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The Dwarves have been extinct for many an age, and perhaps for the best. To see men and women the size of large children, all with beards, would be a most disturbing sight. Still, whatever wrath the Dwarves brought from the gods that consumed an entire civilization surely must have been an awe-inspiring thing to witness.
The remnants of their civilization lie buried in the hearts of mountains, and scholars and thieves the world over descend on the skeletal remains of dwarven cities like vultures, to scrape clean the bones of the past, old knowledge waiting to be exhumed and treasures to be discovered. But many men lay murdered in those halls of the damned, because those dwarven ruins do not release their treasures without a fight.
My kin would tell the stories long ago, when I was just a child, about how adept the Dwarves were at building machines. They would say that before our time, dwarves harnessed the power of the earth, and wielded fire and hammers to reshape steel and bronze with a mechanical brilliance that breathed life into these now ancient constructs of metal and magic. In the dark halls and chambers amid thedroning of grinding gears and venting steam, they lie in wait to confound or destroy would-be plunderers of the dwarven sanctums, as the grim watchmen of the last vestiges of culture from a dead race.
I descended into the humid darkness of Mzulft. The slow hiss of steam, creaking of metal and the rattle of old gears powering an empty city would unnerve most men. I could hear things in the darkness, skittering across the floor just out of sight and as I stepped over the bodies of plunderers or scholars who had not made it far, I knew it was not rats wandering these halls.
Small mechanical spiders set upon me with rapid movements, and machines sprouted from the walls and uncurled from spheres into contraptions that rolled on top of gears for legs and crossbows for arms. I could not help but marvel at these single purpose machines built for the murder of men. My sword and my shield are my strength and I am undeterred by such things because I had heard of greater things that roam these depths, and indeed something else in these chambers stirred, and it echoed with massive weight. As it lumbered closer, its feet struck the ground as if walking on massive pistons and as it loomed out of darkness, I could see it clear for the first time, axe for one hand, hammer for the other, as tall as five men, made of dull bronze with a face molded in the image of its masters. A Steam Centurion. The stories were true, these were the guardians of the greatest dwarven treasures.
We fought, and the dwarves must truly be extinct because our battle was surely booming enough to wake the dead. It came at me with hammer and axe, inhuman strength and great fortitude, and a purpose of nothing but murder. I dodged as it crushed the stone around me with futile strikes and I thrust and slashed at it with my blade and took every opening afforded as we shook the halls with violence. I refuse to be undone by a machine.
Where the average man would be long dead, I stood over the husk of this dead automaton, its steam escaping like a final gasp. I could have taken the dwarven artifacts and metal but left them there for others, for I would not hex my journey with the possessions of dead men and maybe that is where countless others go wrong.
I will continue to my journey across the lands,perhaps one day will meet a worthy challenge, for I have yet to see what would make me tremble.
5 Sun's Dawn
I have heard a tale most bizarre- a beautiful young woman cast out of town by the thrown stones of accusers for giving in to the dark arts. They say she fled into the Reach and never reappeared, and justly so because they say the devilry of her magic had grown stronger with each new day. Shortly after, a witch of half woman and half bird had been sighted deep in the mountains, and as the sightings increased the young women began to disappear.
This tale has brought me to the Reach, where this witch they call a Hagraven makes home. With sword and shield at the ready, for I must see this creature and I must slay it.
24 Sun's Dawn
The stomach of an average man would turn at the cruelty set before me- I first saw the thatch and bone, the human skulls, the dead goat heads mounted on pikes, filthy animal pelts, loose entrails, and feathers matted in blood. I had heard that Forsworn revere and protect these Hagravens, and all around were their small, crude trinkets and to these witches on which sat dull, empty soul gems. What vile creature would live where all things are dead?
Deeper into the lair, I heard it first- an unsteady shuffling, followed by a heaving, unforgettable stench. I thrust the torch in front of me and waited for my eyes to adjust to the tunnel of darkness ahead of me. I saw the silhouette of what I thought to be a frail woman on an awkward gait, but the light of the torch revealed something else. This Hagraven was horrifying, almost human but more an abomination of woman and creature fused together, nothing more than a husk of humanity surrendered in exchange for possession of the powers of dark magic. This magic corrupted her greatly, and her dull, glass eyes stared with hate from the visage of an old crone sat atop the body of a contorted, misshapen human body adorned with black feathers. It bristled as it let out a piercing scream, and as a vivid red light began to form in the palm of its talons, it was all I could do to raise my shield in defense of magic most foul. I fought through devilry that seemed to snatch life from me, and the thought that this thing was once a woman seemed to play on my nerves.
Most men would have crumbled, but I do not bend. The Hagraven is a most repulsive creature, and deserving of its fate and its claws that are my trophy will tell the story oftriumph. I have naught but to continue my travels and my conquests, for I have yet to see what would make me tremble.
17 Last Seed
When Dawnstar for a moment of respite and a warm meal. Another traveler there told me to be cautious, that there are creatures who settle into the powder white of the snow with nary a clue to the careless, until it is too late. He went on and on, with wild gestures and fantastic tales of entire merchant expeditions being killed by the beasts. His stories frightened the other inn patrons, but I will not be turned by a coward's tale, I will see these for my own eyes, for those icy caves and snow capped peaks of the north are exactly the type of places that call to an adventurer like me. It did not take me long to find what I sought.chill descended upon me as I traveled further north through the frozen plains and mountains, I settled in at the inn at
These Ice Wraiths are lucid, serpentine creatures of magic, as if conjured from the frozen tundra and glaciers of Skyrim itself. At one with an environment that makes them nearly invisible, these ethereal apparitions are the death of many Nords, if not by their sudden, unholy strike that casts their entire body through their target, then by the malady of Witbane, a curse of infection that dulls the intellect and makes the target even more the victim.
As deadly as they are, Ice Wraiths are simple minded in their determination, and combat is a straight forward affair and brute force and a sharp blade are enough to fell these savage creatures. Only the heartiest of men would hope to survive just one of these beasts, but I have slain two with general ease.
It's good that I've found I can make decent coin selling the Ice Wraith's teeth, as they are a prized ingredient in alchemical potions. That will continue to afford me the opportunity to search these lands for a challenge worthy of story, for I have yet to see what would make me tremble.