A City in Black [Quest]

Faction: Daggerfall Covenant
Province: Hammerfell
Location: Bangkorai
Required Level: 37

Text of the Quest:

The city of Evermore is in dire straits. King Eamond is dead, and a Reachmen army marches toward the city gates even now. The people of Evermore need help, and they need hope. Reachmen have taken over the lighthouse south of Evermore, but Guard Captain Hjurrun has ordered the guards to hold back. I've agreed to attack the Reachmen and bring their leaders head.


Collect Strastnocs Head

Sergeant Antieve: I tell you, things grow darker here by the damn hour! Reachmen are right down there! Came in by boat, took the lighthouse, and now they're crawling up in the woods to assess our defenses. And our orders are to just sit here and watch!
Hero: Why don't you attack?
Sergeant Antieve: Captain Hjurrun's fought the bastards' leader before—Strastnoc. He says we're outmatched and we have to just wait them out. I say the captain's a few links shy of a full chain. With our defenses weakened, we can't risk waiting!
Hero: Is there anything I can do to help?
Sergeant Antieve: Absolutely! Captain's ordered us to hold back, but not you ... and he did say we need more outside help. Morale's been down in the dungheap since King Eamond died. If you can lop off this Strastnoc's head, it'd be an inspiration to the men.
Hero: All right. I'll bring back his head.
Sergeant Antieve: I won't lie to you, friend. Things are grim. The king and his heirs are dead, our forces decimated. Crows are everywhere. People have lost hope. Bring Strastnoc's head to Captain Hjurrun at the south gate. That'll be a big win for us.
Hero: Who's ruling the kingdom?
Sergeant Antieve: The king's brother, Duke Renchant. He's at least acting as regent right now. Should've been Queen Arzhela who took over, but she's ... not been herself. Understandable after losing her husband and her children, but the people miss her.
Hero: The people don't like the duke?
Sergeant Antieve: I wouldn't say that. They just don't know him. Renchant's doing the best he can with what he's got. He's taking action. He's the one who put Captain Hjurrun in charge of defenses. I'm trying not to hold that against him though.
Hero: You don't think Captain Hjurrun knows what he's doing?
Sergeant Antieve: i shouldn't talk bad about the captain. He's probably the right man for the job. He's a Nord, and he's fought the Reachmen before. With most of our officers dead, the duke only had so many options, and we had to have someone new.
Hero: What happened to the old guard captain?
Sergeant Antieve: Sir Jarnot? Poor old sot. He was escorting Princess Elara when she got ambushed and killed. Jarnot would've been better off if he had died there too. I thought the queen was going to have him executed. He got off lucky, really.
Hero: Where did all the crows come from?
Sergeant Antieve: Beats the Oblivion out of me. Ever since King Eamond died, they've been showing up all over the city. With all their cackling, it's a damn plague. Creepy too. They're just sitting there watching us. It's like they've come to see us all die.

Captain Hjurrun: So you're the one wreaking havoc down there among those horkers? I've tangled with a Reachman or two in my day, and my helmet's off to anyone who charges into their ranks that way. Don't suppose you've come to enlist in the town guard, have you?
Hero: No, but I brought you the Reachmen leader's head.
Captain Hjurrun: You have old Strastnoc's head? Shor's bones! Someone buy this crazy bastard a cup of mead! If you like to cut off Reachmen heads, you've come to the right place, my friend. Have you met Duke Renchant? The duke will want to meet you.
Hero: I could meet with the duke.
Captain Hjurrun: Good. Take your time though. Rest up. You've earned it. The duke will know of your deed, and you can go see him in the castle when you're ready. He'll reward you well. Might even offer you my job. It's yours if you want it.
Hero: Thank you. I'll speak with the duke at the keep.

