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 05, 2006

Chapter 96: A good day

Body armour is almost never comfortable. It's heavy, it pinches and digs into your skin, and it limits your movement. Were it not for my enchanted 'Tireless' belt and the artificial strength I developed since the accident with the crescent-moon 'emblem', I doubt I would have been able to walk around in armour all day as I had become accustomed to. Still, it felt good to be rid of that smelly bearskin armour, and back in my favoured Netch and Adamantium. Part of that was probably due to relief at again being behind metal plates that could actually stop blades. The fur armour had kept out the cold, but not much else.

It was the morning after my return from Solstheim, and I was keen to see that whole business brought to a close. I used Wolfen castle's 'teleportation pillar' (for want of a better name) to reach the Balmora Mages Guild, and there asked Masalinie to send me on to Ald'ruhn. Louis Beauchamp and I had arranged to leave for each other with Steward Edwinna; and she told me that I could probably find him at the Ald Skar Inn - he had been renting a room there. I was a little surprised that Louis had actually struck up the nerve to speak to a woman, given his personality - and his drive to possess the Amulet of 'Infectious Charm'. Perhaps it helped that Edwinna paid very little attention to the world outside her books.

Sure enough, I found Louis sitting down to breakfast in the Ald Skar common room. I sank into a chair opposite him, and dropped the airship captain's journal next to his plate. The wizard looked up at me, startled. I held up the amulet I had taken from Hrothmund's Barrow, and his eyes fixed upon it.

"Is that..." he croaked. "Is that...?"

I pointed to the journal.

"Read that first."

I waited while he bent over the book to read, watching his face. He paled slightly when he saw Roberto Joduin's name on the journal, and the rest of the colour drained from his cheeks as he turned the pages. He looked back to me, moving slowly. Unwilling to make eye contact, he focused on the space just next to my head. He looked so stricken that I knew there wasn't much I really needed to say.

Getting back to my feet, I dropped the Amulet of Infectious Charm on the open pages of the journal.

I hope," I said quietly, "that you find that this was worth it." I headed for the door.

Louis caught up with me at the exit, and pressed a large pouch of coins into my hands. He was surprisingly well-spoken:

"I am sorry about the loss of life on my airship." He said in a quiet voice. "I will notify the families of the crew-members... and I will take full responsibility."

I noticed the amulet was clenched tightly in his hand, and glowing oddly. The wizard gestured at the sizeable number of drakes he had given me.

"I promised to pay you for delivery of the amulet, and for information on my crew, so... take that. You have my thanks for the trouble you went to."

It was about the best I could have hoped for, I suppose; given the circumstances. Nothing could bring those crew-members back; but at least Louis was willing to take responsibility for dealing with their families. I returned to the Guild Hall.

When directing me to Louis, Edwinna had added that she had another job I could do for the Guild, if I was interested; and to come speak to her about it once I had finished with Beauchamp. Doing some work for the Mages Guild seemed like a good way to occupy myself while I decided what to do about Caius, so I went to see what she wanted.

As it turned out, all Edwinna had for me was another simple fetch-and-carry task: another book for her research into the Dwemer people. She wanted a rare book called 'Chimarvamidium', which was in the hands of someone at the Vivec branch of the guild: an Altmer named Sirilonwe. Edwinna seemed to hint that I might need to 'borrow' the book without Sirilonwe finding out about it - but apart from that, it sounded like another dreary errand better suited to an apprentice.

However, this was the third task that Edwinna had set me, and you may remember that I mentioned that this third task actually led to something quite significant...

The Vivec branch of the Mages Guild was its headquarters on Vvardenfell, but I had never spent much time there. I had learned spells from several of the members there; but as to the rest of the Vivec branch regulars, I couldn't put names to faces.

Sirilonwe was part of the latter group, but she recognised me as soon as I stepped into her chambers:

"Oh - hello!" She stood up from her desk. "Edward - Edward Frost!"

I was surprised - though perhaps I should not have been, given the curiosity that had followed me since the mysterious transformation of my face.

"Oh... yes..." I fumbled; "nice to... meet you."

"Sorry;" she said, smiling slightly; "I've seen you passing through the hall before - and everyone talks about you, so..." She paused, before extending a hand. "I am Sirilonwe of Dark Copse."

I clasped her hand for a moment. It looked very small in my own gloved hand. The illusion was especially noticeable because Sirilonwe - like all Altmer (or 'High-Elf') people - was very tall. She rose more than a full head above me.

