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 27, 2006

Chapter 80: Leave

"Is she dead, Frost?"

"She is dead, Ranis." I lied.

My face was a mask. I would remain silent on the topic of my newly solidified opinion of the Guild Steward out of respect for her initial kindness towards me, but I did not want to be around her any longer. It was time to move on and work at another guild hall; with another Guild Steward and another subset of guild members.

Ranis was smiling.

"Then I should thank you. You have done ... the guild - a great service by putting Ashibael down." She rustled through some papers on her desk. "In fact, I think such service deserves a promotion. Congratulations... Magician Frost."

I thanked her - formally, rather than warmly. Ranis either failed to notice my lack of enthusiasm, or didn't much care. She did not mention any further work I could do for her, and I did not ask. We went our separate ways without further conversation.


Another guild hall though... where would I go? I had not had much to do with the other halls on Vvardenfell - I knew the other members only casually, from the times I had passed through while making use of the guild-guide service.

The other halls in Vvardenfell were located in Caldera, Ald'ruhn, Sadrith Mora and Vivec. My friend Folms Mirel lived in Caldera, so I might have considered entrenching myself there - however their guild hall lacked a Steward; or anyone else authorised to give official assignments. Vivec was the headquarters (after a fashion) of the Guild on Vvardenfell, and was home to Morrowind's Archmage: Trebonius Artorius. Although for reasons I was yet to fully understand, most guild members warned me off having anything to do with the Archmage. From what I could gather, he was a little odd.

Since Trebonius was the only one who could disburse assignments at the Vivec Guild, that left Sadrith Mora and Ald'ruhn. Sadrith Mora was way out on the eastern coast, in Zafirbel Bay. I knew little of what went on out there.


In the end I chose Ald'ruhn; taking the advice Ajira had given me months ago, and presenting myself before Steward Edwinna Elbert - another Breton like me. Ajira had told me that Edwinna was nicer than Ranis, and the Khajiit was right (though in my opinion, poisonous snakes were nicer than Ranis). The Ald'ruhn Steward was kindly enough... but she was prone to distraction: she was truly obsessed by her studies into the Dwemer race. I got the impression that she cared more about her books and ancient artefacts than she did about other people; that her kindness was more a force of habit than anything else.

So powerful was the distraction for her, that the first couple of assignments she had me do were simple fetch-and-carry missions: she couldn't free her mind for long enough to think of anything more worthwhile. Find and purchase this rare Dwemer history book, fetch this potion from Skink-in-Trees-Shade... tedious work, but at least it was over quickly. The third assignment she had for me began the same way, but turned into something much more significant...

That came later, though.


In the meantime, after delivering the potion I wanted a change of pace. I decided to pursue the pilgrimage to the Sanctus Shrine that Priest Endryn had told me of. Apparently, the shrine marked the place where Tholer Saryoni (a very important figure in the Temple) had written his famous sermons. The pilgrimage began at the High Fane in Vivec (near the southernmost point of the island), and ended at the Sanctus Shrine (near the northernmost point). As I mentioned, there was a vow of silence involved; to be observed during the entire pilgrimage - the idea being to make the journey (across the whole span of Vvardenfell) one that the pilgrim took entirely alone, under his or her own power.

While doubtless going against the intended spirit of the pilgrimage, I was going to place a magical Mark at or near the site of the shrine, and teleport there directly once I was vowed to silence. I simply hadn't the time to hike across the whole of Vvardenfell.

The Valenvaryon stronghold - with its propylon chamber - was fairly close to the shrine, according to my map. Both were in very remote locations; some way west of Dagon Fel. I asked Folms to send me to Valenvaryon - and while I was talking to him, I delivered the grim news of the state of the Falasmaryon stronghold. The knowledge of another place attracting insane Dreamers - those who were once his people - obviously weighed heavily on Folms. I turned down the money he offered for scouting the stronghold, saying:

"No, keep it until I bring back good news. I'll look through Valenvaryon too, if you'll send me there now."

The Dunmer enchanter smiled slightly, and began the teleportation spell.


