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, April 09, 2006

Chapter 111: Three birds

Sirilonwe made no move to heed my instruction and get out of the way, instead turning to face the blue-black shades. Flames leapt up about her feet, curling up her legs and in an instant, enveloping her whole body. At first, to my dismay, I thought one of the shades had inflicted some horrible magic upon her; but then the flames coalesced around her fists: two gauntlets of fire.

I recognised it as being an offensive spell, not unlike my own Frostbite spell - but much more powerful. She swung her fist through one of the shades in a great, sweeping punch, the magical flames boiling the spirit's very 'substance' away.

By that time I had reached her, and launched myself at the second spirit. My Daedric katana, forged in the plane of Oblivion, reached across the barriers between life and death to carve bright, flashing furrows through the immaterial spirit. The shades flicked about, attacking either or both of us seemingly without reason or strategy. Their white, ghostly scythes rose and fell, the 'blades' passing right through us - armour, flesh and bone - but leaving gashes behind, on the surface of our bodies.

In a few frantic moments of frenzied action, the shades were defeated; slashed into rapidly dissolving, dissipating ribbons by my otherworldly blade, or boiled away by Sirilonwe's magic. We were lucky: the shades were much faster than either of us; and as it was, we were both seriously hurt - blood seeping out from between the joints of our armour.

For a long time afterwards Sirilonwe and I were locked in an embrace: I healed her with my magic, and she healed me with her blood. Fighting alongside her like that; the desperate imperative in my mind, blotting out all other concerns, to keep her from being hurt... and the realisation that the same thoughts were going through her mind - it changed how I felt about her. I felt closer to Sirilonwe than I ever had before.

Nchuleftingth was very close by, and we reached the well-preserved ruin without any further trouble. At first glance, Senilias Cadiusus and (for some reason) his adult daughter were the only people there, making for a fairly small expeditionary force. It was after midnight when we arrived, and Senilias and his daughter were both asleep in a pair of hammocks; their camp set up in a chamber near the ruin's entrance. I did not know how they could actually sleep in there, with the screeching, groaning and hammering racket a Dwemer ruin makes.

Sirilonwe, with a cheeky smile, said that she had better wake them - rather than me, as:

"If they woke up to see you leaning over them," she mimicked my appearance by baring her teeth, as if she had fangs, "they would be scared to death."

As she gently shook Senilias awake, I absently ran my tongue across my fangs. It had taken some time to become used to them, but by that time I often forgot they were there.

"Oh, yes - the excavation report for Edwinna." Senilias, a middle-aged Imperial man, said. "I'm afraid I don't actually have it... it was nearly complete, too." As he spoke, Senilias glanced over at me more than once. I was standing back in a dark corner (my glowing, obviously vampiric eyes averted) and letting Sirilonwe do the talking. "We've had some... setbacks, you see." The man dragged his gaze back to Sirilonwe. "Our native guide, Anes Vendu, had the report with him - to add a few notes - but he disappeared just a day ago!"

The similarity between the names of Senilias' 'native' guide and the vampire hunter I had killed (Ano Vando) gave me a start. For an instant my confused mind thought that he was talking about the same person, and that the 'disappearance' was due to my having killed him... but no: different name.

Senilias told us that he was positive that Nchuleftingth extended deep into the ground; that there were levels below the one in which we stood - he just could not find a way into them.

"Maybe Anes found a way down there!" was the best Senilias could offer. He did not seem willing to investigate himself - he knew as well as we did, I think, that Dwemer ruins often contained dangers that had dwelled there for an eon or more. He knew what may have happened to Anes Vendu.

Sirilonwe told him that we would investigate the ruin - and finding the missing Dunmer guide turned out to be very easy: for me, at least. I have mentioned before how my sense of smell had become intensely acute since I became a vampire: and now it meant that I could track where Anes had gone by following his scent. He was the only Dunmer to have been there recently.

His strongest trail led down into a long, steam-filled hall of rattling, clanking machines, somehow still performing their mysterious function even after thousands of years. There were three cranks protruding from vertical pipes in the hall, evenly spaced out along one wall. I could tell that Anes had laid his hands upon the crank farthest from the only entrance to the hall - so I did so too, finding that the crank turned easily. I could hear what I assumed to be steam rushing through the pipe, and then behind me there sounded a metallic shriek.

"Senilias can't have looked very hard." I remarked, as a section of the wall opposite the crank juddered to the side, revealing a flight of stairs leading down into the ground.

