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.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Chapter 112: Machinations

It was still before midnight when I returned to the Ald'ruhn Mages Guild, and Edwinna and Sirilonwe were sitting together in silence, each reading something; waiting for my arrival.

"Ah, good." Edwinna stood up, dropping her book on her desk. She looked tired. "Is that the staff? Here, let me look at it."

She held out her hand, and I gave her the 'Wizard's Staff' I had taken from the necromancer Anirne. After weighing it in her hands for the briefest of moments, she gave it back.

"Yes, that is a Wizard's Staff... I trust Anirne presented little trouble, then?" I gave a nod, which Edwinna mirrored subtly before searching through the papers on her desk for something; that sheet of parchment headed with my name, as it turned out. "Well then Frost, this means that you are now officially a 'Wizard' in the Mages Guild." She made a note on the parchment and signed it. "Congratulations. Now... I'm off to bed." The Steward dropped her quill and stumped up the stairs, headed for the hall's private chambers.

It was not the most heartfelt promotion I had ever experienced.

"She was only staying up to see you because I asked her to." Sirilonwe explained, giving me a hug. "Congratulations."

After a moment she let go, and continued:

"She told me earlier what she wants us to do next. That excavation report we gave her mentions another ruin: Mzuleft - near Dagon Fel..."

It was the first of two evenings in which we were to comb through Dwemer ruins for Steward Edwinna, looking for ancient plans or blueprints of Dwemer origin. I was not at all surprised. Edwinna seemed little interested in anything that was not of Dwemer origin.

As Sirilonwe had mentioned, our first destination was Mzuleft, a ruin due north of the Rotheran Velothi stronghold. We set out immediately, as we were both already equipped for travel - Sirilonwe in the volcanic glass armour from my museum, and I in my 'Shadow Lord' armour. In addition to my usual equipment I had a number of the glass vials of Anirne's blood secreted away in a pouch on my belt, a strip of thick cloth woven through them to keep them from breaking or clinking against each other. They were intended for an emergency only; I preferred that Sirilonwe remain ignorant of their existence.

The Wizard's Staff I left at the castle: it contained a minor levitation enchantment, but besides the strength its construction from ebony afforded it, that was virtually all that distinguished it from a mundane staff. I had no practical need for it.

My friend Folms was still awake, and gladly teleported us across the island to the Rotheran propylon chamber. Mzuleft was a relatively short trek from the stronghold, and like Nchuleftingth, we found its approach to be guarded - however incidental this 'guard duty' was to the guardian in question. I think that the being of fire - whatever it was - really only attacked us because we came too close to its home; a smouldering pit of molten rock near the entrance to the Mzuleft ruin.

It rose from the pit and roared towards us with the sound of a forest-fire, lighting up the whole depression in which Mzuleft sat. My reaction was instinctive; sending out my new 'Blizzard' spell (that I had created with Yanika's help with the intention that it replace my vastly inferior 'Frostball' spell) to arrest the progress of the flaming figure. (Make no mistake - I am not referring here to a Flame Atronach: those creatures from Oblivion have a distinctly man-like shape, while this... thing had no shape other than its dancing, crackling flames.)

The powerful spell exploded in a frigid sphere of ice so cold that the nearby rocks caught in the blast cracked, flaked and shattered under its force. The being of fire, though, was diminished but not stopped; it flew straight at Sirilonwe. Before I could gather myself (after casting such a draining spell) to make another move, Sirilonwe had raised her hand... and the fiery creature vanished as it rushed into it.

I asked her (more than once) what exactly she did, but she would only smile and say:

"I did the same as you, I think - only less showy."

The insides of Mzuleft were just as dangerous as the outside: like the Arkngthand ruin where I retrieved the Dwemer puzzle box, Mzuleft was crawling with looters - only this time every single one was a musclebound Orc. Still, through our combined magics, not one of the aggressive thugs came close enough to land a blow.

In a metal strongbox, half-stuck to the bottom, we found what looked to be exactly what Edwinna wanted: a very old sheet of waxed parchment with indecipherable plans and text printed neatly on it. The Orcish looters had already scoured that particular room, but passed over the blueprints; obviously thinking them worthless. After carefully unsticking and removing the plans, we teleported directly home so as to lay the parchment down flat somewhere until we could deliver it to Edwinna.

The ruin the Ald'ruhn Steward sent us to the following night was a freshly uncovered (and completely underground) one: 'Bethamez'. Workers in the Gnisis egg-mine had discovered it when they dug through to a partially-collapsed metal chamber... but before any serious investigation could take place, the mine had been closed due to Blight disease infecting the kwama inside. Edwinna said that someone had described seeing something that looked like some blueprints down there before everyone was evacuated.

