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, February 24, 2006

Chapter 92: Cold

Tharsten Heart-Fang seemed to take my return of the remains of one of his people (a skull, at least) as a sign that I had been sent by the Imperial Legion to atone for all the damage they had apparently caused to Solstheim.

"The Imperials sit in their fort, and scar the land with their holes, and their felled trees." Tharsten said, scorn in his voice. "They are wasteful, lazy, and careless. They slaughter the prey on this island, and leave barely enough to ensure a new generation. Where do they think next season's food will come from? They take too much, and leave what they must think are scraps for the bears and the wolves. They feed the bears and wolves with their waste. Have you seen them? Wolves and bears for leagues! A man cannot cross a clearing without a wild beast taking him for walking food."

I knew exactly what the Skaal chieftain meant. As I mentioned, the number of predators I had fought off on my hike across Solstheim was extraordinary.

"The 'Oneness' we share with the land is what gives the Skaal its power." Tharsten continued. "The Imperials disrupt and destroy this Oneness with every action they take - they have never understood it... although by sending you with this skull, perhaps they are finally acknowledging their mistakes. You could be the instrument of their atonement - I wish for you to be the one to make things right, Edward Frost - the one to restore natural order and balance. And the one to restore the Skaal to the power we once had."

I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I was a complete stranger to Tharsten Heart-Fang (and he to me), and he was talking as if I was somehow beholden to him to restore his people to... power - to some former glory. Perhaps my feelings were plain on my face, because the chieftain added:

"It is right that you do this, as it is your people who have caused the damage."

It is true that his manner - and his assumption that I could be ordered about as his lackey - irked me; but quite apart from that, I had far too much to do to let myself be caught up in the affairs of this remote community. I told him as much:

"I am not a Legion soldier," I said; "nor am I an Imperial. I have been here for two days - no more. I am not responsible for the state of this island: not even in part. There is a debt to be paid, obviously: I can understand your position - so I hope you can understand mine. I have made a number of commitments elsewhere: not the least of which is to find those missing men and women. I am sorry, Tharsten, but I do not have the time to help you right now. If you seriously need my help - and no-one else's - then perhaps later I will return, when I have seen to my current obligations."

As I said these things, a now familiar dull, cold ache settled in my heart: the time was rapidly approaching when promises of "soon" and "later" would be empty when coming from my lips. I would likely not live long enough to see such promises through. It was not a pleasant thought.

Tharsten did not speak for a moment, a dark expression fouling his face.

"I would have expected no better from a Westerner like you." He said finally. "You would spit in the face of a chance to redeem your people and heal a wounded land?"

"I explained that it was not I or my people who did this to Solstheim;" I replied, keeping my tone as level as I could; "and I explained my position. Thankyou for having me in your village: I will be leaving now."

"I think that would be best." Tharsten said shortly.

The mood between us was quite frigid as I left the Skaal's Great Hall.

Visiting the Skaal Village would have been a total waste of time, had it not been for Tharsten adding to the area of Solstheim in which the airship crew was probably not located. All that was left was to head west to the Moesring Mountains and Hrothmund's Bane. It was well past dusk by that time however, and I had no intention of going further that night. The temperature was dropping by the minute, and I walked briskly out to the western outskirts of the village to keep warm. I was looking for an out-of-the-way place to leave a magical Mark, but instead I found an old man perched precariously atop a well, staring down into its depths.

"Ho - wait!" I shouted, running up to him. "What are you doing?"

The man, who I soon learned to be named Lassnr, clambered down, slowly and awkwardly.

"It's my son." He said with a quaver in his voice. "He fell in the well."

"What?!" I exclaimed, leaping up to stand on the well's edge, like Lassnr had been doing. "I'll get him! Where is he? Is there water down there?"

The old man appeared confused for a moment, and then said:

"Oh - no, you misunderstand. He fell in several days past..." He went on to explain that no-one else in the village thought that his son, Tymvaul, had survived the fall, since no cries for help had followed the accident. Lassnr, of course, had not given up hope: but had not been able to persuade anyone to enter the well and look for the lost young man. "The well leads to some ice caves, called 'Rimhull'. Tymvaul may still be alive and whole down there!"

My Night-Eye spell let me see the water down deep in the well quite clearly. My magic left me with nothing to fear about dropping into a well.

"Stay here," I told the old man; "I'll look for him." I jumped.

