Okay, no, that’s… as much as you’d like to go find Rajirra and at least have a stern discussion regarding the whole “locked you in here with a monster” thing, you have bigger fish to fry. You remind yourself that your top priority is still breaking into the Mages Guild so you can steal back your stuff, complete Quill-Weave’s courier job, and prove once and for all that you are capable of accomplishing simple tasks without messing up.
You might have gotten a little sidetracked, what with all the robberies and nightmares and fighting magic-users, but your primary goal is still to get that package back to Quill-Weave. You’re going to get into that guildhall, as soon as possible, no matter what it takes – even if it entails ignoring something you’d like to do, or doing something you’d rather not.
Holy shit, absolutely nothing about this was a good idea.
It turns out it’s actually pretty hard to remove something’s entire intestinal tract with your bare hands and fashion it into usable rope. The longest intact piece of imptestine you got out of this is about three feet long, the whole attic smells like a slaughterhouse, and you kinda feel like you’ve desecrated a corpse in some way divine figures would disapprove of. The only solace you receive from this action is the knowledge that you very briefly dismissed it as stupid before doing it anyway.
You guess you’ll try a different approach.
The hinge pin is easily accessible, but like you said, it’s pounded in there pretty hard. Your telekinesis isn’t particularly strong, nor very good at rotation. If it was, you’d have, like, an awesome-looking magical spinning barrier around you. Constantly.
Your best bet for disassembling these hinges is to find some proper tools, or something else sturdy and pointy you can use to tap the pin out.
Those are calipers. They’re basically pliers that are too fragile to use for anything more intensive than measuring something’s length.
And like… people can see lengths. You don’t know why someone would want a tool for it.
The imp didn’t drop down from the roof, it was just hiding up in the ceiling rafters. Even if there was a hole in the roof, though, you’d need some sturdy rope to get up to it. And then once you were up there, you’d be on the roof and need even more rope to get down. Really, you’re not feeling the whole get-on-the-roof thing.
That, on the other hand, you… guess you could see working. Other than the bony bits, this dead imp is starting to get kneaded into a fairly soft cushion. The biggest challenge would be getting it through the window, since it’s pretty large and too heavy for your telekinesis. Also, landing on it would make a huge mess, but that’s starting to matter less at this point.
Hm. This linen is pretty thin, badly burnt in places, and soggy with blood. You might be able to twist and knot it into an okay rope if you doubled it over, but at that point it would be getting pretty short.
You could try flying on it like a magic carpet, but your telekinesis isn’t really strong enough to lift your entire bodyweight, or broad enough to hold an entire piece of cloth into shape. It would probably be more like holding yourself in a giant sack that slows your fall slightly, assuming you didn’t just rip through the bottom and come crashing down in a heap.
As for the crates themselves, if the first one’s any indication, they’re just full of house supplies – plates, candleholders, that sort of thing. It’s nothing that would be useful to you, and most of the stuff in here is already cracked and broken – probably from all the magical explosions going off nearby.
Looks like this hand mirror made it out okay, though! That’s seven years of bad luck you don’t have to deal with.
Luck probably isn’t real anyway.
Anyway, most of your ideas for getting out of this room are complicated, horrible, and probably going to end in grievous personal injury. Maybe this is one of those instances where you need to think like a witchhunter and find the simple, direct solution nobody would think of, like an easy magical way to push your telekinesis through the silver-lined door, or pass yourself down through the floorboards, or…
You stomp on the floor and call down that the imps are all gone, and that you’re locked in the attic. Also, please bring a clean towel. Like, preferably one that you don’t care about.
Sweet ass-fucking mother of Talos, the shopkeeper says.
You quickly explain that things got a little out of hand. First it turned out there were three imps roosted in here instead of two, and then the last one was ten feet tall and knew all the fire magic. You’re sorry for breaking her, like, everything, but you weren’t exactly expecting you’d have to fight a giant death monster one-on-one.
Uh-huh. So, from the way this spear looked like it was there specifically to bar the door closed, the shopkeeper says she’s going to assume that your friend’s story about “leaving you her weapon and an expensive Summon Storm Golem scroll while she ran to get her poisons” was complete bullshit.
Woah woah woah, you say, she told you that she… she said that… no! She didn’t do any of that! She’s just a fucking jerk who ran and locked the door behind her as soon as stuff got bad.
Done and done.
You also whisper a quiet “thank you” to the silver-lined door for keeping you from telekinetically moving that spear. Not having to prove your side of the story is a real silver lining here.
Oh wow that pun is amazing. You wish the shopkeeper knew enough context for you to say it out loud.
