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, May 12, 2006

Chapter 125: Blackmail

Sometimes I looked at Sirilonwe and wondered how she could be so calm, after all that had happened in those months. We had really only just become romantically involved when I had died and been reborn as a vampire; and then, of course, she had followed suit a month or so later. These were some quite significant changes - and while Sirilonwe's manner was not exactly what I would call serene, she was still remarkably balanced and matter-of-fact about it all.

Sometimes I looked at myself and wondered the same thing. Caius had been right about my body undergoing an awful lot of abuse during my time on Vvardenfell. The constant violence and subsequent restorative magic - day after day; the use of magical items that some people argued altered a person's very physical nature; the months suffering from that magicka leak, in which time I probably aged the equivalent of several years; my own face regrown into a stranger's; vampirism; and finally Corprus.

I think I coped - and survived each waking moment - by simply looking at what needed to be done that day - what could be done that day - and then looking for a way to do it. Thinking too much about the distant future - or navel-gazing too much about the past - was to be avoided.

And it was this thought that brought me back to the present right then; as Sirilonwe and I left Tel Fyr. Never-mind how it all happened: I was whole and healthy again (inasmuch as a vampire can be considered 'healthy') - better than before, even. It was time to report back to Caius.

Equipped with the knowledge that I was now definitely immune to all disease - at least according to Divayth Fyr - I was hoping that the spymaster had new information about where I might find more lairs of the Sixth House. Yet again I visited Caius just before dawn, Sirilonwe staying behind at the Mages Guild see if any duties awaited her.

"This might be the last time you see me, Frost." Caius said, as he shoved a stack of papers into an open pack. "I received a message last night; I'm being recalled to the Imperial City."

I was a little surprised. It was hard to imagine the scruffy, bleary-eyed Caius Cosades walking the immaculate streets of the capital city.

"This seems... somewhat sudden." I remarked; wondering what would happen regarding our work on the Nerevarine and Sixth House cults.

"Yes, well; the Empire is in a mess." The old Imperial said, matter-of-factly. "The Emperor is ill, and there's the matter of the succession... By the Divines, this comes at a bad time, though!" Caius huffed. "I thought about staying right here, you know; but Mister- I should say, my superior - had to go and mention my family there in the city. He had to mention how close they were to the central office..."

He shook his head, as if bothered by a fly.

"Listen, Frost. I'm promoting you to Operative; so you don't have to answer to anyone while I'm away: got that? You'll work alone." Caius thrust a few items of clothing into his pack, and straightened to look me directly in the eyes. "This place - Vvardenfell - is dying, Frost. Rotting from the inside - and the embargo neatly prevents any help from outside. The Imperial Legion will do nothing. In fact they're under the strictest orders to do nothing - unless you count watching the Great Houses in case of some uprising or other that will never come."

I still felt wrong-footed and surprised. The spymaster was a highly-ranked government employee, and what he was saying could be considered by some to be close to treason. It was as if Caius read my mind:

"The Blades do not answer to the Council, as the Legion does: no, we answer directly to the Emperor himself. We - or you, now - are uniquely positioned to do something about this mess in Vvardenfell. We have the information and no other obligations. This is our job. Everyone else is too busy watching everyone else - for fear of someone attacking someone else!"

Caius tore the covers from his bed, and reached into a great tear down the length of the straw-filled mattress. There were weapons hidden inside - daggers and short-swords - which he began to strap on.

"Because I mean what I said about this place dying. It is almost literally rotting from the inside out. The blight - and the death and madness it brings - is spreading further and further from Red Mountain, and from what you and I have learned, we can be almost certain that it is deliberate. The Sixth House... Dagoth Ur. They are spreading these diseases... So it seems to me that the solution is simple - or at least simple to describe: destroy the Sixth House. Kill Dagoth Ur."

The spymaster pushed a dagger into his boot.

"That would be my advice to you as a Blades Operative, at any rate -" Caius continued - "and it is my prerogative as your Spymaster to give such advice. Now - while you should keep that in mind, you do still have your orders from the Emperor to pursue your... role as the Nerevarine. So... as I have said, Mehra Milo has informed me that she may be able to get access to those 'lost' prophecies for you. You should go see her at the Hall of Wisdom; and then..." he gave a slight smile; "play it by ear."

Caius, having finished packing his few belongings (at least those in that draughty shack, I suppose), slung the pack over his shoulder and stood, ready to depart.

"Oh - one more thing, Frost. One of my people tells me that he knows who bought that Dark Brotherhood contract on your life - this mysterious 'H'...".

I stiffened. I had not forgotten about that business with the Dark Brotherhood assassins. They had made my first months on the island a misery of fear and paranoia. I had to know who was behind it. This person had to be eliminated: before he - or she - decided to move for another attempt on my life (so to speak).

"Who is it?" I demanded.

But Caius only shrugged.

"My contact has that information - not me. He is under orders to deliver it to you... once your 'dealings' with the Sixth House have reached a satisfactory conclusion."

Blackmail! It was just like an Imperial Spymaster - and just like Caius in particular - to stoop so low. I regarded him steadily for a moment, wondering if there might be some way I could force the information from him... but such things were not really in my heart. He would probably simply lie to me if I tried to force him, at any rate.

"Not my decision, Frost." Caius said; though I doubted his sincerity there. "I think they just want to ensure that you concentrate on your assigned tasks before becoming distracted by... revenge." The spymaster made for the door.