My enchanted 'Infallible' belt carried me safely down to the surface of the icy water, and a water-walking spell kept me from being submerged. I knew something was wrong the instant I got my bearings: I could see a dim light up ahead - perhaps bounced off the cracked, pearlescent ice walls many times. It was difficult to tell. Someone or something had to be down there, though. I drew my sword.

I followed the light down a slippery tunnel of ice and stone. Luckily for me, whoever made the bearskin boots I wore had seen fit to fix a series of metal spikes to the sole - and these helped me to remain upright. I soon found the source of the light: a small campfire in a larger chamber. Sitting in front of the fire, facing me, was a young Nordic man in a dark purple robe, muttering to himself. He looked... awful. At first, I almost took him for one of the undead, such was the pallor of his skin: but I could see him breathing.

"Tymvaul?" I asked tentatively, taking several steps towards him. "Are you Tym-"

But at that, the young Nord leapt to his feet, bellowing:

"No - you shall not have it!" He threw his arms up, hands pointing at the cavern ceiling and white sparks crackling between his fingers. I knew a summoning spell when I saw one.

With a deafening series of cracks and crashes, the floor around the edge of the cavern exploded, sending splinters of ice and stone flying. Animated skeletons erupted from the resulting holes in the floor. The Nordic people were not usually known for having much of an innate grasp of the use of magic. How could a Nord so young have such a powerful command of magicka? I was stunned - and, more pressingly, I was surrounded.

Before the young Nord could weave another spell, I lunged at him, leaping over the campfire to catch him in the side of the head with my elbow. He crashed to the ground, unconscious. That just left the crowd of skeletons about to descend on me. They were armed, but carried no better than sharpened stones fastened to the end of lengths of wood, and battered shields of wood or bone. With great, sweeping arcs of my Daedric longsword, I broke every one of the revenants to pieces in fairly short order.

I directed my attention back to the young Nord. When I knocked him down, the robe he wore had brushed against me, and I had felt something: powerful magic... but - dark somehow. The robe was obviously enchanted; and far more potently so than anything I had encountered before. It had to be the source of the man's uncanny magical ability: I needed to take it from him before he woke up.

I set about stripping the young Nord of the robe, and the instant I grasped the material I felt it again: my awareness of the flows of magicka in and around me expanded - soared, even. It was like looking up from a finely-printed book to take in a massive landscape - a view to the distant horizon. The robe was also cold to the touch - I could feel it right through my gloves. There was something wrong with it, too: touching it made me feel vaguely sick.

In a moment I had removed the robe from him completely, and as I stood there with the dark purple folds in my hands, my vision blurred and shifted, and I could feel my breathing become laboured.

I could see bones in the ground, shimmering like the sun on a frozen pond. I could see them for such a great distance, buried far and wide, that if I looked too far, my sight was overwhelmed with their cold shimmering light. The robe was powerful - very, very powerful - and it stirred a wonder in me.


Anonymous dabigpman said...

that was a great chapter joseph.
that was a perfect way of describing the MANTLE. look forward to sundays chapter

Saturday, February 25, 2006 4:13:00 am  
Anonymous Random said...

You can almost hear "Come Over To The Dark Side, Frost" Another Great Chapter, Joseph.

Saturday, February 25, 2006 9:49:00 pm  
Anonymous Interested said...

Frost as evil guy? Well there's one interesting concept.

Sunday, February 26, 2006 5:57:00 am  
Anonymous Matar said...


My fav robe is the mantle! The extra mana realy helps.

Drink a resist pottion and WHAM the only negitave effect is the Sun damage.

I never go out in the day anyways :P.

Sunday, February 26, 2006 9:56:00 am  
Anonymous Mike L. said...

Gotta admit, and evil Edward Frost would be profoundly interesting, seeing as how he's always worried about ethics. I imagine it'd be an interesting writing challenge too.

Sunday, February 26, 2006 1:03:00 pm  
Anonymous Matar said...

Yes but Frosty seems not the fool...

A resist MAgicka potion cancles all but one of the negitave effects.

Sunday, February 26, 2006 1:58:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep in mind that he was born under the sign of the Apprentice.

Monday, February 27, 2006 1:04:00 am  
Blogger Joseph Kennedy said...

An evil Frost....
Someone should take a savegame from near then (in Joseph has any from that point)and continue with an evil Frost
and a vamp too
this idea's giving me the tingles
If only.....

Wednesday, May 07, 2008 12:53:00 am  

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