Oblivion - The Knights Who Say 'Nine'
Hunting relics for fun and prophet
Sequential ProphetOnce the add-on is installed, most people in the game will have dialogue concerning a rather disturbing murder at the cathedral in Anvil.
Outside the Cathedral, in the sort of courtyard place next to the graveyard, you will find a rather surly and unpleasant hellfire preacher known only as The Prophet, who stands outside the Church saying that the end of the world is nigh and that Umaril is going to kill everyone.
It is interesting to note that the Church of the Nine seems to have taken a particularly moderate stance about The Prophet's diatribe, and for the most part ignore him as opposed to burning him at the stake or having him beheaded for heresy. Hence you will typically find about 2-3 people standing around and listening to his crazy ravings.
If you speak to The Prophet, he will lambast you for not being able to read the bloody runes in the Church, and finally demands to know if you are a 'worthy knight'. I was hoping in my naivety that this would finally be an occasion where someone would offer some kind of thanks for saving the world, but unfortunately the Prophet requires you to admit that you're worthless, and will snub you if you say that you're the Champion of Cyrodiil.
At this point I decided that he was better off dead and hit him with my current weapon, a souped-up glass longsword of flame known as the 'Honda Fireblade'. This flipped The Prophet across the courtyard where he collapsed unconcious in a heap. Impressed that none of his flock had noticed I roughed him up a few times more. (If you try this at home, make sure you're badass and the sword is too - it'll be assault if you don't get an instant knockout)
"I want to trace across the firmament, a glowing ball of flame... A testament to our godliness and piety!"
Unfortunately, you are obligated to admit your lack of worth to The Prophet. Depending on which quests you have completed, you will have various options. He will scoff at you being Arch-Mage, Champion of all Cyrodiil (and saviour of his own ass) or head of the Fighter's Guild. You will also get the option to lie to his face and say you are useless scum - he does not seem to perform any kind of background checks first. Sadly, you cannot tell him that you are Lord Sheogorath.
If you make The Prophet eat dirt and pickpocket him just as he is recovering, you will find a number of identical maps about his person. These are in fact the very maps that he will hand out if you meet his own warped criteria for finding a hero, but unfortunately mugging him for them doesn't work as the quest won't start properly without his say-so.
I have found the best way to save face is by telling him that you're the Grey Fox or worship Sithhhhissss. He will accept these credentials on the basis that it must be some sort of joke by the Nine Divines. Doing this will get you the map, start the quest and also allow you to keep your self-respect intact into the bargain.
The ShrinesWhat you have to do is fairly simple - find each of the nine wayshrines and pray to them. In addition you must not commit any crimes whilst doing this otherwise the gods will take offence and you'll have to start the entire pilgrimage again.
Born in a small country town many years ago
Soon everybody knew the name of the Great Juliano!
--Jason Crest, 'Juliano the Bull'
Regardless of the order you take, you will encounter a fellow traveller at the Zenithar shrine near Bravil, a knight in top-quality Daedric armour on a white horse with with a page in attendance. It's not clear to me how he managed to fob The Prophet into giving him the map dressed in about 30'000 gold coins worth of Daedric metal, but it wouldn't surprise me if The Prophet simply holds some kind of grudge against the player and is happy to accept all other comers.
First time around, the knight's rather suspicious appearance and demeanour had me convinced that he would be my arch-rival. He asks if he can tag along - Mittens can't say "no", but if you run off to the next shrine he won't follow you anyway. Note that if you want to talk to the guy, it's probably best to do the Zenithar shrine earlier on, since the plot will get in the way if you complete the quest at that point.
The devout in this game all seem to be surly for some reason.
While this is extremely detrimental to your quest, it is interesting to note that if you steal his horse while he's praying at the shrine, the horse, when dismounted, will happily trot along to the next shrine in the Knight's sequence, whether the Knight is there or not.
Once you have prayed to all of the gods without any mishaps such murder, rape or pillaging, you will have a holy vision of Pelinal Whitesnake, an extremly nasty piece of work who someone like Mittens could accurately describe as "Evil Incarnate". Being dead, he speaks extremely quietly so you will either need to crank up the volume or switch on the subtitles to hear what he has to say.
