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, December 07, 2005

Chapter 58: Thief again

What I found in the previously lost passages in Ibar-Dad caves was definitely a tomb; but it was unlike any other I had seen on Vvardenfell. There was no ash-pit, and no burial urns. Instead, there was a skeletal corpse laid out on a stone plinth, arrayed in what must have been prized arms and armour indeed. On the skull was a frightening-looking Daedric helmet, different from those I had seen Dremora wear. At one hand was a Daedric shield, the other a Daedric war axe.

Daedric armour was the most highly prized protective equipment in the land, but it required a man or mer of epic strength to really wear it effectively. It was certainly too heavy for me, even with my newfound artificial strength. The armour would join the Daedric bow I found: on display in my new 'museum' at Wolfen Castle. I mentioned that I would likely never have to worry about funding for the castle again: this is because the rest of the ancient treasure in the burial chamber was truly stunning.

In addition to a number of superb weapons, including a Daedric war-staff and a beautiful gold-inlaid daikatana (which, incredibly, was even heavier than the Daedric daikatana), there were two wooden strongboxes full to the brim with mounds of gold coins, jewellery and precious stones of every kind. Best of all, lying atop one of the strongboxes was a Daedric longsword.

I could hardly have asked for a better weapon. While it was not quite as sharp and well-balanced as the daikatana, it was a much more manageable weight and length, meaning I could swing it with one hand. I had become accustomed to fighting with a shield, so this was quite welcome. The sword was a lot heavier than my glass katana, and I suspected it would take some getting used to the slower swings this necessitated; but with such a sharp, durable and heavy blade, I would be able to deal some absolutely crushing blows. I decided to keep the Daedric longsword as my main weapon, and use my trusty glass katana as a backup - assuming I could get it repaired somehow. I had no idea how someone would go about fixing a blade of volcanic glass that had snapped completely in half.

The weapons from the tomb and those from the Daedra 'guards' - plus the strongboxes - were altogether far too much for me to carry, of course. I cast Mark in the burial chamber, and, with a heavy armful of fine weapons, awkwardly slipped the Wolfen ring onto my finger. I was again drawn through space, crossing the entire span of the island in an instant, back to my new home.

The great hall was empty when I arrived, thankfully; I lumbered over to the hidden storeroom and carefully piled the weapons in a corner. I preferred not to face any questions from the castle staff about where I had found such a fortune. Personally my conscience was not much troubled over taking every item of value from Mordrin Hanin's tomb: it had obviously been lost to time - for an age or more. However, some might call what I was doing 'grave-robbing' or 'tomb-raiding', or some other equally offensive name: so if the staff knew nothing about where I got the money for the castle from, it would be a good thing. As for the Daedric items that were going on display, I could say that I won them fighting Daedra in a Daedric shrine: that was feasible enough, and quite close to being true.

It took several trips, teleporting back and forth, to gather up all the treasure and stash it safely in the hidden storeroom. Fortunately the rotting strongboxes didn't break along the way. The day was drawing to a close by the time I had finished, so I decided to stay home for the rest of the evening, and continue on from Ibar-Dad the following morning. It would give me a chance to get Ulfred's opinion on my broken katana and my new black sword, in any case.

Firstly though, I Recalled back to the tomb one final time to swim through and place my Mark on the other side of the foul stretch of water there. That way I would not have to wash the ill-smelling residue from my equipment - and myself - a second time (when I returned in the morning).

After a cleansing swim in the sea a little way from the castle (in my armour - something I would never attempt if I was not confident in my ability to cast water walking and breathing spells), I went to the castle smithy to show the swords to Ulfred. He was predictably enamoured of the Daedric longsword, and after a quick inspection, informed me that it was in perfect condition. The big Nord also surpassed my expectations by telling me that the glass katana would be easy to repair; he had apparently bought some (expensive) raw green volcanic glass for the express purpose of maintaining my favoured weapon. I insisted on paying him a bonus (of sorts) to cover the additional cost of the glass over his usual supplies.

True to his word, I teleported back to Ibar-Dad the next morning with my katana in one piece, and good as new. I just had one last item of business to see to in the far north of Vvardenfell.

The camp of the Urshilaku Ashlander tribe was only a little way to the east of the caves, laid out in a wide depression in the ground; so that it remained hidden until you were right upon it. I stood for a moment at the lip of the depression and watched the movements of the Dunmer tribes-people among their tents. Even without the foggy salt-mist drifting across from the nearby seashore, they were well-concealed and camouflaged. Everything about them was grey: their clothes, their skin (of course), even their animal-skin tents; they seemed to meld with the grey Ashlands.

Ashlanders were Dunmer people native to Vvardenfell, who, ever since the Imperial settlement of Morrowind, managed to (for the most part) remain completely independent of the Empire. No Imperial taxes, or laws... no contact. The exceptions were the people who traded with the tribes-people for rare medicines, alchemical ingredients or animal skins.

