I woke early, and decided to head out north again looking for ingredients. It was raining as I left, but peaceful.
I didn't find much I didn't already have, but I kept to the road and eventually reached the town of caldera. This is my favorite town in the game that I've found and possibly the series. I just love the way it looks.
While checking out the different houses, I stumbled upon one owned by a name I recognized. Surane was one of the Blades that Caius told me to see for some help. She gave me some advice and offered me a place to sleep. All the Blades you meet offer this... the only problem is that she doesn't actually have a bed, at least not behind a locked door. Thanks anyway, I guess. I decided to check out a few other places in town.
The local blacksmith repaired my dagger for a reasonable price, and I sold a few potions I put together to the trader.
Upstairs in the local Mages Guild chapter I stumbled upon a treasure - a full Master's alchemy set. It was just sitting there, begging for me to take it. So I did. The Guild hasn't done much for me lately, has it? It won't be missed. Now with access to a retort and calcinator (which increase positive effects and all effects, respectively), I tried mixing up some stuff with the ingredients there, although most of my attempts failed. I wondered if it was some sort of karmic payback for stealing the equipment, but shrugged it off and sold what I made and the old devices back to the Guild.
I headed north out of town on a quest for more ingredients, before long I came upon a strange, nearly naked man with a stranger story. I agreed to help him find this witch, although I didn't know why.
I didn't find her immediately. I did some wandering around, coming across some odd things such as a man who seemed to raise docile Guars.
Eventually I did find her though, and she told her side of the story and offered to return his axe at the Guild hall in three days.
He refused, and was ready to kill whether I was on his side or not.
I decided to help, though again, I knew not why. She used magic very well, but together we defeated her. On her body was the axe as well as a magic staff that she had managed to drain my spirit with (damaged my Luck and Per) and a few potions.
I gave the axe to him, and he rewarded with some pointers on physical combat.
I was a bit weak to continue heading north, so I went back towards Caldera. On the way I met an Orc who was on the lam and asked me to deliver a note to his friend in town.
When I was sure he couldn't see me, I took a look at the note myself. Um... it was interesting seeing how his people put thoughts onto paper.
I found her house and dutifully delivered the note. She wrote another for me to bring back to him. Masters of subtle espionage, these two.
He seemed grateful after I gave him the note, but then tried to fleece me by only giving me a "rock" in return. Thankfully that rock was exactly what I needed to bring back to Sugar-Lips. That makes things a bit easier.
I sold the stuff off the dead mage at the Guild, and then decided to take care of some business in Balmora.
Sugar-Lips thanked me for the diamond with a potion to go unseen and a new job to find a key in town.
I took a short walk to the nearby fort and paid a tribute at the altar of the Nine, washing away the damage I had taken. In Oblivion, you can pray to restore attributes and cure diseases or whatever for free if you have a good reputation, but 25 gold isn't bad when your only other option is buying potions. I returned to the town Guild hall for another night's rest.
Sorry this took so long, a burning desire to finish Persona 3 and the sudden obligation to go to work sapped my free time for other things. I should be doing this more consistently now, though. What will Nerever have to do to get that key? Will she ever reach level 2? Find out next time!
Desperate for some money, I decided to walk back to Balmora and see if I could find Caius, the main I was supposed to meet when I first came here. Maybe he could help.
I was told I could learn where to find him in town at the South Wall, so I went inside.
A Khajiit inside named Sugar-Lips was awfully forward about the Thieves Guild. I agreed to join wanting to hone my other skills, and I was given a task to retrieve a diamond, with the suggestion that I try the local alchemist's shop.
The patron of the club told me where to find Caius, but first I decided to stakeout the location of my job.
There were diamonds in the open downstairs but constantly being watched by the owner and a guard, and there may have been more in a locked chest upstairs but I hadn't the ability or equipment to open it. At yet another roadblock, I went to meet Caius.
The package I had for him contained orders from the Emperor to induct me into the Blades, his eyes and ears in the province. Caius gave me a fair amount of money and some advice for surviving in Morrowind, and told me to come back later for orders. Maybe I will, maybe I won't.
As a way of building up a reserve of money, I decided to work on my potion making. I returned to the alchemist's and traded a couple unnecessary potions for the basic mortar and pestle I needed to get started.
Using some ingredients I had I mixed up a Water Walking concoction and sold it for seven drakes. Not much, but it's a start. I then went and konked out on a bed in the Mages Guild. I woke up at nine, ready to go collect ingredients.
I went north to start out, and it wasn't long before I was finding new things to mix up, including from the corpses of whatever small creatures interrupted me.
I quickly found a couple combinations that worked, although not as many as I would have liked.
Nearby I stumbled upon a dead body, which had a strange note on it that didn't shed too much light. I took it and his other possessions, not feeling too great about it, including a Skooma Pipe. I personally never touch the stuff.
I continued to collect as I headed southeast, and eventually made it back to the fort near Balmora. From there I decided to head to the swamp I visited earlier for Ajira.
On the way there I found some more plants to harvest from, and noticed that I already quite a collection of components. I had to start keeping notes to keep track of which ones had which effects (in real life).
I also realized that the pipe could be used as a simple alembic to minimize the negative effects of anything I make, although not a very good one. A bit about potions: a lot of the ones you can make do only negative things, like hurting certain stats. You would never drink these obviously, so their only purpose is to sell for a profit. Why traders are so willing to buy them I don't know, although I guess jerks could sneak them into their enemies' drinks. In Oblivion, you can use potions with only negative effects on weapons to poison your opponents, which was sometimes useful.
After killing a rat, I stopped to mix again and discovered an effect I didn't know about yet, and added it to my list. Each ingredient has up to four four possible effects, and the number you know about depends on how skilled you are in Alchemy. Unlike in Oblivion, if you have two ingredients with a shared effect, you only need to know about it with one to mix the potion.
After harvesting a bunch of mushrooms, I wondered if the nearby Mudcrab might have something worth using in him.
My increased prowess against weak, tiny creatures didn't stop them from continually interrupting my work.
As the day went on, I grew tired and decided to return to town. I passed some campers on the way and said hello, although they didn't have much to talk about.
I sold the potions to Ajira and the dead man's clothes to the trader. Not a bad day's labor.
I slept again in the Mages Guild, unsure what the next day would bring.