In what used to be common practice but is now actually worth noting, this update is a bit late. Apologies to all my regular weekly readers, so basically just this one guy I know named Matt. A combination of sickness, holidays and personal procrastination moved back the post. I didn’t want to skip an entire week, so I’m trying to return to Wednesday updates. Hopefully this holds until at least the next holiday. Enjoy!
Martin Septim was sitting down in the entry hall of Cloud Ruler Temple, inspecting one of The Blades many fascinating books. The sound of an opening door echoed through the vaulted ceiling, causing Martin to look up. Jauffre walked over to his table and nodded to him as he pulled up a chair.
“Hello Martin,” he said as Martin carefully bookmarked his place for later, “doing alright?”
Martin gave him a rueful smile. “Still acclimating. I’ll be alright once I’ve had a decent night’s sleep.” He rolled his shoulders and put his elbows on the table. “I assume that Shush has left?”
Jauffre nodded. “Gave him a new mission and haven’t seen him since. How could you tell?”
“I heard one of the guards shouting about a bunch of missing weapons downstairs.”
Jauffre frowned. “Ah. I suppose I shouldn’t offer him to take what he needs.”
“What was this new mission you gave him anyway?”
“Well we need more men looking into this Mythic Dawn cult that performed the assassination. I ordered him to go and assist Baurus. He was the surviving member of the team escorting your father.”
Martin got quiet for a moment at the word “father”, but momentarily recovered. “Anything else that you told him?”
“No, only that he should convene with Baurus as soon as he can.”
Martin grimaced. “Ah, we may have an issue.”
“What? What sort of issue?”
“It’s the wording you used. We may not see Shush for...a while.”
Shush’s last week have been GREAT. Shush done a lotta real cool stuff for his mage-y friends all over de country. Shush are having a tiny problem at de moment, but he are almost ready ta join de mage-y school in de big city. Dis all started after Shush helped his friend Martin get to a big buildin wit lotsa guard dudes. After Shush left he sold off alla his pointy swords he took in de town of Broom-ha. Dat’s where he found another mage-y guild place.
Bruma: It’s like Skyrim, but worse!
As soon as Shush walked into de Broom-ha guild, dere was a lady wot spoke to him from behind a front desk.
“Why, hello there! You must be new. Oh it’s so nice to see new faces in the guild. If you need anything, just let me know. I have friends in high places, you know.”
“You should prob’bly get em down soon den. But first, Shush gotta ting to ask” Shush said as he walked up to de counter. “Shush needs one a dem rig-a-dalmatians. “
De lady looked confused for a moment, but den smiled. “Oh, a recommendation! Yes of course, Raminus would naturally want my opinion, wouldn’t he? Well, I do have a small favor in mind. If you can find J’skar, then I’ll write a recommendation immediately.”
Shush nodded up an down a bunch. “Gots it.” Shush turned around an walked a few steps from de desk. Den he turned around an walked back. “Wots a Jasker?”
“J’skar is an associate here who’s disappeared. No one has seen him in days. Volanaro thinks a spell may have backfired. It’d look bad for me if someone finds out I’ve lost him. Talk to the mages here and see what you can find.”
So Shush walked downstairs lookin for de others. Shush thought he heard someone in de first room he passed, but when he looked it was empty. In de next room Shush found someone doe, an elf guy.
“Hey elf guy! Shush are lookin for a Jasker, do you have one?”
“J’skar? Like I told Jeanne, it’s probably a magical backfire. I could tell you more, buuut I may need some convincing, if you catch my drift?”
“Nope” said Shush. Den Shush left de room.
“Hold on,” de elf said back in de room, “what I meant was-“
Shush didn’t hear any more on account of runnin into some really hard air.
“Oof!” said de air as it hit de floor wit a thumpin noise.
Shush scratched his head. Air wasn’t s’posed to make noises like dat, was it?
“No one is here!” said de air.
Shush thinked some more for a minute.
“Shush doesn’t believe you.”
If you’re having trouble visualizing this, here’s a picture of what we aren’t seeing. Does that help?
“Hey air,” said Shush, “does you know where a Jasker is?”
“W-what? J’skar? No, I have no idea where he is.”
Shush clapped his hands together cause he just thinked of a real smart ting. “Oh! You is a Jasker, isn’t you?”
“That’s the opposite of what I just said!”
“No see it are makin sense, on account of no one can see de Jasker an no one can see you either!”
Shush grabbed de air an started pullin it wit him upstairs. It yelled at Shush a bit but Shush was too excited about de smart ting he just did.
“Shush have solved de mystery!” Shush said when he got back to de mage lady at de counter.
“What? You know where J’skar is?”
“Yup! He’s right here!” Shush pointed at de air next to him.
De lady looked at Shush funny. “Is this some kind of joke?”
