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, November 13, 2005

Chapter 48: Master

The Castle Guardian lay dead on the rocky shore. The only thing that stood between me and ownership of Wolfen Castle was the Wolfen family seal: I had to find it.

I ran all the way back down to the ground floor of the keep, my armoured boots clattering over the stone steps. I'll admit I was worried about Falorn knowing more than he let on: that he knew all about the Wolfen seal, and what it meant - hence my rush in getting back to the chamber in which I had disturbed the Guardian. The chamber, as I had hoped, turned out to indeed be the crypt mentioned in the late Master Wolfen's journal: on a stone plinth lay a dusty skeleton, carefully arranged with its arms by its sides. Also by its side was a massive, two-handed dai-katana. The blade glittered like nothing I had seen before, and was... ghostly. My fingers passed right through it.

Falorn was nowhere to be seen, but I did not exhale in relief until I spotted the ornate golden ring resting on the skeleton's ribcage: it bore the device of the Wolfen family - the one I had seen on the journal. The Wolfen ring was attached to a finely wrought chain that went around the skeleton's neck, and I exercised great care in unclasping it. I did not want to disturb the late master's body more than was necessary; I had seen too much of the frightening undead to want to risk angering the spirit whose castle I intended to take as my own. As it was, several things about the late master perturbed me: how was it that his corpse had decayed so much in only a few months, when it had been kept in that more-or-less sealed crypt? There was absolutely nothing left but the bones.

There was also, of course, the matter of how he had kept an entire castle hidden from the world for so long, and the hints in his journal that he was somehow different than the average man or mer. These thoughts were immediately put from my mind when I fastened the fine chain around my neck, and experimentally slipped the Wolfen ring onto a finger. I blacked out, and an instant later, came to - standing in the great hall of the keep, right where I had found the journal!

As soon as my head cleared, I noticed the strangest thing: the Wolfen ring was not on my finger anymore; it was, in fact, hovering a short distance from my face, drawing the fine chain out to hang parallel to the floor. It was as if some poltergeist had a hold of the ring, and was pulling it towards the strange three-sided pillar I had noticed earlier. The pillar... now that I looked at it more closely, it reminded me of the triolithic shrines of the Tribunal Temple. Perhaps it held some significance - beyond the fact that it appeared to physically attract the Wolfen ring, of course.

I stepped closer to the pillar, the force with which the ring pulled against the chain growing ever stronger, until - it touched the pillar, and I blacked out again. This time when I came to I was standing on the guide platform in the Balmora Mages Guild, with Ajira and Masalinie staring at me.

"Are you alright, Edward?" Masalinie asked. "You look... startled. And your armour..."

I followed her gaze, and looked down at my armour. It was, of course, liberally spattered and caked with blood - both mine and the black ichor of the Guardian beast.

"No, I'm fine," I replied, "I just... didn't cast Recall to get here - or have one of the other guides teleport me." Masalinie and Ajira both raised their eyebrows at me. I made a dismissive gesture with my hands. "Never mind - I'll explain later."

I slipped the ring onto my finger, and a moment later was standing once more in the great hall of Wolfen keep, with the ring again straining towards the pillar. This time I stepped away from the triolithic stone, and the ring fell back against my chest.

I felt a smile creeping across my face. It was becoming plain that the Wolfen ring was more than just a symbolic "token of his people", to paraphrase the late master. It acted as a key to the castle (in a manner of speaking), proof of ownership, and best of all, could teleport me back to the keep instantly - no matter where I happened to be.

Falorn was standing outside, at the bottom of the keep steps, awkwardly grasping my silver sword. With a concerned look at the bloody and savaged state of my armour, he held out the sword for me to take.

"I saw what happened from the yard!" The groundskeeper said. "I knew there was something in there. Little wonder no-one wanted to stay. But you killed it - thankyou! It landed on the other side of the wall - I heard it from here..." the Bosmer shuddered, "nothing could survive a fall like that. And now..."

Falorn stopped. He had seen the Wolfen ring hanging from my neck. I was mildly surprised when he made a short bow.

"That's the Master's ring. He - the late Master Wolfen - always carried it, and I know what it means. I heard him talking one night, near the end; to some of his ... friends, I suppose they were. He said that he would see to it that once he died, no-one would wear the Wolfen ring again until the next owner of the castle came along - and that only by taking up the ring, would that person be named the new owner." The Bosmer paused. "Maybe not his exact words, but his meaning was clear enough."

I cleared my throat, feeling slightly uncomfortable.

"Yes," I began, "I found the journal..." I explained briefly how the final entry in the book echoed Falorn's account of the late Master's wishes, and about the defeat of the Guardian monster being part of the 'deal', so to speak. As I spoke it occurred to me that if the Bosmer really couldn't read the journal, he was taking an awful lot on faith. From his point of view, I could be making up anything I wanted about the book's contents. So, at the end of my explanation, I handed the journal over to the groundskeeper and added lamely: "We... can take the journal to someone of your choosing, and have them read it to you, if you like."

Falorn shook his head.

"No, I believe you - because I believe him, and what he said about the ring." He tapped the Wolfen emblem on the front cover with a forefinger. "For as long as I knew the late Master, if he said something would happen, it did. So..." he smiled, and bowed again, "this means you're the legal owner of Wolfen castle, Master Frost; and I'll be your witness to that fact - on one condition." His expression grew quite shrewd. "You keep me on as the paid groundskeeper."

I felt the corners of my mouth twitch upwards despite myself. It was the most 'Bosmerish' thing I had heard Falorn say.

"Of course." I shook his hand. "I'll need someone who knows how to run a castle, because, to be honest, I ... well - have little idea how."

