Part 57 - Raven Rock

As the new girl in town, Brelyna was quickly noticed, and she enjoyed flirting with all the men who hadn't brought their wives with them. "If I went into the Frozen Hearth in Winterhold, I don't think I'd get this much attention if I took all my clothes off," she remarked.

Clark smiled as he remembered her almost doing that the first time they'd met. And then he looked over at Diablita, who was just wearing her chains, and had to laugh.

Brelyna looked puzzled at first, and then saw where Clark was looking and laughed, too.

They talked to Sadri about the story in the Deathbrand book. "Oh yes, I've got a copy of that around here somewhere, too. I'd always assumed it was just a legend, like most of the other ghost stories you read, but you say the tomb actually exists?"

"Yes, off the coast near the Skaal village," Diablita assured him. "But of course it's locked, so nobody can find out if the legend is true. We were thinking of going back there and asking the Skaal what they know."

"Take some of my Sujamma with you. I'd like to know what they think of it. I'm always looking for new customers, and I don't have any contact with them."

"Have you tried sending a few samples over to Windhelm with Gjalund's ferry?" Clark asked him. "There's quite a community of Dunmer in the city who might like it."

"I don't know if it would still be good after a long sea journey," Sadri responded. "Sujamma needs to be fresh."

"It's less than a day's trip," Clark reassured him. "And good Sujamma doesn't sit around undrunk for long. Because the Dunmer know all about freshness, once they know where it comes from, they'll be coming here to drink it."

"Good point. Unless, of course, they won't touch it because it wasn't brewed locally."

"I'll handle the business of getting them to try it," Clark told him. "When I go back to Windhelm at the end of this trip, I'll take a few with me. Ambarys Rendar will be glad to provide his cutomers with authentic Sujamma, and I'm sure he won't mind if they think he made it himself."

"But I will!" Sadri exploded. "I'm going to label the bottles, so everyone knows it's Sadri's."

"Just leave the details to me," Clark insisted. "The first thing is to get them to taste it. Then we can tell them where it comes from. If they're surprised that it's imported, and still that good, it will make an even better impression."

Sadri looked unconvinced, but Clark knew he had some time to bring him around. He wasn't planning the trip back to the mainland for quite a while.

Since the next ferry from the mainland wouldn't come in for a couple of days, they all went off to the Skaal village. Frea didn't know anything more about the Deathbrand story, but Fanari Strong-Voice remembered that there was an island called Haknir's Shoal just north of there. "The only connection may be the name, of course. But since Gyldenhul Barrow is nearby, there's some chance there's more to it than that."

"Since it's close, we might as well check it out," Diablita agreed. "We'll still be back in Raven Rock in plenty of time."

Clark thanked Fanari for her help with a bottle of Sadri's Sujamma. "This is good!" she enthused. "It's not Nord Mead, by any means, but I like it."

He handed another bottle to Frea. "If Fanari likes it, maybe you will, too."

"It's different," she agreed. "I can taste a few familar herbs, but I've never had them in this combination, and certainly not in a drink. I'm not sure I'd drink this all the time, but I do like it."

"It's a bit stronger than mead," Clark agreed, "so I don't imagine anyone would change from one to the other. Sadri, in Raven Rock, makes it, and he'd be willing to trade, if you have something to offer in exchange."

"We usually have a good supply of meat and fish, and we've traded with the Dunmer for Ash Yams when we have a surplus," Fanari offered. "We should be able to work something out."

When they reached Haknir's Shoal, just a short walk north of the village, they found they weren't the first to the party. A small group of Reavers were there, camped on the island, and they'd been digging. A chest was visible in the hole they'd dug, and one of them was poking at the lock, trying to open it.

He stopped when the guard spotted Diablita approaching, and raised the alarm. An arrow flew towards her, even before they'd hailed them. "It's either a treasure they don't want to share," she guessed, "or they think we're the Redoran Guard come to arrest them."

Clark didn't think Diablita looked much like a Redoran Guard, but the first option was the likely one anyway. He raised his ward, and followed her. Brelyna cast Ebonyflesh, and pulled the staff from her back.

The Reavers were rather out-classed. It was quite probable that Diablita could have taken them out on her own. Brelyna incinerated the archer that had started it all with a fireball, and Diablita engaged the armoured leader. Clark waited until the mage in the party had exhausted her magicka against his ward and then moved in with his sword. He rather hoped she'd have the sense to run away, but she pulled out a dagger instead. End of mage.

The chest didn't have a very hard lock, so it was soon opened. In it, they found a helm made of Stahlrim. "Is this the cursed one the book mentions?" Clark wondered.

Since none of them ever wore a helm, they weren't inclined to try it. Not that they believed it was cursed; it just wasn't useful.

The Reaver Lord had a map that was of more interest. This island was marked on it, but so were three other locations, widely scattered around the coastline.

"One of them is near Raven Rock, and another near Tel Mithryn," Diablita noted. "We'll be going to both of those anyway."

"Hopefully, Velith will be back on the next ferry and she can join us," Brelyna added.

When they got back to Raven Rock, there were still a few hours before the ferry was due. They decided they had enough time to find whatever the map was directing them to.

Another small band of Reavers was there, with another chest they'd dug up. This time, though, they'd also disturbed a family of netch, and were too busy fighting them off to pay any attention to Clark and his companions. They waited until the last Reaver was dead, and the netch drifted back to where they had been grazing.

The lock on this chest was a little harder to pick, as if to compensate for the easier access to it. Eventually, though, Clark had it open, and found a suit of Stahlrim Amour inside. "It wouldn't surprise me to find the other two locations have chests with boots and gauntlets," he surmised. "But we'd better get back into town. The ferry's almost due."

They hung the armour and helm on a mannequin in Severin Manor on the way. Brelyna had noticed that they were enchanted, and she intended to examine them more closely after they met the ferry. "If Velith's on board, she'll make a better job of that than I can. Enchanting's her field, not mine."

Vicuņa was indeed on the ferry, and Gjalund had told her she was expected. She showed them the ancient staff that Neloth had wanted. "Apparently this was made by someone called Azra Nightwielder, who was a pioneer of staff enchanting. Neloth's more interested in it as a historical record than anything else. The staff itself doesn't appear to be special, but he tells me that careful examination will reveal exactly how Azra went about adding the enchantment. Neloth has an enchanting station that uses Heartstones, but of course, they didn't exist back when this staff was made."

"What's a Heartstone?" Brelyna asked.

"Oh you can mine them in a lot of places on Solstheim," she replied. "I was forgetting you haven't been here before. Neloth thinks they came from the explosion of the Red Mountain, so he first found them on the Morrowind mainland. But most of the ash, and the heartstones, fell on Solstheim. Morrowind got the lava, and the floods."

She rummaged around in her pack, and found one. It glowed blood-red, and obviously was a source of magicka, much like a filled soul gem. "And like a soul gem, you can use it for enchanting, which is why Neloth is interested."

"We have something to show you, too," Clark added. "It's back at Severin Manor, so let's go there next."