Arithiel [Quest]

Faction: Aldmeri Dominion
Province: Valenwood
Location: Malabal Tor
Required Level: 34

Text of the Quest:

The Worm Cult ambushed and captured several Wood Elves in . The Cult may be preparing for a dark ritual. The Worm Cult captured a Wood Elf named Arithiel, who freed some of her companions before being caught herself. She may be in one of the nearby camps in .

Aering: She's caught. I'm sure of it! Held in the Worm Cult's festering pits. We've got to rescue her!
Hero: Who are you talking about?
Aering: Arithiel. She helped us escape, but no one's seen her since. And Abamath is overrun with all manner of undead and their vile masters!
Hero: You think they still have her.
Aering: Yes, and after all Arithiel did for us, we should repay her kindness. I need to stay here and wait for the others. Arithiel told us to meet here. Can you search Abamath and rescue her?
Hero: I'll find her.
Aering: Please hurry. Arithiel saved us. We can't let the Worm Cult kill her.
Hero: I need to know what happened.
Aering: The Worm Cult took us completely by surprise. Undead rose from the ground and came shambling out of the forest. They surrounded us. We dropped what few weapons we had, and they separated us. Arithiel must have escaped in the confusion.
Hero: But she saved you?
Aering: Yes. She said she was able to slip through an outcrop of rocks as our party panicked. Arithiel cut my bonds, then went to free the others. She said to meet her here, but I haven't seen or heard from her since she freed me.
Hero: Why'd they attack you?
Aering: Their leader said oathbound avengers will bring an age of blood and doom to the Elves. I think the Worm Cult is plotting to destroy Malabal Tor and use the remains to sweep across all of Tamriel. I pray we stop them.
Hero: What is the Worm Cult?
Aering: They're the Cult of the Black Worm, Daedra followers. Molag Bal worshippers. They spread destruction and chaos wherever they go. They're in Abamath for something evil.

Arithiel: I told them to leave me if I were captured, but Y'ffre bless them for not listening.
Hero: You're hurt. Can I help?
Arithiel: I II be fine. I know a restoration spell to seal wounds. But I will need help getting into the ruins beneath Abamath. They're down there. The Worm Cult. And we must stop them.
Hero: What do you need me to do?
Arithiel: The entrance to the ruins is locked by welkynd stones. I saw a few Cultists guarding them as I was dragged to this cage. Get the welkynd stones. Two of them unlock the outer door. We'll use the rest inside the ruin.
Hero: Sounds easy enough. Anything else?
Arithiel: Eager. I like that. They've got the welkynd stones at their tents; their glow should help you find them. Once you've recovered the stones, head to the ruins' entrance. I'll meet you there, and we'll go in.
Hero: Any idea what the Cultists are doing?
Arithiel: As usual, sowing discord. However, this sect is different. They spoke about an arcane ritual, and Mauloch. Their leader's a powerful necromancer, Cassia Varo.
Hero: And how does Mauloch play into their plans?
Arithiel: Abamath was built over an ancient Ore settlement dedicated to the worship of Mauloch. It is said the "Blood of Mauloch" originated here, deep underground where the blood flows. If there's a shrine or some ancient blood magic within the ruins ....
Hero: What's the Blood of Mauloch?
Arithiel: Simply put, war paint. There's a spring or something inside the ruin filled with red water and mud. The original inhabitants believed Mauloch gave it to them so they'd be strong. It's a myth. A legend. But what if there's something to it after all?
Hero: We'll stop them.
Arithiel: Good, for I fear they plot to summon Mauloch himself.
Hero: How would Mauloch play into their plans?
Arithiel: Abamath was built over an ancient Ore settlement dedicated to the worship of Mauloch. It is said the "Blood of Mauloch" originated here, deep underground where the blood flows. If there's a shrine or some ancient blood magic within the ruins ....
Hero: Who is Cassia Varo?
Arithiel: I don't know anything but the name. I overheard it as they marched me through their camp, that's all. Cassia Varo, and Mauloch.

