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.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Chapter 44: Negotiations

"So Llarar Bereloth actually agreed to join the Guild, did he? Hmm..." It was obvious that Ranis had expected me to report that I had been forced to kill the Telvanni wizard. She didn't appear overly surprised or shocked, just... thoughtful. It was my guess that, should another new member of the Mages Guild come to her for tasks to perform, she would send them off to badger Llarar about the matter - and kill him if he objected to the nagging, or seemed to be delaying joining on purpose, or... pretty much anything that would provide an excuse to have him killed. I got the impression that Ranis simply could not stand having Telvanni anywhere near her guild hall.

"And Manwe's guild dues too... you got all two thousand?" I nodded, and she gave a half-smile. "Good. Nicely done. You deserve to keep half the... proceeds - as we discussed."

I sighed, and handed the thousand septims over to the Guild Steward. I was no stranger to theft; that was not what bothered me. It was just that I had thought my duties and studies as a member of the Mages Guild would be free of such things. Plus, I was still in a foul mood over the events of the previous day.

I was angry at Ranis for sending me through such dangerous territory: what with being harried by a dragon during my journey, and with the other things that happened. I kept quiet about it, though; partially because I was unsure whether she - or anyone else - would believe my story about the dragon, but mainly because I did not want the tale of the slaughter in Marandus to come out. Because that was the real reason I was angry. If I had known in advance how much trouble Ranis' task would be, I would have found another way to reach the rank of Conjurer. Ajira had told me that Edwinna, the Ald'ruhn Mages Guild Steward, might have assignments for me... Still, I told myself that if Ranis promoted me, and I could finally get Folms to make that damned enchantment, it would all be more or less worth it.

"Ranis," I began, as she slipped the pouch of drakes into her robes, "I don't wish to be too forward, but I need that healing enchantment from Folms, and he said that -"

She raised a hand to stop me.

"I know. It... hurts all the time, doesn't it?" She was gazing again at the crescent mark that had emblazoned my face since the skin and flesh had grown back. Usually the mysterious blemish was mostly hidden behind my now lanky hair, but on the occasions that the mark flared up and glowed brilliantly, it was pretty much noticeable no matter what. Right then must have been one of those times, as my head had just begun to throb painfully again; and the crescent mark always seemed to flare up at the same time. Ranis went on:

"Frost, never hesitate to ask me for advancement in the Guild - as long as the request is warranted. Gaining power and position is what we are here for. One of the things we are here for." She corrected herself. "And in your case, it appears you do deserve the rank of Conjurer." The Steward's gaze travelled up and down my armour and equipment. I had gone straight to her upon teleporting back from the Ashlands, and as she studied me, I realised that the state of my equipment told a patently obvious story about the hardships I had faced the previous day. My armour was scored and gouged all over, and in the comparatively sterile environment of the Guild hall, I noticed that I smelled of blood.

"Of course," Ranis said, "upon rising to the rank of Conjurer, your own Guild fees become due: two hundred septims. Do you wish to pay them now?" I blinked, but handed over another two hundred drakes out of the money I had received from Manwe. It wasn't much, considering the incredible amount I would have to give Folms before too long. I noticed that Ranis placed those coins on her desk, instead of in her pocket. "Thankyou, Edward. You are now, officially, a Conjurer. Congratulations."

At the news that I was now legally able to buy 'Summon Golden Saint' spell-scrolls from Folms, I sighed again: this time in relief. Now, as long as I could trap the soul of one of the lethal things without it rending me limb from limb in the process, I was set. I gave Ranis a small bow.

"Thankyou, Steward. Apologies for blowing through the hall only for a promotion, then leaving, but..." I attempted a smile, but it turned into a grimace, "the pain... I need to see Folms about this enchantment right away." I sent the healing spell into my head yet again, buying myself another few minutes of relief.

Ranis shrugged.

"I don't mind... but you'll probably find that he's out to lunch at the moment." I closed my eyes and forced myself to remain calm. After all the delays and setbacks, Folms being unavailable right at the instant when I could finally make use of his services was a bit much. Still, I reminded myself that he would have to be back soon. Ranis was still talking: "I was looking for him a few minutes ago, too; but they said they didn't know where he went. He shouldn't be too long. Have you had lunch yet?"

