Carahil - IV

"I don't think anyone's lived in this place since Lorgren," Carahil said, as she opened the door to Benirus Manor. "Except rats and spiders, that is."

The main room they entered certainly looked that way. Furniture was overturned, and some of it broken. But quite a lot of it looked salvageable, and the walls looked sound. Clark opened the door to the dining room. The chandelier had fallen from the ceiling, and broken the table. Most of the dining chairs looked intact, though.

They went through to the back hall, and Carahil followed him up the stairs. The bedroom looked shabby, but the bed was undamaged. One less item that needed replacing. The door at the other side of the room led to a balcony over the sitting room, and a study, which also had a small balcony over the back hallway. There wasn't a lot of cleanup needed here, just cobwebs to remove, and the walls could use a fresh coat of paint.

The windows were grimy, and not letting much light in anyway, but they could tell it was getting dark outside. Sorting through the furniture, and cataloguing what needed replacement, had made them both a little tired, and the bed looked more than tempting.

Clark was woken by a combination of a crash of something breaking downstairs, and Carahil's shriek of "Ghosts!" from the other side of the bed.

There were indeed three spectral figures in the bedroom, and they didn't look friendly. Clark quickly put on his clothes, which had a strong spell reflection enchanted on them, and moved to tackle the intruders.

He quickly found that although he was immune to their attacks, they were equally unaffected by his. His glass sword had no enchantments, and just passed through the ghosts wthout doing anything. Carahil, who was sheltering behind Clark's back, handed him her dagger. "There's only soul trap on this, but the enchantment should let the blade do its job."

She shot a fireball over his shoulder as she said that, knocking the first ghost back a little. That seemed to be a good approach, so Clark stood his ground and slashed at any ghost that got too near, while Carahil stayed behind him and used ranged spells to whittle down their health. Before long, there were three puddles of ectoplasm on the floor, and Clark had some soul gems filled.

They went to investigate the crashing noise Clark had heard, and found a vase had fallen onto the floor, and smashed open. In the pile of fragments were a skeletal hand, and a scrap of paper. Carahil picked them up, and quickly gave the hand to Clark.

"This is a piece of Lorgren's diary," she told Clark. "And it suggests that there's a curse on this place that only a family member - that would be Velwyn - can lift. We need to go and find him."

Of course, Velwyn Benirus had left for the Imperial City as soon as he'd concluded the sale with Carahil. The most likely place to find him would be in the Elven Garden District, as the Benirus family had some property there.

"Can you go?" Carahil asked. "I'm a bit worried what Sparky might do if I'm away from him too long."

Clark returned in a couple of days with Velwyn Benirus in tow. It had taken quite a bit of Clark's powers of persuasion to get him to leave the comforts of the King and Queen tavern, especially as he knew about the ghosts in the old Manor. But he did want to have the situation finally settled, and Clark had pointed out that the sale of the property might not be legally complete until he did.

The ghosts were back when they entered the manor, but it seemed like they were treating Velwyn as family, and not attacking him at all. Perhaps they were family. It was hard to tell with ghosts, as their features were indistinct, and they didn't have voices. Clark was immune to their attacks, and Carahil had learned from their first encounter, and brought along some scrolls that gave her protection from their frost. They reached the basement without too much difficulty.

Carahil gasped as she saw the symbols on the wall. They were necromancer's signs, and the way they glowed suggested that there was still necromantic activity in the house. Lorgren Benirus was long dead, or so she thought. "We never did find his body," she told them. "But we were using a lot of fire spells, so it was likely it had been burned up. Now I'm not so sure."

Velwyn Benirus walked across to the decorated wall, and began touching the symbols in a sequence that presumably had significance. They glowed as he did so, and faded again until touched once more. Velwyn stepped back, looking satisfied, and then turned and ran as a section of the wall started to open.

Clark and Carahil could see another chamber beyond the opening. "I'd better go first," said Clark. "My spell reflection handles any magic, and you've only prepared for frost."

"I'll be right behind you," Carahil answered.

Clark had only taken a couple of steps into the corridor ahead, when the wall slammed shut between them.

"I can't see any way to open it again from this side," Clark called out to Carahil. "Do you remember the sequence Velwyn used to open it before?"

"No, it was too complex, and I didn't think to write it down. I'll go try and bring him back, while you look for a switch or something on that side."

Clark walked further into the chamber and looked around. There was a desk, with a large book on it. He couldn't read the strange Daedric writing, or decypher the symbols, so he put it back down, and moved on.

There was an altar, with a skeleton lying on it, and a few coffins scattered around the walls. Clark found a couple of potions in a sack, but no levers or buttons that might open the door. Then he noticed the same symbols on the altar that had been on the wall. Perhaps they had the same function?

When he touched the first one, he was aware of a voice. It didn't seem to be coming from any place in particular, just resonating around the chamber, and it had a dry and creepy tone that Clark didn't like.

It was the voice of Lorgren Benirus, whose skeleton it was on the altar. He complained of being suspended between life and death, because his skeleton was imcomplete. Clark looked down and saw that the hand was missing. He had a skeletal hand in his pocket, that had come from the smashed vase. Was that Lorgren's missing hand?

"Reunite my hand with my body, so that I can finally die," pleaded the voice. Clark wasn't sure this was a good idea, but it was the only course of action with any promise of progress, so he did so. The skeletal remains disappeared in a burst of flame, and the same voice cackled in triumph.

"I live... again!" it said, and the form of a lich appeared behind the altar. It lowered a staff at Clark and fired off a ball of flame. The lich howled as it was reflected, and summoned a skeleton while it retreated into the corner.

The skeleton was much more of a concern to Clark, as it carried a large Claymore, which he couldn't reflect. But he did have a shield, and the skeleton was unprotected from Clark's own sword. As soon as Clark defeated it, however, Lorgren the Lich just summoned another.

Clark muted the Lich, something he should have done the first time, and set about battling the second skeleton. This one had a mace and a shield, so it was a bit harder to put down, but he did.

"Oh good, I still have Carahil's dagger. Come here, Lorgren, this is going to be slow and probably painful..."

It was likely that the Lich reflected the soul trap enchantment a few times, but that really didn't concern Clark at all. Lorgren had no way to harm him, now he couldn't summon any assistance. And Clark wasn't going to cast any spells at Lorgren, so the Lich's reflection didn't help.

Clark was more exhausted than anything when Lorgren finally succumbed. He must have slashed him a hundred times with that dagger, doing only a little damage each time. But the outcome was never in doubt.

Clark heard the rumble and creak of the wall re-opening, and ran to see if Velwyn had returned. But he found nobody there. Killing Lorgren must have triggered it.

Clark walked back up the stairs, and emerged from the basement into a clean, and refurnished house. There was no way this could have all happened while he was down there, so had the previous wreckage just been an illusion? He'd have to ask Carahil and Velwyn when he found them.