Frost in Morrowind

Edward Frost's time in Morrowind has come to an end; but his struggles are recorded here for any to read. A year in the making, and spanning one hundred and fifty chapters… Violence, suspicion, loss, betrayal, revenge, power with a price, a fight for survival, ages-old mysteries... all thrust in the way of Edward Frost, a man simply trying to rebuild his life.

Chapter 1 can be found here.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Chapter 13: He's creeping!

I was relieved to wake up the next morning: it had taken me a while to get back to sleep after the attack during the night; I had worried about being slain in my sleep. The guild guide Masalinie's dogged refusal to tell me the name or location of the person she had mentioned the night before made me curious. That and the possibility of earning more money for the sale of the 'Dark Brotherhood' black chain armour made me accept her offer to teleport me to the nearby town of Caldera. I would see if I couldn't find this mysterious contact of hers.

I had never teleported anywhere before. I decided that it felt rather like passing out and then quickly waking up again: only I was in a new place when I opened my eyes. I had appeared in a flash of light in the a corner of the Caldera Mages Guild, facing a couple of tables. The place had simpler furnishings than the Balmora guild building: it looked much newer and less well-established. Seated at one of the tables, reading a book, was a dunmer man in a deep green robe. He looked up as I materialised in the room.

"Ah - hello. Who might you be?"

"Edward Frost." I replied. "I just joined the guild the -"

"Ah, yes: the naked breton." A smile crept across his lined face, and he pointed at his chest. "Folms Mirel. Now, I don't mean to keep you, but I know that while new guild members may not lack for tasks to perform, they usually end up doing menial jobs that benefit the 'teacher' rather more than they do the 'student'. I have a job for you, if you're interested, that should provide you - and me, I won't lie - with a great benefit once completed."

The man had piqued my interest, so I accepted the offer of a seat at his table as he went on: "For some time now I have been studying ancient devices called 'propylons'. These are found in 'propylon chambers' in certain very old strongholds the dunmer built in remote locations a long time ago, all over Vvardenfell. The marvellous thing about them is," Folms lent forward - this was obviously a favourite topic for him, "these propylons - two to a chamber, one chamber per stronghold - each link to another propylon chamber somewhere else on the island. A person can teleport from one to another; between them all they provide instantaneous transport to ten locations on the island. The catch is that each stronghold's propylon chamber requires a corresponding 'propylon index': a black stone about the size of your thumb. If a person is standing in front of a propylon that links to, say, the Marandus stronghold, and is holding the Marandus propylon index, then they can teleport to Marandus."

I struggled a little to keep up with what Folms was saying: it sounded complicated.

"I've ... divined that there's only one complete set of propylon indices on Vvardenfell - at least as far as I know - and it's scattered far and wide." Finally I thought I saw where the elf was going with his job offer, but I remained quiet and let him finish. "I believe I know a way to construct 'master' indices - as I would call them - using the complete set of propylon indices. I would be able to teleport someone holding a master index to any one of the propylon chambers on the island. The master index would also allow that person to return here from any propylon device. If you're willing, I need you to retrieve the whole set of indices for me. I do have some idea where each is - some more precisely than others." The dunmer raised a hand. "Before you answer, the benefit I mentioned is that I will pay you five hundred drakes for each propylon index, and give you one of the master indices once I'm able to make them. I will also teleport you to any of the chambers, whenever and however often you wish - free of charge."

"Free of charge?" I asked, my eyes narrowing. I had always thought those words had an ominous sound to them.

Folms cleared his throat. "Yes - this is where the benefit to me comes in. You see, Caldera is a quiet town: not much business here. I think that by charging for the sale or rental of master indices, and for the service of teleporting people to the propylon chambers, I could turn Caldera into a transport hub. I would also turn quite a profit for myself and the guild. So, what do you say?"

Five hundred septims apiece for found stones sounded like an excellent deal. Later on when I found where the strongholds were located on my map I realised that instant transport to and from such remotes locations could be very convenient; assuming I had a reason to go out that far into the wilds. According to my map, most of the strongholds were far from any settlements. In any case I accepted Folms' offer, and he informed me that one of the indices - the Hlormaren index - was right here in Caldera, at 'Irgola's pawnshop'.

Outside, Caldera was shrouded in heavy fog. I could barely see from one side of the street to the other. Irgola's shop was nearby and not too difficult to find, but he wanted five hundred drakes for the propylon index! I suspected that was why Folms Mirel had decided on the sum of five hundred for each index I delivered to him. I didn't have anywhere near that kind of money; I would have considered trying to steal it, but Irgola knew I wanted it now, and had been keeping it where he could see it, in any case.

I ventured back into the fog empty-handed, deciding to look for this contact of Masalinie's. I made my way through the misty shroud from shop to shop, carrying the Dark Brotherhood armour in a sack. I had part of the distinctive chain hood poking strategically from the sack for the various shopkeepers to see: in case Masalinie had been hinting that she knew someone who would recognise it and pay handsomely for it. Every shopkeeper didn't notice, pretended not to notice, or asked me to get the armour out of their shop.

