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 26, 2006

Chapter 93: The Mantle of Woe

The young-looking man that had summoned the skeletons to attack me stirred, the movement obscuring my view of the shimmering bones in the ground. His gaze fixed immediately on the dark purple robe in my hands.

"Thief!" He snarled. "Give it back!"

The young Nord rose, and made to snatch at the heavily enchanted item. I kicked him back down, drawing the robe back - out of his reach - as I did so. Before he could make another attempt, I swung my pack from my shoulders and hastily bundled the robe within it. For an instant after kicking the man down, I had wanted very much to kill him - to stomp on his head with my spiked boots until he stopped moving.

There had been times - many times - in combat when I had done some truly vicious things; but it had always been in the midst of a chaotic fight, fuelled by fear and anger. This young man was quite defenceless without the robe - that much was obvious - and I had never felt the urge to kill an obviously defenceless man before. The robe I had taken from the young man was very, very powerful; but it would have taken a true fool to not see that there was also something wrong with it - that there was a cost for using it.

Sure enough, as soon as the thing was out of my hands, and out of his sight, my vision returned to normal - the shimmering spectres of bones fading away - and the Nordic man suddenly relaxed, looking as if he could not quite remember what he had been doing.

"Are you Tymvaul, Lassnr's son?" I asked, my hand on the hilt of my sword; just in case.

It turned out to not be necessary. The man's appearance was markedly different: he no longer looked almost like one of the undead himself, and certainly no longer looked as if he wanted to attack me. He had been wearing next to nothing under the robe, and I was reminded again how the Nordic race was said to be virtually immune to cold - even magical cold. Right then this certainly looked to be true: the young Nord was sitting on ice, and not even shivering. He started at my question.

"What? Yes - I am! But - don't hurt me, please - I'm sorry! I'm sorry for... When you came in, I thought you wanted..." Tymvaul paused, head in his hands. He appeared quite confused.

He said no more for the moment, staring at my hand - the one ready on my blade. He seemed to be waiting for a sign that I did not mean to do him harm. I relaxed my stance, letting my hands fall to my side.

"I did not come here to kill you;" I told him; "your father is looking for you. He was about to jump down the well himself to find you."

Tymvaul sat bolt upright at the second mention of Lassnr.

"My father! Does he know? Does everyone... know what I've been doing? I just wanted to study magic. Not many here approve of magic - 'a man's place is as a warrior', they say. I learned about... about the Mantle..." His eyes strayed to my pack. I swung it back onto my shoulders, noticing a frown crossing his features briefly as I did so. "The Mantle... I learned that it was here - right beneath the village... and powerful. I wanted to show them that magic is powerful: no less worthwhile than skill in armed combat." Tymvaul paused, looking at his feet. "But... that thing... something about it - it filled my head... They don't know, do they? What I've done?"

I shook my head.

"Everyone thinks you are dead;" I replied; "except your father - but he's very worried. No-one knows what's happened down here."

Tymvaul leapt to his feet.

"I must go to him! You won't ... tell him about this, will you?" There was a pleading look in his eyes.

I shook my head again, making to lead the way back to the pool where I had first entered the caves.

"It is your place to tell him;" I said, adding: "and tell him everything."

The young Nord agreed, looking relieved. He stopped me from going back the way I came, saying there was another, easier way out. I was glad to hear it: I had not been sure how to get Tymvaul back up the well.


The Nordic man lead me down a twisting ice tunnel that shortly opened out into the cold night air, behind a stand of thick bushes and several boulders. We were near the base of the steep hill leading down to the west from the Skaal Village. Tymvaul turned to me before he left.

"I am sorry, again." He said quietly. "Take that robe far away, and burn it, if you can. Thankyou for this. I owe you - everything."

With that, he sprinted off up the hill, calling out for his father. I turned and set about looking for a fairly level place to leave a magical Mark. The young Nord seemed free of whatever destructive impulses had seized him in the Rimhull ice caves, and I had other things on my mind: namely what to do with the insidious enchanted robe in my pack.

After a moment I looked back; up the hill, and saw Tymvaul running into his father's arms. Wondering vaguely what it would be like to have a father, I turned and cast my Mark, before teleporting home.


I spent the remainder of the evening in Wolfen castle's laboratory with Yanika, the assistant mage I had hired, studying the robe I had recovered. I made my suspicions about the item clear to the Altmer woman before drawing it from my pack, but her eyes still gleamed with thinly veiled desire at the sight of the faintly shimmering folds of purple fabric.

I have to wonder, though, if I did not look much the same as her right at that moment. There certainly was "something about it", as Tymvaul had said. The obvious, extraordinary power and utility of the robe's enchantments to a mage were seductive, and difficult to deny.

After a cautious and tentative examination of the robe, and a search through one of Yanika's books on magical artefacts, we determined that it was called the 'Mantle of Woe', and was fairly well-known in certain circles. In the most basic sense it made the wearer take on the aspect - and some of the powers and weaknesses - of a powerful, magical, undead being: a lich, perhaps - or a vampire. It increased one's magicka reserves to spectacular levels: many times what the wearer could store normally. It also gave one an incredible insight into the Conjuration school of magic, and the act of summoning a beast - especially an undead creature - or an item from another place. For me this had manifested itself in my visions of the bones in the ground all around me.

Those were the strengths endowed by the Mantle. The weaknesses were quite severe. The wearer, as I said, took on the aspect of an undead thing: almost literally, in fact. This is why I had originally almost mistaken Tymvaul for a revenant of some kind. The robe was obviously not something that could be worn in public. It also could not be worn in daylight - according to Yanika's book - or the wearer would burst into flames. This is what made me think the Mantle was linked somehow to a vampire.