Arithiel: Good, the entrance should be unlocked now.
Hero: What next?
Arithiel: The final two welkynd stones unlock the door to the sanctum inside these ruins. Don't lose them! Be ready for anything in there.
Hero: Let's not waste any more time.
Arithiel: Agreed, but... my injuries are worse than I thought. I'm useless as a fighter, so I'll keep to the shadows until you've cleared a path ahead. Place the remaining welkynd stones. I'll meet you at the sanctum's entrance deep within the ruins.
Hero: I'll go first and place the stones. Stay safe.
Arithiel: Thank you. I'll follow when I see it's safe to move. Look for the sconces to either end of the ruins. That's usually where they are.

Arithiel: That must've hurt! Honestly, I didn't expect a barrier across the entrance. The Cult must have set this up as a last line of defense in case they were attacked.
Hero: I'll be fine.
Arithiel: That's a relief. There must be a power source nearby, another welkynd stone, or something darker. Look! There! On the pedestal!

Animus Geode: Greetings, mortal.
Hero: What are you?
Animus Geode: i speak through this object, not from it, mortal. That troll-herder Mauloch must not invade this realm. The pathetic worms in the cave beyond must be destroyed. You must stop their foolish rituals.
Hero: I intend to, but the way is blocked by a barrier.
Animus Geode: This object is called an Animus Geode. The Cult imbued it with a curse. When attuned to a door, it can only be destroyed by the release of a soul. Feed the Animus Geode a soul and it will shatter, clearing your path. Arithiel's soul will do nicely.
Hero: Why Arithiel? What has she done?
Animus Geode: She betrayed her people and joined the Worm Cult. Only after she was forced to murder her own family did she question her choice. Her word is worthless, but her soul ... feed it to this gem, and rid yourself of the traitor.
Hero: I don't want to kill her.
Animus Geode: This is not about what you want, but what I need. This stone drinks souls, and its thirst is strong. Take the geode in your hand. Sacrifice her soul to clear your path.
Hero: Who are you to ask me to kill her?
Animus Geode: Many mortals call me Boethiah. Sate the geode's thirst with Arithiel's soul, and I will grant you a boon, for a time, to aid in your battle with the Worm Cult.
Hero: What must I do?
Animus Geode: Use the Animus Geode to absorb her soul and it will dispel the barrier. The Worm Cult is of no interest to me for the moment, but Mauloch cannot be allowed to invade Nirn. We have history, Mauloch and I. It would amuse me to see his plan destroyed.

Arithiel: Were you talking to the stone? What happened?
Hero: Boethiah will open the door, in exchange for your soul.
Arithiel: Boethiah? Why does she want my soul? B
Hero: oethiah said you were part of the Worm Cult.
Arithiel: it's true. I once served the Worm Cult, and everyone I loved died by my hands. With each death, pieces of myself cracked and shattered, until my hatred turned inside out and I finally saw the Cult for what they truly are.
Hero: That's terrible.
Arithiel: The lure of revenge over petty slights and the demands of an arranged marriage, shaped the rage within my despair. The Cult's agents nurtured my anger and drew me in. I hate what I became. What I did.
Hero: And you've turned away from the Worm Cult for good?
Arithiel: Trust me. What I did is horrific, and I must atone for my crimes.
Hero: By stopping the Worm Cult from summoning Mauloch?
Arithiel: Yes. Mauloch would sow destruction across Valenwood as an unwitting puppet of Molag Bal. The Worm Cult would follow in his wake, raising an army of undead from his slaughter. We need to get past that barrier. Take my soul.
Hero: There's got to be another way. Maybe any soul will do.
Arithiel: If you can stop the Cultists with my soul, do it. The stone requires a soul to dispel the barrier, and I am willing. A fitting, bloodthirsty safeguard for their ritual.

Arithiel: You're safe! I thought Boethiah meant to destroy you too. Glad I was wrong.
Hero: I had to kill you to stop the Cult.
Arithiel: Death was a just punishment for my crimes. The Animus Geode released my spirit when that barrier fell. The Worm Cult failed to summon Mauloch, thanks to you. And now, I am free. Safe journeys, my friend!
Hero: Complete Quest.

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