Part 5 - Broken Tower

Karthwasten wasn't far, the road was safe, and you could make the round trip easily in a day. Clark invited Vicuņa to join him. "We'll take my carriage, and maybe do a little trading while we're there." She agreed. Her type of trading might be a little different from Clark's, but there was a chance she'd find an opportunity, too.

They arrived a little before lunch, and were surprised to see the miners milling around outside the mines. The Orc told him they'd been kicked out by mercenaries sent by the Silver-Bloods "to protect them from the Forsworn". She sent Clark over to Enmon's house when he mentioned his quest. "He's the only one here with a daughter. But I haven't seen her for a few days, I hope she's all right."

Enmon and his wife Mena told him that he'd arrived a day too late. Their child, Fjotra, had been kidnapped just yesterday by Forsworn, and now the mercenaries had come and taken the mine, too. "I don't think that was a coincidence. either," he told them.

Ainethach, the owner of the mine, confirmed his suspicions. "The Silver-Bloods want me to sell the mine to them. I'm convinced that they have some kind of control over the Forsworn, and yesterday's raid was a setup for today's occupation."

Clark was inclined to agree, but getting Fjotra back had to take precedence over reclaiming the mine. He could use reinforcements for that, too.

"Does anyone know where they might have taken Fjotra?" he asked.

The general concensus was that they'd have taken her to Broken Tower Redoubt. It wasn't far, just the other side of the river. If she really was the next Sybil of Dibella, the Forsworn might have known that. They had their own shrine to Dibella there, and it wasn't exactly like the one in Markarth.

Both Enmon and Vicuņa wanted to come with Clark. He wasn't convinced that either of them were suitable for the task. Neither had any armor, or a decent weapon. "But I don't need them," Vicuņa pointed out. "I have spells I can use instead." Enmon shrugged, and agreed that it might be better if he stayed behind. "It is my daughter they have, but I wouldn't want her to see her father getting killed. I'd rather she didn't have to see anyone die, but you'll do what you have to, to get her back."

"What about you?" the Dunmer asked Clark. "I can see a sword and shield on the wagon, but I don't notice any armor."

"Ebonyflesh enough?" he asked her.

"Really? The same as I use, but you don't look like a mage."

"Well, I don't do destruction, so I've been able to spend more of my time on restoration and alteration. And while I haven't the protection from my clothing I once did, I've enchanted my sword with both fire and soul trap, so it will feed its own charge."

"You have the skill for dual enchantments? I thought you told me you didn't."

"No, I was lucky enough to find an item that had both as a single enchantment, if that makes any sense. They were combined as one, just on the wrong weapon for me."

They left the horse and wagon in Karthwasten. Clark didn't want the horse getting killed if they ran into the Forsworn unexpectedly, as he didn't fancy walking all the way back to Markarth. The walk over the bridge to Broken Tower was a much shorter distance, and anyway, they'd want to be on foot to be ready for any hostilities.

There was a single skirmisher outside Broken Tower, a woman dressed in skimpy furs, and paint. What she lacked in armor, she made up for in aggression, and ran screaming at them with a jagged sword in each hand. Vicuņa's fireball met her half-way and sent her flying.

Clark had already cast his armor spell, and now she cast hers. Just in time, as an archer popped his head over the wall above them and let an arrow fly in their direction. Another fireball went back in return, but the archer just ducked out of its way.

"We'd better get inside, where I can use my sword," Clark said, pointing at the only door he could see. It wasn't locked, and they rounded the first couple of corners before they met anyone coming the other way. There was one archer in the corridor ahead, and another up the stairs to the right. Since she didn't have a clear shot at the latter, Clark ran that way, hoping the Dunmer would take out the other. He blocked an arrow with his shield and took out the archer with a couple of swings of his sword. Same negligible fur armor on this one, too. Nice body, such a waste.

Vicuņa and Clark at Broken Tower.

He heard the explosion of another fireball below. He hoped that Vicuņa had a spell without the area effect for closer quarters, but right now it was working well enough.