You turn your attention back over to her. The initial shock of her decimated storeroom seems to have worn off, and she is now making an audible list of damages. She notes that most of the food is burnt, the cloth rolls have been reduced to scraps, every single mirror seems to be broken…
On the bright side, at least her surplus rope, grappling hooks, and climbing harnesses survived unharmed.
She knows the two of you agreed to ten septims to cover any potential damages, but this is a lot of damage. Essentially everything she had in storage is burnt, shattered, or soaked in an inch of blood, and that wasn’t exactly something she budgeted for. On the other hand, you basically did fight the King of All Imps in here, so it wouldn’t be –
It, ah, sounds like we’re going to talk about business, you call up to her. You’re pretty sure the two of you should be performing these sorts of negotiations down here at a counter. Like proper, professional businesspeople.
Anyway, she reiterates, there’s a lot more damage than she anticipated. Granted, she hadn’t realized the imp problem had been that severe, or else she probably would have had the Fighter’s Guild deal with it sooner. Hell, if they’d known how bad it was, they probably would’ve asked more than 200 for the job.
You ask if she’s trying to change her end of the bargain. No, she says, a deal’s still a deal. But if it’s all the same, maybe you’d consider letting her pay you with something from her stock, rather than raw gold? It’d be less of an impact on her, financially, and it already sounded like you were looking to turn around and spend the reward here anyway.
Well, you admit that was the plan back when you thought you were going to be walking away with about 40 septims after giving Rajirra her cut and paying for the magic scroll. 170 is more than you’ve ever had to your name at any given point, though, and you aren’t even sure what sort of things people would, like… spend that on. You ask her what it was that she was planning on paying you with. Maybe more scrolls?
That depends entirely on you, she says. Was there anything in particular you were looking for?
You, ah, mention that you could use a new outfit. Your current gear is kind of noisy, cumbersome, and – as of a few minutes ago – brightly colored, and you’d like something a bit sneakier. Not that you’d use it to steal anything, of course; you’d just like to avoid any more unwanted, life-or-death fireball exchanges with people who actually know what they’re doing.
The shopkeeper nods and says she understands; the best confrontations are ones you can avoid. If it’s stealth you’re looking for, actually, she might have just the thing.
Every few years or so, the town will get a travelling hedgemage passing through looking to offload a bunch of stuff they made as enchantment practice. It’s rarer these days, what with the rising price of magetallow candles, but when one shows up she’ll usually snag a few dozen bits of magic clothing and jewelry.
Isn’t enchanted clothing usually worth, like, tens of thousands of septims, you ask? You’ve seen it for sale in the Guilds back in Hammerfell, and the prices were never exactly in the 170-septim range.
Those were probably professional, Guild-produced pieces, she explains. Most of what she gets from private enchanters are little things, like a linen skirt that makes you jump a few inches higher, or a wool hat that clears up nearsightedness. The soul powering the enchantment is usually something weak, like a rabbit or wild boar or whatever else the enchanter had been hunting for dinner. Like she said, most of what she gets are practice items: quick things made to help the enchanter work out flaws in his or her technique.
The piece she has in mind for you, though, is more of an… experiment.
As in, a magic item with a caveat. Technically it’s probably worth more than 200 septims, the shopkeeper says, but she’s been sitting on it for years without a buyer.
The enchanter who sold it to her called it The Cloak of Gray Tomorrow. Long and short is: it’s an invisibility cloak. A powerful one, too; last time she tested it, the spell lasted almost an hour.
An hour! That would be more than enough time to… escape from all sorts of danger while doing perfectly legal activities. Why wouldn’t something like that sell?
That’s where the caveat comes in, she says. While you’re invisible, everything is fine and the cloak is amazing. But as soon as you deactivate the enchantment, take off the cloak, or otherwise stop the invisibility spell, though, you go completely blind.
The shopkeeper snorts. Nobody would use a magic rag that makes them go blind forever. No, you just lose your sight for as long as you were invisible, down to the second. The longer you stay invisible, the longer you can’t see afterwards, and by the time your sight comes back, the invisibility spell has recharged.
Does that… make the enchantment use less magicka? Pairing a good thing with a bad thing like that?
No, the shopkeeper says, I’m pretty sure it just makes the cloak require twice as much power as it would otherwise. Hell, an enchantment that strong probably took thousands of septims worth of materials to make and needed a Daedra soul to power it. I asked the enchanter why anyone would waste that much on an invisibility cloak that blinds you, and she just said that it “seems fair that everyone else should get to be invisible too”.
Look, Sigrid did a lot to show me and the others in town that magic wasn’t all bad, but frankly: mages are weird. Every single one of them.
Additional resource credits:
Cider – usual