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, March 19, 2006

Chapter 102: Trust

I think I half-expected Sirilonwe to ask that I perform some epic and difficult show of devotion - to prove that she could trust me. In the end though, she just asked for time: time in which I was nearby, perhaps working with mortals... and of course not giving in to my supposed new 'animal instincts' and hurting someone. She did not actually voice that last part - at least not in so many words - but I could tell that that was what she meant.

She wanted me close, but not too close. In short, I was to leave her alone for a while.


The Mages Guild and Imperial Cult branches on Vvardenfell had relatively close ties (they were both Imperial organisations posted in a frontier land, after all), but I was still somewhat surprised, as I left Sirilonwe's chambers, to meet Master Healer Synnolian Tunifus of the Imperial Chapel in the main hall of the guild, speaking with Archmage Trebonius. Synnolian was the man who had first explained that I was dying from the magicka leak inside my body. It was a fortunate meeting for me: I could ask him to examine me - to see if the extreme gamble of letting myself become a vampire had been worthwhile.

If I had been surprised to see Synnolian there, the ruddy-faced healer was positively startled to see me.

"By the Divines -" he gasped, his hand darting to a dagger on his belt; "a vampire!"

I kept my distance, and watched as Trebonius - who I had still never actually spoken to - whispered something in Synnolian's ear, before excusing himself and melting away into one of the guild hall's back-rooms. I noticed several other guild members follow him from the hall, throwing hooded glances my way as they went. It was fairly safe to assume that they all knew by that stage what had happened to me.

Whatever it was that the Archmage said, it seemed to calm Synnolian - at least a little: his hand left the grip of his dagger. Without preamble, I said:

"Master Synnolian, I need you to check on that leak, to see if... my recent 'change' has had any effect on it. I would consider it a great favour."

But the Imperial healer was shaking his head, saying:

"You must think me a fool, Frost, if you think I'm coming within arm's reach of you!"

"Come now," I replied, "I stand to gain from you being alive to tell me if there's anything wrong with me - I would gain nothing from hurting you... if you must think about this in mercenary terms."

I sat down at one of the tables in the hall, with my back to the healer - so that he could approach without me seeing him. I'll say one thing for Synnolian Tunifus: he was not a coward. After a moment I felt a hand on my shoulder, and saw the distinctive blue glow of Restoration magic out of the corner of my eye. Rather than a vague warmth spreading out from his hand though - like the last time - his touch stung. I would even describe it as a mild burning sensation. I think we were both relieved when he let go.

"You'll remember, Frost," I heard Synnolian say, "that I told you the magicka leak would bleed into every fibre of your being, edging out your life-force and eventually killing you in the process?"

I nodded, shifting in my seat so that I could see him. He had already retreated several steps upon releasing my shoulder.

"Well," Synnolian continued, "the leak is still there, just as it was before. However..." he paused; "you are dead. No heartbeat, no breath - no life-force."

"This means..." I began.

"This means it will no longer kill you, because you are already dead. Congratulations -" he added dryly - "you no longer have to worry about that. Oh - and you may as well take that shirt off now: its enchantment will do you no good anymore. Healing magic restores one's life-force; and since you have none... healing magic will no longer work on you."

I fingered the fine, shimmering material of my 'Keeper' shirt. It was true that since waking up in the crypt, the thing had felt a little uncomfortable; like wearing a thick, warm shirt in the scorching sun. Still, despite the worrying news that I could no longer simply heal myself if I was seriously injured, Synnolian's words brought out a feeling of intense relief.

I was no longer dying. It had been such a weight on my mind - and my spirit - for so many months...

Thanking the Master Healer warmly (though he would not allow me close enough to shake his hand), I made to teleport back home.


I spent most of the remaining daylight hours in Wolfen castle's laboratory with Yanika, the Altmer mage on my staff; enlisting her help in the creation of several new spells to make my new life - or 'un-life', rather - easier. That I could no longer heal myself was worrying me: I needed an alternative... and as horrible as it might sound, Synnolian's explanation that I no longer had a 'life-force' gave me an idea. Perhaps I could steal the life-force of another being when I was hurt, and use that energy to repair the damage!

That was what my old 'Righteousness' spell did, after all - and since the very existence of a vampire could be said to rely on stealing the life of other beings, I expected it might work. That was how Yanika and I came to make my 'Absorption Field' spell: a very powerful - but very draining - spell used at range to create a huge vortex that sapped the life from anything within it; and then transferred it to me. I was to discover later that the act of feeding on someone would also go some way to healing any wounds I happened to have - though it was not until later again that I understood why that was. In any case, for times when I was hurt and not able to feed, the Absorption Field spell would be invaluable.

