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 16, 2005

Chapter 62: Penetrate

Tuls Valen seemed quite relieved to hear that I had persuaded Elvil Vidron to see reason, and that there had been no need for violence. He actually gave me three very potent healing potions as a gift for my "wisdom in the matter", as he put it. Lacking another 'odd-job' for me to do for the Temple, Valen had suggested that I could perform another pilgrimage: a much shorter one than the 'Seven Graces', he assured me.

I took up the pilgrimage straight away, as it sounded like one I could easily complete in what remained of the day. My destination was actually somewhere I had stopped during my 'Seven Graces' pilgrimage: the shrine in Maar Gan. There I was to read the inscription on the rock (that I had ignored the last time, in my rush), and to imitate the actions of Vivec described there. Valen would not be drawn further on the subject; I got the impression that it was another pilgrimage he did not much care for.

The silt strider ride from Ald'ruhn to Maar Gan took much longer than I had anticipated. The driver apologised numerous times during the trip, saying that the giant insect was being "stubborn". At one point he was actually kicking the exposed nerve endings that (ideally, at least) allowed him to direct the creature's movement. As it was, the strider spent half the time wandering about as it pleased - at one point it even stopped for several minutes to lean against a large rock spire; having a rest, apparently.

I was glad of Denstagmer's ring (the powerful piece of jewellery I'd found in the tomb near Gnisis): its protection against the elements meant that the merciless sun of the Ashlands was more bearable over the long trip.

After such a delay, it was dusk when I arrived in Maar Gan. Making my way slowly down the tall, precarious 'strider ramp' to the ground, I gazed out to the west, at the last remaining light fading behind the mountains. Admiring the desert sunset turned out to be a mistake: a shape lurking in the inky shadows among the rooftops near the strider ramp caught me completely off guard. The gap between the rooftops and the ramp was one that I was sure no mere mortal could have jumped - and certainly not in the full steel plate armour this figure wore - but the shape closed the distance in the blink of an eye.

Such speed I had never seen: I was halfway down the ramp when the figure crashed into me, sending us both sailing off the ramp, over the village walls and down, down the steep incline on the other side. The breath was knocked completely from my body when we landed, the speed of our flight sending us tumbling down the hill in a great streak of ash and dirt. The figure rolled up and off me when we came to rest at the base of the slope, revealing himself to be a Dunmer - and a vampire. He wore no helmet, and the infernal glow of his eyes gave him away.

"Got you alone now," he grinned, his long canine teeth glittering in the faint light from beyond the village walls.

I staggered to my feet, coughing and heaving; striving to get my breath back. I couldn't say anything. I drew my new Daedric longsword, but before I could make another move I was on my back again, the full weight of the armoured vampire on top of me. Even in full steel plate, he was fast and agile as a cat. The other vampires I had fought had been weak, and near feral: this Dunmer was most certainly not.

Straining against him, striving to keep my neck away from his teeth, I raised my heavy sword above his head, and brought it down hard upon the only part of him I had enough leverage to really damage: his legs. With a hiss, the vampire leapt off me, up into the air; to land unsteadily a short distance away. Blood was seeping from his broken greaves: the Daedric metal of my blade had sliced right through the steel as an axe through wood. The creature scowled, and drew a silver longsword, before leaping to the attack once more.

In the end I think it was only the hobbling blow I had dealt to the vampire's calves that saved me: even slowed down somewhat, the thing still knocked me off my feet again and again. He didn't use his blade much - wanted to avoid spilling my blood if he could, was my assumption. Nevertheless the ramming tackles and stunning blows from his gauntleted fists cracked ribs and split skin; I had to use my healing magic several times, desperately rolling and scrabbling in the ash and dust to avoid his attacks while the spells took effect.

My Daedric sword was brilliant: the vampire was very difficult to hit, but such was the power of the crushing blows my sword facilitated that I only needed to connect a few times to slow the creature enough to finish - or so I thought. His armour rent, broken and stained a deep red with his own blood, the vampire crashed to the ground, the infernal light in his eyes fading away.