When I opened my eyes on the Valenvaryon propylon chamber, I almost cried out in shock. Standing before me, looking just as surprised as I felt, was a pretty Breton woman, her hands up in front of her as if to ward off a coming blow.

"What? You... teleported in!" She exclaimed, slowly lowering her hands. "Who are you? What are you doing here?"

Once I had assured her that I meant no harm, I managed to learn her name (Abelle Chriditte) and the story behind her incarceration in the chamber. For that was what the chamber was for her: the young woman, an alchemist, had been part of a trader convoy attacked by Orcs, near the village of Khuul. Abelle, along with her equipment, had been brought to Valenvaryon; the home of the band of Orcish bandits. Apparently they took a fancy to the restorative potions she could make.

I of course offered to bring her away from the stronghold, saying I could attempt to teleport back to Caldera with her using my Master Index. However, neither of us were sure if it would work. Abelle was afraid that I might accidentally leave her behind - with the telltale thunder-like -crack- of someone teleporting away. She didn't want to risk attracting the attention of the Orcs.

So - since I would have to face the bandits at some point anyway if I wanted to make use of the Valenvaryon propylon chamber, I decided to deal with them before attempting a rescue. Magically unlocking the chamber's only door and easing it open, I muttered a curse as I was met with the sight of five or six heavily armed and armoured Orcs ranged around the flat 'roof' of the stronghold - almost all of whom spotted me immediately.

Foregoing any further pretence of stealth, I threw the door open and stepped outside, weapons at the ready. With a chorus of fearsome roars, the band of Orcs began to sprint towards me. I risked a quick glance behind me and saw that Abelle was peering out of the chamber at the approaching Orcs.

"Close the door!" I shouted at her, yanking it from her hands and pulling it closed with a -bang-, shutting her safely inside.

By that stage the bandits were almost upon me - and even with my newfound artificial strength, grace and ability, there was no way I would survive the onslaught of six huge Orc warriors. Using Tinur's Hoptoad, I leapt high into the air, coming to land atop the propylon chamber. Even before my feet touched the stonework, I was sending a barrage of offensive spells towards the tightly grouped Orcs, gathered near the door to the chamber.

I saw them looking up at me - saw their faces - and then they were lost beneath the roiling clouds of magical ice and poison.

Abelle had fortunately had the good sense to back away from the door when she heard the Orcs gathered on the other side, so she was unharmed by my attacks. I made sure she was secure in the chamber before entering each of the domed 'huts' scattered around the top of the stronghold in turn, looking to clear out any remaining bandits. Luckily for me, most of the other Orcs appeared to have been asleep at the time of my arrival. They had been woken by the tumultuous noise of their friends' attack - and subsequent death - but most were still struggling to rouse themselves properly and find their weapons when I fell on them. I killed them relatively easily.

One particularly large Orc in a heavy, shining breastplate of silver was an exception. He and I fenced for what seemed like ages, the Orc absorbing one punishing blow from my Daedric blade after the next. Eventually I got in a lucky hit, and opened a great gaping wound across his throat. He finally collapsed, dead; but not before dealing me a nasty cut across my forehead.


Blood began to trickle into my eyes, obscuring my vision quite effectively. It was at that moment that the door to the large Orc's domed-hut flew open, a figure I couldn't quite make out standing in the entranceway. Cursing, I swung my sword up and over my head, about to bring it down on the indistinct figure. A feminine shriek stayed my hand - and as the enchantment in my Keeper Shirt took effect, closing the wound on my forehead, I managed to blink away enough blood to make out Abelle, cowering in the doorway.

"What are you doing?" I exclaimed, lowering my sword. "I could have killed you just then! I told you to stay in the propylon chamber! What if there are more Orcs around?"

"I know - I'm sorry!" She replied. "You were gone so long... I had to see what was happening. And... they wouldn't kill me - they want me alive to make potions, remember?"

I sheathed my sword, and, muttering several choice words about difficult women under my breath, caught Abelle up and threw her over my shoulder (my artificial strength made it easy). Ignoring her protests, I carried her back to the propylon chamber, and with my free hand, touched the Master Index to one of the propylon crystals, teleporting the both of us back to Caldera.