Glarikha: Pardon my intrusion, but I would speak to you on behalf of Queen Arzhela. I am her handmaiden. The queen has ... heard of your recent accomplishments, and she asked me to make a private request on her behalf.
Hero: I thought Duke Renchant was in charge.
Glarikha: He is. The queen stepped aside, but she remains the rightful ruler of the kingdom and she still cares deeply for its people. Even now, in mourning, she attends to wounded soldiers and refugees in the chapel. But she has other concerns as well.
Hero: What is the queen concerned about?
Glarikha: Quite frankly, she's concerned about the city's defenses. But of course, she cannot publicly question the duke's policies. That is why we were hoping you could discreetly investigate to see if there's any merit to some of the rumors we've heard.
Hero: What do you want me to investigate?
Glarikha: Her Majesty would ask you to inspect the defenses at the east gate and ask the former guard captain, Sir Jarnot, for his assessment of the duke's strategy. If you are willing, the queen also wishes to know why a refugee was put in the stocks.
Hero: All right. I can handle that.
Glarikha: I know her Majesty would appreciate if you gave these matters the highest priority. After you've completed your investigation, come speak to the queen at the Chapel of Saint Pelin. If there are problems, she should know as soon as possible.
Hero: Where can I find Sir Jarnot?
Glarikha: Sadly, I expect you are most likely to find him in the tavern, drinking away his sorrows. After Princess Elara was killed while under his protection, the queen herself demanded he step down. He was crushed.
Hero: Then why does the queen want to consult him now?
Glarikha: By no means does she wish to reinstate him, but Sir Jarnot was the captain of the guard here in Evermore for more than a decade. He was a longtime friend of King Eamond as well. The queen simply wants to hear his assessment of the city's defenses.
Hero: What are you expecting me to find?
Glarikha: If we knew that, we wouldn't have to ask for your assistance. The bottom line is that the queen deferred to Duke Renchant because she believed he was better suited to defend the city. Now, she simply wants to make sure he's doing a good job.
Hero: Is there reason to believe he isn't?
Glarikha: Just vague rumors. Let's face it. Our forces were devastated in the last battle with the Reachmen, and there is no doubt our defenses are stretched thin. We just want to make sure that everything possible is being done to protect the city.
Hero: Why do you need me to do all this?
Glarikha: With the city in such dire straits, the queen is determined to avoid controversy. If people heard she was inquiring as to the state of the city's defenses, there would be an uproar. If you conduct the inquiries, however, it can be more discreet.

Imrazan: This is absurd! I have committed no crime, and they are just going to leave me here ... I would say to rot, but I will never get that chance. I'll be speared through when the city is taken, and then these damned crows will eat my remains!
Hero: Why did they put you in the stocks?
Imrazan: For speaking the truth. Nothing more. The Imperial army has just conquered the largest city in southern Bangkorai, and mark my words—they will come here next.
Hero: How do you know this?
Imrazan: Because I have just come from Hallin's Stand. The Imperials infiltrated the city and seized it overnight. They enslaved half the population. They will do the same here. But when I suggested this to the guards, they locked me up.
Hero: Why would they lock you up for that?
Imrazan: They said I was spreading half-truths and paranoid delusions. They said the people here have enough fear with the Reachmen and cannot afford to hear my ravings. Please, you must get me out of here. I don't want to be eaten by crows!
Hero: I'll see what I can do.

Strange Crow: The people eye the north with fearful eyes, but it's from the south that the storm approaches.
Hero: How are you speaking to me?
Strange Crow: With an open mind, one hears truth, however dark it may be.
Hero: Are you trying to tell me something?
Strange Crow: No. The telling has already been done. I am hereto listen ... and to watch.
Hero: Who are you?
Strange Crow: I'm a crow. What more do you need to know?
Hero: I guess there's nothing more to say then.

Mysterious Crate: The defenses at the south gate are far from impressive, but they're as well organized as might be expected. There are, however, a few suspicious-looking crates.
Hero: Examine the crates
Mysterious Crate: The crates appear to be stocked with fresh supplies, weapons, and armor. The crates are stamped as cargo from a ship called the "Bjoulsae Queen".
Hero: I'll have to report this to the queen.

Strange Crow: Great gifts often appear as a surprise, but sometimes, the surprise should be spoiled.
Hero: Do you know something about this?
Strange Crow: I know what I see, but it is not me who needs to know. It's you.
Hero: Can you tell me what you know then?
Strange Crow: I know this is a desperate city in desperate times, but this is not the gift the city needs.
Hero: I'll take your words into consideration.

