Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Oblivion Adventures Part 6: Home is Where the Hearse Is

On the last installment of Oblivion Adventures, escort exterminator Shush’Ogar stomped stalking strumpets to stop them stealing stupendous amounts of gold. We rejoin him after this encounter, as he rolls back into town.

Shush was kinda tired on account of not sleepin de past few days. He was especially tired cause he had like fifty of dese skulls to carry around.  It was okay doe, Shush had a special condition dat let him not sleep way longer den normal, somethin about most of his brain bein in-sul-a-tion. But Shush figured he could use a break. So Shush sat down at de bar an ate an drank some stuff for a bit. While Shush was doin dat, a guy came over to Shush lookin kinda nervous. De guy kept givin quick looks to Shush’s belt, which was where Shush were keepin all de big bags a gold he kept gettin.

“Excuse me sir, you wouldn’t happen to be in the market for a home, would you?” De guy slowly moved de chair across from Shush an sat down while he was talkin. “I just happen to be selling a manor right here in Anvil, you see.”

Shush sniffed an scratched his nose, thinkin for a sec. “You mean one a dose real big houses? Wit a lotta space for Shush to put tings?”

“Absolutely! Benirus Manor is an enormous place, right down the road across from the chapel. I’m sure a hardy traveler like yourself would have plenty of things to store in a secure location. Well Benirus Manor has all the space you could possibly need, one of the biggest homes money can buy! Not only that, but it’s an incredible bargain. Only 5000 gold septims for the whole manor, what you’d pay for the cheapest housing in the country! Would you like to buy it now?”

Shush counted de bags on his belt. He had enough to pay for de big house, but it was a lot of gold. “Why’s de house so cheap?”

De guy gave Shush a fake-lookin smile an started wringin his hands back an forth in his lap.

“Why? Well why not? I mean, aha, it’s just that, well, I have urgent business. Yes, very urgent business elsewhere that I must attend to very soon. Urgent business far away that is SO urgent that I have to practically give away this house, at an incredible value! There is absolutely no reason for me selling this fantastic deal beyond this...just EXTREMELY pressing urgency. So it’d be best if you acted now, and took advantage of this legitimate and highly desirable offer. Will you buy it now? Please?”

Shush s’posed he still needed a place to put all his tings, an dis guy sounded real convincin. Shush wasn’t listenin dat hard to what he said, but he seemed real excited about sellin Shush de place. So Shush said yeah an counted out a whole buncha gold coins from his bags. De guy grabbed em an stood up right away when Shush was done.

“Excellent! Here’s the key to the front door and the deed of ownership. I hope you enjoy, nice meeting you, etcetera etcetera good day!”

Den de man ran out of de buildin pretty quick. Shush shrugged an took de key. Shush was excited to see de big house he’d bought, so he went down de road to it right away. It looked pretty big, just like de guy said. Shush opened de door an went inside.

Benirus Manor. It doesn’t seem that huge here, but as with many games Oblivion buildings are bigger on the inside.

Shush liked wot he saw inside. Sure dere was a lot of junk on de floor an no lights, but dere was a whole buncha space so dat was okay. First dere was a big room wit an empty fireplace an broken furniture, den a room wit a big table full of rottin food an bugs, den a dusty, creaky staircase room. De upstairs had a room wit a funny smellin bed, an den a balcony over de first room, an last a room wit a desk covered in hundreds an hundreds of spider webs.

Shush grinned. Dis was perfect!

Dere was lots of space to put all de stuff dat Shush had got. Plus dere was a bed for Shush to sleep in whenever he wanted. Dat was way better den findin an inn! Shush wanted to test it right away. First Shush opened up his pack. Shush put some stuff he wasn’t usin like spare weapons n stuff in one of de cabinets across from de bed. Den Shush opened up de other cabinet, pulled it out, moved it over to de room full of webs, an emptied de dozens of spiders out into it so dey could make friends. Next Shush put de cabinet back an emptied all de skulls from his pack into it. Dat covered everything Shush needed to put away, so he went to bed. thing Shush new, he was hearin some weird moanin noises. Shush sat up an opened his eyes, an saw dere was a green glowy guy floatin in front of Shush’s bed. Shush could even see through de guy, so he figured he were one of dose ghosty people Shush had heard about. But dey were only s’posed to be in dungeons an stuff, so Shush didn’t know what dis one was doin. Shush waved to him.

Remember to treasure your legs while you can, because apparently they don’t move to the afterlife with the rest of you.

“Hey dere ghosty guy. Dis is Shush’s house, he bought it an got some fancy paper an everything. So what’re you doin here?”

De ghost didn’t answer, just kept makin a sorta soft wailin noise an wavin his arms.

“How’d you get in here anyway? De door was locked, Shush thinks. Can you even open doors? Actually, Shush just remembered you don’t have legs. How d’you walk places, ghosty guy? Can you teach Shush how to do dat floaty ting? Dat seems like it’d be real useful an – OW!”

De ghost had shot a ball of ice in Shush’s face an it stung. Shush got outta bed an picked up his hammer. Guess this ghosty person needed smashin just as much as non-ghosties. Shush swung his hammer around until de ghosty screamed an turned into a pile of goo.