Eventually, mistaking it in the fog for another shop, I stumbled into what appeared to be a run-down manor house. The place was a mess, with refuse everywhere: discarded bones from past meals on the floor, half-charred books in the fireplace, broken furniture strewn all over, and a film of grime coating everything. I had seen many civilised orcs in my time; but the half-naked orcs I interrupted in that manor were somewhat less than the Empire's finest. They were, at least, not dangerous. Or, I should say, they were not hostile towards me. These orcs even became friendly when they spotted the Dark Brotherhood armour in my sack. One of them, wide-eyed, pointed and said:

"You want Creeper!" With a painfully strong grip on my wrist, he half-dragged me upstairs and deposited me in front of a short, gangly, light-brown creature with a tail, which I later learned was a 'scamp' - a lesser Daedra (one of the beings from the alternate plane of existence, Oblivion). The thing, which I assumed was 'Creeper', had large, elongated pointy ears, and big, bloodshot eyes. He (I was only guessing, but it looked like a he) regarded me with a wide grin, revealing a mouthful of long pointy teeth. He too noticed the Dark Brotherhood armour I carried, and snatched the sack from my hands, before burying his head in it. Shortly he pulled his head out and said with a grin even wider than before:

"Blood." It seemed to make him happy. He shook the sack gently, making the chain armour jingle softly. "You want money for these?" I managed a strangled affirmative - I was a little put off by the small creature. Creeper leapt atop a nearby crate, and, straddling it, somehow managed to lift the hinged top up far enough to toss the sack of armour inside. As he stretched his bony arm down into the crate, I noticed a faint glow coming from within the crate, accompanied by what sounded like distant screams. Before I could investigate more closely, Creeper found what he was looking for - a smaller sack - and slammed the crate shut. He jumped down again, throwing the small sack at my chest. The sack contained more money than I'd ever seen before. Back at the Balmora Mages Guild, Galbedir had given me an estimate on what I could expect to receive from the average merchant in exchange for the armour. Creeper had given me far in excess of that estimate; and when I added the vials of skooma I had found to the sale, the total was somewhere in the vicinity of four thousand septims.

I was in a daze - I couldn't believe my luck. I was left without doubt that Creeper was Masalinie's mysterious contact. Before leaving I thanked Creeper, but the scamp seemed to have lost interest in me and didn't respond: instead becoming busily involved in chasing his own tail.

On my way back to the Mages Guild I stopped in at Irgola's pawnshop to buy the Hlormaren propylon index, which felt warm and heavy in my palm. I got my five hundred septims back from Folms Mirel in exchange for the index, and he directed me to the next one: the Marandus index. Folms told me he had divined that it had been "packed and delivered" to the Saint Olms temple in the holy city of Vivec, and that I should look for it in some kind of storeroom there.

I would follow it up later. Right then I was headed back to Balmora: I had a lot of shopping to do.


Anonymous Insane Fanatic said...

w00t! I was right! It was the scampity Scamp named Creeper. I liked your Creeper. He was kewl. I like this chapter. It makes me want to play the game!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005 2:05:00 pm  
Anonymous Noodles said...

You not playing it already? Anyways, are you gonna use the seige at fort firemoth too?

Wednesday, August 24, 2005 10:36:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Completely Insane! Never before have I read fan fiction like this! You certainly have quite a bit of imagination and a way of telling a story that kept me hooked. Bravo!

Thursday, August 25, 2005 1:42:00 am  
Anonymous JeeBee said...

"The man had piqued my interest".

Sounds rather Altmerish to me ;)

Anyway, great description of Creeper. You make it seem like he isn't an √ľbermerchant. Good job, I'm hooked :)

Thursday, August 25, 2005 8:41:00 am  
Blogger Joseph said...

Thanks, guys.

Yes, I couldn't resist visiting Creeper. :-)

- Joseph.

Thursday, August 25, 2005 9:32:00 am  
Anonymous Twilight said...

It's a rather great story you present us here! :)

I've printed all finished chapters and read them in the subway on my way home after a long day in office, and I've nearly missed my station :D

Looking forward to reading how Frost's travels continue!

Thursday, August 25, 2005 7:28:00 pm  
Blogger Joseph said...

People have been asking what texture replacer(s) I use. Darker Morrowind is the main one, and it is brilliant:

I also use Visual pack 2.11 and 2.2: Nature, applied before Darker Morrowind so I get more textures from DM. Visual packs downloaded from here:

- Joseph.

Friday, August 26, 2005 12:05:00 am  
Anonymous Vic said...

Now one thing I don't like in this game is Creeper (I hate the Talking Mudcrab even more, thought). However, by giving him a sort of "interplanar access", he suddenly became bearable.

So congrats to you the (the story keeps getting better as it progresses), from a late reader-and-player of the game.

Saturday, January 05, 2008 5:49:00 pm  

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