I too was there to trade with them; only I was after a very rare and specific item - unique, probably - the Valenvaryon propylon index. Folms, certainly, had only been able to divine the location of the one index. I hoped that everything would go smoothly; by all the tales I'd heard, meeting with 'natives' of any kind - whoever they were and wherever they were from - was always a delicate process. They always had some peculiar custom or other that made it ridiculously easy to grievously insult them... apparently. For someone like me, who cared little for any tradition that was observed just for its own sake, this sounded very frustrating.

So it was with some trepidation that I approached the camp and politely asked the first person I met (who happened to be a young girl) if she could direct me to the Urshilaku wise woman. The child silently pointed to a nearby tent before continuing on her way. I approached the tent and looked for something on which I could knock. I was about to give up and call out through the leather 'door' flap instead, when my path was blocked by a tall, hairy Ashlander with a long, thin beard and deeply set, blood red eyes.

"The wise-woman will not see outlanders." His tone was even, but he wore a profoundly unfriendly expression on his face.

"I see..." I said, and paused, thinking. "Is there something I could do to change your mind?"

The slightly scary-looking Dunmer shook his head, and remained where he was, standing the tent's doorway.

"We live here to be away from your kind. Please be considerate enough to let us do this."

With a shallow sigh, I turned and left; back the way I came. Once out of sight behind a boulder, I cast my eminently useful invisibility spell and doubled back, skirting around to the rear of the wise-woman's tent. Fortunately for me, her tent was on the outskirts of the small camp, with the entrance flap facing inwards; towards the camp's centre. None of the Ashlanders could see around to the rear of the tent, which was good because what I did next disrupted my invisibility spell almost instantly. With the tip of my glass katana (I had nothing smaller with me), I cut a small slit in the back of the tent, and peered inside - after I was safely invisible again, of course.

A Dunmer woman (who I assumed to be the 'wise woman') was seated at a small fireplace in the centre of the tent, across from a younger girl - possibly a teenager (I wasn't very familiar with the way the Dunmer aged, excepting that I knew they lived a lot longer than humans). The woman was talking in a low voice, and staring into the fire. The girl's attention was fixed on the wise woman; neither of them paying the least attention to their surroundings.

On a small table almost directly beneath the cut I made in the tent was a collection of stoppered bottles, bowls of alchemical ingredients, and other paraphernalia. And there it was! The propylon index lay on the table among the other items I guessed had been gathered together to trade with - assuming they didn't turn all visitors away as they had me. It was the work of an instant to magically draw the index to the hole in the tent using a telekinesis spell. Since I had to keep my eyes on the index for the spell to work, and I didn't want to risk making the slit in the tent any larger to admit my hand, I tried to catch it in my teeth.

This was quite a foolish idea, as it turned out. At the speed that objects travel when grabbed through telekinesis, I ended up almost choking on the little-finger-sized stone. In a panic, and afraid that the woman and the girl would hear my coughing and spluttering outside the tent, I thrust my finger through the Wolfen ring; teleporting home. It was there in the great hall that I somehow managed to cough the thing up, spitting it onto the floor; right at the housekeeper's feet.

With a sheepish smile, I gingerly picked up the index and looked for something to wipe it on. I had embarrassed myself in front of Almerie, the pretty Breton housekeeper; but had come away safely with another propylon index for Folms.

Not too bad, all things considered.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good ending to this section :)

Wednesday, December 07, 2005 6:21:00 pm  
Anonymous Matar said...

im with this dude i like the way it ended :P

Wednesday, December 07, 2005 8:05:00 pm  
Blogger Malaki Tarion said...

i agree with other two posts. good ending (made me chuckle).

one question. did edward not notice Eleidon's ward, or was that not in ibar dad when you visited it. that would have definitely been a great addition to Frost's museum.

other than that, another great chapter

Thursday, December 08, 2005 11:13:00 am  
Blogger Joseph said...

Heh - thanks everyone; I like that part too. Just sort of popped into my head (so to speak) as I was writing.

Malaki: I don't believe *I* noticed Eleidon's ward when Frost was in Ibar-Dad. What is it, exactly?

- Joseph.

Thursday, December 08, 2005 10:22:00 pm  
Blogger Malaki Tarion said...

eleidon's ward is an artifact sheild (heavy armor) that has a large cast when used restore health enchantment. its one of the strongest sheilds in the game (and my personal favorite). you might not have noticed it because it is hanging on the wall a bit above the skeleton. no biggie, just sad to see frost do without such a flippin awesome sheild. :(

Friday, December 09, 2005 10:52:00 am  
Blogger Malaki Tarion said...

refering to previous post: i apologize if i misspelled the word "shield". I just got back from crew practice and im not really focused on spelling.

"This is Malaki Tarion, you stay classy morrowind"
(tee hee hee)

Friday, December 09, 2005 10:54:00 am  
Blogger Joseph said...

Well... oops. I never even knew that shield was there.

- Joseph.

Saturday, December 10, 2005 3:09:00 am  

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