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, February 15, 2006

Chapter 88: Devastation... and amends

The Imperial Legion soldiers that had attacked Lusius and I had indeed been the weapons smugglers: an inspection of the caves in which we had found them proved as much. Inside several barrels that looked ready to be sealed and put aboard a boat, I found a small collection of arms and armour: swords, axes, hammers, steel armour, and finally, several pieces of decently sturdy fur armour. They looked to be fashioned from the hide of a large furry animal; probably a bear, as near as I could tell. It was not a complete set - I counted a cuirass, a pauldron, one glove, and a pair of foul-smelling boots.

Nevertheless, it was much thicker and stronger than the 'Nordic Fur' I had bought, so I collected it up and carried it to the entrance of the Gamdrung caverns. After checking that no-one was around (I did not want to be attacked while out of my armour), I stripped down and, as quickly as I could, washed the drying blood from my skin. The water outside the caves was achingly cold: I could not bring myself to dive in, even though it would undoubtedly have been faster. As it was, I squatted awkwardly on the flat rocks by the water and washed myself as best I could - with as little of the freezing water as I could.

Shivering violently afterwards, I hurriedly dried myself off with the warm cloak I had bundled in my pack. Back inside the caves, near the warmth of a fire one of the smugglers had built in the hollow of a peculiar stalagmite, I dressed and set about the difficult business of strapping on armour by oneself. I abandoned some of the Nordic Fur and replaced it with the Bearskin armour. It almost certainly belonged to the Imperial Legion - but I would offer to pay for it when I reported back to Captain Carius.

Carius. That was not an encounter I looked forward to. Saenus Lusius, the man the Captain had assigned to help me, was dead. It was hardly my fault, but I still felt an unpleasant twinge in my gut at the thought of what had happened. I had hardly known the man, but he had seemed a kind and friendly soul... and he was dead for helping me.

I stayed by the fire for a while, lost in thought. Would Carius still honour his part of our agreement and assign some men to help me search for the airship crew, if I reported that Lusius had died in my company?

Dusk had just given way to night when I made my way back to Frostmoth Fort, Lusius' body in my arms. My preternatural strength made carrying a full-grown man - even one in full Legion armour - a relatively easy matter. As soon as I was within earshot of the fort, I could tell something was very wrong. The awful screams of men and women in agony and despair carried over the walls of the fort, and as I quickened my pace, lumbering around to the gate with Lusius still in my arms, the reek of recent carnage met my nose. There was blood - and worse: the smell of bodies that had been cut open.

It was a scene of devastation. There had been an attack on the fort; there was no room for doubt. The walls of the fort were breached in several places, and the sharp smell of ground-up stone and dust penetrated even the stench of the many dead and wounded. The Legionnaires were in disarray: some grasped helplessly at their wailing, dying comrades, others tended gingerly to their own wounds, while some simply stood about looking dazed and out of breath. What really stuck in my mind about that moment - apart from the smell - was the steam. In the cold evening air, the heavy breathing of the living Legion soldiers - and the cooling bodies of the dead, broken and torn ones - sent remarkable clouds of steam drifting up into the darkened sky.

A Redguard soldier with a nasty gash down the side of his face jogged up to me. Horribly, I could actually see his teeth through the cut in his cheek.

"Lusius!" He cried - with some difficulty - as he tore the man's lifeless form from my arms. "Is he alright? No... NO!"

The man lowered Lusius to the ground, and remained crouched over his body, shoulders quaking silently. One of the few female soldiers in the fort stepped up to place a consoling hand on the Redguard's shoulder.

"What happened here?" I asked her.

Before she could answer, I heard something, off in the distance - to the north. It was like the howl of a wolf, only... there was something else behind it; something that made me shiver.

"There!" The woman exclaimed, pointing in the direction of the noise. "Did you hear that? It was those... creatures - they were like wolves, only... they were so big! And the claws... I've never seen a wolf like that. A horde! So many..."

She shook her head slowly, and swayed slightly on her feet. I noticed she was pressing a hand against a series of deep gashes in her side. Blood was oozing out between her fingers.

"Hold still." I prompted her, and sent my healing magic into her side. Once the wound closed over, she seemed more alert.

"You're Frost, right? You've been helping the Captain?" I nodded, and she went on: "No-one's seen him since the attack! We can't find him anywhere... he would be either... dead... or yelling at us to... do something. I can't imagine what else..." She indicated the general state of chaos that had descended on the fort. "If - if you can find Gaea - Gaea Artoria... she would know what to do..."

I nodded in agreement, but then hesitated, looking at the many wounded strewn about the yard. The female soldier seemed to be having the same thought as I:

"Yes..." she said, "you can heal... Could you - please..."

I nodded, and placed a hand on the injured Redguard's head. A moment later he was healed, and staring up at me with eyes full of tears, his face no longer a horrid ruin. From there I went among the wounded rank-and-file of the fort, healing every man and woman I visited: one by one.

Restoration magic is the stuff of miracles. I again gave thanks to whatever gods may exist that I had been blessed with some ability in that college of magic. Even the most grievously injured soldiers I brought back from the very brink of death: as long as they had breath still in their lungs. I asked every man or small group I visited to stay where they were and to stay quiet about what I was doing. The Legionnaires were mostly in a state of panic, and I did not want to be mobbed by hysteric soldiers - desperate either for themselves or their friends. Such a thing would have helped no-one: least of all me.

After what felt like an extraordinarily long time, I was finished. I hadn't been able to reach everyone in time, but I had saved most. I felt drained. Were it not for my link to the plane of magicka, and the magicka leak inside my body, I would not have been able to save nearly as many people that night as I had. As it was, my reserves of magicka were almost depleted by the time I was finished.

Once it became obvious that all had been saved who could be saved, I was slowly surrounded by grateful soldiers. There were many gruff slaps on my back, as well as some more-heartfelt clasping of my hands, as they all thanked me. It was a sombre vote of thanks, everyone very conscious of the bodies of those I had not been able to save - lying all around us.

I no longer felt so responsible for Lusius' death. I had brought so many back from near-death that night, that I... Was the debt repaid? I felt different, in any case. I felt more full of worth than I ever had.

I had saved lives, rather than ended them. Despite the horrible circumstances, it felt like the best thing I had ever done.


Anonymous dabigpman said...

What a guy. He is my HERO!

Thursday, February 16, 2006 2:56:00 am  
Blogger Malaki Tarion said...

Go Frost. Way to play the healer. For a brief and simple chapter, I think this one was really good.

Thursday, February 16, 2006 11:09:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yup yup, very good ole chap. what my i ask is frosty's lvl at?

Thursday, February 16, 2006 11:24:00 am  
Anonymous Random said...

Good Chapter as always, good of you to follow the Solthsiem quest

Thursday, February 16, 2006 11:50:00 am  
Anonymous person said...


Best Chapter so far. Simple and well written. Touched me deeply.

You are a master Joseph. We are not worthy.

Thursday, February 16, 2006 8:22:00 pm  
Blogger Joseph said...

Thanks everyone. :-)

Anonymous: I was just playing earlier, and Frost went up to level 32.

- Joseph.

Thursday, February 16, 2006 11:57:00 pm  
Blogger Joseph Kennedy said...

Frost is the Dude of the Century
(the title I give to anyone who does something worth doing - just being "cool" won't get you there)

anyway yeah

- Joe

Wednesday, May 07, 2008 12:37:00 am  

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