I shook my head. I was hungry, now that she mentioned it. Ranis fished out ten or so drakes from her pocket and dropped them in my palm.

"Here. You may as well head over to the South Wall for something to eat while you're waiting. And, if you're still planning on using that fancy shirt of yours for the enchantment, might I suggest dropping it off at the tailor's to have it washed and repaired, before you take it to Folms?"

Most members of the Balmora Mages Guild knew that I wore my finest shirt under my armour (as extra padding). They knew this because after my embarassing introduction to them all when I first joined, I figured that there wasn't much use in trying to maintain my modesty and dignity when changing clothes in the Guild Hall. I realised that she was probably right about the shirt, too: it was in a terrible state. The arms were almost entirely burnt off, and the rest was slashed, torn, and stained. I was surprised Folms hadn't mentioned it. Perhaps he had intended to take it to get repaired himself after I gave it over to him - and then add a surcharge to his fee, of course.

I thanked her for all her help, and turned to leave, but she wasn't quite finished:

"One more thing, Conjurer." By the way she addressed me using my new rank, I thought I knew what was coming. I was right: "There is something you can do for me while you're over at the South Wall. This will count as your next official Guild assignment. There is an Argonian mage over at the Club, offering magical training and tutelage out of the back room. While I'm not sure who would want to trust anything they learn out of a back room at a tavern - especially when it comes to magic - I can't leave this to work itself out with those Imperial officials hanging around."

She did not elaborate, but I assumed she was talking about the same officials who had told Folms that he couldn't serve anyone below the rank of Conjurer in the Guild. Ranis continued:

"They would see it as my responsibility - as Steward here - to ensure no-one outside the Guild offers training in the magical arts in Balmora; but I'll be honest: the whole matter turns my stomach. So - I would appreciate it if you could persuade this Argonian, whoever he is, to stop tutoring people out of the South Wall Cornerclub. In any case, with those officials around, it would probably be in your best interest to consolidate your rank as Conjurer by getting this assignment behind you; before you go buying something 'dangerous' from Folms."

I accepted the assignment, even though it seemed like another 'hired muscle' kind of job. The Steward presented a number of good points, and besides: she had accepted at face value my report that Llarar Bereloth had agreed to join the Mages Guild, even without any kind of evidence that I was telling the truth. I felt confident that I and my charm spell could work something out.

I stopped in at the tailor's before heading across to the club, and ended up walking out of the shop with a whole new shirt - my old one on the tailor's scrap pile. She had taken one look at the tattered remains of the shirt, and declared that it would be easier for her - and cheaper for me - if I simply bought a new one. Fortunately, she had one on her shelves that was almost exactly the same. Apparently the shirt I had stolen (from one of the manors in Balmora) had originally been made by her; she showed me her maker's mark on one of the hems; giving me a strange look as she did so.

Another reason for accepting Ranis' 'intimidation' assignment was that it would take me to a place with liberal amounts of alcohol, and with the weight of all the people I had killed the previous day heavy on my mind, I felt the need for a strong drink. So it was with a large mug of sujamma in hand that I slid into the seat across from the only Argonian in the South Wall Club. I introduced myself, and learned that he had what I considered to be quite a distinguished name: 'Only-He-Stands-There'. I was still quite hungry, so I wasted no time in launching into my reason for disturbing the lizard:

"Only-He, I've heard that you're the one to talk to around here should I want to learn some magic."

The Argonian studied my face for a moment.

"Is Breton in the Guild?"

I had learned from Habasi Sugar-Lips, the head of the Balmora Thieves Guild, that in a Thieves Guild hangout like the South Wall club, when someone said 'Guild', they almost always meant 'Thieves Guild'. I replied that I was, and Only-He confirmed that he had been teaching people magic.

"Breton wants training?" His thin, forked tongue darted in and out of his drink several times in rapid succession: the equivalent of a sip for an Argonian.

