War in the Pacific Admiral’s Edition. Game vs Herb

Reuters, Changsha, China

For two days now the better part of two Japanese armies have been bombarding the outskirts of the city. The news from the West was not much better as the holding corps was routed by three enemy divisions supported by armoured elements. Civilians had been leaving the city for the past week or so but now the city was under martial law and no one else is leaving. This reporter is as close as one can get to the Front. USAAF bombers and fighters have made the skies over Changsha deadly for the Japanese, that have clearly had to reinforce their aerial units. Yesterday morning a full blown assault was carried out by the Japanese. Harassed by American and CAF planes the Japanese made a determined attempt to take the city. Yet they did not count on the courage and bravery of the average Chinese soldier. His tenacity in action matched by a desire to rid his land of the aggressor. The line held, not only did it hold but it solidly repulsed the enemy who is estimated to have left over 20,000 casualties behind him. Changsha could become the Stalingrad of the Orient for the Japanese.

 

Skyrim: A New Life

They past by Windhelm just as the sun was besting the mountain peaks to the East. As Dunmer they had no desire to be anywhere near the city once its inhabitants were awake and up and about. They neither wished to run into any Stormcloak patrols are have to be forced to answer uncomfortable questions. As such their passage past Windhelm was unannounced and unnoticed. They noticed a kahjit travelling caravan just outside the main city gate, it seems the Nords not only disliked Dunmer!

As they descended into Eastmarch the rising sun drenched everything in colour. Oranges, browns and green covered the land as far as the eye could see. The peaks of the Veolthian Mountains marked the Eastern edge of Skyrim and on the other side of those peaks stood their devastated homeland ravaged by the eruption of the Red Mountain. Eastmarch proved to be a picturesque place. Brelyna had never been into Eastmarch either and both Dunmer marvelled at the beauty of the hold. There was plentiful wild life as well with mammoth herds enjoying the hot springs that gushed to the West of the road. They came across a couple of hunters that had made camp in the lee of the mountain side. They pointed out the direction to old Dwemer ruins on Se’rith’s questions. As such they were not to far away, maybe an hour or so trek up the mountain. Thanking them for their aid the Dunmer headed once again down the road to Primby Village.

Primby proved to be a quaint little village perched atop the cliff overlooking the hot springs of Eastmarch. It had a small stone keep guarding its entrance and a large statue of  Talos dominated the main square. The College contact here was a former instructor of Alchemy called Vita. When asking the local populace for information they called her ‘The Witch’ and directed the dark elves to a small shack next to the general store. Primby itself was located astride the main trade route between Riften and Windhelm and as such provided a lot of amenities. The small fort was well equipped with a forge and smithy to deck out the local guards in equipment. The local leader carried the title of Governor, something uncommon in Skyrim.

It also had several farms and judging from the blossoming fields the soil here in Eastmarch must be very fertile indeed. The people were quite friendly and cheerful, especially the local children when they found out they were from the College. One even asked Berlyna if she could change her friend into something icky! A welcome change from the typically cold Nord behaviour they had experienced so far.

Vita run a small alchemy store in Primby. She was a cranky old woman, Se’rith thought that the nickname of witch was quite an appropriate one. She revealed that Mirabelle had contacted her magically to forewarn her of their arrival. She also spat out that she was amazed that such an unpromising student as Mirabelle could rise to such heights within the College. Yet she was still loyal to Winterhold, despite the years of absence, she told them that the Synod had visited her two days ago asking about a staff and if she knew anything about the Dwemer ruins nearby. They were indeed Mzulft. She hadn’t told the Synod that but warned Se’rith that the Synod, ‘shady characters if you ask me,’ she added, had made their way up the mountain. The Dunmer expressed their gratitude and assured her that the Archmage would know of her help. At the mention of Savos she let out a scornful snort and politely asked them to leave if they were not going to buy anything. They had some breakfast in the Travellers Rest Tavern, located just behind the Talos statue and run by a, to Se’rith’s total surprise, a very friendly orc. With their hunger sated they followed in the Synod’s footsteps until a very familiar cry from the sky made them look up and scream with joy.

