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, May 31, 2006

Chapter 133: The temporary gods

I learned a lot from Vivec. Much of it was information he volunteered, and much was in response to my questions. He told me that this was to gain my trust; since his (unnerving) ability to see into my mind meant that he already knew that he could trust me to do all I could to destroy Dagoth Ur. Of course it had been I that had forced entry to Vivec's Palace and beseeched him to help me - but I appreciated the gesture. According to the Dissident Priests and the Ashlanders, Vivec was someone to be wary of placing trust in.

Some of what he told me was in the form of written documents, as he insisted that the need for his attention to be focused on holding back Dagoth Ur's forces (by proxy of the Ghostfence, I assumed) precluded the luxury of any 'redundant talk'. The method in which he made copies of these documents (seemingly from memory) was unexpected; and fascinating. As we watched, Vivec took up a container of black ink and poured it over his hand. He then planted his black hand-print on several long rolls of parchment, and stood back - hand clean once more - as the ink on the parchment resolved itself into words and paragraphs.

One of the scrolls was another account of the Battle at Red Mountain, and the events that took place immediately before and after it. The preface claimed that the account was Vivec's own; a transcription of the living god's words to a Dissident Priest who confronted him, demanding to know the truth of what happened all those centuries ago. Considering the nature of this encounter, Vivec appeared to have replied with surprising detail and honesty. After reading the 'Kagrenac's Tools' document given to me by the Dissident Priests, I was already familiar with some of what was said; but I will recount here the points I found interesting - or that became significant later:

One remarkable point (at least for someone as ignorant of history as myself) was that the Dunmer people used to be called the 'Chimer', and in fact used to have golden skin - not unlike the Altmer. Before the War of the First Council and the Battle of Red Mountain (thousands of years ago), the Chimer and Dwemer were uneasy allies after their war against the invading Nordic forces from Skyrim. At that time, Dagoth Ur (and likewise House Dagoth) was still an ally of the Tribunal, and discovered proof that High Engineer Kagrenac of the Dwemer intended to build a god for his people using the Heart of Lorkhan buried beneath Red Mountain. The Chimer viewed a 'god' such as this as a mockery of their faith - and a terrible weapon in the hands of their enemies of old.

The Dwemer refused to cease construction on 'Akulakhan' - their fabricated god - and the situation deteriorated into the war that culminated in the Battle of Red Mountain. During the battle, the Dwemer's leader was slain; and, seeing that the fight went badly for his people, Kagrenac tried to do... something (what exactly he tried to do is not known) with the enchanted tools he had made and the Heart of Lorkhan. Indoril Nerevar and Dagoth Ur were apparently nearby at the time, and all they saw was Kagrenac approach the Heart... and shortly afterwards, the wholesale disappearance of the Dwemer race.

Kagrenac's enchanted tools (which were not named, but I assumed to be Wraithguard, Sunder and Keening) remained behind, and General Nerevar entrusted Dagoth Ur with the duty of guarding them until he could speak with his advisors Vivec, Almalexia and Sotha Sil about what should be done with them.

Nerevar told the Tribunal that Kagrenac had tried to save or empower his people somehow using the tools and Lorkhan's Heart, but the incredible power that resulted from this combination had resulted in the removal of the Dwemer from Morrowind - and perhaps from Nirn altogether. Obviously the tools were items of terrible power, and had to be destroyed or kept safe somehow. The latter choice was argued (and decided upon in the end) by the Tribunal, so they and Nerevar returned to the 'Heart Chamber' under Red Mountain to retrieve the tools from Dagoth Ur.

However, Dagoth Ur refused to give the tools up, saying that they were too dangerous. He allegedly appeared so obsessed with the tools that it was assumed that he had been corrupted by them somehow, and eventually Nerevar and the Tribunal attacked him; driving him off, and taking the tools from him. Nerevar, Vivec, Almalexia and Sotha Sil all swore before the Daedra goddess Azura that they would never attempt to use the tools 'in the profane manner in which the Dwemer had intended'; and the tools went with Sotha Sil to be studied and kept safe. Dagoth Ur was presumed dead.

