Volume 5 – The Adventures The Young Dragonborn
Chapter #184 – Nightcaller Temple
“Jonhild, I would have wished to meet in some better circumstances. I am your cousin Brenda, and this is my husband Evan.”
“Fancy seeing you two, Evan, Brenda!”
I was greeted by a couple of Moonblade man and a Firemane woman. I have a blood relative here too it seems.
“Are you sure that dark elf is essential to save Alina and your friends. You held us from going in long enough.” Evan asked me.
“I know but believe me, there is no other way.” I spoke with a heavy heart.
We were standing in front of Nightcaller Temple and were waiting for the arrival of the former cultist of Vaermina, Erandur.
Patriarch Sigurd was having it hard but he managed to recover somehow and he was standing alone also waiting, he entrusted me with leading the rescue operation and making the tough calls.
Many questioned that decision but were met with Sigurd’s deadly glare. Also, things were about to get out of hand when some people wanted to brag in against my orders.
I had strong reasons to hold everyone back. I also didn’t reveal anything for the sake of keeping things in order.
Why is that?
Simple, Vaermina is nasty to deal with even for a Daedric Prince. Even a scourge like Molag Bal, the Daedric Prince of **** and Torture, sometimes seeks help from Vaermina when it comes to matters regarding vampirism.
And there is Quagmire, the realm of Vaermina that was described as the most horrible realm where one’s own nightmares and fears manifest into the most hideous form possible.
Even though it is a place of great horror, yet it is the most frequent place that mortals visit in Oblivion. The first reason is that Vaermina pulls the sleeping people by their nightmares to torture them as she sees fit. However, the second reason is what worries me the most. It was said that Quagmire and the Mortal World Mundus are really close and the places where Vaermina’s artifacts exist in Mundus are places where the effects of Quagmire manifest. I don’t know to what extent but the Nightmares problem of Dawnstar are related to it.
Now, in Nightcaller Temple, I met with the escort that arrived from Dragon Bridge town, following them was a Dunmer man in the yellow monk’s robe, this was brother Erandur.
From the looks of it, he didn’t seem to have shown any resistance so I guess it won’t be hard to convince him to work with us.
“Brother Erandur, we are sorry to bring you here on such a short notice. My name is Jon Dare.”
Erandur was looking around and seemed a bit desperate for some reason.
“Please, good lord. I have left that kind of life behind, I have cut ties with Vaermina and Nightcaller Temple ages ago. Please, spar…”
“We are not intending to interfere with your past. The matter is that we know about the Miasma, some of ours went into the temple to investigate the matter on their own but they never came out for four days.”
“Mara’s mercy! I- I don’t know what to say.”
“Please, save your condolences. I am very well aware of what’s in there…” I approached him and whispered, “I am talking about the Skull.”
Erandur’s eyes were about to jump out of his head, he looked at me and started shivering.
“I also know about what happened back in the day when you fled to save your own hide. I am not judging you because no one would want to kill themselves instead of struggling to survive, and you did. Congratulations, but… this place is dangerous.”
I forced myself to calm the mer down and explained the situation.
“I understand, it is indeed true that the ‘Skull of Corruption’ is what activated the ‘Miasma’ that comes from the Nightcaller Temple, that building that people call Tower of the Dawn, but it was deserted for quite a long time before Nightcaller Temple was established inside. When the temple was active the priests would rarely be seen in Dawnstar. They preferred to live a solitary existence. The temple’s been abandoned for decades now. The first thing we need to do is to establish a Shrine of Mara inside the tower’s entry hall…”
“I have already taken care of this part, the shrine is here and we can install it once we start moving in.”
“Young Lord… I- I think I shouldn’t ask more as you already know this much about me anyway.”
Erandur wanted to ask about something but good thing that he read the mood. I really was about to drag him in.
After everything became ready, Erandur, Patriarch Sigurd and I were the ones who are absolutely going in, Evan Moonblade tried to come in but Sigurd appointed him in charge of the Moonblades out of the blue. It almost caused a commotion but a glare from Patriarch Sigurd was enough to silence everyone.
After that, we entered the tower with not a single word. The three of us were quiet and in a heavy mood.
The reason why I brought Erandur was that because he is a priest of Mara and a former cultist of Vaermina. Vaermina may be strong but he is the only one who can challenge her authority in this place.
“Years ago, this temple was raided by an orc war party seeking revenge… they were being plagued by nightmares just like the people of Dawnstar.” Erandur started talking about the place.
“… the orcs were not successful as the priests knew they could never defeat the orcs, so the priests released what they call ‘The Miasma’, putting everyone to sleep. It was created by the priests for their rituals. It’s a gas that places the affected in a deep sleep. Because the rituals would last for months or even years, the Miasma was designed to slow down the aging process….”
Erandur started talking about the Miasma and the priesthood of Vaermina who were really skillful with Alchemy. Anyway, we kept going down as our destination was the deepest part of the temple.
Patriarch Sigurd and I were searching every room we pass on for traces of Alina and the rest.
