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, April 14, 2006

Chapter 113: To death

I had resolved to leave Sirilonwe alone for a while, to give her time to get past her misgivings regarding those vials of blood... She had come to tolerate most other aspects of my vampiric nature - or perhaps it would be better to say that she had come to look past them to see that I was still myself; the same as I had been before my 'change'. Surely it was only a matter of time...

However, by mid-morning my resolve had crumbled and I was on my way to the Vivec Mages Guild to try to explain my position to her. I had become accustomed to her being near, and I wanted her back at my side.

The door to Sirilonwe's chambers was ajar, and she was not inside. Her scent was strong in the room, and my heightened vampiric senses told me that she had only just left. Her scent was different though... wrong, somehow. She was afraid. A vague dread stirred in my stomach - in the time I had known her, she had never before smelled that way. I followed her scent from the room and through the hall to the entrance chamber, where Janand Maulinie, the enchanter, was casting worried glances at the front door.

When I pressed her, she admitted that Sirilonwe had just left, with Arch-Mage Trebonius Artorius following her. By Janand's tone, it was obvious that she assigned some dark significance to this fact.

"I don't think she really wanted to speak with him..." Janand was saying - but I was already half out the door.

Sirilonwe's trail led out into the Foreign Quarter Plaza, sprawled out beneath the great domed ceiling of the canton. Even with the crowds of people milling about, I had little trouble distinguishing Sirilonwe's scent from the myriad others; the fear it spoke of grew stronger and stronger. As I had been afraid of, the trail took me outside; through the great eastern plaza doors and into the sunlight.

... Almost into the sunlight. The stone eaves above the great doors served to shade me from the burning light - but it did me little good, in the end. Artorius and Sirilonwe were out at the edge of the terrace, bathed in the bright morning light. The Arch-Mage had his back to me, his heavily-built frame mostly obscuring my view of Sirilonwe, who was backed up against the balustrade. It could not be plainer to me that Artorius was intimidating her. His hand tightly gripped her wrist, and when I caught a glimpse of her face, I could see that she was not at all happy about it.

I could not hear what he was saying: not because they were too far away to be heard, but because my fury at the sight of the Arch-Mage's threatening manner towards Sirilonwe had completely deafened me. At the moment when Artorius raised his hand as if to strike her, all reason left me and I was out in the burning sunlight, charging towards the Arch-Mage. Sirilonwe's eyes widened as she caught sight of me over Trebonius' shoulder, a pale figure of flames and smoke racing across the open terrace. Artorius turned to see what she was looking at, releasing Sirilonwe from his grasp. Sirilonwe slipped out from behind the Arch-Mage - and just in time.

I slammed into Artorius, sending him flying in a low arc over the balustrade - and down, down to the waters of the bay far below. Without waiting to see the outcome of his fall, I gripped a shocked Sirilonwe by the wrist and hauled her back into the shade of the stone eaves.

"Are you alright?" I asked, as the flames licking at my body died away. I was burned all over.

Sirilonwe said nothing, merely staring at her wrist - where both Trebonius and I had grabbed her. The skin was reddened and raw: my flaming hand had burned her.

"Sorry." I muttered, reaching out and sending a healing spell into the burn - which vanished in an instant. "What did he - what was he..." I floundered, still trying to master my anger. The reality of my attack on the Arch-Mage of Vvardenfell had not yet quite settled in my mind.

"You did not know?" Sirilonwe murmured, still looking shocked and staring at the balustrade over which I had pitched Artorius. "He has pursued my affections for a long time, but I have never... there has always been something not right about him..."

I recalled, and suddenly understood, all the strange looks the Arch-Mage had directed our way whenever I was in Sirilonwe's company.

"What could he have been thinking?" Sirilonwe continued, finally turning to look at me. "He was holding me down. Magically, I mean; he was draining away my energy, my magicka. I think he thought I would not notice." Sirilonwe paused, rubbing her wrist. "He is a powerful mage, Edward: a Battlemage. He is the Arch-Mage for a reason."

"'He is', you say? I... threw him from the terrace." I spoke slowly. "I don't... I don't think -"

A man's voice sounded from behind me.

"I did not know that you were in the habit of attacking unarmed men from behind, Mister Frost." Artorius dismissed his levitation spell and alighted on the sun-scorched stone paving a little way from where we stood. "Or should I call you 'Master Wizard' Frost?"

I turned to face Trebonius squarely, hand on my blade. Really, I should not have expected anything as trivial as gravity to pose a real danger to someone with the title of 'Arch-Mage'.

"Yes, Master Wizard," Trebonius sneered. "I have been watching you, and your movements and motives are transparent to me. I know of Ranis' part in this, too. Did you really think that a rise through almost every rank in the guild from the bootlick you were a few short months ago would not attract suspicion?" The Imperial's voice was becoming husky with suppressed anger. "You come into my guild, enjoy the hospitality, bring the Dark Brotherhood into the halls, lust after my wom-"

"What?" Snapped Sirilonwe, interrupting him. "That sounded, Artorius, as if you think that I belong to you in some way -"

The Arch-Mage pointed a finger at Sirilonwe, whose mouth continued to move, but produced no sound. A silence spell. I drew my Daedric katana from its scabbard a fraction, taking a step towards the heavily-built Imperial. The movement of my clothes and armour against my burned and bloodied skin was agony. The shade provided by the stone eave ended just beyond the tip of my nose.

"This does not concern you now, Sirilonwe. And stay your weapon, vampire, if you have any honour at all. With Sirilonwe here as my witness, I hereby challenge you to a duel to the death." He spat the words out between clenched teeth. "I will put an end to your schemes. You will not take my title - nor my position - from me. Come to the Arena now or the coward I know you to be will be evident to all."

