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.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Chapter 15: Gems, gods and the dead

I rose early the next morning and cast my new Mark spell on the Balmora guide platform. From then on I only had to cast 'Recall' and I would be teleported instantly back to the Balmora Mages Guild. I chose the guide platform because it was a space already set aside and kept clear for teleportation, and because on arrival I could ask the guild guide Masalinie to send me somewhere else immediately if I was in a hurry. Just as I finished casting, Ajira came up behind me and slipped something into my pocket. She whispered in my ear, her whiskers tickling my neck:

"This is your next task, Frosty." Ajira delighted in thinking up new nicknames for me. "Put that fake soulgem in Galbedir's desk. Let no-one see you. Here she comes now! Go!" The khajiit pushed me into the main hall. The bosmer (or 'wood elf') Galbedir was just coming down the ramp where I had killed the Dark Brotherhood assassin; I gave her a small smile as I passed, on my way to the guild's 'back' door. That was where Galbedir had her desk; at the highest point in the guild. She was an apprentice enchanter - or 'enchantress', I suppose. The only thing I knew about enchanting items at that stage was that magical 'soulgems' were involved somehow. Ajira and Galbedir were locked in a bet as to which of them would reach Journeyman rank first, and I guessed the small blue gem Ajira gave me would provide some setback for Galbedir. There was an identical-looking gem in the bosmer's desk that I swapped for the fake one.

I kept the real soulgem and surreptitiously showed it to Ajira once Galbedir had gone back to her desk. The khajiit was happy and gave me another task: this time it was to collect samples of four different flowers for another paper she had to write. She gave me a scrawled list and told me they could be found on the north shore of Lake Amaya, between Balmora and Suran. Menial as the task was, it turned out to be a useful coincidence. Before retiring to bed the night before I had read 'The Pilgrim's Path' - and I had noted that the closest shrine that forms part of the Pilgrimage of the Seven Graces was on the north shore of Lake Amaya. It was the shrine of Humility, and making a donation at a shrine with a name like that while performing such a menial errand seemed quite appropriate to me.

With that in mind I formed a plan for the day: I would take a silt strider to Suran and walk back to Balmora along the north shore of Lake Amaya, collecting Ajira's flower samples and stopping to pray at the shrine of Humility along the way.

Before leaving I stopped in at the unfortunately named 'Razor Hole' weapons store to exchange my iron saber (and a fair number of coins) for a high-quality steel katana and a silver longsword. I hadn't originally intended to buy two swords, but the owner told me that certain otherworldly adversaries (demons, ghosts and the like) could only be hurt by silver or magical weapons. I suspected he sold a lot of silver weapons that way - but still, I believed in being prepared.

The steps up to the silt strider platform were wet with the fog that still blanketed the town. I had to watch my footing carefully as I climbed aboard the giant insect.

During the trip I gazed at the clouds drifting by (the fog had lifted before too long) and thought about what I had learned of the Tribunal Temple - the fact that their gods were once mortal and were actually proven to exist was fascinating. The god Vivec even resided still in the southern Vvardenfell city named after him: if one was lucky he or she might even be admitted to speak with Vivec. It would seem that one who says he only believes what he can see with his own eyes has no excuse not to believe in the Tribunal's existence. I couldn't believe I had never heard of the Tribunal before: though growing up in an Imperial Cult orphanage may have had something to do with it. The priests likely did not want the added struggle of preaching belief in their invisible gods, when the competing Tribunal religion boasted three perfectly visible gods that could be spoken to as if they were mortal.

I wanted to know more: I decided right then that I would perform the Pilgrimage of the Seven Graces and serve the Temple. I hadn't forgotten the Imperial Cult and the debt I owed them: I would pay the Ebonheart Mission a visit and ask for work if I found myself in the vicinity. At that moment though I found the Temple and their once-mortal gods more compelling.

Towards the end of the trip the caravan driver told me that Suran was a place of "somewhat relaxed morals", and that it was often a fairly wild place. Recently though the only mildly interesting rumours coming from the place were of a nearby ancestral tomb being visited at strange hours of the night. I had found before that day that curiosity sometimes led me to dangerous places: it breeds an impulsiveness in me that I've never been able to curb.

