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, March 03, 2006

Chapter 95: Drifting

I had failed. It had taken me three days to reach the foothills of the Moesring Mountains, counting from the morning I first entered Fort Frostmoth at Solstheim's southern tip. There were delays, obviously - but necessary ones: when I first arrived on the island I had not the equipment or the knowledge needed to reach the Moesring mountains. However even if the delays were not, strictly speaking, my fault; it may have cost those men and women their lives.

Judging by the grisly remains of the airship crew... actually, I couldn't judge from the remains; they had been eaten by the wolves and other beasts there. They could have died several days prior to my discovery of them - or they might have died the previous night. I couldn't tell. They might, I thought to myself, even have died upon being thrown from the airship when it came to ground.

This last theory turned out to be - at least partly - correct. Hunching over the pages to keep too much snow from falling on them, I quickly skimmed through the journal I had found. It belonged to the captain; one Roberto Joduin, and was not very long. Only the first few pages were filled: it looked like he had started the journal upon taking flight in the ship.

As I mentioned, the journal told a grim story. The expedition to find the Amulet of Infectious Charm sounded doomed from the start - Joduin wrote of the airship "trailing bits and pieces of itself" from the moment they left Ald'ruhn. He went on to tell of an Argonian crew-member that apparently went mad from a fear of heights, and tried to force the ship down into the sea. The captain wrote that he had been forced to kill the Argonian, and throw him overboard.

The trouble did not stop there, of course: they had actually spotted the Hrothmund's Bane formation from the air, and were looking for a place to land when a blizzard overtook them. Joduin wrote that the airship was blown into the ground by the strong winds in the blizzard. He had obviously survived the crash himself, to write as much in his journal; though most of the crew had not (as I had guessed).

That was the last entry in the journal. It was understandably a little hard to follow, but it sounded as if the blizzard that brought the ship down had continued into the night, and the surviving crew-members had been unable to take shelter in the hold of the ship because ice and snow had blocked the way in. All the remaining crew-members had died of the cold that night, according to Joduin - and it seemed likely that the captain had suffered the same fate himself: the last words in the journal were lamenting the infernal cold.

Of course, he may instead have been killed by a wolf, or a bear. There was no way to tell; and no need to know, in any case. I stowed the journal in my pack, planning to give it to Louis Beauchamp. There were things in there he needed to see. All that anguish, those lost lives - for a magical trinket the pathetic wretch believed would make him 'irresistible to the ladies'. I almost teleported home right then, intent on making Louis see the result of his obsession... but I didn't. I didn't feel quite like speaking with anyone right then - I needed time to think.

The slopes of the Moesring Mountains rose sharply to the west, and, using my levitation magic, I flew up the mountainside; face upturned to the falling snow. I knew where I was going: Joduin's journal had included detailed-enough directions to Hrothmund's Bane. As I ascended through the drifting sheets and flurries of snow, I thought about my reasons for coming to Solstheim. It was to search for the missing people on the airship, of course - but it was also to have some time alone, to consider what Caius, the Blades Spymaster, had told me of my release from prison. With my failure to reach the airship crew in time (and Captain Falx Carius almost certainly dead - and definitely lost without a trace), I really had no further reason to remain on that frozen island. I needed to reach some conclusion as to what I should do when I returned to Vvardenfell.

I was not in doubt over my own thoughts regarding the idea that I might be the Nerevarine: I did not believe it, pure and simple. What was bothering me was that Caius appeared to actually believe it. I had followed the spymaster's orders up until that point because I had believed that he knew why I had been released from prison. And he had, but the reason for my release was ridiculous! I was grateful to be free, of course, but it was insane! Edward Frost: orphan and thief, from the streets of the Imperial City in Cyrodiil: reincarnated Dunmer hero and centrepiece of a Morrowind prophecy? How could that possibly be?

And now Caius seemed intent on placing me on a collision course with both the powerful Tribunal Temple and the dangerous Ashlanders! Groups with brittle tempers both. Had I still a reason to follow the spymaster? Was he still - had he ever been - in his right mind?

I felt as if I was drifting like the snow. I did not know what to do next, if I could not follow Caius. Obviously there was the search for a cure to my condition - but there was, of course, no clear definition to that pursuit. If there was, that is what I would have been working at, rather than wasting my time in a miserable place like Solstheim. Really, the only good that had come of my visit there was that I had been able to save the lives of a number of Legion soldiers after the attack on Fort Frostmoth.

I was no closer to a decision when I reached the peak of one of the mountains, quite some time later. It was nearly sunset, and what little light penetrated the grey banks of snow-clouds was failing. Still, from my vantage point near the top of the mountain, I could see quite a way. Laid out in a depression beneath me was the rock and ice formation called Hrothmund's Bane - and I could clearly see how it resembled the shape of a wolf. There was no need for the height afforded by - say, an airship - to identify it.

