So damned cold in this horrid land!  Why is it always so cold!  The BattleMancer reaches into his pocket at the edge of Winterhold and grasps the Soul Speak.  "Sir, I am initiated into the College and they believe me to be curious and slightly adept at magic, I have taken on some minor courses from the Enchanting instructor here.  He has given me the task, outright, to attain Azura's Star."

"That is excellent, I had hoped they would send you to it post haste, it only makes sense."

"Indeed, but doesn't it seem just a little too easy?"

"Never look a gift horse in the mouth, Gul, you know that as well as any."

"Aye, 'tis so.  Still, it worries me a little that I can walk in and be given it as my first task."

"I understand your concern, but the odds of anyone in Skyrim knowing what you're doing - much less that our order exists to do it - are beyond small.  Get to it, you don't want to keep your new teacher waiting."

"Of course, it will be done."  As he released the Soul Speak he pulled the hood up on his simple grey robe to shield his face from the wind and snow.  Making his way south according to the location marked on his map by Sergius, unsure why the shrine is there if he had skryed for the Star and has it pinned as being around Riverwood.  No matter, perhaps there is valuable information to be found.

As he crested a corner there it stood . . . high atop a mountain peak there was a stone statue of obvious Dunmer construction.  A Dunmer-built stone lady holding a moon and star could only be one thing, the Shrine of Azura.  After climbing the side-winding trail he came upon a lone priest at the base of the shrine, a woman by the name of Aranea Ienith.  She instructs the BattleMancer to speak with the shrine and commune with Azura.

"Champion, I am pleased to see you.  I have taken note of your deeds for Vaermina and know that you can be trusted to make good use of my boon."

"Azura, what would you have of me?  What must I do to gain your Star?"

"No simple task, BattleMancer, you must free my Star from itself."

"I am unsure what that means, Azura, how do I free an object from itself?"

Aranea broke in to say, "You are destined to find an elven man, who can turn the brightest star as black as night."

"What does that mean?  You Deadra and Deadric Priests all speak in riddles, it seems."

"Go forth to Winterhold and you shall find the man you seek."

With no more to be had, Gulamoth turns back down the mountain and heads back to Winterhold.  Resolved to gain more information, the only place to check in twon would be the inn.  As soon as he is back he makes for the inn and scans the room for the most likely informant, stopping almost immediately on some High Elf in robes having a discussion with the inn keeper.  When they finished Gulamoth made his way to ask about the Mer and learned his name was Nelacar.  Something inside him screamed that it was the man he was searching for.

Gulamoth entered the room Nelacar was staying in and began asking questions about Soul Gems and about Azura's Star.  Nelacar was reluctant at first but a small bribe and a Charm spell loosened his tounge well enough.  It turned out that Nelacar's previous mentor, Malyn Varen, was doing some experiments on the Star, trying to discover it's source of power and how to take advantage of it to prolong his own life.  Nelacar pointed out on the map to an old ruin west of Riverrun called Ilinalt's Deep and told Gulamoth that's where the old mentor was last known to be.  Satisfied with the location of the ruin and it's relation to his skrying marks, Gulamoth made off to this old stronghold.

Approaching Lake Ilinalta, Gulamoth checked the map marker and the skrying marks against his current location and made sure the ruin he was facing was the spot . . . sure enough it was.  A dank old ruin, mostly submerged in the lake, it was clearly of Legion design.  It felt cold and dead as all necrotic ruins should - Gulamoth almost felt at home here.  Upon entering the ruin he was immediately confronted by a lifeless and crucified skeleton.  You'll have to do better than that to keep me away, Varen.

Pausing for a moment to consider what could be beyond the crucifix bearing the skeleton and decided to cast a medium-powered detect life spell.  The place was crawling with the living . . . in a place that tasted so much of death, the living must surely be necromancers, though simple novices compared to the power that he held.  Resolving to move forward with axe and fire, per his usual adventuring set up, he moved forward with some caution. 

Dealing with each Necromancer and Skeletal conjurations in turn, Gulamoth absorbed his far share of souls before even reaching the fifth room of this ruined fort.  Unbeknownst to his new instructor, Gulamoth was not only an advanced Enchanter, but a rather dark soul trapper and kept an ample supply of black soul gems hidden in a few secret pockets of his robe. 

