Nocturnal - Part X - Chrysamere

Nocturnal had been scrying for Chrysamere ever since Clark had told her about it. The crystal ball kept showing her the same location, but she couldn't see the claymore. "I'm uncertain where it is exactly. It's a large cavern somewhere, and the ball only shows me the interior, so there are no landmarks to help you. Everyone in the cavern seems to be wearing black robes, and there are undead in there with them."

"Most likely necromancers," Clark suggested. "Are you getting any clue why you aren't seeing the sword?"

"It's not clear whether they're hiding it, or they don't even know they have it," she replied. "I'll keep watching them until something shows up to help us figure it out."

Back in the Imperial City, Clark was shopping in the Market District. He'd just entered the alleyway that led from the Three Brothers' shop into the road to the city gate when he saw a purple glow. The same one his outfit gave off when it reflected a spell. He turned and saw nothing, but heard something hit the ground behind him.

One of the watchmen came running over. He'd seen a green light that looked like an illusion spell, and suspected an assault. Together they searched the alleyway and found the man who'd cast it, paralysed by his own spell.

"That's an elaborate way to commit a robbery," the watchman thought aloud. "Chameleon and paralysis. Must use a lot of magicka, so I expect we've got an Altmer here. Of course we won't know for certain until the chameleon fades."

He turned to Clark. "I hope you don't mind coming with us to the prison, sir. I need you to make a charge for assault. Since his spell failed, technically it wasn't one, unless you make the complaint."

Clark agreed. He wanted to know who this man was. The Thieves Guild wouldn't try to rob him, and anyone who wanted to harm him wouldn't have used paralysis. Perhaps this was a freelance thief?

When the chameleon dissipated, the thief was revealed as a Breton man in a plain black robe. He'd taken nothing from Clark, and all they found on him was a note. It indicated that anything magical he managed to steal could be fenced in the captain's quarters in the South-West tower.

"The nerve! Right above the watch's heads." The jailor was incensed by the news, and the watchman looked embarrassed. "I used to bunk in that tower," he told Clark. "They must have walked right past me. Even with them using chameleon, we should have noticed something."

"Can we take a look up there now?" Clark suggested. "The fence might be waiting there, and I have a ring of detect life that will make him plain as day."

The watchman liked that idea. Two arrests in one day didn't happen often.

The fence had cast invisibility, and was trying to hide behind a crate. He'd heard them coming up the ladder, as they weren't even trying to sneak in. Clark was a bit concerned that he'd try to resist arrest, but with more of the watch on the floor below, the man didn't want to take a chance.

This time, it was an Altmer, dressed in a mage's robe. They found a few stolen valuables, and another note that was a lot more interesting to Clark. It said that "the sword" was in Fingerbowl Cave, awaiting a courier to take it on to Anvil. He'd be paid when it reached its destination, not before.

So now Clark had a name for the cavern. He should go back to Nocturnal with the news, but first he should inform Taminwe. Ocato should be able ensure the thieves stayed in prison until Chrysamere was in their hands. If they were released, they might notify their superiors.

Nocturnal had a theory why she couldn't see the sword in the crystal ball. "You see that bolt of cloth, there beside that crate?" she asked Clark.

"No, I can't see anything in the ball. Only you can, remember?"

"Well, there's a bolt of cloth, wrapped around a plank of wood. It's always there in view, and I suspect the sword is hidden inside it. They've probably cut out the board in the middle, and wrapped the cloth around it to hide it."

"They'd soon notice if they tried to move it," Clark reasoned. "The metal sword would be considerably heavier than the wood."

"I don't understand why they need to smuggle it like this. It's not been reported stolen, so nobody's looking for it. Except for us," he added.

"Well, Chrysamere's not exactly inconspicuous, with its shining blue blade, and its size. It's an obvious hero's weapon, and anybody else carrying it is going to look suspicious, and attract a lot of attention. Since its enchantments depend on the attributes of the wielder, it's not easy for anyone but a hero to carry, let alone use."

"The only person I know who could go and get that sword is the Champion of Cyrodiil," Clark told the Daedric Princess. "But I'm sure it would be just the sword he's been looking for all his career. It's not like he'd need it, but the temptation might be too much if we ask him."

Nocturnal disagreed. "The bag of holding will let anyone carry it. It's just a matter of sneaking in and taking it. I'll get Minx to go there."

Clark wasn't happy with that idea. Necromancers were quite capable of casting detect life spells, and the ones that lived in caves were even more likely to do so. And he needed to find out as much as possible about the necromancers' connection with the Altmer who appeared to be the intended recipients of the shipment.

From what Nocturnal had told him about the sword, it made sense that the necromancers wouldn't have been able to make use of it. Presumably they were selling to the highest bidder, but in that case it was strange that Taminwe's spies hadn't caught wind of the offer. At least, she hadn't told him about it, and she usually kept him well informed. Any excuse for a briefing!

Minx and Clark needed a fighter to come along with them. Nocturnal may prefer stealth to confrontation, but these were necromancers, so Clark didn't feel at all sympathetic. Who could he persuade to join the party, that wouldn't covet the sword, but would have the skill to protect them? He thought about Freija, but it was a long way to Gweden, and she liked claymores, too. The sisters were much too involved with the Jemane brothers. He had to go to the Imperial City to pick up Minx, so was there anyone there?

Uzgash! She probably knew Ulliceta from her childhood, and would be happy to help an old acquaintance. And she had the advantage of preferring blunts to blades. But she'd left all her weapons and armor behind in Bruma. That could be a problem.

Minx didn't think so. The thieves guild always had a stream of items passing through its hands. There would undoubtedly be something suitable for Uzgash. "She likes a big battle-axe, doesn't she?"

"I'd better fetch her down here, so she can choose for herself," Clark replied, and left for the Red Dragon Club.

Uzgash picked out a huge ebony battle-axe, and swung it a few times to test the weight and balance. "This was made for me," she announced. "I prefer it without any enchantment, as they have a habit of running out just when you need them. This will wear a bit, but I can take a few repairs hammers along and fix it myself."

She passed on the armor. "I'd rather do without the encumbrance of armor, and get my defense from magic. I still have a frost shield thong that I wore as a bear rider - I only left one with Gudrun, as she wasn't expecting to ride every day. I have frost shield on a couple of rings, too. The Wrothgarians need a lot of frost resistance, and the shield part was just gravy. Added together, it's more than I'd get from a complete suit of Daedric, and I can move a lot faster."

Clark thought it made a lot of sense. Ghosts and wraiths would use frost spells, and necromancers summoned a lot of those.

Uzgash found a pair of leather boots that had a minor enchantment of spell reflection among the thieves' stash. Not enough to make them really valuable, but they'd be perfect for this job.

"No, I'm not going in there topless, although I know you'd like that. But I don't need a cuirass, just a shirt or something that won't restrict my swing." Uzgash paused, imagining what was going through Clark's mind. "The battle-axe, not those."