After that we built on my levitation and Tinur's Hoptoad spells to create more powerful versions of each; called 'Flight' and 'Touch the clouds' respectively. With them I could fly faster and jump higher than before; and I felt ready for them... I felt nearly invincible, in fact.

Together we also created a spell that I called simply 'Sleep'; which would (ideally) render anyone I touched unconscious: allowing me to feed without struggle. It would be safer that way for both myself and my 'victim'. (I did not like calling them that, but I could not think of another word I could use and remain honest). There was also one that I affectionately called my 'Firestarter' spell, which had the power to provoke almost anyone into attacking me. I was not breaking any laws if someone attacked me, and I was merely 'defending myself'. Of course this was a complement to 'Calming Touch'; a spell I had known for some time.

With a little imagination, I think you can see how these spells might aid a vampire in the business of safely and more-or-less harmlessly drinking the blood of another - against their will. I could tell that Yanika certainly knew what I intended to use the spells for: and she showed great fortitude in both helping me and in remaining with me in that room for all those hours. My whole staff knew by then that I had returned - but save for Yanika and occasionally Falorn, I did not see a trace of them for the whole day. Ulfred was in Vivec purchasing smithing materials, and Ancois the cook had gone with him to order food; Almerie the housekeeper had apparently decided to sweep dead leaves from the castle yard... and in fact every off-duty member of the guard had conspicuously chosen to spend their free time outside - in the sun.


And so when night fell, I asked Falorn to gather all the staff in the castle yard, so that I could address them. I had waited until evening for this because the only place I could speak to everyone at the same time and not leave the walls undefended was in the yard: and I obviously could not venture out there until the sun went down. I stood in the centre of the yard, the on-duty guards ranged around the ramparts, and the remaining staff in a loose circle around me. Every person's eyes were on me.

"How many of you have met a vampire before?" My voice rang out, over the hissing and crashing waves beyond the walls. I had thought I might have to scream at the top of my voice to be heard by the guards on the far walls, but it was no strain at all. It seemed as if I could make my voice much louder than I ever could as a mortal.

As to my question, no-one answered.

"No-one then? I would suppose you've all heard a lot about them, though... In any case, most of that is irrelevant here. I am still Edward Frost; the same man I always was."

"You're no man, vampire!" One of the archers called out.

"Falorn says you want us to stay," another guard shouted, "but how can we? What if you get hungry in the dead of night?"

"Your words mean nothing now, Frost;" one of the guards gathered in the circle said; "you'll have to prove your intentions to us - one way or the other."

Almost every member of the staff nodded as this last guardsman spoke. It was undoubtedly the conclusion they had all reached during the day. I suppose I should have been flattered that they did not all simply pack their things and leave in the daylight hours. They were at least giving me a chance; though as it turned out, not much of one.

"Very well," I replied, "what can I do?"

"The Temple!" Yet another guardsman cried out immediately. "Work with the Tribunal Temple!"

This was followed by a cheer from almost my entire retinue of guards. I got the impression that they had all decided on this already - and I suppose it would have made sense to them: vampires and religious organisations were not generally seen as being on friendly terms. What better way to prove that I was different to other vampires? I'm not quite sure why they chose the Tribunal Temple over, say, the Imperial Cult... but perhaps it was because they knew - as I did - that the Temple harboured an especially intense hatred for vampires. Any priest I approached would likely instantly set the Ordinators on me.

Falorn left the circle to stand at my side, and said softly:

"I think it would be a good idea, Master Frost. Remember that more people than those you see here will need to be convinced that you are not just... an undead thing." The Bosmer groundskeeper was speaking with his eyes straight ahead, not looking at me. "Remember Mister Apelles Matius from the Legion: he wants this castle, and I believe that with the way you are now, you need to make sure he doesn't think he can just come in and 'liberate' it from some monster. This is my home: I don't want to lose it."

Falorn made a very good point. If Matius heard what had happened to me, it would probably not take him long to fabricate some story about 'an insidious vampire holding people hostage' in the castle. His superiors would be unlikely to challenge such a story, and if the Imperial Legion decided to pit its weight against me... I would certainly lose.

I did not want to lose my home either: Wolfen castle had kept me safe from many things. I clenched my teeth, and shouted out:

"Yes - very well: I'll do it!"

Under the remaining cheers and conversation of the staff, I muttered:

"Somehow..."

18 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

THE TEMPLE?!
The Ordinators would kill Frost sooner than look at him!!

-Noozooroo

Sunday, March 19, 2006 2:36:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah, i wonder how much mana he will fling around just to keep calming touch active?

Sunday, March 19, 2006 3:46:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL,I bet he'll get locked up by the Ordinators.It would be cool if Tholer Sarethi viewed his files and found out about his past...Anyway,really good chapter,Joseph!