Sir Jarnot: Who are you? Can't you see I'm having a drink with my friend here ...? Might as well embrace the crows; they're here to stay. If anyone goes, it'll be us, not them.
Hero: You don't think the city can defend itself?
Sir Jarnot: With fifteen guards and a couple quivers of arrows? Not a chance! Everyone's dead. The king. The prince. The knights and soldiers. The job's almost done, just a few stragglers left. You know who I'm talking about? Me and you, that's who!
Hero: Do you think the duke is doing a good job?
Sir Jarnot: Renchant? Sure! He's realistic, at least. He knows we can't last a day unless we get some help from the outside. Of course, the new guard captain, Hjurrun, doesn't seem to want any help. The lout brushed off an offer from the Fighters Guild!
Hero: He refused an offer to help defend the city?
Sir Jarnot: Sure enough! Hjurrun said he's exploring other options. Don't know what those options are. Don't hear much down here though. Say, why don't you ask the crow? I swear the thing's talking. Probably knows more than we do. More than me, at least.
Hero: I'll leave you to your drink then.

Strange Crow: When there's no knowledge in the tops of towers, check the bottoms of bottles.
Hero: How did you get in here?
Strange Crow: One can witness the larger view from on high, but one must come down below to see what hides in shadows.
Hero: What is it that hides in the shadows?
Strange Crow: The light hides in shadows, but only there can it shed on secrets.
Hero: What secrets?
Strange Crow: A secret told is no secret, but all knowledge has its time.
Hero: I guess I have to wait then.

Queen Arzhela: So much suffering. So much death. Like my husband and my children, this soldier gave her life for Evermore. I wish I could offer her more comfort, but I can only pray with her to gods whose mercy I have come to doubt.
Hero: I am sorry for your losses. Your Majesty.
Queen Arzhela: Many others are enduring similar losses. I deserve no more compassion than they do. In truth, knowing they share my grief has been a great consolation. You are not here for grieving though. Is there some official business that demands my attention?
Hero: Your handmaiden asked that I report here.
Queen Arzhela: Oh, of course. Glarikha told me. I hope you'll forgive her. Her intentions are good, but she misled you—that request was not on my behalf. She can't seem to accept my decision to step aside and let Duke Renchant handle all matters of state.
Hero: You don't want to know what I found then?
Queen Arzhela: I would, but at another time. I hope you understand. Losing my family ... I just need time, and I believe this is how I can best serve the people right now. If you have concerns about security though, you must report them to the duke.
Hero: As you wish. Your Majesty.
Queen Arzhela: Thank you for respecting my wishes. Perhaps you can convince Glarikha to do the same. She's already off again, investigating some ship at the docks. These matters are the duke's concern now, and he has my support. He'll appreciate your help though.
Hero: I'll go speak with the duke right away then.

Duke Renchant: Aha! You must be the hero whose bold deeds Captain Hjurrun was just recounting. Retaking the lighthouse may seem trivial, but in times like these, it's huge. Say, you look like someone I've been hearing quite a bit about. Might I ask your name?
Hero: Of course. Your Highness. My name is Ambuz.
Duke Renchant: As I expected. Your reputation precedes you. You've become something of a legend in the kingdoms of the Daggerfall Covenant. You're certainly welcome in Evermore. These are desperate times. Have you seen much of the city?
Hero: Yes, and I learned some things the queen wanted me to report.
Duke Renchant: Indeed? Then by all means, tell me what you discovered.
Hero: Captain Hjurrun turned down an offer from the Fighters Guild.
Duke Renchant: Ah yes. I am well aware of this. It's unfortunate, but the terms the guild demanded were downright rapacious. Furthermore, the number of mercenaries they could actually muster was almost insignificant. It simply wasn't worth it.
Hero: The guards put a refugee in the stocks for talking about the Imperials.
Duke Renchant: I opened our gates to the refugees, but there are limits, and that man was completely mad! Standing outside the castle, shouting that we were all going to die? The people of Evermore are terrified already. We can't afford such nonsense.
Hero: There are crates of weapons and supplies at the east gate.
Duke Renchant: So you saw those? You are very perceptive. The truth is that we've found an ally to help defend the city. I'm not quite ready to make this information public though.
Hero: The crates were stamped the "Bjoulsae Queen".
Duke Renchant: Yes. That is the ship that transported the supplies. There are more supplies being offloaded even now. Please. If you'll just be patient, I'll share all the details in due time. For now, you must stay away from that ship though. It's off-limits.
Hero: That's all I have to report then.
Duke Renchant: Listen. I can tell that you have an inquisitive nature, and I know your intentions are good, but I cannot risk revealing all my plans just yet. Suffice to say, I've found a way to protect the city from the Reachmen, and that is what matters.
Hero: Are you worried that people will question your plan?
Duke Renchant: I'm sure that you realize that with the Reachmen bearing down on us, I have a great many matters to attend to. I absolutely do not wish to be rude, but I must be going. Come back another time and I will endeavor to answer all your questions.
Hero: [Persuade] I can't help the city unless you tell me what you're planning.
Duke Renchant: All right. If you cannot be convinced to let this go .... You must understand. Desperate times call for desperate measures. If those Reachmen take this city, they are going to kill every man, woman, and child. Anything is better than that.
Hero: What's your alternative?
Duke Renchant: Hear me out. A few weeks ago, Imperial diplomats made an offer. They have a deal with the Reach. If we surrender the city to Imperial authority, the Reachmen cannot attack. Not only will we survive, but we'll also retain considerable autonomy.
Hero: You think you can trust the Imperials?
Duke Renchant: We don't have a choice, and at this point, you don't either. Steps are being taken as we speak, and there's nothing you can do to stop us from moving forward. You don't even have any proof with which to raise an alarm.
Hero: There's proof on that ship though, isn't there?
Duke Renchant: As I said before, the Bjoulsae Queen is off-limits to all but its crew and the city guard. You've given me no reason to trust you, so at this point, I think I'll say no more.

