Day Nine - Retrieving the Star
I left for Ilinalta's Deep early the following morning, giving myself adequate time for what was likely to be my longest journey since my return to Skyrim from Cyrodiil. Located directly to the west of Riverwood, Ilinalta's Deep is actually an old fort that sank into Lake Ilinalta many years ago. I'd heard rumours that the abandoned fort had been occupied by necromancers some time not long after I arrived in Cyrodiil, and Nelacar's account of things certainly seems to suggest there's truth in those stories. I journeyed back down the same path that I'd arrived in Winterhold on, following it around the mountains and through the pale, then past Whiterun and on to Riverwood. I called in at the Trader to wish the Valerius siblings well and stock up on healing potions before venturing into the depths of the submerged fort.
My fears about Ilinalta's Deep were proven true almost as soon as I entered - the old fort was crawling with necromancers, littered with books on the 'art', and almost every urn and chest in the place was brim-full of soul gems. Witnessing the indiscriminate way necromancers fight was one of the most chilling things I've ever experienced. Whenever one of their number fell, another necromancer would simply raise their body and they would return to the fight. The lack of care and respect shouldn't have shocked me, as I know what these individuals are capable of, but it did. I fought my way through Ilinalta's Deep, cutting through Malyn Varen's followers, until I reached the Dunmer's dessicated remains. Lying at his feet, broken and battered, was Azura's Star. I pocketed it and retraced my steps through the fort, back to the exit.
The night was already well underway as I emerged back onto the bank of Lake Ilinalta. I contemplated spending the night at Gerdur's in Riverwood, but decided it would be unfair to expect her to provide for me yet again and on such short notice. I decided instead to make the journey back to the Shrine of Azura under cover of the night, and arrived back at the foot of Azura's statue just as the sun began its climb up the eastern side of the mountain range. Exhausted from my sleepless night and the demands of the trek, I placed what was left of the Star onto Azura's altar. This time the Lady of Twilight spoke to me not through Aranea, but directly. She thanked me for returning the Star, but had one last thing to ask of me - she wished me to enter the Star itself and destroy Varen's soul.
In spite of my immense fatigue, I steeled myself and agreed to perform this final duty for Azura. No sooner had I agreed than I felt a strange sensation come over me, an invisible downward pressure on my body that forced my eyelids shut. When I was able to open them again, I found myself in a strange crystalline environment - the inside of the Star, I can only assume - face-to-face with the remnant soul of Malyn Varen. He summoned a trio of Dremora to his defence, who proved very difficult for me to put down in my weary state. I almost exhausted my stock of stamina-restoring potions during the long battle, but eventually I prevailed, driving my Skyforge steel sword deep into Varen's manifestation and breaking his hold on the Star. Completely exhausted, I fell to the ground and slipped into unconsciousness.
When I re-opened by eyes I found myself back at the foot of Azura's statue. She thanked me for putting an end to Varen's plot, and rewarded me by presenting me with the restored Star. I can now use it as an unbreakable soul gem, which is sure to prove invaluable for keeping my enchanted weapons in good working order. I thanked Azura and Aranea and made my way back down the mountain-side towards Winterhold. I practically crawled into the Frozen Hearth when I arrived, so tired was I from my exploits over the last two days. As ever, the innkeeper was kind enough to provide me with a room for a small sum of gold, and it is in that room that I write this now. I suspect I shall sleep well tonight. I'm not sure what excitement tomorrow will bring, but something tells me my adventures in Skyrim are really only just beginning. Until then,
- Day Eight - Azura's Champion
- Day Seven - Wuuthrad and Werewolves
- Day Six - Kynareth's Will Be Done?
- Day Five - The Companions and the Sleeping Tree
- Day Four - Duelling With a Dragon
- Day Three - The Bandit, the Wife and Her Lover
- Day Two - The Golden Claw
- Day One - Escape from Helgen
- Day Zero - Here Begins My Journal