So, shortly after stepping down from the silt strider I found myself making my way through the sun-baked town of Suran, bound for the Andan tomb south of the settlement. I learned that the one the townspeople thought was invading the tomb at night was a strange dunmer man in a robe. He had been looking for a particular magical item - a powerful one apparently.

I visited many shops and houses along the way, stealing what money and items of value I could. My shopping spree of the day before had left me with little money again. The most notable things I found were a couple of high quality 'Restore Strength' potions, which I put in a side pocket on my pack where I could easily reach them. I was yet to find someone who could teach me a Restore Strength spell, so I felt that they might become useful.

Most of Suran looked like many parts of the green and verdant Ascadian Isles, but just beyond its southern wall was an ashen wasteland of dead trees and shallow, steaming pits. I found the door to the Andan ancestral tomb just beyond a turn in the southern path from Suran - just as a violent dust-storm found me. Blinding ash and grit blowing in my face, I pushed the door open and dashed inside.

Almost immediately I wished I had made a more stealthy entrance. My opening the door to the whistling wind outside, and then slamming it shut again must have been audible through the whole tomb. Ash and grit from the storm rattled down the slope just inside the door before settling in the airless space. I crouched down low, waiting for my eyes to adjust to the gloom. The silence and the dark inside the tomb was oppressive; I got the feeling that something in there was watching and listening for me.

Muttering a curse to myself I drew my new katana and crept down the slope to the door at its base. I tried to slip through quietly but there was someone watching for me on the other side: a dunmer man in a robe. I didn't know how it was that I had managed to run afoul of a necromancer again within the first week of my time on Morrowind, but that's what the man was. I'll admit I was taken by surprise: before I could act, he waved his hands in the air and said something I didn't understand. With a bang and a flash all the dust in the small room flew outwards from the centre, catching me in the eyes.

When I managed to clear and open my eyes again, I almost wished that I hadn't: lumbering towards me was a huge creature - a mockery of a person. It was as if a powerfully muscled man had been killed in a horrible accident that left half his bones broken and protruding from his body. The snorting and wheezing thing was covered in gaping wounds that dripped coagulated blood. Lidless eyes fixed on my face, it reached out for me as it came. I tried to knock the thing's hand aside with my katana, but the blade caught in its arm as if it was wood. The horrible bloody man's hand closed about my wrist, and I began to feel weaker and weaker. I couldn't pry the thing's fingers from my wrist, and as I tried, I felt a touch on my shoulder and turned my head to see the necromancer darting away into the shadows. A second later an agonising poison coursed through my body, spreading outwards from my shoulder.

I screamed out - it felt like I was on fire. Somehow I managed to concentrate enough to focus the Balyna's Antidote spell into my free hand, which I touched to the affected shoulder. The poison was negated, but I felt close to death: as if my very blood had been boiled beneath my skin. I dropped the katana I had still been uselessly holding onto, and gripped the dead thing's wrist instead, sending my 'Righteousness' spell into its body. It may have still been draining my strength, but I was draining its very life away. It served to heal me - replacing my burnt blood - but absorbing whatever force was giving that wretched thing some semblance of life left me feeling sick to my stomach.

By that stage I was too weak to stand, and I fell onto my back; with the creature still gripping my wrist. It raised its other arm to deal me a crushing blow, but I sent my Frostbite spell into its arm with my free hand, freezing its joints in place. Before the thing could recover I discharged the spell again and again into the hand that held my wrist. The revenant's grip weakened, and I tore my arm away from it - causing its completely frozen hand to shatter into pieces. I realised the thing was dead - truly dead. Already looking dead twice over as it did, I could only tell this because it was toppling forward, about to fall onto my prone form. Unable to move, I shielded my face with my hands, but all that fell on me was a fine, misty layer of frost: the creature had vanished.

I was extremely glad that I had not resisted the urge to steal those Restore Strength potions. Forcing my leaden hand to the side pocket on my pack and then up to my mouth, I drank both the potions at the same time. My strength came rushing back and I was able to get shakily to my feet - and just in time. The necromancer, cursing in frustration, ran up and tackled me into the wall, pummelling me with his bare fists. He couldn't hope to do much against my bonemold armour, but I couldn't shake him off, and one too many blows to my head and I could be knocked out: I knew that much.