“No really, look!” Shush kicked de air next to him an it went all “OW!”
“Oh I see” she said, her eyes gettin all narrow. “Hiding from me with an invisibility spell, eh J’skar?”
“No!” said de air next to Shush.
“Oh” said Shush. “Den Shush guess he got de wrong invisible ting. Should Shush go back to lookin?”
De lady pinched de bridge of her nose. “That won’t be necessary, associate. You’ve done well enough here, I’ll write you a recommendation.”
De air next to Shush sighed. “Way to ruin a good prank” it said.
This quest is even sillier in the actual game. J’skar may be invisible, but you can still run into him, and his name appears when you mouse over him. You can even talk to him, though he only says not to blow his cover. Despite this, you can’t tell Jeanne he’s there. You either have to join Volanaro in playing a prank, or use a Dispel Other spell on J’skar to make him visible. It’s bothersome because you can’t find that spell anywhere within a few towns, so I had to come back later. You should just be able to tell people about a talking block of air you keep running into, but I suppose I will give the quest credit for having at least some alternate way to complete it. Sadly, even that much is uncommon in these games.
Oh look, another generic fantasy town. Don’t worry guys. Chorrol has a real distinctive feature: A big tree in between otherwise normal houses.
Next Shush decided ta go to de other place he passed by when he and Marty were goin on a road trip: de town of Core-hall. It was kinda like de guild in Broom-ha, only de outside was stone an it was taller an de buildin was shaped different an de inside was different also. But dere was another person who said hello to Shush when he walked in. Dis one was a lizard guy doe.
“Greetings, traveler. I am guild master Teekeeus, how may I assist you?”
“Hai. Shush are a mage-y person so he’s been goin round lookin for dose rigor-morticians dat you need.”
“A recommendation? I’m afraid I can’t just write one out of hand. That would be against protocols, you see. If perhaps you can clear up a small matter involving Earana, that should prove your loyalty.”
“Okey, wot does Shush gotta do?”
“Earana and I have an unpleasant history, due to her disregard for guild regulations. She has been seen in town, and I know she wants something. Seek her out. Determine what she’s after, and how we may be rid of her. Then report back to me.”
So den Shush walked outside and started thinkin bout how to find dis Ear-on-ya person. As Shush was thinkin he ran right into a elf-y lady wot was standin a few steps away from de door.
“Oof! Watch where you’re going, you oaf! Wait a minute, did you just come from the mage’s guild?”
Shush turned around an looked at de sign. Shush took a sec to read it. Yup, dat still said mage’s guild since he last checked.
“Ya, dat’s where Shush was” Shush said as he turned back around.
“Ah, well in that case, we may be able to benefit each other. My name is Earana, and I’m seeking some assistance in locating something.”
“Oh, you is Ear-on-ya? De guild guy told Shush dat you need to leave.”
“Pah! That’d be the old fool Teekeeus? Well tell him it isn’t happening! I’m not entering the building, so I have every right to stand here! And I’m going to STAY here until I get the book I’m looking for!”
“Wait where are you go-“
“Hey mister guild man, Shush knows how to get Ear-on-ya to leave.”
De lizardy guy bent over to pick up a book dat he dropped when Shush slammed de door open. De door creaked shut behind Shush as de guild man stood up and cleared his throat.
“My, that was fast. I suppose she’s right outside? How are we to be rid of her then?”
“She said dat she was gonna stay here until she getted a book.”
“A book? If this is what I think it is, it could be most troubling. What book did she say she was looking for?”
“Shush dunno. Shush didn’t ask.”
“Well we need to know what it is! I must ask you find out the book she’s looking for.”
“There you are! What was that all about, slamming the door on-“
“Hey Ear-on-ya, Shush needs ta know a ting.”
“Shush needs to know what book you’re lookin for.”
“You’re going to help me get it, then? Very well. North of this town there’s a winding dirt path up the mountain. It leads to a place called Cloud Top, with an altar in the center of it. I need you to go up that path to get the book I’m looking for: The Fingers of the Mountain. It – hey where are you-“
“Shush figured out de book dat Ear-on-ya wants.”
De guild lizard guy man looked up all startled again. Dis time he’d been smoothin down his hair spikes.
After all, it takes time and effort to look this stupid.
“Oh! Well, quick work once again. What book is she after?”
“’scalled Fingers of De Mountain. Shush thinks dats a silly name. Mountains don’t have fingers.”
“What? Not only does the book exist, but she knows where it is? This is unacceptable. Did she tell you where to find it?”
“Yup, she told Shush it was up de mountain a bit.”
“That book needs to be in the safe-keeping of the guild. I trust you’ll do the right thing and acquire this text before Earana does. Bring it back here instead. This is far more important than her petty squabble.”
“Ya okay Shush can go get de book ting.”