We found Anes Vendu's body near the recently-destroyed hulk of a 'Sphere Centurion' - one of the mechanical Dwemer constructs whose gears still ground away and told the things to guard those ruins for their long-dead masters. It looked as if Anes had perished from wounds sustained from the blade attached to one of the Centurion's 'arms'. Senilias' report, which contained several interesting observations on Dwemer machines and constructs, was in one of Anes' pockets.

Sirilonwe informed Senilias of Anes' death, and that no threats remained on Nchuleftingth's lower levels. Senilias, sounding relieved but sombre, said that he would make the arrangements concerning Anes' body; and that we should take the excavation report to Edwinna straight away - it was near enough finished anyway.

As we arrived home in the hours before dawn, I reflected that our expedition had gone quite well, in the end. In the lower levels of Nchuleftingth I had even found a left-handed Dwemer bracer - the last piece I needed to complete the suit of Dwemer heavy armour I had on display in Wolfen castle's museum.

We delivered the report to Edwinna in the morning. She said that the turn of events in Nchuleftingth was unfortunate, and thanked me for recovering the body of Anes Vendu.

"Actually, Frost," the Steward said, scanning a piece of parchment that I could see was headed with my name, "I believe you're due to advance in rank with the guild: to 'Wizard'. It's not something that will make everyone here happy, but -" she slapped the parchment down on her desk - "rules are rules."

"Wizard!" Exclaimed Sirilonwe, her remarkable eyes open wide. "Edward, besides Archmage, there's only one rank above 'Wizard', you know."

I was a little surprised to learn this myself. I had not paid much attention to my promotions in the guild, as the only time my advancement had made any difference was when it had been necessary to grant me access to Folms' store of 'potentially dangerous' spell-scrolls.

"Yes..." Edwinna continued, "you will need a 'Wizard's Staff', though. Rules are rules, as I said."

She went on to explain that a Wizard's Staff (in the context of the Imperial Mages Guild, at least) was an ebony staff with a specific enchantment placed upon it. If I wanted one made specifically for me, it would cost five thousand septims and require Edwinna to arrange for one to be fashioned and enchanted. I could afford this amount, but since the museum and services available to the public at Wolfen castle were only just starting to make a profit, and the quarantine on Vvardenfell would make getting the required materials for the staff difficult, I took advantage of the other possibility Edwinna presented to me:

"If you wanted to kill two birds with one stone, you could... retrieve the Wizard's Staff that belongs to Anirne, an ex-member of the guild. She is a wanted criminal now, so no-one would deny you the right to get your Wizard's Staff from her, if you so choose. It would do the guild a service, too."

Sirilonwe and I slept for most of the day, rising near sunset so that she could speak further with Steward Edwinna about what we might do next for the guild, and so that I could prepare to seek out Anirne. I was glad that I had managed to persuade Sirilonwe that I should go alone, because according to my map, the caverns of 'Sud' - Anirne's last known location - were very close to Ashmelech. There was no way I would take Sirilonwe that close to that many vampires; even if they were of the same 'family' as I.

Since I would be going alone, I would also be able to use the 'Aundae Amulet' Dhaunayne had given me to teleport directly to Ashmelech. From there I would only have a short way to go to reach Sud caverns.

Something I did not tell Sirilonwe - or anyone else - was that I would be taking my enchanted, mortal-blood-holding glass vials with me...

Making my way through Sud, a series of natural caverns, it became obvious why Anirne was considered a renegade and outlaw in Morrowind: she was a necromancer. I broke apart more than a few aggressive skeletal guardians on my way to her 'chambers', in the deepest part of the caverns. I knew it was Anirne, and I knew that the skeletons were bound to her service, because as I paused on the other side of the wooden door to her chambers, I could hear her whispering to herself:

"... more skeletons, Anirne; you should have used more skeletons..."

Apparently she could sense her guardians and servants being destroyed. She did not appear surprised when I stepped through the door, either.

Anirne (who attacked me on sight) was an Altmer woman. When I left with her ebony staff, she was dead - and I had filled most of my little glass vials.

Three birds.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

that was a brilliant chapter!

Monday, April 10, 2006 3:07:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with anonymous,great chapter!I can tell that a lot of hard work went into this chapter and I'm glad that you have chosen to continue with this story instead of being absorbed by OB.:)(Not that I haven't become obsessed with it,but,you know...):)

Monday, April 10, 2006 4:01:00 am  
Anonymous dagothjake said...