I still felt too weak to swing a sword effectively, so instead of drawing my silver blade, I caught his fists in my hands and sent the aching cold of my Frostbite spell into them, before pulling him in close and catching his throat in a freezing grip. His expression changed from rage to one of horror, and suddenly he was pushing ineffectually against my chest, trying to escape my grasp. Repeatedly discharging my Frostbite spell into his body, I held onto his throat until he stopped moving. Once he was no longer supporting his own weight I had to let go, and he crumpled to the dusty tomb floor.

I felt sick afterwards, and not just for the part I played in the necromancer's awful death. I had found that health transference spells do work on the undead, but that they left one with a very unsavoury, empty feeling.

I had also found that I had been right to take up the magicka threads: they had kept me alive through that fight.


Anonymous Zelda_Zealot said...

Nice! I like this story, very glad I found out about it in fact! Not quite as good as Arvil Bren Morrowind Journal, but close.

I noticed that many fanfictions for Morrowind seem to feature a magic using Breton(I wonder why the magic part is in there...), and two are a magic using Breton thief...

Sunday, August 28, 2005 1:13:00 pm  
Blogger Joseph said...

Thanks! Glad you like it.

I read Arvil Bren's journal as well - it is *very* good. It is actually what inspired me to release Frost in Morrowind using Blogger.

As for featuring a magic using Breton, *shrug* that's pretty much how I always play Morrowind; so the character developed that way.

- Joseph.

Sunday, August 28, 2005 5:57:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There should be a comma between small and blue.

Monday, August 29, 2005 12:41:00 am  
Blogger Joseph said...

Actually, I believe a comma is optional in a case like that. Some cultures may place more stress on doing it one way or the other.

I could be wrong, of course. :-)

Thanks, though - nice to have someone helping with proof-reading.

- Joseph.

Monday, August 29, 2005 9:22:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First off, this isn't a published novel so the comma thing is a dead issue. It's a blogger fan fiction, ther are bound to be errors, just like there are in newspapers, magazines, and other major published works.

Furthermore, one can't compare any other story to this one: I myself have never read the "journal" fan fiction, but know that this story is excellent and it would not be fair to judge based on someone else's performance. Spot on.

Monday, August 29, 2005 8:51:00 pm  
Anonymous Lucidarius said...

You write really well and I like your story. I've already written a comment on Waiting4Oblivion so I won't repeat myself.

In chapter 15 I especially like Frost' religious musings and the detailed and 'realistic' fight with the bonewalker. Every time you put something personal into the character, then you breathe life into him as well. I enjoy reading those inner thoughts.

I read the other comments about grammar and understand. Nevertheless. English is not my native language so I might be wrong, but shouldn't all country terms be spelled with a capital first letter, e.g. Khajiit instead of khajiit? Like England, English etc. In TES, Morrowind is a kingdom, High Rock consisted of city states (like old Greece, I imagine) etc. No offence meant.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005 7:42:00 am  
Blogger Joseph said...

Lucidarius - No offence taken. That is something I've been wondering about: whether to go with 'khajiit' or 'Khajiit' (for example). So far I've been using the former, because as I understand it the different player races in Morrowind (and The Elder Scrolls as a whole) are considered different species. And in English, different species are referred to using lowercase letters: eg: cat, dog, etc.

Again I could be wrong about something there. :-)

Thanks for your other comments, too. I appreciate it.

- Joseph.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005 9:30:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe it should be Andrano tomb instead of Andran.

Thursday, September 01, 2005 9:39:00 pm  
Blogger Joseph said...

It is Andan Tomb - without the 'r'. It is added by the 'Amulet of Scrye' mod.

- Joseph.

Friday, September 02, 2005 12:29:00 am  
Anonymous Sneakyarrow said...

He isnt a real theif, He didn't steal the limeware plater and soulgems on Galbedir's desk. 8)

I would...

Thursday, October 20, 2005 9:22:00 am  
Blogger Joseph said...

Edward says:

"I thought about stealing those soul gems, but come on; they'd know it was me!"

See? Edward doesn't want to go back to prison. :-)

- Joseph.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005 1:00:00 pm  
Anonymous Vic said...

Well, I got this link via the "Arvil Bren" blog, and althought both are Breton mages, Ed is "magier", while Bren relied more on his combat skills, like I often do myself.

This is refreshing. I'll keep reading.

Saturday, January 05, 2008 6:47:00 pm  

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