So that was how I came to be master of my very own castle. It was such an extraordinary piece of good fortune (desperate fight with a monstrous beast notwithstanding), that even as Falorn guided me through the keep, it still hadn't really sunk in. I silently took in all that the keep had to offer, while the Bosmer, grumbling all the way, surveyed the extensive damage the Guardian had caused in its pursuit of me.

The ground floor held the great hall, a kitchen, mess hall, servant's quarters, smithy, sparring room, alchemy laboratory, a couple of storerooms, and a room just off the laboratory that was bare except for a raised stone platform in the centre - a room for magical activities, I assumed. The second storey was made up entirely of dormitories and bed chambers - enough to accomodate the entire staff of the castle, plus a decent retinue of guards - that is if I had either of those things, of course. The top storey was made up of the massive master bedroom, plus exits out to the castle battlements and the tower. I was glad to see that, though they were nothing fancy, most rooms in the keep held serviceable furnishings - beds, tables, chairs, wardrobes and the like.

"All these doors will need to be replaced," Falorn was saying, nudging the splintered remains of the door out to the battlements, "especially this one. The late Master left some money in the keep, to be used for the maintenance of the castle, but I don't think it will be enough..."

The Bosmer shot me a hooded glance. I guessed that one of the reasons why he was not averse to having a new master was that he needed someone with money. He had had a castle in his sole care, but that was little good without the means to feed himself.

"That shouldn't be a problem, Falorn." Silently I reminded myself to thank Masalinie Merian yet again for directing me to Creeper. "I'll have money enough."

Once the Bosmer had finished showing me around, I excused myself and carefully bathed in the rocky shallows just outside the castle walls (on the opposite side of the tiny island to the grisly remains of the Guardian). I had to be careful not to let the breaking waves knock me off my feet (swimming in full armour is not easy), but soon I had cleaned myself and my armour of the monster's black ichor - and of my own dried blood.

Afterwards, I used the three-sided pillar to teleport back to the Mages Guild. At first I wasn't sure whether the pillar was sending me to my own 'Marked' location on the guide platform, or if whoever had enchanted the pillar had simply found, as I did, that the Balmora guild hall made a convenient destination. Through later experimentation, I found that it was the latter; which I thought was excellent, as it meant I could Mark other useful locations but still return to Balmora quickly through use of the Wolfen ring.

I explained my astounding news to my friends at the guild over lunch, taking pains to assure them that they would still see me just as often as they had up to that point; I merely wouldn't be sleeping there anymore. As I had expected, no-one was greatly upset to hear that - I was sure they would all sleep easier knowing that, from then on, there would be no chance of them getting in the way should a Dark Brotherhood assassin decide to visit me in the night.

I spent the afternoon moving my possessions from the guild hall to the castle, a task made rather easy by the teleportation properties of the Wolfen ring. Most of the time was spent deciding where to store my things in my new home. Partway through the afternoon, I made a fantastic discovery. As I was trudging through the great hall with an armful of clothes, I noticed that as I passed a certain length of wall, the echoes of my footsteps came back sounding rather... hollow. An examination of the wall revealed another secret door like the one to the crypt, and behind it, a chamber full of wooden great-chests; the perfect hidden storeroom!

I could hardly have wished for a better place to store my money and valuables. I retired that evening in the master bedroom feeling very content. The first night in my new home passed uneventfully, but the dawn brought a new set of problems.

I woke to find Falorn shaking me. Groaning, I sat up.

"What?" I rasped groggily. "What is it?"

"Get up, Master Frost," the Bosmer said, pulling at my wrist, "you need to see this."

He dragged me over to the window and threw open the shutters. Squinting into the glare of the morning light on the sea, I saw what had Falorn so concerned. Marching along the long, narrow bridge towards Wolfen Island was a score of Imperial Legion soldiers, unmistakable in their glittering armour. They were coming two-by-two, and the two men in the centre of the formation held bright Legion standards, flapping gently in the morning breeze.

"Falorn," I said, as I dashed over to the wardrobe and began pulling on some clothes, "go get that journal, and meet me at the castle gates. Hurry!"

I was fairly certain I knew what the Legion soldiers wanted, and it did not bode well for me.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Um,does this REALLY happen in the game?Cause if it does I am so getting that mod!:)

Sunday, November 13, 2005 3:05:00 pm  
Blogger Joseph said...

Which part do you mean, exactly?

Although without waiting for an answer, I can probably say "no, it doesn't". I'm embellishing a lot on what's included in the Wolfen Castle mod.

If you're talking about the Legion soldiers showing up, then I can definitely say no. That's only part of the Frost in Morrowind story. :-)

- Joseph.

Sunday, November 13, 2005 9:10:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay,sorry.:\I meant the ring pulling you to the pillar part.:)

Tuesday, November 15, 2005 4:50:00 am  
Blogger Joseph said...

Ah, okay. Well, I made up the part about the ring being physically attracted to the pillar, but the teleportation aspects that I described are all there in the mod; one of the main reasons I've always used Wolfen Castle, actually. :-)

Tuesday, November 15, 2005 11:06:00 am  
Anonymous Matar said...

Hehe I think i know what the troops want Hehe but by frosty showing them he owns the will put them back in there crappy little castle that i allways get lost at!!!!

(Scratches Head) Do you have the Almalexia romance mod i dont have it i only heard about it on there main website....

Well anyways

Matar Out

Wednesday, November 16, 2005 8:59:00 am  
Blogger Joseph said...

Almalexia romance mod? Wha....?

I haven't heard anything about it. Which site was that? I just wonder how they would present a romance with a living goddess - especially one like Almalexia.

- Joseph.

Thursday, November 17, 2005 11:19:00 am  

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