Trebonius waved a hand, and vanished.

I was furious at the Arch-Mage: for his treatment of Sirilonwe, and for having the nerve to accuse me of such things... So he wanted a duel? Moreover he wanted it to the death?

I would give him death.

With one glance at Sirilonwe, I unstoppered a vial of blood taken from my pouch, and drank it down in front of her. It was no time for concern over her attitude towards them; I was too angry. I needed it for what I was about to do. In a few short moments my burns had all-but vanished, the fresh blood from the vial empowering my body to heal itself.

Without another word (Sirilonwe was still to regain her voice, in any case), I dashed into the sunlight and leapt from the terrace, high into the air. My 'Touch the clouds' spell carried me across the considerable gap between the Foreign Quarter canton and the Arena canton; where I came to rest like a falling, flaming star in the shade of another set of stone eaves. Again I was burned and bloodied, and the pain was terrible. It may sound like an awfully rash thing to have done, but there was simply no other way for me to reach the Arena canton in the daylight; as Artorius of course knew.

After draining another couple of vials of blood, the pain was lessened enough for me to carry on, though the smell of my own burnt flesh lingered in my nostrils, filling me with the desire to retch.

Instead I burst through the large wooden doors that marked an upper entrance to the Arena; leading to the massive balcony that surrounded the fighting pit. Trebonius was already there in the pit, down on the sand-covered Arena floor: I could smell him. Somehow he sensed that I was there too, as he bellowed out:

"Come down and face me, vampire!"

Again I launched myself high into the air; over the market stalls being set up by their astonished owners, over the empty seats set aside for spectators, and over the barrier at the edge of the balcony. The floor dropped away beneath me, and there was Artorius far below, in the centre of the Arena, pointing a finger at me. A red-hot bolt of magical fire whipped past, missing me by the barest margin. As I sailed over his head at a great height, I sent my deadly new 'Acid Cloud' spell streaking down to impact the sand at his feet. The Arch-Mage was lost in an explosion of green, virulent acidic steam - and I came to ground a fair distance behind him.

Trebonius had the power of a great Battlemage, but not the skill of a warrior; or the speed of a vampire. He dispelled and cleared the blinding, poisonous cloud in an instant and span to face me, but he was still only just fast enough to see my blade being thrust through his neck. He was killed instantly.

When I pulled the blade free of his limp body, an amulet that had hung from his neck came with it. It was in the shape of a tiny skull with a dagger through it, and the magical force radiating from it was simply awesome. I had to pocket it for later examination, though, for at that moment Sirilonwe dropped down onto the sand next to me; obviously in full command of her magical abilities once more.

She barely acknowledged the bloody form of the late Arch-Mage, instead placing her full attention on me. Then, as she did so often, she said the very last thing I expected:

"Edward, I cannot go on like this. I need you to give me your blood. I need you to make me into a vampire."


Anonymous Person said...

I am really starting to get pissed off with Sirilonwe! First it's "Oh Edward how could you!" and now it's "I need you to make me a Vampire." Yeesh!

Still, Unexpected but expected, if you know what I mean. The way she asked was... different. But I knew events were leading up to this.

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

Friday, April 14, 2006 10:54:00 pm  
Anonymous Constant said...

Now that's something I didn't expect. Can't wait till the next chapter, I really want to see what's going to happen...

Saturday, April 15, 2006 1:13:00 am  
Blogger Malaki Tarion said...

The story is continuing to stay very good, even when i'm now spending most of my time playing Oblivion (hee hee). Can't wait to see what happens next.

By the way Joseph, do you have any plans of playing Oblivion at all? Just curious.

The lord of milk is a redoran noble gone mad and is robbing people from a cave called milk. There's a quest where you need to get him to stop.

Saturday, April 15, 2006 1:48:00 am  
Blogger Devlin said...

hmm... so much for moral lectures!

Saturday, April 15, 2006 1:51:00 am  
Blogger Mindstroller said...

Haha, take that ya pompous old fool!

Never liked Trebonius.

Saturday, April 15, 2006 3:04:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was right about Sirilonwe becoming a vampire!!!!!!! Haha!

Too bad you can't stab people in the neck in would make everything easier.......


Saturday, April 15, 2006 5:20:00 am  
Blogger Blog-na said...

holy short duel

oh well i guess he never really stood a chance against Frost anyway

Saturday, April 15, 2006 8:04:00 am  
Blogger Devlin said...

Frost being so strong is actually beginning to to ruin the story... maybe the fights should be more challenging...

Saturday, April 15, 2006 8:52:00 am  
Anonymous Stygian said...

Oh Edward! I love you! But I hate everything you stand for! Let's go press our pale, vampiric lips together in the....

I can't think of anything to substitute for "Cargo hold" that relates to Morrowind. ;_;

Also... Fight = Story? No tehnks.

Saturday, April 15, 2006 9:14:00 am  
Blogger Joseph said...

Malaki: Thanks. And yes, I've been playing Oblivion; I've been talking about it a bit in recent comments sections.

Also, I have to agree that if anything is going to ruin this story, it is not going to be the central character becoming too powerful. It's more likely to be a lack of talent on my part that would do it. ;-)

- Joseph.

Saturday, April 15, 2006 1:01:00 pm  
Anonymous Person said...

Malaki: Correct!

Stygian: Well, as a matter of fact, most ships do have a Cargo Hold, but you could say 'Storage Room'. :)

Joseph: There is no way possible that you could ruin this story, other than purposefully.

Morrowind Trivia - Where is the book 'Last Scabbard of Akrash'?

Saturday, April 15, 2006 3:57:00 pm  

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