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, January 06, 2006

Chapter 71: City of Light

Caius Cosades had hinted strongly that I would need to slaughter the Dark Brotherhood cell in Mournhold if I wished to be free of their attacks. I did not enjoy killing, but at the same time I felt little mercy for those black-garbed assassins who terrorised me in my early days on Vvardenfell - or for whomever it was that had hired them. Attacking another, unprovoked... moreover, planning ahead of time to kill a particular person - these things were unforgivable.

Sitting in the Wolfen castle mess hall after my late lunch, I became too anxious thinking about storming the assassin's hideout to be able to leave it until the following morning. Gathering up my pack and my equipment, I cast Divine Intervention and was drawn through space to the doorstep of the Imperial Chapel in Ebonheart. This was quite convenient: the entrance to the Grand Council Chambers - wherein I could apparently find Asciene Rane - was only several strides away.

Asciene Rane made for a kindly figure. She mentioned the quarantine of Vvardenfell, and how worried they were about the Blight spreading to the mainland; making me swear that all my clothes and equipment had been washed thoroughly since my last visit to the Ashlands (which they had - after my bloody visit to Arkngthand, to be specific). I noticed as we talked that she was studying my face closely, obviously looking for symptoms of Blight disease. She also made me tell her why I wanted to go to the mainland so badly; but when I told her she seemed genuinely concerned, and agreed straight away to teleport me across the Inner Sea to Morrowind's capital city.

I found myself standing in a deep-green, elegant, yet relatively bare room, with a robed Argonian who I assumed to be Effe-Tei (the person Asciene said to talk to if I wanted to be teleported back to Vvardenfell), and someone in a full suit of armour. The armour was curious: it looked to be made of steel that had been painted or treated somehow to give it a dusky-pink, almost red colour.

I gave the Argonian a simple nod as I passed (I had no need of his services since I could, of course, teleport home on my own), and made to do the same with the armoured man; but he turned out to be a member of the King's Royal Guard, and stopped me to ask why I had materialised in the Royal Palace. Like Asciene Rane, he seemed concerned over the potential introduction of Blight diseases - unlike Asciene, however, he appeared determined to keep me out of Mournhold. I had to cast a Charm spell on him to persuade him that I was not carrying any diseases, and I was only in Mournhold to visit the Great Bazaar.

Once under the influence of the spell he was quite agreeable; he even gave me directions to the Great Bazaar. His directions may have consisted only of the word 'east', but he didn't have to tell me that - and it was enough, in the end.

The Royal Palace, home to the king of Morrowind (I didn't even know Morrowind had a king until that day), ran a square-shaped circuit around a paved courtyard. It was in that courtyard that I first stepped into the sweltering, humid Mournhold air. It was different to Vvardenfell - the air felt fresher and somehow more vital: it was raining when I stepped out of the palace, and if the vibrant green of the many plants was any indication, this was a common occurrence in the city. The fragrance of a staggering array of alien flowers permeated the courtyard, a smell so powerful it felt like a physical thing when it entered my nose.

All in all it made for a pleasant change from the mostly arid landscape of Vvardenfell - except for the draining, muggy heat. Even the rain was no relief: the raindrops themselves were warm.

There were no eastern exits from the Palace courtyard, only huge double-doors leading north and south. I chose the southern pair leading to a plaza of unbelievable size, signposted as the 'Plaza Brindisi Dorom'. It's not an exaggeration to say that the plaza could hold most of Balmora. In actuality it was mostly empty; home to sprawling lawns, and a range of monuments, statues, and fountains. It looked to be a favoured place for walks and - on days with more favourable weather - picnics (for those with time for such things). On that rainy day, however, the plaza was nearly devoid of people. For a moment I thought I saw someone in a far-off corner of the plaza with a marked lack of clothing, but they soon moved behind a tree and out of my sight.

The only other figures in the plaza were Ordinators - I could tell at a glance. Their armour bore a distinctive similarity to the Ordinators of Vivec (the full-face-mask in particular was near-identical), but at the same time it was grander. It was also not gold, but silver - with the faintest purple tinge.

In the north-east wall of the Plaza Brindisi Dorom was a large door, leading to the Great Bazaar. The name was quite appropriate; like the plaza, the bazaar was on a grand scale, and comfortably spread out. Again, it was quite a contrast to the cramped and winding streets of most of the towns in Vvardenfell. I stopped by several shops, and, upon becoming involved in conversation with the shopkeepers, some of the interesting and unusual things I had seen so far in Mournhold were explained to me.

For one thing - and this actually came as something of a surprise to me - 'Mournhold' was not actually the name of the entire city I stood in (even though, confusingly, many people still referred to Mournhold as a city): it was the name of the holy district at the centre of that city. The city was called 'Almalexia', after the Tribunal goddess of the same name. It was the same as the holy city of Vivec in Vvardenfell, where the living god Vivec resided. I learned that - in a similar fashion - the living goddess Almalexia resided in the Mournhold Temple in the northern part of the district.

This was why everything in Mournhold was so massive and majestic: the whole district had been set aside and walled-off in order to better maintain it as a pristine and suitably striking dedication to the goddess Almalexia. At the time of my visit, passage between Mournhold and the rest of the city was prohibited; and the reason for this did not surprise me: there was concern over the curiously high number of people teleporting into the district from Vvardenfell when there was supposedly a quarantine in effect. This went further to explain the relatively empty streets and plazas of Mournhold than a simple wish to avoid the rain. I wondered if Asciene Rane knew how much of a problem she was creating with her unauthorised teleportation service.