Pelinal will talk continuously about Umaril and not really give you any chance to speak for yourself, hence it is impossible to bring up the subject of the war-crimes he committed while alive, and any form of apology for his genocidal actions against the Khajiit race is quite out of the question.
Pelinal Catslayer will disappear, giving you a vague location of some kind of shrine. As is typical with Oblivion, the core of the shrine will be locked to prevent entry until you have spoken to Pelinal. For that matter, so is Umaril's Den, but I digress. You will get a helmet and a ring which unlocks the basement of the Priory.
One Ring To Rule Them AllWhen the add-on was installed, the Priory will have sprung into existence in an empty plain in the southern wilds bordering Elsweyr. As with the Shrine of the Crusader, you can enter any time you like but you can never check in.
Once you have the Ring, you can get into the basement. Inside you will be accosted by a number of dead knights who will challenge you, one by one. I simply stood in the centre of the circle and blasted each one with high powered soul-stealing spells - by judicious use of timing it is often possible to kill each one before they have taken so much as a step forward. It is also worth mentioning at this point that depriving them of their souls does not impair the conversation in any way.
Your feeble skills are no match for the power of The Nine!
Once enough knights have been wasted, their leader will agree that you're badass enough to be allowed to have the Cuirass. You will then
have to go off and collect all the other bits of armour. Of note is the Kynareth quest - her shrine is somewhere west of Fanacasecul.
Like the Priory and Vanua, it has been hastily erected when the plugin was installed. As a consequence the priests tending it are still new to this whole animal worshipping thing, and will remark about how much they despise mudcrabs and goblins if they think your back is turned.
Kynareth's priests haven't been fully trained yet
Kynareth doesn't seem to want any kind of bribes or kickbacks, but then again she won't actually talk to you anyway. Her priests will send you off to be tested by some bears and if you pass you can go in and grab the boots, which apparently will put the wearer in the Predators group and prevent wild animals attacking them.
Return to the PrioryAs the quests unfold, there will be at least one other attack on the Church, and upon each successful completion, someone will come up to you and ask to be made a knight. I wasn't sure how to handle this so Mittens' reply was something along the lines of "Meh, whatever."
This went on for a number of people, including one lady who apologised for doubting me - to this day I have no idea what she was talking about.
Around this point, Mittens decided it was time he went back to check on the Priory, at which point I had a very nasty surprise.
The Priory, which I had last seen as a hulk that had been left abandoned and empty for about three centuries, was now filled with religious fanatics dressed as knights and hell-bent on retrieving artifacts, doing good deeds throughout the land and generally helping people out whether they want it or not.
"Ah, Knight Commander..!"
"What? Who the hell are you people?"
What really upset me, however, was not so much that they were so excitedly discussing their campaign plans in the Priory, but the fact that all these fruitcakes were looking up to me as if I knew what the hell was going on, and worse, they expected me to have some kind of plan to deal with Umaril.
While I trying to figure out how to break it to them that I don't believe any of this bollocks about the Divine Crusader and I was just out collecting sacred artifacts because I was feeling bored, I was interrupted by the Suspicious Knight's page - who informed me that his master had died in Underpall Cave and demanded to be made into yet another bloody knight so that he could avenge him. I gave him my trademark "Yeah, whatever" and went downstairs to check that none of the newcomers had been murdered by the rather violent ghost knights in the cellar.
Underpall Cave was fairly easy since it is one of my frequent hangouts. There is usually a Necromancer Adept in the Reflecting Chamber and as such there is a 7% chance or whatever of scoring a Black Soul Gem. Note however that the incident with the Suspicious Knight will apparently prevent said Adept from returning in future, sadly.
Anyway, once you've killed the big bad and got the sword, you can loot the Suspicious Knight's corpse if you desire - his page will not object. Given the cheat console or some of the more advanced Sheogorath powers, it is possible to resurrect him, but since this is not supposed to happen the page (or indeed the Knight) will not discuss the matter further.
Once the sword has been reconsecrated, you return to the Priory and are greeted excitedly by one of the Knights who explains that The Prophet has come to preach at the Priory Chapel and give a special sermon. The knights seem to think this is a good thing.
Mittens reacts badly to The Prophet's presence on holy ground
Mittens strode into the chapel, smashing the old fraud over the head with the Fireblade and crucifying him against the wall. The knights sat enraptured and ignored this entirely.
