The City Of Stone
MIDDAS, 16th of HEARTFIRE
Stone beds are truly uncomfortable to sleep on. I woke up stiff and muscles aching. I strapped on my armor and walked out to the sound of Kleppr and his wife still arguing. I sat down at the bar and ate some sweet rolls and apples. Today I decided to scout out Ogmund’s House. And then there was also the matter of that mysterious note from Eltrys. Finally, there was Calcelmo who seemed eager to buy my newly acquired Dwarven Frost Dagger. I washed my food down with some water which had a odd metallic taste, no doubt from the mines of Markarth. I left the Silver-Blood Inn.
Walking outside and seeing Markarth in daylight was breathtaking. The city seemed as if it were carved into the stone around it creating a steep vertical sensation. Natural waterfalls poured in from the mountains, feeding into the rushing canal that ran that split the city in two. There was a maze of upper walkways that connected to the keep at the top of the city and the city. I walked across the street to Arnleif and Sons Trading Company. The owner was a woman named Lisbet. She had inherited the store from her husband Gunnar who had died in a Forsworn attack. It seems Forsworn attacks had taken a toll on her business. She had been waiting for a specially-made statue of Dibella but it was taken by the Forsworn. She wanted to hire me on to take the statue back but I told her that I was not for hire at the moment and made my way back out.
As I continued through the town, a man stopped me and asked if I had seen anyone coming or going from the abandoned house in town. The man introduced himself as Vigilant Tyranus and told me that he believed the house may have been used for Daedra worship. I told him I hadn’t seen anything.
I located Ogmund’s house on the upper level of the city. I took a quick look around and studied the lock. It was your simple and standard lock. Breaking in should be fairly easy. I casually strolled away as a guard passed. I continued exploring the city. The lower areas of the city were where the mines and labor camps were located. At the bottom, there was The Warrens which was an old stripped mine, now converted into a makeshift quarantine for the sick and poor. Above the mines ware the stores including the alchemist’s shop The Hag’s Cure and the local smith Ghorza-gra-Bogol. Ghorza grew in an orc stronghold. She told me that Orcs were not treated kindly in Skyrim and kept to themselves. High above the city facing the keep was the Temple of Dibella. Inside, I was told that the sisters were in the process of communing with Dibella and that I would have to come back at another time. I had no interest in disturbing the ceremony so I left.
I found the Shrine of Talos in an alleyway that connected the two sides of the city. I figured it wouldn’t hurt to hear Eltrys out so I went inside. Indeed, Eltrys was waiting for me. He told me that 20 years ago, Ulfric and his men had driven out the Forsworn. But they had returned and were killing people and the Guard wasn’t doing anything about it. He told me he’d pay me for any information I brought to him. When I pressed him for more information, he told me that Weylin, the killer used to be a smelter worker and that Margaret, the victim, wasn’t a Markarth native. While I didn’t want to get embroiled in a conspiracy, I found myself curious.
I visited the Understone Keep next. The keep was built inside a giant cavern, the remnants of an old Dwarven ruin. I overheard a Nord threatening Brother Verulus over the closing of the Hall of Dead. When I asked Verulus what was going on, he told me that they had found evidence that someone was eating the dead. I swallowed hard when he told me. I told him I would try and help and he gave me the key to the hall. I don’t know why I agreed to help but something intrigued me. Maybe it was my own dark secret. The fact that I had eaten Galerus was something that I had never shared with anyone. I had committed the act after reading about the ancient Bosmer and how they consumed their enemies. In that extreme moment of sadness and anger, I had eaten Galerus so that he might feel the pain that he bestowed upon me.Inside Understone Keep, I found Calcelmo poring over an enchanting table. Calcelmo was doing research on a Dwemer excavation site and he told me that the dagger was important as part of understanding Dwemer craftsmanship. But he was only offering 110 gold for it. And since I hadn’t used the dagger at all and it was at full charge, there was no way I was letting it go for that price. I told him I wasn’t selling and I left.
I fortuitously bumped into Ogmund on the way back to the inn. I stopped and chatted him up. We talked about his days as a famous bard and how many of his songs were taught at the Bards College. I bid him farewell and as I shook his hand, I was able to swiftly snatch his key without him noticing. I returned to the Silver-Blood Inn and had a beef stew for dinner. All I had to do now was wait. Sitting by the fireplace, I met a hired sword named Vorstag who told me that he remembered Margaret. He said that she had the poise of a trained warrior. Kleppr told me that she had rented the most expensive room in the inn. I broke into Margaret’s room and found her journal. She had been sent by General Tullius to secure Cidhna Mine. She ran into a conformation with Thonar Silver-Blood and in her last days, she was plagued with paranoia. I’ll have to check out this Thonar character, but something told me I would have to exercise extreme caution.
As I left the inn late at night, I was stopped by a guard who warned me to stop asking questions. I replied innocently that I wasn’t looking for trouble. Margaret was right, there were indeed eyes and ears everywhere. I broke into Orgmund’s house and stole enough to satisfy Vex’s job.