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  • To Ustengrav ~ 3rd of Heartfire Jan 26, 2013

    Uthgerd and Jorlen awoke early that Middas morning, ate, dressed, and headed out. Outside the gates of Whiterun, Jorlen checked his map and noticed Ustengrav's proximity to Morthal, then decided that he and Uthgerd had ought to take a carriage to the town, then walk from there. So they boarded the carriage and sat back for the ride.

    ~~~

    Early in the afternoon, Jorlen and Uthgerd arrived in Morthal. The sky was blanketed in clouds, and snow was falling. A cold wind swept across the town from the watery swampland nearby, so Jorlen and Uthgerd made for the inn to escape it. Inside the cozy little place, the two bought a horker loaf, a roasted goat leg, and a bottle of wine to share. Sitting down at a table, Jorlen looked closer at the area around Morthal on his map.

    "Alright, so we have to cross the river to get to the swamp where Ustengrav is," he said, pointing out the area. "Now, we can take this route," he offered, while showing the way around the water to Ustengrav, "or we can see about crossing the river here." He pointed to a small landmass protruding from the center of the river. "The water might be shallow there."

    Uthgerd then gave her input. "We should try the second way first, since it's closer, and if we can't cross there, we'll go around."

    "Sounds good."

    Jorlen and Uthgerd then finished their lunch, enjoyed the heat from the inn's hearth a moment more, then set out for the tomb. Outside, the snow had ceased falling, and a light fog rested on the town instead. Only a few steps away from the inn, and Jorlen realized that there was a bridge across the river he had not seen at first, and he chuckled at this.

    Not far into the swamp, Jorlen came across a cave in the side of a hill. It had man-lit fires burning outside, and something seemed off, but he had a more pressing matter. He stopped only to mark it on his map, then moved on.

    Jorlen was cresting a hill when he saw a ruin in the distance. Believing it was Ustengrav, he went forward and climbed onto the ruin's wall from a pile of boulders and rubble. He dropped down and crouched. A wall stood in the middle; a sacrificial alter was on one side, and a chest on the other. He moved toward the chest, trying to remain unseen by anything that might be near the ruin.

    By its looks, the chest's lock would've taken an adept lockpick to open, but Jorlen decided he would have a try or two. He moved his pick left and turned the lock, snapping the pick. He decided try again, this time turning the pick right. The lock gave halfway before the pick broke. Jorlen searched in his bag for another. He found it, with about 13 more. He used what he knew from the previous try at opening the lock, and was able to succeed. Inside the chest was a coin purse with about 60 Septims inside.

    Uthgerd had walked within the walls with Jorlen, and she saw that the ruin was empty. "Let's keep going," she said as Jorlen tucked away his gold.

    As the pair travelled north, the swamp began to transition into cold, snowy land. At the boundary between the two climes, Jorlen found Ustengrav.

    When Jorlen and Uthgerd began to approach, a wizard and three barbarians ran at the two. Jorlen met the first with 'Fus Ro,' then smashed his warhammer down on the man's back, killing him. The second met Jorlen with his greatsword, which Jorlen parried. He returned a swing, and the men began to move around the tomb's below-ground entrance. As Jorlen released his final blow, a wounded woman surrounded in a blue aura ran at Jorlen, her mace above her head. But before the two met, she floated away in a flurry of magical ashes. She was the wizard's zombie, and Uthgerd had killed the women.

    Down the steps to the wooden door to Ustengrav there lay a dead bandit beside a chest. The chest was unlocked, and Jorlen took from it about 50 gold and a steel ingot. Tucking them away, he headed inside.

    Down the passage from the entrance, Jorlen crouched and scanned the large chamber ahead of him. Necromancers. He'd never liked them. Jorlen decided to surprise them. He drew his bow and notched an arrow.

    And he missed again and again. He moved closer for a shot, and just when he had one of the mages in sight, she was gone. His arrow struck the stone floor, and he was spotted. Jorlen slung three more arrows hastily, but the shots were sloppy. He couldn't do this under pressure; but his hammer would do the trick.

    One necromancer came in with a thrall, whom Jorlen had a hard time slaying. By the time the corpse was dead once more, Uthgerd had killed a necromancer. Another sent two thralls their way from behind a low wall, and Uthgerd held them off while Jorlen took cover and casted a healing spell on himself. Recovered, he killed the remaining thralls, and went for the necromancer. She began to cast a frost spell, but it was too late. Jorlen shouted her down, then brought his hammer down on her skull.

