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, February 19, 2006

Chapter 90: A harsh place

My trek through the forest wore on. According to the map Gaea gave me, the entire lower half of Solstheim was covered in trees. As I have mentioned, the thick forest of pine trees made a welcome change from the mostly barren lands of Vvardenfell; but they also presented a hazard, in that they limited visibility. This was a particular problem, since the landscape was just as overrun with predators as I had been led to believe.

It felt like I spent the whole morning fending off massive bears and packs of wolves. Actually, 'fending off' might be a somewhat misleading phrase in this case. I think that at that time - for whatever reason - there were far too many predators on Solstheim, and not nearly enough prey to go around. None of the wild animals were to be deterred, even when grievously wounded: they kept up the attack until they were dead. I think they were all starving.

I made my way north-east through Hirstaang Forest until the terrain began to slope downwards and the trees began to grow more sparsely. I had reached the banks of the Iggnir River - which separated the easternmost third of the island from the rest of Solstheim. With fewer trees around I could see far and well enough to avoid most of the ranging wild animals before they saw me - but the weather was noticeably worse outside the shelter of the forest. Within moments a snowstorm had blown up, and my view of the lands around me was once again obscured.

I had never seen its like before: snow from both the sky and the ground was whipped up into great, drifting sheets that hurtled across the landscape at amazing speed; not unlike the ash-storms on Vvardenfell.

I used the Tinur's Hoptoad spell to leap over the icy river, the gusting winds blowing and buffeting me about as I soared across, and causing me to land awkwardly on the other side. The wind was definitely getting worse, and the temperature was dropping by the minute. I still trudged on, though fairly soon I could not even see as far as I could throw a stone. My cobbled-together fur armour kept me warm enough, though. Actually... the further I went on, leaning into the wind, the less cold I felt - before very long I was actually sweating!

At first I thought it was merely the exertion of walking against the howling wind - but then; I was wearing my enchanted 'Tireless' pants: I should not become out-of-breath or fatigued at all while wearing those. I began to feel weak - to the point of clumsiness, even; and it was then that I realised what must have happened: I had caught some disease from one of the wild animals that attacked me that morning. It was something the soldiers in Fort Frostmoth had told me to look out for - in fact, they called the bears and wolves there 'plague-bears' and 'plague-wolves'.

A couple of the bears had torn through my armour, in places, and gouged out strips of flesh with their filthy claws - and many of the wolves had sunk their teeth into my shins in an attempt to bring me to the ground. Fortunately for me (very fortunately, considering I had no idea what malady - or maladies - I had caught), my spell to cure common diseases worked perfectly. Within half an hour I was once again shivering from the icy wind, rather than sweating from a fever.

Meanwhile, the snowstorm grew so wild that I began to look for somewhere to take shelter until it died down. The search took quite some time, and of course was not helped by the poor visibility the storm afforded me. I was about to give up and teleport home (leaving a magical Mark behind so I could return later) when I spotted a man-made structure of stone. I wasn't quite sure what to call it: it jutted from the side of a low hill, and put me in mind of the stone archways that marked the entrance to the Dunmeri ancestral tombs in the wilds of Vvardenfell - only much more rude and angular in construction.

I soon discovered that the structure was quite similar indeed to an ancestral tomb entrance - actually, save for a difference in vernacular, an underground ancestral tomb is exactly what it was. It was called a 'barrow', in the Nordic tongue. In any case I could not have asked for a better place in which to take shelter from a snowstorm. I was about to push the heavy stone door open when a voice sounded from behind me, just about making me yelp in fright.

"Hold there, traveller!" I span about to see a young Nordic man seated against a large boulder, a little way up from the barrow entrance. He was wrapped in bearskin armour like mine. "What business have you in the Valbrandr Barrow?"

I had had no idea that he was there, so blinded I was by the blowing snow. Once I found my voice, I replied:

"I wanted to take shelter from the storm." It seemed obvious to me.

The Nord gave me a strange look.

"You would take shelter in a barrow like this one?" I noticed him eyeing my Daedric sword and Netch-Adamantium shield - both items that were obviously rare and powerfully good at what they did. "Then you must be a good warrior... or you don't know what's in there." He paused. "Listen, I hate to ask for help from a stranger, so..."

He held out his hand.

"I am Ingmar." I clasped his hand briefly, and gave him my name. Ingmar continued: "I can tell you are not from here, so let me explain: I am of the Skaal, and in that barrow is a draugr that I must kill - if I wish to be seen as a man. It is a rite of passage for all Skaal boys."

The Nord certainly looked young, too: in fact he looked as if he had not finished growing yet. He was almost swallowed up by the bulky bearskin armour he wore. And one of the Skaal too! Perhaps it would turn out to be a fortunate encounter for me.

"The problem is," Ingmar went on, "I can't kill it! I tried, and it almost slit my throat! I can't go back without killing it... I would never outlive the shame... If - if you could help me?"

I glanced at the barrow entrance.

"First," I said, "I feel I should ask: what is a draugr?"

"Oh, yes: draugr are dead, but not." He paused, thinking hard. "How do you say it... undead! They are undead! They used to be Nords, but were cursed to forever hunger for human flesh, because they ate their brother Nords in life."

"You said 'they'. Are there many of them? Is there a lot of... cannibalism on Solstheim?"

"Solstheim is a harsh place, Edward Frost."

The 'draugr' sounded unpleasant; like a zombie, from Ingmar's description. I had never heard of them before, though; and facing something one knew near to nothing about in battle was a foolish move. Should I go in?