"No," I shook my head; "I'll be straight with you: I'm also in the Mages Guild. I've been sent to ask you to stop training people out of the club." I paused. Only-He was staring at me, as motionless as only the lizard-folk can be. It was unnerving; I always found it difficult to interpret Argonian expressions. I went on: "Perhaps there's another town you could teach in?"

Only-He shook his head.

"I have better idea. Breton goes back, tells mages I stop training - and I give good friend Breton magic training, if he wants." I already had all the tutors I needed at the Mages Guild, so the Argonian's offer was fairly weak, I thought. My lack of enthusiasm must have been evident, as Only-He quickly went on: "Also, I remember hearing about Breton called Frost looking for Imperial-man Cosades. You keep secret, I tell about Cosades. Important information."

I hadn't been back to see Caius Cosades since first meeting him, when he had revealed that he was a Blade - a spy in the service of the Emperor; or so he said. I was curious about the old Imperial man: that he was a Blade - in the secret service of the Emperor - was a pretty big claim on his part. I wanted to know more about him, so I accepted the Argonian's offer, ordering some food from Phane behind the bar; so I could eat while the lizard talked.

"Cosades dangerous, dangerous man." Only-He began, once I had assured him I would hold up my end of the bargain. "I had friends, told me they going to break into Cosades' house, steal things. 'Old man!' they said. 'Easy!'. Saw friends go into house. Never saw friends again. Vanished."

Only-He's thin lips cracked open, and he poured the rest of his drink down his throat in one go. The story appeared to distress him, but...

"Is that it?" I asked.

The Argonian cocked his head to the side, gazing at me.

"Breton not want to know Cosades dangerous man? Mess with Cosades, disappear!"

I'll admit it was a somewhat chilling tale - it just wasn't exactly what I wanted to know about Caius. Still, Only-He had fulfilled his part of the deal, so I thanked him, and left for the Guild hall once I had finished eating. Ranis was at her desk when I arrived, flipping through pages of notes. She gave me a distracted "thankyou" for my report, barely looking up, before saying she would have another task for me "later".

I was glad to hear it. I could finally go and get that enchantment from Folms, and have some relief from the pain - at last.


Anonymous Matar said...

well what i posted last chapter holds here soooo im just gonna copy-paste

I knew someone would think im pushing him to do something i hear it all the time even if im not....

eh if im presuring him in any way im sorry but really im just talking and giving ideas not pushing for somthing to happen

if i were to push id say something like"it would be better if you did this" thats what i say when i push when i give an idea i say "maybe you could put in lilarcor" and then put why it may help or make something funny and stuff.

No biggy though people get confused all the time when I talk so lets just say I have never pushed for something on any fanfiction (at least not yet) and probly never will.

All i do is give ideas

Ill reveiw the next chapter (your not gonna get rid of me that easy!!!)

Matar Out

p.s dose anyone here watch big-o and would you wanna read a fanfiction i know a really good one and im hoping if she gets more fans she will continue them, but i thought i should ask if its ok first. (i dont want to seem rude).

p.p.s Really of topic but whats your faveroit type of spell mines abosrb heath it gose great with my battle mage.

Friday, November 04, 2005 2:32:00 pm  
Blogger Joseph said...

No need to copy-paste, Matar, just tell people to refer to what you said in the last comments (or whenever).

I don't feel pressured. I think about what people say in the comments, but in the end I'm going to write whatever I think is best anyway. :-P

I don't know what big-o is.

Absorb Health is good, but I think my favourite is Jump, actually.

- Joseph.

Friday, November 04, 2005 3:45:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey there, I am an older Elderscrolls fan, and I just wanted to say thanks for sharing your writing.

I work a really stressful job and I always look forward to reading your story on my coffee break.

Thanks and good luck to you,
Minneapolis Morrowind gamer.

Saturday, November 05, 2005 11:59:00 pm  
Blogger Joseph said...

Thanks, Minneapolis Morrowind gamer! I often do the same thing, actually: reading Morrowind fan fiction during my lunch break.

- Joseph.

Sunday, November 06, 2005 1:10:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been reading this blog since day one,and I LOVE it!:)
My favorite spell is invisibility or chamelon,same thing really.

Sunday, November 06, 2005 10:49:00 am  

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