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 16, 2005

Chapter 36: Facing change

Dusk had just passed when I emerged from the Daedric shrine. After such intense, agonising fighting, I was more than a little disappointed that there was very little of value to be found down there. At the deepest point in the underground shrine was a massive room, housing an equally large statue of an old man with a cane - a Daedra god, I had guessed. At the statue's feet, the daedra-worshippers had left a few offerings; but nothing more than several dusty, half-evaporated potions. I left them alone.

Outside, I made my way back through the gloom to the Mabu-Ilu caves, thinking about the epiphany I had had in the Daedric shrine. Well, perhaps it was more a simple realisation - a suspicion, even. Down in the shrine I had cut straight through a solid steel breastplate, with a single stroke; and that seemed suspicious to me. I had also just been burned almost to death, all over, and there I was walking about a short while later, as if nothing had happened. Granted, of course, I had used healing magic liberally to recover - but still...

Even my hair, scorched completely off my head, had all grown back; though I could not keep it out of my eyes! It was infuriating: usually I simply pushed it up and back with my fingers, and there it would stay. Ever since its 'magical regrowth', however, it hung straight down in limp, useless strands. Curious... but then I had never heard in great detail what happened to other people that had been as extensively burned as I, and had then restored themselves with magic. Perhaps things like that were not uncommon.

Then I remembered the severe pins-and-needles and muscle cramps that had plagued me on the boat to Tel Branora, when I had had no chance to move around adequately. It had felt like something in my body was not right - alien - as if it was changing to something that it had not been before, and my mind couldn't keep up. I was stronger than ever before; could that have happened only since that magicka leak sprung up inside me?

In any case, I decided I would have to visit Master Healer Synnolian again to gain his opinion on my body's strange behaviour. Right at that moment, though, I was completely focused on my 'quest' to find the Shrine of Azura - and hopefully - Azura's Star. If Synnolian was right about my shortened lifespan, I was not about to waste any time in searching for something that could lead to counteracting my affliction.

Nevertheless, with my recent lack of sleep, I was exhausted. I needed to set up camp for the night - and the Mabu-Ilu caves that I had 'cleared' earlier in the day were well-suited.

Most of the next day passed uneventfully, as I travelled east along the rocky southern shore of Vvardenfell. I noticed that the moons had begun to wane - and with them, my pain. The ache in my head lessened as the day wore on, and I could sense that the rush of magicka into my body was slowing, too. Perhaps the prominence of the moons over Nirn somehow increased the rate at which magicka entered my body; so much so, in fact, that it caused me physical pain - and was too much for my body to take. If that was the case, then at least I could expect to experience less pain for part of the month; a small mercy.

It was that afternoon that I climbed the crest of a hill and first caught sight of the massive statue of Azura that marked the location of the shrine. The statue depicted a robed woman, holding her arms out to either side, with what appeared to be a stylised sun in one hand, and a crescent moon in the other. Just as it had been described to me.

Both the entrance to the shrine and its interior reminded me forcibly that Azura was a Daedra goddess: they were exactly like the Daedric shrine I had visited the day before. I had read that Azura was supposed to be one of the 'good' Daedra; but I wasn't really sure what that meant. I proceeded with caution. The shrine was dimly lit by huge, smoking braziers, suspended from the ceiling. The fragrant smoke made my head swim.

There was another statue of Azura at the rear of a wide hall, similar in size and placement to the statue of the old man I had seen in the other Daedric shrine. Pinpricks and spots of light began to dance before my eyes as I approached the statue of the goddess, and at first I dismissed its blue, glowing eyes as being a similar mirage.

I then realised, with something of a shock, that a female voice was coming from my mouth, and I couldn't seem to stop it! The voice said:

"Mortal, I can tell that you... wait, stop. Leave your mouth alone; just be patient, and you will be fine once I've finished." There was a pause, and I gulped, forcing my hands to my sides. The sensation of being another entity's mouthpiece was unpleasant: it didn't feel like my voicebox was well suited to producing a female voice. "Good, now I can tell that you came here because you want something from me. It happens that I have something that you can do to be of service to me. I made a wager with Sheogorath that solitude leads to enlightenment, not madness, as he maintains."

I assumed that the mysterious voice was Azura: that or some kind of hallucination. There was definitely something strange in the smoke that filled the room. The voice continued:

"A priestess of mine has been living in solitary meditation on a small island north of Dagon Fel for nearly a hundred years now, and still she holds fast. If she makes it to the hundredth year, then Sheogorath will be proved wrong - as per the terms of our wager." I squeezed my eyes shut. My throat was becoming noticeably sore by then. "Sheogorath, even now, moves to sway the bet in his favour by sending his minions to the island to disturb my priestess. My request is that you go there and kill the Daedra that Sheogorath sent. If you return here with proof of Sheogorath's treachery, I will reward you well. Perhaps even with what you seek."

With that the voice ceased, and I could speak again - albeit hoarsely:

"Azura! Are you speaking of 'Azura's Star'? That is what I came here for... but - you're a goddess. I'm ... dying. Could you - would you - be able to help me, if I do this for you?"

There was no reply. I waited for a long while, trying to think clearly in the numbing smoke from the braziers. Eventually I gave up, and managed to focus enough to cast 'Mark', so I could return there quickly should my visitation from Azura turn out to be more than my mind playing tricks on me. The shrine was quite remote and had taken several days for me to hike there, so being able to teleport back there would be a blessing.

