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, October 26, 2005

Chapter 40: Rules and regulations

"Mortal, I owe you thanks for cleansing that island of Sheogorath's minions." I was back in Azura's shrine, at the feet of the great statue, and the voice of the goddess was again sounding from within my own throat. "That signet ring you hold bears the device of Sheogorath. It proves that the mad god was indeed behind the attempt to disrupt our wager. But that is of no matter now."

I was glad to hear that she was not about to wax lyrical on the "folly of cheating and dishonesty" or somesuch. Apart from being generally unsettling, having Azura speak through me still gave me a sore throat.

"Now, since our bet is free to naturally take its own course - because of your actions - I will reward you as promised." As she - or it - spoke, I began to have the unshakeable feeling that I had heard her voice before, sometime in the past. Sometime before I first visited the shrine, I mean. I just could not place where or when it might have been...

I was distracted from my thoughts by a sudden weight in my hand. Looking down, I found that I was holding a flat, glittering white, star-shaped stone, with eight sharp points. It had to be Azura's Star, the artifact Folms had sent me after - the very thing I needed most! I could not speak to thank the goddess - she still held sway over my voicebox:

"There is your reward. Use it wisely. You have my thanks for what you have done for me, mortal. There is one last thing I would ask of you: do what you will with Sheogorath's signet ring, but do not leave it here."

With that, Azura was gone, and I could speak for myself again. I thanked the empty air for the gift, and received no answer: just like my previous attempts to actually hold some kind of conversation with the Daedra goddess. She had ignored my pleas for a cure for my affliction the last time, and I had no reason to believe she would listen now, after already bestowing such a generous gift upon me.

So, my quest was successful. It felt somewhat strange thinking of it in those terms: a 'quest' sounded like something for errant knights, not a released convict like me. Still, if travelling across a whole island to perform a task for a goddess, and being rewarded with a powerful, near-mythical artifact was not a quest, I didn't know what was.

After my previous visit to Sadrith Mora on my way north to Dagon Fel, I knew that the Imperial fort 'Wolverine Hall' there housed an Imperial Cult shrine. By my map of the island, that made Wolverine Hall the closest place with a Cult shrine from where I was standing; at least as far as I knew. Since the Hall also housed a branch of the Mages Guild, there was possibly a much faster way back to Balmora than I had taken the last time.

I cast Divine Intervention, and after I recovered from the quick black-out, I was standing at the top of a flight of stone steps, at the centre of a Legion fort. A quick glance around confirmed that I was at Wolverine Hall. I found my way through the cramped, winding passages of the Hall to the small Mages Guild branch - truth be told it was a single room and nothing more - and asked to be teleported to Balmora.

Before going to see Folms Mirel, I eased out of my weighty armour, and walked over to the guide platform in the fine clothes I had originally 'recovered' from one of the noble's houses in Balmora. Now that I had a steady income in the form of selling highly-prized inhabited soul gems, I could justify owning something as expensive as those beautiful clothes. I placed my magical Mark on the platform again, since I had no further need to instantly teleport to the middle of nowhere (spectacular shrine of a goddess who had actually spoken to me notwithstanding).

I asked Masalinie to send me across to Caldera, and a few moments later I was standing back as Folms studied Azura's Star. He was fascinated by it, like a child with a new toy. He reverently turned it over and over in his palm, wearing a big grin. However when he gave the artifact back, the smile faded, and he gave me some very unwelcome news: he could not sell me a 'Summon Golden Saint' spell-scroll (the soul of a Golden Saint being a necessary component for having an item enchanted with a constant effect).

I was furious.

"WHAT?" I just about shouted.

Folms gave one of his small smiles, albeit a somewhat nervous-looking one.

"I am sorry, Mister Frost, but the Empire regulates trade in magical items, services and knowledge. They have deemed my services to be 'of a potentially hazardous nature', in their words, and I am prohibited from trading with those below a particular rank in the guild."

I couldn't believe it. I had travelled back and forth across the entire island of Vvardenfell, killing demons on the orders of a goddess, to obtain the tools I needed to assuage my fatal affliction and slow the accelerated aging that came with it, and now I was to be thwarted by Imperial rules and regulations. Folms went on:

"There have been rumblings about harsher restrictions on magic for some time, but they only just began enforcing them - in my case - yesterday. I really am very sorry. I think they objected to my selling spell-scrolls that summon Golden Saints. Almost any idiot can use those, and you of course know how dangerous Golden Saints can be." I had told him the whole story of my quest for the Star, including my climactic fight with the Golden Saint.

"Now, don't concern yourself too much, Frost. I was speaking with Ranis about this, and she told me you almost qualify for promotion to the rank of Conjurer. This is fortunate, because it apparently makes you almost sensible and trustworthy enough - in the eyes of the officials who visited me yesterday - to allow me to assist you with this enchanted item you need."