A couple of days earlier I had mentioned the high number of vampires I had faced in the West Gash to the priests at the Temple. One of them had mentioned that some more powerful vampires could only be killed by a wooden stake through the heart - not even decapitation would permanently stop them. He sold me a wooden stake with a hardened steel tip, suitable for punching through armour.

The Dunmer lying before me seemed like just the type of vampire the priest was talking about: even as I watched, the creature's visible wounds were closing up. I drew the stake and dove forward, making to drive it through his heart. At the last moment his eyes flashed and his body twisted in place, meaning that although I buried the stake in his chest, I missed the heart. A vicious kick to the jaw sent me staggering back, to watch as the writhing, thrashing vampire disappeared in a cloud of ash and dust, kicked up by his struggle.

I just knew that the deadly thing would try to use the ash-cloud as cover, so I already had my sword drawn back and ready to swing when the vampire shot up into the air in a plume of dust, trying to land on top of me. My blade caught the beast full in the side, before he hit the ground - it severed his arm at the elbow and buried itself halfway through his midriff.

Kicking the Dunmer off my sword and not taking any chances that time, I pinned him in place by driving the point of the blade right through his stomach and into the ground. Stamping down on its throat to further inhibit the squirming, hissing vampire's movement, I again drove the stake into its chest. Jumping back and taking my sword with me (if the damned thing still refused to die, I was not about to let it have my sword), I watched as the vampire again thrashed about and disappeared into a cloud of dust and ash.

This time, when the ash settled, there was nothing left of the creature but its sword and a pile of broken steel armour. I left it there and made my slow way back into the village, checking myself for injury.

As I paused at a public pump to wash myself of the blood, ash and dirt, I realised I was shaking subtly in the aftermath of the fight. It had been a while since I had truly feared for my life.


Anonymous Matar said...

You know seeing as how Frosty fights so many vamps it makes me wish that he'll get bitten by an aundae one and become one of the little buggers :)

After all frosty allready has high persuade and has some nice charm spells and if he becomes a vamp he cant be killed by the migicka thingy :).

After all he'll already be dead :P.

Hmmm is becomeing a vamp one of thoughs things that if they happen it will be because it happened in the game and it wont be planed?

Also if it is planed be an aundae they rock them soks and a mods gonna come out for them after a while that seems realy nice :).

Oh yes will frosty ever get a damage strength spell? There really good aginst thoughs damn warriors.

Friday, December 16, 2005 4:41:00 pm  
Blogger Joseph said...

Matar: Edward doesn't actually know much about vampires... he considers them to be little more than dangerous animals.

Actually, his Personality and Speechcraft values are both average. :-) He's a reticent guy, most of the time.

What's this Aundae mod you mentioned? I know there's a mod that gives the Quarra clan more quests, but I haven't heard of any for the other clans.

- Joseph.

Friday, December 16, 2005 10:47:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just cannot imagine Frost being a vampire...

Anyways, nice fight. I just had a hard fight in Morrowind, too. Too fast enemy, with too good strength... Nearly beat me.

Oh, btw... You said some time ago that daedric dai-katana is too heavy for Frost, and longsword is lighter. In my Morrowind, they both weight 60. You have some mod that balances them, or something?

And what difficult level are you using? 0?

I just love this game.
And this blog.

Saturday, December 17, 2005 5:29:00 am  
Blogger Joseph said...

Thanks Anonymous. :-) Frost *is* strong enough to carry and use the Daedric daikatana, but he prefers to travel light(er), and use a shield.

By default the weight of a Daedric longsword is 40, I'm fairly sure. You may be thinking of the Daedric claymore, which weighs the same as the daikatana.

I always forget that the difficulty slider is there, so it's at the dead centre.

- Joseph.

Saturday, December 17, 2005 11:10:00 am  
Blogger Joseph said...

Okay - no, you're right, I'm wrong; my mistake. Daedric longswords *do* weigh the same as daikatanas. How about that. Well, Edward did say it was mainly the huge size and that he couldn't use a shield with it that made him decide to leave the daikatana at home. :-)

- Joseph.

Saturday, December 17, 2005 12:17:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, ok. :)

Saturday, December 17, 2005 6:46:00 pm  

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