Brass Fortress

The whole shadow thing was starting to nag at my mind, but Fyr interrupted me by introducing us to Proctor Luciana Pullo, an Imperial with a livid scar across one side of an already striking face. She obviously knew Fyr, and wasn't too pleased to see him again, which is why he wanted me to do the talking.

She told me I'd need a sponsor to get full citizenship, and access to all of the Brass Fortress' facilities. Finding one was my problem not hers. Fyr didn't count, apparently, and I'd have to find someone else. She gestured with the hand that wasn't wielding a large battle-axe, and I noticed that it was a mechanical one, attached to a mechanical arm, and ... it appeared that her entire body was a mechanism.

When she'd stomped off back to her guard post near the main door, I asked Fyr about it. He told me that she'd been a battle-mage under Reman Cyrodiil in the previous era. She'd been caught in the magical explosion when her conjured sword annihilated itself cleaving the staff of a powerful Wood-elf mage in the invasion of Valenwood. Sotha Sil had found her and taken her back to the Clockwork city to try and save her. He'd only been able to do so by replacing most of her with prosthetic parts.

"I assume that he tried to make her look as much like she did before, as he could manage," I queried.

"Yes, and for a very practical reason," Fyr replied. "That metal body is the size, shape and weight that she was accustomed to when wearing her usual armour. That meant that she didn't have to learn to balance, adjust her reach, or make any other accomodations to it. Just give up on eating, and a few other pleasures."

"The metal's really that light?"

"It's mostly hollow, and the ornate filligree is much stronger for its weight than plain plate. The placement of the internal pumps and things keeps the weight where she expects it, so she still moves like a woman, not a factotum."

One of the people milling about outside the gate saw an Imperial face (mine) and came over to introduce himself. He assumed that I was also seeking a sponsor, not being from around here, as he put it, and maybe I'd like to join him and his associates in a task that should get sponsorship for us all.

His name was Neramo, and he was an Altmer scholar of Dwemer artifacts, not that his knowledge was proving much help here. The other two, the Dunmer siblings Raynor and Kireth, seemed to be making more progress, as they'd discovered that the oil from Firepot Spiders was valued by the Clockwork Apostles. They hoped to collect enough to present to Provost Varuni Arvel, to trade for her sponsorship, but the Firepot Spiders were being ... uncooperative. Could I help?

Kireth told me that her brother had seen some spiders down in the gully beneath the bridge, and he'd gone down to investigate. "Can you go down and keep him out of trouble?" she asked me,

The problem with the Firepot Spiders, and the reason that their oil was so hard to get, was that they attacked by shooting burning oil at you. Not only did that make the process dangerous, but the more they did so, the less oil remained to be collected. Raynor wasn't getting a good return for the risk he was taking, and he really needed a different approach.

It turned out that my shield bash stunned the little automata quite well, and Raynor could finish them off, and collect the oil before they recovered. Together, we made good progress, and soon had enough to climb back up to the gate and decide our next move.

While the Proctor was delighted with the quantity of oil we'd gathered, as I expected, it wasn't quite enough to get us all sponsored. We'd have to do just a bit more for that. She had just the task - investigate the recent disappearances of several other outsiders. Any evidence she could use against their abductor would gain us what we sought.

Neramo was confident. He'd been tinkering with a device called a skeevatron - essentially a mechanical rat - that he could use to investigate areas we couldn't reach. And he had a good idea where we'd need to look. Kireth had overheard a conversation between Constable Baldan and a Khajiit that had made her more than a little suspicious. Since the Constable's departmental records would all be in the Document Depository, he'd like a look at some of them. and the skeevatron could get in and make a recording for us.

However, I'd need to get the device past a couple of obstacles first. The lock wasn't hard to pick, but did need opposable thumbs, so the little skeevatron couldn't have managed on its own. And there were a couple of heavy doors to open. Quietly, so the occupants of the room wouldn't notice.

The curious little construct managed the rest on its own, although it did require s0me steering to the right locations. Neramo had instructed it on what to look for, so it soon emerged with recordings of several pieces of important records. All of which showed signs of having been altered, as they no longer matched what we knew had taken place.

So now we knew how it was all being done, but since the Constable's account matched the official record, we still had a problem.

Kireth had an idea. We needed to make our record of events, that couldn't be refuted, and let Constable Baldan make his changes to the official one. Then we'd not only be able to prove his crimes, but also the cover-up.

That sounded like a decent plan, except for one detail. I wasn't happy with the idea of her being the one to talk with Baldan while I made the recording. Somehow, however, she managed to persuade me that she was a more credible victim than I was, and that I was more able to keep hold of the evidence.

So I found myself with a memory stone, crouched above the skylight of Baldan's office while Kireth negotiated a deal with him for her citizenship. As soon as she mentioned an amount of gold, and that she had it with her, of course she was hit over the head from behind and robbed. I had to watch, and record, in silence, and wait until it was all over before I could do anything.

Some inquiries in Slag Town, the local slums, revealed that she was likely to have been dumped in the Mechanical Fundament. This was the local equivalent of a sewer, except that it was infested with clockwork creatures instead of rats. It was nominally patrolled by clockwork factotums, but they were more likely to attack intruders than rescue them.

I got directions to the entrance, and went down to look for Kireth.