Sirilonwe was really quite striking, actually. She had long silver hair down to the middle of her back, golden skin, and golden eyes. But her eyes! They were the largest, most expressive eyes I had ever seen on an Altmer woman: indeed on anyone. The skin around her eyes was darkened, almost as if it begrudged their amazing size. She wore a very long, deep red dress - the same colour as her lips.

I suppose I must have been staring, because Sirilonwe awkwardly went on:

"Yes... everyone talks about the things you've done for the guild, and how you came to own that castle - and about other things, too." I felt her eyes upon the crescent-shaped mark on my face, its glow peeking through the locks of hair I habitually let hang across it like a curtain. "Still, we haven't heard much for a while... What have you been up to?" She cocked her head, regarding me steadily with those eyes.

And somehow, I found myself telling her: nearly everything. I told her everything that happened on Solstheim: the cold, the bargains with Captain Carius, the vicious weapons smugglers, the death of all those soldiers in the attack on the fort, my role in healing many of them, my search across the island for the missing airship crew, Tymvaul and the Mantle of Woe, the final discovery of the fallen airship... and always, always the constant fighting.

I went further and further back over the things I had done since arriving in Morrowind (though I left out Caius, my release from prison, and the whole business with the Blades). Killing Daedra for the goddess Azura, and her gifting me with 'Azura's Star' (I showed Sirilonwe the many-pointed soulgem), the story of the Guardian in Wolfen castle, the work I had done for both the Imperial Cult and the Tribunal Temple...

Sirilonwe seemed to find the fact that I had worked for two competing religious orders interesting, and asked how this had come about. I told her that I found aspects of both doctrines interesting, and believed that both the Cult and the Temple did good things - and that prompted her to believe that my apparent impartiality there meant that I had an obvious scholarly bent. She began to tell me of her own studies. She was quite interested in all sorts of creatures; especially the differences in the way they thought and conducted their lives. From the aquatic Dreugh to the Bosmer or Breton - even spirits and the undead; she studied them all, with the common thread of trying to understand the differences in the way they thought.

She became quite animated as we spoke. Before I realised it, we had passed hours in conversation. I had become accustomed to not speaking at length with any one person: what with my time alone in an Imperial prison cell, and the amount of time I generally spent way out in the remote wilderness. I hadn't really noticed before - and it had never bothered me - but just then, looking across at Sirilonwe, I realised I was missing something.

Eventually, Sirilonwe stood up.

"I need to go to lunch now... Oh!" The Altmer woman gave a sheepish grin. "Was there something in particular you wanted from me? I'm afraid I distracted you..."

It didn't even occur to me to lie. I asked her if I could borrow 'Chimarvamidium'; to look through it with Steward Edwinna.

"You're working with her now, then? Not many people stay with Ranis very long, I must say." She gave me a wink, and fetched an old-looking book from a drawer. "Well, here: I don't mind, if it means you have a reason to come back and see me again."

With another bewitching smile, Sirilonwe handed the book to me.

"So hopefully it won't take long for you to finish." She added.

I too had a smile on my face as I left, and went to ask to be teleported to the Ald'ruhn guild hall. I was unsure what to think about my hours-long conversation with Sirilonwe... but I wasn't stupid. I knew something had passed between us.

"Ah - good. Excellent." Edwinna said, taking 'Chimarvamidium' from me. "Now, I'm sorry to put this upon you so suddenly, but we've had word of a disturbance in the home of Huleen, a Mages Guild member in Maar Gan. I really should send someone to investigate, and you -" she rapped her knuckles on my Adamantium breastplate - "are certainly dressed for the occasion. This will count as another official task for the guild. Are you able to look into it right now?"

I accepted without hesitation; it sounded a welcome change of pace from book-delivery.

In a few minutes, I was on the 'roof' of the Falasmaryon stronghold, tucking my Master Index back into a pouch at my belt. Folms always made time to teleport me to the propylon chambers, no matter what he was doing - something I greatly appreciated. The sun was shining and there was no wind to whip up the layers of ash on the ground. After battling the elements on Solstheim for a few days, it was a joy to see fine weather again. The clear weather made the journey from the Velothi stronghold to Maar Gan take much less time than it had previously, too.

Once in the small village, I was directed to Huleen's dwelling; a small Redoran-style hut on the south-eastern edge of town. Apparently all Edwinna had been told was that there was a 'disturbance' at the hut, and that was all. No word on exactly what kind of disturbance. I hovered outside the shell-shaped hut for a moment, listening - but there was only a deathly silence from within.

With my blade drawn, I cautiously pushed the door open - and was immediately set upon by a small brown scamp, that began to hammer frantically on my Adamantium greaves with an iron shortsword. The creature had been lurking quietly on the other side of the door. I think I was too used to Creeper: I actually considered, for an instant, grabbing the scamp and carrying it out into the wilds, before letting it go. I was wearing strong Netch-leather gloves, after all.