    Swiping a health potion from a nearby table, the two continued down a passage to the right of the chamber. Down some steps there was a necromancer battling with three dragur. Jorlen shouted them all down, then began to kill the foes with Uthgerd. The mage fell quickly, and the two moved into the next room, after the dragur. Two of the three undead were weak, but one was casting frost magic and wielding a mace. For this one, Jorlen had a powerful downward swing to stop the spell, and another to the side of the torso for the kill.

    Through a maze of halls filled with dragur and skeletons, Jorlen finally came to the depths of Ustengrav. The place was a gigantic chamber under the ruins which held a series of rivers and waterfalls, as well as a few trees and a word wall. The word on the wall was 'Feim,' which would allow Jorlen to become ethereal if he used it. Jorlen had the energy to learn the word from a dragon soul, but he chose to wait to learn to use the word until he had seen more shouts he might use, or he had killed more dragons.

    After learning the word, Jorlen went looking for the way to the Horn, but it eluded him. He searched every nook and cranny for hours, doubling back multiple times, until he decided to climb down a steep stone pillar to get lower. Before him was a system of three gates. Each gate was operated by a magical stone, which detected motion, and they would not remain open long. Jorlen ran through the stones and shouted 'Wuld.' He was finally upon the body of Jurgen Windcaller, and when he made it through the gates, they permanently opened.

    On the other side was a chamber with a strangely-tiled floor. Jorlen tested one of the tiles and it sunk, but nothing happened. He walked a few feet, and then stopped. There was a small drop in the height of the tiles ahead of him, and he suspected that these tiles would work properly. He picked up a nearby piece of broken stone and threw it onto the floor. The tile it landed on shot a jet of fire into the darkness. He looked at Uthgerd. "We're going to have to be quick."

    He then began sprinting across the floor, narrowly missing the flames that licked at his heels as he set off tile after tile. In a few seconds, he and Uthgerd were safe from the fire, but three frostbite spiders awaited them. The two were able to easily dispatch the arachnids. Ahead of them, there lay a passage blocked by a thick layer of spider webbing. Jorlen broke through with his hammer, but before they could proceed, they needed to be able to see. The passage was pitch black. Fumbling out a torch, Jorlen was able to see that the webbing had blocked a wooden door. He put the torch out and opened the door.

    The door led to an iron gate, operated by a pull-chain. Through the gate, Jorlen could see what he figured must be the sarcophagus of Jurgen Windcaller. He pulled the chain and walked out into the large burial chamber.

    As he walked down the steps and onto the bridge to the prize, the tomb began to rumble. Jorlen looked around and saw that four stone carvings of dragon heads, in the ancient Nordic style, were emerging from the water that filled the sides of the chamber. When the rumbling stopped, Jorlen continued forward. From the stone sarcophagus, there extended a stone hand, gripping apparently nothing. This was puzzling. Looking to his left and his right, Jorlen saw that dragur lay dead near him. Then it occurred to him: someone had already been there! A closer inspection of the stone hand found a note in the palm. It said:

    "Dragonborn~~

    I need to speak to you. Urgently.

    Rent the attic room at the Sleeping Giant Inn in Riverwood, and I'll meet you.

    ~~A friend"

    So, he would have to go to Riverwood. He was intrigued as to who in Riverwood, the place he had grown up, had some interest in an ancient artifact such as the Horn of Jurgen Windcaller. Tucking the note away, Jorlen proceeded through the wooden door behind the former resting place of the Horn into a small room with a chest opposite the door. Jorlen rummaged through it, and came out with a scroll of mass paralysis. He then began snaking through a winding tunnel that led through an iron door, to a hidden door that left he and Uthgerd near the entrance to Ustengrav. They found their way out, and began walking back to Morthal.

    When they exited the tomb, the hour was nearly midnight, but the sky was eerily bright and bluish. However, as the two neared Morthal, the clouds dispersed, and stars filled the sky. Outside of the inn, a courier met Jorlen, bringing for him a letter from the Jarl of Falkreath. Jorlen thanked the man and headed inside. After renting a room and buying some food for himself and Uthgerd, Jorlen read the letter. In effect, it said that the Jarl wanted Jorlen to come to Falkreath and pursue becoming a thane. Uthgerd asked, "Are you going to do it?"

    "Not now, at least. I have to think about getting that Horn, and we need to get some sleep."

    "Well, good night dear."

    "Good night."
    Rextoret likes this.
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