Part 39 - Mzulft

Mjoll now remembered the way to Mzulft. It was about two-thirds of the way to Windhelm, and not too far off the road. You couldn't quite see it as you passed, but there were arches marking the path, so it was hard to miss the turning.

"If I remember, there's a good quantity of metal in that storeroom over there," Mjoll told them, pointing. "I don't like the Dwemer style of armour, too clunky and heavy-looking for my tastes, so I never bothered collecting it. The usual mixture of loot in the main ruin, but there were parts where the doors were locked and I couldn't pick them, so it's worth a second visit."

"You and Iona go and load up at the storeroom, and Mjoll and I will go look for the Imperials, then," Brelyna decided. "We should be all right on our own."

Mjoll wasn't sure. Brelyna was small and unarmoured. She could look after herself, now she had Grimsever, but what about the Dunmer? Clark pointed out that Brelyna was just as resistant to fire, as Mjoll was to frost. She could use spells instead of armour, and "Show her the reinforcements," he concluded.

Big one
He's big!

"He's bigger than I am," Mjoll conceded, as the Frost Atronach loomed over her. "Almost as big as the Centurion I fought in Mzinchaleft."

Clark noted that Mjoll didn't have any problems talking about that incident now. It was probably a good sign.

"Whatever happened to him, anyway? Was he still there when you fetched Grimsever?"

"Oh yes," Iona told her, "but not any more."

Clark and Iona wished they'd taken the wagon to Mzulft. There was a lot more metal than they'd expected, and it was about as much as they could carry. On the other hand, Iona had more than enough to advance her smithing skill.

"I should be able to make my own steel plate by the time I've used all this up. Balimund tells me he can train me until I can make ebony armour, and that's what I'd really like."

"Check out Narzulbur when you're ready for that. The Orcs there mine ebony, and if you're helpful to them, they should be prepared to trade with you. Maybe they'll let you mine some for yourself."

"Where's that?"

"Up in the hills between here and Kynesgrove. I think that trail over there would lead you there if you follow it far enough."

They didn't take that turn this time. It was the opposite direction from Riften, and they didn't want to carry the metal any further than they had to.

Brelyna and Mjoll joined them in the Bee and Barb that evening. "How did it go? Did you find your mages?" Clark asked Brelyna.

"Yes, but most of them were dead. The Falmer got most of them, but we found one of them alive, locked in the Oculory."

"What's an Oculory?" Iona asked.

"A big room with a Dwemer contraption in it," Mjoll answered. "And not much in the way of treasure."

"It did provide what I was looking for, though," Brelyna cut in. "The location of the Staff of Magnus. I now know it's in Labyrinthian, so we're going there next."

"We?" asked Aerin. "Do you mean Clark and Iona, or is Mjoll going again?"

"I'm going," Mjoll told him firmly. "Brelyna and I make a better team than I imagined. She does everything I don't, and vice-versa. Together, we're more then twice what we are individually. She needs a sword-wielder, and I need a mage."

"And I'm off to Solstheim," Clark told him. "Iona's staying in Riften, if you need some company."

He turned back to Brelyna. "Mind filling in the rest of the story? What is this Staff of Magnus, and why do you need it? I assume there's some connection to that Eye of Magnus you found in Saarthal?"

"Yes. You remember I mentioned seeing a vision of a Psijic monk in Saarthal? Well he turned up in person at the College, and told me to find someone called the Augur of Dunlain. That turned out to be a wraith of some kind, down in the Midden below the College. He told me I need to find the Staff, and when I asked Mirabelle about it, she remembered the Imperials were looking for it, too. So that's why I went to Mzulft, following them. The Oculory showed us where the staff was, but not how to get it."

"I had another vision of the Psijic monk coming out of Mzulft. He told me I need to go back and ask the Arch-mage about Labyrinthian, and that I was on the right path."

"Do you trust these Psijics?" Clark asked.

"I know Ancano hates them, so that makes them all right by me," she replied. "That man gives me the creeps."

Clark must have looked blank, because she explained. "He's a Thalmor, resident at the the College for some reason, probably as a spy. He's always been particularly unpleasant to me, because I'm of House Telvanni. He treats me like I'm a mere hedge wizard, but extremely dangerous at the same time. The Augur of Dunlain told me that Ancano had visited him, too, to ask about the Eye of Magnus, and that he was about to do something potentially disastrous."

"The Psijics were warning me about catastrophic events being set in motion, too. At least they held out hope that I could do something to stop them. It didn't seem to matter to them that I wasn't an Altmer. To Ancano, that makes all the difference."

That fit Clark's impression of the typical Thalmor. He wasn't at all surprised. "If he's still alive, I assume he didn't meet Diablita, when she visited."

Brelyna chuckled. "I wish he had, but unfortunately, no.'

Brelyna and Mjoll accepted a ride in Clark's wagon as far as Windhelm, from where they continued on toward Winterhold, as Clark headed into the city.