I sat down at one of the tables, and massaged my eyes and forehead. I could feel another headache coming on.

"Ranis tells me that she gave you a task a little while ago. My suggestion to you would be to see about completing that task for her; I have the feeling she would be free to promote you for that, and then we would be free to do business. In the meantime, I can probably give you a quote on how much gold I'll need to perform this enchantment for you. Actually, I can't help but notice your clothes; they're quite exquisite, if you don't mind me saying so. That shirt would be ideal for a constant effect enchantment, I think."

The Dunmer leaned forward and ran his hand over the sleeve of my shirt, then gathered up part of the fabric and rubbed it between his fingertips.

"Yes, this will do perfectly. Especially since you want healing magic to constantly seep into your body from the item. That's what this healer, Synnolian, recommended, am I right? An item of clothing, so that the enchantment will be in as close proximity to as much of your skin as possible?" I nodded, and Folms went on: "Now, you understand that such an enchantment as I can put on this shirt will not be nearly as potent as a standard healing spell, don't you? Not if you want it to be constantly in effect?"

"I've spoken several times to Galbedir before about enchanting, when we were studying," I said. "I gathered that that would be the case with a permanent effect enchantment; a creature's soul can only give off so much energy, right? And if it has to do it without stopping, essentially forever..."

Folms nodded.

"Yes. In any case, it will likely cost around thiry-one thousand septims... and just to reiterate what I told you earlier, the expense behind these enchantments is, unfortunately, out of my control."

I clenched my teeth. I had known that it would be expensive, but it was still less than pleasant to hear just how much money I needed to scrape together - and then immediately part with.

"Alright, Folms," I said, rising from the table, "I'll be back as soon as Ranis calls me Conjurer. I hope, when that time comes, that the process will not take long."

The enchanter smiled, and reached out to shake my hand.

"It should not take long at all. Good luck," he said. I clasped his hand briefly, and turned to go down the stairs and out into Caldera, heading for Creeper's place.

I couldn't remain angry at Folms. That the politics of the Empire (for surely that was what it boiled down to, rather than a genuine concern for the safety of the magically-inclined minority) had interfered with my needs was not Folms' fault. I could certainly understand his wish to not to be thrown in a cramped cell. At any rate, I needed more time to raise the necessary funds for his enchanter's fee.

After my journeys to Azura's Coast and the Sheogorad Region, I had plenty of inhabited soul gems to sell to Creeper. The problem was, the Scamp only seemed to be able to pull so much money from his mysterious 'screaming crate' each day. I could of course travel around the towns and settlements and sell the soul gems to whoever could afford them, but no-one payed as well as Creeper... It would be better for me to take the extra couple of days, and earn that much more money.

And so, after paying Creeper a short visit (in which he made a lunch out of the soul gems I sold to him), I had a quick lunch of my own, and went to strap my armour back on. On the very same day that I had battled demons and spoke with a goddess, I was off to persuade a surly mage to pay her overdue guild fees.

"My life on this island is nothing if not varied," I thought to myself. "But such a menial task..."

Of course, the 'boring task' quickly came to entail an afternoon of terror, pain, bloodshed, and desperate flight.

Just my luck.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Matar said...

Man...this chapter was rather... boring...

No biggy thhough this is probly just a chapter to set something epic up am I right or am I right?

Anyways im sure you know what im about to say..but I can never be to sure, the mage guy in mournhold in the craftsmen hall also sales golden saint scrolls... i can see why you used the mages guild guy (though i must admite that i never knew that) because it makes the most sence

(cough) Anyways when is frosty gonna get to mournhold??? after all theres a whole bunch of stuff there craftsmen hall the museum and if you have the mod Carnithus' Armamentarium... okay so the only reason i want him to go there is because of Carnithus' Armamentarium but i cant wait to see if you use it!!!!!

You will use Carnithus' Armamentarium You will use Carnithus' Armamentarium You will use Carnithus' Armamentarium

So did it work are you hypnotized yet?? Well are you?

Wednesday, October 26, 2005 5:47:00 pm  
Blogger Joseph said...

Yes, this is a bridging chapter, leading to much action and plot development in the next couple of chapers.

Edward hasn't had a visit from the boys in black for a while, so he's sort of forgotten about Mournhold for the time being. It *will* come up in the future, though.

- Joseph.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005 10:38:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find the chapter to be just fine, for what it's worth.

- QS

Thursday, October 27, 2005 6:17:00 am  
Blogger Joseph said...

Thanks, QS. :-)

- Joseph.

Friday, October 28, 2005 8:02:00 am  
Blogger Meej-Dar said...

Hypothetically speaking, let's say I don't know what iirc means. So what does it mean. Hypothetically speaking.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011 8:39:00 am  

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