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 31, 2005

Chapter 16: Measure of faith

I was still weak from the revenant's draining attack as I prepared to look around the Andan Tomb. My stomach lurched uncomfortably as I eased my pack from my shoulders. I decided to try not to use health-transference spells on undead creatures if I could help it. All in all, I felt a little like I had a fever: weak and sick. I left my katana where it lay on the floor, and removed a few of the heavier items from my pack to leave with it. While I was still impressed with my new bonemold armour, there was no denying that it was heavy: at least for me. And in my weakened state, I simply couldn't carry everything I had entered the tomb with.

Just before venturing further into the tomb, I realised I could hear a constant whispering; and I couldn't work out where it was coming from. I wasn't sure that I would be strong enough to use it, but I still had my silver longsword: I drew it before continuing on.

The room in which I had fought the necromancer and his pet had a couple of guttering torches, but the corridor beyond it did not. I edged forward little by little, straining my eyes to see into the dim recess at the end of the corridor. The low whispering was all around me now. It was soft, but it seemed to pain my ears to hear it. I couldn't hear anything else: not my own footsteps, or my quickened breathing.

With a crack, something glanced off my armoured forearm: but I couldn't see anything. It was quickly followed by a piece of pottery, shattering against my leg. I spun around frantically, looking all about me for my attacker. A piece of bone lodged itself in the narrow visibility slit of my helmet, giving me a start: its sharp point had almost reached my eye. Pulling it out, I ran for it; straight down the corridor to the dark recess at the end. I was pelted by pieces of refuse the whole way, the whispers rising to a horrid moaning. The dark recess held a small round pit of ashes, the grey and brown contents long ago fused into a solid mass.

A glowing apparition burst from the ash pit: a skeletal ghost in ragged robes. Its legs missing, the thing pulled itself along the tomb floor with its fleshless hands, before launching into the air, shouting at itself as it flew around and around the pit:

"Everywhere everywhere! Stop! Stop - just... stop - talking - to me. STOP IT!" The spirit appeared to notice me, and shrank back against the wall with a shriek, levelling a quivering skeletal finger at me. "You're the one who wants the amulet! You mustn't - it will destroy you! But - no... I destroyed IT! Thynim though, he will destroy... be destroyed."

The spirit babbled and bellowed to itself - and to me. At first I stayed out of pure shock and fright: the whole situation was reminiscent of my terrifying stay in the necromancer's house on my first night on the island. After a little while I realised that the ghost was not going to attack me, and I began to actually listen to what it was saying. I eventually gathered from its ramblings that it was the spirit of a dunmer named Lleves Andan, and that he had created an 'Amulet of Scrye' that allowed the wearer to speak with the dead. Lleves had destroyed his creation, but not before it drove him mad. He also spoke of a replica of the amulet: in the hands of someone named Thynim Velos, who lived in the swamps of 'Hla Oad'.

As interesting as talking with the dead may have been (though I wasn't sure that Lleves' spirit and I had had what could really be called a conversation), I had had quite enough of necromancers. I made a note to myself to be wary of anyone named 'Velos' should I ever find myself in Hla Oad, and left the insane spirit to its own torment.

After braving the poltergeist in the corridor again, I gathered up the belongings I had left on the floor and cast Almsivi Intervention with the intention of seeking healing at the Temple in Suran. Expecting to be dropped onto the sun-dappled pavings in the green garden outside Suran temple, I was quite surprised when I instead found myself in a bleak grey courtyard beneath a dim, lowering sky. Dirty clouds scudded across the sky, and stone and moulded mud walls were everywhere I looked. Wherever I was, it seemed a grim place.

As it turned out, I was standing outside a Tribunal Temple: but it was the Temple on the roof of a massive building housing the 'village' of Molag Mar. I was only a little way out of Suran when I cast the teleportation spell. According to my map Molag Mar was quite far to the east of Suran. I found it intriguing: it seemed the spell drew me there, to the better 'staffed' temple of Molag Mar, rather than the closer, smaller temple at Suran with its one priestess.