As we reached halfway through, we came across a path blocked by a barrier.
“Damn it. The priests must have activated this barrier when the Miasma was released.” Erandur said as he looked depressed.
The one who was more shocked was Sigurd.
“What does that mean? If there was that barrier, then how can Alina go past it?”
He raised a good point.
Erandur thought for a while and spoke.
“I think they were invited inside.”
“Invited? By who?” Sigurd started to run out of patience.
“Lord Jon, I think we should keep our friend here in the dark anymore.” Erandur saved his own hide and passed the ball to me.
Now I was the one who was being glared at by Sigurd.
“Sigh! I didn’t think it would come to this but I think you should sit down, Patriarch Sigurd. What or who I think that we are up against is Vaermina…”
I started explaining the situation hastily to Patriarch Sigurd whose face became paler and paler the more I spoke.
After saying what I had to say, I waited if he had any questions but he seemed to have calmed down. I knew that he was on the verge of going berserk any time but I needed to find a way to solve the problem faster.
“Erandur, I suppose you know of a way to bypass the barrier.”
Erandur started thinking then nodded.
“Actually. Hmm, I wonder… There may be a way to bypass the barrier, but I must check their library and confirm it can be done. I still have my key to the library.”
Erandur led the way and Sigurd and I followed. I got on alert as soon as we opened the library. Sigurd saw that and also prepared.
As we entered the library, there were people waiting for us… the Cultists and the Orcs, that got affected by the Miasma many years ago, awoke from their coma and attacked us like mad zombies.
We counterattacked and killed them on the spot.
Following Erandur’s guidance, we started looking for a book called the Dreamstride. After finding it and confirming a way to bypass the barrier, we started to look for a potion called Vaermina’s Torpor, a potion that can grant an ability with the name of the ‘Dreamstride’, basically it is a teleportation ability using places one saw in a dreams, like when you sleep and dream of someplace, you wake up in it.
Finding the torpor required that we go deeper into the temple which meant we had to kill more of the Priests of Vaermina and the Orcish invaders.
The scary thing about these people was not how they got preserved in a sleeping state all these years but how they looked life after they woke up. The Miasma indeed accelerates aging but it also changed the color of their eyes to one of deep darkness, there was no white in their eyes as if their eyes reflected the void itself.
Erandur explained that as Vaermina waking up those guardians to try and block us from going deeper. Sigurd questioned the reason and he understood that the priest indeed that it was thanks to Mara’s protection over Erandur was that we didn’t face whatever consequences as those who came before us and that includes Alina and the rest.
After the search was over, we found not one but two bottles of Vaermina’s Torpor, If I remember correctly, there was only one in the game which made me wonder why.
“I’m relieved you discovered two bottles intact; this place looks as though it was ransacked by the orcs. So… I’ve taken us this far, but you need to guide us the rest of the way.” Erandur said as he looked at the two bottles with discomfort.
“Why don’t you want to drink?” Sigurd was wary of Erandur which made the later made a complicated face.
“He is a sworn Priest of Mara now, he can’t drink the torpor because it won’t work on him as it only works on the Priests of Vaermina or the unaffiliated, isn’t that right?” I explained the situation as I remembered how it was.
“… It is indeed the case, one of you two has to drink it. I understand your hesitation, but I promise you that it works.” Erandur said following up to my words.
Sigurd was very cooperative with me as everything I said was coming to be true regarding the case of this place.
“With all said and done, I am going to drink a bottle and open the way fr…” I said as I held a bottle.
“Wait!” Sigurd interrupted me. “I will be the one doing it.” He said and took the bottle from me.
I was kinda taken aback as it wasn’t how it was supposed to go in my head.
“With all due respect Patriarch, I am very sure in my ability to pass that hurdle, there is no need t…”
“Boy, this is my daughter we are looking and you are asking me to sit and watch?” Sigurd aura became serious and I was a bit threatened.
“No buts! I am not sure how this magical bottle will help us but if something happened… your parents just got you back and you have done well to make us reach it here.” He said and opened the bottle to drink it.
Man, this is annoying.
I wasn’t in a good mood after these words but Sigurd has already made his mind and looked at it. Erandur was still nervous but he started to assure Sigurd.
“I will watch over you as you slumber to ensure your safety. If I deduce anything is amiss, I will use my arts to bring you back. Otherwise, I am uncertain what will end your Dreamstride.”
“Alright Dark Elf, but remember that this boy can chop you to a thousand piece if my daughter and I don’t survive this.” Sigurd said and drank the potion.
His consciousness faded and I held his body and laid him down. I was a bit worried as this was a bit not how it went in the game.
After a short while, Sigurd’s body disappeared in a poof. Erandur and I looked at each other and ran towards the place where we thought he should have appeared.
Luckily, the barrier was removed as Sigurd was there huffing down and was about to collapse.
“… I- saw- wait!”
His state was not good.
“What happened?” I rushed at him and asked.
“I know- I know how to find Alina and your friends.”