrus: What of Prince A’tor?

Brother Nidal: He was… Lost at sea, my boy. That is all I know. And… That it was rumored that Iszara knew him personally.

Cyrus: So my sister knew the Prince, then?

Brother Nidal: Leave that alone, boy. That was but a rumor.

Cyrus: Did my sister fight in the Battle of Stros M’Kai?

Brother Nidal: No. She was never part of the military. She could have been, though. She was good with the sword… I hear.

Brother Nidal: Are you a follower of Arkay, Cyrus?

Cyrus: Me? No. Well, not in the worshipper sense.

Brother Nidal: In what sense, then?

Cyrus: I’m not that wayward, Brother, I do believe in the gods, and in their, you know, importance to man and all that.

Brother Nidal: And Arkay’s importance would be…?

Cyrus: I’m usually the one who asks all the questions, Brother Nidal.

Brother Nidal: Humor an old man.

Cyrus: Arkay, then: the shepherd of the soul, who watches us through our lives and our deaths, who guides us between them in the heavenly interim.

Brother Nidal: May he watch over you.

Cyrus: Until later, Brother Nidal.

Brother Nidal: Goodbye, my son.

Seeing as there was nothing else that Brother Nidal could tell me, I left the Temple. I knew that there was no way to get in the Palace yet, but I was curious what the guard in front of it had to say, so I went up a ramp, walked on the bridge leading to the Palace and spoke with the guard.

Palace Guard: What do you want?

Cyrus: This is the Palace, correct?

Palace Guard: That’s correct.

Cyrus: I need to speak with Governor Richton.

Palace Guard: What business do you have with him?

Cyrus: I need to ask him a few questions.

Palace Guard: Not good enough. Now move along.

Cyrus: I have some information he may find useful.

Palace Guard: You’re not talking your way past me. Now move along!

Cyrus: I’d like to offer him a gift.

Palace Guard: He’s not interested, Redguard.

Cyrus: That’s all for now. But I’ll be back.

Palace Guard: Sure.

After speaking with the guard, I went to the Park, which was right next to Gerrick’s shop, to investigate the disappearance of Kithral. Once I got there, I saw a guard right next to the waterfall. Since he had nothing interesting to say, I approached the waterfall.

Right behind it, I saw what appeared to be a cave. From where I was standing, there was no way to jump behind the waterfall, so I walked to the bridge right above the waterfall, and from there I was able to drop myself from one end of the bridge, fall into the tunnel through which the stream was flowing, then get into the cave. Inside, there was a rope hanging from the ceiling and going through a hole. I decided to climb down the hole by using the rope. I was now in the Goblin Caves under Stros M’Kai.

Right after climbing down the rope, I saw a Goblin on the other side of a bridge. In the large gap that the bridge was built over, there was a green liquid deadly for certain beings, humans included. Yet huge mushrooms grew there unharmed. I let go of the rope, went to the Goblin and killed it. On the other side of the bridge there was a small tunnel to the right that led into an underground chamber, but it was blocked by a gate which I couldn’t get past just yet. To the left there was a ledge that I grabbed onto and pushed myself up, after which I did the same with another ledge. I eventually found myself in a spot overlooking the place where I had entered the caves. Here were two pillars, right in front of a large gate – one which couldn’t be open yet, because it had locking bars in place. After I took the gold that lay next to one of the braziers, I leaped to another ledge, where I found several health potions and some gold. Here there were also a torch and a large arrow pointed in the direction of the bridge. I approached the edge of the ledge and noticed that it would be possible from this angle to jump on the mushrooms in the green liquid. That’s exactly what I did: I jumped from mushroom to mushroom. After several tries, I managed to get to the other side, into a tunnel. I soon stumbled upon two Goblins, out of which one was an Elite Goblin. I killed them both, after which I left the small tunnel – I now found myself in another more open cave portion. After I grabbed onto the ledge to my left, and then onto another ledge, I got a good view of the entire area.

