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.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Chapter 72: Cacophony

In preparation for my attack on the Dark Brotherhood, I strapped the massive Daedric daikatana I had claimed in Ibar-Dad caves to my back. Well; Falorn and I did: he was helping me into my armour and equipment - it's much easier with help.

"You seem nervous, Master Frost," said Falorn, not very helpfully.

I secured my Daedric longsword in its sheath at my waist.

"I've told you about my fights with the Dark Brotherhood assassins before. Each attack nearly killed me - and there was only one assassin each time." I hoisted my shield. "I am better prepared now - and stronger... but I don't know what will happen."

The Bosmer groundskeeper shrugged.

"You have the Wolfen ring. You can teleport home if you get in trouble."

I settled the netch and adamantium helmet on my head, and took a deep breath. I was ready.

"If only it were that simple..." I murmured, half to myself. What if they overwhelmed me, and I couldn't reach the ring? What if I never even saw the killing blow?

Doing my best not to think about it, I thanked Falorn for his help and cast Recall. When I next opened my eyes I was back in the Mournhold catacombs, the Bosmer's wishes of good fortune echoing in my ears. I crept down the twisting, packed-dirt tunnel again, with my invisibility spell in place. There were two Dark Brotherhood men in roughly the same place as the pair I had seen the previous night. I had no doubt as to their identity as they wore the same distinctive armour of fine black chain as the men who had attacked me. The two assassins before me could have been the same couple as the night before, for all I knew: they also wore the same distinctive goggled-hoods as I had seen before.

The first the two guards knew of my presence was the hiss of an approaching Frostball spell; it exploded at their feet, blanketing them both in ice. Even slowed as they were by the numbing cold, they avoided my following spells and closed the distance between us with startling speed. I received a few deep gashes from their whirling short blades, but their thin chain armour was little protection against the crushing blows facilitated by my heavy (yet razor-sharp) Daedric sword.

A little way along the tunnel from where the guards had been standing was another tellingly well-cared-for door; and beyond that a great cavernous space yawned at my feet. A set of rickety wooden steps began at the lip of the massive cavity in the ground, and carried on from one precarious ledge to the next, all the way down to the base of the cavern. I could see similar wooden constructions at a couple of other points around the perimeter: evidently there was more than way into the cavern.

Down in the cavern, dimly lit by burning braziers, were the ruins of several strange buildings. Their style of construction was foreign to me, but they must have been very, very old to be buried so far beneath the city. They were obviously still fit for use, however, as I saw a couple of black-garbed men coming and going from the circular doors. I crouched at the lip of the huge cavity to observe their movements. As I watched, I was able to make out more and more of the assassins, ranged about the base of the cavern: usually only when they moved. Even with my Night-eye spell it was difficult to make them out at such a distance, so darkly dressed they were.

Absorbed by my attempt to count the assassins in the massive natural chamber, I carelessly allowed my invisibility spell to expire. I was spotted almost immediately; an assassin pointed a gloved hand at me, and looked about to cry out. Before he could do so, he was silenced by the explosion of an icy ball of magical frost over his upper body. He wasn't the only one to have seen me, though, and the streak of magical ice across the cavern made my position obvious.

A number of the men made motions as if they were throwing something at me. I took a great leap off the lip of the cavity (assisted by the Tinur's Hoptoad spell), and heard several deadly-sounding objects whistle past me, neatly intersecting the empty space I had just vacated. Soaring through the air near the cavern ceiling, my heart in my throat, I could see several assassins clustering around their frozen comrade, looking for a way to help him. As I fell towards the cavern floor far below, passing over the group in a graceful arc, I directed a Poisonbloom spell and another Frostball at them.

My 'Infallible' belt carried me safely to the ground, at about the same time as the magical ice and acidic poison burst over the group of assassins. They were momentarily lost amid a cloud of ice, misty poison gas, and a cacophony of screams. The remaining assassins in the great chamber were converging on the scene; I had scant few seconds before I would be overrun, and as it happened I was immediately engaged by two assassins at the same time. Every one of the black-garbed men appeared to favour short-bladed weapons, which was fortunate for me, as I was able to keep them at bay with wild, scything swings of my much longer Daedric sword.