That, of course, erased the mystical mark I had left in the Balmora Mages Guild, so I needed to find another way back. I was able to cover part of the distance instantly by casting Almsivi Intervention; landing me outside the Tribunal Temple in Molag Mar. From there I was able to take passage aboard a silt strider, bound for Vivec, where I intended to ask the guild guide at the Mages Guild to teleport me to Balmora. I would be in my usual bunk before too late that night.

It was just on dusk when the strider arrived in Vivec, and on an impulse I decided to look for an armourer that was still open. I needed a better blade: my steel katana, while razor-sharp, was completely incapable of harming magical creatures; such as the Daedra Azura had asked me to kill. My silver sword was capable of killing magical beings, but simply could not hold a sharp enough edge to be truly effective. I remembered that in addition to the Vivec branch of the Mages Guild, the Foreign Quarter canton held two blacksmiths, plus the Fighters Guild, which no doubt had weapons for trade too. In fact all these organisations were in the domed plaza at the top of the canton, so it was little trouble for me to stop in at Alusaron's smithy before heading across to the Mages Guild.

As luck would have it, the redguard, Alusaron, had the perfect weapon for me: a katana forged of the sturdy green volcanic glass found on Vvardenfell. I had become accustomed to my steel katana, so a similar weapon was good. Even better, Alusaron assured me that it was capable of harming magical creatures, and invited me to test its sharpness on a bundled-up roll of hay he had in the corner. In this fashion I compared the glass katana to my steel one, and found that the glass indeed made it a far superior blade. Unfortunately he was asking around eleven thousand septims for the superb weapon.

To lessen the sting somewhat, I traded in all my weapons (except for the silver longsword, which I kept as a backup), and was pleasantly surprised when Alusaron identified the paralysing dagger I had recovered to be a 'Steel Jinkblade of the Aegis' - a valuable weapon. It alone was mostly responsible for bringing the price down to around six and a half thousand septims.

I was left with about fifteen thousand drakes after buying the glass katana; still an awful lot of money, to be sure, but the enchanter Folms had indicated that I should expect to pay more than twice that much for an enchantment of the magnitude I required. I would need to sell a lot of souls to Creeper to raise that money.

Thinking of Folms reminded me that he would no doubt be fascinated to hear of my experience in the Shrine of Azura. I decided to ask the guild guide to teleport me to Caldera instead of Balmora. I strode quickly through the Vivec guild hall, giving a quick nod in greeting to those I passed. I didn't know anyone there very well - I had only visited the guild on brief occasions before - but I was still taken aback at the strange glances I received from everyone after I greeted them. Putting it down to my (involuntary) new hairstyle, I ignored the looks, paid my ten drakes or so and was teleported across to the Caldera guild hall.

Folms Mirel was sitting at a table reading, just as when we first met. I called out to him as I approached:

"Folms, you'll never guess what happened to me this afternoon!"

The dunmer looked up from his book, and regarded me with the same consternation as every person in the Vivec guild!

"I don't doubt that, sera," he said, frowning as if in thought. "I'm sorry, but have we been introduced before? I have always been bad with names, and now it seems I'm no good with faces, either." He gave his slight, polite smile.

I was astonished. Surely he could not have forgotten me! He had never done so before...

"It's Edward ... Edward Frost?" I raised my eyebrows, confused.

Folms narrowed his eyes at me.

"Perhaps I'm getting too old; I'm afraid some aspect of your humour eludes me..." He made to go back to his book. "Don't get me wrong, the outfit is a nice touch: just like his - but you just don't look especially like him."

"No, Folms, it is me: what are you talking about? You just sent me off to the Shrine of Azura to find Azura's Star; you were keeping the Star a secret before you told me, weren't you? You didn't tell anyone else about it, did you?"

The enchanter set his book down on the table and stood.

"I may not have, but that doesn't mean that Frost didn't." His face betrayed no sign of a smile then. "Perhaps we should go speak to Steward Ranis about this."

I stared at him, dumbfounded. My gaze happened to fall on some polished metal plates behind the enchanter, stacked on their sides on a shelf. It was then that I saw my reflection.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow creapy..Really creapy...hes gonna fix his face right?? cause wow thats ugly.... his hair kicks ass though (i use rins hair to :) (dif color though)

Anyways please fix the face... it would be really hard to take your etory seriously with that face...


And so he entered the shrine of molag bal filled with 20 daedra worshippers with only a glass sword and a face that looks like a mutated mickale jackson.

see what i mean?

anyways tell next time

matar out

Sunday, October 16, 2005 1:44:00 pm  
Anonymous Bhaal said...

Definately taking an unexpected turn... Just curious, how did you manage to get him to lean forward like that? Or is it just some trickery with camera angles?

Monday, October 17, 2005 8:20:00 am  
Anonymous Carnivore said...

OMGWTFBBQ!... *ahem* Holy crap. Suspenseful! Why is Wednesday so far away? 0_0

Love the hair. (I use it, too)

Monday, October 17, 2005 12:12:00 pm  
Blogger Joseph said...

The next chapter (as you might expect) explains a bit about what's happening with Frost's face. So, Matar, I'll talk about it a bit more then. Don't want to give spoilers. :-)

Bhaal - I just used the sneak key and positioned him close to a wall (or something) - do this, and that is what you get.

Carnivore - There have been some sort-of cliffhangers on Sundays recently, haven't there? :-) Just lucky timing. And yeah, iReni's face and hair mod is one of the biggest to hit the Morrowind mod community in a while. They are gorgeous.

- Joseph.

Monday, October 17, 2005 1:57:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeahh emm, hes ugly as hell now


ok i know this happened forever ago, but i just found it and have to say i am praying that the face gets fixed later on

Sunday, July 01, 2007 3:40:00 am  

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