“You know it’s very rude of you to keep slamming-“
“Sorry Ear-on-ya, Shush can’t talk now. Shush are busy gettin de book.”
“Oh. That’s...okay then?”
Den Shush left de city an headed up de mountain path. Dere were a bunch a pretty plants to pick an some wolves, but other den dat it was pretty normal until Shush got to de top. A big fuzzy kitty jumped out from behind some pillars, one of de not-talkin kind. It attacked Shush when he tried to pet it so he kicked it down de mountain. It bounced a lot on de way down.
Ragdoll physics are hilarious.
Up between de pillars dere was an altar ting, just like Ear-on-ya said. But she said dere would be a book on de altar an dere wasn’t. Dere was a book wit de dead guy dere doe! De guy was all black an crumbly an his warm fingers stuck to de book, so Shush had to pull real hard to get it offa him. Shush took a minute checkin wit his spellin table dat dis was de right book. It was de one about mountain fingers alright, so Shush figured he did a good job an went back down to town.
“Hey Ear-on-ya” said Shush, wavin as he walked into town. “How’s it goin?”
“Uh, fine. A little startled. A while before you got here something hit the city gate. Guards said it was a mountain lion bouncing downhill. But enough about that, do you have the book?”
“Shush sure does. Shush was just about ta return it to de guild.”
“WHAT?! No, don’t do that!”
Shush stopped an titled his head at Ear-on-ya. “Why not?”
“That book is wasted in the hands of those fools! It contains great power that only the worthy should wield. It seems only fair that we take that power, since we were the ones to obtain it.”
“Actually, just Shush went an got it.”
“Details! I’m telling you, we should keep the book!”
“An de guild man won’t get mad at Shush for dat?”
“Not at all. He doesn’t need to know.”
“Okay but Shush is gonna check to make sure.”
“Hey mister guild leader guy?”
“What is it? Do you have the book?”
“Shush has a question. Would it be okay if Shush kept de book?”
“Absolutely not! If you have it, you must give it to me!”
“De guild lizard man said dat I gotta give de book to him.”
“Of course he said that! The fool doesn’t realize the power of – DON’T YOU WALK AWAY FROM ME YOU SON OF A-“
In case any of you are wondering what we’re missing by giving the book to Earana, it’s not much. By doing a few extra steps we can gain the spell Fingers of the Mountain, but it’s just a horribly inefficient damaging spell. There’s a place in the game where you can build your own custom spells (more on that another time). Fingers of the Mountain scales with your level so poorly that any time after the first few levels it costs less to cast a custom spell of the same damage. By later levels it reaches over twice the cost, becoming the most expensive spell in the game for an average effect. In other words, it’s lame and it sucks. Woo.
The town with the fanciest buildings and prettiest scenery. Why yes, it IS elvish, thanks for asking.
Shush only had a few more towns to visit before he’d seen all of em. Shady-hall was de closest, so Shush took de road back past Broom-ha towards it. It was a long road, wit lotsa bandits and flowers, but Shush pulled de heads off both of em along de way until he got dere. Shady-hall looked pretty fancy an had little rivers runnin through it. It took Shush a minute to find de mage-y place on account of it not havin a sign out front. When Shush went inside, he waved to de lizard lady at de front desk.
“Hello, lizard lady! Shush are here to get one of dose mage rectal-mandate-ones! Y’know, for de gettin into mage-y school?”
“UGH!” yelled a voice from upstairs. “What barbarian is making that awful racket? Some of us are trying to get actual work done, you know!”
De lizard lady coughed. “That, uh, is who you’ll need to get your recommendation from. Falcar is the guild master here. Try to be careful with your words, he’s a bit...short-tempered.”
Shush walked up de stairs an was about to open de door to de second floor when it opened all on its own. Dere was a gray-haired elf in fancy black an gold clothes on de other side of it.
“Are you the stampeding brute who is interrupting my studies? What business have you here? Speak!”
“Hey dere mister elf, Shush is here cause Shush heard you could give him one a dem rugged-men-day-shuns. Shush needs it to go to de fancy mage school!”
De elf just stood dere an stared at Shush for a minute. De left side of his face twitched a bit. Den he started laughin.
“Hahahaha! YOU?! A mage?! Hehehe aaaah that’s PRICELESS! HA! Hahahaha! Hahaha. Hehehehe. Haha, hooo my. Mheh. Heh...”
“Oh dear sweet Auriel, you aren’t joking are you?”
“Nope! Shush is gonna be de bestest mage ever. Shush already got ragoo-mint-dead-suns from most of de other guild places. Only a few more to go!”
De old elf put a hand in front of his eyes. “Ugh. Just when I thought this organization couldn’t sink any lower. And I suppose you want ME to write you another one?”