Fluttering above them was a Cliffracer. Those reptilian flyers native to Morrowind. It made both Dunmer yearn from home, depsite how annoying the Cliffracer actually is (OT those who have played Morrowind know what I mean). Some Cliffracers must have fled from the eruption of Red Mountain and made their homes in the Velothian Mountains. They watched it glide effortlessly, its familiar cry ringing out through the crisp mountain air. At one point it swooped down to the Keep at Primby and for the first time Se’rith noticed the pennant flying atop its battlements. It wasn’t a heraldry common to Skyrim, perhaps this Governor’s own personal crest?

OT-Cliffracer courtsey of a little mod called Cliffracers by Phitt. A small mod but immense in immersion.

They resumed their journey up the mountain until they came to an unmistakably Dwemer construction built right into the mountain itself. Of the Synod, there was no sign.

Skyrim: A New Life

Brelnya was well up for more adventure and her spirit did not dampen when the smell coming from the Midden hit their nostrils. Access to the Midden was via a trapdoor in the Hall of Countenance.

The Midden were a warren of tunnels that were part sewer, part dungeon, part natural cavern. Its passages twisted and turned in almost every possible direction. Its low ceilinged passages often opened up into natural ice caverns or small chambers. It was obvious to the Dunmer that previous members of the college had used these warrens for private research and experiments. They came across a rickety alchemy table and the remains of a summoning circle. What worried them was the large number of skulls and skeletons dotted all over the dank tunnels. Se’rith wondered if darker arts had often been practised down here. Indeed on several occasions they were assaulted by skeletons and a solitary Draugr. Strange patterns made from bone were impaled on several of the walls and they passed several shrines built into dark alcoves.

Inside a rubbish strewn chamber they found an odd looking contraption that looked of Dwemer make. They could not come to a conclusion as to its function and Se’rith would be asking upstairs to see if anyone could hazard a guess.

OT-This is part of Midas Magic Spells in Skyrim the spiritual successor of Midas’s mod in Oblivion. Have to  love the beam spells 😀

Evidence of Dark Arts...

After a few hours of wandering in the dank tunnels they came upon a wooden door. Both Dunmer heard the voice in their head at the same time. The voice was telling them to go back, that continuing was futile and that it had already begun. Se’rith looked at Brelnya and saw her face tremble. Some power was at work here. Forcing her will against the voice she turned the handle of the door as the voice continued to bombard her mind with messages of woe and doom. Brelnya was by this time whimpering, her shoulder slumped against a mossy brick wall. As Se’rith turned the handle and opened the door the voice suddenly stopped and there before them floated a blue ball of energy. Tendrils of blue ethereal energy caressed the air around it. There was no doubt in Se’rith’s mind that they had found the Augur of Dunlain.

The Augur communicated with her through her mind. It spoke in very cryptic terms, about an event that augured the end. The Eye of Magnus was going to be misused and disaster would follow. It told Se’rith that she was being guided on her Path by those who wanted the College saved from a very imminent danger. Not like the Thalmor, the Augur purred into her mind. The Thalmor! Had that bastard Ancano been down here before her. With a laugh the Augur consented his agreement. The Thalmor wanted something with the Eye, something that would spell the end of the College. Se’rith’s mind recoiled at this, and she resolved not to let this happen. The Augur seemed impressed at this and told her of the Staff of Magnus. The staff would have to be found and with it control the Eye before it happened. With a final command to seek out the Archmage the Augur winked out of existance.

Savos was found in the Hall of Elements and was mightily impressed that such a young pair of mages had braved the Midden and retrieved such important information. The College’s expert on staves and their histories was Mirabelle and Savos told Se’rith to seek her out post haste. He was also very concerned about the role Ancano was playing in all this. If the Augur was correct and the College was in dire danger, how did the Thalmor figure in all this?

Mirabelle proved as helpful as always. The Staff of Magnus was a very powerful artefact that had not been seen for decades. It was rumoured that Magnus created the staff as a way to contain and channel his power. She mentioned that a group of Cyrodiilic mages calling themselves The Synod had called at the College a mere month ago inquiring about several artefacts, among them the staff. This Synod were a group hell bent on aquiring as many magical artefacts as possible as they believed that by pooling magical power they could become a powerful player in imperial politics. Being apolitical the College was above all this but as an institution of learning it felt obliged to help them. All the Synod came up with was a name of a Dwemer ruin in the south, near the village of Primby. The name was Mzulft, a once proud Dwemer city now given over to the ravages of time.

OT-Primby is a village created by antiscamp as part of his ongoing work Frontier. Check out Frontier via the link in the blog roll. Primby will be visited next update.