The next Forworn they encountered was a man with an axe and a sword, and he popped out of a doorway too close for her to use her fireball. It took a second to ready a different spell and Clark had to deflect a massive blow from the man's axe with his shield. He staggered a little, preventing him from counter-striking with his sword. A bolt of lightning crackled over his shoulder and the Forsworn jerked back. Before he could swing again, Clark had recovered his balance, and the offensive. A slash from his enchanted sword set him on fire, and captured his soul.

Further in, a mage slowed Clark's advance with her frost, but that just kept him safely back from the fireball that flew past him. He cast a healing spell, and shivered off the rest. Then they were outside again, on the ledge above the road, trading fireballs for arrows. Not a fair exchange, really.

"This tower looks like the only part we haven't been in," Clark said, pointing to the door ahead. "I do hope Fjotra's in there, after all this."

They crept in as quietly as they could, and saw a man in furs, with a horned head-dress, making offerings to a statue of Dibella. A statue just like the ones in the temple, except that this one was smeared with blood. Human remains lay on an altar before it.

The wind blew the door shut behind them, and the man turned to see what had made the noise. They could see a hole in his chest where his heart should be, filled with some kind of plant material. He raised his hands to cast a spell.

The briar-heart had his own fireballs for them, so they quickly split up to approach him from opposite sides of the room. Vicuņa was using her most powerful lightning spell, to try and drain his magicka, as well as damage him, and Clark was trying to get close enough to swing his sword. Both were wondering where Fjotra was, and if the fireballs were endangering her.

Clark was feeling rather warm by the time he got into sword range, and the Forsworn didn't seem to be letting up with his flame attack. But he faltered as Clark struck, and fell back. Clark didn't let him regain the initiative and continued swinging his sword as quickly as he could. The force of the blow wasn't as important as keeping his opponent off-balance and unable to fight back. But he had to keep out of the lightning coming from his companion at the same time, and that wasn't easy.

She ran out of magicka just as Clark's sword struck. The briar-heart's head rolled across the floor and stopped at the door of a cell. Clark took a key from the man's corpse, and hurried to open the cell door, pushing the severed head away before Fjotra could see it.

He couldn't stop her from seeing the headless body, though. Or the remains lying on the altar before the bloodied statue of Dibella. Or all the other dead bodies on the way down to the road.

Enmon and Mena were delighted to have their daughter back, but surprisingly, eager to let her go again. Becoming the Sybil of Dibella would be such an honour, and a much better life than she could look forward to in Karthwasten.

The three of them arrived back in Markarth around sunset, and they took Fjotra to the Temple right away. "Have you brought me another acolyte, too?" Hamal asked Clark, nodding towards Vicuņa.

"The nice lady helped rescue me from the Forsworn," Fjotra told her.

Clark had to tell Hamal the whole story, including the details of the shrine they'd found in the tower. "They'd clearly sacrificed someone on that altar. You don't think it could have been..."

"Our previous Sybil? It wouldn't surprise me. And that would mean that Fjotra was next in line."

"We found a few small statues, as well. Are you missing any from the Temple?"

"No, but they're quite common around here. The gilded ones are popular with women who've visited here, as mementos of their pilgrimage. Men seem to like them, too. You might offer them to Lisbet at Arnleif and Sons Traders, I know she deals in them when she can get them. "

Hamal led Vicuņa to the altar in the middle of the temple. "Prostrate yourself, and then drink from the basin. Dibella will grant you her blessing."

Clark's reward was the Enchanting training he'd requested, free of charge. Not only was Hamal able to reveal the secret of the enchantment, but with the extra skill levels he gained, he could make the charge more powerful. Now he could make an amulet that might help more than a slender Bosmer.

"I don't know what Dibella gave me, but I do feel different," Vicuņa told him.

"Most women are convinced that they have larger breasts," Hamal told her. "I don't believe she ever actually does that, but their posture improves, and so does their self-confidence. The result is probably the same."