-Mystic

Sunday, March 19, 2006 4:38:00 pm  
Anonymous Devlin said...

Okay... I withdraw my previous thoughts... I think the vampire deal isn't a mistake, and I wish you the very best of luck with it(we'll all be along for the ride, of course)

Sunday, March 19, 2006 4:59:00 pm  
Anonymous Matar said...

WAit a sec... How will you be able to enter a temple anyways?

You get hurt when you go in them.

Sunday, March 19, 2006 6:04:00 pm  
Anonymous Person said...

Yeah, as Matar said, with Vampire Embrace it adds the effect of damaging you when you are on Holy ground. I wonder how Frost will combat that? It'll be interesting to see where this is heading.

Noozooroo - To respond to your post last chapter, you are correct. and AlienSlof is a modder and writer, among other things, and she has made many quality mods. She has a site at - www.slofshive.co.uk
She has a large amount of Morrowind Fiction and Alien Fiction. Most of her morrowind fiction is based on a Character of hers, a vampire called Basil. Very good reading, BUT MAINLY FOR ADULTS. A LOT of sexual references/scenes, Violence and some swearing. Just a heads up. But very good nonetheless.

I think I'll just post the answer to my trivia question "Where is Tthe Gold Ribbon of Merit?". it is located in a Sixth house base called Kunarai (or something similar...) N-NW of The Stronghold of Telasaro. It is in one of the Shrine Offering bins.

Morrowind Trivia - Where is The Book 'Smugglers Island'?

Whew, that was a heck of a long post...

Sunday, March 19, 2006 11:49:00 pm  
Anonymous rarr said...

Frost's backed himself into a corner now, hasn't he? :P I like it.

Monday, March 20, 2006 4:09:00 am  
Anonymous Stygian said...

Together we also created a spell that I called simply 'Sleep'; which would (ideally) render anyone I touched unconscious: allowing me to feed without struggle.


What what? Is there a spell like that in the game?

Monday, March 20, 2006 5:55:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Stygian: I wonder that too...I've seen the Sleep spell before but I don't know what it does!!

-Noozooroo

Monday, March 20, 2006 10:23:00 am  
Anonymous Matar said...

It is most likly just a powerd up verion of drain fatigue.

Or damage.

Monday, March 20, 2006 2:23:00 pm  
Anonymous Mike L. said...

Yeah, "Sleep" probably drains or damages fatigue, so if you cast the spell and then punched the npc they should go down to the ground.

Monday, March 20, 2006 2:30:00 pm  
Blogger Joseph said...

Person: Actually, to be really pedantic and give credit where credit's due - Vampire Realism is the mod that makes holy ground damage vampires. :-)


Mike L and Matar: You're pretty much right about the Sleep spell. It's a 100pt, 2 second duration Absorb Fatigue spell that takes around 90 magicka to cast. Very draining. It is a custom spell, made through the "Spellmaking" dialogue option, rather than bought as-is, through the "Spells" dialogue option.

And yes, for some reason, even if the spell drains all their fatigue, they don't actually fall down until you punch them (but what you really want is to have their fatigue near zero, so the Vampire Embrace blood drinking thing kicks in when you punch them).

- Joseph.

Monday, March 20, 2006 4:59:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah,Vampire Embrace is the best mod for Vamps that's out there,until the mods for Oblivion come out,of course.:)Anyway,I like how the staff 'chose' the temple,I mean,they're the people hwo have produced the magority of Vamp Hunters in the population.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006 6:06:00 am  
Anonymous Person said...

Thanks for correcting me Joseph, that was a BIG err on my part. (no hint of sarcasm here, I'm genuinely thankful )

So, if you have a spell that cost 90 Mana to cast, how big Is Frost's Mana Pool? Must be huge.

Morrowind Trivia - Where is the Book 'Smugglers Coast'?

Tuesday, March 21, 2006 6:28:00 am  
Anonymous Person said...

I just realized I said 'Mana' instead of Magicka. I've been making a lot of mistakes recently eh? Guess I should check before I post something.

Morrowind Trivia - Where is the Book 'Smugglers Island'?

Tuesday, March 21, 2006 11:41:00 am  
Blogger Joseph said...

Person: No worries. And I think Frost's max magicka level is around 550... Pretty high, yes. It's boosted a lot by a couple of items from the Magical Trinkets of Tamriel III mod.

- Joseph.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006 9:49:00 pm  
Anonymous Person said...

:o Oooh...

Wednesday, March 22, 2006 9:18:00 am  
Anonymous Matar said...

I have GMC or whatever it is called and on level 20 I have like 1000-3000 magicka... or was it 7000? I lost count.

Anyways even though I have that much I only have like 127 health so it works in the end and I can still die :P.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006 11:30:00 am  

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