Years later, Sotha Sil told Vivec and Almalexia that he had discovered a way in which they might safely make themselves divine immortals using the tools. With plans of setting themselves up as just and righteous gods of the Chimer; divine patrons that understood the plight of mortal people, the trio made a pilgrimage to the Heart Chamber and performed the rituals Sotha Sil devised. They were successful, and became as gods with physical bodies; but Azura appeared before them and cursed them for breaking their oath, and for mocking and defying the will of the gods.

At that moment, the Chimer were all changed into Dunmer, with 'skin turned ashen' and 'eyes turned to fire'. Azura had been very displeased.

I glanced up at Vivec at that point. The change from the golden-skinned Chimer to the grey-skinned Dunmer went some way to explaining the odd pattern to the living god's own skin.

A remarkable story indeed: but it did not end there. Despite being cursed by a goddess they had once paid homage to, the Tribunal successfully established themselves as the new gods of the new Dunmer people; and Morrowind (or Resdayn as it was known then) enjoyed hundreds - even thousands - of years of peace and prosperity under their guardianship. Once a year, the Tribunal would go to the Heart Chamber to bathe in the Heart's power - and it was on one of these visits that they discovered that Dagoth Ur was not dead.

Vivec, Almalexia and Sotha Sil were ambushed by a newly awoken Dagoth Ur, aided by his Ash Vampire brethren - and driven from Red Mountain. It was assumed that Dagoth Ur must have found a way to tap the Heart's power without Kagrenac's Tools. Since the moment of Dagoth Ur's return, the Tribunal never again entered the Heart Chamber. They tried, of course; making intermittent attacks against Dagoth Ur's forces over the years (hundreds of years, in fact) - but denied access to the Heart, they grew weaker and weaker. On one of these forays (the last recorded one, it seemed), the artefacts Sunder and Keening were lost to Ash Vampires, and the Tribunal retreated to the respective capital cities named after them, to focus on upholding the Ghostfence. By that time, the Ghostfence was the only thing holding Dagoth Ur's forces at bay.

The account certainly read like Vivec's own: it did not portray him - or Almalexia and Sotha Sil - as being particularly evil. One aspect of the transcript that particularly stuck with me was the way in which the death of Indoril Nerevar was glossed over; in fact, it was not even mentioned at all. Ashlander traditions held that Nerevar was killed by the Tribunal... so lack of a mention of Nerevar's end in Vivec's account made me suspicious. That the transcript ended with the living god threatening the Dissident Priest with death - should he reveal to anyone what he had been told - only made me more uneasy.

I looked up at Vivec once I had finished reading, and he said:

"I do not care what you believe, vampire Frost - or what you think of me. You should realise that it makes little difference now." Again I had the feeling that he knew exactly what was in my mind. He continued: "The important information to take from that scroll is what Craftlord Kagrenac aimed to do with the Heart of Lorkhan; as in some ways, Dagoth Ur is taking on the role of a 'Kagrenac reborn'. He aims to do the same as Kagrenac, and create a god - 'Akulakhan', the 'Second Numidium' - with which he can conquer Morrowind."

This was something that one of the other scrolls he gave me mentioned: a summary of the Tribunal Temple's theories on what Dagoth Ur actually wanted and intended. I will not go into slavish detail here on the contents of the scroll: suffice it to say that the Temple was quite certain that Dagoth Ur intended to drive the Empire and all foreigners from Morrowind, and rule the province (and later, perhaps, the whole of Tamriel) as a kind of god-king. A supreme ruler over all other authorities in Morrowind. This did not surprise me. What I had seen of the Sixth House spoke of a vicious, ruthless ambition behind it all: alongside the obvious depravity and insanity, of course.

