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, June 02, 2006

Chapter 134: The great climb

After leaving Vivec to concentrate on maintaining the Ghostfence, Sirilonwe and I spent the next day and night preparing for a journey into the Red Mountain region. Upon gifting me with the gauntlet Wraithguard - which accounted for one out of three of Kagrenac's Tools - Vivec told us where we might find the other two. To the best of the living god's knowledge, the hammer 'Sunder' and the blade 'Keening' had - unsurprisingly - been taken to separate Sixth House strongholds (or 'Gate Citadels') inside the Ghostfence, and were likely guarded by Ash Vampires.

The plan as laid out by Vivec went like this: first we should enter the Red Mountain region via the Ghostgate, so that we could ask the Buoyant Armigers (a small military force that answered to Vivec) garrisoned there for the latest reports on conditions inside the Ghostfence, and directions to the Gate Citadels where Sunder and Keening were probably being held. Second, we had to recover both Sunder and Keening. Third, we had to find the Heart Chamber underneath Dagoth Ur's Citadel - and finally, we had to destroy the enchantments upon the Heart of Lorkhan using the full set of Kagrenac's Tools.

This was to be done by striking the Heart once with the hammer Sunder (while wearing Wraithguard, as neither Sunder or Keening could be safely handled otherwise) to 'produce a pure tone', and then striking it many times with the blade Keening; until the enchantment was broken. Vivec unfortunately had no idea how I would actually know when this had occurred; but maintained that severing the ties to divinity of several god-like beings would produce some kind of noticeable result.

"A quest for ancient, magical weapons that made an entire race vanish from Tamriel all at once." Sirilonwe remarked, as we handed our armour and weapons over to my smith, Ulfred. "Does it make you feel like a figure out of legend?"

Events that may be considered to be of great significance to others can seem, by turns, both profoundly affecting and quite mundane to those directly involved. I did not really know how to answer Sirilonwe. Still, I thought as I gave her a vague smile; the enormity of the task before us was not lost on me. We were playing in the shadows of gods; and a mistake could easily mean a swift death.

Though with a clear path before me - a method to follow to achieve Dagoth Ur's end - I was not afraid. I trusted Vivec; at least, I trusted him to tell me how to kill Dagoth Ur - his sworn enemy. I believed that shame and a reluctance to lose their godly powers (and by extension, their lives) had caused the Tribunal's failure in their war against the Sixth House. I believed that the desperate situation the Tribunal found themselves in led Vivec to trust someone like me with the tools and the knowledge to do what they could not.

Sirilonwe was still concerned about the Blight and Corprus that was said to saturate the Red Mountain region, so I took her (for the first time) to Ashmelech, so that she herself could ask our 'mother' Dhaunayne Aundae all she liked about what it was to be a vampire. Dhaunayne was not in a pleasant mood.

"We are both Altmer, whelp." She told Sirilonwe coldly. "You should know full well that our pure blood makes us hardy against disease. In addition, my refined blood in your veins leaves you absolutely impervious to sickness. If your sire here is not simply spinning tales about his apparent case of Corprus, then - as he said - he was only infected because he clumsily irritated a Dagoth. I do not like repeating myself - to either of you. Vampires are immune to disease. We are not, however, immune to curses."

Dhaunayne's casual mention of the powers of a Dagoth surprised me a little, and for an instant I considered asking her if she might allow any of her 'children' from Ashmelech to aid me in the assault on the Sixth House citadels on Red Mountain. I thought better of it, though: neither the vampires there, nor their mother, would ever do anything I asked of them. At that moment, too, Dhaunayne seemed especially cross with me; perhaps because I had passed her vampiric blood on to Sirilonwe without asking her permission.

Before we left Ashmelech, I bought a number of those glass vials (the ones enchanted to keep human blood fresh) from the trader there, and gave them to Sirilonwe, as none of the vampires there would even speak to her. We spent the remainder of the night laboriously filling the glass vials with (a furious) Hunter's blood, and were then faced with a long, restless day before the sun set and we could finally be on our way. We had a long way to go.

