[INQUEST COMPENDIUM][ESO] BELLY OF THE BEAST

Bergama and Sentinel, two prominent cities of the Alik’r Desert, under the protection of King Fahara’jad. The two cities have been in peace for many years, occasionally fending off necromancers and bandits, but their guards weren’t ready to deal with a monstrosity the size of those that invaded Tamriel during the Soulburst. A crocodile-like beast, the size of Bergama’s Hall of Judgement, appeared in the desert and started attacking both cities. Without ever being able to get through the massive stone walls, the creature terrorized the citizens of Alik’r on multiple occasions. Such events were inevitably noticed by Azaber and Kernost, who started looking into possible explanations for such a mutation of a usually threatening but comparatively innocent reptile.

After a week of research and interviews with local villagers, too many typical rumors of the usual Alik’r threats surfaced, but the founders refused to believe that such a mutated creature could be the work of a simple necromancer. Instead, they found in the Lab’s archives an automated report about a corrupted soul gem that made living beings decay and mutate, but never on a scale like this. They figured it must’ve had a catalyst to amplify its influence.

The founders gathered the Inquesters. Those who answered the call were: Antonius Maximilian the rampart, the two argonians adventuring thieves Vabi and Talks-with-Claws, the reckless Roran Austoire, the eccentric Amiileii and the honorable shadow-weaver Shara Ardent. After a short briefing on the expedition to come, the Inquesters prepared for the journey to Alik’r province and departed.

Once they arrived at the wayshrine north of Bergama, the group quickly felt the hot and dry winds of the Alik’r desert. The two argonians are the ones who felt it the most as they started to feel their skin getting too dry for their liking. But it wasn’t heat or winds that would stop the Inquesters as they darted to the west to investigate on the matter at hand. After an hour ride, they reach the creature’s lair, an oasis in the desert at the bottom of a large circular cliff. From the top of the cliff, they could see the unnatural size of the beast, large enough to destroy a house by simply stepping on it, fighting it head-on was clearly not the wisest choice. They had to investigate on the cause of the mutation in order to be able to reverse it. Only then would the creature not pose a threat to the nearby villages and cities. And so the group voted unanimously, the soul gem had to be retrieved, this was the priority.

The Inquesters mounted up and circled around the cliff to get to the bottom of it. Once they reached it, the beast was sleeping between the group and their objective, a large crystal formation that glowed a deep blue. The crystal had to be the catalyst, it had somehow grown around the soul gem and now served as the catalyst. There was no time to lose, they had to circle around the creature and extract that soul gem and that’s exactly what Amiilieii and Vabi did. They managed to sneak past the beast without waking it up and reached the crystal, but before they had the time to try and extract the soul gem, Antonius attempted to follow them and woke the beast up with the loud clanking of his heavy armor plating as he moved.

Azaber quickly yelled at Vabi and Amiileii to get to work and extract the soul gem as fast as possible while the rest of the group would attempt to buy them some time by fighting this unstoppable beast. As Amii chipped away at the crystal with her sword, the beast stood up and roared at the group in front of it. Its roar was deep and strong, uprooting the tree and making the ground shake in its path. Antonius, Talks-with-Claws and Roran were too close to the beast and were injured by the creature’s attack, but Shara managed to resist and hid in the shadows to flank it. Talks-with-Claws and Azaber shot arrows at the beast, but its hide was too thick to be penetrated by such small weapons. Antonius knew that no attacks from these weapons would hurt the beast and instead assumed a defensive stance to brace himself for the battle as the objective was to buy some time for the girl who tried to extract the soul gem. Roran, the reckless templar decided instead to attack the beast by climbing its leg and jumping on his head. Without any weapons in hand, Roran attempted to punch the beast’s eye as hard as he could, which proved effective. The monster screamed in pain and took a few steps back, throwing Roran off balance and on the ground. Shara stayed in the shadows, waiting for an opportunity to strike, but as the beast prepared itself to attack the group once more, Amiilei and Vabi managed to dislodge the soul gem from the crystal formation which broke the connection to the beast. As it moved to attack, the creature’s legs turned to glowing stone which began to shake and then crack. The girls ran towards the group, which in turn ran for their lives as the monster was about to explode. They all managed to gain enough distance when the creature exploded, sending coldfire everywhere, burning at the sand and trees, devouring the terrain and melting everything in its path.

Once they were safe, Amii gave the stone to Azaber. Talks-with-Claws and Vabi started arguing about some kind of bet they had made about Roran dying, which Talks-with-Claws had won. Antonius patted the dust and sand off of his armor and the group made their way back to the Lab to recover and to study the soul gem.

 

Azaber’s Journal Entry

“I brought the soul gem back to the Lab… but when I took it out of my bag and pulled my gloves off, I realized my hands seemed like they were decaying and I heard the whispers of the dead in my head… It must be the energy of the soul gem, it corrupts everything in its patch… I locked it in a clockwork device to contain the gem and I will study it later with Kernost once my partner comes back from his expedition.”