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 07, 2005

Chapter 6: Life in the sun

My dreams, perhaps unsurprisingly, were all of dark, shadowy figures and grievous wounds. I felt awful when I woke. The scorching sun was beating down on my face, I was covered with insect bites, and it seemed as if my whole body ached. Magicka had seeped back into my body as I lay there unconscious through the early hours of the morning. Closing my eyes against the sun, I concentrated on my beloved healing spell and felt the aches, bruises and lacerations of the night before all fade away. Sitting up I saw the door to the smuggler's caves swing shut, and heard what sounded like padded feet run away on the other side.

I thought of the black-armoured man that had attacked me in the caves. I had slept in the only exit from the caves (as far as I knew), and since I found myself still breathing, I assumed that my assailant was still inside. Not wanting to take any chances, I drew my saber and threw the door open wide, flooding the first chamber of the caves with morning light. Nothing. I didn't think my relatively clumsy attempts at stealth would help against this foe, so I took up the first available torch, made sure it was burning brightly, and continued slowly into the caves, checking every corner as I went.

I drew near to the slave pen where I had last seen the khajiit and argonian people I had freed the previous day without encountering any living thing. I called out to them, asking if they were alright. After a moment a khajiit voice floated back.

"We are still here, Edward Frost." I rounded the corner and approached the slave pen. In the light of my torch I could see Baadargo - the muscular male khajiit who had first asked me to free him and the other slaves - standing in the doorway to the pen. Behind him the rest of the khajiiti and argonians were curled up on the cave floor, apparently asleep. "Although we think it was you who brought the black-dressed man among us, we still owe you a debt for freeing us." He nudged one of the discarded slave bracers with his foot. "We watched over you last night as you slept in the doorway. We saw that no harm would come to you, as..."

I stopped him. "You are all unhurt, aren't you?" He nodded, stepping between the sleeping bodies of the other ex-slaves to kneel down in the centre of the pen. Leaning forward and twisting an arm up behind his back, I realised that it had been he that I had seen held down the night before: he was re-enacting what had happened. "The man took us by surprise. He grabbed us, put a blade to our neck. He was asking us: 'where is this Breton man - he has black hair - he was here before - where is he?!'" The muscular khajiit shook his upper body at each exclamation, as if being interrogated. "He wanted us to stay quiet, but our friends," he indicated the sleeping bodies, "were scared and made noise. You heard us and came running, so the man let us go; so maybe it was good after all." Baadargo stood up, bowing to me as he did so. "Apologies, Edward Frost. We did not help you in your fight." He indicated my tattered, blood-stained clothes and armour. "We know how difficult it was. We would have helped, but we were thrown down and hit our head. We were asleep." He grinned sheepishly, revealing a row of pointed teeth. "The others were too weak still."

I found it a little difficult to work out when Baadargo meant 'I' and when he really meant 'we' or 'us'. Every khajiit I had ever met referred to him or herself in the plural sense. It could be confusing.

At that moment I saw Baadargo's pupils contract slightly, coming closer to diamond points; a faint reflected light had passed across his face. The sound of the door to the caves closing echoed softly through the cavern. Baadargo, apparently still sorry he had been unconscious for most of the last disturbance, leapt forward, heading for the exit. I raced after him, holding my torch up high and keeping a wary eye out in case of some kind of ruse. The agile khajiit reached the door well before me, and I found him outside in the sunlight twisting his head around in all directions, sniffing the air. After a moment we gave up the search, seeing no sign of my mysterious attacker. Baadargo assured me that it had indeed been the 'black-dressed man' who had just left the caves and passed this way. He told me he couldn't tell which way he went. The khajiit was shifting his weight anxiously from one foot to the other; and I could tell he wanted to get back to the other ex-slaves, still asleep in the slave pen. I bowed to him.

"Thankyou, Baadargo. Thankyou for watching over me." The great cat bowed in return and dashed back into the smuggler's caves.

After bathing in the sea to wash away the blood that seemed to permeate every one of my belongings, I decided that it was time for me to leave Seyda Neen. My first couple of days there had seen me terrorised by skeletons (and other necromancers' leftovers), almost killed numerous times, and hunted by a deadly and mysterious assassin. Yes. It was definitely time to move on and try my luck elsewhere. I made a quick stop at the tradehouse to buy some new clothes, then set off in the morning sun: bound for the nearby village of Pelagiad.


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