I cut two of them down, but by then I was almost surrounded by the menacing black figures. Knocking one onto his back with a vicious swing of my shield, I used Tinur's Hoptoad again to leap up and out from the middle of them, to land on a narrow ledge halfway up the cavern wall. Again I pelted the gathered assassins with ice and poison spells, and again I leapt away before their black darts could find me.

The battle carried on in similar frantic fashion, as I juggled getting close enough to kill one or two assassins with moving quickly enough to escape being overrun. I couldn't simply keep my distance and keep up a constant barrage of spells until they were all dead: even as it was I felt my magicka reserves dropping dangerously low - despite my magicka threads, the powerful 'Magery ring' on my finger, and my blue ioun stone (which had, of its own accord, wedged itself up under the back flap of my helmet, to avoid being left behind as I leapt about). Magic was the only way I could keep out of their reach: with their light armour of fine black chain, they moved much faster than I.

As the fight wore on, I sustained numerous wounds from their flashing blades. A moment came when I thought I was about to be overwhelmed - with five dark figures dashing in to take me at once, my back to the wall - and I became desperate enough to try a new spell Yanika (the mage I hired) had helped me develop: 'Holding Field'. It was a paralysation spell, fashioned to affect anyone within a particular distance of the magical bolt's point of impact.

The bolt of Illusion magic shot out in a green streak, catching the centremost of the five assassins in the chest. There was a momentary ripple in the air around the group of men, and they were frozen in place, able to move only by the most infinitesimal degree. I took a moment to send my healing spell through my body, then stepped up to the small mob of paralysed assassins, all in a row. I took the first one's head off, and on the backswing, did the same to the second. At that point I was again surrounded by assassins, and forced to leap up and away once more.

Eventually, there were only two assassins left; both with a coat of glittering frost on their armour, from one of my earlier spells. I took them to be of a higher rank than the rest of the black-garbed men: for one thing, they had somehow survived a couple of my spells - but also because they bore wicked-looking Daedric tanto blades. One tried to circle around behind me while I struggled to keep the other at bay with my longsword. I let him think I was too distracted to notice the ploy, then when he attempted to dart in and stab me in the back, I lashed out behind me with my shield, smacking him in the head and sending him reeling.

At the same moment, I thrust forward with my sword. The first assassin jumped back awkwardly to keep the point from reaching his stomach. Before he could recover, I swung the Daedric sword in a circle up and above me, bringing the heavy blade down on his head. There was a sickening -crunch-, and the assassin flopped to the cavern floor, dead. Behind me, the other assassin, looking dazed from the blow to his head, was trying to regain his feet. Before he could manage it, I dashed up and skewered him against the packed dirt floor.

He let out an awful, chilling scream, trying ineffectually to pull the blade from his chest. Unable to keep myself from flinching - both at the noise and at what I was about to do - I reached out and sent the 'Righteousness' spell into his body; at once putting him out of his misery and healing my wounds. I yanked my sword out and stepped back, breathing hard; the sustained battle had been so heavy that I had become short of breath, even with my 'Tireless' pants.

Even now I know what thoughts went through my mind during that fight. I thought about everything that had happened to me on Vvardenfell - and in my whole life - that had enabled me to survive a plan as insane as attacking a Dark Brotherhood cell on my own. Things like my hours upon hours studying magic, my combat training, my rare and expensive arms and armour, and my newfound artificial strength and grace; born (I was sure) from the magicka leak in my body. Such an irony that the thing which was slowly killing me was the same thing that allowed me to live through one dangerous situation after another.

That situation was not yet over, however. One of the circular doors to the nearby partially ruined buildings swung open, to reveal another assassin - probably drawn by the horrible screams of the last man I had killed. I must have made for a fearsome sight; covered in blood, standing alone in the centre of a mass of ruined bodies, spread far across the great cavern floor. I don't know how many I had killed: the battle was too chaotic to keep track, and I was not inclined to undertake the ghoulish act of counting the bodies (and body parts) afterwards.