On top of all that, the wearer would inherit the fragility of an ancient, magically animated body: he or she would be that much more vulnerable to attack or damage of any kind. The entry in Yanika's book on the Mantle speculated that the soul of a powerful lich or vampire may have been used to imbue the robe with its powers: citing the pressing influence some wearers felt upon their mind.

In summary, the Mantle of Woe was dangerous. I was unsure what to do with it. Somehow I couldn't quite bring myself to destroy it - and I was unsure what would happen if I tried to, in any case. I was certainly not about to put it to use myself; not with its questionable background - and with the way it made me feel when I merely touched it. I could not take the risk of giving it away, trying to sell it, or putting it on display in my museum. I could not risk someone else behaving as Tymvaul had done. People could get hurt.

In the end I hid the Mantle away in the castle's secret vault, taking even more care than usual to make sure no-one saw me enter or leave. As far as I was aware, I was still the only one who knew the vault existed. I did my best from then on to pretend that the Mantle was not there, but a small voice in the back of my mind told me that I had hidden it there in case I needed its power one day...

13 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great chapter, as usually, but Frost is already late in saving the airship's crew, and sidequests like this wont help it. He must feel quilty when he finds it out by himself.

Well, no one can save everyone. Just forget it and let everything die.

Sunday, February 26, 2006 7:56:00 pm  
Blogger Joseph said...

It gets too cold at night on Solstheim to do any travelling (with the Temperature mod installed it definitely does). Not to mention it being sort of dark to conduct a search for missing people.

So Frost was doing something useful during the time in which he could not really continue the search. :-)

- Joseph.

Sunday, February 26, 2006 9:11:00 pm  
Anonymous Matar said...

"Well, no one can save everyone. Just forget it and let everything die."

EMO!

Ummm yah

Oh and.

"Frosty I am your father!"

"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"

"Come to the dark side!"

Yah well you get it....

WAIT! If the Rode makes you able to hold more Magicka would that not cure his... problem? Or dose it merly make him able to hold more but fills him up with more...


A PARADOX!

Sunday, February 26, 2006 9:19:00 pm  
Anonymous Stygian said...

"Well, no one can save everyone. Just forget it and let everything die."

EMO!

Ummm yah

Oh and.

"Frosty I am your father!"

"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"

"Come to the dark side!"



OLOLO UR FUNY MAT4R!!!!!

Monday, February 27, 2006 6:11:00 am  
Anonymous Mike L. said...

You've got some odd readers, man.

Always so suspenseful- holding onto the Mantle of Woe :just in case:. I'm going to have that in the back of my mind now. But for now Frosty still fights the good fight.

Monday, February 27, 2006 2:42:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Joseph, I first discovered your journals existance from someone who mentioned it on Tim's website during one of his disappeances, and after a few days of catching up on it, I'd just like to say congradulations to you. It has far exceeded my expectations, and is every bit as good as Tim's journal. Keep up the good work!

Monday, February 27, 2006 5:02:00 pm  
Anonymous Person said...

Oooh whats Frosty up to now? What plans can he hold for The Mantle? I look foward to finding out...

Great chapter Joesph!

btw do you have any mods relating to Solstheim currently installed?

Monday, February 27, 2006 9:28:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joeseph, I second what person said, this is a great blog and it is on my (almost) daily reading list...along with Tim's blog. The side quests make the games, IMHO, so I don't mind an occasional trip to get some fat lute (sic). Besides, the guys on the airship are already dead and there's nothing you can do about it (spoiler!).

Tuesday, February 28, 2006 7:49:00 am  
Anonymous Rex Little said...

Joseph -

I'm another who discovered your journal through Tim's and now enjoys both. Yours inspired me to add the Wolfen Castle mod to my game, and now I can't find the crypt and the Guardian. There's a hidden wall on the ground floor near the dungeon entrance that seems like it should be the place, but it won't open when I click on it. Can you (or anyone else reading this) help? If you'd rather not post the answer, my email address is steveklein8@cox.net. Thanks very much.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006 6:48:00 pm  
Blogger Joseph said...

Thanks everyone!

Person: These three are in my mod list, but none of them really make it into Frost in Morrowind:

B_Whitewolf_1_0.esp
BMExtras.esp
JCS - Gogetto's Stalhrim Weapons.esp

That's 'The White Wolf of Lokken Mountain' (which is a very good quest mod, and adds an island just off the east coast of Solstheim), 'Bloodmoon Extras' (which adds/balances a few things on Solstheim, I think), and 'Gogetto's Stalhrim Weapons', which adds a few new Stalhrim weapons to the game.

Rex Little: Read chapter 46 closely... :-) Post another comment if you still can't find it after that.

- Joseph.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006 10:01:00 pm  
Blogger Joseph said...

Oh, and be careful with the spoilers there, anonymous: just in case there's someone here who hasn't played that particular part...

Probably unlikely, I know - but still. :-)

- Joseph.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006 10:55:00 pm  
Anonymous Person said...

Thanks Joseph, just wanted to khnow if we would be seeing something out of the ordinary.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006 4:06:00 am  
Anonymous Rex Little said...

I thought I'd looked everywhere leading from that one staircase down, but I just looked again and found a hidden door I missed. Thanks. I won't be opening it, however, until I pick up a locksplitter scroll, or until my Security or Alteration has been raised quite a bit.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006 1:28:00 pm  

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