I was, however, surprised to learn of the part Corprus disease played in this plan - and in the corrupted members of the Sixth House. This was something Vivec told me himself, though - as he began to summarise what he knew of the opposition we faced:

"It all begins with Dagoth Ur." Vivec said. "His flesh, and the flesh of his followers, evolves towards a mutable, magical form. He invades the dreams of Dunmer across the land - and compels them to come to the Sixth House - or drives them mad, sometimes. Of the Sleepers brought into his service, the strong have their bodies warped and changed through several stages - or 'ranks' - on the path to becoming one of his most powerful servants. Ash Slaves, Ash Ghouls, Ash Priests, and finally the powerful Ascended Sleepers, with tentacles sprouting from their faces."

"The tentacle-faced men?" I asked.

Vivec regarded me in silence for a moment, before saying:

"Is that what you call them?" I suspect he might have laughed at this point, had he been the sort to do so. Instead, he continued: "Yes... these creatures were once Sleepers lured by Dagoth Ur - the strong ones, at least. The others; those too weak to control the distorted manifestations of their flesh... they lose control and become Corprus beasts. That is what Corprus is: a manifestation of Dagoth Ur's will."

I was a little shocked. Everyone said that the Blight and Corprus came from Red Mountain, of course; and that Dagoth Ur was to blame - but an intentional effort to subvert or convert his enemies? It was horrifying. Not least because that corruption had been in my own body - and perhaps part of it still was (according to Divayth Fyr).

"Still higher in Dagoth Ur's service, however -" Vivec went on - "are his fellow 'heartwights', the Ash Vampires. Have you seen one?"

Sirilonwe and I both nodded.

"But you were unable to kill it, correct?"

Again, we nodded.

"Then you know something of what it is to face Dagoth Ur in battle." Vivec was nodding now, and he looked pleased (though I could easily have been imagining that - he was not the most expressive being I had ever met). "Heartwights are bound somehow to the Heart of Lorkhan. They are supremely difficult to kill, and even should that be achieved, they will be revived in the Heart Chamber shortly afterwards. This is true of the Ash Vampires and of Dagoth Ur, just to be clear."

The living god paused.

"Which brings us to what you must do... if you would destroy Dagoth Ur. As I said, the Heart of Lorkhan must be destroyed... or perhaps only the enchantments placed on it by Kagrenac that bind Dagoth Ur and his minions - and Almalexia, Sotha Sil and I - to it. In any case, Sotha Sil tells me that Kagrenac's Tools are required for this - and as you have just read, Sunder and Keening are lost to Ash Vampires. We - the Tribunal - cannot leave our havens to retrieve them; we must maintain the Ghostfence. You, vampire Frost, have nothing to keep you from getting them back. I will tell you where they are probably being held, but first -"

Vivec pointed at me, and I blacked out for a moment. It was something like the sensation of teleporting from one place to another, actually. When I came back to myself, I was cradling something cold and heavy in my arms.

"I can still give one of Kagrenac's Tools to you." Vivec was saying. "That is Wraithguard."

I was holding a great right-handed gauntlet of gleaming Dwemer metal. It was enchanted with powerful protective magics, and was so long that it would actually protect my entire forearm, as well as my hand.

"You may have felt strange just now." Vivec said, as I turned the Wraithguard over and over in my hands. "I had to... change you, slightly, so that you can safely wear that. Wraithguard is an artefact of great, great power. You will not die or be taken while you carry that. Should your death - true death, vampire - approach, you will teleport away to safety - understood? We cannot lose Wraithguard as well."

I pulled off my 'Shadow Lord' gauntlet, and slid the Wraithguard on. The power in it was indeed tremendous.

"Now..." Vivec said, "you are appropriately armoured to put our enemy to death."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now this took some time to find!!
The book is in front/back of Divayth Fyr, on the round table in front of the crystals..

You mistyped: Bal Morag Ker's Researches.. The books goes by the name: Tal Marog Ker's Researches..

-Cannot Spell..

Thursday, June 01, 2006 2:05:00 am  
Anonymous Matar said...

I still say Vivec used hacks >.>.

Oh and Joe ummm. Been awhile sense I played but didn't Vivec teleport the player to a place were time is diffrent and teach him there?

Thursday, June 01, 2006 3:20:00 am  
Anonymous I'm a nerd, hear my roar said...

Never really thought about the difference of color on vivec.

you're a great writer.