In any case, the black-clothed assassin in the doorway turned and ran down the building's entrance corridor, bellowing an alarm. Before he could escape my sight, I sent my Frostball spell hissing through the open door, catching him in the back of the head. He was thrown forward, skidding across the floor before coming to rest in a crumpled heap against a wall. I followed him in, glad to be out of the great cavern: there were far too many dark niches and corners that could serve as hiding places out there.

In the fitful light of a mismatched collection of lamps, candles, torches and braziers, I cut down several more assassins (much easier in the narrow corridors of the ruined building, where I could take them one at a time), before coming across the man I assumed to be the leader of the Dark Brotherhood cell. The bubbling stew over a small fire made it look as if he had been about to sit down to dinner: he also was not wearing his black chain hood. It was the first time I had seen the face of a Dark Brotherhood assassin while he was still alive.

He appeared to recognise me, exclaiming:

"It's... you!" He took in my bloodied equipment, obviously guessing at what must have happened. "You! ... YOU!" He bellowed, leaping up and clenching his gloved fist before his face.

With a flash, a Daedric longbow appeared in his fist, a spectral arrow already knocked on the string. Conjuration magic. A school I had never been very interested in pursuing; though I had to admit the appeal of being able to conjure items like deadly Daedric weapons out of thin air. I brought my shield up, but the cell leader's first arrow passed straight through both it and my netch-adamantium cuirass as if they weren't even there, gouging a furrow of skin and flesh from my side. I gasped in shock and pain, dancing to the side to avoid the assassin's second shot. Arrows that completely ignored my armour? I had to close the distance between us and bring him down quickly.

Tossing my shield away (it would be nothing but a useless burden if it was not going to stop the arrows), I sheathed my longsword and drew the massive Daedric daikatana that had remained on my back, unused, until that point.

I would not fall to one man after defeating so many.


Anonymous dabigpman said...

that is a great description of this battle. curious...? wat level is frost? I was level 59 when i went into mournhold. i came out level 67. this was on my xbox version. right now i am testing my compy version and some mods. This was my favorite part of tribunal...i love hacking at a group of ten people while trying to heal myself to stay alive.

Sunday, January 08, 2006 11:38:00 am  
Anonymous Matar said...

You go get um frosty! Bather your armor in there blood!

Sunday, January 08, 2006 12:37:00 pm  
Blogger Joseph said...

He's between 25-30 at the moment, I think. Can't remember exactly.

It was a pretty big fight... seemed more brutal than the other times...

Matar: Re the comments thread for the last chapter, I have vague memories of the Mace of Slurring, but I don't remember a crazy lady with god arrows and Dwemer traps; could be one of those side-quests I've never gotten around to doing.

- Joseph.

Sunday, January 08, 2006 9:10:00 pm  
Anonymous Tchakkazulu said...

"I lashed out behind me with my shield"

Sorry to be so nitpicky, but what's the deal with the shield? I thought Daedric Daikatanas are two-handed?

Monday, January 09, 2006 12:03:00 am  
Anonymous Tchakkazulu said...

Never mind that, I cannot read... he was fighting with a longsword.

I'm going to hide in the corner now.

Monday, January 09, 2006 12:07:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting way to portray the fight. For me it usually goes like this:
1. Run into the center of 15 or so assassins.
2. Kill most of the assassins with my Stahlrim longsword-wielding Argonian before taking too much damage.
3. Use the cheapass cheat to restore my health that takes all the fun out of the game but I can't give up my addiction to.
4. Kill the leader with 5 hits at the most.
5. Collect armor and make fortune.
Damn cheats.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006 7:32:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah stupid cheats i killed the dark brotherhood people at level 7
as soon as i could go lol

Tuesday, August 21, 2007 11:10:00 am  

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