I went up a ramp and killed a Goblin, after which I reached an intersection where, in front of me, a part of the ramp turned into a bridge leading to another ledge and, to my right, another part that led to a torch. I went and took the torch, after which I went over the bridge; once I reached the other side, I encountered, fought and killed a Elite Goblin. I found another brazier, after which I grabbed the edge of an opening in the wall and used it to get to the other side, to a tunnel. While getting across, however, some pointy plant-like things went through the stone and attempted to stab me; they did not manage to hit me, though.

Inside the tunnel I found the corpse of Brother Kithral, whose torch, journal and gold I took. After reading the last two pages of his journal (unfortunately, the game would not allow me to read any other pages), I approached the nearby locked door and knocked on it. A goblin spoke from the other side.

Cyrus’ Logbook
The journal of Brother Kithral, wherein he describes a search for Archmage Voa’s ring in the caverns below Stros M’Kai. This last part reveals much.

Goblin Guard: Uulllf.

Cyrus: Who’s there? Let me through!

Goblin Guard: Aaarrrlll.

Cyrus: I can smell you through the door, Goblin. Now open up!

Goblin Guard: Aaarrrlll.

Cyrus: Hunding curse you.

Goblin Guard: Aaarrrlll.

I then tried something else.

Cyrus: Ubula.

Cyrus tried to imitate Goblin voice when he said that.

Goblin Guard: Uliiifff.

Cyrus’ Logbook With a body found in the caverns, found the journal of Brother Kithral, which refers to his search for the Archmage Voa’s ring.

The Goblin opened the door, but then I had to fight him. After I fought him, I went through the tunnel that lay past the door, encountering more of those plant-like things (which this time attacked me through the floor). When I got to the end of the tunnel, I found a teleporter, but I decided not to use it just yet, and instead use a couple of ledges to lower myself to the floor of the underground chamber. Once I was there, I fought and defeated a Goblin and an Elite Goblin, after which I looked around and found some gold and a potion of ironskin. I then found a large hole leading to another underground chamber. There, I fought two more Goblins, out of which one was an Elite Goblin, meanwhile trying to avoid large mushrooms that damaged me when I got too close to them. Eventually defeating them, I started looking around and found a small side passage with a torch, two health potions and a strength potion. I then continued to follow the main passage. I encountered and fought yet another Goblin, taking a nearby health potion with me after the battle was over. After I left the tunnel, I once again found myself in a more open chamber, a pool of green liquid in the middle of the chamber. Interestingly enough, there was a stone platform in the middle of the pool.

Brother Kithral’s Journal

I can taste the poison in my mouth; a yellow fog in the chest that clogs the vital passages. The gash in my side weeps fast — Which will kill me first: wound or toxin?

Damn her impatience! And damn my pride to think I might find the ring here in this nefarious darkness on my own. But she missed the rendezvous and I fear we are running out of time. With the Archmage’s ring we are one step closer to restoring the Crowns to power. I am sure his body is here, some trick of undercurrent in the wake of the batt— The spider’s milk is deep. Iszara! I pray nothing has happened to you! I hear the Goblins behind the door — Ubula! Ubula! Ubula! — They come for me! I have failed you, my love, and the ring is nowhere nearer! You must hurry! The League is closing in! The Empire is closing in! The darkness is closi–

Since it didn’t appear as if I could leap onto the stone platform, I decided to go up the ramp to the right, which eventually led to an underground chamber with another pool of green liquid (I encountered yet another of those plant things on the way). There appeared to be a part of a shipwreck in the pool, so I climbed down a few ledges to get a better view. There was a barrel with a wick to my left, but there was nothing that I could do with it (I could blow it up using a torch, but that wasn’t useful). Anyway, there were a few ledges on the other side of the underground chamber, and another part of the shipwreck was there, but I could only get to those ledges by jumping on the debris in the pool, so that’s what I did.

Once I was on the other side, I entered the shipwreck and saw a lot of barrels with wicks. Having nothing better to do, I lit one up, after which I took cover. In a few seconds the shipwreck blew up and the explosion made a large hole in the ceiling through which sunlight would now enter the cave. The explosion actually caused a few stalagmites to fall as well, which is why there were now four platforms in the previous chamber. Thus I was able jump from platform to platform and reach the other side. Here there were two braziers in front of the entrance to a tunnel, but instead of going through that tunnel, I jumped on a nearby ledge and went through another tunnel, at the end of which I found two health potions and a hole. Curiously, the hole led to the shipwreck, but I had no reason to return there, so I went back to the other tunnel. There, I went down a ramp, eventually encountering and fighting a Goblin. Looking around, I found two health potions and some gold, which I took, after which I went to the end of a tunnel and found a large wheel attached to one of the walls, below it a hole that would lead to my death, were I to fall through it.