Strange Crow: Funny boat, funny business. I want to see what's in the hold too.
Hero: Do you have a key?
Strange Crow: Hm. Crow's on the ship, but the crew's on the shore. South by the city wall, one carries the key to open the door. Approach with care though. Drunk sailors can be salty!
Hero: I will go get a key from a crew member.

Captain Ahnu: i don't remember inviting you aboard. Make your business quick, or you'll be picking seaweed out of your teeth.
Hero: I'd like to see what's in the hold of your ship.
Captain Ahnu: No you don't, and I don't mean to let you. Only crew and special guests down there. Anyone else goes down, they'll get cut.
Hero: [Intimidate] Give me the key, unless you want to taste your own blood.
Captain Ahnu: Go ahead then. Take it. Go down there and get yourself killed. It's no skin off my back.

Glarikha: I think perhaps I had our assignments wrong. I should've checked the stocks and sent you to check the ship.
Hero: What happened?
Glarikha: I shouldn't have come here on my own, but I had a feeling the duke was making bad decisions. Of course, calling this a bad decision would be an understatement. If we don't do something, he's going to hand the city over to Imperial control!
Hero: What do you propose we do?
Glarikha: The queen is going to have to take charge, if this doesn't knock her into her senses, I don't know what will. We need proof though. Can you untie me and then look around? Anything to prove what they're planning. I'll meet you out on the docks.
Hero: All right. Here you go. I'll meet you outside.
Glarikha: You just missed it. The ship's captain left the ship and headed toward that alley to the south. She looked like she was in a hurry. What did you find though? Anything that reveals more about their plans?
Hero: Imperial spies have infiltrated the city.
Glarikha: The gorbeliied bastards! I knew that ship was carrying more than just supplies! We need to move fast. Can you follow the captain and find out what she's up to? Then take the proof to the queen. If this doesn't wake her up, nothing will!
Hero: I can handle that. What about you?
Glarikha: I'll go and find Sir Jarnot and any other guards who remain loyal. After you've informed the queen, come and meet me outside the inn.
Hero: I'll be there as soon as possible.

Queen Arzhela: Somehow, I had a feeling I'd see you again. Tell me, has Glarikha gotten herself into trouble this time? Or is it that the duke didn't take kindly to you questioning his decisions?
Hero: The duke is handing the city over to Imperial control.
Queen Arzhela: Oh come now, you can't expect me to believe that! Has Glarikha resorted to trying to deceive me now? This is a jest... right? Surely Duke Renchant would never even consider such a thing.
Hero: These Imperial Orders prove it.
Queen Arzhela: I'll can't believe what I'm reading .... How could Renchant be such a fool? Has he given up on defending the kingdom and decided to accept the lesser of two evils? This is simply mad.
Hero: So you didn't know anything about this?
Queen Arzhela: Of course not! Though I can blame myself no less. I am the one who trusted the fool. He's apparently just a damn coward. You know, Eamond told me Renchant was naive. You've now given me proof of this fact.
Hero: Complete Quest.

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