Jan 27, 2023 1:24 PM
Azem is delighted to live in Tamriel tbqh
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There have been tales of someone searching for a tomb of a pair of Skyrim's heroes. Graverobbing's hardly glamorous, but sometimes it does pay well. As such, the locals don't trust any mysterious magical strangers, asking strange questions about dead things and especially not when they buy a map for far too many septims. It never bodes well, when a mage goes poking around in a tomb. When someone capable of maybe protecting the dignity of the dead comes around, they are more than helpful to point him after her, in hopes that maybe their ancestors will be left to their rest.

And Ansilvund has clearly been disturbed. Its entrance has been dug out of the hill that it had been buried in, and there's a long cold campfire just outside of the ruined tower nearby. It looks like someone stayed here for a while, probably searching for this entrance, and then moved their camp inside once it was found. The door is, of course, unlocked.

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Which on the one hand means that he doesn't have to be the one to do all the looking, but on the other means that the place is very very likely to be defended. Not, you know, a huge issue. Mages cheat but he cheats harder, by being awesome. Still, good to keep in mind.

He looks around the entrance for traps, sprung or otherwise, as well as any sign that he's being watched. Finding none, he grabs his bow and an arrow, nocks it, and slowly pulls the door open and walks inside.

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The tomb is silent. But the hollows in the walls for the bodies of the dead are opened and emptied, so he must be onto something, even if there aren't yet any traps.

... There's an awful lot of dust in here, though. In little tidy piles, actually. Uh, is that one person shaped? That pile of dust definitely looks person shaped.

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Well, of course the person that's come here to defile a grave is a necromancer, but the mysterious part is that the dead seem to... be dead. Not that he's complaining, he was not looking forward to fighting reanimated corpses, but... something's gotta have killed them a second time, right?

He's starting to think he's not the first one to come here after the necromancer.

He is not sure that's an altogether good thing.

Onwards.

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There are traps, but they've been disarmed, or otherwise made safe. A wall of spikes that had been built to swing and hit anyone in the passageway has been... partially eaten by the wall itself. Like tree bark that has grown around a fencepost, but how could stone do that?

From up ahead, he hears the magically enhanced echoing of a voice, and what sounds like the clash of steel on steel.

"Who are you to disrupt my work? Begone, or I will add you to my army of the dead!"

It... doesn't seem very directed at him, though.

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Someone did come here after the necromancer. He lets go of some of his caution, since it seems like the dangers he might otherwise have faced have been disabled, and speeds up to more of a quick march in the direction of the voice.

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He goes fast enough that he can just catch the edge of what sounds like a shouted reply:

"so shut it with your damn scare tactics!"

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Then he turns the corner and enters a large chamber where there is clearly some kind of battle going on. Or, well, is mostly over, actually, judging by the piles of dust in this room. And by how this armored and red haired woman stabs a draugr through the chest, and it turns to dust.

Her head turns at the sound of his footsteps, and she raises her sword to defend herself, then stops.

"Ah? You're not a dead man."

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That is, of course, when a hidden undead archer from above nails her in the shoulder with an arrow.

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...she is probably on his side. He can always kill her later if he's wrong.

Regardless, the undead archer has one arrow through its heart and one through its left eyesocket before you can say "draugr", and now he starts quickly scanning the room for any signs of the necromancer and any other threats. Helping the lady with the shoulder arrow comes after they're safe.

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There is no sign of the necromancer, but from the other side of that walkway above them, there is a second undead archer, peeking out from its hiding spot.

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But it is then fried and dusted by a bolt of lightning from the very pissed off lady with the shoulder arrow.

"Sneaky bitch," she mutters, and then she reaches up to rip the arrow out like some kind of lunatic who hasn't heard of bleeding out.

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...a mage. Upping the probability that she might not be on his side.

Any more threats or can he offer her a potion of some kind, or will she just heal herself because: mage.

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She will totally just heal herself, because: mage. It barely takes any time at all, actually, she just kind of rolls her shoulder and it's clearly all better.

"Aaaand they're retreating," she pronounces, from absolutely no visible sign whatsoever. She sheathes her sword. "Damn. Probably to fortify someplace further in. You sticking around for our wayward necromancer's last stand, or does the hint of magic on your side scare you off?"

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"Did you pick that phrasing specifically to try to prickle a Nord's pride?" he asks in return.

Probably an ally.

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"Absolutely! What faster way is there to drive one to battle?" she says with a wink. "This way, c'mon."

And deeper she goes into the crypt.

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Well, what's he gonna do, not follow her into the crypt? That's the whole reason he came here! He keeps in mind the possibility that this is some kind of play by the necromancer to make him trust someone who is actually going to turn on him, or other ways in which this could be less straightforward than it looks, but otherwise, once more: onwards.

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There's another trap, and a locked door between them and their next stopping destination, but they go by so quickly it's honestly hard to even tell they were there. His probably-an-ally handles those without him. The tripwire was there one second and gone the next, and as for the lock... well, it bursts. There's a loud crack, and then the door swings open easily enough to let them through.

Beyond is another large room, this time filled with large metal sarcophagi.

"Stay," she informs him, holding up a finger and walking purposefully to the middle of the room. And the sarcophagi. There... is definitely some magic that's going on here, making the hairs on his arms stand up, but it's hard to tell who it's from. Probably both, actually. There's a rush of magical energy in a crescendo, and the sound of the moaning dead from the coffins around his companion, and then...

... The tops of them do not come off. There's an impotent sort of bashing from inside.

His mage companion lets out a smug little laugh. "Okay, now you're fine."

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"...kinda hot, not going to lie."

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"Well thank you! But save the flirting for after we're done. You'll get to do more than just look pretty soon enough."

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"Good, looking pretty is nice but I didn't spend all those years practising more practical skills for nothing."

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"You do seem to have excellent aim!" she agrees, and onward they go. It's not much further until they reach a large set of doors. These doors are also locked, but the red haired mage doesn't burst its lock open and charge in immediately. She furrows her brow, touches the door with her hands, then raises her voice to shout through it.

"Don't suppose there's enough of you left in there to listen to reason? You have to know by now that you're not going to win this. Even if you did, you're not going to bring him back!"

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"What do you know of me, witch hunter? If I cannot raise him, I will raise an army to avenge his defilement!"

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"Yeah, no, that's just absolutely off the deep end," she sighs. She looks to her companion. "I'll focus on defense, you on offense?"

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"Sure. You seem to know rather a lot about this person's motivations."

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"Why would I ever walk into a necromancer's tomb without knowing why she's there in the first place? My mind is the best weapon I have."

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