Fellglow Keep was very near to Shimmermist Cave. Brelyna had recovered well after the potion had worked its magic and after a warm meal and some mead at The Drunken Hunstman just inside the gate at Whiterun, the Dunmer were ready to confront this Orthorn. The keep itself was in a ruined and dilapidated state. Its walls virtually non existent and its gatehouse had almost sunk into the earth itself. The keep still stood, however, and any notions of receiving a friendly welcome from former College members were soon put to sleep as spikes of ice began to rain down on them from one of the ruined towers.
Making quick work of the attacker Se’rith and Brelyna went down a steep, stone stair case. The steps were worn and had dark stains as if something had been dragged down into the depths. A rickety door was opened to reveal a dimly lit interior. Torchlight flickered as the breeze caught it in its path. A horrible stench hit both their nostrils as well. Se’rith began to retch as Brelyna walked past her. They had obviously entered the Keep’s dungeons. A rusting torture rack was set on the wall and old blood stains splattered the floor and the walls. A second hostile mage engaged them as they turned a corner. Brelnya’s firebolts made short work of him but what they found in the room he came from sent a chill down both their spines.
Four large metal cages were set around the room. Inside each cage sat one individual. Se’rith immediately began to move to set them free but a sense of dread came over her as she approached the first cage. The woman inside, an elf, looked up and hissed at her. Her eyes were as black as night and as she lunged forward her mouth opened to reveal to curved fangs. Vampires! The inmates of the other cells started to hiss but none of them came close to the bars of the cages themselves. Some sort of spell must have been cast on them to act as a damper field against the vampire’s power. The Dunmer moved ahead into an adjoining room and entered a charnel house.
Bodies in different states of dismemberment lay on various tables strewn across the room. Two other vampires lay side by side, their chest cavities ripped open, the crude implements used to perform the act left bloodied beside the corpses. A Breton male with an amputated arm lay on another table while on a third one a dead khajit lay face down in a pool of blood. What in Oblivion was going on here? How deep had these former colleagues fallen to. Speechless at the sights before them they moved on wondering if this Orthorn was going to be more of a hindrance than a help.
OT-I use dDefinders Enhanced Blood Textures mod for all blood effects in game.
They found Orthorn locked in a cell not far from the torture chamber. He was guarded by three elemental mages and a brace fo wolves. They put up a tough fight as fire and lightning joined ice being flung across the room. Se’rith was hit by an ice spike that glanced off her right wrist forcing her to drop her staff. Th wolves immediately jumped on her and she had to resort to her dagger to finish them off. Brelyna was her fir spouting usual self. Two of the enemy mages lay as smoking corpses at her feet while the third was finished off by a Flame Atronach the dark elf had summoned.
Orthorn proved to be an Imperial that was full of pentience for what he’d done. He said a conjurer only known as The Caller had removed the three books upon his arrival and then had him thrown into the cells. He’d been kept there for a number of weeks. There had been other prisoners when he’d arrive but one by one they had taken them away to partake in some experiments, none however had yet returned. Se’rith was in doubt they had just witnessed the result of these experiments in the torture chamber. Orthorn was eager to make amends and swore to assist them if they were to release him. He’d then accompany them back to the College to answer for his crimes and put himself at the Archmage’s justice. Se’rith was moved by his passionate plea and released him. With a word of gratitude he gestured to a set of stairs that he said would lead to the Undercroft, a place where the coven’s necromancers worked their magic. It provided some sort of antechamber to The Caller’s quarters.
The necromancers and their undead charges fought long and hard to kill Se’rith and her companions. Orthorn was true to his word and fought alongside her and Brelyna adding his spells to their already considerable arsenal. Skeletons were balsted aside and their masters put to the flame. If these walking dead were products of ‘experimets’ then Se’rith and her companions were exacting righteous justice on these evil men and women. This ‘Caller’ would have a lot to answer for.
A long, candle lit stairway rose from the Undercroft. Orthorn indicated that The Caller had her chambers at the top. He started to ascend them and the Dunmer followed. A short instant later Orthorn was flying through the air stumbling into them. An ice spike was embedded into the centre of his forehead. His lifeless eyes were wide open as Se’rith tried but saw there was no way they were bringing him back. The sounds of battle from atop the stairs told her Brelyna had engaged the enemy. Saying a prayer to Arkay to grant Orthorn’s soul peace she left his corpse there and ran up to help Brelyna finish off the foe. As the last of her bolts dropped the final enemy they turned to a majestic door covered in runes and adorned with a great horned skull at its apex. The Caller awaited them on the other side. Readying their protective magics she turned the handle and was greeted by a haunting, seductive laugh. A slender woman in blue robes stood by a plinth in the centre of a summoning circle. With a voice dripping with scorn she demanded an whose authority had they invaded her home and disrupted her work?
When Se’rith told her they were from the College of Winterhold she laughed with great sarcasm. She was surprised that Aren would send such younglings as his lackeys to do his dirty work. She would not give the books over but perhaps might send their corpses back to Winterhold as a warning to the mages there. With that she raised her arms and uttered the words of a summoning spell. Two Atronachs appeared in the small chambers to either side of the circle. Fireballs and lightning bolts began to rain down on the Dunmer as The Caller began to hurl frost bolts. Se’rith was involved in the hardest fight of her life so far. Everytime they seemed to have bested her she teleported to one of the small rooms that also had plinths. Once again she would call forth Atronachs to serve her. Se’rith almost exhausted her supply of restore health potions and her she could feel her connection to the magical weave get weaker as her supply of magika fell desperately low. The Caller, however, was also governed by the same rules and her magic was also weakening, her frost bolts didn’t hurt as much and her robes were burnt and frayed. Blood flowed freely from her many wounds and one of her eyes was swollen shut. Her hair was fringed and burnt, she was on her last legs. Charging at her together they brought her down in a combined attack of fire and lighting. The Caller went down spitting curses at the College and Archmage. As she fell dead so did the Dunmer, exhausted but also bloodied and bruised. The books were in their possession but at great cost.