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, November 09, 2005

Chapter 46: Wolfen Castle

Falorn had the manner of a Bosmer who had lived most of his life in the company of Imperials. Many regard wood elves as rude, uncivilised people, but this was certainly not the case with Falorn: he spoke with all the diplomacy of one native to Cyrodiil, the Imperial Province. This was soon explained by the fact that Falorn had been the Wolfen family's groundskeeper for a very long time: centuries, in fact. Since Wolfen castle was built in the Imperial style, it was apparent that the family was Imperial themselves; or at least were accustomed to living according to Cyrodiilic customs.

"Master Wolfen - the last Master Wolfen - died just a few months back." Falorn told me, sitting on the steps leading up to the keep and rubbing the soil from his hands. "I wouldn't say that he was a friend; I certainly wasn't privy to his innermost secrets - or even the everyday secrets of the castle and his family."

At that, the Bosmer paused, and I took the opportunity to ask him about something that had been bothering me:

"It's interesting that you should mention secrets about this place. I asked a number of soldiers at the fort about this castle," I waved a hand in the general direction of Ebonheart, "and no-one knew a thing about it. It seemed quite the mystery: as if we were all noticing it for the first time."

Falorn chuckled.

"It's hardly surprising the Legion knows little of the castle," he said; "the Imperial army - the rank, file, and officers all - were hardly the social circles the late Master Wolfen moved in. It was the same with every Wolfen I've known: I've worked for them for generations of their family." The Bosmer scratched the side of his nose, and stared into the middle distance. "No, the guests they entertained here were always more interesting: strong men and exotic women - most wore the strangest clothes I had ever seen, and weapons, always they carried weapons." His eyes focused again, and he cast a glance down at my Netch Adamantium armour - and the swords carried at my waist. "Adventurers, I suppose they were."

"Still, though I said we were not friends, the late Master Wolfen was a kind enough master: it was his will that I stay on here at the castle after he was gone - if I wanted." Falorn pointed to one of the huts across the yard from the main keep. "I still have my own little place over there. I'm the only one here now. I don't go into the keep very much anymore; not much to take care of in there now. Most of the master's things went to his friends: the exotic visitors I mentioned. Also, before he died, the master asked me to see to it that the keep was kept for anyone to take shelter in for short times, should they need it."

The weathered-looking Bosmer shifted uncomfortably and gave the darkened windows of the keep an odd look.

"Not many come, however, and those that do, seldom stay more than an hour. Almost every man or mer that has gone into the keep since the master died has come out again complaining of spirits, or monsters, before leaving for the island straight away. Some just ran, faces white as pearl - and others - a few others simply vanished." Falorn began to look somewhat worried, and I guessed I was about to learn why he had been so talkative; so eager to tell a stranger his story. "After what the other visitors had told me, when this one travelling pilgrim went in one night but failed to come out, I went in to check on him."

"I went from bottom to top of the keep, calling for him. Then I checked every room when he didn't answer. I found no sign of him, though being a pilgrim, I imagine he simply teleported away to some shrine or other." The haunted look in the Bosmer's eyes told me that he was trying to convince himself, as much as me, of the pilgrim's wellbeing. He looked up, and stared into my eyes. "I know what the recent visitors are talking about. There's something in there - I could hear it. I've gone in to check on a few visitors that vanished since then, but the last couple of times, I just couldn't bring myself to go into the keep again. There's something dangerous in there, I know it."

I noticed that Falorn was looking at my weapons again, paying special attention to the fine glass katana strapped to my belt.

"Master Wolfen kept a journal, and I know that he wrote in it what was to happen to the castle after he died." Falorn paused, then pointed to the doors at the top of the steps we were sitting on. "It's in the great hall, just through those doors. I've wanted to know what it says about the castle for some little while now, but I'll admit - I can't read ... very well. I certainly can't read the late master's handwriting."

I stood, resting a hand upon the hilt of my katana. I knew what Falorn wanted.

"You want me to retrieve the journal, and read it to you, don't you?" I asked.

"I wouldn't ask, but I can see that you're well-armed." Falorn clasped his hands together. "I... want to stay here, in my hut; but I need to know what's in the keep - and if it's dangerous."

Well, I accepted and pushed through the doors into the keep's great hall, leaving the groundskeeper outside. As I said before, I was very curious about the castle. The hall was only illuminated by the slanting light from the few windows whose shutters hung open, and it was fairly bare; as Falorn had described. Besides the thick, square pillars that held up the ceiling, the only furnishings I could see immediately were a table and several chairs gathered around a fireplace set into one of the walls.

On further investigation, I found a small, low table, near an odd triolithic pillar - both sequestered in an out-of-the-way corner. On the table was the journal I was looking for. I pulled one of the wooden chairs over from the table, to set it under one of the open windows in a way that left my back to the wall, and gave me enough light to read by when I sat in it. Mindful of Falorn's tale of spirits and monsters, I sat with the bared blade of my katana laid across my knees.

I opened the book from the back, looking for the final entry in its pages. It made for an interesting read: the late master of the castle referred to himself as the last of his 'kind', rather than the last of his family - though he did not elaborate on what was meant by that - at least in the passage I read. It seemed that he had, for the most part, kept himself and the castle near Ebonheart a secret from the world; and by the way he wrote of his "life and his magic" failing as he approached death, I thought I knew why no-one had taken much notice of the place until recently. Wolfen castle had been hidden by magic.

Falorn was correct: Master Wolfen's final journal entry acted as his last will and testament - and it both explained an awful lot, and bred a great excitement in my gut.

