The Hunger

LOREDAS, 19th of HEARTFIRE

"You can let go of your guilt."

With a somewhat incongruous combination of venison chop and sweet roll churning in my stomach this morning, I left to investigate Makarth’s Hall of the Dead. I felt apprehensive about what I was going to find in those chambers. When I entered the room, I heard a voice coming from all around me, reverberating off the cold stone walls.

Not many would walk blindly into a crypt smelling of steel and blood, but not fear. I feel the hunger inside of you . Gnawing at you. You see the dead and your mouth grows wet. Your stomach growls. It’s all right. I will not shun you for what you are. Stay. I will tell you everything you have forgotten.”

I felt frozen in place with dread. The words almost felt surreal as if in a dream. They penetrated my darkest secrets: Galerion. A Breton woman emerged from the shadows, her left eye blinded.

“It’s okay you’ve found a friend who understands you. You can let go of your guilt.” she said, approaching slowly.

My mouth felt dry as I worked out the words. “Guilt? What are you talking about?” I asked.

“Namira, the lady of decay, has a place for us without judgement.” she said gently.

“I want no part of this.” I stammered.

“Very well. Should the hunger call out to you, I’ll be waiting outside of Reachcliff cave. Tell the people of Markarth their dead are safe.” With that, she vanished. I stood there for a moment in complete shock. How could she have known? Or was it just some clever ruse of hers? I stumbled back into the light of day. I had to find Reachcliff Cave to get answers from this woman.

I needed to take my mind of the events that just happened so I headed out to Left Hand Mine and was able to acquire a pickaxe and mine some iron ore. I used the smelter outside to melt it down into iron ingots and then returned to Ghorza in Makarth to practice making some banded iron armor for her. This set was better than anything I had made before so I felt pleased my skills were improving. Afterwards, I stopped back in Understone Keep and found Brother Verulus. I informed him that the halls were safe and he rewarded me with an Amulet of Arkay which was supposed to increase the health of its wearer.

I took a lunch of cold cabbage potato soup on the balcony overlooking the Treasury House. My thoughts moved between the events at the Hall of Dead and the Forsworn at the Broken Tower. Why did they have a statue of Dibella smeared with blood inside the Forsworn keep? If Dibella was the Goddess of Beauty and Love, what did it represent? Initially, I thought they might have answers at the Temple of Dibella, so I went there but was turned away. I was told again that the sisters were communing with Dibella and I had to come back at another time. This so-called communion was taking forever and I lacked the patience. I studied the lock to the inner sanctum when the temple attendee wasn’t looking. It was extremely difficult and of Dwemer make. I couldn’t pick the lock in time, but the temple attendee must carry the key. She had her back to me tending to the statues. I quietly moved in beside her and swiped the key from within the folds of her robe. When she wasn’t looking, I slipped inside the Inner Sanctum of the temple.

Down the steps, I entered a hall. Two women in robes at in silent communion while another one beseeched Dibella to “lead us to your Sybil.” I used the cover of the dividing wall to creep past and into the innermost chamber. My eye was immediately drawn to the gold statue on the altar. It was a statue of Dibella, gold and beautiful. The flames dancing on the statue’s naked body. I was mesmerized. I grabbed it and slipped it into my knapsack. I left the way I came without being noticed.

I hurried back to the Silver-Blood Inn. I made myself a beef stew for dinner, swiped a piece of bread from the kitchen and returned to my room. While I ate, I read The Black Arrow Part 1 by Gorgic Guine. Gorgic had found employment as a footman under the Duchess of Woda, a cold Imperial woman who despised the common people of Valenwood. She had even cut down the trees in front of her castle. On his way to the castle, Gorgic met some other people who were going to study at the famed archery academy run by Hiomaste. Gorgic became friends with them during his off times. The book suggests that drama is to come, but I will have to obtain a copy of Part 2 to find out what happens. I also read Volume 2 of The Real Beneziah. It picks up where Volume 1 left off finding Beneziah and Straw in Riften. Beneziah joins the Thieves Guild and makes friends with a kindly Nord woman and a bold Khajiit thief named Therris. During a botched heist, she is found by Symmachus, a dark elf general of the Imperial Army who has been ordered by the Emperor to bring her back to restore her place as the Queen of Mournhold. To hide her past, Symacchus has Straw’s tongue cut out and Therris is executed. Beneziah hates Symmachus but she faces her future bravely. I had been so involved in the book that I hadn’t even noticed that it was late.

I‘ve been in Makarth for too long. I return to Riften tomorrow.

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