Somehow I'm reminded of Batlin
Finally Mittens spoke to The Prophet, who went into a full-blown religious mania and explained that Umaril's soul had to be completely destroyed (which seems a bit harsh to me), and gave Mittens a spell to do this. He will also ramble on about how Umaril's power is so deadly that only the Crusader's Armour can protect against it.
UmarilAt this point I tend to dump all the Crusader junk on the front lawn and run for Umaril's base, Garlas Malatar, which similarly to the other places, has mysteriously risen from the sea as soon as the plugin was installed.
As I believe I mentioned, it is not possible to run straight into the complex from the word 'go' - one of the critical doors is stuck and Umaril's engineers aren't able to fix it until after you have been granted The Prophet's blessing.
The Knights will all rush to Malatar, but will as a rule only start to trickle in slowly over the course of the battle. I prefer to ignore them completely and attack Umaril whether they're ready or not. This technique will probably result in fewer casualties if you care about such things.
I am not sure whether the designers forgot to implement Umaril's deadly attack powers, or whether Cat-Dude is simply buff enough not to notice (Mittens not really counting since deification gave him rapid self-healing) but either way I tend to approach in casual dress. There are some really snazzy special effects including varispeed time zones, and eventually you'll get to meet Umaril himself who will roar and babble at you in some forgotten tongue.
In antique cities of Malatar, Dead Umaril dreams and waits
I used a soul-stealing spell and Mehrune's Razor to ensure that I got at least one chunk of his soul as a keepsake and that another chunk went to Mehrunes. Once you have grabbed his sword, it's time to cast the 'Eat Umaril's Soul' spell which will trigger another divine vision, albeit with what's left of Umaril instead of Pelinal Cat-killer.
This time, Umaril is not vulnerable to Mehrunes' Dagger, so you'll have to use another tactic, e.g. the True Death or some similar spell. You can fill another soul gem, though and if you're really lucky you might be able to snatch his sword's soul as it falls, thereby gaining two copies of the sword.
Mittens the Soul-Slayer
AftermathYou wake up in the basement of the Priory with the ghosts who will thank you and vanish. This now includes Sir Berich, who stupidly destroyed the original order in an orgy of greed and evilness, but unlike Pelinal will actually apologise for doing so.
When you leave the basement you will run headlong into Sir Thedret who, rather than allowing you to recover, will excitedly interrogate you at great length about your apparent survival of death and about Umaril's fate as if it was some kind of copy-protection system. Then he runs off to tell the others, who are lined up outside waiting for him to talk to them, and will disperse once his speech has been given.
If, confused from your healing coma, you were to accidently kill Thedret with a ranged soul-stealing blast in the belief that he was "one of Umaril's minions", the other knights will stand outside the Priory waiting for him to return (from the grave) until the crack of doom, come rain or snow. You can also have some fun by picking them off from behind with a ranged soul-blast spell while they are waiting. If you then go back into the Priory, a number of nameless knights will suddenly appear and rush outside to assume the positions of the fallen.
The knights start to realise that their commander might be a fraud
It is not recommended to go to the chapel while Thedret is speaking, or attempt to sleep through his speech with the Wait command, as either of these actions will cause him to lose track of what he was saying and he will stand there waving his arms at the crowd of knights for the rest of time.
Resurrecting Thedret will unfortunately not snap him out of it - he will reappear dressed only in sackcloth pants and wave his arms at the knights half-naked instead.
It is worth mentioning the results if, instead of saying "Yeah, whatever" to prospective knights, you were to run like hell from each Cathedral or similar site before they have a chance to speak to you at all. In this situation, you will return to find the Priory filled, not with knights discussing quests, but with people dressed in peasant garb and talking about bookshops or the weather.
If spoken to however, they will ask to be made a knight there on the spot. I have never had the heart to find out what happens if I say 'no'.
Now that Umaril is dead, many NPCs will suddenly become much more respectful towards you - in many ways they react better than when you saved the world, since you will get respect and admiration even from the most unlikely sources.
Of the immortal, unkillable Prophet there is no further sign - he was probably Umaril in disguise.
...And now for something completely different.
Made with Kate, MCEDIT and various other things.