With newly repaired armour, sharpened weapons, and enough bottled blood to (hopefully) see us through any battle, we teleported across to Ald'ruhn and set out for Ghostgate from there.

The Buoyant Armigers on duty in the Ghostgate recognised Wraithguard on my hand - as Vivec had said they would - and an impressively armoured Dunmer there gave me an old map of Red Mountain showing the locations of the ancient Dwemer citadels the Ash Vampires had taken as their homes. This was all the intelligence he had for us, really; as no-one had ventured far inside the Ghostfence for years.

Vivec had told us that Sunder had been taken to Gate Citadel 'Vemynal', and Keening had been taken to Gate Citadel 'Odrosal'. According to the map the Buoyant Armiger gave me, Dagoth Ur's citadel was located in the centre of Red Mountain, over the Heart Chamber. Odrosal was south-east of this citadel (and closest to the Ghostgate), and Vemynal was to the north-west. We would try Odrosal first then, since it was closest.

Inside the Ghostfence was just as I remembered it. The sky was a lurid red, the wind howled, the air was choked with flying ash and dirt, and the ground underfoot was a shifting mass of grit and fine black ash. The Netch-leather scarf attached to my helmet was not as useful as it might have been; had I still needed to breathe - but it at least kept the blowing ash of the constant Blight storms from entering my nose and mouth. I wished I had a helmet like Sirilonwe's - which incorporated eyepieces of green volcanic glass. I had to squint against the stinging ash, but she could see perfectly.

Climbing the mountain was desperately hard. A steep, smooth path of shifting ash was the only remotely easy way up the southern slopes of Red Mountain, and we were fighting nearly every step of the way: Ascended Sleepers, Ash-ghouls, Corprus beasts; even poisonous scorpions that scuttled around in the ash, near-invisible - all attacked us relentlessly. Our invisibility spells were not working, either: it seemed as if the constant barrage of sand, soil and ash whipped up by the Blight storm disrupted them. There was nothing we could do but fight.

We had both drunk our fill from Hunter before leaving the castle, and with so much fresh blood in our bodies, any wounds we sustained during the ascent closed over in moments. Eventually, Sirilonwe spotted the distinctive bulbous towers of a Dwemer installation - high up on a cliff above us. It was the only structure we had yet seen; it had to be Gate Citadel Odrosal. The steep path we were following branched off to the right, and snaked its way up the bluff to the citadel entrance. After dispatching the Ash-ghouls outside, we finally made it into Odrosal. It had taken most of the night.

It was just like any other Dwemer ruin inside Odrosal; dark and noisy - though perhaps kept in better condition than most. It was also eerily void of any Sixth House defenders - at least at first.

We found Keening in a tower near the entrance; identifying it by Vivec's description. It was unmistakable: a longsword with a handle of Dwemer metal, and a brightly glowing blade of some strange, almost crystalline, material. I had made the gauntlet Wraithguard a permanent part of my armour (replacing the right-handed Shadow Lord gauntlet), as it was far superior to any other armour piece I had seen; by virtue of both its workmanship and the powerful protective enchantments placed on it. Careful to touch it with only the Wraithguard, I drew the blade Keening from the pit of black ash in which it was stuck; feeling immediately as if my limbs had been relieved of a great burden. The wondrously light blade was enchanted to bolster the wielder's limbs with amazing speed and grace.

A low thrum passed through the stronghold as I took up the blade; and it meant exactly what I feared. Wherever they had been during our ingress, the monstrous defenders of Odrosal came out in force to prevent our escape. Of course we could have simply teleported away home, but then we would have lost an awful lot of hard-earned ground in our foray into the Red Mountain region. No: we needed to find a safe location to place our teleportation Marks (as the rapidly approaching dawn necessitated a return to the castle) - and Odrosal was definitely not safe.