I did not shake his hand as we parted.

I decided to follow Sirilonwe's example, and use the daylight hours - when I was trapped inside anyway - to see to my duties as Arch-Mage of the guild. There were documents to review, make changes to, and sign; discussions on what spells should be available to be taught to non-members of the guild; inductions of new Associates... and the list went on. I was fortunate to have Sirilonwe and Edwinna Elbert to help with all this - as otherwise I would have been quite lost.

It was the beginning of a pattern Sirilonwe and I were to follow over the coming weeks (at least when things were quiet): Mages Guild duties in the daylight hours, and our own business at night. Sometimes we slept: but only to pass the time until nightfall.

On that evening, we left our armour at the castle and went to pay a visit to Mehra Milo, in the Hall of Wisdom in Vivec. Our hope was to attract as little attention as possible: and vampires in armour going into the Hall of Wisdom would be sure to attract quite a lot of it.

We would pass for mortals at a distance, and for any close encounters with the Ordinators; well, we had our Illusion magic to make them forget that they cared one way or the other about vampires.

Together, Sirilonwe and I cast Almsivi Intervention from the castle, and appeared outside the High Fane. The entrance to the Hall of Wisdom - and the Library of Vivec, inside it - was just nearby. We were not challenged on our way into the library, but the Dunmer priestess Mehra was not to be found among the dusty shelves and books. A librarian-priest (suitably befuddled by a Charm spell) told us to try her quarters; across from the Canon Offices, down the hall.

She was not there, either. However, there was a stale, half-finished meal - sitting ominously on a small table. Ominous because it brought to mind my last conversation with Mehra: particularly the concern she expressed for her own safety. She had hinted to me that she was being watched by the Ordinators, and had mentioned using the code word 'Amaya' as an indication that she was in trouble.

Sure enough, I found a scribbled note on her wardrobe addressed to 'Amaya'. It was a cleverly-worded distress note; it seemed that her concerns about the Ordinators had been well-founded.

"What does it say?" Sirilonwe asked, as I scanned quickly through the note.

I handed it to her once I was finished.

"The Ordinators have her - in the Ministry of Truth. She wants me to break her out."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

ooh nice chapter
I liked that about caius and the weapons.
just made him more of an agent

Friday, May 12, 2006 11:05:00 pm  
Anonymous DaBigPman said... much longer is Oblivion after Morrowind. Because Caius never comes back into Morrowind. You would think that you might see him around cyrodil. but you know i am a crazy motherf***** so it could just be an idotic idea.

I agree with anon-the dagger in the boot and the swords in the bed. Totally badass.

Also for those who play oblivion-
i found out last night you can enchant your own weapons with the
Sigil stones you take from Oblivion Towers. Just in case no one knew that. ill shut up now.

Saturday, May 13, 2006 12:49:00 am  
Anonymous DaBigPman said...

Chance's Folly - i know that there is one in the Telvanni District in Vivec..But there are two others i found. im not sure where at though. It is one of my favorite books however. I think i have read that one twelve times. good book.

Saturday, May 13, 2006 1:01:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks dapigman,

Saturday, May 13, 2006 1:12:00 am  
Blogger Mindstroller said...

Oblivion takes place (i think) about tens years after the events of morrowind. My guess about caius would be that he either got reassigned to Skyrim (where the nords have been causing some trouble) or else the old boy was killed during the assassination of Emperor Uriel Septim.

Either way, he's not in the Province of Tamriel. unless you get one of the numerous mods that has him.

Saturday, May 13, 2006 7:10:00 am  
Anonymous DaBigPman said...

That kind of makes me a little upset. but thank you mindstroller. i didnt know that there were many mods out for oblivion?

Saturday, May 13, 2006 8:31:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What are the three items you can get from Caius Cosades the Blade SpyMaster! Two he gives you.. The third, is locked in the small chest! What does each do!!

Saturday, May 13, 2006 4:12:00 pm  
Anonymous Person said...

Correct! Another copy of the book is also in Elmussa's House in Caldera.

And Joseph? WTF was that about (last comments section)?

Morrowind Trivia - Who is High Pockets?

Saturday, May 13, 2006 7:30:00 pm  
Anonymous Random said...

High Pockets is a wood elf in Mournhold who wants you to help him teach a nord a lesson. Apparently, if you have Seryoni Sermons on you, he'll take the book and give you all his clothes and devote himself to the temple (I think).

Trivia: Near Khartag Point, in the Bitter Swamp, What potion can you find lying in a trunk?

Sunday, May 14, 2006 3:34:00 am  
Blogger Joseph said...

DaBigPman: Oblivion is set six years after (the *start* of) Morrowind. (See here (possible spoilers): So yes - it would have made a nice touch if they had put Caius in there, somewhere - or even just a mention of him. It would even have made *sense*, since he was being called back to Cyrodiil because of problems with the succession; and this is something the main plotline in Oblivion deals with.

Also, there are already a *lot* of mods for Oblivion out there. I have around fifty enabled for my game, at this stage.

Person: I have absolutely no idea what that (er...) person was talking about. Maybe it was an ad-bot, or something? Maybe someone got which blog they were commenting on confused?

It's a mystery...

- Joseph.

Sunday, May 14, 2006 7:38:00 pm  
Anonymous Random said...

I bet you no one can find the answer to my question! It is by sheer luck i found this!

Sunday, May 14, 2006 8:56:00 pm  

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