Part 38 - Mzinchaleft Depths

"How far down do you think we are?" Iona asked.

"As long as there's another lift to take us back up, it doesn't make a lot of difference," Clark replied. "I'm more worried about the Falmer, than the depth." He pointed forward, at a body lying on the stone floor.

They also found a broken Dwarven Spider. "No usable scrap on this one, just a soul gem."

"I'll take that, if it's filled," Brelyna told her. "I can always use those to top up my staves. Using those for destruction spells leaves my own magicka for conjurations and armour."

"And if it's not filled, give it to me, and I'll see about filling it. My sword does that," Clark reminded her.

When he opened the next door, Clark could see a Falmer scout on the bridge up ahead. "How well do you sneak?" he asked Iona. "Can you put couple of arrows in that one before he spots us?"

"I think he might notice the first arrow," she replied, but crept forward with her bow at the ready. The Falmer staggered, as her first arrow hit, and Brelyna added a blast of shock before he could recover.

The sound of the lightning brought a second Falmer to investigate, but again he was hit before he found them.

"Keep it quiet, and it may stay this easy," Clark reminded them. "Falmer are blind, so if they can't hear you, they won't know you're there."

"Chaurus aren't, though," Brelyna interrupted, and used her other staff to send a fireball at the advancing beast. Clark raised a ward just in time to block a spray of poison, and Iona sent an arrow in its direction. It still managed to just reach them before falling to a thrust from Chillrend.

That was the only Chaurus in the area, although they did encounter two more Falmer before entering the building at the end of the bridge. Staying as quiet as possible gave them all the advantage they needed.

There were a few more Falmer in the building, but no Chaurus. Stealth proved to be a winning approach, but the tunnel ahead looked ominous.

"There will be Chaurus down here," Iona said, pointing at the egg mound by the wall.

"And not enough room to summon a Frost Atronach. I hate these narrow tunnels," Brelyna agreed.

Clark said nothing. He found that the restricted space made a ward more effective, as you couldn't get around it.

After a number of encounters with both Falmer and Chaurus, they eventually emerged at a plaza where the Falmer had set up an encampment. A row of iron spikes barred a gateway on the other side, but there was no sign of a lever or anything that would lower them. "I bet it's up that ramp, in the tower overlooking us," Clark whispered. "We'll have to go past the huts and hope there's nobody home."

Of course there was, but only Falmer, and none of their pets. There was an archer in the tower, and he heard them open the gate to his perch. Iona was in the lead, with her shield up, so he didn't get much of a target to aim at.

Behind him was a button that lowered the barrier. It came down noisily, probably alerting any Falmer on the other side. Indeed, a shaman with a staff of frost was waiting to attack them as soon as they passed through. Clark's ward was already up, and the frost did little. Iona returned fire with her bow, but it took a few arrows to bring the shaman down.

"We either need to go up that ramp, or through the door opposite. Which should we try first?" Brelyna asked.

"The door's on our level, so we'll take a look there first," Clark decided.

It turned out to be just a storeroom, but there was a fair amount of metal scrap, and a broken Dwarven Centurion lying on a bench. That yielded a bit more metal, and a grand soul gem for Brelyna.

The ramp lead to a large room with a lot of hissing pipes. At the far end, a functional Centurion stood in its recharging frame, which appeared to block a doorway to something beyond. And on a table next to it, a blade gleamed.

"I wonder if that's Grimsever." Iona mused. "If it is, then that's probably the Centurion that beat up on Mjoll."

Iona moved forward to see if she could get a better look without alerting the Centurion. A port opened in the wall ahead of her, and a Dwarven Sphere emerged. She dropped back hurriedly, and they all fired at the advancing Sphere.

A rush of steam told them the Centurion was activated, too. They hurried to finish off the sphere, before its reinforcements arrived. As it fell apart, Brelyna summoned a Frost Atronach to distract the Centurion. If there was room for the metal giant, there was room for hers, too.

"Quickly, up those stairs over there," Clark called out. "We can drop behind it and grab the sword. I just hope the door isn't locked."

Brelyna continued to use her staves to send a barrage of spells at the Dwarven creature they assumed had been Mjoll's nemesis. Her Frost Atronach was shattered by a mighty blow from the collosus, but it staggered itself as it did so.

"It's weakening," shouted Iona, and she rushed in with her sword before Clark could stop her. Brelyna had to hold her fire, for fear of hitting the housecarl.

If it hadn't been Chillrend in Iona's hand, she might not have inflicted enough damage, but the added frost made all the difference. The great metal legs gave way, and Iona had to dodge quickly out of the way as it fell untidily to the ground.

Brelyna leaves Mzinchaleft

It rewarded her extra effort with a good haul of scrap metal, and another grand soul gem. There were a couple of gemstones, and weapons that it must have taken from other adventurers who hadn't been so lucky. "And we do have Grimsever," Clark affirmed. "This sword has just the enchantment Mjoll described."

"It's looking a bit the worse for wear," Brelyna observed. "We ought to clean it up a bit before we give it back."

"I can get Balimund to help me sharpen it up," Iona agreed.

"And we can do better than that," Clark announced. "I have some Malachite on the wagon, so we can improve it for her, if you or Balimund has the skill."

"You found it! But wait, there's something different about it. I mean, it's Grimsever all right, but something's changed." Mjoll put down the axe she was carrying and took the great sword from Iona. "You've had it tempered up a notch, haven't you? I could never manage that myself. Never had the skill, or the material."

"Let me give it a swing," she continued.

Everyone stood back and gave her room. It was a large and heavy blade, but she whirled it around as if it were light as a feather. "It doesn't just look better, it feels better, too. I can't thank you enough!"

"Actually, perhaps you can," Clark began. "Brelyna needs a guide to take her to Mzulft, and Iona and I want to go there too, and look for Dwarven Metal. It will give you the chance to use Grimsever again, I'm sure."

"Back to a Dwarven ruin? Are you sure that's a good idea?" Aerin asked.

"I doubt there are any Centurions there," Brelyna explained. "I'm following a group of mages from Cyrodiil, and I'm sure they would not be going there if that was what they expected to find. A few lesser automata, no doubt, and maybe some Falmer, that's all."

"And I think going back to a Dwarven ruin is exactly what Mjoll needs, to put her right. Slay the ghosts, and all that," Clark added. "Remember, she's not going to be alone, this time."