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, December 02, 2005

Chapter 56: Aggression, Compassion

"Get off me, s'wit!" Bulfim spat, pushing at me weakly with one hand. The sickly Orc was covering her face with the other hand, and was not letting me get a good look at her. I had tried to help her stand, tried reasoning with her, explaining that I was there to cure her, but she would not listen. I had read that some blight diseases affected the victim's behaviour - perhaps that was it. Either that or she was simply mad as a marsh rat - she was a worshipper of the mad Daedra god Sheogorath, after all.

Eventually I was forced to use a variant of a charm spell on her; 'Calming Touch': a spell of the kind employed to instantly remove aggressive feelings in the subject. Spells of this kind also worked in combat to cause one's opponent to forget that they wanted to gut you, but I had only used 'Calming Touch' once before (when I was caught stealing Dwemer artifacts for Habasi Sugar-Lips). Calming spells were notoriously short-lived and unreliable.

Nevertheless, it worked on Bulfim gra-Shugarz; the Orc relenting and allowing me to examine her. By 'examine her', I mean 'look at her face'.

"Alright! You want to see? Here!" Bulfim dropped her hand and pushed her face aggressively into mine. The small tusks protruding from her lower jaw actually poked into my cheek. She may have been more willing to talk to me, but she was still quite unpleasant. "Look at my face, and my hands!"

The Orc made to smear her palms across my face, but I grabbed her wrists before she could do it - and I was glad that I had: her hands were covered with weeping sores. Her face was much the same; I could see why she had wanted to hide it.

"Let GO!" Bulfim squirmed and pulled, trying to break free. I released her wrists and took a step back. "Fool! I have... Ash Chancre." A note of despair crept into her voice. She stared up at me, still slumped against the wall of the shrine, holding her hands awkwardly in front of her. The sores must have been quite painful to the touch.

I was surprised that she knew the name of the specific blight disease she had - I had actually been trying to remember the name of the blight disease that most affected the victim's behaviour; and it was 'Ash Chancre'. She knew more about it than I did; which I thought was unusual because I had considered Daedra worshippers to all be somewhat savage, and Orcs were known to mostly be relatively unintelligent.

"I know a spell that should cure you completely..." I said, returning her stare, "if you will let me try."

Bulfim narrowed her eyes at me and asked the same thing I knew I would have asked, had I been in her position:

"Why would you? What do you want?"

Deciding that I had best not mention the Tribunal Temple to a follower of Sheogorath, I shrugged and said:

"You're sick. I can cure you, so why not? I don't want anything from you. I actually never want to see or hear from you again, if that puts you at ease."

The Orc snorted derisively.

"Alright then. Let's see if this works. I won't stop you."

Silently praying that it would work, I brought the 'Ash Mask' spell to the front of my mind, using it to shape the flow of magicka collecting in my hand.

"Now, hold still." I said firmly, laying my palm on Bulfim's forehead. A blue glow and a cool column of air drifted down from my hand, enveloping the belligerent Orc. The effects of the spell were spectacular, in their own way: the sores on her face and hands closed up and faded away in a matter of seconds, and the colour of her skin changed noticeably, becoming a fuller, brighter green. I hadn't noticed it before, but she had been quite pale. Bulfim gave a gurgling sigh, relaxing back against the wall. She sat motionless for a while, with her eyes closed. When she spoke again, her manner had changed dramatically.

"It worked! Stranger... thankyou. Wait!" Bulfim stiffened, and attempted to get to her feet, all the while craning her neck to see back the way I had came, behind the shrine. She was still too weak, however, and sank back to the floor. "Listen Breton, don't go back there; you should leave, before my... friends see you." I hesitated. Her friends had to be the Sheogorath worshippers I'd encountered earlier, and I had of course killed them. The Orc was becoming agitated: "I thank you for what you've done, but you must go! They'll kill you if they see you!"

There was a stabbing pain in my heart, but it was not some surprise attack by an enemy in the dark; it was guilt. Her friends had attacked me - I had acted in self defense - I knew this, and yet her obvious concern for my safety stirred a deep feeling of regret in me. As I mentioned, I even knew spells of Illusion that could bring about a peaceful resolution to combat (at least for long enough to make a hasty escape). I was just not confident enough in the school of Illusion to trust my life to such spells.

I left Bulfim gra-Shugarz without a word. What could I possibly say to her? I didn't know what to feel about my 'act of devotion' for the Tribunal Temple. I had done as Tuls Valen had asked, and it had been a good deed, I suppose: but I could not help but feel that the journey had been more about violence and killing than anything else.

It was dark outside. As I left a magical Mark in the ruins and made to teleport back home for the night, my heart was heavy with guilt.

Was I to go on to kill anyone who opposed me? I could see only death down that road: death for others, and eventually, death for me. There had to be another way.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, Frosty, I've got five words for you: That's the way Morrowind is.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006 10:04:00 am  

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