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 14, 2005

Chapter 61: The Message

"The time of the Incarnate is at hand! Red Mountain vomits ash and blight over the land! Beware the sleepers and sinners - they gather at the House! I am the Incarnate! Listen: it will all come down from the Mountain - down upon your heads! Listen to me! It will all come down - death, ash, and blight, and fire, and... what?"

Elvil Vidron, the 'False Incarnate' I had been sent by the Tribunal Temple to reason with, finally put a stop to his tirade long enough to respond to my attempts to attract his attention. I repeated myself:

"You are Elvil Vidron, correct? I would like to have a word with you about your ... sermons."

To say 'sermons' was to describe Vidron's behaviour in a fairly generous way. Overall he made for a mildly disturbing and yet pathetic figure; topless and sweating profusely in the hot Suran sun, bellowing nonsense at the top of his voice at anyone unlucky enough to be passing by. Lacking a hapless target, he would simply shout at the sky. I had seen his kind before; in the streets of the Imperial city, during my childhood. Some people follow a religion that requires them to attempt to recruit others to their belief - and some of these people are so lacking in intellect that they see no alternative to accosting people in the street and shouting at them, in order to achieve that end. Surely such a belligerent approach gains them the opposite of what they want?

In any case I was there to stop Vidron's anti-social behaviour - much to the relief of the denizens of Suran, I'm sure. I thought I had an idea how to do it in a peaceful fashion, too.

"You..." Elvil panted, "you wanted to know about the message sent to me?" He stood there and stared at me, chest heaving, waiting for me to say something. I got the impression he was not used to yelling at the top of his voice in the scorching sun for hours. What could have happened to him?

"I wanted to know -" I paused, my mind racing; casting about for the right questions - "what is this message? How did you... receive it?"

The 'False Incarnate' glanced up at the sun and, as if conceding some kind of minor defeat, moved into the shade of a tree at the edge of the town square, beckoning me to follow.

"The waking dream!" He had lowered his voice from a shout, but was still rather more loud than necessary. "Have you not seen it? Every day and every night these past few weeks, the same message: they send me visions of Red Mountain, storms of putrid ash, deformed beasts that were once men and mer, DOOMED TO LIVE ETERNALLY IN DARKNESS AND MADNESS!" Vidron was shouting again. Behind me, a mother quickened her pace as she passed by, pulling at her curious young son's hand.

It was true that since the incident with the crescent moon emblem, I sometimes felt as if the realm of dreams was intruding upon my waking mind; but it was a vague feeling, nothing more. I had certainly not experienced anything like what Elvil Vidron described. I told him as much:

"I've never had a dream like that, Sera Vidron. So... you believe that these dreams - these messages - mean that you're the Incarnate; the Nerevarine?"

Vidron gave me a hard, suspicious look.

"You disbelieve? I know my destiny! I know what I see in the dreams! You'll have a hard time proving otherwise!"

This is where my idea for a peaceful resolution came in:

"You know the prophecy of the Nerevarine, then?" I asked. Miraculously, the Dunmer seemed - momentarily at least - at a loss for words. I took advantage and pressed on: "It's my understanding that the prophecy says that the man - or mer - that will be born as the reincarnation of Indoril Nerevar will 'unite the Dunmer and drive the invaders from Morrowind'. All the Dunmer - on Vvardenfell and mainland Morrowind - united under your command to drive the outlanders and the Imperial Empire out."

I paused, looking the sweaty, bare-chested man up and down.

"That's you, is it?"

As I spoke, Vidron's shoulders slumped ever so slightly. I knew I was getting through to him; I just had to get him to swallow his pride and admit it. Again, I pressed the point home:

"And what about the animosity and distrust I hear about between the Great Ruling Houses? How do you plan to persuade the Redorans to trust the Hlaalu? How would you get the Telvanni to work with anyone besides themselves? And the Empire! Are you ready to face down the Imperial Legion? I imagine they would have something to say about your plans to take Morrowind back from them."

At that, I stopped. I could see he had given up - that he believed me. The Dunmer sat heavily on the steps leading from the square.

"I... thought it would come to me." He spoke quietly now. "The dreams - I thought they would change, and show me the way; what I should do." Vidron looked up at me. "You're from the Temple, aren't you? I've heard that they don't like people mentioning the Nerevarine."

"Yes, they asked me to talk to you;" I replied, figuring there was little point denying it; "and it probably is in your best interest not to mention the Nerevarine again. They apparently wanted to send Ordinators to pay you a visit; they sent me, instead."

At this, Vidron looked positively alarmed:

"Oh! Then - please, please accept my apologies, and my... my thanks!" He jumped to his feet and gave a quick bow. "Please forgive me for this. I will pray - I will go to the Temple and seek penance for my sins."

I felt sorry for him. Facing such a fast, brutal destruction of something he had fervently believed in. I wondered how he would face any friends or family he might have had in Suran, after the performance he had put on.

"If it were me that you should apologise to, then I would forgive you, I think; but it would be best to go to the Temple and seek penance, as you said. For my part, I'll report that you've agreed to stop your public sermons and that you admit that you are not the reincarnation of Nerevar: that you were mistaken. This is right, isn't it?" It was my turn to give him a hard look; I felt I had to be certain.

"Yes, yes!" He nodded, and rubbed his eyes. "It was those dreams - they never stop. I haven't been able to sleep for days, upon days..."

I clapped him on the shoulder.

"Well, maybe someone at the Temple can help you with that too."

Vidron gave me a weak smile before bidding me goodbye; bowing one last time as he left.

And that was that: something of a landmark for me. I hadn't seriously expected to be able to persuade a man against something he believed in strongly enough to shout to the rooftops, but there was the living proof, walking away from me. I hadn't even needed to fall back on my Illusion magic. As I made to teleport back home, I felt remarkably good about myself. Of course I would have normally argued that a person should be free to believe what they want, as long as it doesn't intrude on others' lives: but that was just it: Elvil Vidron's aggressive public 'sermons' were nothing if not intrusive. Also, there was little doubt that I had likely saved his life by getting to him before the Ordinators did.

And finally, all he said about the 'time of the Incarnate' being at hand was pure fantasy, without a doubt.

Wasn't it?


Blogger Malaki Tarion said...

Wow. yet another really great post. great job describing vidron, and i liked how frost dealt with him. its great to finally see shades of the main quest creeping into frost's life. keep it up!

Thursday, December 15, 2005 1:08:00 pm  
Blogger Joseph said...

Thanks Malaki - yep, it seems Edward can't remain ignorant of the big problems on Vvardenfell for much longer...

- Joseph.

Thursday, December 15, 2005 10:21:00 pm  

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