For the Molag Mar temple was well staffed: I was able to learn spells there to restore a number of different aspects of the body: including one's strength. I spent most of the rest of my money doing it, but by that evening I was confident that I would never be stranded in the wilds after suffering some kind of magical draining attack or other.

By the time I left the company of the priests at the Temple it was getting dark, so I decided to have a look around Molag Mar and then stay the night; before setting off for Suran and the shores of Lake Amaya in the morning. Molag Mar was more a fortress than a village - and according to one of the priests was the only settlement in the whole Molag Amur region: a barren wasteland of rocky crags and lava pits. It was certainly a Temple settlement: established for pilgrims travelling to the hazardous Mt. Kand sites. I didn't even have to pay for a bed at the hostel: the owner turned my money down, telling me to use it to make a donation at the Tribunal shrine downstairs instead. I did so, kneeling in front of the triolithic stone. Afterwards I felt a rush of wellbeing, completely washing away the taint of the bonewalker. (The priest that taught me the 'Restore Strength' spell had told me the local name for the revenant I had fought; one of his main selling points for the spell had actually been its use in combating bonewalkers.)

I spent the night in a dormitory with a collection of drunken, snoring pilgrims and warriors. Early in the morning I took a silt strider to Suran, with the intention of making my way to Lake Amaya's north shore - without distraction that time. I was glad I did: the sun boiled away the low clouds during the strider journey, and the lake and surrounding area was bathed in a warm light. It really was a beautiful part of the Ascadian Isles: shady trees and fields of wildflowers as far as I could see. It took very little time to locate and collect the flower samples Ajira wanted, and before I knew it I had stumbled across the Shrine of Humility, poking out of a bed of wildflowers.

The shrine sat upon the location where the god Vivec had apparently made a stop during an epic, heroic quest to work for a farmer who had lost his beast of burden. He had worked in place of this beast (a 'guar') until the farmer's crop was harvested: so that the farmer and his family would not starve. That is the gist of what I remembered from 'The Pilgrim's Path', at any rate; I had left it back at the Mages Guild to lighten my pack. I certainly remembered what I was supposed to donate at the shrine: a 'portion of muck', in the book's own words. When I read that, seated at one of the tables at the Mages Guild, I had thought for a brief moment that I was expected to carry some kind of animal waste to the shrine and leave it there. I did not want to imagine what such a shrine would look - or smell - like. Ranis had happened to pass at that moment, and told me that 'muck' was actually collected from a local giant fungus called a 'muckspunge'.

There was a stand of muckspunges on a tiny island in the lake; very near the shrine itself. The short swim to the piece of land was quite welcome: in my full suit of bonemold armour the sun had grown hot indeed. The muckspunges held the appearance of huge vases, with the 'muck' found inside them. I quickly came to the realisation that it was not an accident that the stuff had been given a name that made it so easy to confuse it with animal waste. Scooping out the slimy, pungent brown muck certainly seemed an appropriate lesson in humility. Involuntarily swallowing a few mouthfuls of lake water as I attempted to swim to shore without getting my handful of muck wet reinforced that lesson.

Still, after dropping the muck at the base of the shrine and reciting the prayer I had copied from 'The Pilgrim's Path', I suddenly felt as if a weight had been lifted from my shoulders: literally, actually. I checked my pack to see if there was a hole in it - if I had lost something in the water. I hadn't though, and after a moment I became conscious of what felt like a spell humming through my body: either making me stronger, or just making me feel as if I was carrying less. In any case I was feeling good; and - for the first time since before going to prison - almost happy, in fact.

After washing my hands in the lake I felt even better.


Anonymous electric gods said...

Excellent, excellent work. I just read 1 - 16 having followed a link, and it is some great work. A writer myself, I think I may have even learned some more, and been inspired.

Friday, September 02, 2005 2:01:00 pm  
Blogger Joseph said...

Well, I don't really know what to say, other than thankyou!

What kind of writing do you do, if you don't mind me asking?

- Joseph.

Friday, September 02, 2005 10:32:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whatever strikes me really. Thats always a hard question to answer.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005 3:37:00 pm  
Anonymous electric gods said...

that was me again, by the way.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005 3:38:00 pm  

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