Nocturnal - Part VIII

Shortly after that, Amusei came looking for Clark again. Nocturnal wanted mandrake root, which didn't grow in Evergloam, as much as he could find. They grew elf cup, but you couldn't make potions to cure disease without another ingredient, and with mandrake root, you could just eat the stuff. "I found some," Amusei told him, "but I really don't know where to look. Argonians rarely catch diseases, so I don't know much about curing them."

"Did she tell you what disease they wanted to cure? And why she needs more than one?"

Clark had his suspicions. Vampires would be particularly attracted to the permanent darkness in Evergloam, although they'd go hungry for mortal blood. Except for Cyndil, there weren't any mortals living in the castle, and he didn't know of any settlements nearby.

He told Amusei that the Colovian Highlands was the best place to find it, although it grew around Bravil, too, and he'd seen it by the roadside near Anvil. In the Imperial City, or in Leyawiin, where Amusei came from, only the merchants would have any. He recalled Unna making a stash in Sky's Edge Cave, because it was hard to get up in the Jeralls.

Clark decided to pay a visit to Evergloam, and find out what was going on.

Nocturnal confirmed his theory. The Seducer guards had seen a lot more vampires skulking around since Cyndil had arrived. The Bosmer seemed to be a magnet for them, and they were coming much closer to the castle, which they'd previously avoided. Cyndil was safe enough inside the castle, but she was beginning to feel like a prisoner again. Having a supply of mandrake root on hand would let her roam freely once more.

Clark had some experience of fighting vampires, from his visit to Nornalhorst with the sisters. They had strengths, and weaknesses, and you could plan accordingly. They were particularly vunerable to fire, for example.

"Do you know where the vampires are?" Clark asked Nocturnal.

"Most likely the cave to the north of here," she replied. "I've encouraged bats to live there, and given them fireball spells to try and discourage the vampires. However, there are parts of the caverns that connect to the old ruins of an earlier castle, and I suspect the vampires are able to keep the bats out of the ruins. If you can kill them off, I'll pay a bounty for each one you slay."

Clark wasn't much of a slayer, but he could combine his detection and defensive skills with Cyndil's firepower to make a decent team.

"Good idea," Nocturnal agreed. "It will certainly help her get her confidence back, and she won't feel like her presence is the problem. You'll have to share the bounty, of course."

Cyndil liked the idea too, and she was especially happy when Clark handed her a bundle of enchanted arrows. They not only added fire damage, but had an extra enchantment of light to make the target more visible in the dark caves. "Arrows of Sunlight should be the perfect things to use against vampires. I can use one of these for my first shot, and if it doesn't kill them, then ordinary arrows to finish them off."

"Take one of those arrows to the smith here in the castle," Nocturnal told them. "We should be able to make more, and they do appear to be the perfect counter to vampires."

The smith, a Daedra seducer clad only in a leather apron, took the arrow and examined it carefully. "The arrow itself appears fairly normal, but that's an interesting combination of enchantments. Not one I'd ever thought of using before. Still, I think it's something we can reproduce, given a litle time. Leave this one with me, and I should be able to start making them in about three days."

"Do you have enough for now, or should we wait before going to the cave?" Clark asked Cyndil.

"Well, we don't know how many vampires there are, so I could only guess," she replied. "I was planning on taking a lot of ordinary arrows as well, so there's no reason to delay."

She had enough soul gems to recharge the bow, too. No more putting it off, it was time to go and find the cave.