Epilogue 3 - Monastery of Dibella

"This will only fix half the problem," he pointed out when he returned. "Self-confidence can be artificially enhanced by magical means, but that can become a crutch, not a solution. We need to teach them real skills to be confident in."

"We'll make a start on that as soon as we find Greta," Gilda added. "Once Clark has done some enchanting, and they can think about something other than back pain, I'll interview everyone, to see if we can piece together what she might have done."

"It seems like Greta was most concerned about the way the men were treating her, rather than the weight issue," Gilda concluded. "And the priestesses had planted the idea that big boobies can give you power over men if you know how to use them. Which is true, of course, but I don't think she'd learn that here. So it makes sense that she'd want to find someone else to teach her."

"She'd have done better at the Temple, than here," Clark replied. "A bit of erotic training on top of her natural assets, and she'd be as unstoppable as you are."

"But we know she didn't go there, so where else? One of the acolytes thought she'd seen her writing in a diary. If we could find that, it would help, but she'd probably have taken it with her when she left."

"Did you search her room yet?" Clark asked.

"She didn't have a room, she shared a dormitory with the others. But she might have kept it under the bed, or in a night-stand."

"And here it is. The last entry says that he'll help her if she'll go down there. That she's afraid, but he's promised that she won't be harmed, because she has his protection, and soon she'll have the power to protect herself."

"Down where?" Clark asked.

"She doesn't say. Just down."

"What's below the monastery? I assume there are the usual crypts, which tends to mean undead these days."

None of the acolytes or even the priestesses had ever been to look. There was an iron gate that they kept locked downstairs in the cellar, if Clark and Gilda really wanted to find out.

The first section of the crypt was more like a jail than anything else. There were a few skeletons wandering around, hostile of course, but not really any significant threat. But there was no sign of Greta in the cells, or even any indication that she'd been here. A broken wall at the back of one cell led to a passage, which in turn led to some stairs.

As they continued down, the skeletons gave way to Dremora, and progress was a little slower. The stonework was looking progressively older, the further they went. Whether that was because it was actually older, or just that it had decayed more, wasn't clear.

"Wait, is that a woman up ahead?" Gilda exclaimed.

"Definitely," Clark replied, raising his ward, "and she appears to be hostile."

A glowing ball of magical energy flew towards Gilda and Clark, but it wasn't moving fast enough to arrive before the ward was up. The spell dissipated harmlessly, and the woman started to retreat, firing more spells as she did so.

"It's not Greta." Gilda could see her face now, and most of the rest of her. She was wearing long boots and gloves, but very little else. Her large breasts were complete uncovered, and swung with every cast of her spells.

Clark kept advancing on her, safely protected behind his ward. With the benefit of Azura's enchantments on his outfit, he could sustain that indefinitely, and the woman didn't seem to have any other offens but those balls of energy. It seemed to Clark that they were a slow fireball, but with some other effect he couldn't determine mixed in. Still, all he had to go on was the way they splashed off the ward.

"I'm hoping we can back her into a dead end," Clark told Gilda. "I know a paralysis spell, which I find useful as a healer. It prevents the patient from flinching. Unfortunately, it's a touch spell, so I have to get close enough to use it."

Eventually that's what happened, and she froze in the corner of the cell.

"Was the boob-groping part of your plan, too?" Gilda wanted to know.

"They were the nearest part of her, and they're almost too big to avoid," he responded. "And the fact that they felt natural gives me a clue about what she is.

"There's a kind of Daedric Seducer that Clavicus Vile seems to prefer. They're known as Succubi, and reputed to be created from humans that have lost their souls to his trickery. Unlike the ones that Azura and Nocturnal sometimes employ, their wings are vestigial, and stiff, just there to balance the weight at the front."

"And that's quite a bit of weight, by the look of her. She's bigger than I am."

"Help me lift her. We can carry her back to that jail area, and lock her in one of the cells. "

"She was trying to kill us. Why do you want to spare her?"

"To interrogate her, and see if we can't get some clue as to what happened to Greta. And maybe what to expect further down."

It wasn't obvious if the woman was refusing to talk, or unable to do so. All she did was hiss at them, and try to cast spells through the bars of the cell door. As Clark had suspected, the doors blocked magicka quite effectively. He'd hoped to find some of the null-iron manacles that would have prevented her from even trying, but there didn't seem to be any around.

"We can expect more like her as we go," Clark said ruefully, "and we're going to have to hold our fire until we're sure that it's not Greta."

"Do you think that Vile could change her that quickly? She's only been gone from the monastery a couple of days"

"I don't know, but I'm not underestimating the power of a Daedric Prince."

"So the Succubi are another kind of daedra? Like the Daedra Seducers, Aureals, and Mazken?" Gilda wanted to know.

"Yes, and you need to include the Winged Twilights, the Shrikes, and probably a few more that I've forgotten. Some of them have a winged form, some don't, and some always have wings. The wings may be functional, and let them fly, or just there for balance. They associate with several of the Daedric Princes, if not all of them.

"In general, the Seducers are all enticing women, except that some of the Aureals and Mazken and Twiglights are male, to keep the others happy. They lure their prey that way, or just drive them insane, if they're Sheogorath's.

"Then there are Harpies, who aren't daedra at all. And the Spider Daedra, who are what the name describes - half woman, half spider."