I jumped forward and grabbed onto one of the spokes, which made the wheel rotate clockwise, which made those large doors at the entrance to the Goblin Caves open. To avoid falling to my death (Cyrus’ death, actually, but you know what I mean), I grabbed onto the edge of the entrance to another tunnel. I went through the tunnel, avoiding another one of those plant things, and at the end I found a hole through which I was able to return to the previous tunnel that I had been in. I then returned to the teleporter that I had found earlier and used it to get into the locked chamber near the entrance to the Goblin Caves. Once there, I immediately noticed two braziers and a lever that would open the gate of this chamber. But I turned around and saw a crack in the wall. I used the Talisman of Hunding on the crack, which made the crack turn into a passage leading to a brazier which had three swords as supports. I held my blade in the fire and received a temporary increased strength. I returned to the chamber that I had teleported into and pulled the lever, opening the gate, after which I went to the large gate with the iron bars, which I had opened by making the wheel rotate clockwise. On the other side of the gate, I found a more open chamber with a lot of giant mushrooms.

After I snatched a nearby potion, I went down a ramp, avoided some of those exploding mushrooms and encountered a Troll. After I torched the Troll, killing it, I went to the edge and saw more of that green liquid, mushrooms once again growing in it. The arrow pointing down showed me that I once again had to do some mushroom-hopping. Eventually, I managed to jump on a ledge, where I found some gold. I then grabbed the edge of an opening in the wall, which I used to get into a tunnel. Following the tunnel to the end, I entered a huge cave.

Following the walkway that I was on, I encountered and fought a Troll. While on the walkway, I saw a ledge to the left that I could jump to, but I knew that the door that it was going to take me to was locked, so there was no point in going that way yet. After I went down a ramp, I had to fight yet another Troll. After I killed the Troll, I took and nearby potion and looked around, seeing that a river was flowing through this part of the caves, and that I was on one side of the river while an Elite Goblin was on the other side. There was also a Goblin’s corpse in the river. Knowing that I had to find a way to get rid of the green liquid river, I entered the chamber with the wheel that I needed (but I took a nearby torch first). Of course, the chamber was guarded – by a Troll and more of those plant thingies. I avoided the plant thingies and killed the Troll, and then I rotated the wheel clockwise. The large doors that formerly let the river flow freely were now closed, and the river flowed no more, so I went to the Goblin corpse and searched it, finding a bone key.

Cyrus’ Description of The Bone Key
A key made from the bone of some large beast.

I used a few ledges to return to the side of the river that I had been on before I jumped down after the Goblin corpse, after which I decided that I had to get to the other side of the river. I went back to the wheel and rotated it counterclockwise, opening the large doors and letting the river flow freely once more. I then jumped on the first door, and then on the second door, and then to the other side of the river, where I found a strength potion and fought a Troll, all along avoiding exploding mushrooms. After killing the Troll, I encountered an Elite Goblin, who I also had to kill.

After looking around, I found a small tunnel with a locked door, which I unlocked using the bone key. After going through that small tunnel, I found myself on a walkway in another large underground chamber, a large elevator that looked like a skull being nearby, close to a brazier. Below the walkway, a few cages were hanging above a pool of green liquid. I jumped on the platform that was attached to the skull’s jaw, after which the skull elevator took me below, where I fought two Elite Goblins. After that, I noticed that there was a hole into one of the cages, so I jumped into the cage. Eventually, a strange creature came below me, so I jumped on it and it carried me over the river, to some sort of outpost, where there were two towers and one cabin – there was also a house that had fallen into the green liquid. I also saw a teleporter in a hanging cage, but I decided not to use it yet. I did turn a wheel to bring the cage in a spot where I could enter it, though. Afterwards, I went over a bridge made of bone that led to the Goblin King’s throne room.