I’m actually embellishing a bit here. You see, in Oblivion certain enemies can’t be damaged with physical weapons, all types of ghosts included. Not this ceases to matter after a certain level because they can be hurt with enchanted weapons, even if the enchantment has run out of juice. So really all this does is completely screw over melee classes for the first few levels. What I actually had to do was use the pathetic cigarette lighter of a spell the game starts all characters with to kill the ghost. Also there were three ghosts. Also it took so long for me to kill them that I spent several minutes mostly just staring at them waiting for my magicka to regenerate. Fortunately, they were scaled at the lowest level possible, so they did little damage and ran out of magicka just as quickly as I did. Me and the three ghosts trying to murder me in my own house spent a lot of awkward time just staring at each other.

Oh, and a fun fact on top of this: If you don’t complete this quest, this keeps happening every single time you sleep. I guess if you like a very forceful alarm clock, you could just ignore it.

...this game is silly.

Shush decided dat he couldn’t have ghosty people botherin him in his big house. Shush bought it fair an square, so he went back to de inn to find de guy who gave it to him. Meybe he would know how Shush could keep de ghosties out. On de way out, Shush noticed dat a pot on de shelf had fallen on de floor. Under de broken pot dere was a skeleton hand wit a piece of paper innit. Aha! Shush found a clue! Clues were very important for adventurin people, Shush knew. Dey helped dem do all sortsa detectorin stuff. Shush picked up de hand an put it in his (much lighter) pack before he left.

When Shush got into de inn, de guy he was lookin for was in de back near de bar. He had a buncha bags an Shush could hear him talkin to de bar guy.

“Alright, so that’s my tab settled, time for me to go. And make sure if anyone asks about me to not mention – shit.”

“...make sure not to mention that, um, surprise party I’m planning! For, y’know, that person several cities away.”

This is also an embellishment. The man who sells you the house has moved on to the imperial city when you look for him, which does make him seem more of an asshole. However, it adds absolutely nothing else to the quest but a fast travel transition, so we’re moving right past it.

Shush walked up to de guy, who looked real nervous for some reason.

“Hey” Shush said.

“Um...h-hello. I still need to get to my urgent appointment, so if you’ll excuse –“

“Dere’s ghosties in Shush’s house.”


“Like dose people dat are all glowy an see-through. Dey showed up when Shush tried to go to sleep. Shush didn’t mind it so much except dey shooted magic at Shush an it hurt so he had to smash em.”

“Oh” said de man. He gulped.

“Shush was hopin you might know how to stop ghosties from gettin in Shush’s big house dat you gave him. ALSO”, Shush held his finger in de air, “Shush have found an IMPORTANT CLUE THINGY!”

Shush pulled de hand out of his pack an waved it in front of de guy, who squealed at it.

“What is, is that a hand?!”

“Ya see, de hand Shush found has a note innit!”

“Alright but why, I mean you could’ve just taken the...nevermind. Have you read the note?”


“What? Why not?”

“Shush don’t like readin stuff wot he don’t have to. Why, does it says somethin important?”

De man sighed an gripped de piece of paper between his thumb and finger. He frowned, jerked it outta de hand, an winced when de finger bones clanked together. Den he started unfoldin de crumpled paper an smoothed it on top of his knee. Shush watched his eyes go back an forth on de page for a bit. Den de man sighed.

“I was afraid of this. That old house is cursed, you see. I knew this when I sold it to you, which is why it was so cheap. Before my family let me move out of Anvil I had to tie up my loose ends here, and the mansion was one of them. Honestly I was hoping that you would be able to lift the curse and be done with it.”

I’m going to break up our little narrative for a moment to talk about how stupid this is. Imagine this scenario in absolutely any other context than a video game character. This man knew that this house was cursed, and it is so incredibly cursed that bloodthirsty ghosts try to murder you if you close your eyes for more than a few minutes. He had no idea what the nature of the curse was beyond it being demonstrably real and dangerous. And then he sells it to someone. He doesn’t give it away, he doesn’t let the chapel inspect it or anything, he sells it. He sells it for thousands of gold. That’s enough to buy years’ worth of food, or hundreds of days’ worth of nights at an inn. He does all this without telling the buyer it’s haunted. And then he leaves town as fast as he can.

In a world with any proper authorities, this would pretty clearly qualify as a murder attempt. And it would be more than an attempt if anyone other than an adventurer bought it. In our world we can’t even sell homes with substandard building materials. Here we have a man trying to sell a house that is literally, magically haunted, and as we will soon find out, it’s been that way for generations. Yet he doesn’t even have to ask the count or authorities for permission.

“Excuse me countess, remember that haunted manor in the middle of town ruled by an invisible necromancer and his army of ghosts? Well his grandson is trying to sell it to people at the bar and-“
“Blah blah blah, I don’t care. Leave me, I’m busy trying to count all the bricks in the opposite wall. Ha. Count. I’m hilarious!”