Thursday, June 01, 2006 3:44:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joseph: or Anybody;
Can someone like yourself post my newfound cheats.. 1) Extra-Comfy Pillow - Draryne Thelas - Cave Rats. 2) Jioning both Fighters and the Thieves Guilds. Using Sottitude's Code Book!! 3) Sinyaramen's potion, as post on Blog 117 Rules, regulations - and ancient rites..

I donot have the membership in any of the member only Nets/Giulds.. No Money - no way to pay!! Maybe one like the UESP...

-Cannot Spell
P.S. You don't have to give any part of my tag.. just Anonymous..

Thursday, June 01, 2006 5:17:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He then planted his black hand-print on several long rolls of parchment, and stood back - hand clean once more - as the ink on the parchment resolved itself into words and paragraphs.

hehe, well, if vivec wants to quit the whole "living god" business, he could go into work as a printing press. A damn good one too!

Thursday, June 01, 2006 8:47:00 am  
Blogger Mindstroller said...

whoopsie, that above comment was me

Thursday, June 01, 2006 8:48:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Cannot Spell's trivia from last chapter: His name is Peke Utchoo (Pikachu) and you find him in Mudan, an underwater dwemer ruin.

Gotta catch 'em all, gotta catch 'em all, Morrowind! OK, crappy, but how 'bout this:

Gotta unite 'em all, gotta unite 'em all: Ashlanders!

Frost wants to be the very best, like no one ever was! To bribe them is his real quest, to suck blood is his cause!! He will travel across the land, searching far and wide! These Corprus beasts, to understand the Nerevar thats inside!

MORROWIND! His courage will pull him through! He'll hurt them and they'll hurt him, MORROWIND!!!! Gotta kill 'em all, gotta kill 'em all, MORROWIND!!!!!!!!!!

Yes, I actually know most of that theme song for Pokemon.


Thursday, June 01, 2006 10:59:00 am  
Anonymous Person said...

Cannot spell is correct! Sorry 'bout the mistake...

I really enjoyed this chapter, especially the part where you styled Dagoth Ur as 'a Kagrenac reborn'.

Trivia - Who is Botrir?

P.S. Noozooroo? You. Win.

P.P.S. How long did it take to think that up BTW?

Thursday, June 01, 2006 1:01:00 pm  
Blogger Joseph said...

Thanks very much, guys.

Matar: "Been awhile sense I played but didn't Vivec teleport the player to a place were time is diffrent and teach him there?

That depends on how you interpret what he tells you...

Cannot Spell: Places where tips like those can be posted that require memberships fees are probably the exception, not the rule. Have a look around (though the UESP *is* a good place to start) - you'll find something.

Noozooroo: That's just brilliant. :-) I'd probably find it even funnier if I'd ever seen Pokemon, or heard that theme song.

- Joseph.

Thursday, June 01, 2006 8:43:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, it is just your regular gay animeness but with cute little creature things that say their names instead of growl or bark or something.

Person:It didn't take that long, I just thought it up. Hmmmm, maybe I should replace the part in the song where they name all the Pokemon with names of Morrowind creatures...let's try!

Corprus Stalker, Lame Corprus, Ascended Sleeper, Cliff Racer, Nix Hound, Daedroth, Dremora, Dremora Lord, Winged Twilight, Flame Atronarch, Frost Atronarch, Storm Atronarch, Skeleton, Bonewalker, Ancester Ghost, Lich, Spriggan, Draugr, Reikling, Centurion Archer, Sphere Centurion, Spider Centurion, Steam Centurion, Golden Saint,, I could think of more but I don't feel like it...;p


Gotta catch 'em all, gotta catch 'em a- oh, did I type that out loud?

Friday, June 02, 2006 10:57:00 am  
Blogger Meej-Dar said...

Friggin' gods, showing off their power. "Oh, I can pour ink on my hand and place it on a piece of paper to make words." Just grab a damn pen and write! Are you really that lazy? YOU'RE A GOD!

Saturday, August 06, 2011 6:52:00 pm  

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