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!