I had almost lost track of time down here. I don't know how these Dunmer do it - never seeing daylight - I know not all of Morrowind is like this, but for those who live here in Sadrith Kegran... well I don't know how they've done it for so long - Dwemer technology or no!
It's been weeks since my incarceration here, and it took me long enough just to lay hands on more papyrus - I have to be SO careful here as one wrong move and they said they will cut out my tongue like the other 'N'Wah's' - as they call us. But I have persevered and finally made a breakthrough today! Master Shanath is clearly insane; everyone in the town knows it and barely tolerates him. If not for the fact that he largely keeps to himself I've no doubt they would have run him out already. He is dangerously obsessed with the Dwemer and uncovering the secrets of the ancient city on which Sadrith Kegran is built (or should I say grown? Dunmer and their weird mushroom buildings...)
But after all these weeks of performing humiliating chores and suffering the intolerable attitude of that madman, I at least seem to have earned a degree of trust (or predisposed expectation?) from him. After returning from the farm this morning with fresh ingredients for his 'tea', I was informed me that we were mounting an expedition into the Dwemer ruins beneath the settlement - and that it was my job to keep him alive! I asked if this meant I could have my belongings returned - to which he simply scoffed - all he would allow me to carry was a rotten old bow - something about Bosmer not needing anything more than that... And with this I'm supposed to protect this senior (or senile! HA) Dunmer while wearing nothing more than the humiliating rags they insist on keeping me in to protect myself...
Well that was fun... I swear he just wanted me along so he could show off his grasp of destruction magic to remind me what he can do to me should the whim capture him! We set out early and descended into the ancient ruins. Though I hung back cautiously he ensured I was never far away and as we walked and talked (well, we walked - HE talked!), for the first time since this accursed nightmare began I could almost get a sense of normality from him as he talked so passionately and shared his gained knowledge about the Dwemer. Save for a few stray automatons, most of them left us well enough alone as we descended deeper than I ever imagined the world could go. He said we were heading to a large repository - a library of sorts virtually untouched by the passage of time since the disappearance of the Dwemer - where he was looking for some specific texts to aid in his research.
He was not lying about it either - never had I dreamed such a place existed! Of course once we arrived he was very quickly back to being the old taskmaster and ordering me about like some useless pup. I wandered the musty old halls in awe for - I don't know how long - before being drawn by the most unholy of sounds. As it felt like all of Nirn was shaking around us, I ran back to the sound of frantic shouting and screaming from Master Shanath. Reentering the room, I saw him barely clinging to the side of a bookcase as a pair of small spider-like automatons seemed to be trying to drag him backwards through an opening in the wall! He reached out to me with a look on his face I had neither seen or imagined to see; one of desperation. He screamed at me 'Well don't just stand there, do something!'. But I did not and he grew angry 'You are sworn to protect me by the power of the amulet!' he insisted as he struggled desperately. I couldn't help but smile slightly at this point, for I knew I had found my loophole...
To be clear here, as I don't think I noted in when I first arrived; this cursed amulet places it's base enchantment on the wearer, but further 'rules' are imposed by the new owner as the amulet is attuned. Master Shanath clearly had his rules well rehearsed as he attuned my amulet that day, though he made one small oversight. So as I stood watching him I simply reminded him "I am sworn to do you no harm, so I will not do you any harm". My smile broadened as his eyes widened with the realization of his oversight, and as I saw his strength begin to fade I bid him farewell and made my exit.
Upon my return to Sadrith Kegran I found the place in a state of panic. Bralys - one of the settlement's consuls - saw me emerge from the ruins alone and interrogated me about what happened. When I told him where Master Shanath took me and what happened there he said we had to report this to the council at once! Turns out the Shanath had done something like this before and was banned from making such expeditions, for fear of bringing the ancient Dwemer automatons to life and creating a threat to the settlement. After explaining things in detail to the council, they unanimously determined that I was not at fault; but more importantly that I was an N'Wah without an owner - and with Master Shanath leaving no testimony of inheritance they determined that it was within the realm of their laws to remove my amulet and declare me as his heir. Marisa said they would only do this however if I agreed to help them quell the potential threat now posed by the ruins below (having already seen more of it than most of the townsfolk and survived a trip there), to which I naturally agreed!