The storm grew still worse, and made my mind up for me. I wanted to be inside that barrow, out of the storm; I would probably have to kill the draugr anyway, to do that. And besides - if I helped Ingmar, perhaps he would say a few favourable words about me to the other Skaal - a useful thing if I wanted information from them.

"Alright," I said, drawing my sword, "I'll help. Let's go."

"No - wait!" Ingmar exclaimed. "I must be the one to kill it. That is, if this rite of passage is to mean anything. Please - if you could only... distract it..."

I raised my eyebrows.

"Alright," I repeated, hoisting my shield, "let's go."

Inside was nearly black as pitch, and, unfortunately, so was the draugr. It seemed shorter than me - but that might have been because of its curled, hunched posture. Overall it looked like a long-dead corpse that had been recovered from a bog, or perhaps found buried in ice and snow. It's eyes shone brightly with an infernal red glow.

The thing seemed to recognise Ingmar somehow, and tore straight at him. The young Nord shrunk back instinctively, and I stepped in front of him, buffeting the revenant back with several quick blows from my shield. Hissing, it turned its attention - and its talon-like fingertips - to me. Ingmar aimed a clumsy blow at the thing's back. I had a hard time keeping the draugr's attention on me without actually hurting it. I shouted, I clanged my shield against the stone walls of the barrow; I even whacked the creature's legs with the flat of my blade when it seemed bent on attacking Ingmar. Doing all this - and being conservative in my defence so as to not harm the draugr myself - was of course quite dangerous.

The thing was fast, and managed to leave quite a number of deep scratches and gouges in my skin. Ingmar was taking his time dispatching the beast: either out of enjoyment of a fight that did not entail so much danger to himself, or simply because he was a poor fighter.

"Just kill the damned thing, Ingmar! Kill it!" I shouted, deflecting another of the draugr's vicious swipes with my shield. "If you do not finish it now, I will do it for you! Listen: aim for its shins!"

The thought that I might steal his 'victory' from him seemed to properly inspire the young Nord, and he swept the draugr off its feet with his sword. I leapt back, and yelled:

"Yes! Now - its neck! Cut its head off!"

In a moment it was done, and the draugr was dead - truly dead. Ingmar was overjoyed, and for a while, as if I had not actually been there, he recounted the best moments of the fight (as he saw them). I said nothing, tending to my wounds and looking over the damage to my fur armour. Shortly, Ingmar disappeared into the snowstorm, eager to tell his friends and family of his victory. He left promising, as I had hoped, that he would speak well to his people on my behalf; should I visit the Skaal Village.

I remained for a time, adjusting my equipment. The fur armour was rent and torn in many places, and I had to creatively rearrange the straps that fastened my equipment to my back and waist to keep the armour from falling off completely. Ingmar had departed before I realised what he was doing; otherwise I would have asked to accompany him back to the Skaal Village. I had my map, of course - but a guide would have been most welcome.

As it was, I waited until the blowing gale outside had died off a little, before settling my pack on my back once more and again setting off into the snowstorm. I still had a way to go.


Anonymous Matar said...

I feel your pain Frosty...

I love BloodMoon but I hated walking everywere.

Then I remembered about the windwalker spells in Tribunal and I was happy agine :).

Sunday, February 19, 2006 6:50:00 pm  
Anonymous Person said...

Personally, this quest made me laugh like a silly bugger.

Ingmar took ages to kill the Valbrandr Draugr and I laughed the whole time. When he managed to hit it (1 out of every 7 hits approximately) it did nearly nil damage.

And me, being my sadistic self, actually healed the Draugr and occasionally let it hit Ingmar.

One of the main points of the Bloodmoon expansion for me.

Sadism is always funny, is it not? ^_^

Sunday, February 19, 2006 7:13:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I made my way north-east through Hirstaang Forest until I the terrain began to slope downwards and the trees began to grow more sparsely."

I'm not exactly sure what this means? Is that I accidental?

Monday, February 20, 2006 8:57:00 am  
Blogger Joseph said...

"Forest until I the terrain" - Well, there is a typo there: there should be no "I". I'll fix that now.

Looking at it again, I can see that the sentence could be taken more than one way: but I meant that there were less trees growing on the area that sloped downwards (the slope leading down to the river). Sorry if it was confusing.

- Joseph.

Monday, February 20, 2006 5:02:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ingmar is a n00b. A scrib could do better if the draugr were distracted by Frost! (though partly because they paralize you...)


Thursday, February 23, 2006 3:38:00 am  
Blogger Joseph Kennedy said...

use a fortify attack spell on him
or fortify strength
or something like that

Wednesday, May 07, 2008 12:47:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Celine Bags Oakley Sunglasses Outlet ( Celine
Bag () () jimmy choo shoes () Kate Spade Outlet
CHI Flat Iron Website
Christian Louboutin Outlet Jimmy Choo Shoes Online
Christian Louboutin Outlet Online -
- Oakley Sunglasses Wholesale, , Lebron James Shoes Christian Louboutin Outlet chanel handbags Outlet Christian Louboutin Outlet Online
Hermes Outlet Celine Bags (Www.Gadgetsch.Com) Lululemon Outlet giuseppe zanotti Sneakers on sale Kate Spade Outlet Prada handbags Lebron James Shoes Hermes Birkin christian louboutin outlet Lebron James Shoes For Sale beats by dre Celine Bag ( oakley Sunglasses outlet Prada Handbags
Kevin Durant Shoes For Sale Christian Louboutin Outlet

Friday, September 05, 2014 9:40:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If some one desires expert view about blogging and site-building afterward
i recommend him/her to go to see this web site, Keep up
the fastidious job.

Feel free to surf to my site :: ways to burn fat fast

Monday, September 08, 2014 5:20:00 am  

Post a Comment

<< Home