Hi Everyone!
I've been reading for the past 2 hours...your stories, I mean. Wow, wonderful! Vampire...Frost...amazing.
I've been gone for a while, as my computer broke down and that we found out that my mom is expecting to give birth to twins (1 boy 1 girl) in june! anywayz, keep up d great work joseph!

Monday, April 10, 2006 5:43:00 am  
Anonymous Aurelia said...

Excellent chapter, as always. ^^

And congratulations Dagothjake! that's great news! :D (The twins, not about your computer. :p)


Monday, April 10, 2006 6:48:00 am  
Anonymous Person said...

Constant you were Correct! Ilmeni Dren, who lives in Saint Delyn North 1, is the Daughter of Duke Vedam Dren and is a high ranking member of House Hlaalu. She gives you House Quests and Twin Lamps Quests.

Has anybody noticed how many different Dunmer have similar names?

Btw Excellent Chapter as always.

Morrowind Trivia - How do you acquire The Spear of Bitter Mercy?

Monday, April 10, 2006 2:41:00 pm  
Anonymous Person said...

Ooops South 1.

Monday, April 10, 2006 2:42:00 pm  
Anonymous Constant said...

Trivia: You get the Spear of Bitter Mercy from the mad god Sheogorath, down in the canalworks of St. Delyn, after doing a quest for him. You must kill a giant bull netch with the Fork of Horripilation.


Wonderful chapter as always, Joseph. I'm interested though, how's your collection of Daedric armor and weapons doing? How many parts do you lack?

Monday, April 10, 2006 10:27:00 pm  
Blogger Joseph said...

Thanks everyone! Yes; it's been difficult, but I've been managing to split my spare time between writing Frost in Morrowind and playing Oblivion. ;-)

Welcome back, dagothjake - and yes, congratulations on the twins.

Constant: Frost's collection of Daedric armour is pretty lacking; he doesn't specifically look for it - but if he happens across some, well... In the museum is a pair of greaves, a shield, and one of those 'Face of ....' helmets - I forget which one. He has a few Daedric weapons...

- Joseph.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006 3:06:00 pm  
Anonymous Person said...

Constant: Correct!

Joseph: Is it the Daedric Face of God? I think thats the one you get in Ibar-Dad. Oooh, has anybody ever noticed the skulls inside the Giant Purple Crystals in the entrance to Ibar-Dad?

Morrowind Trivia - Where is the Daedroth Menta Na?

Tuesday, April 11, 2006 3:54:00 pm  
Anonymous DaBigPman said...

excellent chapter joseph. i am envious of all you oblivion folk....i dont have it yet.

Person: Menta na is found in Kora-dur east of Kogoruhn and north of red mountain. you kill a daedra for molag bal to recieve the mace of molag mal.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006 12:14:00 am  
Blogger Joseph said...

Person: Yes, it probably is the 'Face of God'.

Oblivion is good. In case anyone is interested, these are my two characters for Oblivion: Frederik (petty crook and a bit of a bastard) and Belladonna (a Cleric).


That second shot of Belladonna is just about my favourite screenshot ever (out of the ones I've taken myself, I mean).

- Joseph.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006 1:24:00 am  
Anonymous Aurelia said...

I bought a copy of Oblivion on the day of it's release... But felt it was just lacking something. It is a good game, but I am waiting for some nice mods before I play it properly. ^^

I'm content with plodding through Morrowind again, with about 40 mods installed. (A lot of them were obtained through the links in this blog.)

But those are some nice looking characters. :) Every time I tried to create one they ended up looking like some kind of mutant.


Wednesday, April 12, 2006 2:53:00 am  
Anonymous Person said...

DaBigPMan: Correct!

Joseph, when I saw those pictures my eyes melted. The most beautiful screenies i've ever seen. What's the Armor Frederik is wearing? Looks kinda like it might be Glass? Hmm?

Can't wait to get Oblivion. You can't know how much I want it.

Morrowind Trivia - Who is The 'Lord of Milk'?

Wednesday, April 12, 2006 5:50:00 pm  
Blogger Joseph said...

Person: No, wait; it's the 'Face of Inspiration'. And yes, most of what Frederik is wearing in that shot is glass armour.

Working on the new chapter right now...

- Joseph.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006 9:19:00 pm  
Blogger Joseph Kennedy said...

The ending was very clever...

Thursday, May 08, 2008 11:37:00 pm  

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