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, October 02, 2005

Chapter 30: Mistake

My decision to investigate Mannammu caves was made easier upon learning that the bandits that made it their home were, without a doubt, thoroughly evil. A couple of Pelagiad residents described the last visit the bandits had made to the village: apparently a young woman had been raped and badly beaten. This had happened a week ago, and so far the Imperial Legion had done nothing to bring justice to the felons.

It was strange that a group of bandits would choose a place like Mannammu caves as a base; Pelagiad with its Legion fort being within earshot of the cave entrance and all. It was difficult not to suspect the Legion of corruption - especially after encountering a similar scenario in Seyda Neen; another Imperial settlement.

The bandits reacted to my presence in their caves as every other bandit I'd met: they wasted no time on words and leapt to the attack. Cythus had sported the Netch Adamantium armour as if it made one impervious. I soon found that this was obviously not the case, but my new armour was certainly a marked improvement over the old bonemold. I received a few wounds as I cut my way through the bandits, but the fighting was nothing near as desperate (at least on my part) as my last encounter with a cave-full of felons. Luckily I had caught them unawares; they were spread throughout the clutch of small caverns, and even though each one took up a cry for help that echoed through the caves, I was able to incapacitate each opponent quickly enough that they had no chance to face me as a combined force.

I felt the same remorse as I had after every time I had killed someone, but the ache was less intense this time, and did not last as long. Most people would say I had done unequivocal good by ridding the world of such men (and women - surprisingly, considering the tales surrounding this bunch) as had inhabited Mannammu caves. In fact there were people who travelled the land as Crusaders, making a living from dealing the kind of death I had wrought that afternoon. They were considered heroes - on par with noble knights and selfless healers.

So perhaps I needn't have felt guilty at all - but still I could not quiet the voice in the back of my mind that accused me of killing those bandits for their valuables, and nothing else. A small part of the blame could possibly be levelled at Habasi Sugar-Lips, the head of the Thieves Guild in Balmora. A couple of nights previous, at the South Wall Cornerclub, I had made the drunken mistake of falling into conversation with the khajiiti woman about the magical items I had recovered from the lairs of smugglers up the Bitter Coast. She told me that there was currently an influx of magical trinkets into Vvardenfell - there was a reason behind this, but parts of our conversation eluded my memory due to my addled state.

In any case, most of these magical items were in the hands of smugglers - due to the Empire's quarantine of the island, and the trade embargo that came with it. Habasi explained that since the majority of the smuggling trade on Vvardenfell was controlled by the Camonna Tong, the local criminal organisation that was only a hair's breadth away from being openly hostile towards foreigners, these potentially powerful trinkets were not likely to see use outside of the Tong. That is, unless someone pried them away from the smugglers first.

Like me.

Habasi's information turned out to be reliable, as always: wrapped in a piece of cloth in a packing crate, I found several magical items. My recent studies on enchanted objects enabled me to identify them. One was an emblem in the shape of a crescent moon. I had learnt that these emblems were pinned to one's shirt, whereupon they would bestow some kind of effect on the wearer - but only if a circumstance particular to that emblem was met. Unfortunately, there was usually no way (outside of blind luck or extensive experimentation) to determine what that effect was, or how it was triggered. The design of an emblem was said to offer some clue as to its properties, but the simple golden yellow crescent emblem I held in my palm failed to set off any spark of inspiration in my mind. I decided to take it back to the Mages Guild and see if someone could help me identify its properties.

Stored along with the emblem was an enchanted ring I was able to identify immediately, as it had caught my attention (and my avarice) when I read about it the day before. It was a 'Magery' ring, and like my Elementward ring, it relied on inset gems for most of its power. If the records about such rings were correct, finding eight appropriate tourmaline stones and re-setting them in the ring would provide an object of incredible power and utility for a mage. Imagine my joy, then, when I realised that three of the tiny stones that had been secreted away with the ring were actually tourmalines!

Even better, I already had another three of the stones wrapped up with my things back at the Mages Guild. When I had determined that there was nothing else of real value to be had in the caves, I Recalled back to the guild hall to immediately set the six tourmalines into my new Magery ring. On its own, the ring provided a modest boost to my mental faculties, but with three-quarters of its tourmaline gems restored, it actually became more powerful than the Mentor's Ring, an item regarded by scholars as a minor artifact. On top of the improved clarity and focus 'Magery' bestowed, slipping the partially restored ring onto my middle-finger revealed a few more powers.