Again we were aided by Folms Mirel's 'Master Index' teleportation service, as he sent us on to the Berandas stronghold just south of Gnisis, across the River Samsi. The entrance to the mine, up on the hill overlooking the village, was guarded by an Imperial Legion trooper; and it soon became apparent that the assignment Edwinna had set us was perhaps not exactly an 'officially sanctioned' one: the trooper did not want to let us in. Sirilonwe was again doing the talking while I kept a respectable distance, and before I knew it she had magically Charmed the soldier - the result being he cheerfully let us in, and hardly blinked at my vampiric appearance as I passed.

We wound our way through the darkened caverns and tunnels, careful not to step on the head-sized kwama eggs littering the floor, until we found the broken wall opening onto the ruin. The strange, tubular glowing lights one finds in almost all Dwemer ruins were still working, but that was about all. Most of the metal passages were terminated by collapsed ceilings, and the scattered parts of long-cold Dwemer constructs were all that remained of any machinery the place might have contained.

I found the blueprints Edwinna had mentioned - this time on a metal shelf, half-obscured beneath a heavy, rotting book. Both were indecipherable, but both accompanied us back to the Ald'ruhn guild hall. We returned there directly, as it was still well before midnight. The search had not taken long at all.

Balmora Mages Guild Steward Ranis Athrys was with Edwinna when we returned. I had not spoken to Ranis since I had moved on to the Ald'ruhn guild hall (with the express intention of avoiding the Balmora guild Steward). Surprisingly, Ranis thought that both Sirilonwe and I deserved a promotion - never-mind that I had received one just two nights previously.

"I'm saying this, Edwinna, because as you said, you have simply run out of tasks to set these two." Ranis, sitting next to Edwinna behind her desk, motioned that Sirilonwe and I should sit down across from them. Edwinna, who had been looking grumpy at the Balmora Steward's obvious imposition, brightened up at the sight of the blueprints and the book.

"I mean, has that ever happened before?" Ranis continued. "You always have some trinket or mouldy book you want fetched. And when did you say you sent them out on this assignment? It was only an hour or so ago, was it not? And now they are back, with your task already completed. If these two -" she may have said 'two', but Ranis' eyes never left mine - "have fulfilled your every need and request, I think they deserve advancement. Frost here has certainly done enough for this guild to deserve the title of Master Wizard."

I was sure Ranis was up to something. I had never known her to do anything solely for another's benefit. I was apparently the only one there who really doubted her motives, as Sirilonwe was thrilled, and Edwinna was too distracted by the blueprints and the ancient book to care overly much.

"Yes, yes..." Edwinna said absently; "if you wish to take responsibility for this, Ranis, then by all means..."

And so it was done. I was advanced two ranks in as many days, to the level of 'Master Wizard'; the highest rank possible in the guild, save for Arch-Mage of the whole province. It was the same rank enjoyed by Ranis and Edwinna; though they were still considered my superiors by virtue of their positions as Stewards.

Sirilonwe was very happy: both for me, and for herself: she had been advanced to the rank of 'Warlock' - just one level below that of 'Wizard'. In fact, she was in such a 'good mood' that she insisted we go straight to my chambers at Wolfen castle...

Sirilonwe appeared frozen, her eyes wide in horror.

"Is that..." She began, softly.

She was staring at one of the vials of blood I had taken from Anirne, as it rolled gently back and forth in a fold on the bed-covers. It had fallen from the pouch as Sirilonwe made to strip me of my armour and equipment at the bedside.

"It's mine." I lied. "I bought them in Ashmelech, yes - but they are made to hold a vampire's own blood, for an emergency." This was of course true for some of the vials I owned; but - regrettably - not the one Sirilonwe discovered.

"I'm sorry, Edward." Sirilonwe recovered from her surprise, but looked somewhat... sad. "I... I think I'll sleep in my own chambers tonight. I feel the need for some sunlight tomorrow, so I'll need some sleep now..."

And with that, she touched one of her glittering rings and vanished.


Blogger Mindstroller said...

Aww poor Frosty.

Sorry to advertise (even if that is the way i found frost {from arvil brens site}) but anybody interested in an oblivion journal might want to see mine. its at

Thursday, April 13, 2006 9:38:00 am  
Anonymous Person said...

Ranis! I was wondering if you would include her in the story again. What machinations does she have planned now?

Can't wait to see how you become Archmage. A huge Magicka battle in the Arena? Or the less blood thirsty way? Or not become Archmage at all?

Write on!

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

Thursday, April 13, 2006 1:45:00 pm  
Anonymous DaBigPman said...

you know...women can be so bitchy sometimes. Not all of them now *Siri* but ya know...get over it!!!

Friday, April 14, 2006 12:04:00 am  
Blogger Joseph Kennedy said...

aww sad poor Frosty
siri dumped him (at least temporarily)

Thursday, May 08, 2008 11:41:00 pm  

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