While we’re on the subject: He just assumed we’d be able to lift the curse without trouble. Yeah that wasn’t improv on my part, he really does say that in game. How the hell does he figure that works? He just met you, you could be anyone! What are the chances that you just happen to be an exorcist who can safely and easily solve what the town mage’s guild and priests haven’t been able to for decades?

And to cap this all off, you know what this man gets for almost killing you? Nothing. You resolve the haunting at the house and then he walks right back out of your life to be successful and rich. He only helps you, not because of the almost-murder, but because literally no one else can. He won’t even help if you don’t prove you need him. Not to mention he runs away near the end of the quest. When you next talk to him, you receive no extra reward other than having a non-haunted house. You can’t even be slightly rude to him.

In-game, none of this is that much of a problem. But if you stop to think of it, this guy is a bigger ass than a 50 foot concrete donkey. Back to the story...

“I suppose I should tell you how this all started. My grandfather was a wizard, you see. He was mostly harmless, but at some point he came across a necromancy tome and became obsessed with it. He started performing dark experiments with stolen corpses until the local mage’s guild got wind of it. They stormed his manor and killed him, but his body vanished. The town declared the building cursed, so you’re the first to step inside for some time. And unfortunately, this paper here means I have to help you. It says only his blood can lift the curse.”

Shush scratched his head. “Oooh, dat sounds difficult. I guess we gotta find out where de old guys body is. Do bodies still keep all dere blood after a while? What if he’s a skeleton?”

“No, that’s not what I...blood is metaphorical in this instance.”

“Well den where do we find metorforical blood?”

“Listen I’ll help you out, there’s no reason to be smart with me!”

“Isn’t bein smart gud doe? If Shush is smart den meybe he can figure out where to get a metorfors blood.”

De guy stared at Shush for a second. “You know, why don’t you just meet back at the mansion?”

Shush shrugged an followed him out de door. When dey got back to de mansion he had Shush go first. Dere were some ghosties inside but Shush gave em a good smashin. De man den came in an led Shush down to de basement. At de end of some hallways dere was a dead end wit a buncha big glowy symbols on it. De man took a deep breath an put his hand on de wall. De glowy symbols got even more glowy an de wall pulled away to show a secret passage. Dere was a room behind it dat was all misty an had a big altar wit more of de glowy symbols.

I can’t help but notice that symbol is just copy-pasted over and over. Still, one completely unique asset is more than Oblivion usually gives you.

“Weelllll” said de guy, “you can probably handle things from here okay yes good BYE!” Den he ran down de hall an upstairs real quick. Shush shrugged an walked into de room. Dere were some cool-lookin skulls on de floor, so Shush picked em up for his collection. Den he walked up to de altar, an he heard a voice in his head.

“I am Lorgren Benirus, and I desire the chance to atone for my sins. I feel just AWFUL about murdering all those people, carving up their bodies, turning them into shambling servants of my twisted will, stealing their life force and feeling more alive than ever before...I’m real broken up about it. Now though, I’m a totally nice guy who would give all my property to charming little orphans if I could. Honest. But in order to pass on to the afterlife and make peace with the Nine, I need you to re-attach my hand to my body. I promise this will only lead to good things.”

Shush scratched his chin as he looked down at de skeleton. Shush wasn’t s’posed to trust skeletons, was he? Dey were usually pretty bad an needed to be smashed up so dey didn’t smash other people. Den again, dis was de first talkin skeleton Shush had seen. Meybe dey was different?

“Please?” came the voice of Logerner.

Oh, well dat settled it. He said please. Shush put de hand back wit de body. Den Logerner started laughin an talkin to Shush again. Shush listened at first, but Logerner talked a lot so he got kinda distracted.

“Ha! It never fails to amuse me how easy mortal man is to manipulate. You’ve assisted me blah blah sought to prevent blabbity bloo years ago something something ascension to immortality. Blooh blah mortal blah underestimated yadda yadda live again blah blah OOOF!”

Dat last part was de sound de skele-man made when Shush hit him wit his hammer. Shush was pretty sure he heard some bad stuff while he was talkin so Shush decided to get a head start on de smashin. Logerner shot some magic stuff at Shush an it hurt way more den it usually did but Shush was real good at hittin people until dey stopped dat stuff. After de skele-man fell down his light-up eyes went all dark an den it got real quiet. Shush wasn’t sure wot to do next so he walked upstairs, where dere was a surprise.

De house was all lit up! Also it was real clean compared to before, wit nothin broken or any webs anywhere. He looked up in de bedroom an his stuff was still dere, but everythin else was much nicer. Dis was great! Shush was gonna miss de spiders but de rotten fruit smelled real bad before. Shush was glad dat he stopped dat skele-man from makin de place all ugly an smelly. An also, Shush thought a thing dat he figured out wit his detectoring: De ghosties were prob’ly gone! Shush decided to test dis right away by goin to bed again. Shush crawled into bed, clanky clothes on like always, an fell asleep under de clean, warm covers.

The perfect home is ours! Just try not to think about the rotting corpse we never clean out of our basement.

And so our hero sleeps, and this time he won’t be visited by vicious specters. But he may just be visited by vivid dreams...tune in next time.

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