I could feel the magicka flowing into my body faster than ever before. Shortly I realised that the reason I could feel this was that the ring now not only tapped into the plane of magicka (like my magicka threads), it also provided an artificial reservoir of sorts, enabling my body to store more magicka. After donning the ring, the reservoir was quickly being filled.

Feeling every bit as excited as a small child with a new toy, I left Magery on my finger, and decided to study the moon emblem next. No-one in the guild hall could offer any insight as to what it might do - not Ranis, the guild Steward, or Galbedir, the enchantress, or even Estirdalin, with her knowledge of weaving new spells. I eventually lost patience and simply pinned the emblem to my shirt, above the right breast pocket, to see if anything would happen.

This turned out to be a serious mistake.

Nothing happened at first; the thing behaving exactly like any mundane emblem would. The books I had read that mentioned magical emblems suggested that this was to be expected, so I put it out of my mind for the moment.

I had been keeping the loose tourmaline gems in the limeware bowl I had recovered from Caryarel, and fishing the gems out had reminded me that I still needed to return it to Kaye at the Imperial Chapel in Ebonheart. So, I gathered it up and asked Masalinie to teleport me to the guild hall in Vivec. From there, I cast Divine Intervention and was drawn through space to the doorstep of the Imperial Chapel. As soon as my vision cleared, I noticed what felt like some oversized lizard or insect crawling up my shirt... right where I had pinned the moon emblem.

Craning my neck to see, my breath caught in my throat: the emblem was unravelling of its own accord, and the threads - the golden threads - were pushing themselves through the weave of my shirt. I grunted at the sensation of numerous pin-sized objects stabbing into my chest. Pulling my shirt open, I just caught sight of the tail end of a multitude of threads disappearing into my skin. I could feel them all moving just under my skin, worming their way up my chest towards my neck. They passed out of my sight then, but I could still feel them, moving from my neck to my face.

The whole time I was clutching at my skin in horror, unable to stop the progress of the wormlike threads. This was not at all like what had happened with the magicka threads Ranis had given me. A passing Legion soldier stared at me, agape, before venturing:

"Sir, are you ... are you quite alright?"

I was unable to speak, and simply stared back at the soldier with wide, terrified eyes. The threads had settled under the skin of my face, and were writhing about like a bag of snakes thrown on a bonfire. There was a sharp, digging pain in my head, and then I could no longer feel the wormlike things - or anything else. As I slowly (or so it seemed) keeled over backwards, the sunlight became unbearably bright, and the colours of all I could see bled into one another.

The last things I saw before my head hit the cobblestones and I blacked out were the moons of Nirn, visible even in the light of day.


Anonymous Bhaal said...

Lol. Well, the suspense is killing me. I'm just curious, are you greatly elaborating on a stock Morrowind item, or is this a mod (Trinkets again?).

Sunday, October 02, 2005 1:25:00 pm  
Blogger Joseph said...

Magical Trinkets of Tamriel again - link is in the post now (forgot to put it in earlier). I am elaborating on it a *lot* though.

- Joseph.

Sunday, October 02, 2005 7:52:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it would be wise not to post a link to the Amulet of Scrye mod again as the author has recalled it and it is no longer available for download.

Monday, October 03, 2005 12:27:00 am  
Blogger Joseph said...

The author of the Amulet of Scrye mod made a comment here a short while ago, and he didn't mention anything about recalling the mod; though I guess that may not mean anything in and of itself.

At any rate, the mod is still available at the link I've been posting.

- Joseph.

Monday, October 03, 2005 1:47:00 am  
Anonymous Ivza said...

Yes, I did recall it in spring 2005, but I changed my mind yet again and it's been available for download again since early July.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005 4:54:00 pm  
Blogger Joseph said...

Well, that's good to hear. I think it's an intriguing mod from what I've seen of it so far.

- Joseph.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005 6:41:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I laughed at the end of chapter 29, when Frost was going to the bandit's cave, and then I saw the title of chapter 30 was Mistake.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011 8:27:00 am  

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