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, June 21, 2006

Chapter 142: Terrorise

"Bedal Alen? That bookworm? He spends more time in the bookstore than in his own home, I'd wager! You'd want to look there."

Our impromptu informant in the Winged Guar tavern (the same drunken Nord as before, actually) was very helpful - he even described Bedal for us - but his information revealed a problem: the bookstore would only open after the sun had risen, which would make keeping a watch over the place somewhat difficult for vampires like us. Could I break into the store and wait until Bedal came in? It could be all day before he showed his face, though; if he did at all - and invisibility spells did not last forever.

It would take some thought. In the meantime, Sirilonwe and I could look for the other two men Captain Delitian had sentenced to execution. We chose Hloggar the Bloody first, since we had a solid lead on where to find him - well, a lead, at any rate. He was rumoured to sleep in the sewers, and as I have mentioned, the passages beneath the streets of Almalexia were more than a little extensive. Sirilonwe appeared less than impressed at the idea of going down into the filthy sewers yet again, so to appease her (and myself, I admit), I reminded her:

"We are vampires: we should be able to smell one scrofulous Nord in these sewers without trouble."

And that is just what we did; though it did take some time. We ranged through the sewer tunnels closer to the surface first, reasoning that the many dangers that lay deeper in the catacombs would likely keep anyone from making camp any further down. Eventually we did find Hloggar by his somewhat ripe smell: a tall Nordic man with a long moustache, and long hair: both quite unkempt. He was asleep in his steel armour when we found him: sprawled out on a stained bedroll, amidst a great pile of bottles, jugs, and empty food-wrappings (waxed paper and the like). The Nord had set up a makeshift alarm outside of the alcove in which he slept: a length of string stretched across the entryway like a tripwire, and tied to an empty bottle balanced up on a narrow ledge.

I carefully stepped over the tripwire and nudged Hloggar awake with the tip of my Daedric katana. The Nord leapt up with gasp, scattering bottles and jugs at his feet. There was a stout axe in his hand; it had been hidden beneath the bedroll. His face, covered with intricate blue tattoos, turned red as he studied us.

"Die, beasts!" He growled, aiming a powerful stroke at my chest.

He was a gifted fighter; I will say that... but he was only mortal. I could move much faster than he, and dealt him numerous blows with the back of my blade; until he sank, bruised and groaning, to the floor. I held out the Royal Writ of Execution Delitian had given me, so that Hloggar could see his name on it. This time his face turned white.

"Hloggar the Bloody," I said, "you are wanted dead by the King of Morrowind. Your plot to assassinate him has been uncovered. Do not think to try to escape: you can no longer set foot in Mournhold - if you did..."

But I did not need to go on; the Nord's eyes were open wide, and I could almost hear his mind churning as he realised that any guardsman that saw him in the holy city would attack him immediately. I am sure he realised that moving against the king was no longer possible for him.

"Damned be you - and all yer kin!" Hloggar spat. "I'll go - I'll not be at the mercy of the likes of you!"

The Nord clapped his gauntleted hands together - and promptly vanished, with a loud -crack-. He had teleported away. I stood there in the sudden quiet, considering what to do next.

"Were you going to ask him something?" Sirilonwe broke the silence. "You said before that these men would have to do as you said, or die."

I did not answer for a moment - I was thinking.

"I was considering asking each of them to work with me to kill Helseth;" I replied finally; "but on further thought, I don't think I can, really. If they were to reveal what I'm planning to someone - if word were to get out... No, I'll have to kill them or get them to leave the city."

"What will you tell Delitian?"

"I'll have to say that Hloggar was gone before we got here - and I'll say the same for the other two, if they escape as well." I checked my pocketwatch as I spoke. "Delitian sees intrigue wherever he looks. Hopefully he'll think that someone tipped them off before we could find them."

Dawn was approaching rapidly. It was time to look for Forven Berano, the 'Temple-going noble'.

"Vampires - by Almsivi!" Forven drew a short silver blade from his belt, and retreated several steps. "Stay back!"

Our vampiric eyes had proved indispensable in finding the second conspirator: Sirilonwe and I had waited near the Mournhold temple steps; one watching the eastern approach, and the other looking to the west. The compound that contained the temple was truly massive (it could almost have contained the whole of Balmora, the second-largest settlement on Vvardenfell), and Forven was near the far-western wall, approaching the temple, when I identified him. It had then been a simple matter to dash over and accost him behind a small copse of manicured trees.

Forven Berano was not the fighter Hloggar had been. In an instant, I snatched the blade from his hand and shoved him to the ground. I showed him his Writ of Execution, and said:

"You have a choice, Berano: you may die, here and now - or you may leave Almalexia and never return. Understand that I am ordered to execute you - not to let you go - so if I see you here again, I will kill you."

The Dunmer's eyes were fixed on the Writ of Execution, and it was a moment before he moved. He seemed terrified; unable to find his voice - but then he nodded, and twisted a glittering ring on his middle finger. He teleported away as Hloggar had done.

