Part 76 - Meridia's Temple

Once they got inside, it did become a bit clearer. The light was shining on a pedestal with another of the crystal orbs in it. When they activated the pedestal, the orb was raised into the light and reflected it onward. Apparently they needed to do that a few more times to let the light continue its path.

"And this necromancer we're after just shut these down on his way in, I'd imagine," Clark mused. "There must be a reason they're moveable. Presumably there's more than one path for the light."

"Malkoran," said Jordis. "That's the name of the necromancer. Meridia didn't tell me much about him, just his name. I don't even know what race he is, so we don't know if he resists Frost or Fire."

"They usually don't resist Sword, so use that," Clark replied.

After the first door opened, it was obvious that it wasn't just going to be one man against them. Malkoran had raised a number of skeletal warriors in his service. Not the usual walking bones, but ones that floated in a dark cloud unlike anything he'd seen in Tamriel. But not unlike something he'd seen briefly in the Soul Cairn, when he went with Serana to fetch Valerica. Serana had quickly dispatched it with an Ice Spike before he got a good look, so they had their vulnerabilities, if these were the same.

Jordis' sword seemed to work well enough against them. They weren't using spells, and even though a few were archers, they weren't the problem they could have been outdoors. Corpses were everywhere, most wearing the armours of Imperial and Stormcloak troops, so it was clear where Malkoran was getting his recruits from.

At one point, the path of the light beam left the building and crossed a balcony above the road to Solitude, so they followed it outside, and back in again. They were climbing up and down stairs, and crossing bridges, and jumping from one pillar to another to reach all the pedestals and their light-guiding crystals, all the time being harrased by Malkoran's undead minions.

Finally a door they'd passed several times opened at last, and the path lead downward to the crypt. Would they finally meet Markoran, and put an end to all this?

"If this is Malkoran up ahead, he'll be a spell-caster," Clark reasoned. "Get behind me and I'll use my ward. You can use your bow from back there, so get it ready."

"It seems odd putting the heavy armour at the rear, but I guess against magic, it's all back to front," Jordis agreed.

So naturally, the first opponents in the crypt itself were more of the corrupted shades. Jordis' arrows took them down almost as effectively as her sword would, and then it was just Malkoran left.

His ice storm spell was blocked by Clark's ward, but the wall of ice it produced blocked Jordis' view, and she couldn't see Malkoran to shoot at him. Clark pressed forward, and the ice crumbled out of his way.

Malkoran was running off to one side, trying to get an angle where he could use his spells around the ward, as penetrating it seemed impossible. But he couldn't run and aim a spell at the same time. Jordis hit him in the knee with an arrow and slowed his progress.

Clark didn't have time to make any guard jokes before another frost wall formed on his ward. Now would he try and move back the other way, or stay where he was? The knee would slow him, so Clark just pushed the ice out of the way again, and kept moving into the room. Once they got close enough for them to use their swords, it should all be over.

If they got close enough. Malkoran appeared to have healed himself and was almost to the other side of the room before they could see him clearly. Clark was wondering how he managed to keep casting those high-magicka frost spells, but Malkoran was probably wondering the same about his ward.

He left Jordis safely behind a pillar, and moved around to try and close on Malkoran from a different angle. The necromancer didn't dodge in the direction he expected, but it brought him closer to Jordis. She leapt out of her hiding place and swung hard at the black-robed figure. He staggered and burst into flames, as the enchantment on her blade kicked in. She didn't let him recover, and kept up the attack. Just as she had little defence from his magical attacks, he had no way to resist her blade, and he died.

But before they could celebrate, another shade took his place. They'd have to kill him twice, it seemed. This time, however, they were already in sword range, both of them, with Fiery Soul Trap on each.

The shade went for Clark, seeing a choice of an armoured foe with a shield, or one with neither. Fortunately for Clark, its shock spell fizzled uncast as it was overwhelmed. It wouldn't have killed him, of course, but it would have been quite unpleasant.

And now both of them could hear Meridia's voice, telling them to take Dawnbreaker from its stand. This obviously wasn't the ring that Clark had expected, but something larger. It wasn't until they got close that they could see what it was. A bright glow surrounding it dazzled them in the dim room.

Clark told Jordis to take the sword, and when she did so, the light grew even brighter, and they both had to close their eyes.

When Clark could open his again, he was standing on the platform in front of the statue. Jordis was nowhere to be seen, but a bright light was shining down, from right above where they'd placed the beacon. It gradually lowered, dazzling him again as it approached, and then faded somewhat after the orb that was its source landed. Now he could see Jordis again. Had she been up there with the orb?

Yes, she had. Meridia had told her about the enchantment on the sword. It was all about power against the undead, making them burn like her other sword, but also having a chance to make them explode, dealing further damage to any others around them, and making them flee.

"Does it always glow like that?" Clark asked.

"Yes, I couldn't imagine trying to sneak while I was using this. So I don't see it replacing my other sword, but I'll probably carry whichever suits the situation. There are enough draugr out there to make this really useful."

"Meridia wants me to go and kill more undead with it," she continued. "Am I supposed to do what she said, or keep being your housecarl?"

"Your choice," Clark replied. "Which do you expect to be more rewarding?"

"Let's go back to Proudspire and give that some consideration, shall we?"