Since there was no way to defeat the Goblin King by fighting him, I positioned myself next to one of the three columns in the chamber, after which I waited until the Goblin King approached. When he tried hitting me, I got out of the way, making the Goblin King hit the column. But by hitting it, the column and a part of the stone ceiling fell over him, killing him. Since the danger was now gone, I approached the corpse of Archmage Voa, which was lying in an opening in the wall. I searched the corpse and managed to find Voa’s ring, which Brother Kithral had also been looking for. Since there was nothing left for me to do in the Goblin Caves, I went and teleported myself back to the entrance. I then left the Goblin Caves – to return to the city, I had to jump into the river and swim back to the shore. Anyway, I went back to the Temple of Arkay and spoke with Brother Nidal.

Cyrus’ Description of The Bone Key
Found the body of Archmage Voa, and retrieved his magical ring.

Cyrus: Hello again, Brother Nidal.

Brother Nidal: It is good to see you, Cyrus.

Cyrus: Brother Nidal, I have bad news. I found Kithral’s body in the caverns; he’s dead, I’m sorry.

Brother Nidal: The caverns…? What could he have been doing there?

Cyrus: I found his journal among the remains. You should read it.

Cyrus gave Nidal the journal.

Brother Nidal: Oh my… The poor lad… What did he hope to accomplish? Cyrus, I now count you as a friend. Kithral’s fate is revealed. And I shall bring you into my confidence.

Cyrus: Go on.

Brother Nidal: The body of Prince A’tor is here, at the Temple.

Cyrus’ Description of The Bone Key
Nidal revealed that A’tor’s body is hidden in the temple, preserved from decay by a spell of stasis. Nidal suggests that Voa’s ring could dispel a stasis field on A’tor’s body, but gives no suggestion why Kithral or Iszara would try that.

Cyrus: It is?

Brother Nidal: Yes. It’s the only safe place for it. We can’t quite… Bury it.

Cyrus: Why?

Brother Nidal: There is a spell of stasis upon it, to preserve it and stave off its decay. Archmage Voa enchanted it thus just after the Prince’s death.

Cyrus: Archmage Voa is mentioned in the journal, and his magical ring, which both Kithral and my sister were looking for…

Brother Nidal: Voa’s ring was used to enchant the body.

Cyrus: So they would have used it–

Brother Nidal: To dispel the body’s stasis field.

Cyrus: Why would they do that? That would only serve to send the body along to rot.

Brother Nidal: Yes, you’re right. It doesn’t quite make sense, does it? It’s Redguard custom to preserve their great leaders in stasis so that they might be looked upon everafter in their prime. To break the stasis would be treason, or hubris, even.

Cyrus’ Description of The Bone Key
Nidal agreed that Iszara and Kithral did not plan to dispel the stasis field on A’tor’s preserved body just to let the Prince’s body rot. They must have had some other use of the ring in mind.

Cyrus: There’s something we’re not getting yet. Both Iszara and Kithral were Crowns-whatever they had planned for the Prince would only have been for his benefit.

Brother Nidal: I am sure you are right.

Cyrus: I have Archmage Voa’s ring, Brother Nidal.

Brother Nidal: Ah, this will break the stasis field!

Cyrus: Can you use it?

Brother Nidal: No, I can’t, Cyrus. You need a Mage for this, not a Priest. The magicks are unalike in practice.

Cyrus’ Description of The Bone Key
Nidal says he can’t work ring’s magic, that a mage is needed.

Because I had now gained Brother Nidal’s trust, I could make him tell me something that he didn’t want to tell me previously.

Cyrus: Tell me about my sister and the Prince.

Brother Nidal: I’ll tell you, my friend, for it might repay some of the kindness you have shown. Iszara and the Prince were seeing each other in secret, a doomed tryst in these shadows of war.

Cyrus’ Description of The Bone Key
Brother Nidal reveals that Iszara and the Prince were secret lovers.

Cyrus: Can you heal me, Brother Nidal?

Brother Nidal: Of course, my friend.

After Brother Nidal healed me, I left the Temple and went to the Marketplace, to get my next quest from Avik the Snake Charmer – a quest that would eventually take me to the ancient Dwemer ruins on Stros M’Kai.

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

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