Almost a score of ashen-skinned ghouls and zombies sought to stop us as we dashed for the exit, and the fell figure of an Ash Vampire loomed behind the throng. There was a deafening -bang- as Sirilonwe set our attackers ablaze with a devastating fire spell. The wall of writhing, burning (but disturbingly close-mouthed) bodies prevented the Ash Vampire from advancing any further, and secured our escape. Sirilonwe and I burst out into the red night, and disappeared into the swirling storm.

There was less than an hour until the sun came up by then, and we ducked into a nearby abandoned mine we had passed on our climb up the mountain, to hurriedly place our magical Marks in a secluded spot. I still had the Wolfen ring, of course; so I could teleport home any time I chose - but Sirilonwe's only method of quickly returning to the castle was a Recall spell. With her Mark now in a cave halfway up Red Mountain, we needed another way home.

With only twenty or so minutes left until dawn, we cast Almsivi Intervention to return to the Temple in Ald'ruhn, sprinted to the Mages Guild to be teleported back to the Vivec guild hall, and then cast Divine Intervention to teleport to the Imperial Chapel in Ebonheart. Finally, we cast our water-walking spells and tore across the swells of the bay to Wolfen castle. The door to the great hall slammed shut behind us just as the sun rose above the sea.

It had certainly not been easy, but we had recovered Keening from the place where it had been held for hundreds of years. We had done what three livings gods could not.


Blogger Mindstroller said...

suh weeeeet!

Saturday, June 03, 2006 5:46:00 am  
Anonymous Matar said...

Neat! Though not much a fan of Long Swords this chapter was neat!

Saturday, June 03, 2006 6:04:00 am  
Blogger Victoria said...

Could it be that Frost uses the tools and turns himself into a god like the Tribunal? :-p That would make a fun fan fiction...and remember, you heard it here firse!

Saturday, June 03, 2006 6:37:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Damn, Sirilonwe knows her Destruction spells!


Saturday, June 03, 2006 8:06:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just wondering but i just read some of alienslof's work, and decided to inquire: Did you by any chance get the idea for Siri from the work of alienslof?

Saturday, June 03, 2006 2:27:00 pm  
Blogger Joseph said...

Thanks everyone.

Anonymous: "Just wondering but i just read some of alienslof's work, and decided to inquire: Did you by any chance get the idea for Siri from the work of alienslof?"

I've actually never read any of Slof's fiction (aside from skimming through parts of one), so that would be a no; to answer your question.

Why do you ask? Is Sirilonwe turned into a vampire in one of her stories as well?

- Joseph.

Sunday, June 04, 2006 12:45:00 am  
Anonymous Styg said...




Sunday, June 04, 2006 3:24:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Sunday, June 04, 2006 6:37:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the post above me was by me, Noozooroo

-Noozooroo( was that just necessary?)

Sunday, June 04, 2006 6:37:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually... in alienslof's narrative that includes sirilonwe, which I did not finish before posting my previous comment, it appears as if she were going to become a varpire for she was in love with one... but in the end she kills herself(which i find a bit odd)

Sunday, June 04, 2006 11:46:00 am  
Blogger Joseph said...

Stygian: Yes, he's come a long way... :-)

Anonymous: Well, I suppose Sirilonwe is a prime target for this sort of thing, as everyone in the Vivec Mages Guild says she 'has a special affinity' for vampires.

- Joseph.

Sunday, June 04, 2006 6:03:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Um, wasn't it established in an earlier (much earlier, pre-Siri vampirism) chapter that Siri can transport by means of the Wolfen Ring as well? As I recall, she only needs to be holding on to Frost when he activates it.

Ah, wait, I think I understand. The earlier chapter was purely narrative; this time it actually catalogues what Joseph had to do in the game with the Vampire's Embrace following scripts.

Friday, February 13, 2009 2:51:00 pm  

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