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Hauting: There was an attempt on the thane's life. Her housecarl, of all people. Bastard. Sergeant Aera and her squad arrived just recently to look into the matter.
Hero: Did the thane survive?
Hauting: Aye. Our Fjora's a tough one, she is. Cut that horker down where he stood. Look, I have to keep to my post. I'm sure the sergeant and our thane will want to speak with you. The hall is just up the stairs off of the main square.
Hero: Thanks. I'll speak to the thane.
Aera Earth-Turner: How goes your investigation?
Hero: How are you doing?
Aera Earth-Turner: Well enough. It's good to have a reason to get up in the morning. Without my family the way it was ... it's easy to wallow in thoughts of Bleakrock. Of the good days.
Thane Fjora: What brings you to my hall? You don't look in need of a thane's help. And if you are with Aera, I am not in need of her help, either.
Hero: I'm just here to help.
Thane Fjora: A friend of Aera's? Well then, welcome to Nimalten.
Hero: Aera and I met at Bal Foyen.
Thane Fjora: The King's Arrow, yes? Well met. Tell no one that Betar-Nes was a member of the Worm Cult. I won't have Nimalten fall into chaos. We're on his trail. My advisor and the court mage search for any hint of the cult as we speak.
Hero: Betar-Nes ... your housecarl was a Worm Cultist?
Thane Fjora: Keep that to yourself. I won't have Nimalten fall into chaos. We're on his trail. My advisor and the court mage search for any hint of the cult as we speak.
Hero: How goes the investigation?
Thane Fjora: Slow. My advisor Borodin is at the inn, questioning townfolk. My court mage, Golun, is at the Mages Guild, researching the Worm Cult. Would you help them?
Hero: I'll do what I can.
Thane Fjora: My people should not suffer for any problems within my court. I should have seen Betar-Nes's treachery before it came to roost in my very hall.
Hero: Can you describe what happened?
Thane Fjora: There's not much to tell. Bastard asked me for a private conference, said he had something sensitive to tell me. When we were alone, he pulled a knife. I had to crush his scaly neck with my bare hands.
Hero: Did you suspect anything before the attack?
Thane Fjora: Not a thing. To think of all the days I let that scaleback drink my mead. Live in my hall. Bah!
Advisor Borodin: Ah, the hero of Bal Foyen! I've heard of you. Let me guess: you're looking for Worm Cultists, right?
Hero: Yes, I am.
Advisor Borodin: Well, here we are! We're all Worm Cultists. Hah! Everyone in Nimalten worships worms and dances with Daedra.
Hero: You haven't learned anything, then?
Advisor Borodin: I've learned that the thane needs to settle down. Having a troubleshooter come all the way out here? Because Fjora had a fight with her housecarl? Shameful. It makes Nimalten look bad. I'm thinking we need a new thane.
Golun Drenduf: Get out of here. I'm busy.
Hero: Thane Fjora said you have a theory about the Worm Cult.
Golun Drenduf: The thane is impatient. I almost have it. At first, it stumped me. Why would the cult come to this backwater? What could the cult find in Nimalten and nowhere else?
Hero: Well, what?
Golun Drenduf: I need to do more research. I need to consult a book in the thane's library to be certain. I'll meet you there as soon as I can.
Hero: Right. Thanks, Golun.
Aera Earth-Turner: Nimalten reminds me of Bleakrock. All these good people, oblivious to danger. If only we could have protected my husband and son. Have you learned anything?
Hero: Borodin's a drunk. He claims everyone in Nimalten is part of the cult.
Aera Earth-Turner: He's a fool. Has Golun uncovered anything interesting?
Hero: He said he's close to uncovering what the cult wants.
Aera Earth-Turner: I'm eager to learn what he uncovers. In the meantime, would you investigate Betar-Nes's home? It's just south of the thane's hall. I trust you'll miss nothing.
Hero: I'll check it out.
Aera Earth-Turner: Oh! Good to see you. I have sad news: Golun is dead. We heard the sounds of a struggle. My soldiers and I arrived too late.
Hero: Where was he found?
Aera Earth-Turner: In the library, with a pair of smashed skeletons. The Worm Cult, I'm sure of it. But how did they get past my guards?
Hero: I'll help the search.
Aera Earth-Turner: First the attack against the thane and now this. I've asked my soldiers to take a more active role in defending the hall. I pray it's enough.
Hero: Aera, I was attacked in Betar-Nes's home. The cult knows I'm here.
Aera Earth-Turner: You're not afraid, are you? Stay strong, my friend. We'll find the heart of this corruption.
Glowing Projection: Greetings, Master Drenduf. As always, your memories are alive in me. How may I serve?
Hero: What are you?
Glowing Projection: I am as you made me, Master. A magicka memory matrix. A place to hold safe your dearest memories.
Hero: What's the last memory you have?
Glowing Projection: Research entry. As I suspected, the Worm Cult plans to use bound Companion spirits to empower Sinmur. I've found evidence they're gathering in the crypt beneath Nimalten. The footprints lead from this fireplace, here ... What? No!
Hero: That's it?
Glowing Projection: Yes, Master Drendruf. Your notes on the Companions indicate they once bound powerful heroes as eternal guardians. I cannot recall any other information on this subject.
Thane Fjora: The cultists. They came out of nowhere. Aera. She was leading them! She demanded I join the cult. Surprised ... surprised her.
Hero: Where is she? Where's Aera?
Thane Fjora: I don't know. I cut her, and she scampered like a skeever.
Hero: Will you be all right if I leave you here?
Thane Fjora: Shut up and get out of here. Bleeding feels good. Reminds me I'm alive.
Aera Earth-Turner: Do you remember Denskar? Littrek? Do you remember how they died, bleeding from Covenant blades? I watched it all. I watched them die. You can't know how painful that is.
Hero: What about Trynhild?
Aera Earth-Turner: I barely see Tryn. She's off on her missions. And she'll be dead soon, too, in this pointless war. The Worm Cult came when I was grieving. They said they could reunite me with my husband, my boy. All I had to do was pass information about the Pact.
Hero: You must have known that was a lie.
Aera Earth-Turner: Maybe. But I chose to believe. It wasn't just secrets. Soon the cult asked me to kill for them. Golun. Thane Fjora. Tryn would despise what I've become. I'm done with the cult, but it's too late, isn't it?
Hero: I can't let you live. You betrayed me and the Pact.
Aera Earth-Turner: Yes. I betrayed you, even after all you did for me and my family. But you'll end my pain, won't you? That's good. It's fitting. But I won't just lie down and die. If you want to kill me, earn it!
Thane Fjora: So. Aera was behind much of this, wasn't she? I don't pretend to know her reasons. All I want to know is whether you've dealt with her or not.
Hero: I did. Are you going to make it?
Thane Fjora: Yes, yes. I'm thankful for these wounds, in fact. They woke me up. A thane must be ever vigilant. The Worms will find no shelter in the shadows of Nimalten.
Hero: Complete Quest.
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