He wrote that while most of his possessions and treasure was to be divided up amongst his friends, he left Wolfen Castle to whoever could defeat the castle 'Guardian', and lay claim to a particular seal - a 'token of his people'. I remembered that the front of the journal had been adorned with a fancy device; and flipping the book over to study it more closely, I found that the device incorporated an elegant 'W' character. Looking about me, I noticed that several of the stone blocks in the nearby walls were imprinted with the same emblem. That, then, would be the device of the Wolfen family.

The late Wolfen's final journal entry said that it was his will that the seal be kept with his body in his crypt, and that the mysterious 'Guardian' be posted to guard them both. That is what excited me: to put it simply, whoever took possession of the seal, took possession of Wolfen Castle in its entirety.

I certainly needed a place of my own: no-one had said anything, but it was plain that my welcome at the Balmora Mages Guild hall had been somewhat strained since the Dark Brotherhood attacks there. No-one felt truly comfortable sharing sleeping quarters with me. In addition, there simply wasn't room - or adequate security - for me to store all the things I found in my travels (not to mention my money). I had, of course, never had an eye towards owning a castle - me, a Cult orphan and released convict - the very idea was ludicrous.

But then, the book I held in my hands said that if I only found that seal, the castle would be mine. This may sound selfish, but I put off informing Falorn of my findings until I had had a chance to look for the seal myself. Slipping the journal into my pack, I stood and considered where I should begin my search. The late Wolfen's testament had failed to mention exactly where his crypt was located, but given the tale I had heard from Falorn of the "spirits" or "monsters" in the keep, I suspected that the castle Guardian - and therefore the crypt - was right there in the keep. Somewhere.

As I walked slowly through the great hall, I began to notice the same sense of eeriness I had felt outside. Even with several of the windows open, the sound of the breaking waves outside was oddly muffled; and as I stopped to listen to it, I thought I could hear something beneath the hiss of the sea. It was like a sinister whispering, but it was so close in sound to the murmur of the waves that I may have only imagined it.

Still, as I made my way deeper into the gloomy keep, it felt like every hair on my body was stirring, and standing on end. What manner of fearsome beast would be posted to guard the ownership to an entire castle? A notion such as that was daunting on its own, but there was something else at play. Could it be Falorn's unsettling story disturbing my calm?

I soon found a flight of stairs leading down into the ground. My experience with tombs and crypts told me that if I was likely to find one anywhere in a castle, it would be underground. There was a door at the bottom of the steps, and when I reached it I was sure I could hear something behind it: like shuffling footsteps, and an awful, low, groaning noise. My skin began to crawl.

On the other side was nothing: a dim, empty corridor. The noise was much louder, however, and as I crept along the corridor, I realised where it was coming from: behind one of the walls. Aided by the unnerving sound of something snuffling and groaning, the secret door was easy to find. With my helmet on and blade in hand, I shoved the door open by leaning into it with my shield.

With a piercing metallic shriek, the heavy stone door swung inwards on its hinges, and standing before me was the Guardian of the castle: a black, hulking monster that regarded me with large, iridescent, bulbous eyes. I couldn't tell if the beast was too big for the hidden chamber, or if it always appeared to be hunched over. In any case, the mass of muscle, scales and fur towered well above me, while the filthy talons at the ends of its long, wiry arms scraped along the stone floor. As I entered, the thing was stumping back and forth in the small chamber on its hind legs, like man or mer. In its palms were what I can only describe as pulsing, glowing blue organs - looking as if they rather belonged on the creature's insides.

Whenever the beast's hands scraped over a bump in the uneven stone floor, the thing twitched as if in pain, and fitful sparks shot out of the blue 'organs' in its palms. When the creature saw me, it snarled, showing a snout full of stained, crooked, razor-sharp teeth; before barrelling towards me, snapping its jaws.

It was like a creature from my nightmares.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Matar said...

I left a reveiw on chapter 45 just so you know.

Ohhh Frostys gonna fight a monster from his very own nightmares.... sucks to be him eh. :) (hehe this chapter reminds me of "Nightmare on elms street" hehe"

(Cough) If frosty ever gose to suran think about him going to the house of earthly delights with the

"House of Earthly Delights, Harem Style" Mod on it makes the place seem... more alive (perverted laughter) HEHEHEHE.

Or maybe fight Umbra (I really like his sword I looks AWSOME!!!)

Or how bought the horror mod??? (Did i allready tell you abought this mod... i cant remember...)

Oh and some good mods that I cant play without are

Slof's Vampire Faces

Scripted_Spells

Vampire_Embrace

P.R.E. v4.0

Assassins Armory

errr yah that was random... but im not know for making sence so....

Anyways

Matar Out

P.s Hope you like my ideas and if you want me to stop just say so ok :P

Thursday, November 10, 2005 10:34:00 am  
Blogger Joseph said...

Matar: Oh yeah - I had a look at the Daedra Manor, but I don't think it's for me. It's a bit hard for other housing mods to compete with Wolfen Castle, for me - I've been using it for years. It's one of the older (oldest?) housing mods around, and it's very well set out and convenient. I won't describe it too much here as I go into more detail on it in the upcoming chapter(s).

You mentioned the Horror mod a while back, and I said that one of my previous characters ended up getting lost in the massive dungeon in that mod, never to be seen again.

Yes, those vampire mods are ones I've always used in the past - plus
Vampire Realism and Vampire Hunger. Assassins Armoury is always there too. What *is* P.R.E. v4.0?

Ask you to stop? *shrug* It doesn't bother me. Just don't be offended if your favourite mods don't end up in the story.

- Joseph.

Friday, November 11, 2005 11:06:00 am  

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