Not that I was complaining, of course. Likely the only other way I could have reached the mainland was to water-walk across the Inner Sea: not a comfortable thought.

The stores in the Great Bazaar were better stocked than most I had seen in Vvardenfell, but nevertheless most of my equipment was better. I did come away with ten very expensive, high quality restorative potions, though. I was quite proficient at casting healing spells (with my lifestyle I had to be), but potions were indispensable as a fallback - for more than one reason. If, by some chance, my magicka reserves somehow ran dry (a very rare occurrence with my links to the plane of magicka), healing potions could very well save my life. The other main reason was that casting spells takes concentration, and the pain from serious wounds can be... distracting, to put it lightly.

Feeling better prepared and (again) gratified that the arms and armour I bore were of a higher quality than what was readily available to most people, I set about looking for an entrance to the sewers. The afternoon was wearing on and the light beginning to fade, so my intention was to at least make a start on my search for the Dark Brotherhood; but to return the following day to search in earnest.

I found a trapdoor down to the sewers at the edge of the Great Bazaar. As one would expect, the smell was unpleasant: though only near the places where water ran freely along or fell from an overhead outlet. Most of the (very spacious) sewer passages were actually drier than the rain-soaked streets above: it looked as if much of the sewer system no longer worked as it had been intended to. It was very dark there; the only illumination was from the occasional grated shaft leading to the surface, and - curiously - the odd flaming torch. I again relied on my Night-Eye spell to show me the way.

The ancient sewer tunnels gave way in many places to sunken passages of stone and packed dirt. Fortunately most of the flooded areas seemed free of waste from the city above, and I was able to swim through them without coming to smell awful for my trouble. The icy tunnels plunged down deep indeed: after an hour of exploration I began to encounter undead: several ghosts and a headless (yet no less deadly) animated skeleton with an axe.

Another hour had passed when I found a pair of very old, yet suspiciously well-oiled metal doors leading to a long and winding packed-dirt tunnel. A little way along the tunnel I froze: I could hear voices up ahead. With my invisibility spell in place, I crept closer, rounding a couple of corners before I spotted them: two men in black, looking about casually while engaged in conversation. They were obviously standing guard, and they were obviously Dark Brotherhood members.

I backed away before the invisibility spell could wear off, and made my way back to the other side of the old metal doors. There I found a suitably dark pool of shadows to leave a magical Mark. I would teleport back in the morning, well-rested and equipped for slaughter.

Then I would bring my business with the Dark Brotherhood to a close: for good or ill.


Blogger Star said...

This was a good Mournhold introduction. You even mentioned the naked Nord guy. Well done.

Friday, January 06, 2006 12:42:00 pm  
Anonymous Matar said...

This is rather cool :)

Though my faviort part of morrowind was the bloodmoon expanion so I gotta ask. Are you gonna use it?

Also are you gonna talk to the crazy lady with the god arrows and Garnor?

Those were one of the most memoranle parts of tribunal for me :)

Also are you gonna use Carnithus' Armamentarium mod? after all you are in mournhold.

Will you get rid of the dart gang and there stuff?

Also what are your thoughts on the Illuminated Order mod? It is the best quest mod out there I beleave and it dosent use new textures and it still rocks my socks :)

Also ever play JCS - The Dwemeri Secret ? I heard good things about it :)

Well continue well grammerfied freind :P

Friday, January 06, 2006 3:47:00 pm  
Blogger Malaki Tarion said...

Finally, you've gone to Mournhold. As usual, you truly bring the city to life.

Good luck with those dang Dark Brotherhood though. Even for a high level character those stupid adamantium jink blades (paralyzing blades) they carry are really annoying.

Of course, if you somehow got a hold of the Helseth's collar amulet with 100% reflect...bwahaha!

Tarion out

Saturday, January 07, 2006 9:37:00 am  
Blogger Joseph said...

Thanks everyone. :-)

Matar: In answer to many of your questions, I can only say what I always say: wait and see. :-P

I am planning on taking Edward to Solstheim, but plans can change...

"Crazy lady with the god arrows"? Who with the what-now? I haven't heard of her before.

I played the Illuminated Order mod just recently, actually; it *was* very good.

I haven't played The Dwemeri Secret; it does sound interesting, though.

- Joseph.

Saturday, January 07, 2006 9:52:00 pm  
Anonymous Matar said...

You know! the crazy lady with the god arrows and the mace of slurring! Shes decked out in glass armor and made those Dwemmer traps and stuff.

Told you the Illuminated Order was good it was my first and faverote quest mod I ever got ;)

Im as giddy as a school girl!

Oh my god that sounded gay...

Saturday, January 07, 2006 10:17:00 pm  
Blogger Meej-Dar said...

I thought killing the DB was rather hard. And when I got to the final leader dude, he became stuck on an endless loop, where he would continuously greet me. I had to cheat and give myself the journal entry to continue.

And Matar, no offense, but I thought you were a girl. Are you telling me you're a guy. Well, I may never know. One of the mysteries of life, I guess.

Friday, July 29, 2011 6:48:00 pm  

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