It was nothing like the stories of knights rescuing damsels in distress... but then - whose lives are really like that?

12 Comments:

Anonymous dabigpman said...

hmmmm...interesting.....that Ranis is a real Fyrse hag isnt she. i cant believe she would do that. Poor Frosty. I liked when i first went to valensaryono (sp??) i love hacking people to bits.

Saturday, January 28, 2006 7:51:00 am  
Anonymous dabigpman said...

oops...i meant Valenvaryon yall knew that tho ;)

Saturday, January 28, 2006 7:52:00 am  
Anonymous Matar said...

BURN! MAIM! KILL! DESTROY! CRUSH!

LET THE NIGHT WINDS CARRY THE SCREAMS OF THE DANMED!

DO NOT TELL ME THE FUTURE OF THIS TAIL! NO! SHOW ME PAIN! SHOW ME DEATH IN IT'S MOST BEAUTYFUL FORM!

LET NO MORTAL STAND IN YOUR WAY!

.... ok have you played the Scourge of the Lich Father mod? It's rather good.

Saturday, January 28, 2006 1:44:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Joseph, I've spent the last 3 days catching up on your journal and as a very big fan of Tim's journal, I'd like to say this story is excellent and I'm very much looking forward to future posts.

Saturday, January 28, 2006 1:51:00 pm  
Blogger Mindstroller said...

Two Words here...

You

Rock

Thats all :)

Saturday, January 28, 2006 2:24:00 pm  
Blogger Joseph said...

Thanks everyone. :-) Welcome to the new readers.

Matar: I know I've heard of 'Scourge of the Lich Father', but I don't think I've played it.

- Joseph.

Sunday, January 29, 2006 12:36:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a very long story.
Do you work? Or are you studying?

How do you find the free time to write?

Sunday, January 29, 2006 5:45:00 am  
Blogger Joseph said...

I do work. I'm a multimedia artist/trainer: website design, graphic design, animation, sound/video editing, etc. I do all that sort of thing, and train others how to do it too.

I write after work and on weekends - and yeah, it means I don't have much free time left over. :-) I enjoy it though, so it's alright.

- Joseph.

Sunday, January 29, 2006 10:46:00 am  
Anonymous Stygian said...

I seem to think that this chapter was posted later than your normal posting times....

You usually post them the evening of the day before they're due (my time, at least), but this one...

>_>

It came later than normal.

Sunday, January 29, 2006 12:29:00 pm  
Blogger Joseph said...

Stygian: Yes, this chapter was a little late.

Okay, so what happens is: I write each chapter ahead of time, and then when I go to post it (sometime during the day it is due, Australian Eastern Standard Time), I proof-read the chapter and make any necessary changes before publishing it. (This step also involves adding the pictures and links to mods).

Incidentally, if it's a work day I generally do it in my lunch break or after work. Sometimes if I'm especially well-organised, I proof-read and format the chapter the night before, saving it on Blogger so I can just login and hit 'publish' the next day.

For this chapter, I got to it a bit late as it was - and then I had to make more changes than usual. It was still posted on the due day, but not by a huge margin. :-)

- Joseph.

Sunday, January 29, 2006 4:47:00 pm  
Anonymous Lord of Vas said...

Joseph,

Been reading now for awhile. Always a great read. Has me once again slipping the ol' Morrowind disk into the computer for a stroll thru the countryside. I was wondering if you have a link to the list of the Mods you are using. Having collected many over the last couple of years I find that I am going the do a fresh install. I would love to see a list of the one's you seem to prefer.

Sunday, January 29, 2006 5:33:00 pm  
Anonymous Stygian said...

Joseph: Thanks for filling me in on that. I wasn't criticizing. Not that I'm saying you were of course, but I had just been wondering.

Lord of Vas: You may find yourself disappointed if you play the mods that Joseph rights about. He adds a LOT to them and makes them seem gloriously fun and in-depth. I'm not trying to insult Joseph or mods mods and their makers when I say this, though.

Monday, January 30, 2006 1:47:00 am  

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