Taking a moment longer with a particularly strong necromancer, at least strong in this bunch, he questioned her to find out exactly what was going on.  "Why are there so many of you here and where can I find the Star?!"

"S--sir, the Star?"

"Don't play dumb with me, it doesn't become you, Bosmer!  Where is the Star of Azura?!"  Gulamoth formed an ice shard into a dagger in his palm and began to slowly work into the Bosmer's side.  She screamed out in agony, GHAAAHHHH!

"It's at the end of the fortress!  Follow the obvious turns in the hallways and you'll find a room filed with bones, our master died there - of sorts."

"What do you mean 'of sorts'?  Either he's dead or he's not, unless he's one of your thrall's now, in which case he's dead anyway."

"His body is dead, but he has planted his sould within the Star.  It needs to be fed new souls from time to time or he will fade away inside it.  He used the Star for a purpose beyond it's means and it has broken!  Please, that is all I know, spare me and I shall provide you safe passage to his body.  After that I cannot promise what will happen to you, but I will leave."

"Very well, remember this conversation and the power I showed to enable us to have it.  Lead on."

The Bosmer led him from room to room, hall to hall, passing the rest of the necromancers. They all made the assumption that she was taking him to be fed into the Star to keep their master alive.  As they walked Gulamoth readied a set of spells in his mind that, wondering if the Bosmer would leave well enough alone or make an attempt to really feed him to the Star.  In any case, he needed to be ready.

He had stopped paying so much attention to halls and turns while making his preparations, so he wasn't sure how long they had traveled when she told him they were there.  In front of them was a rather unsupecting door, just to look at it one wouldn't assume it had such potential power behind it.  She pushed on the door and it creaked open, as they stepped in Gulamoth took a quick look around the room.  On one wall was a chest, the floor was scattered with bones and dirt and various assundries, there was an iron and wood chair on the far side with an intact skeleton holding a dark, star shaped gem.

"Master Varen, I pressume?"

"Indeed it is, our great Master's bones holding onto his soul."

"Well, I need the star, but I also assume you don't plan on letting me take it."

"You would guess right, Breton!"  Gulamoth turned on his heel and shot an ice bolt into her left shoulder, then another into her right and a third into her left thigh.  She hit the ground with a loud thud.

"I'm not sure why you thought I'd be so foolish, girl."

"I am no girl, Breton!  I am the Necrotic Priestess, I am a high level Necromancer under the guidance of Master Malyn Varen . . . and you shall not have me killed that easily!"  She began to stand and cast a spell, her hands glowing blue and purple.  Gulamoth flicked his wrist and pinned her to the wall with nothing but sheer force or magicka.

In a low, calm, almost gutteral voice he approached her and said, "Compared to the likes of me, you are but a girl.  I am the Deadric Master of the Order of BattleMancers, my lips speak death to better and worse than the likes of you, Bsomer."  He lowered his hood so she could see his void-blackened eyes and death-touched lips.  "I am your worst nightmare and I shall have your soul to add to mine own!"  He reached into his pocket for a black soul gem and absorbed her soul, then her complete essence until all that was left was a pile of old necromancer robes.

Turning to the skeleton he made his way to retrieve his prize, he gingerly plucked the Star from the bone hand clutching it.  He immediately felt a dark power within the gem and nearly dropped it.  Composing himself, Gulamoth looked around the room and saw a ladder leading to the top of the room, and hoped that this tower wasn't under water.

As luck would have it, the tower just barely peaked above the water line and he was away from the den of what necromancers were left behind.  Getting his bearings, he made his way back towards Winterhold and the Shrine of Azura.  Being a little more than unsure what to do with a broken Star of Azura, Gulamoth reached into his robe for the Soul speak.

"I have the star, but there's a slight complication," he told the voice on the other end of the new developements.

"Sounds like you have a choice to take it back to the Shrine or to this Altmer fellow Nelacar.  I'm sure one of them will be able to help you.  Keep in mind that we care not what state the Star is in, so long as it works."

"Understood, I shall speak with each in turn and make the proper next steps with the Star."

If you enjoyed this, you can find links to each of my blog series on this forum thread.