De elf scowled. “Hmph. This will be a colossal waste of my time, but if you insist I have to comply. There was a particular magic ring I was testing some time ago. Another stupid associate somehow got his hands on it and managed to misplace it. If I didn’t know better, I’d say he purposely tossed it down the well behind the guild hall. You will go and retrieve it for me. Now go, and pray you don’t botch this.”
As Shush was headin out de door downstairs he got tapped on de shoulder of his clanky clothes. Shush turned around and saw de lizard lady from when Shush came in.
“Pardon me, but I couldn’t help but overhear. You need to fetch Falcar’s ring from the guild well, right?”
“In that case, you may want to use this water breathing spell. I have some suspicion that...well, nevermind. It’s probably nothing. Just want to be on the safe side.”
“’kay” said Shush. Shush took de spell wit him an walked outside. De well was right around de corner. Dis was gonna be an easy one!
It wasn’t even tryin to spit fire at Shush or nothin!
So Shush pulled off de grate from de top of de well den dropped himself inside. It was hard to see, on account of all de water an stuff, but Shush could tell dere was somethin near de wall of dis underground hole. Shush swam over an saw dat dere was another person dere! He looked pretty not alive doe. Shush poked him. He didn’t do anything. Also he was moldly an dead lookin. Shush were pretty sure dat confirmed his hippo-thur-sees.
De dead guy wot wasn’t alive had a ring on him. Shush was s’posed to find a ring, an he didn’t see any others down here. So Shush pulled de ring off de guy an suddenly he sank down to de bottom of de well real fast. Dis ring was real heavy! Rings weren’t normally even more heavy den Shush’s clanky clothes, on account of bein all small an stuff. Shush couldn’t get outta de well wit de ring on. Shush decided to sit down at de bottom an think about dis.
A few hours passed.
Dis is where Shush was now. Shush couldn’t think of a way to get out of de well, so Shush just sat dere castin breathin spells. Breathin was nice. Shush got bored after a while, so Shush started thinkin of all de cool mage-y tings he’d done lately. Shush thinked about writin it all down, but when Shush tried to pull out some paper it fell apart on account of bein underwater. Also, Shush remembered he couldn’t write anyway. But dat’s okay, cause Shush just had a great idea!
Shush took OFF de ring.
Wit no ring, Shush got out of de well easy! Den Shush took off all his clanky clothes an threw em on de ground. Shush jumped back in de well. Wit no clanky clothes, Shush could carry de ring outta de well. Shush jogged over to de guild door wit de ring an opened it up.
“Hey, Shush got de ring from de well!”
De lizard lady from before poked her head around de corner. “Oh thank goodness you WHY ARE YOU NAKED?”
“Oh, hang on a sec.”
Shush dropped de ring on de table den went back outside. When Shush was done puttin back on his clanky clothes he went inside again.
“I’m glad you’re alright, after the first couple hours I grew fairly worried.”
“Yah it took a while for Shush to figure out how to get it outta dere. Shush has a question doe.”
“Do wells in Cyrodil normally have dead guys in em?”
It seems kinda bad for de clean-y-ness.
“Yeah Shush thought it was a weird tradition too.”
“No, I mean, that’s not normal! Did you see who it was?!”
“Oh. Shush didn’t ask his name, on account of him bein dead. But he was holding dat ring.”
“Oh gods, Vidkun! I suspected the worst when he disappeared a few weeks ago. Falcar gave him a task similar to yours, this is his doing!”
“Oh speakin of dat Falcar guy, is he around so Shush can get his riki-tiki-they-some?”
“He left earlier, and good riddance to him. When he heard I had helped you with that spell, he grew very angry with me. I threatened to report him and he looked downright murderous! He stormed out of the building then, hopefully to never come back. In the hours since we’ve checked his room and found black soul gems. Seems on top of everything else, he was practicing necromancy. Despicable.”
“Aw...does dat mean dat Shush got de ring for no reason?”
“Oh, don’t worry about that. I can write the recommendation in Falcar’s place. It’s not your fault he was a raving madman. Consider it written.”
I like this quest. In a game where characters often have trouble standing out from the crowd, Falcar is enough of an asshole to be memorable. The well is also fairly clever, using the encumbrance system as a novel type of trap. My only complaint is that the quest isn’t very subtle. Normally I exaggerate the in-game text slightly, here I toned it down. They make the whole heavy ring murder very clear, and straight up give you the means to never possibly come to harm from it. I know it seems odd to complain about not being murdered, but what can I say, it would have been even more memorable if it were a threat.
So now Shush had been to a whoooole lotta mage-y guilds (Shush couldn’t count dat many even) an only had a couple more to go. Shush set out on de road south to do de last ones.
Shush felt like he was forgettin a thing he had to do, but Shush had dat feelin a lot lately. It was prob’bly nothin.