Only Bedal Alen, the 'bookworm', was left. During our search of the sewers, I had had time to form a plan - a simple one, actually: I would question the owner of the bookstore. If Bedal really was a frequent customer, than he or she should be able to tell me something about him.

The stars were fading from the sky when we broke into the bookstore in the Great Bazaar. Like all the stores there, the owner lived upstairs, above the shop. In a very lucky turn, we discovered the real reason Bedal Alen was known to loiter in the bookstore: he was sleeping with the owner. And to save any confusion I will clarify: when we arrived he was literally sleeping with the Dunmer woman that owned the store.

I clamped my hand over Bedal's mouth and dragged him from the bed, while Sirilonwe cast a Sleep spell on the woman so that she would not wake up. Downstairs, I told the Dunmer man the same thing I told Forven Berano, and he displayed even less fortitude than the noble, only stammering:

"Y-yes! Alright, I w-will..." before teleporting away. I wondered briefly where he had teleported to: he was almost naked after being dragged from bed, after all.

The sun was almost cresting the great walls of Mournhold as we hurried into the Royal Palace. Captain Delitian accepted my story that each of the conspirators had slipped away. As I had said to Sirilonwe, it was not an implausible story; considering the obvious problems of disloyalty towards the new king (and anyone associated with him) that the captain seemed to face on all sides.

"It must be someone in the Palace." Delitian grumbled, clenching his fists. "But never-mind that for now. I'll tell King Helseth of your hard work. Listen: there's another matter you can help us with. We've been trying to find this anonymous writer from 'The Common Tongue'; with no luck. That broadsheet prints nothing but demoralising lies about the whichever authority figure currently crosses the lips of the gossiping hags. These lies about the late King Llethan and poison are too much."

The captain fished around in his satchel, and finally presented me with the same copy of 'The Common Tongue' I had found for him, saying:

"I would ask you two to find out who this anonymous writer is, and persuade him to stop printing such libellous falsehoods about the king. You will be discreet about this, of course. We cannot appear to be ignoring the fine Imperial traditions of encouraging free speech."

We could be well justified taking some time on the latest errand Delitian had set for us, so on the following evening we began our search for Barilzar's Mazed Band. No point keeping a goddess waiting. The Band had apparently been divined to be in an empty, abandoned crypt in the ruins beneath the temple: to the north-west of the Temple sewers.

"We're never going to see the back of these sewers." Sirilonwe remarked, as we prepared for yet another foray into the foul-smelling passages.

It did not take long to find the excavated passage - or to find the reason why it had been left to us to go in: the place was definitely not abandoned or empty. Filling the musty tunnels were quite a number of liches, in their ragged, rotting robes. It was as if we had stumbled upon a lair of the things - or perhaps 'coven' would be a better word; liches were reputed to be extremely intelligent, after all.

The unnervingly silent revenants all attacked us, of course - and pushing our way deeper into the previously lost tunnels was a draining experience. The liches were awfully quick - and dangerous with their magic - and as fast as we put them down, more and more came; sometimes two or even three at a time. After a nerve-wracking few moments, the whizzing spells and concussive, magical blasts died down; all the enemies we could immediately see being defeated.

There was a figure waiting for us in the next chamber we searched: a liche of great and frightening stature.


The great liche had a massive Daedric claymore gripped in one skeletal hand, and he hefted it to touch the blade to his bony forehead.


"I am not afraid," I replied, "and I will not flee. You will not be my end."

I raised my blade.

"Little can stop me now."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

nice chapter!

Thursday, June 22, 2006 4:22:00 am  
Anonymous DaBigPman said...

ooo...pman like....

Thursday, June 22, 2006 6:03:00 am  
Anonymous Matar said...

Gettin a bit evil are we frosty...

Thursday, June 22, 2006 8:57:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

just food for thought
if Frost killed King Hel. would u think it that if he was sent to prision, he would be sent to the mainland, only to be release by the emperor?

Thursday, June 22, 2006 4:19:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very good! I enjoyed it greatly.

Friday, June 23, 2006 5:28:00 am  
Blogger Joseph said...

Thankyou everyone. :-)

I think the Emperor would probably be of the opinion that he was not likely to get anything more of use out of Edward. At this stage in Edward's story, Mister Septim probably no longer cares what happens to him!

- Joseph.

Friday, June 23, 2006 1:56:00 pm  
Anonymous Person said...

Hello all! I've been a bit sporadic with my visits lately 'cause my computers been screwing around on me. (Hehe... I make innuendo)

But yersh... I've missed some very interesting stuff. But I've caught up and it looks like the stories getting... complicated. But that's a good thing!

Friday, June 23, 2006 6:36:00 pm  
Anonymous Constant said...

matar: Evil guys are super-sweet. ^_^

Friday, June 23, 2006 8:34:00 pm  

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