Day Fifteen - The Axe and the Masque
After thanking Gerdur and Hod once again for their hospitality, Barbas and I continued on our way to Rimerock Burrow, in pursuit of the Rueful Axe for Clavicus Vile. The Burrow we were heading for is situated in the mountains west of Solitude, practically on the provincial border that separates Skyrim from High Rock. As a consequence, the journey was likely to be a long one, so I thought it best to begin by heading back to Whiterun. There I dropped off some things at Breezehome and stocked up on supplies ready for the trek. I chose to move out west from Whiterun, then north through Rorikstead and Dragon Bridge before heading to the western edge of the Haafingar Hold.
Our hike to Rimerock Burrow was one of my most eventful for some time. Not far from Whiterun, Barbas and I ran into three Vigilants of Stendarr. Renowned for hunting down Daedra worshippers, I was petrified they would instinctively sense Barbas's true identity and turn on us, but we were somehow able to slip past unnoticed. Just past Rorikstead we came to Robber's Gorge, a bandit camp situated on the road to Dragon Bridge. As a seasoned dispatcher of these lawless brigands by now, and with Barbas's help, the camp was cleared in a matter of minutes. I retrieved their spoils, and even found one of the bandit's journals, which led me to a secret stash hidden beside a nearby tree stump. From the Gorge, we pressed on through the village of Dragon Bridge, and into the Druadach Mountains.
We found ourselves outside Rimerock Burrow just as the sky was beginning to darken. The cavern, it soon became apparent, was home to a Breton mage named Sebastian Lort. Barbas explained to me that when his daughter became a werewolf, Lort had prayed to Clavicus Vile for a cure. Clavicus had presented him with the Rueful Axe in turn, expecting him to kill her. Lort did not take kindly to our trespassing on his property, and conjured a pair of Atronachs to his aid. Barbas kept Lort occupied while I turned my elemental magic on his summoned companions, reducing them to naught but piles of fire and frost salts. With those out of the way, I joined Barbas in attacking Sebastian, silencing him with a sword through the chest. The Rueful Axe was resting on a shrine nearby - I slipped it into my pack, and backed out of the cavern.
With the Rueful Axe in hand, our next task was to return to Haemar's Shame and present it to the Shrine of Clavicus Vile. I planned to take us back the way we'd come, but the rapidly encroaching night forced us to stop at Dragon Bridge and rest until sunrise. The next morning, as we emerged from the Four Shields Tavern, we met a courier who'd been looking for me. In his possession was another letter from my anonymous friend, this time directing me to Bonestrewn Crest in the Eastmarch Hold. Given the last letter from this nameless correspondent took me to a Wall of Power, I assumed this one would probably do the same, and made a mental note to prioritise my visit to the Crest.
It was mid-afternoon when Barabas and I arrived back at Haemar's Shame. I removed the Rueful Axe from my pack and presented it to Clavicus Vile. The Daedric prince thanked me for my service, then said something I did not expect - he told me I could keep the axe, if I used it to slaughter Barbas. Not even needing time to think about it, I tossed the Rueful Axe at Clavicus's statue's feet and shouted at the Daedric prince that I would do no such thing. Daedra or not, Barbas had proven a loyal and trustworthy companion these last few days, and I stood nothing to gain from harming him. Grudgingly, Clavicus welcomed Barbas back into his realm of Oblivion. In place of the Rueful Axe, there now rested a jet-black horned helmet - the Masque of Clavicus Vile. With the Daedra appeased for now, I left the cavern and made my way back to Falkreath.
As soon as I arrived back in town, I booked a room at the Dead Man's Drink. I have been locked in here for the last hour, inspecting the Masque. It is supposedly enchanted, granting its user a more persuasive tongue, but its Daedric bindings make me feel reluctant to wear it - not to mention the problems it could cause if I run into more Vigilants of Stendarr. I will sleep on the matter, and decide what to do with the helmet (and how to continue my adventure) tomorrow. Until then,
- Day Fourteen - A Daedra and His Dog
- Day Thirteen - Treason and Betrayal
- Day Twelve - Counsel from the Greybeards
- Day Eleven - Old Towns, New Faces
- Day Ten - New Thu'um, New House
- Day Nine - Retrieving the Star
- 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