However, scamps were considered one of the 'Bad' Daedra, and this one showed it when it discovered the area at my knee that was not protected by an Adamantium plate. When the thing almost succeeded in stabbing me in the back of the knee, I had to end it. The scamp was dead in a single stroke.

I searched the few rooms of the hut afterwards. The place was in disarray: furniture toppled over, clothes strewn about, pages torn from books - that sort of thing. Huleen was nowhere to be found, but in a locked storeroom I did find Listien; Huleen's apprentice. He was completely naked.

"You killed it? Oh, thank the gods!" The young Breton man pushed past me and started looking for something among the wreckage. "I... just wanted to show Huleen that I'm not useless! I summoned the scamp, but it tricked me! It started tearing the place apart, and it took my clothes - I had to hide in the storeroom."

Listien straightened up, a pair of pants in his hands. He was staring at them with a horrified expression on his face. A hole had been chewed through the seat, as if the scamp had tried to wear them as a top, and had not been able to find the hole where its head should go. Despite myself, I began to laugh - and though I felt a little sorry for Listien, I couldn't stop. I couldn't remember the last time I had actually laughed out loud. Most of what had happened to me since arriving on Vvardenfell had been no laughing matter - and my time in prison before that was obviously nothing to chuckle over either.

But right then? It had been a good day.


Blogger Joseph said...

Incidentally, Sirilonwe's face texture is another one I made myself...

- Joseph.

Sunday, March 05, 2006 11:40:00 pm  
Anonymous Person said...

Well Joseph all I can say is...


And maybe a future Romance or somesuch? I'll enjoy hearing more about Sirilonwe and Frost.

BTW, did Sirilonwe actually GIVE you the book, or was that just your brilliant mind at work?

Thankyou very much Joseph.

Monday, March 06, 2006 12:16:00 am  
Anonymous Stygian said...

Bah, if I were Frost, I'd get it on with the Khajiit in Pelagiad.

I'm such a dirty bastard.

Monday, March 06, 2006 5:41:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awesome chapter,Joseph.Sirlonwe is so much prettier in this than in my game!I also like the hint of a relashionship between Edward and her.

Monday, March 06, 2006 5:53:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Frosty and Sirilonwe.....interseting
5 years and forever.......
man and mer......
uh........Frosty and Sirilonwe!
I didn't think you would ever go for Ahnassi, but an Altmer?

Hm..... well at least frosty's happy!


Monday, March 06, 2006 8:52:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No more werewolves for now, I guess
Well, it's not like they are going anywere. Nice writing.


Monday, March 06, 2006 12:22:00 pm  
Anonymous Rex Little said...

Let me get this straight. Edward went from Ald'ruhn to Maar Gan by going to Caldera (by guild guide I assume), then teleporting to Falasmaryon, and walking the rest of the way. Why didn't he just take the silt strider?

Tuesday, March 07, 2006 9:51:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Because teleportation is faster and costs less!


Tuesday, March 07, 2006 11:32:00 am  
Anonymous Rex Little said...

Teleportation is faster, but the walk from Falasmaryon to Maar Gan is a lot longer than the walk from the Ald'ruhn Mages Guild to the silt strider. And I'm not sure the guild guide is cheaper than the silt strider for that trip. If it is, the difference is beneath the notice of a man of Frost's station.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006 12:13:00 pm  
Blogger Joseph said...

Person: Thanks; and no, in the game you have to steal the book from Sirilonwe.

Rex Little: In terms of just playing the game, taking the silt strider would be faster, yes; because the games skips ahead in time to the point when you arrive. From Frost's point of view, though, it takes less time to go on foot from Falasmaryon.

- Joseph.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006 4:05:00 pm  
Anonymous Constant said...

Joseph: What kind of mod you have for clothes? Is that just another one you made yourself? They look so much better in your screenshots than in my game.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006 6:29:00 am  
Blogger Joseph said...

Constant: No, I haven't done any clothes mods myself. The mod that Sirilonwe's red dress comes from is linked to in the chapter, and the other main one I use is 'Canadian Ice and Brady's' robe replacer. Do a search for 'Canadian Ice morrowind' or something using google and you should find it.

Also, I answered a similar question to yours (in more detail) in an earlier comments section - can't remember which chapter it was for though, sorry!

- Joseph.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006 7:36:00 pm  
Blogger Joseph Kennedy said...

Ha Sirilonwe actually looks almost hot....not like the ugly bitch in the vanilla version

Wednesday, May 07, 2008 1:06:00 am  

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