Strangely, off in the far, misty distance - beyond Hrothmund's Bane - I thought I could see something that resembled a great castle. In the encroaching darkness and the veil of bad weather, however, I could not see clearly. In the next moment it looked nothing more than a wall of ice worn by the wind into an unusual shape - and then it was lost behind the darkening snow-clouds.

Louis had said that the entrance to Hrothmund's Barrow (which was said to hold the Amulet of Infectious Charm) was at the 'eye' of the wolf-shaped ice and rock formation. With the help of the ever-useful Tinur's Hoptoad spell and my 'Infallible' belt, I was able to reach the 'eye of the wolf' (so to speak) in one great leap - passing over some quite treacherous and slippery-looking terrain.

I found the 'eye' to be a mass of worn boulders, jutting out of the mountain. There was a gap in the middle of the boulders where a mass of thick, dirty-looking ice had collected into a curious shape. I was leaning in to examine it when a great, booming voice sounded out; as if coming from the collection of boulders before me. It felt as if my skin was about to leap off my body, I was so badly startled. The mysterious voice spoke in a rhyme:

"Some they call me Hrothmund's Bane,
with midnight teeth and moonlight mane.
I am the wolf one soul may tame,
by uttering my given name.

But speak the truth, for those who lie,
gain not the wealth beyond my eye!
Answer false and evermore,
closed shut will be my icy door.

What is my name?"

I was at a loss for words. Was there some spirit trapped within the barrow, set to terrorise intruders? It didn't actually sound very malevolent, if that was the case. Then I remembered: Louis had told me to speak the name of the wolf that had killed Hrothmund to open the way to the barrow. That would have to be what the disembodied voice was asking for.

"Ondjage." I said, once I had found my voice. The rhyming began again:

"You spoke the truth and won the game,
for Ondjage is my given name."

The voice fell silent after that, but as it repeated the name 'Ondjage', there was a tremendous -crack-, and the mass of dirty ice split in two; revealing a dark passage into the mountain.

Once inside, I found myself in a barrow that looked just like the one in which I had helped Ingmar defeat the Valbrandr draugr. The strange booming voice had mentioned 'wealth beyond his eye', but all I found besides a few rotted strongboxes of rusted armour was a large battle-axe buried in a stone plinth (which I tried, and failed, to remove), and the amulet Louis had sent those men and women to an early grave over.

I sensed magic within it: an enchantment that acted upon the user's mind: to make him or her more confident - as best I could tell. There was something else behind that, though: magic relating to disease, and sickliness. After a moment I sensed that it was not beneficial magic - not by any means. It seemed that using the amulet could actually make one sick. I suddenly realised that the name 'The Amulet of Infectious Charm' was probably a play on words.

So. A cursed amulet and a journal detailing the awful deaths of a sizeable number of people - that was what I had to give to Louis Beauchamp.

It was not worth it.


Anonymous Person said...

I was puzzled by the enchantments on the amulet. Weakness to Common Disease? It would make sense if morrowind was a bit more sophisticated, so that the enchantment would actually DO something detrimental... But as it is it's not that bad.

Of course, in real life it would be a very serious flaw in the item. But as it is, being a game, it isn't.

Enjoyed this post immensely (spelling?).

Saturday, March 04, 2006 12:42:00 am  
Anonymous Ray said...

Oooh, see, I've never done any of the Bloodmoon quests (come to think of it, I still haven't done the main quest of Morrowind!)So I would've been a little ticked about the stupid amulet to give to the stupid guy who wanted the stupid thing.
On a happy note, you moved enough righteous anger to get me to review, so that means you can definitely can write.
As always, this was a good post.

Saturday, March 04, 2006 5:55:00 am  
Anonymous Matar said...

I took me so long to find that cave! I did not have levitate (Was playing as a warrior that once) so it was near impossivble for me!

Saturday, March 04, 2006 10:02:00 pm  
Anonymous Devlin said...

I have been taking a few weeks to catch up on your posts... I stumbled upon Frost's magnificent journey trying to figure out how to complete the pilgrimage of which-ever-one-makes-you-drown-yourself, courtesy, I think...
Your site has given me countless tips (like finding the real mask of vivec), and is ALWAYS a pleasure to read... me and my other elder scrolls obsessed buddies now read you religiously... keep it up!

Sunday, March 05, 2006 3:38:00 pm  
Blogger Joseph said...

Thanks everyone, and welcome to the new people!

- Joseph.

Sunday, March 05, 2006 9:53:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have got to see this. Obama playing on XBox. Funniest video ever.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010 8:45:00 am  

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